Children’s Literature

See Portland Stage’s Version of “Little Beaver & the Echo” through May 16

If you missed Portland Stage’s live (online) production of their “Play Me a Story” version of Little Beaver, you have until May 16 to find it in video form here.

This is  delightful rendition, with creative use of the illustrations, that will get kids off the couch and actively involved. It seems to me a perfect way to spend a half hour, for kids in need of diversion and entertainment (and let’s face it, that’s just about everyone now).

Many thanks to the cast and crew who put this together. And be sure to catch the rest of their Play Me A Story shows, every Saturday morning at 10:30 live online; or in their video archive.cropped-am-wed-header-lbe.jpg

And for videos of me reading some of my favorite books aloud, check out my Tea and Story Time with Amy series:

Episode #1 (“Rachel Fister’s Blister”)    #2 (“Cousin Ruth’s Tooth”),   #3 (“Quentin Fenton Herter III) , and #4 (“Little Beaver and the Echo”).


Categories: Amy's Books & Writing, Children's Literature, Video | 1 Comment

“Storytime with Tea & Amy #4: Little Beaver and the Echo”

Snuggle up with your favorite stuffed animal, share a cup of chamomile tea with Amy, and listen as she reads one of her best-loved books, Little Beaver and the Echo.

This time, something different: original music, and a new setting.

Categories: Amy's Books & Writing, Children's Literature, Video | Leave a comment

Coronavirus Resource for Kids, Parents, Teachers: “Storytime with Tea & Amy”

Video thumbnail: Storytime with Tea #1: Rachel Fister's Blister, read by the authorDear Friends,

In response to COVID19, I’m making videos of me reading my children’s books available online for parents and teachers who are looking for ways to keep kids entertained and engaged with books while we’re all stuck indoors.

“Storytime with Tea and Amy” is designed to create a comfortable safe place where young children are encouraged to “share” a cup of tea while snuggling with a stuffed animal friend.

The first three episodes are now on YouTube. Feel free  to share them with:

  • kids needing a respite from the troubling world of the Corona Virus,
  • teachers looking for educational & entertaining online content for distance teaching,
  • or parents simply needing a quick breather of their own when children are cooped up all day at home.

Episode #1 (“Rachel Fister’s Blister”) is available now, as well as  #2 (“Cousin Ruth’s Tooth”), and #3 (“Quentin Fenton Herter III) , and #4 (“Little Beaver and the Echo”).

I hope this might help just a tiny bit to get through this difficult and scary time for kids.

Stay well,




Categories: Amy's Books & Writing, Children's Literature, Video | 4 Comments

Rest in peace, Maurice Sendak

Readers of this blog know how much I adore Maurice Sendak and his work. (See previous post, and the one linking to a very moving Terri Gross NPR interview on death and children’s literature.) He was wise, funny, and biting, right up until the end, and in honor of that, I now post a link to  his interviews with Stephen Colbert in which he speaks his mind (sadly prophetically) about e-books and many other things. (Warning: salty language, bleeped out!!)

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“He saw it. He loved it. He ate it.”

Why you should always write to your favorite author:

Source: Shaun Usher, Letters of Note




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Mainers and the 100 Best Children’s Books

People are always publishing “Best” lists, and today Scholastic has announced its “100 Greatest Books for Children,” as compiled by its magazine Parent and Child. Such lists are always a little bit suspect and a lot bit controversial, and this one will be no different, I’m sure. (“Captain Underpants” at #97? Really, Scholastic? Might that have anything to do with the fact that you publish it?) By contrast, I hasten to assure you,  the lists I’m on (the N.Y. T. “10 Best” and Dillon’s  “Best of the Century”) were all exceptionally well compiled, and not at all self-serving or controversial.

But there’s something else interesting about Scholastic’s list (or anyone else’s “Best” children’s book lists): the disproportionately large number of Maine books included there. In fact, the top two places–“Charlotte’s Web” and “Good Night Moon”–are both held by authors that Maine has a strong claim to. E. B. White fled New York City as a young man to live in Brooklin. Margaret Wise Brown bought a summer house (the only house she ever owned) on Vinalhaven Island,  where she did much of her writing.

Brown is also the author of #32, Runaway Bunny.  The #25 book is “The Giver,” by Lois Lowry, who lived in Falmouth for many years. And #87 is the Newbery-honor winner”Rules” by Cynthia Lord of  Brunswick.

Thus 5 of the 100 books are by Mainers. Considering that the list draws from books published not just in the US but in the UK as well, that’s a pretty heavy percentage for our little state (population 1 million)  versus the rest of the English-writing world (population 370  million).

Even stranger, three of the five books were written by neighbors of mine (I have a house on Vinalhaven near Brown’s, and in Falmouth near Lowry’s).

Can anyone explain this? Does it have something to do with the magnetic pull of the ocean? Or of my magnetic personality?

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Maurice Sendak

Maurice Sendak

Terry Gross has done a very moving Fresh Air interview with Maurice Sendak, author of some of my favorite picture books, including Where the Wild Things Are and In The Night Kitchen. I’d always thought of Sendak as a grumpy old man (in the best way, because I have a soft spot for Grumpy Old Men–like Uncle Philbert), but Gross brought out a wholly new side of him. I found myself actually weeping as they talked. It’s a must listen.   Check it out here.

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