Classic Children's Books in New Editions

Classic children’s books are popping up in good form
This article from the Minneapolis Star Tribune is all about great children’s books from the past that have new editions available. A great article for ideas for gift giving this holiday season. My favorite part of the article comes at the end with a quote from Raskin, author of The Westing Game, ‘”I try to say one thing in my work: A book is a wonderful place to be. A book is a package . . . a surprise package — and within the wrappings is a whole new world and beyond.”
Her book, and the others mentioned here, are that world. Look and you’ll see.’


Friction by E. R. Frank (080721647X) published by Listening Library
Friction is a book about Alex, a girl who attends an alternative school along with her best friend, Tim. When a new girl shows up at school, Alex tries to be her friend, but Stacy starts telling lies about Alex’s relationship with her teacher, Simon. Through a series of unfortunate circumstances, Alex begins to wonder if Stacy is telling the truth about Simon.
Sexual abuse is an important topic for YA novels to grapple with and Frank does a nice job of capturing the naivety of a young girl and her confusion about sexuality. There is no mystery for the reader here, but instead a captivating character study in Alex.
Teen readers will relate to Alex and understand her confusion. Adult readers will feel echoes of their own childhoods. Frank does an impressive job of handling this subject matter with no sensationalism and with great empathy and warmth for all of the characters.

We're All Reading Children's Books

This Telegraph article speaks to the new phenomenon of large numbers of adults reading children’s and young adult books. They offer up two theories of why adults are doing this. First is the sad theory that it is “further proof of an intellectually degraded culture in which magical quest literature is teh new rock’n’roll.” Yikes! But the second theory hits closer to the truth, “that some adults are rejecting the arid pastures of clever-clever, look-at-me contemporary adult fiction”.
I have read books for children and teens for years. I enjoy the clean writing style, the unpretentious language, and the strong narrative line. I enjoy their subject matter more too, where I don’t have to worry about graphic murders and explicit sexual scenes dominating the book. I also find more treasures, more books that will stay with me for years, more worthwhile reading than when I read bestsellers aimed at adults.
But frankly, I don’t know any other adult who reads the books I do. They still don’t know what their missing, and I suppose they would say the same to me. As I tell patrons who complain of a specific book, that’s why the library has to have so many. So everyone can find the book that is right for them and there can be room for those that are right for others.

The Earth, My Butt and Other Big Round Things

The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things by Carolyn Mackler (0-7636-1958-2)
This is a humor-filled and emotion-filled book about Virginia, a teenage girl who is plus sized in a family of people who look perfect. She worships her older brother until he commits a crime. The way that her family reacts to his actions forces Virginia to see their apparent perfection for what it is. She begins to understand that body weight does not define us.
Mackler perfectly captures the angst of large teens, the self-hatred that they feel, and the finally the joy of realizing that their size does not define who they are. Girls of all sizes will enjoy the book and understand Virginia.