The Children's Book Quote of the Day

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More than twenty November 30, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kristi @ 10:16 pm

I am old, Peter. I am ever so much more than twenty. I grew up long ago. (from Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie)

I had a birthday this week. I am ever so much more than twenty, which is still pretty young. But I thought this quote was cute and I do think it’s funny how “old” keeps changing. I used to think forty was old. Now I think eighty is old. Good heavens, when I was a little girl I probably had teachers that were the age I am now and I thought they were old. Let me be perfectly clear: I am not old. And I have not forgotten the way to Neverland. But for some reason, the Christmas parade seemed incredibly long to me tonight and I kept wishing for my bed. When we got home I thought it must be hours past Benjamin’s bedtime but it was only 8:00–his bedtime exactly. And this is making no sense at all because I’m so tired all I can think about is the bubble bath I’m about to draw and the new book on cd I’m going to listen to while I’m in there (A Christmas Carol read by Jim Dale!!!!). Goodnight. I’ll try to post in the afternoon tomorrow while I still have my wits about me.

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For reading November 29, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kristi @ 9:20 pm

Dr. Young always said that books were for reading, and if people wanted to keep them pristine and beautiful, they would’ve put them in museums instead of libraries. (from Umbrella Summer by Lisa Graff)

Today I received a birthday package in the mail from Shanna. It contained a beautiful box of chocolates from Boston and a lovely old book of stories for children. The book was once a library book and it is well worn and obviously well loved, just the way a book should be if it’s any good. I don’t trust a book in mint condition if it’s not actually brand new. I expect that in a good book’s lifetime, it will be stained with teardrops and smudged with a bit of chocolate. It should have pages soft from the many turns and its pages should absorb the years. The book Shanna sent is like that. And the first story in it is by the charming A.A. Milne. So you’ll have to excuse me if I don’t have any deep thoughts to share with you tonight–I have some reading to do and some chocolate to eat.

 

Thank goodness November 28, 2010

Filed under: Picture Books — Kristi @ 8:38 pm
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Thank goodness for all of the things you are not!

Thank goodness you’re not something someone forgot,

and left all alone in some punkerish place

like a rusty tin coat hanger hanging in space. (from Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are? by Dr. Seuss)

This is my belated Thanksgiving post. I didn’t want you to think I ignored Thanksgiving–I love Thanksgiving and would never ignore it. I was just enjoying the day itself so much that I didn’t turn on the computer to post a quote. This year it seems like I keep hearing about people who are, in the words of Dr. Seuss, “so much-much, so muchly much-much more unlucky” than me. It has come home to me just how many things I have to be thankful for. I am grateful for the reminders.

This morning, I had an incredibly embarrassing moment in church when my child ran from me across the back of the sanctuary, down an aisle, and straight to the front where the preacher was preaching. We don’t have carpet in our church, so the whole time I was chasing him I was painfully aware of the sound of my high-heeled shoes click-click-clicking and echoing around the room. I was also painfully aware of the giggling congregation as my husband intercepted the runaway on the other side of the front row. But, as I was carrying him out the back door and trying to walk on the tip toes of high heels to minimize the sound, I just kept thinking that I’d rather be in this situation than a lot of others. I’d rather be chasing my healthy, rambunctious boy through a church in front of everybody than holding his hand in a hospital room or watching our house burn down, to name just a few I’ve heard this week.

 

Words into Reality

Filed under: Uncategorized — Shanna @ 1:15 pm

The Egyptian word shesh means scribe or writer, but it can also mean magician.  This is because magic, at its most basic, turns words into reality. (from The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan)

I loved this quote immediately when I read it, partially because I am a writer, and partially because I am a reader, and mostly because I believe deeply in the power of words.  I am reminded of something I learned about as an undergraduate in my first literary theory class.  A linguist named De Saussure (at least, I think it was De Saussure; if you know that I’m wrong, please correct me, and if you have no idea, please think that I’m brilliant) suggested that language as we know it is a system of signs.  For example, when I say “tree” you understand that I am referring to an object.  The word is not the object itself, but a signifier for the object.  This makes sense, right?  Another example–I can say the word “run,” and that word signifies an action, but it is not the action itself.  Okay, so I remember learning about this a thousand years ago (okay, more like seven, but I’m counting in academic years), and in my class we talked about what my professor called “primary language” and “secondary language” (I think).  Our language–a system of signs–is a secondary language.  Primary language is one in which there is not separation between signifier and object.  This is the language of God; remember how in Genesis, God speaks things into being?  Remember how He says, “Light” and it is?  God’s language is one in which words and realities are the same thing.  We serve a God who speaks trees, flowers, canyons, people–His words do not signify things, but are the things themselves.

We, of course, do not have access to this primary language.  We cannot speak in things; our words don’t have that power.  But we do have the power to turn some  of our words into reality.  We can, for example, take actions that make words like “hope” and “peace” and “welcome” reality.  We all have that kind of magic, to make words real, and to shape reality with words.

[Was this too deep for a children’s book blog?  I don’t know; I’m writing papers just now and I’ve lost my sense of depth perception when it comes to ideas.  So sorry if this is ridiculous.  But I’m not erasing it. :)]

 

Where you are standing November 27, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Shanna @ 4:54 pm

For what you see and hear depends a good deal on where you are standing: it also depends on what sort of person you are. (from The Magician’s Nephew by C S Lewis)

 

A very scary place November 26, 2010

Filed under: Chapter Books — Kristi @ 9:10 pm
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The mall is a very scary place.

You know you’re in a mall when there’s no sun and no moon and no sky, but everything’s still brightly lit all the time. (from Alvin Ho: Allergic To Birthday Parties, Science Projects, And Other Man-Made Catastrophes by Lenore Look)

I’ve been saving this quote for Black Friday. I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving yesterday–I’ll be sure to post an extra quote over the weekend to make up for not posting on the holiday. I had a lovely time with my family and getting online never entered my mind yesterday. This morning, my mom and I got up dark and early to shop the sales. It was fun, successful, and a little scary at points. I haven’t done Black Friday in three years so it was fun to go with mom again. We were pretty relaxed, got the things that were on our list, drank some hot chocolate, sat for an inordinately long time in the Sharper Image shiatsu massage chair at BedBath&Beyond, and then headed home to pick up my toddler and decorate mom’s house for Christmas. Most of the other shoppers I saw today were just as relaxed as we were, just enjoying the day. Some weren’t. That’s when I remembered Alvin Ho and his feelings about shopping malls and inwardly chuckled.

And now I’m going to bed–last time I ran this long on this little sleep was when Benjamin was under two-months-old I’m sure. Goodnight.

 

A sign November 24, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kristi @ 2:57 pm
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“What I know is that it’s an act of courage to stay with someone who needs you. It’s a sign of character.” His voice cracks as he says, “A hero can be afraid, but a hero never runs away.” (from Countdown by Deborah Wiles)

I so want to instill this in my son, this heroic character, this courage to go the distance. In Countdown, the protagonist is faced with a situation in which a friend she used to love but has lately been treating her with contempt needs her. Should she stay or run from a friend who has been downright mean? I want Benjamin to be the kind of person who stays, even if it’s uncomfortable, and works things out with character and courage. Jon and I will try to teach this at home. He’ll probably learn it on the playground. He’ll use it in family life, friendship, and definitely in marriage.

You know, one of the things I look for in a good children’s book is a child working things out for himself with little or no adult intervention. I think it empowers children when they read these characters–they don’t need an adult to fix things for them. They know what they know and they have their own characters–big character in a little person sometimes–and they can do it by themselves. I kind of cringe when I hear a lot of tattling to adults when children are playing together. I kind of want to be the parent that stands back and says, “Hey, you work it out amongst yourselves.” I definitely cringe when I hear an adult woman who has nothing kind or respectful to say about her own husband. You know the type–it’s like she’s always tattling on her spouse. My guess is, this is the woman who never learned to work things out on the playground or in the school cafeteria when she was eleven. She probably tattled a lot and changed friends like she changed shoes.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and I’m thinking right now that I’m thankful for my husband’s parents and siblings. They let him learn how to work things out. (When you have five kids you just have to let them work things out for themselves.) Sometimes I’m so rude to Jon I can’t even believe myself. Sometimes I’m so whiney and clingy I think I’d want to drop me off on the side of the highway if I were him. But he stays with me and we fight it out if we have to. And it’s a sign of character, an act of courage.