Group creates on-line guide to kids' books
Globetechnology.com - Canada ... All the books have been reviewed by children's literature experts at the Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, an arm of the University of Illinois ...
Guardian - UK ... Celia Keenan, director of the Children's Literature MA at St Patrick's College, Drumcondra, Dublin, has written about Briggs in terms of the debate about what ...A grammar school boy from London's suburbs, Raymond Briggs went to art college where his ambition to be a cartoonist met disapproval. Later he began to write and illustrate wryly subversive stories for children, famously portraying Santa Claus as an over-worked curmudgeon. In other picture books he has explored political issues, including nuclear warfare
Briggs has been dealing with political and social subject matter since publishing his nuclear holocaust fable, When the Wind Blows, in 1982. He followed it two years later with a response to the Falklands war, The Tin-Pot Foreign General and the Old Iron Woman. But the social values apparent in these works had long served to underpin the work for children that initially established his reputation. His 1970 Jim and the Beanstalk, in which he revisited the fairy tale to reveal the giant as a grumpily sympathetic poetry reader, was an early success. But it was his 1973 depiction of Father Christmas as a put-upon old man grumbling about the physically onerous nature of his job that first brought Briggs wider fame. Since then every Christmas has been something of a Raymond Briggs Christmas, with the 1978 publication of The Snowman , and the animated film version and associated spin-offs cementing the link. But even by these standards, Christmas 2004 is exceptional. Not only is The Snowman on TV (Ch 4 on Christmas Day), as well as being staged in the award-winning Birmingham Repertory Theatre production, but there has been a television version of his 1977 classic Fungus the Bogeyman, a concert version of The Bear (1994) with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, and his artwork has dropped through millions of letter boxes in the form of Father Christmas braving six types of winter weather on the Royal Mail's Christmas stamps.
But this body of work has done more than just reflect the season. It has also subtly redefined the meanings behind the Christmas iconography. Celia Keenan, director of the Children's Literature MA at St Patrick's College, Drumcondra, Dublin, has written about Briggs in terms of the debate about what it is to be British and English. "I think there is an anxiety about nation, class and gender in Briggs that is very interesting," she says and praises the ingenious way he has "retrieved and restored to England the figure of Father Christmas, which had been taken from European sources and encoded as American in the 19th century. In doing this, Briggs restored the magic power of the folk figure while investing it with urban working-class vigour and humour."
Angels spread love of reading, 1 school at a time
Chicago Tribune (subscription) - Chicago,IL,USA ... excitedly checking out the titles. There were books by RL Stine, Mary Pope Osborne, Beverly Cleary and Roald Dahl. There was "Anne of ... Kermit Myers is the tall angel with unruly white hair. Sherm Marks is the shorter, gruff angel with the NASCAR cap crammed tightly over his head.
These two elderly retired gentlemen have a strange idea. It involves encouraging kids to read, kids who don't have books at home, kids whose parents don't make books a priority.
They're the Book Worm Angels. They bring the books.
Rather than hold news conferences to wag their fingers about evil video games--or offer nagging opinions on parental responsibility and child development--they actually do something.
Myers, of Evanston, and Marks, of Wilmette, are the book angels for thousands of Chicago kids. They deal only with Chicago public schools that have very low reading test scores.
Banned & Challenged
Is There Censorship?
New York Times - New York,NY,USA [REGISTRATION REQUIRED] In accepting a lifetime achievement award from the National Book Foundation at a black-tie gala in Manhattan last month, Judy Blume, the doyenne of young-adult ...In accepting a lifetime achievement award from the National Book Foundation at a black-tie gala in Manhattan last month, Judy Blume, the doyenne of young-adult fiction, delivered herself of the following admonition: ''Your favorite teacher -- the one who made literature come alive for you, the one who helped you find exactly the book you needed when you were curious, or hurting, the one who was there to listen to you when you felt alone -- could become the next target.''
A target, that is, of censorship. Blume's books, which address sexuality and religion with a frankness that has made many a grown-up squeamish, have been among the books most frequently banned from public school libraries over the years, and so the author certainly knows whereof she speaks. Yet there was something slightly alarmist in Blume's remarks. In somber, insistent tones, she spoke as if the authorities were lurking behind the doors of the Marriott Marquis ballroom ready to burst in at any moment and break up the party.
Blume's speech perfectly captured the mood in certain literary circles these days, where air once thick with now banned cigarette smoke instead hangs heavy with talk of the C-word. But the kind of censorship Blume has faced concerns individual libraries choosing not to lend her books, or placing restrictions on who can borrow them. It isn't about government harassment, even though that's what Blume seemed to be implying.
The definition of censorship has loosened so much that the word has become nearly devoid of meaning. Long gone are the days when the government banned racy books like D. H. Lawrence's ''Lady Chatterley's Lover,'' Henry Miller's ''Tropic of Cancer'' or James Joyce's ''Ulysses.'' When it comes to the written word, censorship debates are no longer about taste and decency -- although those issues are much in the news concerning the visual arts, television and radio. Instead, the debate over books tends to center on geopolitics, national security and foreign policy.
Today, most defenders of the written word are focusing their energies on opposing certain sections of the USA Patriot Act, chief among them Section 215, which states that federal investigators can review library and bookstore records under certain circumstances in terrorism investigations. Larry Siems, the director of international programs at the PEN American Center, strikes an oft-heard chorus when he denounces ''the growing use of government surveillance and government intrusion into your creative space.'' This, in turn, feeds a concern ''that the government is able to see more deeply into our intellectual lives,'' Siems says.
Where there is smoke, there may very well be fire, but there may also be mirrors. It's often hard to draw the line between perception and practice, between how certain government regulations are viewed and how they're actually being enforced. The very mention of the Patriot Act is enough to drive many publishers, writers, librarians, bookstore owners, readers and concerned citizens into a near-paranoid frenzy at the idea that the government is intruding into their personal business, although few can cite specific instances in which that is the case.
Mary Poppins: a parable of adulthood
Telegraph.co.uk - London,England,UK [subscription] ... But it is broadly true that the great narrators of childhood - JM Barrie, Philip Pullman, Roald Dahl, Lemony Snicket - portray childhood as a sorrowful or ...
Times Picayune - New Orleans,LA,USA ... the complexity, darkness, joy, and adventure, has elevated Peter and Wendy into the pantheon of the greatest characters in children's literature, taking their ...All children, except one, grow up." A century ago, J.M. Barrie launched one of the most famous and enduring classics of stage and literature with that line.
This year is the centennial of "Peter Pan." And today is the 100th anniversary of the first production of the play, on Dec. 27, 1904 (it was postponed from the 22nd after half of the complicated set collapsed the night before) at the Duke of York Theatre in London's West End.
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The tale is every child's birthright, best told in Barrie's original and exquisite prose. Barrie was considered in his time to be one of the great geniuses of English literature, and his writing is as brilliant as the story, a perfect distillation of childhood fantasies and adult nostalgia.
That writing, along with the complexity, darkness, joy, and adventure, has elevated Peter and Wendy into the pantheon of the greatest characters in children's literature, taking their place alongside Dorothy, Mary Lennox, Christopher Robin, Alice, Tom Sawyer, Laura Ingalls, Jo March, Pinocchio, Mary Poppins, and so many others. This play-turned-novel-turned-movie-turned-musical-turned-cultural phenomenon has become so much a part of our cultural heritage that it has become a byword for everything from psychological syndromes to peanut butter to an exodus of Cuban child refugees (Operation Pedro Pan).
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The idea of "the boy who would never grow old" began with James Barrie's older brother, David, who was killed in a skating accident when he was 13 and James was 6. His mother never recovered from the blow, and to her dying day continued to call out for David, who would remain 13 years old forever. That eternal boy, David, romps through Barrie's lifetime of work, appearing in the book where Peter Pan first appeared, "The Little White Bird," and even in his final play, "King David." Young James tried so hard to become his brother and assuage his mother's grief that he actually stopped growing, a condition called Psychosocial Dwarfism: So he too was, in a way, a boy who couldn't grow up.
Wendy, though a common enough name now, was a name that Barrie invented. Margaret Henley, the daughter of friends, died when she was 6. She had always called Barrie her friend, but because she could not pronounce her r's, it came out as "fwendy," and thus Wendy's name was born. The "Wendy house" was based on the little wash house where Barrie, all of 7 years old, wrote and performed his first play. Nana was based on his own St. Bernard dog, Porthos. The tragic figure of Hook was Barrie himself.
But the story of Peter Pan also grew out of Barrie's lifelong friendship with the doomed Llewelyn-Davies family, of whom the middle son, Peter, later said that "in the end, (Barrie's) connection with our family brought (him) so much more sorrow than happiness." The Llewelyn-Davies had five sons, the Five, as Barrie called them. When Peter Pan was published in book form years after the play opened, he wrote a 20-page dedication to The Five, one of the most poignant laments for lost childhood ever written, in which he explains the origins of Peter Pan, which grew out of their stories told in Kensington Gardens, and games played in the forests surrounding Black Lake.
Carrey on misses jackpot
Scotland on Sunday - Edinburgh,Scotland,UK ... A mixture of the ghoulish delight found in a Roald Dahl book and the gothic sensibility associated with director Tim Burton, the film looks an absolute treat. ... Harry Potter won’t lose sleep over this macabre fantasy, writes Allan Hunter ...
EVERYONE is looking to hit the fantasy film jackpot. This is the first Christmas since 2000 without a Lord Of The Rings epic to cheer cinema managers across the globe.
The further adventures of boy wizard Harry Potter aren’t due until next November 2005 and the race is on to fill a gap in the market. Peter Jackson is toiling away on his big budget, all-star remake of King Kong, due for release next Christmas.
The first helping of CS Lewis’s The Chronicles Of Narnia will also be with us next Christmas, and Hollywood is at work bringing Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy to the screen. There are already rumours of toning down the perceived anti-religious sentiments in order to make the work more accessible to a mass audience, which, of course, means a mass American audience.
Until all of that comes to pass, there is Lemony Snicket’s A Series Of Unfortunate Events, culled from three books in the popular series written by Daniel Handler. A mixture of the ghoulish delight found in a Roald Dahl book and the gothic sensibility associated with director Tim Burton, the film looks an absolute treat. ...
Wicked Carrey is game for Olaf
Sunday Herald - Glasgow,Scotland,UK ... visually accomplished and very funny, a timeless and wryly miserable story in the tradition of the Brothers Grimm (with lashings of Roald Dahl) that never ...The first books to knock Harry Potter off The New York Times children’s bestseller list were the novels that make up Lemony Snicket’s A Series Of Unfortunate Events. The collection, penned by Daniel Handler, shares a lot in common with JK Rowling’s books: a dark sensibility, a trio of young heroes, a perennial villain and – most particularly – a black hole left by deceased parents.
One difference is that they don’t take themselves half as seriously as the Potters, which is perhaps why this film adaptation will be as appealing to adults as it is to their clamouring children. It is imaginative, atmospheric, visually accomplished and very funny, a timeless and wryly miserable story in the tradition of the Brothers Grimm (with lashings of Roald Dahl) that never, ever lets you forget that life is very unfortunate indeed.
Lemony Snicket is the self-appointed chronicler of “the unfortunate Baudelaire children”, who find themselves orphaned when their wealthy parents die in a mysterious fire, after which they are placed in the unreliable care of a series of “relatives”, none of whom is blood-related and the first of which, the diabolical Count Olaf (Jim Carrey), covets their fortune and will kill to get his hands on it. ...
New Photo from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Monsters and Critics - Glasgow,UK ... galleri' on the left. Johnny Depp stars as Willy Wonka in this new adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic. Five golden tickets are ...
Santa has a new bag of characters
San Bernardino Sun - San Bernardino,CA,USA ... one Christmas Eve? The cast of Christmas characters, big and small, continues to grow each year in children's literature. If you ...
- "Santa and Me: For Santa, Love Mrs. Claus," by Erik Jon Slangerup. Illustrated by Joshua James.
- "Santa Kid," by James Patterson. Illustrated by Michael Garland.
- "Hurray for Today! All About Holidays," by Bonnie Worth from The Cat in the Hat's Learning Library. Illustrated by Aristides Ruiz and Joe Mathieu.
- "Merry Christmas to You, Blue Kangaroo!" Written and illustrated by Emma Chichester Clark
- "Harry and the Dinosaurs Make a Christmas Wish," by Ian Whybrow. Illustrated by Adrian Reynolds
- "Petunia's Christmas," Written and illustrated by Roger Duvoisin
- "Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town," by J. Fred Coots and Haven Gillespie. Illustrated by Steven Kellogg
Best Illustrated Books of 2004 Go Beyond Traditional Themes
The Ledger - Lakeland,FL,USA By Rebecca Mahoney. Anyone who thinks children's literature is uniformly sweet and simple should check out this year's best illustrated children's books. ...
These 10 books, selected by The New York Times Book Review as the best of 2004, are remarkably sophisticated. They go well beyond traditional children's book subjects of animals and feelings, and tackle everything from democracy to slavery, history to fantasy.
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- DUCK FOR PRESIDENT Illustrated by Betsy Lewin. Written by Doreen Cronin.
- ARROWVILLE Illustrated and written by Geefwee Boedoe.
- KITTEN'S FIRST FULL MOON Illustrated and written by Kevin Henkes.
- TEETH, TAILS, & TENTACLES: AN ANIMAL COUNTING BOOK Illustrated and written by Christopher Wormell.
- A CHILD'S CHRISTMAS IN WALES Illustrated by Chris Raschka. Written by Dylan Thomas.
- THE PEOPLE COULD FLY: The Picture Book Illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon. Written by Virginia Hamilton.
- THE BOY, THE BEAR, THE BARON, THE BARD Illustrated and written by Gregory Rogers.
- THE MIGHTY ASPARAGUS Illustrated and written by Vladimir Radunsky.
- WALT WHITMAN: Words for America Illustrated by Brian Selznick. Written by Barbara Kerley.
- POLAR BEAR NIGHT Illustrated by Stephen Savage. Written by Lauren Thompson
OregonLive.com - Portland,OR,USA In the vast sea of children's literature, wordless picture books offer parents and young children an opportunity to ride the wave of their imaginations. ...
In the vast sea of children's literature, wordless picture books offer parents and young children an opportunity to ride the wave of their imaginations. Research shows that children learn to talk, read and write through a variety of social literacy experiences. One method is conversational reading, where the child "reads" the story through the illustrations and gradually verbalizes the actions, building vocabulary and comprehension skills. The adult is the listener, questioner and audience. With no right or wrong way to "read" these books, a child's sense of mastery and self-esteem thrives. Multnomah County Library has a wealth of wordless picture books providing interactive literacy experiences for parents and young children. The library's department of Early Childhood Resources has created a video, "Success Starts With Reading," which gives more ideas for supporting literacy in young children. Here are some resources to check out: ...
Los Angeles Times (subscription) - Los Angeles,CA,USA ... that have lived in the White House. What children's book would you give the president as a gift? Tell us the title and author's ...
"The Baboon's Umbrella" by Arnold Lobel because it would make him laugh and he is always under a lot of stress.
Vincent, third grade
Saints Felicitas and Perpetua School
I would recommend the Scrappers series by Dean Hughes because President Bush owned a baseball team and these books are about baseball.
Hancock Park Elementary
"Peace Begins With You" by Katherine Scholes. I want him to read it so there will be no more war. I believe in peace.
Dixie Canyon Avenue Elementary
"Werewolves Don't Run for President" by Debbie Dedey would be my gift because it is a funny book about how presidential elections run. It is also a book about what would happen if kids could vote for the presidential candidates. He would like it because it is funny and about a president.
El Rodeo Elementary
"September 12: We Knew Everything Would Be All Right," written by a first-grade class, because it tells about everything that happened when the students went back to school, like the sun came up and they said the Pledge of Allegiance.
"Amazing but True Dog Tales" by Allen Zullo because I know that President Bush likes dogs, and it has stories about dogs that have lived in the White House.
Palos Verdes Peninsula
Lots to choose from in boom year for kids' lit
San Francisco Chronicle - San Francisco,CA,USA It's tough to pick a top 10 in children's literature. Talk about apples and oranges. How can one measure a simple picture book against ...
How can one measure a simple picture book against a gritty novel about war, a rollicking adventure fantasy against a well-researched biography? But of the hundreds, make that thousands, of children's books published in a year, there are always standouts in any category, books that offer a fresh idea, a new angle, a deeper exploration or a dazzling presentation, and that's what we've chosen here. There's no overarching theme in kid lit this year, although two trends continue: Fantasy remains strong in the Harry Potter era, and young-adult novels still lead the way in tackling thorny contemporary issues. Our list is presented in alphabetical order to skirt the ranking conundrum.
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- Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko
- How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff
- Kitten's First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes
- Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale by Mo Willems
- Odd Boy Out: Young Albert Einstein by Don Brown
- The Sea of Trolls by Nancy Farmer
- The Star of Kazan by Eva Ibbotson; illustrated by Kevin Hawkes
- The Teacher's Funeral: A Comedy in Three Parts by Richard Peck
- The Voice That Challenged a Nation: Marian Anderson and the Struggle for Equal Rights by Russell Freedman
- Wild About Books by Judy Sierra; illustrated by Marc Brown
The Sunday Times - UK CANDY by Kevin Brooks. Joe, a nice middle-class doctor's son in Year 10, falls in love on sight with a girl he sees outside London's King's Cross station.
...From the ugliness and violence of drug culture (depicted unflinchingly, but not sensationally), Brooks makes an uplifting story of goodness, courage, the will to live and the details that make life precious. This is a fine and tender portrait of (unconsummated) teenage passion, and a nail-biting adventure. It would be a great shame if teenage boys, in whose voice the story is told, were deterred by the girl’s name in the title.
Baltimore Sun (REGISTRATION REQUIRED) - Baltimore,MD,USA ... year of Edward Eager's luminous masterpiece, Half Magic, and it's well past time to celebrate the inspired work of this genial author of children's literature.
...This is the 50th anniversary year of Edward Eager's luminous masterpiece, Half Magic, and it's well past time to celebrate the inspired work of this genial author of children's literature. Far less known than Carroll, Barrie, Baum, Blume and (his personal favorite) Nesbit, Eager (1911-64) deserves a rung on the jungle gym along with the rest. His magical and magic-filled books (pluckily illustrated by N.M. Bodecker) reflect a joyous (but not saccharine) appreciation of childhood - the earnestness of being a kid, the bravery, the wonder. Beyond that, certainly no children's author ever expressed more enthusiasm for the act of reading than Eager did.