November 22, 2017

The Advocate's Toolbox

Heart of the Matter

I am not going to get into the relative merits of American Heart, because I haven’t read it. But I do want to speak to the questionable wisdom of revising a published review or removing a star from a published review, both of which Kirkus did in the case of this book. (Vulture has just published a good […]

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 […]

Default: White

Alternate Title: The Call Is Coming From Inside the House So yesterday at lunchtime I trotted out my neat little stack of periodicals to read while I munched a ham sandwich.  I picked up the latest Kirkus (1 May 2016) and there I saw the Vicky Smith article: “Unmaking the White Default”.  As many of […]

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 […]

Not. So. Fast.

Those of you who follow @rogerreads might have seen my occasional cranky #authoraskyourself (#editoraskyourself, #revieweraskyourself…) tweets in which I turn whatever crime against language and/or literature that has crossed my desk that day into a blind item for an anonymous public spanking. I keep them anonymous because a) I’m not that mean, b) they’re often examples of […]

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Reviewers and Bloggers: Prepare for KidLitCon 2015, October 9–10, in Baltimore

Registration is now open for the annual festival of book love known as KidLitCon, for people who write about children’s and young adult literature.

Are we doing it white?

Martha and I are teaching a class–that is, we are trying to teach a class, which has thus far been cancelled twice due to snow–on reviewing, and we’ve just assigned the students Malinda Lo’s provocative series of essays about reviewing and diversity. You all should take a look, too. It’s reminding me of a too-brief […]

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Reviewing race

Over on Facebook, illustrator Shadra Strickland asks a good question: “Why is it necessary for a reviewer to identify the ethnicity of a character in their review when the plot has zero to do with race…especially in picture books? A friend just told me that in her latest pb, her family was identified as Caucasian. […]

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Default in our stars

This week’s Entertainment Weekly has a list of “50 Books Every Kid Should Read” (view PDF here). Given that it strives to contain both classics (Where the Wild Things Are) as well as modern favorites (The Fault in Our Stars); and pop hits (The Hunger Games) along with critics’ darlings (Roll of Thunder, Hear My […]

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The buck stops over there

After seeing some alarming comments on Read Roger and Facebook I feel the need to point out something I thought everybody knew: the Horn Book, like our sisters at SLJ, Booklist,  BCCB and PW, does not charge authors or publishers for book reviews. Publishers Weekly and Kirkus does offer fee-based reviewing services but these are […]

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A challenge to self-publishers

Thank you all for your comments, here and on Twitter and Facebook, about the question of reviewing books from self-published authors. I am learning a lot. Hey Zetta Eliott–how about another article from you for our pages on this subject? A number of commenters have suggested that the Horn Book begin a column highlighting the […]

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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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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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Moving moment No. 9

Block that metaphor!
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My sister AND my daughter

Over on child_lit, Cheryl Klein has been asking for titles of books with big reveals, the ones with a surprise that make you rethink the whole thing. Like Gone Girl, The Thief, and most of Robert Cormier. I contributed Gene Kemp’s The Turbulent Term of Tyke Tiler, the 1977 Carnegie-winning title about an obstreperous but […]

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Thank You, Trev: SLJ Staff Pay Tribute to Trev Jones

SLJ staff wanted to share their thoughts on Trevelyn Jones, who retired as Book Review Editor after more than three decades. Industry representatives paid tribute in an appreciation of Jones’s career in the October issue. Now, it’s our turn.