July 26, 2016

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I’m going to see the folks I dig

I am off next week for California; visiting children and grandchildren; seeing friends including Mina, Eugene, and Andy; and attending the tennis tournament at Indian Wells, tickets for which Richard kindly surprised me with on Valentine’s Day. But I will be in virtual attendance at JLG’s free webcast on Thursday, March 17th from 3:00 to […]

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She’ll be swell, she’ll be great

I am over the moon about President Obama’s nomination of Carla D. Hayden to the position of Librarian of Congress. Carla and I were buddies back in Chicago–we met when she was YA coordinator at CPL and I interviewed her for a paper I was writing for library school, and later I worked for her […]

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Freeing writers AND readers

I agree with Allie Jane Bruce that “kids say this stuff” is a piss-poor reason for racist language in books for children. It’s a piss-poor reason generally, as the point of fiction has never been to mimic reality, which rarely makes nearly as much sense as even the most hackneyed novel. Fiction is always selecting: as Miss Binney explained to Ramona, […]

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Starred reviews, March/April 2016 Horn Book Magazine

The following books will receive starred reviews in the March/April 2016 issue of The Horn Book Magazine: Thunder Boy Jr. by Sherman Alexie; illus. by Yuyi Morales (Little, Brown) When Spring Comes by Kevin Henkes; illus. by Laura Dronzek (Greenwillow) School’s First Day of School by Adam Rex; illus. by Christian Robinson (Porter/Roaring Brook) Twenty […]

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HB NB February

—Elissa and Katie are ransacking the archives to honor Black History Month with an article every day about African American books, authors, and illustrators. Up today, Yolanda Hare’s call for more books about “more black teens living mundane middle-class lives.” –On February 23rd, I’ll be moderating a panel discussion about the ALA awards and children’s […]

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Whips AND chains

I’d really like to ban the term “self-censorship” from discourse, given that we already have a spectrum of words–from “prudence” to “cowardice”–that say more precisely what we mean, and because it causes us to be confused about what censorship actually is. As Megan Schliesman at Reading While White posted last week, the discussion about A Birthday […]

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A bumpy ride

I had been content to let Calling Caldecott’s enlightening discussion about A Fine Dessert speak for itself, and the subsequent publication of A Birthday Cake for George Washington a year later was more than anything a spectacular example of bad timing–by the time A Fine Dessert was gathering outrage, A Birthday Cake was well on its […]

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That clinking clanking sound

With the (incoming, anyway) scandal at this weekend’s ALA conference being a question about the not-always-bright line between editorial independence and advertisers’ interests, I thought I would remind you of the Horn Book’s position on the relationship between those two things. Otherwise, I hope I see some of you this weekend: the Horn Book can […]

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The 2016 Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction

The 2016 Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction goes to The Hired Girl, by Laura Amy Schlitz, published by Candlewick Press. When Joan’s father burns her beloved books as an undeserved punishment for shirking her housework, the put-upon fourteen-year-old makes a reckless gambit for freedom, running away to Baltimore in search of paid work. There […]

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Merry Christmas darlings

Winding things down here for the year, I’d like to wish readers a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, hoping there is plenty of candy in your immediate future. And if candy is not your thing, Katie also has a host of recommendations of food favorites from children’s books. And do not forget Laura’s gingerbread! […]

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What is it you can’t face Reverend Mother?

As the Scott O’Dell committee winds up its considerations (look for an announcement after New Year’s but before ALA), I find myself seeing and pondering my favorite historical-fiction nemesis: the info dump. The following example is NOT from one of the contenders but from Katherine Neville’s The Eight, an enormously entertaining pile of balderdash that anticipated […]

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Children’s Books Boston presents!

Join Children’s Books Boston for a special theater event with author Gregory Maguire! Thursday, December 17th | 7 pm Central Square Theater 450 Mass. Ave., Cambridge Be part of a special CBB night at the theater, featuring two children’s books brought to life on the stage. MATCHLESS, written by Gregory Maguire, is a rekindling of […]

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Lynne Reid Banks: right for the wrong reasons

I think we’ve all written letters like this one. Responding to the announcement that David Almond’s A Song for Ella Grey had won the Guardian Children’s Fiction Award, author Lynne Reid Banks wrote to that publication: “Buoyed up by David Almond’s beautiful description (21 November) of his inspiration for writing A Song for Ella Grey, which  has […]

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Starred reviews, January/February Horn Book Magazine

The following books will receive starred reviews in the January/February 2016 issue of The Horn Book Magazine:   I Hear a Pickle; (and Smell, See, Touch, and Taste It, Too!); written and illustrated by Rachel Isadora (Paulsen/Penguin) Emma and Julia Love Ballet; written and illustrated by Barbara McClintock (Scholastic) Unbecoming; by Jenny Downham (Fickling/Scholastic) Ling & Ting: Together […]

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Fanfare! 2015

The Horn Book Magazine’s choices for the best books of 2015. Sign up now to receive the fully annotated list in next week’s issue of Notes from the Horn Book. Picture Books It’s Only Stanley written and illustrated by Jon Agee (Dial) My Bike written and illustrated by Byron Barton (Greenwillow) Out of the Woods: […]

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TBT

I’m at home today reading and re-reading books the Magazine loved this year, in preparation for our final Fanfare meeting next week where we will determine that these, yes these, are the very best books of 2015. And without giving anything away I want to comment (again!) on just how different the young adult literature of today […]

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Fairytale of New York

If I ruled the world, Brooklyn would be the teen movie of the season. It has the vicissitudes of young romance, a love triangle, a heroine who blossoms from being pleasant-looking to full-on Titanic-era Kate Winslet, right down to the hair blowing and glowing in the ocean sunrise. It’s probably too quiet for wide appeal, though, […]

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and clunk clunk clunk went the folktale market

Betsy Bird at Fuse #8 is rightfully mourning the relative dearth of African folktale publishing and simultaneously celebrating one of its legends from the glory days, Verna Aardema. All I can say is God bless Verna Aardema, who knew just how to write a picture-book text that would bring any library story hour to life. […]

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Doctor, doctor, give me the news

After reading Jim Murphy’s Breakthrough! How Three People Saved “Blue Babies” and Changed Medicine Forever, our current nonfiction review of the week, I mentioned it to my cousin Dr. Anne Murphy, a pediatric cardiologist at Johns Hopkins. It turns out she knew two of those three, which is both pretty neat and means that, yes, […]

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Picture book moments

In picture-book goings-on, bloggers Julie Danielson, Betsy Bird, Travis Jonker, and Minh Lê have a seasonally appropriate discussion about creepy picture books. (And here are the Horn Book’s recommendations for Halloween reading.) –and the New York Times Best Illustrated list is out and includes A Fine Dessert, so don’t look for that discussion to die down […]

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