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Featured books by Leonard Marcus

Reading Rockets recommends the following books by Leonard Marcus.

Golden Legacy: How Golden Books Won Children's Hearts, Changed Publishing Forever, and Became An American Icon Along the Way

By: Leonard Marcus
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

This well-researched book is a lively cultural history of the Western Publishing Company and their bold WWII experiment to create affordable books for children. Learn, too, about the exceptionally talented writers and illustrators who helped create such a memorable series.

Margaret Wise Brown: Awakened by the Moon

By: Leonard Marcus
Age Level: Adult
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Using original source material, letters, and interviews with people who knew her, Marcus creates a compelling picture of the unusual woman who re-invented children’s picture books, especially with her enduring classics, The Runaway Bunny and Goodnight Moon.

Minders of Make-Believe: Idealists, Entrepreneurs, and the Shaping of American Children's Literature

By: Leonard Marcus
Age Level: Adult
Reading Level: Independent Reader

This thoroughly researched and compelling history looks at the editors, authors, librarians, and booksellers who helped answer the provocative and centuries-old question: What should children read? Discover how landmark children’s books like The New England Primer, The Cat in the Hat, and The Chocolate Wars helped define children, families, and the culture of their times.

Pass it Down: Five Picture Book Families Make Their Mark

By: Leonard Marcus
Age Level: Adult
Reading Level: Family

Conversations with families provide insight and information into how books are created and the intergenerational impact of illustrating and writing them. From the Rockwells, the Crews/Jonas family, the Pinkneys, the Myers', and the Hurds – talent seems to run in the family!

Show Me a Story!: Why Picture Books Matter: Conversations with 21 of the World's Most Celebrated Illustrators

By: Leonard Marcus
Age Level: Teen
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Renowned children’s literature authority Leonard S. Marcus speaks with their creators and others — twenty-one of the world’s most celebrated authors and illustrators — and asks about their childhood, their inspiration, their determination, their mentors, their creative choices, and more. Amplifying these richly entertaining and thought-provoking conversations are eighty-eight full-color plates revealing each illustrator’s artistic process from sketch to near-final artwork in fascinating, behind-the-scenes detail.

The Annotated Phantom Tollbooth

By: Leonard Marcus, Norton Juster, Jules Feiffer
Age Level: Teen
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Leonard Marcus, a nationally acclaimed writer on children's literature, has created a richly annotated edition of this perennial favorite. Marcus's expansive annotations include interviews with the author and illustrator, illuminating excerpts from Juster's notes and drafts, cultural and literary commentary, and Marcus's own insights on the book.

The Wand in the Word: Conversations with Writers of Fantasy

By: Leonard Marcus
Age Level: Teen
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Marcus presents in-depth interviews with 13 renowned fantasy writers, including Susan Cooper, Nancy Farmer, Brian Jacques, Tamora Pierce, and Philip Pullman. Marcus unearths some common threads (many were inspired early on by J.R.R. Tolkien, for example) and elicits advice to aspiring writers. From Ursula Le Guin: "Read. Write. Read. Write. Go on reading. Go on writing,"

Ways of Telling: Fourteen Interviews With the Masters of the Art of the Picture Book

By: Leonard Marcus
Age Level: Teen
Reading Level: Independent Reader

"A picture book is a dialogue between two worlds: the world of images and the world of words," says Marcus in this lively inside look at the creative work of 14 children’s book writers and illustrators. Maurice Sendak, Rosemary Wells, Robert McCloskey, Charlotte Zolotow, James Marshall are among those who are interviewed.

Interested in wonderful interviews with tween and teen authors? Hop on over to our sister site, AdLit.org, and browse the library.

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"There is no substitute for books in the life of a child." — May Ellen Chase