In the best collaborations, creative individuals push themselves to work with new media and singular, wild things issue forth. Jeff Antebi of Waxploitation Records has managed to create just this kind of magic in his book, Stories for Ways and Means....more
Posts Tagged: children’s literature
90s kids probably remember Goosebumps, the popular series of children’s horror novellas that put kid protagonists in all manner of spooky situations. Author R.L. Stine took to Reddit for an AMA last week, holding forth on questions like “Do you write out fully sketched profiles of characters before you start the plot?” and “Why the war on bedtime?” He also shares whether he liked those R.L....more
German children’s book author Thomas Mac Pfeifer spent over a year interviewing children who had migrated to Germany from war-stricken countries such as Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan with the purpose of hearing and collecting their favorite bedtime stories into one book, Ein Stern, der in dein Fenster schaut (“A star that peers through your window”)....more
Nobel Peace Prize winner and teenage activist Malala Yousafzai is still fighting nonstop for empowerment and education with her forthcoming project, a picture book meant to encourage children to create change in the world around them. Malala’s Magic Pencil—”[i]nspired by her own childhood wish… to help make the world a better place”—is to be released in Fall 2017, Kristian Wilson reports for Bustle....more
The Fuller Cut in Ypsilanti, Michigan is offering $2 discounts to kids who read a book to their barber during their haircuts. For NPR, Jennifer Guerra speaks with customers/readers and their parents, who not only are shaving a bit off their haircut budgets, but also have the extra opportunity to encourage reading and comprehension for their kids outside of school....more
Dolly Parton, pop culture’s resident “Book Lady,” has written a children’s book based off of one of her hits, “Coat of Many Colors.” The book is to be released on October 18, Robyn Collins for Radio.com reports. Coat of Many Colors will describe the story of a young Dolly who struggles with classism and bullying; the book will include a download of Parton’s new song, “Makin’ Fun Ain’t Funny.”...more
These and many other stories hope to remind us that the freedom to choose our own reading is a form of resistance against the looming threat of a totalitarian state…
YA literature has situated itself as one of the most influential genres in publishing, with more adults reading YA than ever, and young adults being the most “literate” demographic....more
Last week, Carla Hayden was sworn in as the 14th Librarian of Congress, making her the first woman and the first African-American in the position. Hayden talked with Jeffrey Brown of PBS Newshour about the challenges of her new position, and her favorite children’s book, Bright April by Marguerite de Angeli, a story about a young girl who experiences racial discrimination....more
Take a stroll through the storybook town of Great Missenden, a tiny village in the county of Buckinghamshire in Britain, and the home of children’s literature’s grand-wizard, Roald Dahl, in the latter half of his life. For Hazlitt, Michael Hingston tours Great Missenden and reflects on the similarities between the little town and the settings in Dahl’s books, which became increasingly rural and homey as he neared the end of his career and life....more
Over at the Los Angeles Review of Books, Kelly Blewett retraces a fragment of the long-needed queer history of children books:
Nordstrom was also queer. Although it seems she rarely mixed her private life with her professional one, a number of the most famous writers whom she published were queer, too, including Brown, Fitzhugh, and Sendak.
Not a day goes by that there isn’t some new study on how children’s brains work and what kind of media they should be consuming, With all the scientifically backed books out there now, it’s good to also have some children’s literature that’s still about introducing them to what stories can do....more
Children’s literature as a genre has grown exponentially from early morality-racked lesson books to modern goofy masterpieces such as Captain Underpants—how did we switch from Order to Nonsense, and have we completely switched over? At Slate, Katy Waldman sits down with literary critic and professor Seth Lerer to discuss the evolution of children’s literature and the indefinable nature of the genre....more
Forbes walks through the colorful and boundless career of Dolly Parton, pop icon, writer, actress, entrepreneur, and “Book Lady.” Following a childhood dream, Parton created The Imagination Library, which is about to reach the landmark of distributing over 100 million books to children worldwide since 1995....more
A recent study has revealed that low-income neighborhoods in Detroit, Washington, DC, and Los Angeles, are lacking in children’s books in their schools, stores, and libraries, creating “book deserts” for children living in poverty. Limited access to opportunities for reading has serious repercussions for these children in both their personal and educational development, Phys Org reports....more
If I can’t remember the words themselves, I can easily remember how I felt as I read them. And that’s always been my goal as a writer: to make readers feel as if they are in the world I’ve created, and that they want to stay there.
The American Library Association’s Pura Belpré Awards just had its 20th anniversary this past weekend, celebrating two decades of outstanding Latino writers and illustrators who create books for Latino children and teens. The Monitor reported on the event, which featured dozens of prominent Latino authors and illustrators whose work has showcased and celebrated Latino culture, heritage, and experience with the hopes of instilling pride in young Latino readers....more
Children’s literature’s most beloved rambunctious primate, Curious George, has a new installment in his adventures, and this time he’s curious about a holiday most Americans remain clueless about: the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. The Huffington Post reflects on the timeliness of It’s Ramadan, Curious George in light of increasing Islamophobia in American culture....more
As a child, I loved it when a book took me somewhere else. I still do, but I’m more surprised and grateful now to be transported by words on a page from one world to another. Perhaps because, as grown-ups, we value what is harder won.
At the New Yorker, Colin Stokes lauds the classic Frog and Toad’s “amphibious celebration of same-sex love” and discusses the ways in which it may have been inspired by Arnold Lobel’s life experiences:
Lobel never publicly discussed a connection between the series and his sexuality, but he did comment on the ways in which personal material made its way into his stories… Knowing the strains of sadness in Lobel’s life story gives his simple and elegant stories new poignancies.
At the Atlantic, Bert Clere reflects on Arnold Lobel’s children’s books, Frog and Toad and Owl at Home, the lessons these stories try to teach, and the representation of the self in each of them:
Although Frog and Toad’s world is perhaps more pastoral than that of their average reader, most can recognize and relate to the situations the duo find themselves in.
Graeme Whiting, headmaster of the Acorn School (motto: “Have courage for the truth”) of Nailsworth, Great Britain, recently published a blog post condemning “sensational” fantasy novels such as the Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and Hunger Games series that feature “dark,” “insensitive,” and “addictive” subjects....more
Everything make sense if you’re an artist.
At the Dallas Observer, Caroline North exchanged a few words with current US Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera, who is kicking off his second term with a book tour and several forthcoming projects, including The Technicolor Adventures of Catalina Neon, a series of coloring books written by and for elementary-aged kids, with the goal of introduction children to the power of finding their voice through the written word....more
Beverly Cleary guided generations of girls and boys alike through the rocky, messy, color- and dream-filled days of childhood with her long-running Ramona series, which manages to stay at the forefront of the children’s literary scene even fifty years after the release of its first installment in 1955....more
This year’s children’s literature has some exceptional bonafides. Over the next few months, a number of acclaimed novelists, including Jane Smiley and Elena Ferrante, will be publishing children’s books. Whether a five-year-old can distinguish between literary and genre fiction, only time will tell....more
As much as we cherish the books from our childhood, there is no denying that some of the stories are just a little (or a lot) racist. But how do we reconcile this truth?
They were the feckless prisoners of their times, and much as we’d like for people in the past to share our enlightenment, especially people we otherwise admire, it’s just not going to happen in an unfortunate number of cases.
For Aeon, Tiffany Jenkins writes on the importance of secrets in a person’s individual development. In addition to psychological and sociological research, Jenkins traces the vital role secrets and secret-keeping plays in classical children’s literature....more
Over at the Atlantic, Colleen Gillard takes a critical look at the differences between British and American children’s stories. While British stories for children tend to be rooted in fantasy and folklore, she writes, American children’s classics tend to be more grounded in realism....more
The Library of Congress is, for the first time, naming a graphic novelist as the Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. The honor goes to Gene Luen Yang, author of the graphic novels American Born Chinese and Boxers & Saints, among others....more