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On Julie Hakim Azzam’s “Mommy, Do I Have White Skin?: Skin Color, Family, and Picture Books” (from November 2016)

“Using picture books, I set out to cultivate an image library that would give my children pictures of families that, like ours, were of mixed ancestry and had skin tones that ranged from light to dark.” Julie Hakim Azzam’s Books in the Home column from the November/December 2016 issue of The Horn Book Magazine discusses […]

Editorial: “Last Stop, First Steps”

When I arrived at the Horn Book in the spring of 1996, it was in the midst of a dustup caused by that January’s editorial, “A Wider Vision for the Newbery,” written by then–senior editors Lauren Adams and Martha V. Parravano. They decried the Newbery-winning predominance of middle-grade fiction by white people about white people, […]

Board Book Roundup: Spring 2016 Edition

This column is part of a series of recommended board book roundups, formerly published twice a year, now published every season. You can find the previous installments here. Don’t miss Viki Ash’s primer “What Makes a Good Board Book?” from the March/April 2010 Horn Book Magazine. We need diverse board books, too! Start your child’s […]

Go, indies, go!

It’s a bicoastal book-to-book battle, but it’s an everybody-wins sort of thing. Beginning in the fall and running through the end of 2015, the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association Children’s Alliance (NCIBA) and the New England Children’s Booksellers Advisory Council (NECBA) were competing to see which coast’s booksellers can sell the most copies of certain […]

The Writer’s Page: On Writing the American Familia

I’ve always been fascinated by how people become part of the American tapestry. Some had ancestors who were enslaved. Others fled persecution, poverty, or violence. Their stories are often a potent mix of hope and tragedy. My parents came to the United States during the mass political exodus of the Cuban upper and middle class […]

Seeing yourself in literature

I can’t really remember if I looked for literature with kids like me as a child. Did I read books about quiet, geeky girls because I could relate? Or did I read books about quiet, geeky girls because that’s what was available? Did I search for a character with whom I could identify? Or could […]

#WeGotDiverseAwardBooks: Reflections on Awards and Allies

I missed out on ALA Midwinter this year. At nine months pregnant, there was just no way I could hop on a plane (or hop anywhere, really) to be a part of the conference and its festivities. But shortly after the 2015 ALA Youth Media Awards were announced, a colleague emailed me, “How about all […]

Editorial: What the Survey Doesn’t Say

Welcome to our annual issue devoted to the ALA book awards. You will find herein acceptance speeches by and profiles of the Coretta Scott King, Caldecott, Newbery, and Wilder award winners as well as some analysis of the winners and honor books; some Newbery history (where does K. T. Horning find those stories?); and “Mind […]

From The Guide: Books to Fill the Gaps

In Vaunda Micheaux Nelson’s Horn Book at Simmons keynote address, “Mind the Gaps,” she laments the shortage of good children’s books featuring African American protagonists. What is there consists largely of books about the African American historical experience, not “books with black characters experiencing what children of any culture might.” As Nelson asserts, though, “we […]

We need diverse books because of Ferguson

I have no idea what actually happened between Mike Brown and Darren Wilson in those unfortunate moments — and neither do you. Some people lie. Some cops lie. Evidence can be portrayed or interpreted in multiple ways. Let’s stop pretending that we (or our news sources) are the sole possessors of indisputable facts. But don’t let that cause you […]