November 21, 2017

The Advocate's Toolbox
Roger Sutton

About Roger Sutton

Getting ready to blow

Today we all meet to decide Fanfare, the Horn Book’s choices for the best books of 2017. As I type, strategic alliances are being formed  to whittle down the current list of some sixty titles to… well, fewer. A lot fewer. It would be great if sometime before I retire I could strong-arm the staff into […]

Strike that

Spoilers ahead, I guess, for those who have neither read nor seen Wonderstruck; those who have read Brian Selznick’s 2011 novel will find a remarkably consonant story in Todd Haynes’ new movie for which Selznick wrote the screenplay. So if you’ve read the book but not seen the movie, press on, as you’ve been spoiled […]

BBF 2017

I hope to see some of you tomorrow, 11-5, at the Boston Book Festival. The Horn Book will be giving stuff (and opinions; I’m almost done with The Book of Dust) away at booth number 9 in Copley Square. We can see Roxy’s Grilled Cheese (number 33) from our booth! And our Elissa will be […]

Lonely Little In-between

My work-reading this weekend shuttled between The Book of Dust and Turtles All the Way Down, just three old cerebral white guys shooting the shit, yep. I’m liking them both, but we’ll see what Martha and her minions have to say about each in the January issue. My playtime reading shuttled between The Girl Who Takes […]

Heart of the Matter

I am not going to get into the relative merits of American Heart, because I haven’t read it. But I do want to speak to the questionable wisdom of revising a published review or removing a star from a published review, both of which Kirkus did in the case of this book. (Vulture has just published a good […]

Letter to the World

Over on Facebook, Penguin/Putnam Executive Editor Stacey Barney* led me to a great how-I-got-into-publishing-and-how-publishing-could-be-better piece by Random House adult editor Chris Jackson, best know for his publishing of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me. I was especially struck by Jackson’s story about being in his first publishing job and not knowing how to type […]

Thank you all!

The Horn Book’s social media team–Elissa, Katie, and Lolly, but all hands on deck–has been busily documenting the events of last weekend’s Boston Globe-Horn Book/Horn Book at Simmons Colloquium for your viewing and reading pleasure. It was a great weekend, and I want to thank the Horn Book, Simmons, and Globe staff for making it such […]

Intended by whom?

In the comments to a recent Heavy Medal post, there is a discussion about the eligibility and/or chances of The Hate U Give for Newbery discussion. (In case you’re new here, The Hate U Give is receiving the 2017 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Fiction tomorrow night.) It was a Mr. H. who brought up […]

Intended by whom?

In the comments to a recent Heavy Medal post, there is a discussion about the eligibility and/or chances of The Hate U Give for Newbery discussion. (In case you’re new here, The Hate U Give is receiving the 2017 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Fiction tomorrow night.) It was a Mr. H. who brought up […]

Starred reviews, November/December 2017 Horn Book Magazine

  The following books will receive starred reviews in the November/December issue 2017 of The Horn Book Magazine. Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut; by Derrick Barnes; illustrated by Gordon C. James (Millner/Bolden Books/Agate) The Wolf, the Duck, and the Mouse; by Mac Barnett; illustrated by Jon Klassen (Candlewick) Windows; by Julia Denos; illustrated by E. B. Goodale […]

Not so simple gifts

Jeez, we didn’t get into any trouble at all the last time we criticized a First Lady, but clearly times have changed. I wanted to state that I am very proud that the Horn Book published Liz Phipps Soeiro’s  open letter to Melania Trump. It was polite, constructive, informative, and well-reasoned. Not so for all […]

Book packaging

Not THAT kind, but about the literal packaging of books sent to this office. And others: a publishing friend said she received an indignant phone call asking her company to PLEASE stop using mailers that contain that gray fluffy stuff as padding; and I also saw it on Twitter. I asked in this office if the […]

The star-making machinery

Grandpa got grumpy yesterday over one of his old nemeses: the Non-Disclosure Agreement. An NDA in this circumstance is when a publisher asks us to sign a contract putting certain restrictions on the Horn Book before forking over an advance review copy. We aren’t asked to sign them very often, and we never do sign them, […]

Let’s get special

On Thursday, the Horn Book staff will be at my house stuffing our faces with pastry and planning our 2018 editorial calendar. You can help! As Magazine readers will know, we publish one special themed issue each year. We’ve done this from the start, with most early special issues being devoted to one great lady […]

It is so our business

I see SLJ is taking some heat for its stand against Trump’s deplorable actions re DACA. Welcome to my world. I’d love to put together a panel discussion of the children’s-book journal editors on the topic of pulpit-pounding. We all do it, in different ways to different ends, and it might be a good opportunity to […]

Double takes

We saw the 40th anniversary release of Close Encounters of the Third Kind* this weekend, which seemed like a great end-of-summer thing to do. I swear that movie has been cut differently every time I’ve seen it, but I was once again thrilled to see one of my favorite shots in cinema: that early scene […]

Home run!

Over at SLJ, Kiera Parrott makes a thorough case against reading levels. I wish I’d had her on hand when we were visiting the children last month. The grandpas had sent eight-year-old Miles some books a few weeks before, mainly Magic Treehouse. When I said something about them he mumbled that they weren’t on his Fountas […]

Books in a lee light

Julie Hakim Azzam’s diagnosis of ADHD for Ramona Quimby has me of two minds AT LEAST. I agree it’s good that readers with ADHD can find in Ramona a mirror, friend, or hero. But if we position the character as a child with ADHD, are we being faithful to the text, which leaves her undiagnosed? […]

Everybody’s talking

My brief thoughts about two current scandals. The first is the bouncing of a Newbery committee member for mentioning a book on Twitter. I said at the time ALSC revamped its social media policy that it was a bad idea. It still is, and Angie Manfredi would have been a great contributor to that committee’s work. […]

There’s only color and light

Today we are meeting with a group of consultants and some of the New York brass to rethink the Horn Book’s digital presence–the website, the Guide Online, maybe the newsletters and e-editions of our print publications. (The Horn Book Guide will be digital-only starting this fall.) I told Lolly I was even open to discussion–well, […]