The bees are buzzing, the summer winds are soughing: It’s Canada Day
July 1, 2015
The bees are buzzing, the summer winds are soughing, so it must be time for that annual celebration of national identity: Canada Day. Although Canadians typically don’t make as much noise as we Americans do, I have found that they make excellent books, and this year is no exception. Join me for a quick tour.
Montreal author/illustrator Marie-Louise Gay has kicked off a new early-reader/chapter-book series about the indomitable Princess Pistachio, convinced she’s a member of the Papuan ...
The new video by Tad Hills, author of R IS For ROCKET
June 30, 2015
Tad Hills and Rocket
Adorable Rocket the dog and his many pals (including a moonlighting Goose) are returning in R Is for Rocket: An ABC Book, out on July 7. Author Tad Hills explains a bit about Rocket and his friends in this irresistible new video. We feel so sorry for Goose, who finds walking a little difficult. Check out Tad Hills’ new video!
In this era of #weneeddiversebooks, I have spent considerable time of late on a related deficiency: #weneeddiversereviewers. I'm not the only one. Partly because we are all conscious of the fact that America's public schools are now majority-brown, partly because we wonder whether having greater diversity in the workplace will help us find, create, and publicize those necessary diverse books, and partly because it's just the right thing to do, many in the children's-book industry have ...
The preternaturally smart teenage inventor was the product of many minds
June 9, 2015
The future has failed us. Or, better, we have failed the future. Where a century ago writers were imagining that in our time we would be growing oranges on Mars and zipping around our gleaming, crime-free cities in airmobiles, we can scarcely imagine a century ahead in which we are not besieged and marooned on a ruined planet, devolved into weird libertarian have and have-not tribes, and afraid for our very lives.
And that’s not even the dystopian literature of ...
A few words you won't find in our children's book reviews
May 25, 2015
Is this book "relatable"? Not everyone has a sibling.
Call me schoolmarm, call me bluestocking, call me dinosaur if you like. You can certainly call me a grammar fascist: I know what kind of written English I like, and by golly, I demand it. People who think about these things draw a distinction between prescriptive usage and descriptive usage, and I definitely place myself on the prescriptive end of this scale. But as an editor and sometime teacher, I daily find myself striking out the same words over and ...
For generations of Americans, the catchphrase was instantly recognizable: it was the Lone Ranger, of course. First thundering across the American West via radio in 1933, the character endured in the popular imagination for decades. Even though the radio show had long since been supplanted by the television show, which had itself been canceled for years, he lingered into my early-1970s childhood. I noticed by the late ’80s and early ’90s, though, that such indelible Lone Ranger–isms as “Hi-yo, Silver ...
For her latest book, author Rita Williams-Garcia, a self-described “city girl,” had to learn about milking a cow.
When driving through the Pennsylvania countryside to visit family, she noticed a young Amish man milking a cow. She pulled over. “He didn’t mind us watching,” she says. When she noticed the udders strained and full, she thought, “Oh, I get it. They really have to get up and milk those cows when there isn’t a calf around.” With ...
Remembering the writer who delighted in flawed humanity
April 15, 2015
Sir Terry Pratchett
Let us join hands and cry, “Waily, waily!” at the passing of Sir Terry Pratchett, a writer whose ability to elicit giggles and guffaws from his readers was equaled only by his passionate love for flawed humanity.
I came late to Pratchett, I must confess. I did not grow up on Discworld, and I have not actually read any of his books for adults. But I have read many of his books for children, and each one leaves me ...
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