20+ Links of Storytellers and the Hearts of Children

Due to the popularity of the last post on links to The Unusual Life of a Children’s Author (*quirky, even!), I wanna share these 20 or so links that are related to children’s picture books, storytelling and the hearts of children. Float your cursor over the BOLD words to see if you want to view the link.

20 More Links on the Unusual Life of a Children's Writer

Films, NYT Articles and Other Resources

#20. An Older Judith Viorst. When I was a kid, Judith Viorst had my complete attention at the word “Australia” in her book, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. I was amazed at all those letters in the title alone, and then the THREE whopping syllables of Australia! All my other library books seemed to keep the vocabulary more familiar—(a good thing to a beginning reader).

#19. Kevin Henkes and His Books Reflecting His Life. This link is more of a review of Kevin Henkes books than his life, and it’s enjoyable to read with vibrant observations to ponder. I’ve always been “drawn” (pun intended) to Kevin Henkes’ straightforward illustrations with cozy and empathetic stories that match the quality of the illustrations. Perhaps, as this article suggests,they reflect parts of Kevin Henkes’ life.

#18. A Lesser Known Author, Janet Frame. This is one of my unusual finds, as I’m not familiar with the author, Janet Frame. I was touched, however, by the mention of Janet Frame’s child narrators, and Janet Frame’s own struggles through health crises.

#17. Eden Ross Lipson, former NYT Children’s Book Reviewer. Sweet and sometimes comical homage to another unique children’s book editor, Eden Ross Lipson.

#16. Shadowlands. C.S. Lewis is known as a great theologian, a theologian of the people–of all ages. His series, The Chronicles of Narnia, is full of stories that yes, touch my heart, but also get me thinking about life, children’s hearts and friendship with that wild lion Aslan. The movie Shadowlands interprets C.S. Lewis’ marriage to a divorced, Jewish woman and their short and poignant marriage together. C.S. Lewis may not be the quirkiest children’s author who ever lived, but the unusual life of C.S. Lewis and his writings certainly impacted thousands of children, as well as adults who will always be young at heart.

#15. Remember, Caps for Sale? I can’t forget it, and want to read it again. For the life of me, however, I never would have remembered the author’s name, Esphyr Slobodkina. I want to read Caps for Sale again, as well as get the 411 on Esphyr Slobodkina. Here’s another title that I hope my library finds: The Life and Art of Esphyr Slobodkina, by Gail Stavitsky and Elizabeth Wylie (1992).

#14. The Author of My Father’s Dragon.  Sweet article and interview with the author, Ruth Stiles Gannett, of My Father’s Dragon, from the small town paper, Ithaca Times News.

#13. The Purple Crayon Guy. Crockett Johnson and Ruth Krauss: How an Unlikely Couple Found Love, Dodged the FBI, and Transformed Children’s Literature (2012) by Philip Nel. The title alone makes me want to read it. I hope my library locates it soon.

#12. Madeline L’Engle. Best known for her award-winning young adult novel, Wrinkle in Time, she wrote plenty of picture books as well. I just saw one, The Other Dog, at the library this morning. Sometimes, Madeline L’Engle’s picture books aren’t as endearing to me as her novels, but I learn from them as well. I certainly appreciate Madeline L’Engle’s memoir, Two-part Invention: A Story of Marriage, detailing her writing career and marriage to her soul mate. It’s one of my top twenty favorite adult-reads for Two-part Invention’s story of truth, hope and love.

#11. The Encyclopedia Brown series. The Encyclopedia Brown series fascinated me as a kid, inspiring me to write my own mysteries. After a failed attempt at writing about President Reagan and the mystery of his missing horse, Brownie, I wondered how the author Donald J. Sobol succeeded. Almost 30 years later, I find reading his obituary as a very kind tribute to his life and success.

#10. Eric Carle. There are plenty of resources out there on the success of Eric Carle with his books like, The Very Hungry Caterpillar. This one caught my eye for the Someone-Finally-Said-It quotation. He says he loves children, but, “I don’t want to be surrounded by them. I’m about average when it comes to children: I like some, and some I don’t like.”

#9. I’ve had a strange affinity for reading dedications in books. That’s how I once “discovered” what so many already knew, that writers Truman Capote and Harper Lee were childhood friends, and friends into adulthood. (Read the dedications in both In Cold Blood and To Kill a Mockingbird.) To watch references to their friendship, fictionalized or not, there is the gritty, yet powerful movie Capote, as well as the less dynamic Infamous. As far as being part of this list, both authors have used young narrators, attempting to describe the hearts of children. Plus, I just like ‘em both a lot.

#8. The Creative Spirit: companion to the PBS television series (1992) — a book from Public Broadcasting, and simply great for any person, children’s writer or not, interested in how well-known artists have fostered their creativity and therefore their gifts. Now that I think of it, I’m sure it was a subconscious contribution to the creation of Reverie of a Picture Book. I include the book The Creative Spirit here because there is a storyteller on page 70. I don’t include his name here because I don’t want to be a spoiler, and its revealed only at the end of a messy, wonderfully descriptive scene from his youth. He may not be seen as part of the children’s literature genre, but perhaps he has made such a difference in this world by staying true to the heart of his childhood.

#7. As many of you know, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) has these great videos on the masters of children’s literature, illustrator and picture book writer Tomie dePaola and novelist Richard Peck.

#6. Peter Pan Stuff. Because I was somewhat disappointed that the film, Finding Neverland, didn’t have more about the children’s literature scene, I have another Wikipedia link for ya.  It gives an impressive list of the works based on this classic book of a boy who refused to grow up, (rather than only a link to movie that I had hoped would have more about the author, true or fictionalized).

#5. This really isn’t a link, but a general suggestion that the Bonus Materials in DVDs often have interviews with the writers and/or the people children’s books are based upon. If you have found this to be true, as I have, be sure to let me know! It would be great to have a list of DVDs that do this for children’s literature.

#4.  After watching the movie The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, I’ve never been able to look at a pussy willow the same way. The book is just as powerful redemption story for the seen-as-horrible Herdman kids. I’d like to know more about its author, Barbara Robinson. This obituary, short but sweet, tells a little of her life.

#3. Patricia MacLachlan, author of Sarah, Plain and Tall. I had difficulty finding info on her. If you know of more, or a better link, let me know. The link leads to a publisher’s couple paragraphs on Patricia MacLachlan’s love of the sea and how she gets her ideas for stories.

#2. karenhesseblog—snapshots of a writer’s life. Over 10 years ago, I had only read a couple chapters of her well-known Out of the Dust, when I saw a one-woman show of it on a stage in a Minneapolis coffee shop. Amazing. Beautiful, and I easily gobbled up the rest of the book after the show. Here’s the author’s blog, with different topics for you to choose. (There are soooo many authors’ blogs to include, but I wanted to make sure that at least this one got on this list.)

#1. Your Link. Maybe it’s to your writing blog. Maybe it’s to your favorite website about children’s books. Whatever and wherever it is, I would love to see it and have it shared with others.

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