Monthly Archives: May 2019

Our Boston Globe Horn Book Award Winners!

Yesterday morning Horn Book Magazine editor Roger Sutton announced the winners at the beginning of School Library Journal’s Day of Dialog. You can see the recording of that here. Participating in this process was a wonderful experience and I can’t thank Roger enough for inviting me to chair the committee and for my thoughtful, flexible, hard reading, hard-working, smart, and enjoyable fellow travelers — Kim L. Parker and Cindy Ritter. Ladies, it was grand and I can’t wait to celebrate these books and their creators with you in October.

Here’s the press release:

Prestigious Program Honors Excellence in Literature for Children and Young Adults

New York, NY — May 29, 2019 — Today The Horn Book, Inc., announced the 2019 Boston Globe–Horn Book Award winners at School Library Journal’s Day of Dialog in New York City. First presented in 1967, the Boston Globe–Horn Book Awards celebrate excellence in children’s and young adult literature.

A winner and two honor books were selected in each of three categories: Picture Book, Fiction and Poetry, and Nonfiction. The winning titles must be first U.S. editions of books published between June 2018 and May 2019, but may be written or illustrated by citizens of any country.

“Now this is diversity with a small and capital D!,” said Roger Sutton, Editor in Chief, The Horn Book, Inc. “I’d like to thank the judges for their discriminating choices and commitment to finding ‘excellence’ — the only criterion used by the BGHB Awards — among the vast number of nominations.”

“The Boston Globe has been a proud partner of this prestigious award for more than fifty years, and once again we are privileged to join with The Horn Book, Inc., to celebrate and honor authors and illustrators of children’s and young adult literature,” said Linda Henry, Boston Globe Managing Director. “By sharing their talents, each of the award winners and honorees is inspiring the imaginations of young readers. We celebrate each of them for the contributions they’ve made to the literary community.”

The 2019 Boston Globe–Horn Book Award winners are: 

The Patchwork Bike written by Maxine Beneba Clarke; illustrated by Van Thanh Rudd (Candlewick)

Read The Horn Book’s review.

The Season of Styx Malone by Kekla Magoon (Wendy Lamb Books/Random House)

Read The Horn Book’s review.

This Promise of Change: One Girl’s Story in the Fight for School Equality by Jo Ann Allen Boyce and Debbie Levy (Bloomsbury Children’s Books)

Read The Horn Book’s review.

* * *


  • Dreamers written and illustrated by Yuyi Morales (Neal Porter Books/Holiday House)
  • We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga written by Traci Sorell; illustrated by Frané Lessac (Charlesbridge)

Read The Horn Book’s reviews.


  • Darius the Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram (Dial Books/Penguin Random House)
  • On the Come Up by Angie Thomas (Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins)

Read The Horn Book’s reviews.


  • Hey, Kiddo written and illustrated by Jarrett J. Krosoczka (Graphix/Scholastic)
  • Nine Months: Before a Baby Is Born written by Miranda Paul; illustrated by Jason Chin (Neal Porter Books/Holiday House)

Read The Horn Book’s reviews.

* * *

The awards are chosen by an independent panel of three judges appointed by Sutton. The 2019 Boston Globe–Horn Book Awards judges are: chair Monica Edinger, educator, author, and reviewer, New York, NY; Dr. Kim Parker, Assistant Director of the Teacher Training Center, Shady Hill School, Cambridge, MA; and Cynthia Ritter, Associate Editor, The Horn Book, Inc., Boston, MA.

Winners and honorees will receive their awards at the Boston Globe–Horn Book Awards ceremony on Friday, October 4, 2019, at Simmons University in Boston. The event will feature speeches by the awardees, an autographing session, and a celebratory evening reception.

* * *

About The Boston Globe
The Boston Globe, winner of twenty-six Pulitzer Prizes, is New England’s largest news organization, providing more news, analysis, and information about community events, sports, and entertainment than any other local media.

About The Horn Book, Inc.
First published in 1924, The Horn Book Magazine provides its readership with in-depth reviews of the best new books for children and young adults as well as features, articles, and editorials. Its companion publication, The Horn Book Guide, comprehensively reviews all new recommended hardcover books for young people published in the United States each year. The Horn Book Magazine and Guide are publications of Media Source, Inc., which is also the parent company of Library JournalSchool Library Journal, and the Junior Library Guild.

* * *

The 2019 Boston Globe–Horn Book Award winners and honors were announced at SLJ‘s Day of Dialog and via Facebook Live on May 29th, 2019. For reviews of the winning titles and more, click on the tag BGHB19.



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The 2019 Boston Globe Horn Book Awards Reveal


This past weekend I was sequestered at Simmons University, deliberating with Kim L. Parker and Cindy Ritter (with ample tasty donuts and pastries).  After a long and stimulating day (after many months of heavy reading), we had our winners and honors. Next Wednesday, May 29th, Horn Book editor Roger Sutton will announce them at SLJ’s Day of Dialog and I can’t wait to see what you all think. From this blog post:

On Wednesday, May 29, 2019, at 8:30 am EDT, The Horn Book, Inc., Editor in Chief Roger Sutton will be announcing the winners of the 2019 Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards, during School Library Journal‘s Day of Dialog in New York City. Watch live at, follow us on Twitter @HornBook, and check for more!


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Good Endings

I’m not a GoT fan, but have followed the discussion of the finale with interest as it is so in the public right now. The following from this article caught my attention:

Yet how many readers have fallen for and fallen into Tolkien and Rowling’s worlds, only to let out a disbelieving protest in the final pages? “Gollum would never have stumbled with the ring into Mount Doom?” “Voldemort’s death makes no sense.”

Huh? is my response. The ending of Harry Potter wasn’t about Voldemort, but other things and it was hotly debated by fans. But Lord of the Rings? I was unaware that there was any debate or discontent about Gollum and the ring — it felt right and satisfying and fitting to the rest of the story.

I think more of my irritation with the ending of Lost, another television show with a following (if not on the level of GoT).  Fringe was far more successful for me.  Thinking of others and will be back. You?

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A STEM Unit Centered Around Andrea Davis Pinkney’s The Red Pencil

Last year I began exploring the possibility of a literature-connected STEM unit for my 4th-grade students around refugees with my school’s Engineering chair, Dr. Michael Sloan Warren. Early on I suggested we center it around Andrea Davis Pinkney’s beautiful verse-novel, The Red Pencil (which I had reviewed for the New York Times). We also used a number of refugee-centered picture-books, among them some I also reviewed for the Times.  Having recently finished running the unit, we are thrilled with how well it turned out and can’t wait to do it again next year.

Here’s what I wrote for the school’s website:

Edinger House 4th graders delved into a unique unit combining literature study with STEM. After an introduction to refugees and displaced people now and in the past, they were given Andrea Davis Pinkney’s The Red Pencil, an award-winning verse-novel set during the Darfur conflict in Sudan (and reviewed in the New York Times by Ms. Edinger).
Working in groups, students used their annotating skills (introduced earlier in the year during the E. B. White unit) to read, discuss, and reflect on protagonist Amira’s difficult journey. In preparation for the STEM component, students were asked, along with their annotating, to fill out empathy maps, a technique used by designers to better understand the needs of others. These proved to be wonderful tools when it came to digging deep into Amira’s experience. As students transitioned to the STEM portion of the unit, Dalton’s Engineering Chair Dr. Warren asked them to look closely at Amira’s experience just before she was given a gift that made all the difference for her, a red pencil.
Students were then given a new task — to work through the Engineering process with another fictional refugee. They were given new empathy maps, each centered on a single image from one of three compelling books about the refugee experience: Nicola Davies and Rebecca Cobb’s The Day the War Came, Francesca Sanna’s The Journey, and Don Brown’s The Unwanted. Using the image and the accompanying information, each group worked through a process to come up with a gift for their new users, one that would have the same impact the red pencil had for Amira. They designed and then built prototypes, using constructive feedback to improve or rework them. The students’ focus, thinking, creativity, and empathy on display throughout this process was remarkable. At the end, each group shared their process and prototypes.

Students are now completing blog posts that document their experience and learning. Meantime, take a look at the photos below for a taste of this extraordinary learning experience. Our great thanks to Dr. Warren for working since last year with Ms. Edinger to design the unit and lead the STEM components.

Please go here to see photos of kids at work, an empathy map, their prototypes, and more.  The prototypes include a comforting enclosure and a sleeping bag for the frightened and lonely girl from Nicola Davies and Rebecca Cobb’s The Day the War Came, vehicles (one including a map on the interior walls) for the mother and children from Francesca Sanna’s The Journey, and a welcome home kit (including spices and games) as well as some other objects for the family from Don Brown’s The Unwanted.  (FYI: Each group was given a single image along with a few pieces of information. I read aloud the books in total after the unit was over. )

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This Teacher is NOT a fan of Teacher Appreciation Week

Just saw this headline which encapsulates my problem with this week:

Where teachers can get free food and discounts for Teacher Appreciation Week May 6-10

I’d prefer to put my own paid-for-myself food on the table, thank you very much.  This is a challenging, challenging job and we need to be (all of us) properly compensated for it so free food and discounts are not so critically needed. (Not to mention working extra jobs, summers, etc, etc, etc.)

Appreciate us by recognizing how important our work is (taking care of YOUR children) and pay us for that.

The end.


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