A new batch of review books is piling up on my desk. Their topics are irresistible: voting rights, resiliency, the well-researched similarities between humans and other animals … topics that call for our attention in this weary world and surely cause concern and confusion among our children. I am grateful for this children’s literature community that listens, researches, and shares the truth in such a caring way. You are priceless! (pictured: a sampling of the many, many authors and illustrators who do their best for the children of the world)
Earlier this week, Steve and I drove to Cannon Falls where we visited the gorgeous public library. What a friendly space! They are in the midst of their summer reading program, the theme of which “A Universe of Stories” has been met with stellar success. To all the children’s librarians in all of the public libraries across America, thank you for caring so much about kids and reading that you put forth supernova efforts to bring readers and non-readers into the library.
I am grateful that I am a reader. For all of the people who showed me the way, thank you. For all of the readers who recommend books, thank you. I’m going to share a list of the books I’m reading right now. Each one has a bookmark poking out of it. I’m a Gemini; I like variety. I check out many of my books from the public library as e-books, so I don’t have a photo of all the physical books to share with you. Some of these are review copies that I’m reading for work, but reading seldom feels like work to me. How about you? Which books are you reading right now? I’ll be grateful to know.
Cat’s Guide to the Night Sky, Stuart Atkinson
Camp Panda, Catherine Thimmesh
Fresh Ink: an Anthology, ed. Lamar Giles
Gone-Away Lake, Elizabeth Enright
Time Sight, Lynne Jonell
Double Entry: How the Merchants of Venice Created Modern Finance by Jane Gleeson-White
Hope Never Dies: an Obama-Biden Mystery, Andrew Shaffer
Platters and Boards, Shelly Westerhausen
Undaunted, Anita Silvey
Pardonable Lies (Maisie Dobbs #3), Jacqueline Winspear
Writing the Cozy Mystery, Nancy J. Cohen
Mighty Salads, Food 52
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.
I am ever so grateful for the several Chapter & Verse Book Clubs around the country who have been meeting to discuss children’s and teen books since 2008! (good heavens) We meet monthly and we always have a good discussion, especially when some of us like the books more than others. We’ve learned a lot over the years and we’ve laughed a lot, too. I love each and every one of you! Anyone is welcome to join us. Start a group in your area—we’ll help.
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 am deliriously grateful for the educators (teachers and librarians, aides and paras) who care so much about reading and young readers that they ventured out on a cold February Saturday morning in Minnesota to talk with 26 authors and illustrators and 5 stellar booktalkers. It is a COMMUNITY of people who LOVE BOOKS and understand that if children grow to love books (stories and true books) their lives will be infinitely better. These are dedicated people. They listened carefully. They talked with new friends and old friends about books, books, and more books. Those Books for Breakfast feelings are keeping me warm! [Thanks to Debra Frasier for permission to use this photo.]