Friday, May 24, 2013

Now Where Did Those Books Go?

Last week, Jeanne Marie kicked off Children's Book Week by introducing our series of posts about beloved children's books we've lost and miss. Before I share my own lost-book story, I want to congratulate the winners of the Sixth Annual Children's Choice Book Awards. According to this press release, over 1,000,000 votes were cast! How cool is that? You can see the list of finalists and winners here.

Now my lost-book story is nowhere near as intriguing as April's. (If you haven't read her post yet, go do so now. I'll wait.) My story starts some years back, when I created a new one-day workshop for College of DuPage called "Writing for Children and Young Adults: From Goodnight Moon to Harry Potter," designed to introduce students to the field of writing for children and teens. As part of the class, I planned to give an overview of the "ages and stages" of children's literature, sharing examples of a variety of genres and formats, classics and contemporary works.

Margaret Wise Brown's Goodnight Moon was one of my son's favorite picture books as a child, especially at bedtime. We read the marvelously lyrical, calming text so many times that I memorized it. But when I went to prepare for the class, I couldn't find our copy anywhere. It wasn't in my son's bookcase (he was away at college); it wasn't in his closet; it wasn't in my office. I finally gave up and borrowed a copy from the public library to use in my class.

I taught the class multiple times, and each time I looked for our copy of Goodnight Moon. No luck. Finally, my husband reminded me that I had packed away some of my son's books and baby things in a box that sits in the attic of our garage. Not wanting to ask my husband to drag out the box, I bought a used, paperback copy of Goodnight Moon for class. If my son eventually has children of his own, we'll get that box down from the attic. When we do, I'm hoping to find that it contains not only Goodnight Moon, but also another Margaret Wise Brown/Clement Hurd classic I've been missing for many years--The Runaway Bunny, the story of "a bunny's imaginary game of hide-and-seek and the lovingly steadfast mother who finds him every time." As a first-time mom, reading that book to my son was my way of saying that I would always be there for him. But even now I'm not sure who found the book more comforting, my son or me.

By the way, in case any of you who live in the Chicago area are interested, I'll be teaching my workshop "Writing for Children and Young Adults: From Goodnight Moon to Harry Potter" at College of DuPage again this summer. See my website for details.  And I'm thinking it may be time to update the class name, perhaps to "Writing for Children and Young Adults: From Goodnight Moon to Hunger Games." Or if you have any other suggestions, let me know. :-)

And don't forget to enter our current giveaway for a chance to win an autographed copy of Nancy Cavanaugh's debut novel for middle-graders, This Journal Belongs to Ratchet (Sourcebooks/Jabberwocky). See Esther's Student Success Story interview with Nancy for details.

When you're done, head on over to Jama's Alphabet Soup for today's Poetry Friday round-up.

Happy writing!


Anonymous said...

I checked on your class. Wishful thinking. I will be in Chicago the following weekend for the half-marathon with my family. (I am watching my husband and 2 of my daughters run.)
I am going to search for both Goodnight Moon and Runaway Bunny, favorites of bedtime reading. My girls loved Runaway Bunny more. I read that one over and over, and, like you, I loved the message that it delivered, "I will always look for you and welcome you home."

Carmela Martino said...

Oh, it would have been great to meet you. Perhaps some other time. :-)