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>A reader requests . . .

>. . . a “children’s lit. guide to Boston.” She’ll be visiting from Australia next month and wants to know what children’s-book places she should try and see. I don’t get out much, but of course you can’t miss the ducklings, and while you’re there you can see the original address of the Horn Book at 270 Boylston Street. Some excellent contemporary bookshops for boys and girls include The Children’s Book Shop in Brookline Village and the Curious George store in Harvard Square.

J.L. Bell at Boston 1775 could probably be called upon to point out some of the more historical connections; I’m personally grateful to the Freedom Trail for the time I got lost on the way to work and it led me right to the Horn Book’s (former) door.

Moving a bit further afield, don’t miss the Little Women stronghold in Concord, and I would urge a day trip to the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst–catch up with dear, demented Emily while you’re there.

Roger Sutton About Roger Sutton

Roger Sutton has been the editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc, since 1996. He was previously editor of The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books and a children's and young adult librarian. He received his M.A. in library science from the University of Chicago in 1982 and a B.A. from Pitzer College in 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @RogerReads.



  1. >Another librarian succombs to the lure of blogger labels! (Now get those labels into the sidebar.)


  2. Roger Sutton says:

    >but how?

  3. >Eric Carle Museum….Absolutely!

    Also, the Springfield Museum is having a Dr. Seuss Birthday party on March 3rd. The museum has a sculpture garden and a new Seuss art exhibit.

  4. >Use the template tab, choose customize design and “upgrade” your current template. Blogger then lets you use a drop and drag method to re-arrange your template and add items to the sidebar; including the labels option.

    A word of caution, doing this removes changes already made to your current template. (It’s worth it over all.) I did this on a couple blogs and quickly became obsessed with using the right labeling/category system on posts.

  5. >Demented? Roger, you need to get better informed about the poet sometime. Really! I expected better from you!

    ~Connie Ann Kirk

  6. Roger Sutton says:

    >A compliment, Connie, a compliment! From Ethan Mordden’s Demented: The World of the Opera Diva “Note: not thrilling, admirable, or inspiring, but demented: insane.”

    Plus, noted Dickinson fanatic Maurice Sendak says she liked to watch people die. Demented enough for me.

  7. >Ha! Well, Roger. With all due respect to Master Sendak, (whom I revere for many other things but not his apparent lack of knowledge about Dickinson), the poet didn’t like watching people die. She did write a lot about death because it was all around her. Count Dickinson among those in history who have gone misunderstood for years because of the ignorant and self-serving publicity caused by an interfering person who was, for too long a time, in command of much of her legacy. Long story there, but worth knowing and educating oneself about. The poet’s letters were messed with–cut out and blotted out; her poems were heavily edited and changed dramatically before first publication. The stories of abuse and effort at silencing her voice and manipulating the “myth of Amherst” to make her sound more and more eccentric go on and on. A sad tale.


  8. >Oh, and yes, Roger. Expecting better knowledge was indeed meant as a good-natured compliment! Your use of the word ‘demented’ is not totally surprising, given how pervasive and entrenched the mythology about the poet is out there (and how easy it has been for centuries to automatically label gifted, creative women who behave differently as ‘demented’). I just expect that literary professionals will be more up-to-date on the current scholarship about such an important figure in American literature. The story is as equally compelling, if not more so, than the myth. Recommended reading.

    I enjoy your blog, Roger, and the exchange–take care!

    ~Connie Ann Kirk

  9. >All unimportant. It’s VALENTINE’S DAY. The question is, who would you pair her up with as a date at your Valentine’s Dinner? dickenson, I mean, not connie. And what other couples would you have? I’ll tell you one thing, we would definitely get Miller away from Monroe and find someone with a little decent conversation. Come to think of it, the only person you could possibly invite for Dickenson is God or she would just roll her eyes and spill and drinks on him.

  10. >Oh Roger–am writing a bit after Connie (a Dickinson scholar by the way.) I am an ED fanatic and live two towns over from her. And I know you must sort of admire ED stuff because you published my poem about her. But I’d rather we use words like “brilliant” or “eccentric” (as in the wonderful British tradition) or “fascinating” rather than “demented” which has connotations of running madly about with a rather large carving knife or ax and giving stepmother forty whacks. Wrong side of Worcester!


  11. Roger Sutton says:

    >Here’s the relevant Sendak quote:

    “Emily Dickinson is accused of morbidity because she loved being close to dying people; she loved to be there to watch, this little ghoul of a genius. She invested all her energy into looking into the person’s face and wanting to see “the Passing” — as she called the moment from life to death. It was almost as though she could see somebody step out and go that way.”

    The complete interview is at

  12. >Definitely next to Shirley Maclaine at dinner then. All writers are demented. I don’t think its a particularly damning term. Merely descriptive.

  13. >Completely off topic, but I’ve long hoped that Leonard Marcus, or someone else, would continue after his “Storied City” (NY) to include other cities such as Boston.

  14. J. L. Bell says:

    >Taking the radical course of speaking to the topic of this posting, I note that the Union Oyster House in Boston not only serves local cuisine, but was also used in the early 1770s by the printer Isaiah Thomas as a printshop. After the Revolution, Thomas jump-started the American juvenile publishing industry from Worcester by issuing many of John Newbery’s books for children–without respecting copyright, of course.

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