Of Cabbages and Kings: December 2nd 2018

This weekly(ish) feature is where I post recommendations and links to interesting things I’ve encountered throughout the week.  

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Image courtesy Best of Tumblr

I love this article describing why diverse representations in children’s books are so important and articulates my own thoughts about why people need to stop dismissing inclusive literature for being “too political”. Complex, multiple perspectives are a great thing for everyone!

BuzzFeed celebrated libraries by crowd-sourcing responses from librarians about things they want you to know about libraries.

BuzzFeed continued its library love by educating ordinary folk (like me, hello!) about what a librarian’s job is really like. I don’t know about you, but all these things make me want to be a librarian more, not less. (okay maybe not all; there seems to be a lot of poop-related requirements in this job).

Enid Blyton is one of the authors who defined my childhood and made me fall in love with reading. While I acknowledge the important role she has played in shaping countless children’s relationship with books, I can appreciate the need to critique the problematic elements of her work. (How do I reconcile that with my lifelong ambition to read all her books? I’m still working on that).

Speaking of controversial authors, I know many people who have strong feelings about and against the A Song of Ice and Fire series for a variety of very valid reasons. However, much like for the author of this article, George R. R. Martin was my first introduction to the sort of plot twists and morally grey characters he’s become famous for. That’s the sort of thing that’s likely to leave an impressionable reader hooked.

In this video, Kate DiCamillo who writes books for children, talks about why it is important to read books aloud not only to children but to teenagers and young adults and proper adults and middle-aged folk and the elderly. Basically, everyone deserves to be read to, a sentiment I wholeheartedly support!

I love that this story about an independent bookshop finally selling its copy of a children’s book which had sat on its shelf for 27 years went viral. More bookstore viral news please!

I’ve been a huge fan of Brain Pickings for years and have spent many hours drooling over the books the site features. So of course I’m drooling extra hard at this utterly gorgeous book Maria Popova herself has put together. It features many of my favourite writers and illustrators telling children about why they read. I don’t mean to sound dramatic but I NEED THIS BOOK ON MY SHELF.

And finally, December means it’s time for end-of-the-year book lists and The New York Times has featured some of the most notable children’s books of 2018. I would also like all of them on my shelves, please and thank you.

Of Cabbages and Kings: November 17th 2018

I’m reviving this (hopefully) weekly feature where I post recommendations and links to interesting things I’ve encountered throughout the week.  

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Image courtesy The Guardian

Children’s author Shabnam Minwalla describes what prompted her most recent early chapter book When Jiya Met Urmila, in which her eponymous characters strive to bridge the economic barriers between them – a feat she admits might not be so easily achievable in real life, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.

Writer Lisa Gabriele takes a stab at rewriting the synopses of traditional “dude” books by placing women at the forefront – and the results are incredibly delightful.

Anne of Green Gables and Little Women are two of my favourite “classics” so I can’t wait to get my hands on these two new books which offer fictional (Marilla of Green Gables) and historical (Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy: The Story of Little Women and Why It Still Matters) explorations – meanwhile I have to content myself by reading this conversation between the two authors about the enduring influence of these fictional women.

Speaking of Anne Shirley-Cuthbert, have you been watching the spectacular Anne With An E on Netflix? Since I’m such a slow watcher of things, I’ve been making my way through it for over a month and a half (there are only two seasons and seventeen episodes which makes that even more pitiful) but I love spending my afternoons in Avonlea!

This article examines arguments for and against reading classic children’s books with racist undertones or references when there are so many better books out there. Personally, I agree with the view that these books can act as good conversation starters about historical and contemporary prejudices – if the young person wants to read them in the first place, that is.

Competitive book sorting in a public library is honestly the only sort of sport I’d ever be interested in (well, maybe Quidditch too).

October might be over but it’s always a good opportunity to drool over Harry Potter themed illustrations created as a part of Inktober – the annual daily drawing excercise for artists.

Every time I come across the story of how Alvin Irby started an out-of-school reading programme to engage black boys with reading in barber shops, it just fills my heart with glee. More informal reading spaces for ALL the children please!

I love a good book list and this one is doubly excellent because it features a bunch of books which celebrate libraries and reading.

Picture books are another of my favourite things and this article lists some stellar ones published in 2018 which should find homes on the shelves of both young people and adults.

Of Cabbages and Kings: November 10, 2013

I seem to be getting a lot of my book news from BuzzFeed these days. Anyway.

My favourite update from the Internet book world comes from this Harry Potter fan who photographed his Potter-centric journey to London. Reading this may or may not have made me tear up.

BuzzFeed featured all the things that bookworms would love to have in their homes. You know, apart from the lifetime supply of books.

I love every single thing about being a book lover, except the part where I run out of room for new books and books end up in unexpected places. Hello, book in the kitchen drawer, what are you doing there?

Why are more adults turning to children’s books? Because, as the article says, there are lessons and hope in kids books.

Some behind-the-scenes trivia from The Hobbit for all the Tolkien fans in the house.

And finally, since I spend so much time reading long non-fiction online, I’m going to link to my favourite one each week for anyone who’s interested in similar reading.

My long reads pick of the week.

Writer Evan Ratliff decided to find out whether it was possible to disappear for a month in the digital age. He worked with Wired magazine who, apart from offering clues to his whereabouts, also offered a $5000 reward for anyone who could find him within a month, say the password “fluke” and take his picture. It resulted in a massive manhunt with people collaborating over the Internet to track him down.
This article is riveting not just because of the fascinating premise but also thanks to the excellent writing. It made me hold my breath and exclaim “WOW!” at the end not only because the events were perfectly planned and executed, but also because the writing was equally well-planned and executed.