Musings on children's and YA literature, the academy, and the relationship between them, from an English professor and mother.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Kids' books for adults

I had the pleasure today of leading a discussion on "children's classics for adults" at the West End branch of the Richmond Public Library. A committed group of grown-ups gave up the most beautiful day in months--well, an hour of it--to talk about Bud, Not Buddy, Becoming Naomi Leon, A Single Shard, and The Outcasts of 19 Schuyler Place. We talked about art, families, agency, and finding a home--and left all kinds of things unsaid.

Which is just as well, as there are two more meetings, over the next two Saturdays, at two more branches (Ginter Park and Belmont, for those of you in town). I'll have a different group at each discussion, but some folks today said they wanted to come to the others, too. I hope they will--I want to hear more from them!

A fascinating sidelight: three out of the four books have important scenes in libraries. My favorite is in Bud, Not Buddy: the title character's first impulse when he's in trouble is to seek out his local librarian, a Miss Hill, who has (to his dismay) just married and moved to Chicago. I hadn't known this before, but a little research revealed that Miss Hill is in fact a historical figure, Charlemae Hill Rollins of the Chicago Public Library. I'm sorry I hadn't known about her sooner; read a little more about her here, and here, and you'll see why I'm glad to know about her now.


  1. And I'm glad to know more about her, too. What an inspiring person she was (is)!

  2. Oh!! Great!! Now a days, interesting and useful kids books are available in market for adults!!