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Authors & illustrators

The fun begins at summer camp

As summer gets underway, lots of children prepare for what is often the first time away from home — a sleep-away camp: lots of outdoor activities (swimming, archery, hiking — more?), camp fires, camaraderie and independence.

Sleep-away camps can be a fine way to allow children to connect with nature and start to figure thing out alone (though with guidance, of course). It can be downright transformative.

All children should have a camp experience. If it can't be gotten in person, then maybe the next best thing is to vicariously experience camp.

Keep 'em laughing all summer long

Do you ever drag your feet when someone tells you absolutely must do something — especially when it's supposed to be "good" for you? I know I do —and so do lots of young people. Call it human nature. Call it whatever, but foot-dragging can be a real drag on summer learning especially for children who associate books exclusively with school.

Maybe a different approach can help: a carrot rather than the old stick. The potential for a chuckle rather than a push?

How books can open minds

During a school visit recently I met classes of 3rd and 5th graders to talk about authors and illustrators, share some of their books and highlight some of their advice for young readers. I talked to the children about what they would do if they were in a position similar to those that book characters were placed.

The power of story

A friend and colleague was telling me recently about a project that her son was working on and the power of a book they shared had on his thinking.

Informational picture books in preK

The lasting impact of early childhood education has been known for a long, long time. The first three years of a child's life are crucial to their development socially, emotionally, and educationally.

We've gotten the word from pediatricians like T. Berry Brazelton and child development specialists such as Burton White. They provide evidence for what teachers already know.

Were they really the good old days?

It's not at all unusual to hear adults lament the loss of the "good old days." Memories are, of course, filtered and perhaps even reworked over time.

I know I've had fond memories of books that I read and adored as a child blown away when I reread them as an adult. (As a child, I identified with Peter Pan, never Wendy; but when I read it as an adult, I was shocked at Peter's take on Wendy's role and how she embraced that role. I won't even mention Barrie's treatment of Indians.)

It's that baseball time of year

It's that time of year! Baseball season has officially started. Little leaguers are playing, summer teams are forming, and lots of people are heading to major and minor league ballparks. (I just bought stamps commemorating major league ballplayers.)

From page to stage and beyond

There's nothing new about translating children's books and traditional stories into other mediums.

Who's not familiar with the Disney film adaptations of Cinderella, Snow White, and The Three Little Pigs? Live performances in children's theaters have often used children's books in their productions as do venues for families. It seems, too, that children's stories are becoming a staple of the Broadway stage.

Words to hold in your heart

I remember one day long ago my son came home from school and proudly recited a poem. His preschool teacher shared this poem in particular often — it was a class favorite — so often that my son committed it to memory. It was long and I remember my surprise the first time I heard him.

Spring voting

Spring is in the air — and that means more than just daffodils. It's time to read and cast votes for favorite books.

The Children's Book Council (CBC), a venerable trade association of publishers, counts down the days (hours, minutes, and seconds, too) to the national celebration of Children's Book Week.

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