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#WeGotDiverseAwardBooks: Reflections on Awards and Allies

lambert and family

I missed out on ALA Midwinter this year. At nine months pregnant, there was just no way I could hop on a plane (or hop anywhere, really) to be a part of the conference and its festivities. But shortly after the 2015 ALA Youth Media Awards were announced, a colleague emailed me, “How about all […]

Words for Flora’s Mother (and Other Imperfect Parents)

diCamillo_Flora

Often, when I mention that I have five children, people ask, “How do you do it all?” I sometimes quote a response I’ve heard from Donna Jo Napoli, fellow writer, professor, and mother of five: “How do I do it all? Badly. You could eat off my kitchen floor…for weeks.” How I do it all […]

The Secret Garden’s Perennial Wisdom…for Parents

The Secret Garden

Every September of my English teaching career, I’d type up the semester’s reading list and prepare myself for the inevitable question: I’ve already read this! Why do I have to read it again? I’d tell my 
students that rereading a novel at a new period in their lives could bring fresh insight. But I never […]

On the Rights of Reading and Girls and Boys

boy_girl_symbols1

Discussions about gender issues in children’s literature are perennial (even in the pages of this magazine; see the special issue on gender in September/October 2007; articles on boy and girl reading in the September/October 2010 issue; and, most recently, Carey E. Hagan’s “One Tough Cookie” in the September/October 2011 issue). My personal experiences differ from […]

O Christmas Books!

ChildsChristmasHyman

I was the type of kid who lingered in stairwells trying to overhear adult conversation and who sneaked downstairs to catch my babysitter making out with her boyfriend. As a six-year-old, I blew Santa’s cover after noticing that “his” handwriting on gift labels was just like my dad’s. My mother was aghast to learn I’d told […]

Books in the Home: The Boy Ramona

After a particularly hard day at school, my then nine-year-old son, Rory, forlornly and aptly announced, “I think I’m the boy Ramona.” Rory is thirteen now, and he continues to turn to books and their characters for escape and solace as he sets out to slay the particular dragon that he and Beverly Cleary’s protagonist […]