Hi ho. Time to round-up what Jules and I have been up to over at our Wild Things blog (book promotion for bloggers means more blogging, you see). Here’s the long and short of what you may have missed:
Whew! We’re busy little bees, aren’t we?
- Tra la! It’s coming! The greatest conference of children’s and YA literary bloggers is coming! And Liz Burns not only has the info but also the reason such an event is cool. Quoth she: “What I love about KidLitCon is it’s about the bloggers. Full stop. That is the primary purpose and mission of KidLitCon. It’s about what the bloggers care about. Oh, there may be authors and publishers there, presenting, and that can be great and amazing. But it’s not about them. They are there to support the blogging community: they are not there saying, what can the blogging community do for us.” Amen, sister. Preach! By the way, the theme this year is Blogging Diversity in Young Adult and Children’s Lit: What’s Next? Be there or be square.
- So there’s a new Children’s Book Review Editor at the New York Times and by some strange quirk of fate her name is NOT alliterative (note Julie Just, Pamela Paul, and Sarah Smith). Her name? Maria Russo. Which pretty much means I’ll be tracking her like a bloodhound at the next Eric Carle Honors event. Trouble is, we don’t wear nametags at that event so I’ll probably be the crazy lady grabbing all the women, staring intently into their eyes. Wouldn’t be the first time.
I blame Saving Mr. Banks. One little children’s writer biopic comes out where the writer isn’t seen as all kittens and sunshine (I still loathe you Miss Potter and Finding Neverland) and all hell breaks loose. Now we hear that McG is going to do a Shel Silverstein biopic on the one hand and that there are plans to examine the relationship between C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien on the other. I’m just counting the minutes until someone tackles Margaret Wise Brown or the whole Anne-Carroll-Moore-didn’t-like-Stuart-Little story (which you just KNOW is in the works somewhere).
- Speaking of films, when I heard that Alan Snow’s delightful Here Be Monsters was being turned into a film called The Boxtrolls I was incredulous. That book? The one I couldn’t get kids to even look at until they made a blue paperback version? I mean I liked it (it came out in a year when sentient cheese was all the rage in children’s literature) but how long was this film in production for crying out loud? Doesn’t matter because according to iO9 it’s brilliant. Good to know.
- So Phil Nel, our ever intrepid professor with a hankering for children’s literature, went to ComicCon. Best of all, he’s willing to report his findings to us (so that we don’t have to go!). Read up on Part 1, Part 2 (my favorite for the cameo of Bananaman), Part 3, and Part 4. Phil was there promoting his Barnaby books (which he co-edited with Eric Reynolds). These include Barnaby Volume One: 1942-1943 (2013) and Barnaby Volume Two: 1944-1945 (2014).
- Did I know that Amanda Palmer wrote a song about what she owes to Judy Blume? I do now.
- This is what separates the true fangirls from the poseurs. Thanks to the CBC for the link.
- Two Little Free Libraries have sprung up near my home across the street from the Harlem branch of NYPL. I couldn’t be more pleased because they mean just one thing to me . . . a place to give away my books!!! Culling books is terribly enjoyable. It’s also part of BookRiot’s incredibly useful post 8 Tips for Moving When You Have a Ton of Books.
Two words. Bookish shoes. My personal favorites include . . .
Remember, by the way, that my sister told you how to make some of these yourself. Thanks to Mom for the link.
In the mess we call home, there was an iphone and a starbucks cup and a beanbag with a tired bloodhound pup and there was one teen girl, with wavy curls and two preteens making scenes and a daddy on the computer, a champion “tooter’ and a fight with food – what manners.. how rude! […]
* NOTE: The above is from an interview that was featured in UCSD Extension's Blog last fall, just before I began teaching the on-line version of my class, "Illustrating Books for Children"/Winter 2013 Quarter. — JC
#4 Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Clement Moore (1947)
Well, it’s a classic for a reason. – Joanne Rousseau
This one I can still recite even though I last read at least 10 or more years ago. Again a classic that will endure and delight for a long time to come. – Christine Kelly
My daughter had this book read to her every night from the womb until she was almost 3. When I think of perfect bedtime stories, this is at the top of the list. – DeAnn Okamura
Time and again my readers would tell me that they loved this book because of what it did to their children. In March 1953, this book was spotlighted in Child Behavior, a syndicated parental-advice column with what I consider the sentence that defines this book. “It captures the two-year-old so completely that it seems almost unlawful that you can hypnotize a child off to sleep as easily as you can by reading this small classic.” And millions of parents walk around feeling guilt free.
A description of the plot (such as it is) courtesy of The Christian Science Monitor: “A little rabbit bids goodnight to each familiar thing in his moonlit room. Rhythmic, gently lulling words combined with warm and equally lulling pictures make this beloved classic an ideal bedtime book.”
The reference book I should really have on hand for this (and don’t) is Awakened by the Moon by Leonard Marcus, the definitive Margaret Wise Brown biography. I do not own it as I was never a Goodnight Moon fan (oh yeah, I said it!). In lieu of that, we shall have to look at other books instead for our info. 100 Best Books for Children makes note of the fact that when Clement Hurd first illustrated this book he made the boy and the grandmother human. This was changed into bunnies at a later date. And at editor Ursula Nordstrom’s suggestion the udders on the cow also became less anatomically correct (which is strange considering that Nordstrom would later defend the very human anatomical parts found in In the Night Kitchen).
Nothing popular is without controversy. Even something as sweet and innocent as Goodnight Moon. In the case of this book we have two controversial topics to refer to. #1 involves illegitimate children and an unworthy heir. #2 is the case of a missing cigarette.
Let’s look at #1 first. I’d consider the pedigree of this story sketchy, were it not so bloody well written. Apparently the article Runaway Money: A Children’s Classic, A 9-Year-Old-Boy And a Fateful Bequest appeared in The Wall Street Journal, though the sole copy I can find online appears on the reporter’s website. The long and the short of it is that Margaret Wise Brown willed a neighbor’s child as the benefactor of some of her books. Amongst them, Goodnight Moon. And for this particular kid, there couldn’t possibly have been a worse gift to give. It’s fascinating. Particularly when you get to his dubious claims regarding Ms. Brown’s relationship to himself.
Controversy #2 – Clement Hurd and his penchant for the smokes. Cast your minds back to 2005. An innocent time. A time when Harper Collins decided that maybe it would be a good idea to remove the cigarette from illustrator Clement Hurd’s photograph. CNET Ne
‘Charlotte’s Web’ tops the list of the 100 best books for kids (according to Scholastic’s Parent & Child magazine. Many of our favorites made the list, including the classics “Goodnight Moon” and “A Wrinkle In Time.” Did your... Read the rest of this post
Lotso hotso news today, folks. I hardly know where to begin. Let’s start with the big news that the illustrious editor Margaret K. McElderry passed away recently. I had mentioned The McElderry Book of Greek Myths in my Valentine’s Day post earlier this week. Maybe she was on my mind. In any case, there’s a great New York Times piece from 1997 on her. I’m fond of it, not least because Eden Ross Lispon mentions four books McElderry edited right off the bat and they are ”The Borrowers”, ”Ginger Pye”, ”The Dark Is Rising”, and ”The Changeover.” The Changevoer!! The book I keep hoping will be reprinted soon so as to leap on the Twilight train while there’s still time! In any case, I was unaware that Ms. McElderry worked in my own children’s room for years. Good to know. Fellow librarian and novelist Sara Ryan offers her own remembrance of Ms. McElderry and The New York Times wrote up one as well. Dunno that they needed to include the idea that We’re Going on a Bear Hunt is “un-P.C.” Um . . . maybe if you’re Stephen Colbert, but what precisely is “un-P.C.” about that book again? It’s not like Oxenbury depicted the kids packing heat, after all.
- In other news the Cybils Awards (the only awards awarded by bloggers) for children’s and YA literature were announced this week. The Cybils strive to balance great writing with child-friendliness. With those in mind I think their selections were top notch. You can see all the winners here. This year none of the books I nominated made the final cut, but I see that frequent commenter on this blog Eric Carpenter got TWO of his books on there! Well played, Eric. Well played indeed.
- I like it when my favorite folks end up linking to one another. I couldn’t have been more shocked, though, with a recent posting by Kate Beaton. She was writing a comic about Ada Lovelace (and where is the children’s biography on the fact that the first computer programmer was a woman, by the way?) and then mentioned in her notes that there were some Jules Verne illustrations out there that were “definitely worth a look”. I love me my Verne, and lo and behold who did Kate link to but none other than Ward Jenkins, he of this season’s Chicks Run Wild (by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen). Ward speaks of Jules Verne: The Man Who Invented the Future by Franz Born, illustrated by Peter P. Plasencia circa 1964. Worth your time.
- Carbon dating jackets with headless girls and cupcakes. The book that proves that kids will buy a hardcover to infinity if they like it (and no, it’s not Wimpy Kid).
There’s nothing more exciting than meeting a new small person who has embarked on the adventure of exploring the world–and that was the gift I was given when my buddies from Brooklyn came to town with their ten-month-old son. It was sheer, unadulterated joy to see Charlie enchant an entire coffeehouse without making a sound, simply through the radiance of his smile and the bouncing enthusiasm of his little body. He knows that everyone he sees will soon be his friend, and the delight that he finds in everything around him makes him irresistible.
Charlie’s father is a writer, and Charlie’s mother and I love many of the same books, so of course I wanted to know what have they read to Charlie? And of course, their answer was a story.
It was the end of the day and Charlie and his mother were snuggled together, when she realized that this was the perfect evening for their first bedtime story. She found Goodnight Moon, arranged the pillows on her bed to the proper level of support and comfort, placed the book so that Charlie would be able to appreciate the pictures while she read–and then Charlie’s father entered the room.
” Are you going to read Charlie his first bedtime story?” he asked, and then said, “No–wait.” He went off to his bookshelves and came back with the perfect words for his son’s introduction to the ritual of bedtime reading. That night Charlie’s parents prepared him for sleep by reading him The Odyssey.
As a parent who read Out of Africa, The Wasteland, and A Child’s Christmas in Wales aloud to my infant sons, I understood and loved this story. When we introduce our babies to words read aloud, we want those words to resonate, to imprint our children with the majesty of literature–then from there we turn to more conventional choices that are filled with color and delight and pleasure.
It’s no wonder that people not only love books, they are deeply attached to them. For many of us, being read to is one of our first memories, and our love for language on a page is intertwined with our memories of being warm, being snuggled, being secure, and being loved.
What was the first book you read aloud to your child?
Speaking of Mr. Snicket, what's he been up to these days? Apparently he's been reading to his three-year-old child, and it's crystal clear that the man does not like what he sees.
He’s loath to name titles, but we do get talking about that old standby Goodnight Moon. “It’s actually a pretty creepy book - I mean, good night noises everywhere? It’s not really a harmless book. It’s quite beautiful, but very strange.
“But what my son appreciates most is the presence of a train.” I offer a development theory I’ve heard, that says boys progress from interest in trains to cars to planes. “I haven’t read much of the mumbo jumbo behind it,” Handler replies. “I just wish I was as sure as he is about what automatically makes a good book.”
A very big thank you to Big A little a
for the link.
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, childrens books
, Desperate Husbands
, Dolphin Diaries
, Goodnight Moon
, Laurence Wall
, listener reviews
, Mostly News