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Maria Salvadore

Reading Rockets' children's literature expert, Maria Salvadore, brings you into her world as she explores the best ways to use kids' books both inside — and outside — of the classroom.

April is a notable month

April 21, 2011

April has been called the "cruelest month" (what else might one expect from a T.S. Eliot poem entitled "The Waste Land"?) but it is filled with wonderful surprises.

Not only is it month to celebrate poetry (even Eliot would be pleased). Poet Marilyn Singer has a lot to say about poetry and her new form called the "reverso."

We celebrate Earth Day, especially poignant given that this month is also the first anniversary of the Gulf oil spill. (Lynne Rowe Reed's Roscoe and the Pelican Rescue published by Holiday House gives younger children a glimpse at what it takes to save an animal effected by it — and providing readers with a bit of hope.)

And notably, Beverly Cleary celebrated her 95th birthday. What's notable about this birthday is that her characters, their problems, and the way they handle them are ageless. Ramona (sister to the long suffering Beezus) first appeared in a book of her own in 1968; Ramona the Pest (Perfection) has been read by several generations.

Cleary wrote in an earlier era but with a timelessness that is based in portraits of real people with real feelings that capture the drama in everyday life. The Ramona books are a fine reminder that life continues, that there is resolution for some problems that humor exists in those.

Alll this in spite of constant reminders from the media-saturated world and its seemingly endless problems. Like Ramona on her first day of kindergarten, let's each celebrate "a great [April] day!"

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"A book is like a garden, carried in the pocket." — Chinese Proverb