Der Struwwelpeter and the Evolution of Children’s Books

By Jill Braithwaite, Publishing Director, Trade

I was recently gifted a copy of the 1845 book Der Struwwelpeter (Shock-Headed Peter). It’s known as one of the first books to put together pictures and words in a book meant specifically for children. It’s also a strong reminder of how grateful I am to be working in children’s books at this current historical moment. Read More

How to Perform a Poem: Tips from Author & Actor Charles Waters

Header Image: How to Perform a Poem - Tips from Can I Touch Your Hair? Author Charles Waters

By Carol Hinz, Editorial Director of Millbrook Press and Carolrhoda Books

Happy National Poetry Month! Poetry is wonderful, but sometimes it’s also intimidating—especially if you’re reading a poem aloud to a group of people. So I asked poet and actor Charles Waters to give all of us non-actors a little advice. Read More

Writing, Editing, and Sharing Poetry from Can I Touch Your Hair?

By Libby Stille, Associate Publicist

In January of 2015, editor Carol Hinz had an idea for a children’s poetry picture book that discussed race in a way that would be accessible to middle-grade audiences. She reached out to poet and children’s author Irene Latham and asked her to suggest a partner for the project. Irene chose poet Charles Waters to write with her, and many drafts, phone calls, and revisions later the book became Can I Touch Your Hair?.

Can I Touch Your Hair? has received two starred reviews and has been used in grade school, middle school, and even high school classrooms across the country to facilitate open and honest conversations about race. I asked Irene, Charles, and Carol to share how they created this incredible, sensitive book and also how the book has been received by young readers. Here is their conversation.

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Poetry, Race, and Art: A Conversation with Selina Alko, Sean Qualls, and Nina Crews

By Carol Hinz, Editorial Director of Millbrook Press and Carolrhoda Books

While working on the books Can I Touch Your Hair? Poems of Race, Mistakes, and Friendship and Seeing into Tomorrow: Poems by Richard Wright, I couldn’t help noticing commonalities between the two.

Both are volumes of poetry and both explore race and identity. Yet the books differ as well—Can I Touch Your Hair? is primarily for kids in grades 4 and above and has multiple contributors—it’s co-written by Irene Latham and Charles Waters and co-illustrated by Sean Qualls and Selina Alko—and Seeing into Tomorrow could easily be shared with preschoolers on up and was compiled and illustrated by Nina Crews. Read More

Can I Touch Your Hair? Webcast + Q&A with Selina Alko, Charles Waters, and Irene Latham

Last week, three of the four creators of Can I Touch Your Hair? Poems of Race, Mistakes, and Friendship took part in a special Horn Book live webcast. Charles Waters, Irene Latham, and Selina Alko discussed how their new picture book came to be with The Horn Book‘s Roger Sutton. You can listen to the webcast here.

They also answered audience questions, but there were quite a few questions they didn’t have a chance to answer in the 45-minute webcast. We thought they’d make a great blog post! So, here are their answers along with a few spreads from the book.  Read More