Tuesday, April 2, 2013

International Children's Book Day and other things...

I didn't set out to write about International Children's Book Day; in fact I don't normally write on Tuesday, but I had decided to write my weekly blog today as my thoughts were abnormally inspired this morning as I was working in the Curriculum Lab (which, for those who care, is tidying up quite nicely.) I will get to those thoughts eventually, but first, an explanation for the title. I pulled up my Google account to open the Blogger dashboard, and saw my Goodreads quote of the day email in the inbox. It was a quote from Hans Christian Andersen as today, April 2nd, is his birthday. The note in the email said, "Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tales are so beloved that his birthday is celebrated as International Children's Book Day." I didn't even know this day was recognized until today, but it is now one of my favorite random holidays to celebrate. (Others include National Library Week, which falls on April 14th-20th this year.)
ANYWAY... on to what I was meaning to blog about, which has everything to do with children's books.

Interesting Things I Find While Working

Part of my intership includes an hour of shelving and shelf reading every week. I picked an area to maintain at the beginning of the semester and have been working happily on it ever since. The Curriculum Lab is half Education Department-half Library domain. It includes all the 370s (books on education and educational philosphies) all the juvenile literature--both fiction and non-fiction--current curriculum materials in use by the local schools, and LOTS of teaching aids.
The juvenile stacks are generally a thing that strikes fear in the heart of many a brave librarian as they always seem to be in disarray, but I truly enjoy getting them back into order.  I have to be disciplined to not be distracted by the wonderful books I work with, especially those with gorgeous illustrations, but I'm always keeping my eyes open for old favorites to come back to when I'm off the clock.
Today was a good day in the stacks, so here are a few I found. While they may not be classified as "good childrens literature" they certainly made me smile to remember reading them. (With links to Amazon)

Uncle Bob's Animal Stories JUV 268.62 D496u
A collection of short non-fiction essays about animals, exploring their unique places in this world and how wonderful the Creator designed them. There was a radio program on Moody Radio that featured these stories and it was one of my favorites growing up. I'm probably giving away my conservative, jean-jumper, homeschool background by saying this, but seeing that book threw me back to early elementary school and those wonderful, simpler days of co-op with my cousins and best friends.

Here's Benjie! JUV 268.62 W171h
Also from the sector of homeschool days comes a random book of 1970's orgin, complete with two-tone cartoon sketch illustrations.  Its part nature-story, part sunday school moral-stories. I had completely forgotten about it, until today. I still don't quite remember where I first laid my hands on a copy of it, but I want to say it was in pamplet form from a sunday school teacher at my grandparents church. In the jean-jumper wearing days. Seeing it again kinda makes me nostalgic, but also kinda makes me shudder at the thought of reading such saccharine material. Lets just hope it made me a better person somehow.

The Bible in Pictures for Little Eyes JUV 220.9505 T215b
I was in the 200s (Religion) obviously as all these books so far have had sort of a sunday school bent to them. I know I wasn't the only kid who had this book as a child. Its laid out with a painting of a biblical story, a synopsis of the story and bible reference, and questions about it. The paintings are bright and very detailed, and I always remember one particular painting the best--the one of Absalom getting his hair stuck in the low lying branches. I don't remember now if the book tells exactly what happened next, (SPOILER ALERT: Joab comes along and stabs him through the heart with three javelins 2 Samuel 18:9-15) but I know my dad read that story to me straight out of the Bible plenty of times. (This is where my homeschool past becomes less Little House on the Praire and rather more Braveheart and blood and guts and glory and epic adventures. I'd like to thank my father for that.)

And Finally, Last but not least is a book that I did NOT read as a child, but love all the same
A Hole is to Dig by Ruth Krauss JUV Easy K868h
This is subtitled "A First Book of First Definitions" and it defines ordinary things like mashed potatoes, faces, dogs, holes and the sun. Simple and sweet... and a little silly, I love it because it is a book of Being. Things ARE, but why are they?  What are they for? Ultimately, its a quaint philisophical little book, and as one who likes to ponder the nature of Being, I love this book.

To end, I'll leave you with a quote from this book on what a book is, because thats what I'm all about here:

"A book is to look at."

and to a child, is that not the truth?


  1. Benjie the beaver (if it's the same one) is from when I was a little girl...that WOULD be the 70's...but back then...well, it was hipster!

    1. Thats great! Hipster Beavers for the win! :)