On Giants in Children’s Literature…

We pause to remember Maurice Sendak who passed away on May 8, whose art and stories entertained everyone without soft-pedaling life’s difficulties. His stories hummed with a dark undertone, lit with grotesque figures that dance and frolic across the pages. His ironic message, perfectly understood by children of all ages, echoed throughout: the world is often a sad and lonely place, so let’s kick up our heels and grab all the joy we can. In keeping with celebrating the world of children’s books, I was lucky enough to hear Anita Silvey speak this past Saturday (May 19) at the Richmond Public Library downtown. She was in town to talk about her newest book, Everything I Need to Know I Learned from a Children’s Book: Life Lessons from Notable People from All Walks of Life (ISBN: 978-1-59643-395-3). This is also the theme for the current celebration of children’s literature at the library. Ms. Silvey told us about her interviews with more than 100 leaders in the arts, sciences, business and politics who told her about their favorite children’s book and what that book meant in their lives. Each essay includes an excerpt and illustrations from the selected book and a commentary by Ms. Silvey. As I look forward to a summer of reading and writing, I will be sure to include selections from this book to inspire and enlighten me.

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