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Every month, TAB editor Kristin will be sharing her thoughts on five titles from our… Read More

June 1, 2016

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Children’s Books DO Matter, Part I

Here at Scholastic Reading Club we’re passionate about children’s books, of course, and we know they are essential to shaping young minds and creating lifelong readers. But we also know that children’s books often aren’t taken seriously. A lot of people think they’re silly, and that they’re easy to write. If they’re so easy to write, then why have some become enduring classics while others are soon forgotten? Why do most of us have indelible memories of some particular book that made us dream big or fall in love with words? Clearly there’s more to it than a few simple rhymes and some brightly colored pictures.

Enter The ABC of It: Why Children’s Books Matter, an exhibit at the New York Public Library, that most serious and respected of bookish institutions. This exhibit explores the complex history and current influences of children’s books and honors the way these books shape us.

image via The Bank Street Center for Children's Literature

Two of our wonderful Teacher Advisors attended the exhibit and were kind enough to send us their thoughts. Here’s what Beth had to say. Tune in next week to hear Katie’s reaction to the exhibit!

Off to New York City where I was looking forward to shows, shopping, and books!! Yes, books!! Specifically, the New York Public Library’s special exhibit—The ABC of It: Why Children’s Books Matter. As a second grade teacher, I already know this is true! Here is my opportunity to be validated! Little did I know that I would learn so much.

I first journeyed through the early readers, which were small in size but rich in life knowledge. While these were invaluable teaching tools that were passed down through families, I am grateful that I have a vast array of children’s literature to choose from now.

Next, I rounded a corner where I ran into colorful illustrations and creative stories such as Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. The collection continued to evolve as the Progressive Movement in education impacted the look and appeal of children’s books. In addition, the exhibit paid special attention to the economic impact of books. Little Golden Books published a variety of original, meaningful stories that sold for 25 cents so more children had the opportunity to own their own books. I had fond memories of these books as I grew up reading them at my grandparents’ house.

Suddenly, I saw one of my favorite characters! Why was Ferdinand in his own display? While I have always loved the story of this gentle bull, I never knew of his Oscar-winning short film! Then, I continued around the bend and ran into another favorite! A huge illustration of the boy and his grandma from Chinatown covered the wall. Children’s literature certainly has grown more eventful, insightful, and colorful!

Throughout the exhibit, there are opportunities to take a break and enjoy notable children’s literature with both child- and adult-size seating. So, learn more about your childhood favorites as well as today’s children’s literature.

Beth Madarang, 2nd Grade Teacher, Pennsylvania

This exhibit runs through September 7, 2014, with free 45-minute docent-led tours every day. Go see it if you can!

 

About the Author: Chloë Delafield’s favorite book from childhood is The Borrowers. If she could see a life-size re-creation of their miniature world, she would just about faint from joy.

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April 2, 2014