I've been collecting, reading, admiring, and creating children's books for a good long while now. Until recently, I thought it a relatively easy task to pick a picture book up and determine if it will capture the attention of a child and offer them something of value. I'd flip through the pages, take in the illustrations, and read through it quickly to look for flow.
But becoming a mom has turned all that on it's head. I now read Tilly's favorites over and over, day after day, morning, noon, and night. Soon into those kind of repeat readings, the true quality of the writing becomes plain as day, and the book takes on a different feel. Some books that I first found sweet, I've come to dread slogging through. I trip on their clunky turns of phrase, mouthful of syllables, and jarring jumps in plot. I find myself editing them as I read.
Then others just glide off the tongue and virtually read themselves. It's made me realize how important it is for children's book creators to spend a lot of time reading to children, at some point in their career.
Here we are reading Peter Rabbit (best done in a lion suit).
And here are some of our other favorites; Tilly never tires of them and neither do I.
If you find yourself in the happy valley of Western Massachusetts anytime soon, there are a couple worthwhile stops to make. Yesterday marked the opening of the yearly celebration of children's book art at the Michelson Gallery. Sadly I wasn't able to make the opening as in past years, but the exhibition is looking fantastic!
Also, the Eric Carle Museum is marking it's 10th anniversary with an exhibition from their permanent collection:
Iconic Images: Ten Years of Collecting for The Carle
November 6, 2012 - March 10, 2013
To celebrate its 10th anniversary, The Carle is mounting an exhibition, Iconic Images: Ten Years of Collecting for The Carle, which will draw on its permanent collection of more than 10,000 illustrations. Visitors will have a chance to see examples from the extraordinary collection the Museum has been able to build in a relatively short time thanks to the generosity of artists, artists’ families, and collectors who want their artwork preserved and shared. Artists on view will include Leo Lionni, William Steig, Ludwig Bemelmans, Maurice Sendak, Margot Zemach, Petra Mathers, Arnold Lobel, Rosemary Wells, Ashley Bryan, Simms Taback, Jerry Pinkney, and Trina Schart Hyman.
I hope you all stayed safe in the storm last week. We were very lucky out here in Western Massachusetts and had not much more than some heavy rain and wind. My heart goes out to our neighbors in New York and New Jersey who have suffered so much loss.
It is with a strong feeling of community and concern for our collective future that I headed out to the polls this morning. I've been as wrapped up in this election as anyone, even more so after the storm, which reminded me how important it is to have leaders with a strong sense of social responsibility. It felt so good to walk in to our local elementary school, cast a ballot, and collect my sticker.
With Tilly starting day care this week I have more time at my desk than I've had for a long time and there is much to catch up on. But I am far too nervous to write today. So instead I'll fill my work time with small tasks... until tomorrow, when hopefully all the ballots have been counted.