October 20, 2017

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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 […]

Professional Reading on the Genius Hour, Literacy-Based Programs, & More

A primer on school librarianship, a guide to helping students pursue their passions, and more.

This article was published in School Library Journal's September 2017 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

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 […]

Zena’s Night

After the Sutherland Lecture committee meeting on Friday afternoon, committee member and CPL Director of Children’s and YA services Liz McChesney gave us a tour of the soon-to-open new Thomas Hughes Children’s Library. I remember the old-old one in the Cultural Center as wonderfully shadowy, but this new one is bright and big and bold […]

Zena’s Night

After the Sutherland Lecture committee meeting on Friday afternoon, committee member and CPL Director of Children’s and YA services Liz McChesney gave us a tour of the soon-to-open new Thomas Hughes Children’s Library. I remember the old-old one in the Cultural Center as wonderfully shadowy, but this new one is bright and big and bold […]

Quitcher bitchin

Last week, I had a complaint from a librarian about a Magazine review in which we called a character “fucking adorable.” Although I’m enjoying the thought of editing a magazine in which such sentiments might be expressed, we of course had called a character  no such thing–it was a quote from the book under review, and […]

That’s a lot of men!

Actually, it’s not so much that there are a @ALotofMen in the latest newspaper misrepresentation of the children’s book biz; the problem is that there are so few. I am not suggesting the article needed More Men, simply that it seems to lack any understanding of how librarians purchase books for library collections. Sure, the road […]

Candygram

On the bus this morning, I sat next to a mom and her strollered two-and-a-half-year-old son. He was being freaking adorable, his big Margaret Keane eyes peering wisely into my own. We’re chatting and the mom asks the boy if he wants to sing “Wheels on the Bus.” That was a challenge I could not […]

But where will I put it?

“Should this book go in nonfiction or folklore?” ACK, the book review placement problems.The Decider (Martha) is away this week so Shoshana, Elissa, and I are left to our own devices when it comes to deciding what goes in which category of the September/October Magazine review section. A historical illustrated book retelling a real incident but with invented situations and […]

A trip to the library will make a new boy of me

Last week I went over to the school across the street from my house to help school parent (and librarian and Horn Book Magazine reviewer) Pam Yosca as she worked to reopen its long-closed library. (More truthfully, “help.”) There is so much to do: the library has been closed for six years, and no new […]

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 […]

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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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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Beyond the Pluto Problem

Perusing Debbie’s Reese’s  provocative (to me, anyway!) and useful site American Indians in Children’s Literature, I came across a comment she made referencing and linking to the Texas State Library’s guide to weeding, CREW: A Weeding Manual for Modern Libraries (link goes to a pdf). Last revised in 2012 by my most respected colleague and […]

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12 Blogs of 2014: R. David Lankes

Truth be told, I’m not an avid blog reader. Since the demise of Google Reader, I’ve not devoted much time to finding a new tool to help me organize and track my blog reading. The blogs I do read belong to those people who I can count on to get me thinking and give me […]

Crankypants Monday

Interesting discussion about holiday library programming over at SLJ. I have two questions. First, as is so often true when we are talking “on behalf” of children, I want to know if Santa-in-the-library is genuinely offensive to non-Santa people, or is this a case of one party being offended in advance on behalf of another? […]

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Cause to celebrate?

If it’s time for Banned Books Week it’s also time for my annual bucket ‘o scorn for ALA’s  cynical exercise in spin. Like Bette Davis in Storm Center, “I’m tired. I’m tired and beaten. There’s no use pretending.” Now Davis, playing a beleaguered librarian trying to uphold the freedom to read in McCarthy’s America, was […]

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Cause to celebrate?

If it’s time for Banned Books Week it’s also time for my annual bucket ‘o scorn for ALA’s  cynical exercise in spin. Like Bette Davis in Storm Center, “I’m tired. I’m tired and beaten. There’s no use pretending.” Now Davis, playing a beleaguered librarian trying to uphold the freedom to read in McCarthy’s America, was […]

The post Cause to celebrate? appeared first on The Horn Book.

What’s a children’s librarian to do?

Twice in the past week I’ve been asked to opine publicly about the future of books and libraries for children, first at the NYLA conference in White Plains and then at the investiture of Eileen Abels as the new dean of the Simmons GSLIS. I had far fewer answers than questions, which I present to […]

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