Had a wonderful day with great friend (and former boss) Betsy Hearne at the Eric Carle on Saturday. Together we led a little lunchtime discussion–I started it by asking Betsy what she found to be most different about children’s books from when she became a librarian in the late sixties and now. She had a one-word answer: money. We went on to discuss the picture book boom that was going when we began working together in the late 1980s, and how it compared to the YA boom of recent years. (My thoughts about that can be found here.) After a break in which Richard discovered the joys of the Carle shop aka the Grandpa Trap, we went to the lecture hall, where Betsy linked her long-standing interest in “Beauty and the Beast” with a more global perspective on how the stories people learn–and make from their own lives–continue the creation of folklore even over the electronic pathways.
The sadness of saying goodbye to Betsy was mitigated by the fact that we will see each other this Friday at the Zena Sutherland Lecture (Neil Gaiman this year; I would have plugged it here but it sold out quickly) in Chicago, PLUS we stopped at the fabulous Atkins Farms before hitting the turnpike. (Fresh blueberry pie at home, and there’s a pound of fudge in the Horn Book kitchen.)
Saturday night we took the other pound of fudge and our friend Kirk to see the newly 3-D Titanic, the Twilight of its day. I still don’t get why Rose didn’t just move the hell over and let Jack on the raft.