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Picture books | class #1, fall 2016

For our first class on October 12, we will be reading two picture books and three articles. Where the Wild Things Are is a classic now, but when it was first published in 1963 it was controversial. If you knew this book as a child, what did you notice this time that you might not […]

Children’s lit class, fall 2016

I’ve been teaching children’s lit in the spring for the past few years, but this year we’re changing to the fall semester. So I’m giving up having a nice break between the end of last year’s class and the start of this year’s, but I’m gaining a chance to hold our mock awards at the […]

Jazz Day

It’s so exciting to see a book by a new illustrator that doesn’t look like anything that came before. It’s much more common to notice clear influences (Maurice Sendak, Quentin Blake, Leonard Weisgard…). In case you haven’t seen this book yet, it’s about that famous photo by Art Kane, “Harlem 1958,” showing fifty-seven jazz musicians […]

Happy birthday, dear Beatrix

On this 150th anniversary of Beatrix Potter‘s birth, I count myself lucky to have met a handful of people who knew her in her later years, when she was most decidedly not Beatrix Potter, but Mrs. William Heelis. By the time she married at age 47, she was beginning to put the “little books” behind […]

Bertha’s apartment

I just discovered some new Horn Book history trivia. While putting away some papers that have been piling up, I found a printout of Horn Book founder Bertha Mahony’s March 12, 1924 passport. I’ve looked at it before, most recently when we needed to confirm her height (contemporaries’ accounts say she was under 5′, but […]

Mock award results | Class #6, 2016

The children’s lit class met for the last time last night and we held six (6!) mock book award deliberations. Each student chose which award they wanted to judge and had free reign to nominate any eligible book. I’m pretty sure every last one of them also brought snacks to fuel their discussions. You can […]

Last children’s lit class in 2016

It’s hard to believe that this half-semester module is finishing up in one week. Tonight the students are handing in their annotated bibliographies — the big written assignment in this course. Next, we head into the last class for a little fun. We are reading Charlotte’s Web for dessert but most of our last meeting […]

Charlotte’s Web | Class #6, 2016

During our last class meeting, we will be holding six mock book award sessions. There are four Caldecott groups and one each for Geisel and Sibert. Check out the books they have nominated here and tell us which one would get your first vote. Charlotte’s Web has been my last class reading assignment for several […]

Mock book awards | Class #6, 2016

During our last class, students will meet in mock award groups. We did this for the first time last year and it went surprisingly well. This year the class is larger, which means there will be four Caldecott committees instead of two. Like last year, we will follow the terms and criteria as outlined by […]

Folklore and poetry | Class #5, 2016

For our class on April 2, we are reading four books and one article. I like combining these two genres because both need to be read aloud in order to really appreciate them. Folklore has to have a strong voice, as it comes from an oral tradition where storytellers have individual styles, just as today’s […]