April 25, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox
Roger Sutton

About Roger Sutton

The story on the wall

Seeing the CSK exhibit at the NCCIL is making me remember again the vogue for illustration as fine art we had in the 1980s:  from a baby boom arose lots of picture books, lots of children’s bookstores, and (he gestures vaguely towards) developments in five-color printing that encouraged big, handsome pictures in big, handsome books. And […]

Zena is watching, are you?

I hope you have as good a time watching this interview with Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden as I did conducting it. Our conversation will also appear, edited, in the May/June special issue of the Horn Book Magazine, Making a Difference. Carla is one…

Texas Time

What a wonderful time Richard and I had in Abilene! We were at the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature (still jeez to the name, but I did learn its acronym is pronounced nickel and not ‘encil) to see a wonderful show, and quite a haul of original art from Coretta Scott King Award winners […]

May/June Horn Book Magazine starred reviews

The following books will receive starred reviews in the May/June issue of The Horn Book Magazine:   Pie Is for Sharing; by Stephanie Parsley Ledyard; illustrated by Jason Chin (Porter/Roaring Brook) Julián Is a Mermaid; written and illustrated by Jessica Love (Candlewick) The Field; by Baptiste Paul; illustrated by Jacqueline Alcántara (NorthSouth) Bus! Stop!; written […]

Western stars light up the sky

Later this week Richard and I are going west to Abilene to see the exhibition of Coretta Scott King Award winners at the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature (also known as NCCIL, thank heavens). There will be a bash to which we are grateful to be invited, and the exhibit of some one hundred original […]

Woman of the Year

Congrats to Jacqueline Woodson for winning the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, first given to Maurice Sendak in 2003; Jackie is the fourth American to win, after Katherine Paterson and Meg Rosoff. I met Jackie in 1990 in Chicago, where Delacorte had sent her all by her lonesome on her first book tour (for Last Summer at Maizon). Betsy, Hazel, […]

My boss Betsy

As a student, I only knew Betsy Hearne from her occasional swanning in to talk to Zena about her dissertation in progress, a history and analysis of “Beauty and the Beast,” from Cupid and Psyche to Robin McKinley*. Betsy was then children’s book editor of Booklist, where she had been reviewing since 1968. But everyone […]

My friend Hazel

I met Hazel Rochman when I was Zena’s assistant and Hazel was a member of her Advisory Committee for The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books: Hazel, Isabel McCaul, Yolanda Federici, Ellin Greene, and Bob Strang. Every Wednesday afternoon this gang would come over and read the freaking twenty-something reviews Zena had written that week and […]

My editor Lillian

My first professional writing about children’s books was for School Library Journal, beginning my reign of terror with a letter to the editor about–my critics will love this–what I saw as excessive feminist ideology used in the SLJ review to bring down a book I had found awfully good, Sue Ellen Bridgers’ Notes for Another Life. (Writers: when your […]

My teacher Zena

Behold, in the photograph at left, an embodiment of the phrase dimples of iron. If Louise was the one who led me to children’s librarianship, Zena Sutherland gave me my focus on children’s books. I hadn’t even intended to take her class, but my friend Marybeth convinced me it would be fun to take together. […]

My friend Louise

Please never think that I am unaware of the privilege being a white guy in children’s books  has afforded me. But it was women who gave me a career, and here in honor of Women’s History Month and #kidlitwomen, I would like to tell you about five lady librarians whose impact on my life has been […]

Unwrinkling

Our Russell reviews A Wrinkle in Time based on a viewing the Horn Bookers took in together last week, in the legendary Before Time when one could get out of the house. The walking distance to a good movie theater is a definite perk of our location, and I do love these reserved movie seats you […]

#KidlitWomen

The Horn Book is happy to participate in #kidlitwomen, Grace Lin‘s brainchild honoring the contributions of women to the children’s book world–and spotlighting the inequities they face. Go to KidlitWomen’s public Facebook page to see links to all of the contributed posts thus far (the project will run through the end of March, Women’s History Month) […]

A word from Mrs. No Way No How

The Times has an interview up with Ava DuVernay, and it offers much engaging insight into her thoughts about her adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time, coming out next week. But it also does That Thing We Hate:   “Ms. DuVernay had just put the finishing touches on the Disney movie that paid for [her new studio], […]

The March March

In Jane Langton’s 1984 novel The Fragile Flag (sequel to the better-known The Fledgling) nine-year-old Georgie leads what eventually becomes a march of 16,000 children on Washington in the name of disarmament. It works, so take a hint, America. Kitty Flynn has compiled a directory of Horn Book recommended books on the subject of social activism and […]

What’s in a name.

The proposal to rename the Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal presents some interesting questions (and congratulations to Jacqueline Woodson on winning it this year and tying with Maurice Sendak as the youngest recipients!). I don’t have a firm opinion as to whether renaming the award is a good idea, although I wish the ALSC board had at […]

#metoo

Yes, but not my point: Sarah Hamburg has suggested I send you over to Anne Ursu’s thoughts on sexual harassment in the children’s book industry. Certainly, if anyone thought the land of bunny-eat-bunny escaped the abuses of sex and power endemic to American culture, they’re not paying attention! I find Anne’s points about conference behavior particularly […]

I wish librarians ran the world

I really enjoyed my interview with old school chum Carla Hayden in her Librarian of Congress office (with a beautiful view of the Capitol dome that nevertheless uneasily reminded me of way too many summer movies of the apocalyptic bent!). In the main, we spoke about children’s books and youth librarianship, but Carla said something that […]

A trip to the Library

I’m going to D.C. tomorrow to interview good sport Carla Hayden for our upcoming May/June special issue, themed “Making a Difference.” We are going to talk about how children’s librarians change the world. I won’t be at Midwinter, but Martha, Elissa, and Al will be there, so please say hello if you see them in […]

Horn Book starred reviews March/April 2018

The following books will receive starred reviews in the March/April issue of The Horn Book Magazine. Also in March/April: summer reading camp, easy readers, gender in picture books, and an interview with Viking’s Regina Hayes. It’s a good issue.     Love; by Matt de la Peña; illustrated by Loren Long(Putnam) This Is the Nest That […]