Tuesday, November 30, 2010

January 2011 starred reviews

The following books will receive starred reviews in the January/February 2011 issue of the Horn Book Magazine. And watch for your December issue of Notes from the Horn Book, which will contain Fanfare, our choices for the best books of 2010.

Mirror by Jeannie Baker (Candlewick)

Little White Rabbit by Kevin Henkes (Greenwillow)

Snook Alone by Marilyn Nelson; illus. by Timothy Basil Ering (Candlewick)

A Time of Miracles by Anne-Laure Bondoux; trans. from the French by Y. Maudet (Delacorte)

The Great Migration: Journey to the North by Eloise Greenfield; illus. by Jan Spivey Gilchrist (Amistad/HarperCollins)

Sugar Changed the World: A Story of Magic, Spice, Slavery, Freedom, and Science by Marc Aronson and Marina Budhos (Clarion)

The Notorious Benedict Arnold: A True Story of Adventure, Heroism, & Treachery by Steve Sheinkin (Flash Point/Roaring Brook)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Just when you thought she was Over

Betty White narrates an audiobook.

iWatch your movie

and Claire Gross reviews the new Harry Potter movie.  I'm thinking of watching the whole megillacuddy (shut up, I'm in a mixed marriage) of HP movies this weekend, having seen none of them before, and Comcast is offering a deal. Would this be fun?

iDrink your blood

Katie reviews Bekka Black's iDrakula over at Out of the Box.

Friday, November 19, 2010

That's a lotta work, girl.

I just found out via Twitter that former HB editor Anita Silvey has a new blog, the Children's Book-a-Day Almanac. God help her, Anita is posting a book recommendation daily, each tied in some way to that day's significance. Today, for example, she writes about the D'Aulaires' Abraham Lincoln in honor of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, delivered on November 19th, 1863. The posts are persuasive and rich with history, publishing and otherwise. Check it out.

Jokers to the left of me, jokers to the right

Leila pointed me to this case in Seattle of Brave New World being yanked from the curriculum for being insensitive re Native Americans. The Prez has already gotten in trouble (per usual) with Fox News for the inclusion in his new picture book of Sitting Bull (http://nation.foxnews.com/media/2010/11/15/obama-praises-indian-chief-who-killed-us-general); I'm wondering if that same spread is going to get him in trouble from progressives as well, as illustrator Loren Long chose to depict Sitting Bull as a sort of landscape, with buffalo for eyes, hills and cracked earth for nose and mouth, and some pine trees placed so they form eyebrows (and, dare I say, boogers). It's the old one-with-nature stereotype, which wouldn't be so bad had all of the other subjects of the book not been depicted realistically. If you're there, Debbie Reese, what do you think?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

In breaking political news

My review of President Obama's new picture book is over at Out of the Box.

In which we are Proclaimed

I must say Cambridge really knows how to be nice to a person. Not only did CPL children's coordinator Daryl Mark treat Martha and Richard and I me to a tasty Indian meal before our program, and not only was our audience (including a dearly loved friend from high school I had lost track of) welcoming, interested, and book-buying, but former mayor and current councillor Ken Reeves presented us with a proclamation:

We tried to keep up our end of the bargain, yes, shilling A Family of Readers, but also, for each of the book's four sections, presenting some new books that would be great gift-giving choices for the upcoming holidays. And, in case you need some tips, here they are for you:

Part I: Reading to Them

Nini Lost and Found, written and illustrated by Anita Lobel
Higher! Higher! [new board book edition] written and illustrated by Leslie Patricelli
A Pocketful of Posies, compiled and illustrated by Salley Mavor
Me and You, written and illustrated by Anthony Browne

Part II: Reading with Them

Mirror, Mirror, written by Marilyn Singer, illustrated by Josée Masse
Ling and Ting: Not Exactly the Same, written and illustrated by Grace Lin
Happy Birthday, Sophie Hartley, by Stephanie Greene

Part III: Reading on Their Own

Revolver by Marcus Sedgwick
One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia
Kakapo Rescue: Saving the World’s Strangest Parrot, written by Sy Montgomery, photos by Nic Bishop
Big Nate: In a Class by Himself by Lincoln Peirce

Part IV: Leaving Them Alone

Annexed by Sharon Dogar
The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
Shipbreaker by Paolo Bacigalupi
The Odyssey by Gareth Hinds
Who can spot our Newbery and Caldecott hoped-fors?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Live and on stage

Martha Parravano and I will be at the Cambridge Public Library tomorrow night to talk about how parents can help children find good books. 7:00 PM in the lecture hall at the main library near Harvard Square.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Turning the Tables

Meant to post this before--Monica Edinger gives me  and A Family of Readers the five-questions treatment over at the Huffington Post.

And, later today, I have five questions of my own for Lincoln Peirce, author of the Big Nate books, in Notes From the Horn Book. Coming your way around 3:00PM, at which time I'll be ensconced on the Limoliner writing book reviews, I swear.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Tweetchat etc.

If you have any interest in the Tweetchat Mitali Perkins so kindly organized for me and A Family of Readers, I think you can find the archive here. Mitali asked some great questions and I will follow up on some of them here once I've had a chance to do some pondering.

Yesterday, Martha and I had another techno-forward event, a bookstore presentation via Skype. They could see us but we couldn't see them, so I am freely imagining hordes of attendees. Our editor Marc Aronson has a report.

Tomorrow I am off to New York for the Times Best Illustrated party (did anyone else get a seriously crunchy DIY vibe from the list?), a meeting with our publisher, and breakfast with Anita Lobel, so I can thank her in person for that glorious cover painting.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Quelle surprise

So Cushing Academy turned a library into a coffee-shop hangout and declare it a win because now more students come there? Talk about diminished expectations.

Friday, November 05, 2010


On Monday November 8th from noon to one P.M., Mitali Perkins will be asking me questions about A Family of Readers over at Twitter. Come join in. She's @mitaliperkins and I am @hornbook; the hashtag is #familyofreaders. Does it sound like I know what I'm talking about?

And if you find yourself in Maplewood, NJ this Sunday at 2:00PM, Martha and I will be talking about the book via Skype at Words bookstore. Our editor Marc Aronson will be there in the flesh to talk and I guess forge our signatures.

You probably think this book is about you.

Scholastic editor and YA novelist David Levithan (whose latest collaboration with Rachel Cohn, Dash & Lily's Book of Dares, will be reviewed in our January issue) has a new novel out for adults. PW and Booklist both like it but can't quite agree on what or who it is about. Of The Lover's Dictionary (FSG), PW writes:

"This cute 'novel' by YA author Levithan consists of a series of words and their definitions, each evoking a phase or theme about a fledgling romance . . . The entries do gradually unravel a love story: the narrator has met a woman ("you") through an online dating site."

Michael Cart, writing in Booklist, says:

"Each word, from aberrant to zenith, defines the language of love, while adding to the reader's knowledge and understanding of the male lovers' partnership."

So was it eHarmony or Manhunt? Would be interesting to know if the "you" is deliberately ambiguous, or if each reviewer read into it what he or she wanted. As we so often do.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Eva Ibbotson and Laura Amy Schlitz

Newbery Medalist Laura Amy Schlitz has written a perceptive appreciation of her pen-friend Eva Ibbotson, the English novelist who died on October 20th. We are happy to publish it on our website and grateful to Laura for sending it to us.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

November/December Horn Book Magazine

The November/December issue is out, with a beautiful cover by Anita Lobel, whose Sutherland Lecture is in the issue. We've put online our reviews of new holiday books, Vicky Smith writing about religion and reviewing, Leonard Marcus on picture books from overseas and Mary Downing Hahn, Susan Cooper, and I discussing our choices for snow-day reading.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Over There

Today I'm over at Out of the Box, opining about a couple of YA classics.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Cambridge Public Library, November 16th (note date change)

Our new blog

Yes, I'm going to continuing mouthing off over here, but today the Horn Book debuts a second blog, Out of the Box. Although its nature will be defined as we go, its goal is to provide coverage of some of the many books, near-books and neo-books that don't need review so much as they need attention. And don't we all? Go take a look.