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Do we need another hero?

The plan to create a new Oscar for “outstanding achievement in popular film,” meaning, it seems, superhero movies and action films, has me thinking about what that would look like in children’s books. Although the Academy doesn’t seem to have worked out just how the new award will work, it’s designed to reward excellence in […]

Devil in the details

The July 23rd issue of the New Yorker includes an article about the Holocaust in children’s literature, and particularly the contributions of Jane Yolen in The Devil’s Arithmetic (1988) and her new novel, Mapping the Bones. The article, by Ruth Franklin, makes reference to a contemporary critic of The Devil’s Arithmetic, an  “editor at a […]

Tell Laura I love her

I first heard about ALSC’s big news on Saturday, when I was swanning about the exhibit halls with Al, and Rita Auerbach called me over to tell me that Jacqueline Woodson was the first recipient of the Children’s Literature Legacy Award. My first thought was, “well, she’s won pretty much every other damn thing so why […]

What ELSE do you do?: Five questions for Elizabeth Law

Elizabeth Law, currently Backlist Editor for Holiday House, and I have been fast friends since we met in 1980 in Zena’s children’s lit class at the University of Chicago. But in addition to her deep knowledge of and passion for children’s books, Elizabeth goes to the theater more often than any human being on the […]

Ann Durell (1931-2018)

Renowned editor and publisher Ann Durell died May 6, 2018, in New York City. She was eighty-seven. She entered the children’s book field in the 1950s, first as an apprentice and secretary at Doubleday, then taking over as head of the Junior Literary Guild, then moving to Holt, Rinehart and Winston as a children’s book […]

Sweet Homefront Chicago

Rita Williams-Garcia was her gracious smart self for last Friday’s Sutherland Lecture in Chicago; good to hear her and good to see old friends, especially my boss Betsy. Below is my introduction to Rita; you can read the lady speaking for herself when we publish her lecture this fall in the Magazine. Next year’s Sutherland Lecture will be […]

Lovely Rita and the Sutherland lecture

A reminder that next Friday, May 4th, finds me introducing Rita Williams-Garcia for her Sutherland lecture, “Look Here. Not There,” at 7:30PM at the Harold Washington Library Center in Chicago. Admission to the program is free, but you have to sign up at chipublib.org/sutherland. I hope to see you there! The Sutherland Lecture committee thanks HarperCollins […]

Zena is watching, are you?

I hope you have as good a time watching this interview with Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden as I did conducting it. Our conversation will also appear, edited, in the May/June special issue of the Horn Book Magazine, Making a Difference. Carla is one person who certainly has.

Texas Time

What a wonderful time Richard and I had in Abilene! We were at the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature (still jeez to the name, but I did learn its acronym is pronounced nickel and not ‘encil) to see a wonderful show, and quite a haul of original art from Coretta Scott King Award winners […]

Woman of the Year

Congrats to Jacqueline Woodson for winning the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, first given to Maurice Sendak in 2003; Jackie is the fourth American to win, after Katherine Paterson and Meg Rosoff. I met Jackie in 1990 in Chicago, where Delacorte had sent her all by her lonesome on her first book tour (for Last Summer at Maizon). Betsy, Hazel, […]