31 January 2013

More post-caldecott discussion

Lolly Robinson over at The Horn Book put up a blogpost (Ethics, food chains, and stolen hats) to discuss my last post on "This is Not My Hat".  It's fun to see the pros weigh in. 

Also, for the record, my apparently jaded mind never even considered the fact that the little fish might have been spared--or as one of the commenters suggested, playing an elaborate game of hat-stealing tag.

29 January 2013

'This is Not My Hat': Reading (a little) too much into the 2013 Caldecott winner

Posted today on Page Views:
This year’s Caldecott Medal, awarded to the most distinguished picture book of the year, went to Jon Klassen’s “This is Not My Hat.” Klassen’s irreverent tale of deception and revenge is the 75th recipient of the distinguished award. Looking back over the past 75 years is like opening up a series of time capsules, with each year’s award revealing something about the mindset of that era.  
For example, 2011’s winner, “A Sick Day for Amos McGee” by Phil and Erin Stead, is a gentle story about a man who falls ill and relies on the kindness of his animal friends to nurse him back to health — a timely topic given the raging national debate as the U.S. made a push toward universal healthcare.  (Perhaps it was a preexisting condition that prevented Amos from accessing comprehensive health coverage.)
In 2004, the award was given to “The Man Who Walked Between the Towers” by Mordicai Gerstein.  The book is about a daredevil who walks a tightrope between the two towers of the World Trade Center and aptly captured the lingering tensions that still held post-9/11 America in its grip.  
And who could forget Sorche Nic Leodhas and Nonny Hogrogian’s “Always Room for One More” which in 1966 so presciently described the population growth scare that would explode two years later with the bestselling “The Population Bomb”?
Of course I’m being a bit facetious (though I did stop short of drawing parallels between the decline of World War II and “Make Way for Ducklings”), but there is something to be said about the cultural significance of a book that captures a country’s imagination.

25 January 2013

NPR on the Benefits of Reading

"The take-home lessons for parents are relatively modest: consider some Omega-3 supplements and sit down with your toddler and a good book for some interactive reading."

Read more at NPR

04 January 2013

Nerds and neanderthals, playoff edition: A literary guide to the 2012-13 NFL postseason

Orginally posted at Page Views:

In the preseason, we brought books into the locker room by identifying literary parallels for the 2012 NFL season. As the weeks rolled by, each unforeseen twist revealed a new storyline and unexpected characters emerged from the sidelines to assume pivotal roles in this final chapter of the season. With the regular season in the books and the playoffs about to start, now is the perfect time to reevaluate. So, as these modern-day gladiators take to the field (and the rest of us plop down on our couches), here is another literary guide to help prepare you for playoff action.

AFC Playoff Teams (in order of seeding):

1. Denver: The Peyton Manning gambit has worked out better than anyone could have expected. However, some wonder if the Broncos' success is largely illusory and mostly the result of a weak schedule. Are the Broncos capable of closing the deal on this miracle season or are they really just chasing a mirage through a desert of mediocrity?
Literary Equivalent: "A Hologram for the King" (Dave Eggers)

2. New England: It used to be assumed that Tom Brady and Bill Belichick could do no wrong come playoff time. While their powers remain strong, the veneer of invincibility has slowly worn off. As year after year they fall short of a championship, even the most diehard fans have been forced to accept their heroes’ flawed humanity.
Literary Equivalent: “Twilight of the Superheroes” (Deborah Eisenberg)