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Foreign Correspondence: An Interview with Deborah Ahenkorah: Torchbearer for African Children’s Publishing

I first became aware of Deborah Ahenkorah a few years ago when I was prospecting the internet for groups working to address diversity issues in children’s publishing. Ahenkorah is the cofounder and executive director of Golden Baobab, the groundbreaking pan-African social enterprise behind the Golden Baobab Prizes for African children’s literature. Golden Baobab not only […]

Family Reading: A place for ALL families

This has been a rough week for a lot of us. We’ve read in the news and heard firsthand stories of uncertainty and fear from our children and their classmates and from neighbors and friends. The presidential election’s hateful rhetoric has prompted kids to worry about what is to come under the incoming administration: “Will […]

Books in the Home: “Mommy, Do I Have White Skin?”: Skin Color, Family, and Picture Books

When my son was five, he was watching TV when a commercial came on that showed a woman slathering her peach-colored arms with lotion. He glanced down at his own brown arm. After poking it with a finger, he asked: “Mommy, do I have white skin?” It was a moment that seemed straight out of […]

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 […]