September 21, 2017

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Roger Sutton

About Roger Sutton

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, […]

Always something there to remind me

Here is the sole note I took during last weekend’s “(im)possible dreams,” Simmons College’s Summer Institute, but for the life of me I cannot recall what it was intended to recall. Any ideas? Candy? Neal? Luckily, Shoshana was also there and can give you a fuller account, And I will take this opportunity to remind […]

Horn Book Magazine September/October 2017 starred books

The following books will received starred reviews in the September/October 2017 issue of The Horn Book Magazine:   When’s My Birthday?; by Julie Fogliano; illustrated by Christian Robinson (Porter/Roaring Brook) Home in the Rain; written and illustrated by Bob Graham (Candlewick) Red Again; written and illustrated by Barbara Lehman (Houghton) A Different Pond; by Bao Phi; illustrated by Thi Bui (Capstone) […]

Oh boy

I call bullshit on Daniel Handler’s Sunday New York Times essay about the need of teenaged boys for dirty books. Of course, yes, kids read for the dirty parts, girls as well as boys. And you could make an argument, and I don’t understand why Handler didn’t, that the prurient interests of girls are better […]

And the world will be better for this

I hope I see some of you this weekend at Simmons’ Summer Children’s Literature Institute, (im)possible dreams. I had the coffee the other day with BPL children’s services manager Farouqua Abuzeit, and she reminded me she had been a student in a Simmons Institute I led almost thirty years ago, Masquerade. That was my introduction […]

Everybody needs a Boss

If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you’ll know that I sometimes chastise others for their shortcomings, as demonstrated in whatever piece of text lies before me at a given moment, in taste or intellect or grammar. My victims, shamed but unnamed, include authors, publishers, journalists, or politicians; those with whom I work at the Horn […]

Tiny but tough

Happy birthday, Barbara Bader. NINETY, wow. In your honor we have rounded up some of your greatest hits. Like other old people, I frequently find myself wanting to tell the young to know your history, and the Horn Book is proud to have for so long published one of children’s librarianship and children’s literature’s ablest and […]

Thank you, David

Former director of Simmons’s Center for the Study of Children’s Literature and Horn Book Magazine reviewer Susan Bloom’s husband David died this week at the age of 91, and I wanted to take a minute to pay tribute to him and all the (what we call locally) Horn Book Husbands, those otherwise sensible men married to […]

I’m rubber and you’re glue

Over on the Horn Book’s Facebook page, there’s an opinion that Javaka Steptoe only won the Caldecott Medal because his father was John Steptoe. When pressed for evidence, the (former, as she’ll tell you) subscriber replied that “the pattern of ALA award committees in the past several years in its selections of winners/honors. Promote diversity […]

Roger’s ALA 2017

My ALA began on a sad note when, while Richard and I were on the way to the airport, Martha texted to tell me that Robin Smith had died. This is such a loss – I knew no one as good as Robin at connecting children and books. I saw it in her many years […]

More News from ALA Annual 2017:

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“It’s bigger than it looks.”

Forgive me but one more brief rant about television. What is UP with shows that hobble perfectly watchable characters and situations with annoying and incomprehensible long-game backstories? Sense8 and Orphan Black, and Fringe and Alias before them, are in most ways just the kind of TV I like: human characters in the contemporary world who […]

ALA Attire

The worst thing about the days leading up to ALA is the wardrobe issue. You’re saving all the good (well, better) stuff for Conference and you wear rags to work. Those V-neck t-shirts you bought by mistake. The socks that used to be purple but are now decidedly pink. Don’t look at me. But I […]

No, the places YOU’LL go.

When I say, as I do with some regularity, “I hate Dr. Seuss,” I don’t mean it as criticism of his work for any kind of aesthetic or political shortcoming, and obviously I don’t have anything against the man himself. What I mean is that The Cat and the Hat, etc. made five-year-old me very, very […]