I'm sure you have an opinion. What is the most ominous wintry scene in children's literature? CricketMuse argues that Edmund's encounter with the White Witch in the Chronicles of Narnia takes the prize, —while I argue that Jacob Marley's visitation of Scrooge has put the fear of miserliness into children for over 170 years. What … Continue reading The White Witch vs. Jacob Marley’s Ghost – Debatables
Question: Where was the first reported child abuse case in the United States? Answer: New York, 1874. Her name was Mary Ellen Wilson. For eight of her 10 years, she had been beaten, cut, starved, subject to hard physical labor, deprived of a bed and warm clothes, and generally tortured by her foster mother. A … Continue reading Nicholas Kristof – Call to Action
In 2015, I sat in a darkened auditorium in a hotel in Los Angeles, wanting to throw up. I had word poisoning. What was the source? The messenger's message. In that dark room, Shannon Hale, a keynote speaker at the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Conference, was turning the spotlight on gender bias. … Continue reading Who Are You? Gender Bias – #KidLitWomen
Have you ever had an Amy Krouse Rosenthal (AKR) moment? Yesterday, I casually bought Terry Tempest Williams' book, "When Women Were Birds: Fifty-Four Variations on Voice." I read the title and decided to buy it. I didn't look inside. It just seemed like something I needed to read. When I opened it this morning, I … Continue reading Serendipity Strikes (AKR Moment)
There's an ongoing discussion in the kid lit world about why boys don't want to read "girl books," meaning books that star female protagonists or feature fairies or princesses on the cover or in the title. Is this "preference" intrinsic, or are they steered away from such interests, starting at a very young age? Shannon … Continue reading Reading Gender Into It – Children’s Books and Beyond
In a nation overtaken by arguments about immigration and the building of walls, Shanthi Sekaran's new novel underscores the complexity of the situation. But immigration issues are more than a decorative backdrop in Sekaran's novel. They provide the disturbing context for its premise: two women fighting for the right to raise one child, one of … Continue reading Lucky Boy – Shanthi Sekaran
I spent some delicious time with a few hundred Ansel Adams photographs today. But, surprisingly, the most memorable moment came not in the form of an image but as one of Adams's favorite quotes. It hit me head on: "People say that what we're seeking is the meaning of life. I don't think that's what … Continue reading What Does Literature Do to You?
Just an hour ago, I clicked on the "purchase" button at the online Apple store, spending $1700+ dollars on a new MacBook Air. Hence the Apple logo, the insatiably voracious version of Pac Man. Five minutes later, I panicked and canceled the order. This, after spending at least a week reading CNet reviews, Google and … Continue reading Apple vs Microsoft – What is a Writer to Do??
So I was primed for a long workday, but I happened to glance at my bookshelves---and realized I haven't dusted them since the Cubs won the World Series. It never pays to ID household shortcomings, because it is now noon. My bookshelves are dust-free, the carpets swept, and the HEPA air purifier filters changed. I … Continue reading Dusting Bookshelves – A Poll
Echo River "Soon we had fashioned a rude boat, and with lanterns affixed to the prow were ferrying tours across the smoky waters: Styx, Lethe, Echo River, the host of wonders I had found. By slapping the water with the flat of my paddle, there comes a sound like the ringing of bells, a mournful, … Continue reading Echoes Before Silence