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November 24, 2014

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Roger Sutton

About Roger Sutton

Being a White Guy in Children’s Books

Being a White Guy in Children’s Books

Don’t get me wrong. White guys working in children’s books have it good. In fact, it would be fair to say we have it pretty much made. But in the wake of host Daniel Handler’s remarks at Wednesday’s National Book Awards, I find myself thinking about the privileged but peculiar position white guys have in […]

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Reviewing race

Reviewing race

Over on Facebook, illustrator Shadra Strickland asks a good question: “Why is it necessary for a reviewer to identify the ethnicity of a character in their review when the plot has zero to do with race…especially in picture books? A friend just told me that in her latest pb, her family was identified as Caucasian. […]

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Default in our stars

This week’s Entertainment Weekly has a list of “50 Books Every Kid Should Read” (view PDF here). Given that it strives to contain both classics (Where the Wild Things Are) as well as modern favorites (The Fault in Our Stars); and pop hits (The Hunger Games) along with critics’ darlings (Roll of Thunder, Hear My […]

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Reviewing from under a rock

Reviewing from under a rock

I loved Michel Faber’s The Crimson Petal and the White (try the audiobook if you want something immersive and long) and am looking forward to his Book of Strange New Things. But there was a passage in Marcel Theroux’s extremely laudatory NYT review last week  that’s driving me crazy: “Since the critical and commercial triumph […]

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What’s Going On

What’s Going On

Some things going on at hbook.com: John Green loved The Babysitters Club. Who knew? New books for Halloween. And my favorite. On Calling Caldecott, Lolly is discussing how/whether to review your friends/more-than-friends/enemies. This is why I like to be able to count the number of writers I am actually personal friends with on the fingers of […]

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I don’t THINK anyone is trying to hunt me down

I don’t THINK anyone is trying to hunt me down

Last weekend my friend Lori was in town and we took the dogs for a walk in the schoolyard across the street. Three tween girls were hanging out on the jungle gym and as we passed they started whispering ostentatiously in our direction and laughing meanly. ‘Girls that age” said Lori, a middle-school math teacher […]

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It’s not on any chart / You must find it with your heart

It’s not on any chart / You must find it with your heart

Please join me on Saturday the 25th at the Boston Book Festival for “Masters of Fantasy,” a panel discussion with Soman Chainani (A World Without Princes), Holly Black and Cassandra Clare (The Iron Trial), and Gregory Maguire (Egg & Spoon). We’ll be talking about–well, I guess I should get on that right quick, as I’m […]

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Two possible explanations for all the zombie books

Two possible explanations for all the zombie books

Holy shit became the slogan of the day at HBAS after Julie Strauss-Gabel used it to describe her initial reaction to reading the ms. of Andrew Smith’s Grasshopper Jungle (winner of the BGHB award for fiction). Her point was that this was the reaction an editor should have in making a decision to acquire a […]

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Running the gamut from A to V

Running the gamut from A to V

While I think Nick Hornby is overstating his case, the idea that “every time we pick up a book for a sense of duty and we find that we’re struggling to get through it, we’re reinforcing the notion that reading is something you should do but telly is something you want to do” is worth […]

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Clearing the brush

Clearing the brush

The New York Times’ sensationalizing of the practice of abridging adult nonfiction titles for a younger audience rather misses the point, which is about commerce, not censorship. The main difference between the adult and juvenile editions of these titles is that the latter are shorter, provide less background material, and are less detailed. As an […]

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Starred reviews, November/December 2014 Horn Book Magazine

Starred reviews, November/December 2014 Horn Book Magazine

The following books will receive starred reviews in the November/December 2014 Horn Book Magazine. I am also told that we have broken our own record for number of books reviewed in a single issue, north of 130.   Sam & Dave Dig a Hole; by Mac Barnett; illus. by Jon Klassen (Candlewick) (page 57) The Farmer and […]

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Please, God, let him telephone me now

Please, God, let him telephone me now

“I must stop this. I mustn’t be this way. Look. Suppose a young man says he’ll call a girl up, and then something happens, and he doesn’t. That isn’t so terrible, is it? Why, it’s gong on all over the world, right this minute. Oh, what do I care what’s going on all over the […]

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The buck stops over there

The buck stops over there

After seeing some alarming comments on Read Roger and Facebook I feel the need to point out something I thought everybody knew: the Horn Book, like our sisters at SLJ, Booklist,  BCCB and PW, does not charge authors or publishers for book reviews. Publishers Weekly and Kirkus does offer fee-based reviewing services but these are […]

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Free to a good home

Free to a good home

The Horn Book is looking to give away approximately 2000 new trade and library hardcover books, all published in 2014. Here is the catch: you have to come and  box them up yourself and take them all. ALL: no picking and choosing. They include picture books, novels and lots of nonfiction. We are on the […]

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A challenge to self-publishers

A challenge to self-publishers

Thank you all for your comments, here and on Twitter and Facebook, about the question of reviewing books from self-published authors. I am learning a lot. Hey Zetta Eliott–how about another article from you for our pages on this subject? A number of commenters have suggested that the Horn Book begin a column highlighting the […]

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An open letter to the self-published author feeling dissed.

An open letter to the self-published author feeling dissed.

Dear self-published author: I can imagine how frustrating it is to have your book refused possible review coverage by the Horn Book simply because it is self-published. But here is why that situation is unlikely to change anytime soon. If we met at a party or something, I, and I think my colleagues at the […]

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Early Learning recap

Early Learning recap

SLJ has posted a report of Martha and my presentation in Ohio last week of what makes  for a good preschool book. Look for Kevin Henkes’ excellent speech from that event on our site on Monday.

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Cause to celebrate?

Cause to celebrate?

If it’s time for Banned Books Week it’s also time for my annual bucket ‘o scorn for ALA’s  cynical exercise in spin. Like Bette Davis in Storm Center, “I’m tired. I’m tired and beaten. There’s no use pretending.” Now Davis, playing a beleaguered librarian trying to uphold the freedom to read in McCarthy’s America, was […]

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Cause to celebrate?

If it’s time for Banned Books Week it’s also time for my annual bucket ‘o scorn for ALA’s  cynical exercise in spin. Like Bette Davis in Storm Center, “I’m tired. I’m tired and beaten. There’s no use pretending.” Now Davis, playing a beleaguered librarian trying to uphold the freedom to read in McCarthy’s America, was […]

The post Cause to celebrate? appeared first on The Horn Book.

Does one size fit all?

Does one size fit all?

Leonard Marcus gave a swell talk about Robert McCloskey last night, but what’s really sticking with me is a response he gave to a question at the end about ebooks. Size matters, he essentially said, when it comes to picture books and other books for young children. Of course, we all know this, but I […]

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