In which Annie (high school teacher, mother of two young girls and a younger boy) and her aunt Deborah (children's bookseller, mother of two young women in their 20s) discuss children's books and come up with annotated lists.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Grandfatherly wisdom

Dear Annie,

I have so much fun picking out books for your family.   Raina Telgemeier, who did the Rapunzel comic you guys liked, is a wonderful graphic novelist who will delight your children when they're all a few years older.  She has two full-length graphic novels about middle school-age kids.  Her first, Smile, is about her own multi-year drama of broken teeth, orthodontia, headgear, and life in middle school.  It's wonderful and very popular with the 5th-to-8th grade crowd. 
And Drama is about kids in middle school theater: the girl who's the main character is a techie.   Graphic novels for kids of many ages are proliferating in wonderful ways these days.

Here in D.C., Bob has been on a let's-look-at-the-boxes-in-the-back-of-the-closet kick.  Today he unearthed a letter from his dad, Will Thompson, written after he received a first letter from Lizzie.  Will read a lot whenever we saw him, both aloud to the girls, and to himself.  When he wrote the letter, Lizzie was in first grade; Mona was a kindergartner.  The learning to read process was in full swing at our house, and Grandpa offered his thoughts:

I think learning to read is like opening a door and letting all the ideas anybody anywhere ever had come in.  A few ideas come from far away and very long ago, lovely or strange or both, and a flood of ideas come each day to be forgotten right away, like the ads in the paper!  Good ideas and horrid ones, pleasant and painful ones, generous and selfish ones, as many kinds of ideas as there are people.  Take what you can use and be aware and careful of the others!


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