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October 24, 2014

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Party down

Party down

Children’s Books Boston invites you to our second annual fall get-together on Thursday, September 11 from 5:30PM to 8PM in the Paresky Center at Simmons College. We perhaps wisely decided against trust falls as an ice-breaking activity; instead, all attendees are invited to bring a children’s book for exchange. A five dollar donation (cash only) […]

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The Empire Strikes Back

The Empire Strikes Back

ALSC Past-President Starr LaTronica responds to my July editorial. Incidentally, we’re publishing a terrific piece in the November issue by Thom Barthelmess (former ALSC prez and BGHB chair) about how to conduct oneself in a professional book discussion. Thom is far more temperate about these things than am I.

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Do you read your reviews?

Do you read your reviews?

I’ve been reading soprano Barbara Hendricks‘s memoir, Lifting My Voice, and it’s led me not only to a rewarding reacquaintance with her singing but to some thinking about the relationship between the artist and the critic. Hendricks spills a suspicious amount of ink over how she doesn’t pay any attention to critics (whose opinions of her […]

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Magic School

Magic School

Continuing my adventures in books for boys grown big, I’m reading Lev Grossman’s The Magicians, which I somehow missed when it came out and only noticed on the recent publication of a second sequel. It’s a story about a nice boy who thinks he’s on the way to Princeton but winds up in magic school […]

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Why The Face? I’ll tell you.

Why The Face? I’ll tell you.

I just finished David Shafer’s thriller Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, which I read because of Dwight Garner’s NYT review. The book is everything Garner says it is–bright, popping, funny, suspenseful. And it has all the things I love: complicated heroes and heroines, smart riffs on contemporary memes, and–best of all–a global conspiracy that really is out to […]

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There’s bold but then there’s brazen.

There’s bold but then there’s brazen.

So much trouble in this world could be avoided if we all simply shutted up when we did not know whereof we spoke but here I go. I have never read Alfred Ollivant’s Bob, Son of Battle, but Lydia Davis’s explanation of the changes she made for a new New York Review of Books edition […]

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Keep Manhattan

Keep Manhattan

When I was invited to visit with the 2014 Sendak Fellows at Maurice’s farm, I thought it would be, you know, a “farm,” AKA a rurally situated but otherwise urbane getaway retreat. But it was an actual farming farm with rows of vegetables and corn and a tractor and silo and chickens.  Sendak’s longtime assistant […]

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Starred reviews, September/October Horn Book Magazine

Starred reviews, September/October Horn Book Magazine

The following books will receive starred reviews in the September/October issue of the Magazine: Draw!; written and illustrated by Raúl Colón (Wiseman/Simon) The Lion and the Bird; written and illustrated by Marianne Dubuc; trans. from the French by Claudia Z. Bedrick (Enchanted Lion) Viva Frida; by Yuyi Morales; illus. by the author with photos by Tim O’Meara (Porter/Roaring Brook) Bow-Wow’s […]

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Chicks ‘n ducks ‘n geese

Chicks ‘n ducks ‘n geese

We’re off tomorrow to spend a few days with the Sendak Fellows, Nora Krug and Harry Bliss, at a farm Maurice owned in upstate New York. (Why did he need a farm? Did he need a place to get away from it all from his place to get away from it all in the wilds […]

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Why Can’t the English?

Why Can’t the English?

We saw Dawn of the Planet of the Apes last night–ehh. Some the intra- and inter-species encounters were quite moving and dramatic but the plot was on automatic and the fabulously watchable Judy Greer was wasted (she could have been completely blotto given that all she had to do was lie there with a suffering […]

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He must have been pissed.

He must have been pissed.

In hunting down a quote in the June 1972 issue of the Magazine, I happened upon a note that resonates with the recent debate over the ALA awards and confidentiality. Under “Staff Notes,” in the Hunt Breakfast (yesteryear’s Impromptu column) the first entry is: “Paul Heins [the then-Editor of HB], as one of the three […]

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A winter’s tale

A winter’s tale

If you aren’t completely burned out on dystopian fiction, do go see* Snowpiercer, a big, violent, gorgeous, baroque movie about the end of civilization, its last remnant perpetually traveling the ice-covered globe in a nonstop great big train. There is NO love triangle, with eros limited to a couple of crypto-gay warrior-bonding types, and plenty to […]

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Helpful tips

Helpful tips

Elizabeth has put together an entertaining and most instructive list of ten don’ts for writers submitting manuscripts to agents or editors. (Also entertaining is this take on our listicle culture I read about in the NYT yesterday.) Could I make a list of Ten Things That Make a Children’s Book Reviewer Roll His Eyes? Oh, […]

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Get Appy

Get Appy

Horn Book reviews have hit the mobile market as Book Verdict, available for free at the iTunes Store. I have just started playing with it but it seems pretty neat: including reviews taken from the Horn Book Magazine and Guide, the app recommends about 10,000 children’s and YA titles published in the last ten years. […]

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My gun, my foot

My gun, my foot

Instant karma whacked me upside the head at the end of last month when the July-August issue of the Horn Book Magazine, wherein I take ALSC to task for demanding too much secrecy around its Newbery and Caldecott deliberations, was mailed a full week early, thus spoiling the entirely justifiable secret of just what Kate […]

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Thanks for Annie, Nancy.

Thanks for Annie, Nancy.

I was very sorry to read that Nancy Garden died on Monday. While she wrote in just about every children’s-book genre there is, it’s Annie on My Mind that made her immortal, and led to her parallel, equally admirable, career as a defender of intellectual freedom in libraries and communities across the nation. The first […]

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ALAs Vegas

ALAs Vegas

See some of you in Las Vegas, I hope. My friend Ruth is taking me to see Nature and the Hoover Dam on Friday but I’ll be bouncing around the exhibit hall on Saturday and Sunday, with periodic stops at the Horn Book booth, #829. Martha P. will be there too, so do say hello […]

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Small world, isn’t it?

Small world, isn’t it?

My old Chicago pal Ilene Cooper and I are interviewed by my other old Chicago pal Elizabeth Law at Elizabeth’s new blog, Into the Words.

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This is not just about opera

This is not just about opera

The Metropolitan Opera’s cancellation of the announced HD broadcast of The Death of Klinghoffer is galling for a number of reasons. The Met’s decision to stage the opera (albeit with a note in the program by Leon Klinghoffer’s daughters, who have condemned the work as anti-Semitic)  but not broadcast it will please nobody. It is […]

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That gal down the hall

That gal down the hall

Cathie Mercier and the  Center for the Study of Children’s Literature are profiled this week in the Simmons GSLIS newsletter. I’d be bragging about how the Horn Book team (“Goldilocks and the Free Beers”) whupped their ivory-tower asses at last night’s Children’s Books Boston Trivia Challenge, but given that two-thirds of HB staff hold degrees […]

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