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What Makes a Good Hanukkah Picture Book?

Let’s say, for some reason, you wanted to read the worst Hanukkah picture book ever written. Why would you wish to do this? Well, such a book could serve as a fine blueprint for how not to write a lousy Hanukkah book and/or how not to choose a lousy Hanukkah...

The Writer’s Page: "Speak with Us, Not for Us”

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KidLitWomen* was co-founded by Grace Lin and Karen Blumenthal in March 2018, with the mission of “calling attention to the gender inequities of our industry, uplifting the women who have not received their due, and finding solutions to reach equality.” The following article expands on a KidLitWomen* social media post...

What Makes a Good Storytime?

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Storyteller Julie uses her eyes, ears, voice, body, and sense of humor. Photo: Shara Hardeson.Storytellers and story lovers know that that the essence of collaboration lies in the “Stone Soup” tale — everyone gives a little something (carrots, a potato, some salt and pepper) to achieve a common goal (a...

What Makes a Good Book Cover?

We have all seen book covers we don’t like. Some suffer from unfortunate aesthetics, being too busy, poorly rendered, or just plain dull, deterring readers with their intimations of boredom within. Others misrepresent the text they introduce, unintentionally or deliberately promising a book they can’t deliver. The offense of a...

What Makes a Good Horse Book?

Black Beauty. The Black Stallion. My Friend Flicka. National Velvet. Add in basically anything written by Marguerite Henry (Misty of Chincoteague), and you’ll see that horses hold a beloved place in 
classical children’s literature. But what qualities make a contemporary horse book stand out? For children who long to own...

What Makes a Good YA Urban Novel?

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Poverty. Violence. Racism. Gangs. Drugs. Crime. When people think of the inner city, these are the issues that tend to come to mind — the reasons many avoid urban areas altogether and lock their car doors should they happen to take a wrong turn and end up in a “bad”...

What Makes a Good YA Love Story?

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It’s a simple formula. Boy meets girl (or, more often, girl meets boy. Or, less frequently, boy meets boy or girl meets girl). Boy and girl fall in love. One loses the other, or some other conflict arises. Then comes the happy ending. This plot, or some variation of it,...

What Makes a Good YA Dystopian Novel?

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Dystopias are characterized as a society that is a counter-utopia, a repressed, controlled, restricted system with multiple social controls put into place via government, military, or a powerful authority figure. Issues of surveillance and invasive technologies are often key, as is a consistent emphasis that this is not a place...

What Makes a Good Space Book?

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The vastness of the universe, explored and unexplored, presents possibilities for all of us to imagine new and different (and perhaps better) worlds, technological feats, and ourselves as active participants in the quest for knowledge beyond our own planet.A good space book captures this melding of anticipation and discovery that...
26 articles
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