The first full week in February is Children’s Authors and Illustrators Week, when we celebrate those who write and illustrate books for children. The special week was begun to help boost literacy rates across the world and increase engagement with reading for young people. Using art and illustration has proven to be a powerful tool to keep everyone, young and old engaged in books, share stories and capture imaginations.
I suspect like many who are near to my age, I first met good children’s literature on Captain Kangaroo. There we were introduced to such classics as The Story of Ping, about an adventurous duck that lived on the Yangtze River, Caps for Sale, a book whose subtitle is A Tale of a Peddler, Some Monkeys and Their Monkey Business, Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, who dug so well and so fast they forgot to leave themselves a way out of the hole, and the beloved Caldecott winner Make Way for Ducklings, among others.
The American Library Association, specifically now the Association of Library Service for Children chooses a book each year as the best children’s book of that year and awards it the Newbery Medal, and the best illustrated book, which is awarded the Caldecott Medal. They have been awarding these since 1922 and 1938 respectively. There are also awards for African America authors, foreign titles, translations, spoken word, and video. Besides bringing attention to worthy titles, the awards make it much more likely that the books will remain in print for generations to come.
You can find lists of award books online, but your best bet is to visit your local library where the children’s librarian will be glad to lead you to great stories for children.
Quotes from children’s literature
Promise me you’ll remember, you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, smarter than you think. from Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne
Sometimes, I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast. from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand. from The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams
Fern was up at daylight, trying to rid the world of injustice. As a result, she now has a pig. A small one to be sure, but nevertheless a pig. It just shows what can happen if a person gets out of bed promptly. from Charlotte’s Web by E. B, White
Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not. from The Lorax by Dr. Seuss
It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities. from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J. K. Rowling
Listen to the MUSTN’TS, child,
Listen to the DON’TS
Listen to the SHOULDN’TS
The IMPOSSIBLES, the WONT’S
Listen to the NEVER HAVES
Then listen close to me-
Anything can happen, child,
ANYTHING can be. from Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein
It has been a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. My mom says some days are like that. Even in Australia. from Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst
There is nothing sweeter in this sad world than the sound of someone you love calling your name. from The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo
I don’t understand it any more than you do, but one thing I’ve learned is that you don’t have to understand things for them to be. from A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
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