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Books in the Home: The Joys of Cooking: Good Books About Good Food

How does a person learn to cook? My mother prepared family meals every evening. She didn’t involve us in the making of the meal, but she was my model of a home cook who knew the importance of ­families eating together. She relied on a 1940s edition of The Boston...

The Birds and the Bees

Birds of a Feather. Helen’s Birds. Johnny’s Pheasant. Strange Birds. The Parrot and the Merchant. Fly! Sometimes, particular subjects take off in children’s books. Lately, bird books are soaring, and the office hivemind has noticed bee books gathering, too. See Nesting by Henry Cole and Honeybee: The Busy Life of...

Board Book Roundup: Board Books Build Brains

They rarely win awards. Few make it to the annual “best of” lists. They get stepped on, chewed, drooled on, and thrown. Their core audiences may not remember a word of them in a few scant years. Their pages are frequently viewed out of order. But board books are some...

Happy Anniversary: When Sophie Gets Angry—Really, Really Angry...

When Sophie Gets Angry — Really, Really Angry… by Molly Bang was published by Blue Sky in 1999. It celebrates its twentieth anniversary in 2019.   Before 1999, we had picture books about hurt feelings, friendship rifts, disappointment and sadness and sulkiness; about terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad days. We...

Uneasy Reading: On Keeping Company with Very Sad Books

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Third grade was the worst year ever. No, really. My parents split up that year, and my dad moved out. I know that every divorce is different, and I’m told that not all of them are as painful as ours was. I’m glad for that. Ours was brutal. My dad...

Why Do Comics Matter? — The Zena Sutherland Lecture

Why do comics matter? At the risk of sounding completely self-absorbed, I’m going to answer this question by talking about me.  I am an Asian American cartoonist. I’m going to tell you how I became these two things: an Asian American and a cartoonist. Then I’m going to tell you...

Books in the Home: Reading with Sophie: Finding Books for a Teen with Special Needs

How do you choose a book for a child who doesn’t have the capacity to choose one for herself? As the mother of a nonverbal teenager with autism and developmental delays, it is a question I ask myself all the time. When Sophie was first diagnosed in preschool, we were...

Borderlands: Reading as Theater

In the introduction to Worlds of Childhood: The Art and Craft of Writing for Children (1990), William Zinsser wrote, “This gift — to get good language into the ear of children at a very early age — is what children’s literature has in its power to bestow…to write well it...

Happy Anniversary: It's Perfectly Normal

It’s Perfectly Normal: A Book About Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health by Robie H. Harris, illustrated by Michael Emberley, was published by Candlewick in 1994. It celebrates its twenty-fifth anniversary in 2019.    Intended for readers ages ten and up, Harris and Emberley’s It’s Perfectly Normal was groundbreaking when it appeared on the scene...
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