Did You Know?

You’re kid lit people. You’ve been around. You know stuff. You probably know that themadeline-cover beasts drawn by Maurice Sendak in Where the Wild Things Are were almost horses (totally true), or that Dr. Seuss wrote Green Eggs and Ham after a bet (also true). But did you know that nearly everything you think you know about Ludwig Bemelmans’ Madeline is wrong? Seriously. She’s not even French.


For thirteen weird and wonderful facts about kids’s books (including the unbelievably earth-shattering and worldview-changing facts about Madeline) check out this fun piece from Buzzfeed. Enjoy!

Whelan, Nora. (2017, Jan. 30). 13 Weird and Wonderful Facts About Your Favorite Books as a Kid. Retrieved from: https://www.buzzfeed.com/norawhelan/childrens-book-facts?utm_source=Publishers+Weekly&utm_campaign=fa7ae8247c-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_01_31&utm_medium=email&utm_term=.eleAKqOQqL#.dm7wB7Ny73.

Kid Lit: What Makes it GOOD?

There are all kinds of books for kids, from classics like Where the Wild Things Are to insaneimages
successes and cult classics like Goosebumps. But what makes them good? Does a book have to be socially conscious to qualify? Do you measure by book sales? Does it need to do anything other than make a child want to turn the page? Where is the line between pulp fiction and literature? And ultimately, does it matter?

Children’s author Adam Gidwitz examined the issue in October 3rd’s New Yorker. For more on the interesting discussion, see the full piece.

Gidwitz, Adam. (2016, Oct. 3). What Makes a Children’s Book Good? Retrieved from: http://www.newyorker.com/culture/cultural-comment/the-goosebumps-conundrum-what-makes-a-childrens-book-good?utm_source=Publishers+Weekly&utm_campaign=7f6caf852c-UA-15906914-1&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_0bb2959cbb-7f6caf852c-305871045.

Finding Your Spark with Calvin and Hobbes

imgresEver wonder what inspired the character names in Bill Watterson’s iconic cartoon strip Calvin and Hobbes? The answer is philosophy.

Watterson knew that while philosophy might not be for everyone, studying it can develop one’s ability to ask meaningful and sometimes hard questions about life. And that, he believed, WAS for everyone. He called this discerning ability ‘the Swiss Army Knife of mental tools’ and encouraged hundreds of graduating seniors to give it a try during a commencement speech in 1990 at Kenyon College. It’s a great pep talk. You might want to squirrel it away for the next time you feel low, or beaten by rejections, or just like giving up on your art. Not that any of us ever feel that way…

For Watterson, it took some tough questions, years of rejections, and hard decisions about life before he found Calvin and Hobbes—who, by the way, were named after philosophers John Calvin and Thomas Hobbes. Now that’s a thing you know. 😉

For the full speech see the hotlink above. For highlights and excerpts, read this blog post from Better Humans by Charles Chu. Enjoy!

Charles Chu, “Bill Watterson: How to Find Life’s Meaning,” Better Humans (blog), Feb 4, 2017, https://betterhumans.coach.me/bill-watterson-how-to-find-your-lifes-meaning-3bc6a17be275#.5cgitp4xx.

Poster for Children’s Book Week!

The Children’s Book Week poster is here! Revealed in January, and designed by illustrator44749-v1-350x Christian Robinson, the art will serve as the official poster for CBW, which is May 1-May 7 this year.

The poster includes this year’s CBW theme: “One World, Many Stories.”

“Christian Robinson’s playful and distinctive style made him the perfect choice to create this poster. His body of work already exemplifies this year’s slogan, ‘One World, Many Stories,’ and we knew he would bring this message to life,” said Shaina Birkhead, programming and strategic partnerships director for CBC and Every Child a Reader.

For more details, read the full piece.

For a free download of the poster and lots of information on how to participate in CBW, visit Every Child A Reader.

Maughan, Shannon. (2017, January 19).Children’s Book Week Poster Revealed. Retrieved from: http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/childrens/childrens-industry-news/article/72540-children-s-book-week-poster-revealed.html?utm_source=Publishers+Weekly&utm_campaign=4941266bc0-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_01_19&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_0bb2959cbb-4941266bc0-305871045.

Mrs. Mallard Gets Political

Over the years, Mrs. Mallard and her eight ducklings have seen plenty of makeovers.

Usually,  Nancy Schön’s iconic sculpture, located in Boston’s Public Garden and inspired

The ducks sporting Bruins gear. Photo credit: Boston CBS local

by Robert McCloskey’s 1942 Caldecott winning book, Make Way for Ducklings, can be seen in New England sports gear. The ducks have worn uniforms for the Bruins, the Red Sox, and the Patriots. They even get dressed for the holidays.

But earlier this month Mrs. Mallard got political. She and her brood were spotted wearing bright pink knit caps, presumably in support of the Women’s March that took place in D.C. and in cities (including Boston) all over the world on January 21, 2017.

Photo credit: Allie Kroner

Buell, Spencer. (2017, January 19). Boston’s Ducklings Are Wearing ‘Pussyhats’. Retrieved from: http://www.bostonmagazine.com/news/blog/2017/01/19/boston-ducklings-pussyhats-womens-march/.