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December 19, 2014

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Roger Sutton

About Roger Sutton

Everything must change

Everything must change

I was in New York last week to catch up with publishers, Rockefeller Center, and theater. We saw two musicals, Side Show and On the Town (thumbs up for both) and the stage adaptation of Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time (possibly the least rememberable title since Rebecca Stead’s […]

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Last call for Selfie Sweepstakes

Last call for Selfie Sweepstakes

A reminder that the due date for entries in the Selfie Sweepstakes is December 15, next Monday. Those who predicted I would be swamped with entries were wrong; right now there are about a dozen submissions. If the next week does not bring a deluge, I’ll be able to comment on each of the submissions […]

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Fanfare!

The Horn Book Magazine‘s choices for the best books of 2014. Sign up now to receive  the fully annotated list in next week’s issue of Notes from the Horn Book: Picture books: Sam & Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett; illustrated by Jon Klassen (Candlewick) My Bus written and illustrated by Byron Barton (Greenwillow) […]

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Starred reviews, January/February 2015 Horn Book Magazine

Starred reviews, January/February 2015 Horn Book Magazine

The following books will receive starred reviews in the January/February 2015 issue of the Horn Book Magazine. Coming this Wednesday: Fanfare, our choices for the best books of 2014. Once Upon an Alphabet; written and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers (Philomel) The Bear Ate Your Sandwich; written and illustrated by Julia Sarcone-Roach (Knopf) Supertruck; written and illustrated by […]

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Crankypants Monday

Crankypants Monday

Interesting discussion about holiday library programming over at SLJ. I have two questions. First, as is so often true when we are talking “on behalf” of children, I want to know if Santa-in-the-library is genuinely offensive to non-Santa people, or is this a case of one party being offended in advance on behalf of another? […]

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Some people smarter than I

Some people smarter than I

While putting my thoughts back in to fully bake–just kidding, I’ve ditched that recipe–I wanted to share some of the valuable links people provided in the comments to my last post and on Facebook. And let me say again how grateful I am for your bearing with me. I think a lot about what it […]

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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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