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1. The Port Chicago 50: Author Steve Sheinkin’s 2014 BGHB NF Award Speech

Port Chicago The Port Chicago 50: Author Steve Sheinkins 2014 BGHB NF Award SpeechA 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 .

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2. Rose Under Fire: Author Elizabeth Wein’s 2014 BGHB Fiction Honor Speech

wein rose under fire Rose Under Fire: Author Elizabeth Weins 2014 BGHB Fiction Honor SpeechGreetings 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.

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3. 2014 BGHB Nonfiction Day

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.

sheinkin port chicago 50 2014 BGHB Nonfiction DayThe 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).

jenkins animal book 2014 BGHB Nonfiction DaySteve 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).

powell josephine 2014 BGHB Nonfiction DayAuthor 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:

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4. 2014 BGHB Fiction Day

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 smith grasshopper jungle 2014 BGHB Fiction Dayall 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).

boxers saints 2014 BGHB Fiction DayAuthor/illustrator Gene Luen Yang received a BGHB Fiction Honor for Boxers & Saints (First Second/Roaring Brook).

wein rose under fire 2014 BGHB Fiction DayElizabeth Wein received a BGHB Fiction Honor for Rose Under Fire (Hyperion/Disney).

Stay tuned for picture book web extras tomorrow!

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5. HBAS is coming.

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!

bag stuffing 1 HBAS is coming.

bag stuffing 2 HBAS is coming.

bag stuffing 3 HBAS is coming.

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6. Grasshopper Jungle: Author Andrew Smith’s BGHB 2014 Fiction Award Speech

smith grasshopper jungle Grasshopper Jungle: Author Andrew Smiths BGHB 2014 Fiction Award SpeechI 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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7. 2012 Boston Globe–Horn Book Awards for Excellence in Children’s Literature

bghb2012announce1 2012 Boston Globe–Horn Book Awards for Excellence in Childrens Literature

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.

bghb2012 winbooks 500x203 2012 Boston Globe–Horn Book Awards for Excellence in Childrens Literature

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

NONFICTION WINNER:
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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8. First BGHB announcement photos

Here are some of the first pictures of Horn Book Editor in Chief Roger Sutton and 2010  Fiction Award winner Rebecca Stead making this year’s Boston Globe–Horn Book Awards announcement. Stay tuned for more pictures and video!

IMAG0190 First BGHB announcement photos

IMAG0194 First BGHB announcement photos

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9. Photos from the 2012 BGHB announcement at BEA

For more information about the Boston Globe–Horn Book Awards, click here.

bghb12 announce3 Photos from the 2012 BGHB announcement at BEA

Roger Sutton and Rebecca Stead prepare to announce the awards. Photo: Mark Tuchman.

bghb12 announce5 Photos from the 2012 BGHB announcement at BEA

Photo: Mark Tuchman.

bghb12 announce7 Photos from the 2012 BGHB announcement at BEA

A large crowd gathered to listen and tweet. Photo: Mark Tuchman.

bghb12 announce10 Photos from the 2012 BGHB announcement at BEA

Photo: Mark Tuchman.


NONFICTION
WINNER:
Chuck Close: Face Book
, written and illustrated by Chuck Close (Abrams Books for Young Readers) 

NONFICTION HONOR WINNERS:
• Georgia in Hawaii: When Georgia O’Keeffe Painted What She Pleased
by Amy Novesky, illustrated by Yuyi Morales (Harcourt Children’s Books, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt imprint)
• The Elephant Scientist
by Caitlin O’Connell & Donna M. Jackson, photographs by Caitlin O’Connell and Timothy Rodwell (Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt imprint)

bghb12 announce15 Photos from the 2012 BGHB announcement at BEA

Photo: Mark Tuchman.

bghb12 announce17 Photos from the 2012 BGHB announcement at BEA

Photo: Mark Tuchman.


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)

FICTION HONOR WINNERS:
• Life: An Exploded Diagram
by Mal Peet (Candlewick Press)
• Code Name Verity
by Elizabeth Wein (Hyperion Books for Children, a Disney imprint)

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10. 2014 BGHB Awards last call

bghb logo color 270x300 2014 BGHB Awards last callWith the May 15th deadline around the bend, this is the last call for 2014 Boston Globe–Horn Book Awards submissions. Please read the guidelines carefully before submitting, and contact khedeen at hbook dot com with questions.

Winners and honor books will be unveiled live on Saturday, May 31st, at BEA. Stop by the Librarians’ Lounge, booth #663, at 1 p.m., or catch video of the announcement on hbook.com.

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11. They ARE judging you

idol 300x195 They ARE judging youThe Boston Globe-Horn Book Award judges will be meeting in Boston this weekend to make their decisions. Anyone have any inside dirt? I’ll be announcing the winners on Saturday, May 31st at BEA, 1:00PM in the Librarians’ Lounge at Javits.

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12. Not so far away

Tapestry 300x300 Not so far awayOff 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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13. 2014 Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards for Excellence in Children’s Literature

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.”

bghb 2014 winners 549x239 2014 Boston Globe Horn Book Awards for Excellence in Childrens Literature

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.

___________

bghb 2014 honors 550x114 2014 Boston Globe Horn Book Awards for Excellence in Childrens Literature

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.

HBAS 2014 Boston Globe Horn Book Awards for Excellence in Childrens LiteratureThe 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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14. The envelope, please…

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:

Little Brown The envelope, please...

HB Editor in Chief Roger Sutton (left), Picture Book Award winner Peter Brown (center), and the Little, Brown crew

Peter Brown The envelope, please...

Peter Brown signs his Picture Book Award winner Mr. Tiger Goes Wild

Wein 2 The envelope, please...

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!

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15. As Manderley burns . . .

photo by Duncan Todd

Actually, that's not Mrs. Danvers, it's Horn Book publisher Anne Quirk keeping an eagle eye on the Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards this past Friday night. Look for more photos later today.

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16. Downtown at the BGHB

That rockin' place the Boston Athenaeum was once again the host for the annual Boston Globe Horn Book Awards, and you can view some highlights and hear the speeches here. Video coming soon.

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17. The 2009 Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards

have been announced.

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18. I feel like a butler.


We will be posting the video from last Friday's Boston-Globe Horn Book awards before the end of the week, and the speeches will appear in the January/February issue of the Magazine. Thanks to all who came, in person and in spirit.

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19. BGHB Awards, pictures and video



The indefatigable Lolly Robinson and Katrina Hedeen have posted photos and video from the 2009 Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards held last Friday evening. Check it all out. (In this pic l. to r. are Harper editor Anne Hoppe, judge Jonathan Hunt, winner Candace Fleming, judge Ruth Nadelman Lynn, and me.)

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20. But Where in the World Is Nina Garcia?

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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21. Ypulse Essentials: myYearbook Debuts Celebrity Chatter, 'Glee' Superfan Player, Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards

myYearbook teams with MTV to launch Celebrity Chatter (a members-exclusive real-time entertainment newsfeed with status updates from the likes of Lady Gaga and Miley. Disclosure: myYearbook is a Ypulse sponsor) - FOX launches 'Glee' Superfan player... Read the rest of this post

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22. Live! From New York!

oscar Live! From New York!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.

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23. Picture Book Reviews of 2012 Boston Globe–Horn Book Award Winner and Honor Books

Picture Book Winner

Barnett Extra Yarn 300x243 Picture Book Reviews of 2012 Boston Globe–Horn Book Award Winner and Honor Booksstar2 Picture Book Reviews of 2012 Boston Globe–Horn Book Award Winner and Honor BooksExtra Yarn
by Mac Barnett; illus. by Jon Klassen
Primary Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins 40 pp.
1/12 978-0-06-195338-5 $16.99 g
When young Annabelle (see p. 5) finds a small box containing 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. Improbably, there’s yarn left over, so she knits colorful garments for everyone in her snowy, sooty, colorless town. Even Mr. Crabtree, “who never wore sweaters or even long pants, and who would stand in his shorts with the snow up to his knees,” receives a handknit gift: a hat with a pompom. Houses and buildings, too, are soon covered in natty sweaters, and fans of illustrator Klassen will smile to see critters strongly resembling the bear and rabbit from I Want My Hat Back (rev. 11/11) clad in variegated yarn cozies. When Annabelle, ever content to click-click away, refuses an archduke’s offer of millions for the box and its never-ending yarn, he steals it. Turns out the magic lies elsewhere (perhaps in the hands and heart of a little girl?), and all is made right. Klassen’s brown ink and digitally created illustrations pair nicely with the translucent, lightly inked knitwear. His pacing, especially the mostly wordless sequence when the box floats back to Annabelle on a triangle of an iceberg, is impeccable. The final spread, all light and yarn-covered tree limbs, brings Barnett’s clever, quiet yarn full circle, to a little girl and a town, now colorful and happy. (Robin Smith)

Honor Books

Fogliano Andthenspring 249x300 Picture Book Reviews of 2012 Boston Globe–Horn Book Award Winner and Honor Booksstar2 Picture Book Reviews of 2012 Boston Globe–Horn Book Award Winner and Honor BooksAnd Then It’s Spring
by Julie Fogliano; 
illus. by Erin E. Stead
Primary Porter/Roaring Brook 32 pp.
2/12 978-1-59643-624-4 $16.99
A small bespectacled boy and his companions, a dog, a rabbit, and a turtle, are on a search for spring. “First you have brown, / all around you have brown / then there are seeds / and a wish for rain, / and then it rains / and it is still brown, / but a hopeful, very possible sort of brown…” Fogliano’s poetic yet grounded narrative is reminiscent of Charlotte Zolotow’s picture-book texts in its understatement and straightforward, childlike observations. Her text builds the tension with an expertise of a much more experienced picture book writer, and she gets the pacing exactly right. As for the illustrations, there’s no sophomore slump for Stead: her second book is even better than her 2011 Caldecott winner, A Sick Day for Amos McGee (rev. 5/10). The graceful illustrations were created with the same medium (woodblock prints with pencil), but here she’s used a completely different palette of browns, grays, light blue, bright green, and touches of red, all set against negative space that most often suggests a cloudy sky. Observant readers will notice many humorous touches: the rabbit eagerly anticipating the first sign of carrots in the garden, the dog waiting for a bone he

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24. Nonfiction Reviews of 2012 Boston Globe–Horn Book Award Winner and Honor Books

Nonfiction Winner

Close Face Book 223x300 Nonfiction Reviews of 2012 Boston Globe–Horn Book Award Winner and Honor BooksChuck Close: Face Book
by Chuck Close
Intermediate, Middle School Abrams 56 pp.
4/12 978-1-4197-0163-4 $18.95
Chuck Close’s art and life story are the ideal way to introduce art and artists to children. His work is easy to describe and understand because he creates only portraits, but since he does them in almost every possible medium and they have an intriguing trompe l’oeil effect, they are especially attractive to children. But the kicker is the way his life story and so-called disabilities relate directly to his style. As a child, severe dyslexia made school difficult, but art class was easy. Likewise, his prosopagnosia (face blindness) made him especially interested in what made a face recognizable. His early canvases in hyper-realistic style showed large faces in a somewhat disturbing warts-and-all close-up, created from photos divided into small squares. Later, after what he calls The Event—a collapsed blood vessel that left him paralyzed from the chest down—his style changed, once again working within his new set of abilities. In this Q&A– style narrative, Close himself answers questions supposedly asked by children (shown on scraps of colored paper in a child’s handwriting). His voice is clear and direct with not a hint of famous artist self-aggrandizement or angst. Instead, he comes across as humble and content with his life. A central section answering a question about his penchant for self-portraits shows fourteen of them in a variety of media on heavy card stock cut into thirds so readers can mix and match eyes, noses, and mouths. The cut pages feel like a bit of a gimmick, though they will probably appeal to younger children. Including the same paintings as a wordless sequence of full pages might have shown the artist’s variety more clearly, but overall this is a welcome primary source about being an artist. An illustrated timeline, a glossary, a list of illustrations, and extensive resources are provided at the end of the book. (Lolly Robinson)

Honor Books

OConnell Elephant 300x246 Nonfiction Reviews of 2012 Boston Globe–Horn Book Award Winner and Honor BooksThe Elephant Scientist [Scientists in the Field]
by Caitlin O’Connell and Donna M. Jackson; photos by Caitlin O’Connell and Timothy Rodwell
Intermediate, Middle School Houghton 71 pp.
7/11 978-0-547-05344-8 $17.99
Scientist O’Connell’s contributions to our understanding of elephant communication propel this account of scientific research in action. O’Connell and Jackson focus on the ways in which these animals communicate through vibrations sent through the ground, a technique O’Connell first observed in her masters degree work with insects, and later with African elephants in Namibia. They describe the findings in a way that lets readers witness the unfolding of a research program, as hypotheses lead to new insights that beget even more questions. Featured are observations of animal behavior, lab-based examinations of the cells in elephant feet and trunks that facilitate vibration sensing, and experiments with varying sounds and their effects on elephant herds. The many color photographs, predominantly from the Namibian field sites, capture the majestic elder elephants, their always appealing offspring, and the dusty, rugged landscapes in which the scientists and research assistants camp and work. Readers are directed to the website of the nonprofit organization founded by O’Con

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25. Fiction Reviews of 2012 Boston Globe–Horn Book Award Winner and Honor Books

Fiction Winner

nelson NoCrystalStair 212x300 Fiction Reviews of 2012 Boston Globe–Horn Book Award Winner and Honor Booksstar2 Fiction Reviews of 2012 Boston Globe–Horn Book Award Winner and Honor BooksNo Crystal Stair: A Documentary Novel of the Life and Work of Lewis Michaux, Harlem Bookseller
by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson; illus. by R. Gregory Christie
Middle School, High School    Carolrhoda Lab    188 pp.
2/12    978-0-7613-6169-5    $17.95
e-book ed.  978-0-7613-8727-5    $12.95
Inspired by Marcus Garvey and the drive to make a difference, 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. Over the next thirty-five years, his store became a central gathering place for African American writers, artists, intellectuals, and political figures, including Malcolm X, who frequently gave his speeches in front of the bookstore. But Michaux also sought to reach ordinary citizens, believing that pride and self-knowledge would grow naturally from an understanding of global black history and current events. He didn’t just sell books; he surrounded his customers with ideas and provocative discussion. He also drew people in with pithy window signs that used humor and clever rhymes. When Sugar Ray Robinson stopped by in 1958, for example, Michaux communicated his disapproval of the hair-straightening products the boxer used: “Ray what you put on your head will rub off in your bed. It’s what you put in your head that will last ’til you’re dead.” Short chapters—some just a paragraph or two—are written in thirty-six different voices, mostly those of Michaux himself, family members, and close associates. Some of the voices are those of fictitious characters based on composites—customers, a newspaper reporter, a street vendor—but most are real people whose statements have been documented by the author in her meticulous research. The voices are interspersed with documents such as articles from the New York Amsterdam News and Jet magazine and with excerpts from Michaux’s FBI file. As Michaux’s grandniece, the author also had access to family papers and photographs. Given the author’s close relationship with the subject, she manages to remain remarkably objective about him, largely due to her honest portrayal of the lifelong conflict between him and many of his family members, most notably his evangelist brother, who didn’t approve of his radical politics. Sophisticated expressionistic line drawings illustrate key events. An extraordinary, inspiring book to put into the hands of scholars and skeptics alike. Appended are a family tree, source notes, a bibliography, further reading, and an index of historical characters. (K. T. Horning)

Honor Books

Peet Life Exploded 213x300 Fiction Reviews of 2012 Boston Globe–Horn Book Award Winner and Honor Booksstar2 Fiction Reviews of 2012 Boston Globe–Horn Book Award Winner and Honor BooksLife: An Exploded Diagram
by Mal Peet
High School Candlewick 387 pp.
10/11 978-0-7636-5227-2 $17.99
e-book ed. 978-0-7636-5631-7 $17.99
In this ficti

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