Librarian Edith Edi Campbell posted to her Facebook page about “Large Fears,” a Kickstarter-funded children’s book for queer black boys, “I would say there are so few books for queer black boys, but there are too few books for all our marginalized young people.” Children’s writer Meg Rosoff responded: “There are not too few books for marginalised young people. There are hundreds of them, thousands of them. You don’t have to read about a queer black boy to read a book about a marginalised child. The children’s book world is getting far too literal about what ‘needs’ to be represented. You don’t read Crime and Punishment to find out about Russian criminals. Or Alice and Wonderland to know about rabbits. Good literature expands your mind. It doesn’t have the ‘job’ of being a mirror.” [more inside]
"Why so Poky? The scourge of terrible canonical children’s books." by Gabriel Roth, Slate
Reading to one’s children is, as everyone knows, one of the great pleasures of parenthood. I love the creaturely warmth of my daughter snuggled up close and the feeling of giving her something intrinsically human and necessary. And Eliza loves being read to. She enjoys the stories and the pictures, but more than that, I think, she responds to the mental intimacy: the knowledge that she and I are looking at the same pages and interpreting the same sentences. It’s a balm for the terrible isolation that arrives around age 2, along with language and self-consciousness—the knowledge that one’s experience is inescapably private. And so the time I spend reading to her can feel, for both of us, like communion.[more inside]
John D. Fitzgerald had written three fictionalized memoirs of his family's life in the late 19th-century Utah west before the night he happened to regale a group of friends with childhood stories of his money-crazed brother, Tom. At their urging, he crafted a funny and clever series of children's books chronicling the adventures of The Great Brain. Like countless other readers, the blogger and researcher behind Finding Fitzgerald (and its companion blog and Facebook page) has been fascinated with discovering the real settings and stories behind the books. And the truly committed can even watch Jimmy Osmond in the 1978 film adaptation.
Historical versions of Aesop's fables - text and pictures - collected by Laura Gibbs. She gives thousands of historic texts in English, Latin, and Greek, but even better, has Flickr sets of the historic illustrations (that page is sorted by artist) from editions by Rackham, Caldecott, and other artists going back to the 1400s. [more inside]
When I was watching "children's programming" in the USA circa 1970s I had Romper Room Captain Kangaroo Sesame Street Electric Company Zoom Great Space Coaster Kids Incorporated ... as well as Patches&Pockets (Previously) [more inside]
William Taylor Adams, a progressive Massachusetts educator and one term legislator, was once a household name in populist fiction under his nom de plume Oliver Optic. [more inside]
The work of Leo and Diane Dillon is on display in Brooklyn. I was tempted to find more of their art after noticing the cover they did for A Wrinkle in Time. [more inside]
David Brooks is very excited about the results reported by the Harlem Children's Zone. But do the statistics back up his excitement?
Military Weaponry for Kids Is a Flickr photoset of scans from a Chinese children's coloring (and character art practice) book.
Dark is Rising (Amazon link) by Susan Cooper. This book, about an 11 year old boy, was given to me by my oldest sister when I turned 11. Now that I have kids of my own, I look forward to passing this book on to my son when he turns 11. Any other age-appropriate books that stand out in your mind, particularly if given when you were the age of the lead character?