October 28, 2016

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Starred reviews, July-August Horn Book Magazine

The following books will receive starred reviews in the July-August issue of the Horn Book Magazine: Lion Lessons; written and illustrated by Jon Agee (Dial) Who Wants a Tortoise?; by Dave Keane; illustrated by K. G. Campbell (Knopf) Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn; written and illustrated by Kenard Pak (Holt) Before Morning; by Joyce Sidman; illustrated by Beth Krommes (Houghton) […]


A heads up: Linda Pizzuti Henry of the Globe and I will be announcing the winners of the 2016 Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards next Thursday, June 2, via video at 11:00AM EST. A web address for the video will be forthcoming later this week. And, fun new fact, for the first time we will NOT […]

East Side, West Side

Thank you, Allie Jane Bruce, for inviting me to come tell a story last week at the Bank Street College library. It was great to TRIP TRAP TRIP TRAP over that bridge one more time. And I loved spending time with my longtime friend Richard Peck, whose new book THE BEST MAN comes out in the […]

Because I am not. One of your. FANS.

In this week’s Horn Book Podcast, Siân talks with Mackenzi Lee (This Monstrous Thing) about how they found kindred spirithood via The Raven Boys; and about fandom, fan fiction, and ‘shipping (there totally should be an apostrophe so shut up). I admire the impulse and envy the enthusiasm but so not my thing. I’m reminded of a […]

Goodbye, Jim

I was sorry to hear on Monday about the death of James Cross Giblin, editor, publisher, author, and friend–to me and countless others in the children’s book business. Back before it was even a Thing, Jim was writing narrative nonfiction about the damnedest things–windows, milk–and had the gift for conveying his own enthusiasm for his topics […]

Reviewing race

We have a new podcast out today (with Horn Book reviewer Hannah Gómez as guest), mostly talking about Kirkus’ children’s editor Vicky Smith’s new policy of labelling, where possible, the race of all mentioned characters in reviews of children’s/YA fiction. When we recorded the podcast I hadn’t yet seen Kirkus operating under its new rule, but […]

May/June 2016 Horn Book Magazine starred reviews

The following books will receive starred reviews in the May/June issue of The Horn Book Magazine. Note, too, that this is our annual special issue, this year on the theme of Collaboration. Join us!   The Airport Book; written and illustrated by Lisa Brown (Porter/Roaring Brook) Excellent Ed; written by Stacy McAnulty; illustrated by Julia Sarcone-Roach (Knopf) […]

Marilyn’s great speech

Here’s a link to the speech Marilyn Nelson gave when she won the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Carver in 2001. The awards were given in Burlington, Vermont that October, a very fraught time, as you will recall. I remember that Marilyn’s son, then a student at McGill in Montreal, missed the ceremony as he […]

The 2016 Zena Sutherland Lecture with Marilyn Nelson

You should totally come to this. Marilyn Nelson gave one of the best speeches I ever heard on the occasion of her winning the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award in 2001 for Carver. I hope I see you in Chicago on May 6th.

14 lies and 9 truths

I’m glad that the powers that be have cleared up the lies they were spewing about me last Friday. But three further corrections–I did recite poetry on the steps of Honnold Library–Gertrude Stein, for my sins–and I did not sing in bars until alcoholism had a firmer grip on me, and I do not own a […]

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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