Programs, Programs Everywhere


Last Saturday, I went to the museum we partner with for their weekly portrait project. This week’s subject was John Cornell, whom I knew very little about, so I read Mr. Cornell’s Dream Boxes to the visiting kids; the book is short and sweet and ADORABLE. Then we all made our own dream boxes about things that were important to us. (This can be a great snow day activity, parents!)

Behold mine, my chickadees:


The Ravens, obviously (with a stamp of Edgar Allan Poe underneath for my hometown of Baltimore), a mug o’ tea, my cat Lincoln, food (do you like the spaghetti and its little blob of sauce? I am very proud of that), puzzles, British stamps for when I lived in England, etc. The white thing you see is a shell, because I love the beach.

On the sides I folded paper for “books,” and wrote the titles of books I loved growing up, and now, that have had lasting impacts on me.

One side:


And the other:


(The Richard Scarry one is Richard Scarry’s Best Word Book Ever, obviously.)

On to Sunday. For the second Sunday of the month, we have a “Book Share” program, and I had a solidly good idea for it. I had set out a sign and two books, which should tell you all you need to know about what I was planning:


Because, let’s face it, we DO judge books by their covers, and I wanted to talk with kids and tell them that it’s okay to do that. Book covers often tell us a lot about what’s inside – and sometimes they completely mislead us (which we’ll get to in the photo below).

I’d pulled two different copies of Little Red Riding Hood – one adapted and illustrated by Jerry Pinkney, and another adapted and photographed by William Wegman. The two versions clearly approached the tale differently: the Pinkney one more seriously and closer to the Grimms’ original version, and the Wegman a bit more whimsically. Yet they are the “same story,” for all intents and purposes.

And then there are books that get redone with different covers every few years. Behold three different covers (!!) of Are You There God, It’s Me, Margaret: 


I’ve ranked them in order from least to most offensive (in my personal opinion – you have every right to yours, but it will be wrong). The far right – texting? No thank you. The middle one could be a catalog photo, for fartsakes, and shows, who, a teenager? The left one is the best; that girl looks like she could actually be a twelve-year-old. So I was really excited to discuss why a book might have three different covers, and if a particular cover might change the way a reader felt about picking up a book…

…That is, if anyone had showed up.


I have a few random photos for you all, too.

Don’t you love it when you find one of your favorite books in another language? I was weeding the Spanish books, and I absolutely had to take a flip through Once Upon a Potty, which in Spanish is called Mi Bacinica y Yo (My Potty and Me.) This was always my favorite page:


Friend S. sent me this picture of a (newly refurbished, I think?) children’s section in her library – I love it! Look at all that color!


Links for y’all:

This gets the top spot because it cannot be said enough: “Owning books in the home is one of the best things you can do for your children academically.

A very classy victory lap for the Enoch Pratt Free Library.

Sad and hilarious, because: true.

What a simple and useful idea! (About 40% of the questions I get are readers’ advisory, easily.)

I can’t wait for a series, because this book scared the crap out of me.

From Coworker J:

Ave atque vale, Peter Dickinson.

From Friend D:

The first trailer for Spielberg’s adaptation of The BFG!!

The first trailer for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them!!

Well, good luck to them.

I can’t even come up with a witty rejoinder for this.

No surprise there

Oy, is this funny!

FASCINATING. Asceticism might be up my alley.

Gabriel Oak, please! #farfromthemaddingcrowd

A must-read for lovers of not only Gabriel Garcia Marquez, but of books and the creative process.

From Friend G:

We have been good little chickadees, indeed!

Don’t you love that this came from Cosmopolitan?

This list of 100 top children’s books is epically solid, and the people who put it together know of what they speak.

From Friend R:

This is only a fraction of the weird. Believe me, the weird is definitely out there.

From Friend S:

Books that enhance children’s spatial skills development (yes, these exist!)

From Mama Bear:

Everything, because they are timeless. Have we not answered this question yet?

Your kidding me. Its unacceptable. Their doing it all wrong.

Hurrah to my home state! A great initiative!

Could work, could flop.

Trigger warning: This book promotes disobedience and features gender discrimination and segregation. (It’s The Cat in the Hat.)

Learn about some new poems.

From Sister A:

Looking for some great YA reads? Look no further. All excellent choices here.

I love these.

Not a deep guy, but Commonwealth folks love their Enid Blyton.

Some unexpected influences on some usual suspects.

In What’s Annabelle Reading, I read the newest “Robert Galbraith” book (you know who that is), and it was fine, but they just seem so formulaic by this point. I mean, the writing is incredible, obviously, and the mystery is always good, but it’s nothing outrageously wonderful. But always a solid read.

Next I read Lila Perl’s final book, which was well done and surprisingly affecting. After that, don’t laugh, but I read this for the very first time and loved it.

Next, I read the most charming memoir I’ve read in a long time; do pick it up. You will find it so sweet. (Norland nannies are legendary. Will and Kate’s nanny is a Norland nanny, obviously. Here she is in her full uniform at Princess Charlotte’s christening.)

Finally, this made zero sense to me and was a serious disappointment. Can’t win ’em all.


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