2017 Children’s Books of the Year
2017 Children’s Books of the Year
One of my favorite writers is Walter Wangerin, Jr., son of a Lutheran pastor, professor at Valparaiso University, and prolific author (Book of the Dun Cow; Paul, A Novel; As for Me and My House; and numerous children’s books).
Though we may differ with him in some of his theology, Wangerin has tremendous gifts of insight into the human condition, everyday life, and God’s ways with His people, and I have benefitted greatly from his writings. Besides, he is simply a gifted writer, whose prose makes you think, relate, and laugh. And, his writings make you enjoy reading and stimulate you to read more.
One of his older books I recently picked up in a thrift store is Little Lamb, Who Made Thee? A Book about Children and Parents (Zondervan, 1993; reprinted in 2004. Mine is a first ed., hardcover). The title comes from a poem by William Blake, called “The Lamb,” in which Blake parallels God’s Lamb and the lambs of the church.
Wangerin’s introductory chapter is titled “You Are, You Are, You Are” – the end of which line comes at the end of the chapter (“You are, you are, you are, my child, a marvelous work of God!”), and in it Wangerin calls us to let our children laugh. Before you dismiss this as light and frivolous, listen to what he has to say:
Let the children laugh and be glad.
O my dear, they haven’t long before the world assaults them. Allow them genuine laughter now. Laugh with them, till tears run down your faces – till a memory of pure delight and precious relationship is established within them, indestructible, personal, and forever.
Soon enough they’ll meet faces unreasonably enraged. Soon enough they’ll be accused of things they did not do. Soon enough they will suffer guilt at the hands of powerful people who can’t accept their own guilt and who must dump it, therefore, on the weak. In that day the children must be strengthened by self-confidence so they can resist the criticism of fools. But self-confidence begins in the experience of childhood.
So give your children (your grandchildren, your nieces and nephews, the dear ones, children of your neighbors and your community) – give them golden days, their own pure days, in which they are so clearly and dearly beloved that they believe in love and in their own particular worth when love shall seem in short supply hereafter. Give them laughter.
More from this wonderful book on being a child and being a parent in the year to come, D.V.
As a fitting follow up to the post on the great value and impact of having access to children’s books (whether through a library or parents), we post this brief article on the BBC’s “Culture” section (online) highlighting the best eleven (11) children’s book – in the estimation of some experts.
Most of these classic selections will not surprise you, and that is good. These should be books you have read as a child (and maybe again as an adult), and that you want your child(ren) to read (at an appropriate age and with supervision).
Below is a brief introduction to them; at the BBC link above take the time to browse each book and its description – to bring back memories – and to encourage you to read them to your children or and have them read these great books.
What are the greatest children’s books ever? In search of a collective critical assessment, BBC Culture’s Jane Ciabattari polled dozens of critics around the world, including NPR’s Maureen Corrigan; Nicolette Jones, children’s books editor of the Sunday Times; Nicole Lamy of the Boston Globe; Time magazine’s books editor Lev Grossman; Daniel Hahn, author of the new Oxford Companion to Children’s Literature; and Beirut-based critic Rayyan Al-Shawaf. We asked each to name the best children’s books (for ages 10 and under) ever published in English. The critics named 151. Some of the choices may surprise you. A few books you might think would be contenders to top the poll didn’t even make the top 20. (For a full list of the runners-up visit our Twitter feed @BBC_Culture.) The titles that follow appeared over and again from the critics we polled and will continue to inspire children for many years to come.
Talk about a fascinating book title and layout! Here’s one from a mother whose son placed 64 objects in his mouth between a span of seven months. She saved, photographed, and published 63 of these items in a book, appropriately titled 63 Objects Taken From My Son’s Mouth.
Book Patrol carried the story of this title and I share it with you for one of our “Friday Fun” items today. Here’s the “BP” introduction along with a photo taken of some of the items laid out en masse.
Follow the link above to find out more about this poor mother and her voracious son. I am sure there are many mothers who can identify with this mom.
From the time when her son was 11 months old until he turned 18 months Lenka Clayton extracted 64 objects from his mouth.
63 of them are represented in this brilliant visual catalog, 63 Objects Taken from My Son’s Mouth.
The one item not included is a sachet of rat poison that her son put in his mouth at 11 months. That object was flushed down the toilet while mom was in a panic.
Remember this concept of Little Free Libraries?
Well, you are going to love this little third-grade gal who speaks from the heart about the need for books – in her Cleveland, OH school and around the world! She has my vote for library spokesperson of the year!
Enjoy! And be inspired!
I also read in our local Advance newspaper that our first local Little Free Library was placed in one of Grandville’s parks. Good job!
I appreciated this brief post (July 14, 2014) justifying having many unread books on one’s shelf. It is a question I have often heard myself: “Have you read all these books that you have?” My answer has always been, “No, but I plan to over time. I grab a good book whenever I can, and save it for the right time.”
Besides, having more books than you read allows you to loan them to others who may see one on your shelf and desire to read it. And, I always view the type of books I look for now as resources or reference tools. Maybe I don’t read them right away, but I have them handy when I need them.
And, if you are a father or grandfather, you will also appreciate the opportunity these “extra” books afford you for teachable moments for your children and grandchildren (for that benefit, read on).
If you are also a book collector – and reader! – and feeling guilty about having so many unread books in your possession, read this and feel better about it. And don’t stop accumulating good books. Of course, you also want to press on in reading as many of them as you possibly can. 🙂
Here is the beginning of the post; to read the rest visit the link above.
My oldest son stood spellbound in front of shelves that must have seemed endlessly high and wide from his small vantage. The Study was a familiar room to him, one he often requisitioned for all manner of creative projects and mischief. The surrounding mass of books had been nothing more than background scenery. I’m not sure what triggered it, but today he took them all in spine by spine.
I watched inconspicuously from my desk as he fingered past the precious and brittle volumes inherited from my grandfather, the preacher. He stared happily at the colorful set of Calvin & Hobbes compendiums, then glassed over a bit when he got to the dense rows of muted color that marked the theology section. Pausing for a moment, he took note of interesting molecular shapes and anatomical poses on the spines of the medical textbooks. He lingered longest in the fiction section, excitedly recognizing a few titles that we’ve read aloud as a family. Just when I began to self-indulge in the sentiment of the moment, he posed the question that had been brewing in his head.
“Dad, have you actually read all these?” There was no effort whatsoever to hide his incredulity.
And so I was brought rudely back from my parental reverie. After his grand tour through the titles that mean so much to me, his first reaction was to question whether or not I was using them for their intended purpose. Fair enough.
Taking the accusation in stride, I confessed that no, I have not read every book in our library. Sensing his disapproval, I felt the need to
defend myselfuse this as a teachable moment.
But still, I rather like this concept. I’m even toying with the idea in our grandchildren room at home. Where would you put one of these? And what style would you like? It costs nothing to dream 🙂
Here’s part of the story (posted April 2, 2014); find all of it at the link above.
Why is it that people “curl up” with books? Whether a bibliophile chooses to fling her legs over the side of an armchair, huddle close to a friend, or make a haven from a large cardboard box, the places she chooses all reflect the same idea: There is something about the act of reading that calls out for a safe, snug, and comfortable spot.
Perhaps it’s only when your body, whether you’re five or 85, feels sheltered that your imagination is free to inhabit the world you find in the pages of a novel.
In the reading areas and nooks pictured here, some spaces and furniture are the products of complex architecture plans and methodical design. Others, such as window seats and bean-bag chairs, are seemingly simple in comparison, but no less welcoming. You’ll find a wide visual range of all types of spaces in this sampling—along with DIY tips and notes from architects and librarians about what makes a great reading spot for children and teens.
Yesterday the 4th grade class of Mrs. Jane Woudenberg from Heritage Christian School (Hudsonville, MI) made their annual visit to the PRC Seminary. As always, we were greeted by an excited and exuberant group of nine-year olds. And we are just as excited to have them visit – though we may show that excitement in a less energetic way!
According to the professors and students this has become a highlight in the year, for it is not often we are privileged to have such young company (typically when our grandchildren come!) and it is such a wonderful opportunity to introduce the Seminary and its work to these young boys and girls.
Sem students interacting with the 4th graders
After they gathered in the main assembly room, Prof.B.Gritters gave them a talk about the nature and purpose of the Seminary. Then they were given a brief tour of the facilities, and finally ended with coffee break with the profs and students. Though I was in a meeting, I was able to catch them at the end and take a few pictures. And then, just enough time to hand them a bookmark on their way out.
Thanks for coming, 4th graders and Mrs. Woudenberg! We are thankful for your interest in and support of our Seminary in this way. And we hope that some of you boys will start thinking about whether God is calling you to the highest calling on earth (beside that of mother – and that’s for you girls!) – minister of the Word. It’s never too early to start thinking about this 🙂
I feel badly that I missed this one – at least if I look at the dates it appears that way – but perhaps McD’s has some leftovers. No, not burgers and fries, but BOOKS! Yes, they were giving them away in their Happy Meals. Now, that’s what I call a “happy” meal! 🙂 In any case, a great idea it seems to me. So, swing by your local McD’s this weekend and see if the promotion is still on. Your children will thank you 🙂
In time for National Family Literacy Day on Nov. 1, McDonald’s USA is inviting families to celebrate the joy of reading with the launch of a new Happy Meal Books promotion.From Nov. 1 – Nov. 14, McDonald’s will offer books in print for Happy Meal customers, providing more than 20 million books to families across the U.S. Throughout the two-week Happy Meal Books offer, families will be able to enjoy four original books featuring McDonald’s Happy Meal characters. Each limited-edition book brings nutrition, imagination and play to life in a fun way.“We’re excited to invite families to spend time together and celebrate the joy of reading through these fun and original Happy Meal Books,” said Ubong Ituen, vice president of marketing for McDonald’s USA. “This is the latest step in our ongoing efforts to enrich the lives of families, and part of a broader book strategy that will combine the fun of the Happy Meal, new partners and technology to inspire more family reading time.”
Need a list of good children’s books published in the 20th and 21st centuries? Want some ideas of what to read to your children this Fall and Winter? This list put together by the children’s librarians at New York’s Public Library is a great place to start! Posted on their website last month (Sept.2013), you will find some old classics and some new treasures here.
Check it out, put your own list together, gather up the kids, and head to your local library! More fun than a barrel of video games awaits you 🙂
Great stories never grow old! Chosen by children’s librarians at The New York Public Library, these 100 inspiring tales have thrilled generations of children and their parents — and are still flying off our shelves. So use this list and your library card to discover new worlds of wonder and adventure!
100 Great Children’s Books has been published on the occasion of The New York Public Library’s acclaimed exhibition The ABC of It: Why Children’s Books Matter, on view at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building. The list was selected by The New York Public Library’s Jeanne Lamb, Coordinator, Youth Collections, and Elizabeth Bird, Supervising Librarian.