Children’s Literature

Little Beaver Set to Music (PowerPoint)

Thanks to composer William Trevaskis and Waterman’s Community Center on North Haven Island in Maine, there is now a “musical setting” for Little Beaver and the Echo. Trevaskis recorded me reading Little Beaver to the children of North Haven, while Lois Shapiro, a musician from Boston, accompanied  the reading on the piano. Many thanks to both William and Lois for making it all sound so good!

Listen/watch here: Little Beaver read by author, with music

NOTE: It’s in PowerPoint format. Click on “slide show” tab, and then on “From Current Slide”

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Categories: Amy's Books, Children's Literature | Tags: | Leave a comment

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?

Categories: Children's Literature, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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.

Categories: Children's Literature, Too Much Flapdoodle | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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