I recently re-read the first six Trixie Belden books. I gobbled up these books when I was reading at age 10 and 11. I read only one Nancy Drew book. My cousin had a collection and I read about Nancy while I was visiting. I couldn’t see myself in her. But Trixie Belden? She had a large family and I was an only child. She was insatiably curious and didn’t necessarily listen when someone told her no. Reading the books again all these years later? They hold up. I found myself trying hard to solve the mysteries before Trixie did. I was surprised by how often the boys told the girls what they couldn’t do because they were girls. But the girls didn’t listen. More thoughts about the context of history. I’m grateful to Julie Campbell Tatham for creating Trixie … just for me.
I am grateful for the writing, leadership, and example that Anita Silvey has been for my life. I have long admired her books about children’s literature, the excellence of The Horn Book magazine under her editorial leadership, and her ability to hold an audience enrapt. In recent years, I have been encouraged by her example of focusing on the writing of nonfiction for young readers and especially her books about women scientists. Her biography of Pete Seeger, another one of my heroes, is the best I’ve ever read. Anita is a class act and an extraordinary woman.
Have I mentioned how grateful I am for the school librarians who give their hearts, minds, creativity, and problem-solving prowess to the students in their schools? Last night we celebrated the years of librarianship Randy Klauk has provided to the elementary school students in one of the Minneapolis suburbs. From the way their books are shelved, to reading out loud dramatically, to the children who have been turned into lifelong readers, to his dedication to bringing authors in to share their work with his kids … Randy cares deeply. As he retires, we let him know how thankful we are. To all of the school librarians out there who lead children to the love of books, we admire you!
I am grateful for e-books. There. I’ve said it. I normally keep that quiet because I feel like I’m betraying The Readerhood. I have my reasons. I am a Constant Reader. Before, when we drove to a meeting where we might have to wait for 20 minutes or an hour, I took three books along. Now I take my tablet which holds at least 20 books I haven’t read yet. I’m able to read ARCs and PDFs instead of hauling around a sheaf of 300 pieces of paper. Highlighting passages and making notes in the e-book satisfies my need to be organized, preparing for articles I’m writing. And, having become a fitful sleeper, I can read myself back to sleep in the middle of the night without disturbing my favorite sleeper. I still enjoy the smell and feel of a printed book. Most of my e-books come from the library. Can I still be part of The Readerhood?
When I started working at the public library when I was 16, shelving books and magazines opened my world. I was attracted to The New Yorker by the cover art. I’ve been reading the magazine ever since then. I am especially grateful when the covers pay homage to books, reading, and libraries.
We need an intervention. This morning on KARE-11 Sunrise, co-host Kris Laudien once again spoke of his disregard for books and reading. The discussion was about distracted driving and people who read books while they’re behind the wheel. Our disconnected host said, “I didn’t think people even read books any more.” Oh, Mr. Laudien, this does not do good things for you nor does it reinforce positive support for reading, one of the basic fundamentals to success in life. There are so many people in important places showing that they read, reading to children, speaking up in support of reading … and I am grateful for those people. How do we turn this guy around?
It will be Maud Hart Lovelace’s birthday on April 25th, next Thursday. I started reading her books in grade school. As I grew older, so did her characters Betsy, Tacy, Tib, and the Gang. As an only child who moved to new homes frequently, I cherished her stories of family and friends. I didn’t realize Deep Valley was really a city in my state (Mankato) or that her characters were modeled on real people–not until I was much older. I have read everything she published and much of what other people have written about her. My favorite book is Emily of Deep Valley, a book about immigrants, compassion, and friendship. Which book is your favorite? You haven’t read her books? Children will want to start with the younger books; adults will want to begin with the high school books. No matter your age–you have a treat in store.
We will travel to New Ulm today. At Martin Luther College, we’ll meet with teachers and librarians, members of the Southwest Minnesota Reading Council, who are gathering to hear author Aimee Bissonette speak about Everyday Heroes and Wonder Women. We are grateful for this opportunity. We admire these people who are passionate about encouraging our children to become lifelong readers. And then we’ll beat the blizzard home.
It was such a special evening. If you teach or you’re an education student or you work in a school library, you’ll want to be a part of the Southwest Minnesota Reading Council. Seriously. As I listened to their president, Dr. Cindy Whaley, welcome the students from Martin Luther College and Southwest Minnesota State University, asking them to share something about themselves, and thanking them for their commitment to the profession, I realized that this is a CARING community that dedicates part of their professional lives to educating, advocating, and supporting each other. They are so focused (you see what I did there, Jon Roux?) on making a difference in kids’ reading lives that I was brought to tears.
I eagerly anticipate each of Lisa See‘s new books because she’s a compelling writer and she fearlessly explores a history which is her own, but unfamiliar. From the very first, with On Gold Mountain: The One Hundred Year Odyssey of My Chinese-American Family in 1995, to her most recent, The Island of Sea Women, I am grateful for her books because they open my eyes and my heart. (She’s also very good at getting the word out and building a community of readers.)
I was saddened to learn that David Palladini passed away last week. From his illustrations for Jane Yolen’s early picture books to his renowned Aquarian Tarot deck, he was an artist I admired. I am grateful for the images he created for the world to keep.