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Authors & illustrators

An exquisite corpse?

Lots of people know the work of Jon Scieszka, Katherine Paterson, and illustrator Chris Van Dusen. But last weekend at the National Book Festival, a group of well known writers for children and young adults discussed their Exquisite Corpse.

Book to screen

Children's books have inspired creators of other media for a long time. You can probably come up with many television programs inspired by characters who first appeared in print: Rosemary Well's Max and Ruby; Angelina, based on the mice-children created by Katharine Holabird, and Marc Brown's ever popular aardvark Arthur are just the start.

A time to remember

The anniversary of 9/11 is here. The impact continues to be felt in subtle and not so subtle ways. One day changed our society and frankly, our world — the world of our children.

Older children and adults can grasp — to some degree at least — what caused these changes. But young children don't have the reservoir of experience to make sense of it.

When 9/11 first happened, my son returned to books in which the weak were able to gain power over stronger forces. To him, books provided a sense of control.

You can't let your failures define you

"You can't let your failures define you — you have to let them teach you. You have to let them show you what to do differently next time." What an important and powerful message for students from President Obama.

What's in a backpack?

My son started school today. Even though he's in high school, some things never change.

He packed up his backpack neatly and with great care, filled with clean notebooks, capped pens, and uncluttered with superfluous papers.

That'll soon change — and has ever since my well-organized, basically neatnik son got his first backpack in 2nd grade.

Mission Impossible meets Viola Swamp

What happens when a perfectly dreadful adult is forced to deal with a talented albeit unusual group of children? A very funny, offbeat book by Newbery Medalist Paul Fleischman called The Dunderheads (Candlewick).

Roar (and more)

Imagine…a small mouse being chased by a hungry owl disturbs a fierce looking lion. The lion, however, release the mouse only to be caught up in a rope trap himself. When the mouse hears the lion's roar, what does he do?

If you've read the "Lion and the Mouse," a fable credited to Aesop or even a tale called "Androcles and the Lion" (in a collection by Joseph Jacobs now long out of print) then you know it's been around for a while, a long while.

Listen to the wind! One person can change the world

Children often feel powerless. Can reading about one person's dedication to an idea turned into action empower young people?

I think the approach of Listen to the Wind: The Story of Dr. Greg & Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and Susan Roth (who also illustrated the book; published by Dial) does that and more.

Whodunnit? Spring break mysteries

Both girls, Molly (8) and Anna (6), are obsessed with mysteries right now, and they spent most of their spring break tearing through several. It started awhile back when they stumbled into the Boxcar Children series.

A birthday of note

Forty is a milestone for anyone, but it's especially impressive for a something that started out small, grew with each morsel consumed, went away for a while, and emerged to fly.

As you've probably guessed, it's the small green, very hungry, and ever-popular caterpillar, of course.

Pages

"The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you'll go." — Dr. Seuss