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Picture books and early readers | class #2, 2016


Now that our first class is done, we can move on to some in-depth reading and discussing. Last week we got our feet wet with two picture books, one a classic and the other a wordless exploration of culture. For our second class on March 31, we will read two more picture books, two easy […]

Mr. Tiger Goes Wild | Class #2, 2016

Mr Tiger

Mr. Tiger’s relationship with good manners — and his clothes — reflects a reality for lots of young children. They can try to be good for a while, but afterwards they just have to take a break and be themselves. The urge to let it all hang out is an old literary tradition. Straight-laced Edwardian […]

That New Animal | Class #2, 2016

that new animal

Here’s another picture book for our second class. There are lots of books out there that tackle an emotional issue in a heavy handed way. I’m not a fan of those books, but I love this one. What do you think? Does it accomplish its goal? Would it appeal to a child in a similar […]

There Is a Bird On Your Head | Class #2, 2016


Mo Willems has become THE master of easy readers. With pre-book work including Sesame Street and animation, he had the perfect training to create child- and teacher-friendly easy readers. I think he deserves every one of his many awards. What do you notice in this deceptively simple book? What does he do with simple shapes […]

Ling and Ting | Class #2, 2016


This is one of two early readers (a.k.a. easy readers) for our second class. At the end of our last class, we talked about the difference between picture books and easy readers. How well do you think this book works in the early reader genre? Clearly it’s for somewhat more fluent readers than the Elephant […]

Picture This | Class #2, 2016

picture this

Molly Bang’s Picture This is her personal exploration as she works to analyze the emotional effects of art. Most illustrators go with their gut as they compose their pictures, but Molly wanted to see if there were some rules involved. An experienced illustrator, she says she began to understand art and composition better through this […]

Zetta Elliott at Harvard

zetta elliott

Last night I had the pleasure of finally meeting Zetta Elliott (whose “Decolonizing the Imagination,” from the March/April 2010 Horn Book Magazine, is a thought-provoking Writer’s Page article and one of the pieces featured in The Horn Book’s Black History Month 2016 series). She was speaking at the Harvard College Women’s Center right in Hahvahd […]

Children’s lit class starts this week


The first day of my children’s lit class at Harvard Ed School will be this Thursday, March 24. Once again, we are hoping you will all help us discuss our readings here on the blog. The students will be required to post comments (short ones, I hope!) and the more comments we can get from […]

Where the Wild Things Are | Class #1 2016

where the wild things are

For our first class this year, we are again reading Where the Wild Things Are, a picture book that is now a classic, but was controversial in its day. Every year there are a handful of students who have never read this book. For those who know it well, I’m interested in hearing whether you […]

Mirror by Jeannie Baker | Class #1, 2016


Wordless books present an interesting challenge to adults who share them with children. Is there a right way to read them? The great children’s literature specialist Rudine Sims Bishop has written about books for children needing to be both windows and mirrors. This book seems to me to be the epitome of that idea. There’s […]