Category Archives: Children’s Literature

Davis shows the NYTimes what’s what

Last October, the NYTimes told everyone that picture books are on their way out. Picture books are in a slump, but it’s just because the Baby Boomer’s kids (which, if you do the math, means we were a boom, too), are now reading YA, not picture books.

So a library in Davis, CA devoted the entire month of February to picture books, getting people of all ages to enjoy them. Then they sent a 15 foot long scroll to the NYTimes editors, telling them how wrong they were! Love it.

I read the NYTimes religiously, but seriously, sometimes they just spew things because they think no one will question it.


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Filed under Awesome Finds, Children's Literature

Noticing new things when reading a book for the nth time is my happy thought

I have read To Kill a Mockingbird about five times. Love. That. Book. But I always struggled with the freaking year it’s set in. I always thought it was the thirties, but so many people told me it was the turn of the century, or the forties, or even the fifties, and I was never sure.

But now I’m reading it again for my awesome independent study, and I found this line: “But it was a time of vague optimism for some of the people: Maycomb County had recently been told that it had nothing to fear but fear itself.”

Oh, to write so eloquently as to state the year without ever stating the year. Oh, to be able to write a book that requires five readings before finding that amazing line, just because all the other lines are so great that they can’t all be caught the first time through.

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Filed under Children's Literature, Magical Writing

Being simultaneously productive and lazy is my happy thought

Best thing about reading being pretty much all I do for homework: I’ve already worked for almost five hours today and I haven’t gotten out of bed. What? You mean the real world isn’t like this, even if I do become an editor?

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Filed under Children's Literature, School

Finding a happy thought at the bottom of a very large pile of unhappiness is my happy thought

So today was one big pile of unhappy. Eight hours of sifting through very thick files to find contracts, unstacking and restacking boxes, having said boxes fall on your head when trying to get them off of the top of bookshelves, sneezing nonstop because said boxes full of said files haven’t been opened in up to six years and coming home with hands covered in paper cuts does not a happy thought make.

But then, right as I was almost done and about to leave, it turned out the second to last box of files wasn’t a box of files at all, but a box of YA books! And these were copies of the book that I’ve been told I could have if I could find it, but I couldn’t. But today I did! Worth eight hours of sifting through files and 27 paper cuts? Um, I’m not going to think about it.

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Filed under Children's Literature, Interning

Magical Writing: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

“Look at all these books,” he said.

“There aren’t that many,” I said. It was a small library in a small high school in a small town.

“There are three thousand four hundred and twelve books here,” Gordy said. “I know that because I counted them.”

“Okay, now you’re officially a freak,” I said.

“Yes, it’s a small library. It’s a tiny one. But if you read one of these books a day, it would still take you almost ten years to finish.”

“What’s your point?”

“The world, even the smallest parts of it, is filled with things you don’t know.”

Wow. That was a huge idea.

Any town, even one as small as Reardan, was a place of mystery. And that meant Wellpinit, that smaller, Indian town, was also a place of mystery.

“Okay, so it’s like each of these books is a mystery. Every book is a mystery. And if you read all the books ever written, it’s like you’ve read one giant mystery. And no matter how much you learn, you just keep on learning there is so much more you need to learn.”

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Filed under Children's Literature, Magical Writing

Magical Writing: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time

And when I was asleep I had one of my favorite dreams. Sometimes I have it during the day, but then it’s a day-dream. But I often have it at night as well.

And in the dream nearly everyone on the earth is dead, because they have caught a virus. But it’s not like a normal virus. It’s like a computer virus. And people catch it because of the meaning of something an infected person says and the meaning of what they do with their faces when they say it, which means that people can also get it from watching an infected person on television, which means that it spreads around the world really quickly….

And eventually there is no one left in the world except people who don’t look at other people’s faces and who don’t know what these pictures mean

and these people are all special people like me. And they like being on their own and I hardly ever see them because they are like okapi in the jungle in Congo, which are a kind of antelope and very shy and rare.

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Filed under Children's Literature, Magical Writing

Magical Writing: The Catcher in the Rye

“The funny thing is, though, I was sort of thinking of something else while I shot the bull. I live in New York, and I was thinking about the lagoon in Central Park, down near Central Park South. I was wondering if it would be frozen over when I got home, and if it was, where did the ducks go. I was wondering where the ducks went when the lagoon got all icy and frozen over. I wondered if some guy came in a truck and took them away to a zoo or something. Or if they just flew away.” – p.13

“I remember I asked old Childs if he thought Judas, the one that betrayed Jesus and all, went to Hell after he committed suicide. Childs said certainly. That’s exactly where I disagreed with him. I said I’d bet a thousand bucks that Jesus never sent old Judas to Hell. I still would, too, if I had a thousand bucks. I think any one of the Disciples would’ve sent him to Hell and all-and fast, too-but I’ll bet anything Jesus didn’t do it. Old Childs said the trouble with me was that I didn’t go to church or anything.” -p. 100

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Filed under Children's Literature, Magical Writing