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As many of you know, the Horn Book at Simmons Colloquium: “Transformations” was this past Saturday. It was interesting, engaging, educational, and fun (it was also exhausting for those of us working it, and even more so for the amazing Katrina Hedeen, who planned the whole durn thing).
But what you don’t know is the most important thing that happened over our BGHB/HBAS weekend.
Was it the Shuster-men speaking eloquently about Challenger Deep and mental illness?
Was it the informative and funny editor panel?
How about getting to see Marla Frazee’s pre-book sketches (including the illustrated thank-you note that became A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever!)?
What was it?
Susan Cooper took a picture of my Dark Is Rising tattoo.
For more on the 2015 Boston Globe–Horn Book Awards and the following day’s HBAS Colloquium: “Transformations,” click on the tag BGHB15
The post Siân Has the Best Weekend Ever! appeared first on The Horn Book.
By: Roger Sutton
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Roger Sutton and the Horn Book at Simmons editors panel. Photo: Shoshana Flax.
On Saturday, October 3rd, we held our fifth annual Horn Book at Simmons Colloquium, with the theme “Transformations.” Miss the fun? We’ve compiled a timeline of the day’s highlights based on tweets by our staff and other attendees. See Friday’s ceremony timeline here.
9:07 am: Good morning! We’re ready for a full day of great discussion about good children’s books!
9:10 am: Cathie Mercier: It’s easy to read what we know and like, but how do we push ourselves to read outside ourselves, read “otherways”?
9:14 am: @jescaron: @RogerReads and Cathie Mercier open #HBAS15 with words of wisdom and “grounding”
9:15 am: @RogerReads introducing keynote speaker Susan Cooper
9:19 am: Susan: Transformation in nature is generally cyclical. What about change in our minds? Imagination doesn’t follow any rules
9:20 am: @jescaron: Susan: “Change is an integral part of stories — it is called plot.”
9:21 am: Susan: Can words spark an unpredictable change in the mind?
9:22 am: @ShoshanaFlax: SC clearly read the May @HornBook carefully #swoon
9:24 am: Susan discussing different types of book transformations: retellings, adaptations from other media, making books more accessible
9:26 am: Susan: Fantasy is metaphor… It takes you through the imagination to truth
9:27 am: @jescaron: “People who write fantasy have chosen transformation…finding the magic from the real”
9:30 am: A tumultuous year in Susan’s personal life had profound effects on her writing. “As with writers, so with readers” — we seek escape in words
9:31 am: Susan: When reading, your imagination lives in the book. Reading is creating experience from imagination
9:32 am: Susan: This experience of living in a book can change you
9:33 am: Susan: Letters from readers say, “I read your book, and my world changed a little,” even if readers can’t articulate exactly how
9:35 am: Susan: “The imagination of a reader instinctively takes what it needs from a book and creates a kind of life belt”
9:38 am: Susan: You realize which books had a profound effect on your childhood imagination only by looking back
9:40 am: Susan: An imagination that delights in books as a child grows up and is able to nurture a hunger for books in the next generation
9:43 am: Which books were transformative for Susan in childhood? The Box of Delights and The Midnight Folk by John Masefield
9:44 am: Susan: Nonfiction can be transformative too: “a story is a story”
10:02 am: Nonfiction winner Candace Fleming and editor Anne Schwartz on “Bringing History to the Page”
10:03 am: Candace echoing Jacqueline Woodson’s metaphor of writing as childbirth: you forget how miserable it is and then you’re ready to do it again
10:04 am: Candace writes in longhand on loose-leaf paper — the smell of the ink is reassuring, reminds her of what she’s accomplishing
10:05 am: @jescaron: The Family Romanov went from a light and fluffy book to its final state — transformation!
10:06 am: Anne: As an editor it’s very difficult to ask an author to start over; both author and editor have already invested a lot of work
10:08 am: Fascinating to see original drafts, notes, and editorial letters for what became The Family Romanov
10:11 am: Anne liked the format of text snippets and sidebars, creating a narrative like a tapestry
10:15 am: Anne asked questions Candace “never saw coming,” which made her think about her research and narrative in different ways
10:18 am: Candace: “Anne is the best editor because she questions everything–and that makes me a much better writer”
10:21 am: Going to Russia helped Candace really understand the disparity between the Romanovs and the peasants whose “backs the palaces were built on”
10:23 am: Candace: Stories of peasant lives in Imperial Russia and the Russian Revolution are extremely difficult to find
10:28 am: Candace: Writing good nonfiction requires finding the “vital idea” you want to communicate, not just the facts
10:51 am: An Amazon reviewer called Candace a “vile socialist” for her portrayal of the Romanovs. She’s proud
11:06 am: Judge Maeve Visser Knoth in conversation with #bghb15 honoree Jon Agee about It’s Only Stanley in “How Do I Make You Laugh, Too?”
11:07 am: Stanley, like all of Jon’s books, started as a doodle in a notebook. If one of Jon’s doodles makes him laugh, he tries to follow that idea and flesh it out
11:10 am: Jon: Writing a picture book is “like fishing” — you start with an idea and “see if you can bring this fish in”
11:13 am: Jon says developing the plot of his picture books comes from a series of “what if” questions
11:14 am: Jon discussing how page-turns work with punchlines
11:18 am: Jon: “Sometimes when you’re working on a picture book, it’s like the story is already there” and you’re excavating it
11:27 am: Lear’s limericks made a big impression on Jon. They were about grown-ups, but grown-ups who were doing ridiculous things
1:08 pm: Great breakout sessions all around! Now @RogerReads is going to moderate editor panel “It’s a Manuscript Until I Say It’s a Book” #HBAS15
1:13 pm: Each editor is sharing a story of the “editorial magic” that helped turn the author’s manuscript into a #BGHB15-winning book
1:19 pm: Editor Liz Bicknell: “Editing is a backstage job. I wear black and sit in the curtains.”
1:20 pm: @maryj59: Liz: “Every writer demands different things of an editor.”
1:25 pm: Rosemary Brosnan: As an editor, “I like to feel that if I’ve done my job well, no one knows I exist”
1:39 pm: Nancy Paulsen: Editing is about “finding the writing that sings to you” as an individual reader — it might not be for everybody
1:34 pm: @jescaron: Editors muse on advice to younger selves — Don’t be so rash
1:36 pm: @jescaron: Editors muse on advice to younger selves — Try to get a good picture of the marketplace
1:38 pm: @jescaron: Editors muse on advice to younger selves — Have confidence that you will eventually figure it out
1:39 pm: @jescaron: Editors muse on advice to younger selves — Don’t stay out so late
1:40 pm: @ShoshanaFlax: @nancyrosep & @lizbicknell1 both cite editor’s role to stand in for readers
1:52 pm: Nancy: “We all have the same goal…to make the best book possible.” Rosemary: “Sometimes we have to remind the author of that!”
1:44 pm: @maryj59: Rosemary: “An idea is just an idea. It’s the execution that matters.”
2:06 pm: Gregory Maguire in conversation with #BGHB15 judge Jessica Tackett MacDonald about Egg & Spoon in “Bringing Baba Yaga Home”
2:10 pm: Gregory: A story can have any number of inspirations. It’s not a one-to-one ratio
2:16 pm: Gregory discovered different roles for Baba Yaga in Russian folktales: the scary witch, the kindly crone… “That made her human”
2:17 pm: Gregory: “I had to get out of Baba Yaga’s way… It sometimes felt like channeling the devil”
2:20 pm: A theme of Egg & Spoon is “What can we little ones do” in the face of problems? What we older ones can do is give little ones courage
2:21 pm: Gregory: “I don’t write [specifically] for adults or for kids. I write for people who like to read Gregory Maguire books”
2:23 pm: Gregory quoting Katherine Paterson: “The consolation of the imagination is not imaginary consolation”
2:17 pm: @deirdrea: Gregory on why he loves Baba Yaga: “What we look like and what people think we are is NOT who we are.”
2:26 pm: Gregory showing us inspirational objects — including a tiny Baba Yaga house — he kept on his desk while writing Egg & Spoon
2:30 pm: @RogerReads asks, Are today’s readers well-versed enough in fairy tales & folklore to know the references Gregory is asking them to engage with?
2:32 pm: Gregory Maguire: Maybe Egg & Spoon is a reader’s first introduction to Baba Yaga, but he hopes it won’t be their last introduction
2:37 pm: @RogerReads has nothing to do with the BGHB judges’ choices, but “the happiest news I got this year was the announcement that The Farmer and the Clown won BGHB Picture Book Award”
2:40 pm: Marla Frazee & editor Allyn Johnston discussing The Farmer and the Clown in “Do I Need Words with That?”
2:41 pm: Love seeing Marla and Allyn’s work spaces — and the real-life boys (their sons!) — from A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever!
2:46 pm: A Couple of Boys… started as an illustrated thank-you note from Marla, James, and Eamon to Allyn’s parents for the boys’ nature camp trip
2:54 pm: Original title: “A Couple of Boys Go to Nature Camp (Sort Of)”
3:02 pm: Whoa, neither Marla nor Allyn had done a wordless book before The Farmer and the Clown!
3:07 pm: Marla: Part of The Farmer and the Clown illustration process was soaking the art in the bathtub between pencil and color!
3:19 pm: Really interesting backstory for Marla’s upcoming book with Victoria Chang, Is Mommy?
3:26 pm: #BGHB15 committee chair Barbara Scotto speaking with Neal and Brendan Shusterman about Challenger Deep in “When Life Provides the Story”
3:30 pm: Barbara: Did writing Challenger Deep change the meaning of the experience of facing mental illness for Neal and Brendan?
3:32 pm: Neal’s own tumultuous emotions — deep depression followed by euphoria — during a hospitalization for a blood disorder contributed to the novel as well
3:34 pm: Brendan: Mental illness is something we need to talk about. It’s easy to feel that you’re alone
3:37 pm: It was important to Neal to show Caden’s strength in facing and managing his illness, despite fact that it will never go away entirely
3:38 pm: Brendan’s original art is all in color; helped him to express what he was feeling during an episode. There’s a huge volume not included in Challenger Deep
3:39 pm: Much of the narrative of Challenger Deep was inspired by Neal’s interpretations of Brendan’s art
3:42 pm: Neal: the changes made to the manuscript in the editing process were small but extremely precise
3:46 pm: Neal: “When I submitted this manuscript, I was terrified…I had no idea if it even worked…As a writer you always need to be on that edge”
3:50 pm:@RogerReads asks, What was it was like for Neal when his fictional story started to diverge from Brendan’s real experience?
3:51 pm: Neal: it was easiest to write the pieces that did diverge, challenging to dovetail the 2 so readers wouldn’t be able to tell the difference
3:56 pm: Neal: “I look back at my body of work, and I feel that I everything I have written helped me to write this book”
4:01 pm: Cathie Mercier of @SimmonsCollege wisely and wittily recapping our day. How does she do that?!
4:03 pm: Cathie: “The writer lives two lives: the life lived, and the life unfolding on the page. The reader lives those dual lives too”
4:13 pm: Cathie: Who are the readers we leave behind? What are the topics we avoid due to discomfort? How can we transform literature itself?
4:14 pm: Cathie: Will we be able to transform ourselves to join young readers in the reading future?
4:15 pm: Thanks so much for a fantastic weekend at #BGHB15 and #HBAS15! See you next year!
More on the Boston Globe–Horn Book Awards and the following day’s Horn Book at Simmons Colloquium, “Mind the Gaps: Books for All Young Readers,” is coming soon! Follow us on Twitter for updates on all things Horn Book.
The post 2015 Horn Book at Simmons Colloquium timeline appeared first on The Horn Book.
A few years ago I was researching a book on the making of the atomic bomb, and my brother-in-law Eric, who loves wacky conspiracy theories, as I do, hit me with a great one.
“You know when the first atomic bomb was tested, right?” he asked.
“Sure,” I said, falling into his trap. “New Mexico desert, summer of 1945.”
“That’s what they want you to think!”
And he told me the theory: the first test was actually in a place called Port Chicago, California, in July 1944. Sounded crazy, but I’d never heard of Port Chicago. I couldn’t offer any kind of refutation. But later that night I typed “Port Chicago” into Google, and I’ve been hooked on the story ever since — the true story of what happened there during World War II.
Step one for me was reading Dr. Robert Allen’s remarkable book The Port Chicago Mutiny. I then contacted Robert (he said I could call him that) and asked how I could find out more about this little-known chapter of civil rights history. After directing me to the scant supply of written sources, he suggested that if I really wanted to explore this story I should come to the memorial event held each year at the site of the disaster. A few Port Chicago veterans still attend, he explained, though at this point it’s mostly younger generations of family members and friends.
I flew to Oakland in July 2011. Not only did Robert drive me to the memorial event, he spent three days taking me around the Bay Area and introducing me to the amazing community of people who are working to keep the Port Chicago story alive. At the end of my visit, he allowed me to make photocopies of the transcripts of the oral-history interviews he had conducted, decades earlier, with many of the Port Chicago sailors. This priceless material makes up the heart of my book. My deepest thanks to Robert for his generosity, encouragement, and helpful suggestions along the way.
And as an additional tribute, I want to use the rest of this speech to tell the story of Robert’s own Port Chicago journey — a classic old-school detective tale.
“This was the mid-1970s,” Robert remembers. “I was a grad student at Berkeley, and also working as a journalist, working on a story about some racial incidents that had happened on ships in the U.S. Navy. In an archive, I came across this pamphlet entitled ‘Mutiny?’ It had a picture of some black sailors on the front. I picked it up and thought, ‘What’s this about?’ The first sentence in there was, ‘Remember Port Chicago?’
“I thought, ‘Port Chicago?’ Do they mean the port of Chicago? What is this?’ And I read it, and it told the story of a terrible disaster at Port Chicago, which is in California, near San Francisco, a small port town, where they had built a Navy base, an ammunition loading facility. And it turned out that all the ammunition loaders were black, all the officers, white.”
The pamphlet, printed by the NAACP in 1945, told the Port Chicago story: the strict segregation in the Navy, the lack of training and unsafe working conditions for black sailors at Port Chicago, the disastrous explosion that killed more than three hundred, and the “mutiny” — the refusal of fifty of the men to return to work under unfair and unsafe conditions.
“I was just amazed as I read this,” Robert says. He asked the archivist if he could make a photocopy, and was told he could just take one of the pamphlets; they had several. “So I took a copy, which I still have, and came home, read through it again, and went to the library right away. I wanted to check out a book about it. But there was nothing. I looked in the standard black history references, and it’s briefly mentioned in John Hope Franklin, one sentence, that’s it. But all of this had intrigued me, because clearly this was a huge story and nothing had been written about it. So I’m thinking, ‘I’m going to have to find some way to find out about this story,’ because by now I was really hooked. The explosion and this so-called mutiny, and then the whole thing just disappears from history.”
Robert read through the newspaper archives at UC Berkeley and found many stories about the Port Chicago explosion, and a few about the subsequent mutiny trial. “But just as quickly, the story disappeared. It’s the middle of a war, 1944, so there’s some dramatic news happening every day.”
Other work pushed Port Chicago aside for a while — but the story wouldn’t let Robert go. “This is really just a fantastic story,” he thought again and again. “How can I begin to learn more about it? What I need is something to start with.” He had the newspaper accounts, but they were brief and often contradictory. “Then I thought, ‘There’s a trial. There’s a mutiny trial, and there must be a mutiny trial transcript. If I could get hold of that, I might have access to the whole story.’”
So he contacted the Navy the old-fashioned way — he looked up the number and called them. He was lucky; the records had been declassified in 1972. No one had ever asked to see them.
“Yes, we have them here,” a young clerk told him.
“Do I have to come there to see them, or can I get a copy sent?”
“We can make you a copy if you know exactly what you want.”
“I want exactly the full transcript.”
The man was momentarily speechless. “It’s 1,400 pages!”
“Well,” Robert said, “I want it all.”
He agreed to pay ten cents a page for copies, no small sum for a broke student. “And that,” he says, “was the first big break.”
He got the transcript and started reading, taking notes. But the more he read, the more questions he had. “Because I now had the details of the events that happened, that the men had refused to go back to work. But nothing about what was going on at Port Chicago before that. The trial record was silent on that. And I realized this court had decided that any testimony about events prior to the date of the work-stoppage was irrelevant. The only question was, ‘Did you, or did you not, on August 9th, refuse to return to work loading ammunition?’ The court basically ruled out any testimony about the conditions existing at the base before the explosion. The discrimination, the lack of training, the fact that white officers were betting each other about which division could load the fastest — all of this, which contributed to the men’s anger and outrage, they weren’t allowed to tell any of it in court.”
As Robert read, he tried to see the story from the point of view of the accused mutineers, many of whom were teenagers. “What was it that motivated the men?” he wondered. “It’s never brought out in the trial. This is only half the story. Where’s the other half?”
The answer was that it didn’t exist. Not in any written record, anyway. “And I realized,” he says, “the only way to get it was to find some of the survivors and interview them, especially the fifty, the ones who were involved in the mutiny. And that struck me as a daunting task.” He looked for the names of the defendants in Bay Area phone books and made a few calls. No luck.
“How am I going to find these guys? Well, who would have information about them? The Navy’s personnel department.” So he wrote to the Navy asking for addresses.
The reply: “We cannot release these addresses to you. These records are confidential.”
Robert’s hopes sank. Without the slightest clue as to where the men lived, how he could he begin to find them? But at the bottom of the letter was something surprising. Whoever wrote it had clearly broken from form letter–speak to make a suggestion: Robert could write letters to the men and send them to the Navy, along with self-addressed stamped envelopes. The Navy would forward the letters, and if the men felt like responding to Robert, they would.
This was the turning point. “I got these packets together and sent them out,” he remembers.
There was a long silence after that, and Robert began to doubt he would get any responses. “I’ll never know if the Navy mailed the letters or not,” he thought. “They could have all been thrown in the trash.”
But finally, a response came. Then a few more. Robert was thrilled. He talked to several of the men on the phone, including Joe Small, the man the Navy accused of being the ringleader of the Port Chicago mutiny. It wasn’t easy. “Because for these men, who was I? What was my motive? That’s on everybody’s mind, whether they say it or not, so you have to speak to that.”
He explained what he was trying to do. “Your perspective is missing from the written record,” he told the men. “The story of you and the other sailors, and what was happening in the years, weeks, days before the explosion, that’s not in the written history of Port Chicago. And I want to get your story out.”
Many of the men agreed to talk, and Robert was determined to do it in person. “I learned as a journalist, face-to-face contact is always better,” he says. “You get much more from somebody if you talk to them face to face.”
But that raised a new problem. “I looked at the list of addresses, and every single one of them was along the East Coast and on down into the South. I thought, ‘How in the world am I going to do this?’ I was in graduate school, and graduate students, by definition, are poor. So I really didn’t have the money to make a big trip, but then, reading the newspaper, I saw a Greyhound Bus ad, and they had what they called a ‘See America’ fare. You paid $100 and you could ride any Greyhound Bus anywhere they went in the United States for a month. And I realized, that was my ticket.”
Robert flew the red-eye to New York City. He had a list of men to interview. The first lived in Harlem.
It was nearly the last.
“The very first interview practically stopped me in my tracks,” he says. “I went to the man’s building in Harlem, and he opens the door and says, ‘We can do the interview, but let’s go down the street to my friend’s house.’”
Sure, Robert said, thinking, “This is his interview, and if I want to get it, I have to do it on his terms.” They walked to a neighbor’s apartment and went in. There was no one home. They sat and talked for over an hour. Robert could sense the man relaxing as the interview went on. “But what had happened at his front door was still hanging over me,” he says. When they were done, Robert decided to ask about it.
“I hope I didn’t create a problem for you,” Robert said.
“No, you didn’t create a problem,” the man said, “but my son was home today, my grown son. And if you had come in, I would have had to introduce you, and I didn’t want to do that. Because I’ve never told him what happened to me at Port Chicago. And I’m still not sure I want him to know.”
Robert was stunned. “I hadn’t really thought about how the families might be affected by what had happened, and how that might create pain all these years later.”
He walked to a YMCA and got a room. It was a rough night. “If he hasn’t told his son, what does that mean about how he feels about it?” Robert wondered. “If the men haven’t told their families, what right do I have to be asking these questions? Am I not re-traumatizing them by even asking the questions? I should just get on the bus and go home. Even if the men agree to be interviewed by me, can I really do it? Do I have a right to do it?”
One sleepless night later, he still hadn’t made up his mind. His conscience was telling him to get on a plane and fly home. But he had already bought the bus ticket. And the next person was nearby, in northern Jersey.
“I should do the next interview,” he decided. “I should at least do one more.”
And the next interview was Joe Small. “Thank goodness!” Robert says, laughing. “If it had been a couple of others who came later, I would have said, ‘No, I shouldn’t be doing this.’ Joe Small was ready to talk. His attitude was, ‘I want to get the story out.’”
And the rest is history. History that literally would not exist — not in any form accessible to us today — without Robert Allen’s amazing detective work. All fifty of the men convicted of mutiny at Port Chicago are gone. But their voices live in Robert’s interviews. Their story is very much alive.
For more on the 2014 Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards, click on the tag BGHB14. Read Steve Sheinkin’s .
The post The Port Chicago 50: Author Steve Sheinkin’s 2014 BGHB NF Award Speech appeared first on The Horn Book.
Rebecca Stead and Roger Sutton are all smiles as they make the 2015 BGHB awards announcement
Who’s excited for BGHB15 and HBAS15? You know we are! All this week we’ll be highlighting the winning books and their creators with extras from our archives — interviews, reviews, articles, and more — to help you prep for the ceremony and colloquium taking place October 2nd and 3rd.
Get started now with our reviews of the winners and honor books: picture book, fiction, and nonfiction.
The BGHB award ceremony and Horn Book at Simmons colloquium are coming up quickly — but it’s not too late to register! We hope to see you there.
The post Countdown to BGHB festivities! appeared first on The Horn Book.
Today we’re honoring our BGHB Fiction Award winners! Read reviews of all of the 2015 fiction winners here; see below for more web extras to celebrate them. Join us on October 2–3, 2015, for the Horn Book at Simmons Colloquium: Transformations, featuring several 2015 Boston Globe–Horn Book award recipients.
The 2015 Boston Globe–Horn Book Fiction Award winner is Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms by Katherine Rundell (Simon and Schuster).
Egg & Spoon by Gregory Maguire (Candlewick) received a BGHB Fiction Honor.
Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman and illustrated by Brendan Shusterman (Harper/HarperTeen) received a BGHB Fiction Honor.
Stay tuned for web extras on our nonfiction winner and honorees tomorrow!
The post 2015 BGHB Fiction Day appeared first on The Horn Book.
The winners and honorees. Photo: Aram Boghosian.
Did you miss the Boston Globe–Horn Book Awards on Friday, October 2nd? Just want to relive the excitement of the ceremony? We’ve compiled a timeline of the evening’s highlights based on tweets by our staff and other attendees. See Saturday’s Horn Book at Simmons Colloquium timeline here.
5:43 pm: @jescaron: The crowd is gathering! Everyone ready for the ’15 @HornBook and @BostonGlobe Awards!
5:45 pm @Reflectlibrary: #HBAS15…I’m all a twitter!!
5:47 pm: Here we go… Cathie Mercier opening the #BGHB15 Awards ceremony!
5:51 pm: More opening remarks from the @BostonGlobe’s Linda Pizzuti Henry and @RogerReads of @HornBook. So much history with these three Boston institutions!
5:54 pm: @RogerReads: The BGHB Awards have only one central criterion: to honor excellence in books for children
5:56 pm: Chair Barbara Scotto will present the awards for fiction
5:58 pm: Gregory Maguire now accepting for Fiction Honor Book Egg & Spoon
6:00 pm: Gregory Maguire: “Baba Yaga c’est moi” — he most identifies with this madcap character
6:01 pm: @lauragmullen: Gregory Maguire accepts Boston Globe Horn Book Honor for Egg & Spoon and has room in stitches
6:02 pm: Gregory Maguire: We inherit a world of great beauty and great sorrow… We share both
6:03 pm: @SussingOutBooks: Gregory Maguire: “There are some things that are not diminished in being shared, but increased”
6:04 pm: Neal and Brendan Shusterman now accepting for Fiction Honor Book Challenger Deep
6:05 pm: Neal Shusterman: Challenger Deep began as just a title… What would “the deepest place on earth” mean in fiction?
6:06 pm: @ShoshanaFlax: Love that #BGHB15 award presentations include editors’ names #creditwhereit’sdue
6:07 pm: @lauragmullen: @NealShusterman “My editors taught me to write.” Delighted to learn from him at #BGHB15
6:08 pm: The Shusterman family’s experience with schizo-affective disorder provided a glimpse into that emotional “deepest place on earth”
6:09 pm: @jescaron: Challenger Deep — the story of a young adult struggling with mental illness and emerging from the deep
6:10 pm: @SussingOutBooks: “When I first turned in Challenger Deep, I had no idea how it would be received.” @NealShusterman, we are so glad you told THIS story
6:11 pm: Katherine Rundell’s editor David Gale accepting on her behalf for #BGHB15 Fiction Winner Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms
6:12 pm: Katherine Rundell is often asked, “Why children’s books? Why not ‘proper’ adult books?” Because children are extraordinary readers
6:13 pm: @MrsVanDusen223: Katherine Rundell: When you write you build a house. When kids read they build a castle
6:14 pm: Katherine Rundell: “I come back to children’s books because children’s books were there for me when I needed them most”
6:16 pm: Katherine Rundell: Books “helped me up and led me home” when lost. Children’s books say, “hope counts…love will matter”
6:18 pm: Katherine Rundell: “I asked [ed.] David Gale to read this out. I am making him thank himself. Which is a particular pleasure because he is so brilliant and modest”
6:20 pm: @jescaron: “Children’s books are not an way back out but a way in… they were not a crutch, they were wings”
6:21 pm: Judge Jessica Tackett MacDonald presenting Nonfiction Awards
6:23 pm: Editor Wesley Adams accepting on behalf of Phillip Hoose for Nonfiction Honor Book The Boys Who Challenged Hitler
6:25 pm: Phillip Hoose: Knud Petersen knew this book was his last chance to tell the story of The Churchill Club right
6:28 pm: Editor Nancy Paulsen accepting on Jacqueline Woodson’s behalf for Nonfiction Honor Book Brown Girl Dreaming
6:29 pm: @lauragmullen: @nancyrosep accepts #BGHB15 award on behalf of @JackieWoodson. What a team!!
6:30 pm: “Brown Girl Dreaming was not an easy book to write. I am glad to have that book in print — and out of me. Imagine a very long labor with no drugs”
6:31 pm: @SussingOutBooks: There were 32 drafts of Brown Girl Dreaming… @JackieWoodson @nancyrosep SO WORTH IT. Thank you for sharing your world with us
6:32 pm: Jacqueline Woodson: The post-labor euphoria of writing is having the book in print with a life of its own
6:33 pm: Candace Fleming accepting for #BGHB15 Nonfiction Award winner The Family Romanov
6:34 pm: @lauragmullen: She makes history have a heartbeat. The amazing @candacemfleming accepts her award for The Family Romanov
6:35 pm: Candace Fleming: The adult book Nicholas & Alexandra was (unwanted) book club selection of her mother’s, Candace’s first introduction to the Romanovs
6:36 pm: @jescaron: The Romanovs “were all roses and sweet kisses,” at least in Fleming’s memory
6:37 pm: Candace Fleming: The first drafts focused on Anastasia’s glamorous life with few hints of the sweeping events overtaking Russia
6:38 pm: Initially Candace Fleming avoided any mention of the Romanovs’ tragic end. The draft was factual, but not the truth
6:41 pm: Candace Fleming realized “I had work to do” when looking at her copious notes on the Romanovs’ riches but few on the lives of peasants
6:42 pm: Candace Fleming: “There is a difference between fact and truth, and to write a credible story—a compelling story—you need both”
6:43 pm: Judge Maeve Visser Knoth presenting award and honors for Picture Books
6:44 pm: Jon Agee accepting #BGHB15 Picture Book Honor for It’s Only Stanley
6:45 pm: Jon Agee: “It’s Only Stanley is a love story. There’s a lot of love in this book” although much of it is delusional, irrational love
6:46 pm: Jon Agee: there’s the canine love and then there’s the Wimbledon family’s love and trust for Stanley
6:47 pm: @jescaron: A book with a pink lunar poodle? Count me in! #ItsOnlyStanley
6:49 pm: Carmela Iaria accepting on behalf of Oliver Jeffers for #BGHB15 Picture Book Honor for Once Upon an Alphabet
6:51 pm: Oliver Jeffers: It was a risk to publish this weird, 112-page alphabet book, but worth it. Thank you to those who came on this strange journey
6:53 pm: Marla Frazee accepting #BGHB15 PB Award for The Farmer and the Clown. She’s glad to be in company of two of her favorite PB creators, Jon Agee and Oliver Jeffers
6:55 pm: Marla Frazee was baffled and troubled by conversations on social media around The Farmer and the Clown
6:56 pm: Marla Frazee: “Making sure words and pictures don’t stomp all over each other is maybe harder than focusing on one or the other”
6:57 pm: @jescaron: “Words and pictures can be equally misinterpreted”
6:58 pm: Marla Frazee: Saying that wordless books cede control to the reader is saying that the visual narrative provides a less powerful story
6:59 pm: Marla Frazee: Children are better at reading visual narratives than grown-ups are
7:01 pm: Because young children can’t yet read or read well, they rely on the visual narrative to guide them from emotion to emotion in a picture book
7:02 pm: Marla Frazee: The @HornBook has been a master’s class in children’s books for her since she graduated art school… 33 years! ♥
7:04 pm: Marla Frazee has taken heart in readers’ responses to The Farmer and the Clown — particularly very small children’s responses
7:05 pm: Marla Frazee: wordless books speak directly, secretly to children — no adult mediator necessary
7:06 pm: @RogerReads turning us loose to mingle, get books signed, and ooh and ahh over the winners
7:07 pm: See you tomorrow for #HBAS15 — lots more to come!
7:11 pm: @EmilyProcknal: Congratulations to all the 2015 @BostonGlobe – @HornBook Award honorees and winners. What an incredible evening at @SimmonsCollege
11:59 pm: @Wozleigh: Worth long drive for #HBAS15 tomorrow with @RogerReads, @NealShusterman, @candacemfleming, @nancyrosep, Liz Bicknell, Gregory Maguire, and SUSAN COOPER!
More coverage of the 2015 Boston Globe–Horn Book Awards and the following day’s Horn Book at Simmons Colloquium, “Transformations,” is on the way! In the meantime, follow us on Twitter for updates on all things Horn Book.
The post 2015 BGHB ceremony timeline appeared first on The Horn Book.
Off to New York tomorrow for a little 70s nostalgia (Richard is such a good sport), some modern dance (I am such a good sport), love and murder, and, oh yes, the announcement of the 2014 winners of the Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards. I’ll be revealing the fated few at 1:00PM on Saturday at a press conference in the Librarians’ Lounge at BEA in the Javits Center, booth #663. You are all cordially invited but for those who can’t make it, Katrina will be tweeting @HornBook as we go, and the whole shebang will be up on the website Saturday afternoon.
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Today, at BookExpo America, The Horn Book’s editor in chief Roger Sutton announced the 2014 Boston Globe–Horn Book Award winners.
Celebrating its 48th year, the Boston Globe–Horn Book Awards are among the most prestigious honors in the field of children’s and young adult literature. Winners and two honor books are selected in each of three categories: Picture Book, Fiction and Poetry, and Nonfiction.
“This year’s judges did a splendid job,” said Sutton. “It’s always great when their choices inspire one to feel confirmed, challenged, and surprised all at the same time.”
PICTURE BOOK AWARD WINNER:
Mr. Tiger Goes Wild written and illustrated by Peter Brown (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Hachette Book Group)
Read The Horn Book’s review.
FICTION AWARD WINNER:
Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith (Dutton Children’s Books, an imprint of Penguin Group USA)
Read The Horn Book’s review.
NONFICTION AWARD WINNER:
The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights by Steve Sheinkin (Roaring Book Press)
Read The Horn Book’s review.
PICTURE BOOK HONOR WINNERS:
- Rules of Summer written and illustrated by Shaun Tan (Arthur A. Levine Books, an imprint of Scholastic)
- Knock Knock: My Dad’s Dream for Me, written by Daniel Beaty and illustrated by Bryan Collier (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Hachette Book Group)
Read The Horn Book’s reviews.
FICTION HONOR WINNERS:
- Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein (Hyperion, an imprint of Disney Book Group)
- Boxers & Saints by Gene Luen Yang (First Second Books, an imprint of Roaring Brook Press)
Read The Horn Book’s reviews.
NONFICTION HONOR WINNERS:
- The Animal Book: A Collection of the Fastest, Fiercest, Toughest, Cleverest, Shyest—and Most Surprising—Animals on Earth by Steve Jenkins (Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
- Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker written by Patricia Hruby Powell and illustrated by Christian Robinson (Chronicle Books)
Read The Horn Book’s reviews.
Four 2014 awardees have previously been honored — Steve Jenkins (1999, Nonfiction winner), Steve Sheinkin (2011, Nonfiction winner), Shaun Tan (2008, Special Citation), Elizabeth Wein (2012, Fiction honor). More information, including a complete list of BGHB winners and honors since 1967, can be found by visiting the awards website: www.hbook.com/boston-globe-horn-book-awards.
The awards are chosen by an independent panel of three judges appointed by Mr. Sutton. The 2014 Boston Globe–Horn Book Awards judges are: Chair, Nina Lindsay, Horn Book reviewer and supervising librarian for children’s services at the Oakland (CA) Public Library; Claire E. Gross, former associate editor of The Horn Book Magazine and current children’s librarian at the Egleston Square Branch of the Boston Public Library; and Amy Pattee, associate professor in the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at Simmons College in Boston, MA.
The winning titles must be published in the United States, but they may be written or illustrated by citizens of any country.
The awards will be given at the Boston Globe–Horn Book Awards Ceremony (October 10, 2014) at Simmons College in Boston, MA. The event begins with acceptance speeches from the awardees, followed by an autographing session and a celebratory evening reception. The following day, The Horn Book at Simmons Colloquium, Mind the Gaps: Books for ALL Young Readers, features the award winners and honorees in talks, panel discussions, and small group sessions offering librarians, educators, and other children’s book professionals a chance to examine critical issues relevant to children’s and young adult literature. More information on Horn Book at Simmons can be found at www.hbook.com/bghb-hbas.
ABOUT THE HORN BOOK:
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. The Horn Book Guide, published twice annually, provides comprehensive reviews and a numerical rating for every hardcover children’s book published in the United States during the previous publishing season. The Horn Book Magazine, Guide, and Guide Online are publications of Media Source, Inc., which is also the parent company of Library Journal, School Library Journal, and Junior Library Guild
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On Saturday, May 31st, at BookExpo America, Horn Book Editor in Chief Roger Sutton announced the 2014 Boston Globe–Horn Book Award winners and honors. A few pics from the happy day, all taken by BGHB coordinator Katrina Hedeen:
HB Editor in Chief Roger Sutton (left), Picture Book Award winner Peter Brown (center), and the Little, Brown crew
Peter Brown signs his Picture Book Award winner Mr. Tiger Goes Wild
Roger Sutton, Dina Sherman of Disney-Hyperion, and Fiction Award Honoree Elizabeth Wein
This year’s Horn Book at Simmons one-day colloquium is entitled “Mind the Gaps: Books for All Young Readers” and will be held on October 11th — hope to see you there! We’ve got a lot more on the winning books and authors on the way. In the meantime, read the full BGHB Awards announcement, then check out the Horn Book’s reviews of the celebrated titles here:
Picture book winner Mr. Tiger Goes Wild and honor books
Fiction winner Grasshopper Jungle and honor books
Nonfiction winner The Port Chicago 50 and honor books
What do you think of the committee’s selections? Let us know in the comments!
The post The envelope, please… appeared first on The Horn Book.
September Nonfiction Notes comes out today, and in this issue we’re highlighting our 2014 BGHB Nonfiction Award winner and honor books. You can read it online or sign up if you’re not already subscribed. Read reviews of all of the 2014 nonfiction winners here; see below for a lot more web extras to celebrate them.
The 2014 Boston Globe–Horn Book Nonfiction Award winner is Steve Sheinkin’s The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights (Roaring Book).
Steve Jenkins received a BGHB Nonfiction Honor for The Animal Book: A Collection of the Fastest, Fiercest, Toughest, Cleverest, Shyest — and Most Surprising — Animals on Earth (Houghton).
Author Patricia Hruby Powell and illustrator Christian Robinson received a BGHB Nonfiction Honor for their biography Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker (Chronicle).
For more on children’s nonfiction, check out these articles from The Horn Book:
The post 2014 BGHB Nonfiction Day appeared first on The Horn Book.
Yesterday we gave you web extras on our BGHB Nonfiction Award winners — today we’re honoring the Fiction Award winner and Honorees. Read reviews of all of the 2014 fiction winners here; see below for more web extras to celebrate them.
The 2014 Boston Globe–Horn Book Fiction Award winner is Andrew Smith’s Grasshopper Jungle (Dutton/Penguin).
Author/illustrator Gene Luen Yang received a BGHB Fiction Honor for Boxers & Saints (First Second/Roaring Brook).
Elizabeth Wein received a BGHB Fiction Honor for Rose Under Fire (Hyperion/Disney).
Stay tuned for picture book web extras tomorrow!
The post 2014 BGHB Fiction Day appeared first on The Horn Book.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year — we hope to see you tomorrow night at the Boston Globe–Horn Book Awards ceremony (omg, what to wear?!) and on Saturday for the Mind the Gaps: Books for All Young Readers colloquium. Let the swag-bag stuffing begin!
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Greetings to Roger Sutton, the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award judges, and everyone at the awards ceremony, from Elizabeth Wein in Warsaw, Poland. Between you and me today stretches a distance of over four thousand miles, and I do “mind the gap.”
I am both grateful and utterly stunned that Rose Under Fire has been named one of the Boston Globe–Horn Book Honor Books this year. I can’t tell you how sorry I am not to be there in person, to celebrate with you and meet the other award recipients, to eat and drink and talk and talk and talk with all of you. Because, in the words of Antoine de Saint Exupéry, “Nous demandons à boire, mais nous demandons aussi à communiquer.” We need to drink, but also we need to communicate.
When I began writing Rose Under Fire, I was fascinated by the flying bombs — the Vergeltungswaffen — that the Third Reich launched at southern England in the summer of 1944 immediately following the invasion of Normandy. These were, essentially, the first cruise missiles. I wanted my story to move from the receiving end of these weapons to the production line, at some point, which is one of the reasons I planned to set the second part of the book in the Nazi women’s concentration camp at Ravensbrück, where there was a German munitions factory. I felt that the plight of the prisoners there was one of the lesser-known events of the Holocaust — a gap, as it were.
It wasn’t until I began the research for this second part of the novel that I discovered the story of the “Rabbits,” the Polish women who were subjected to Nazi experimentation at Ravensbrück. I’d never even heard of them — another gap. And it wasn’t until I’d already read three survivor accounts and a nonfiction history of the camp that I discovered the story of the Rabbits’ rebellion against the camp authorities in the winter of 1945. Here, buried in the rubble of well-known history, was an amazing tale few people were aware of.
The irony is that during their internment the women known as Rabbits were desperate to make their own story public. They stole a camera and took photographs of their scars, which were later used in the Nuremberg trials; a fellow prisoner kept the single roll of film hidden for them for six months until her own release. While still imprisoned, the Rabbits smuggled a message to the Pope and received a blessing from him over the radio. They sent messages in invisible ink made of urine. They managed to get all their names read aloud over the radio by the BBC. Imprisoned, under sentence of death, even as they were starving, their driving purpose was to get their story out.
In Rose Under Fire, the need to communicate is as strong as the need for sustenance. “Nous demandons à boire, mais nous demandons aussi à communiquer.” The mission of the survivors of Ravensbrück in particular, and of the Holocaust in general, is to “tell the world.” I will say exactly what I said two years ago when I thanked you for giving Code Name Verity this honor as well: thank you for helping to bring this message of horror and hope to a wider audience. And thank you for helping to fill in the gaps.
For more on the 2014 Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards, click on the tag BGHB14.
The post Rose Under Fire: Author Elizabeth Wein’s 2014 BGHB Fiction Honor Speech appeared first on The Horn Book.
I feel very connected being here tonight.
I suppose my books — Grasshopper Jungle in particular — are all about connections.
I have a cousin who lived with my family of four boys when I was very young. Her name is Renata, she has gentle Italian hands, and she lives near Phoenix now. I’ve never known any other Renatas, although the name is fairly common in Italy, which is where my family comes from.
The American writer Renata Adler was born in Italy, too. In the novel Slapstick, or Lonesome No More!, Kurt Vonnegut quotes Adler as having said that a writer is someone who hates writing.
Let me tell you how strongly I empathize with that statement.
I’m sure my close friends, and especially Michael Bourret, my agent, and Julie Strauss-Gabel, my editor, know all too well that from time to time I have a propensity to melt down about this thing I can’t stop doing even when it feels like I’m tearing chunks of stuffing from my soul. I think all of us who write feel the same way on occasion. At least, I sure hope so.
I wouldn’t want to be the only one, after all.
So Vonnegut wrote about a note he’d received from his agent after Vonnegut’s own writing-related meltdown. The note said this: “Dear Kurt — I never knew a blacksmith who was in love with his anvil.”
I wrote Grasshopper Jungle after I decided to quit writing, which happened in the summer of 2011. I realize that’s a strange thing to say: I wrote after I quit writing. A lot of bad things made me feel really terrible about being a writer, which is a different thing altogether than simply writing. Being a writer was making me sick, and I was losing sleep over it.
So I quit.
The thing is, I couldn’t really stop myself from putting new words on empty pages, but I could escape from all the rest of the being-a-writer stuff that was dragging me down. So I wrote this story about some kids who are all in love with each other and who accidentally trigger the end of the world from the economically downturned heart of Iowa. I had no intention of ever allowing anyone to read it, because the book was, at its core, about loving something that also destroys your world, which was awfully close to how I felt about being a writer in the summer of 2011.
Because here’s the thing: I didn’t really want people looking into my head after writing a novel about pizza, genetically modified corn, medieval saints, christened (and sometimes dissolving) balls, Paleolithic cave painters, urinal factories, cigarettes, barkless dogs, war, sexual confusion, and how all those things made seamless connections according to my thinking.
After all, I am certain that everything really is connected in some way. So I tried to write a book that was about everything.
That summer of 2011, when I wrote Grasshopper Jungle, was a rough time for me. I had just dropped my son off for his first year away at university and I couldn’t stand the thought of our being separated — disconnected — by such great distance. I wasn’t ready to let him go. And I filled that book up with all my confused frustrations, firing shots at every just-like-it’s-always-been thing I thought was stupid and pointless and unfair.
And I guess my son missed me, too, because in September he asked if I had anything of mine that he could read. He didn’t care what it was I sent him; he just wanted to see some of my words again. So, I was scared, but I asked him if he wanted to read this insane thing I’d just finished working on, called Grasshopper Jungle.
He said yes, but I made him promise to tell me after he finished reading it whether or not he thought I ought to go see a therapist. My son read the book the same day I sent it to him. I’ll reserve the content of his follow-up call for some future speech. It was a real humdinger.
People in Iowa say things like humdinger.
My books are things that connect me to my family, many of whom come from Iowa. Well, my in-laws do, at least. And I don’t even ask them to read my books; they just do.
And I’ll admit that a lot of the time I don’t really want people to read my books.
I sure got my wish for the first half-dozen or so of them I put out!
But the reason I frequently don’t want people to read what I write is because I can’t help but slip in things that are intensely personal. I try to disguise those parts. Whether or not this strategy works is debatable.
A boy in Iowa sent me a photo of himself, standing in a cornfield and holding up his copy of Grasshopper Jungle.
A same-sex married couple in Iowa asked if I would be willing to be named godfather to their son, who is going to be born this month.
An adult man in Iowa sent me a letter thanking me for writing a book about who he was when he was a teenager. He told me his life would have been much easier if there had been books like Grasshopper Jungle when he was a kid.
These are all true stories from people I have never met.
This is part of my history.
Sometimes I can’t help but see all the connections that keep crossing right in front of me.
Among my closest friends are other people who work over the same anvil I do, especially Amy Sarig King, who has powerful German hands and comes from Pennsylvania. And, like Vonnegut, I feel a sense of kinship toward all writers — in particular those who are fortunate enough to work in the young adult and children’s literature community.
To you all, I will end with another line from Vonnegut’s Slapstick, or Lonesome No More!, which goes like this:
“I am a brother to writers everywhere…It is lucky, too, for human beings need all the relatives they can get—as possible donors or receivers not necessarily of love, but of common decency.”
You are, for the most part, a very decent lot.
This is an incredible honor.
For more on the 2014 Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards, click on the tag BGHB14.
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It's getting very difficult to muddle on without her, but we have nevertheless appointed our judges for the 2010 Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards. They are Horn Book Magazine executive editor Martha V. Parravano, NYT children's books editor Julie Just, and novelist (and long-time-ago Horn Book columnist) Gregory Maguire. Information about the awards and guidelines for submissions can be found on our website.
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If you’re coming to BEA, please join 2010 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award winner Rebecca Stead and me on Thursday as we announce the winners of the 2012 BGHB Awards, live with champagne, in the Librarians’ Lounge (booth #2148), 1:00PM, at the Javits Convention Center. If you can’t be there, we (fingers crossed and prayers sent aloft) will be showing a video of the announcement Thursday afternoon (threeish? fourish?) at www.hbook.com. All I’m gonna tell you NOW is that our judges did a GREAT job.
Rebecca Stead and Roger Sutton announcing the 2012 Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards.
Today, at BookExpo America, The Horn Book’s editor in chief Roger Sutton and 2010 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award-winning author Rebecca Stead (When You Reach Me, Random House) announced the 2012 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award winners.
PICTURE BOOK AWARD WINNER:
Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Jon Klassen (Balzer + Bray, a HarperCollins imprint)
When young Annabelle finds a small box containing a never-ending supply of yarn of every color, she does what any self-respecting knitter would do: she knits herself a sweater. Then she knits a sweater for her dog. She continues to knit colorful garments for everyone and everything in her snowy, sooty, colorless town—until an archduke gets greedy.
Read The Horn Book‘s review
FICTION AWARD WINNER:
No Crystal Stair: A Documentary Novel of the Life and Work of Lewis Michaux, Harlem Bookseller by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson, illustrated by R. Gregory Christie (Carolrhoda Lab, an imprint of Lerner)
Lewis Michaux opened the National Memorial African Bookstore in Harlem at the end of the Great Depression with an inventory of five books and a strong faith that black people were hungry for knowledge. For the next thirty-five years, his store became a central gathering place for African American writers, artists, intellectuals, political figures and ordinary citizens. In a daring combination of fiction and nonfiction and word and image, thirty-six narrative voices are interwoven with articles from the New York Amsterdam News, excerpts from Michaux’s FBI file and family papers and photographs.
Read The Horn Book‘s review
Chuck Close: Face Book, written and illustrated by Chuck Close (Abrams Books for Young Readers)
Chuck Close’s art is easy to describe and especially attractive to children because he creates only portraits—in almost every possible medium with an intriguing trompe l’oeil effect. This book explores how his life story and so-called disabilities relate directly to his style. In this Q&A–style narrative, Close himself answers with a clear voice without a hint of famous-artist self-aggrandizement or angst.
Read The Horn Book‘s review
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