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On Julie Luecke’s “Reading Along the Gender Continuum” (from 2012)

“The reality, however, is that many children are gender variant (with interests and behaviors persistently outside of typical cultural gender norms) and at different points in their lives might be living or exploring at various places along the gender identity continuum.” If there had been a Horn Book blog focused on books and families in […]

Listen to kidlitwomen*

“We should be starting [to talk with kids about sexual harassment] before we think it’s going to happen rather than after.”  —Corey Ann Haydu, from the kidlitwomen* podcast, episode #25 I love the kidlitwomen* podcast, and this week’s episodes (#24 On Writing, Sexual Harassment and Being an Example and #25 Conversation with Corey Ann Haydu) […]

Gendered reading and audiobooks

My daughter became a bookworm this year, reading middle grade novels by Carl Hiaasen, Kate Beasley, Robert Beatty, and Erin Entrada Kelly. She read before bed, and while eating breakfast and brushing her teeth. When she finished a book, she’d pass it along to me, and we’d discuss it. I felt excited about this new […]

On Madelyn Travis’s “Thank Heavens for Hugo, or When Size Matters” (from 2011)

In “Thank Heavens for Hugo, or When Size Matters,” children’s literature scholar Madelyn Travis wrote about her efforts to encourage her then-seven-year-old son to “love reading” and her worry that “if he doesn’t, he will miss out on one of life’s great joys.” Lordy, do I get it. Though my kids were toddlers when I […]

Love at First Read: Spotting the Moment When My Children Fell For Books

When my oldest son first fell in love, I recognized the symptoms instantly. He lost his appetite, couldn’t sleep, and spent hours in his room with a daydream-y glimmer in his eyes. It wasn’t a person he’d fallen for, though; it was a book. At age five, he’d always been enthusiastic about books, but up […]

On Summer Clark’s “What My First Grader Taught Me About Reading” (from 2017)

“Our library harbors a large supply of early readers. I helped him choose a stack that I found to be at an appropriate beginner level, with few words per page, basic beginning sight words, repetition of frequently used spelling patterns, and engaging topics that related to his interests — all of which I hoped would […]

On Maira Kalman’s 2003 acceptance speech for the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Nonfiction

“The people on the John J. Harvey who fought the fires of 9/11 are the kind of people you want to know.” When my older son was three or four, he visited the Horn Book offices and discovered my copy of Maira Kalman’s Fireboat: The Heroic Adventures of the John J. Harvey, the 2003 winner […]

Raising a feminist

I had a feminist awakening in my early twenties, and since then I’ve become passionate about analyzing female characters in books and films with a critical eye. I search for strong female leads whose identities are not defined by the men in their lives. Now, as a parent of a seven-year-old boy, I wonder about […]

“Leave the books on the bed”: Shaping a child’s social conscience

“Maybe you can help me,” a teacher called from our school library’s biography section. “I need books about…protest, I guess.” Her son’s middle school class was debating NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s decision to kneel during the national anthem, as a protest against the oppression of people of color. At first her son defended Kaepernick, but […]

On Andrea Davis Pinkney’s 2013 Coretta Scott King Author Award Acceptance Speech

“I felt an overwhelming urgency to create a testament to the positivity of African American manhood, as told through the biographies of men who shaped racial progress in the United States.” Andrea Davis Pinkney won the 2013 Coretta Scott King Author Award for Hand in Hand: Ten Black Men Who Changed America (Disney-Jump at the […]