Tag Archives: authors

James Herriot at 100

Author James Herriot would have been 100 years old this year.  He wrote beloved stories about his experiences as a country veterinarian.  Most of these were published as books for adults, but you can also find picture book versions and collections of stories for children.

Oscar, Cat-About-Town by James Herriot
Ruth Brown, illustrator
Nobody knows why a stray cat keeps sneaking away from his new home until he begins turning up at social events all over the village.

James Herriot’s Treasury of Inspirational Stories for Children
illustrated bu Ruth Brown and Peter Barrett
A collection of the author’s stories for children, including “Moses the Kitten,” “The Market Square Dog,” and “Smudge, the Little Lost Lamb.”  The collection is also available as an audiobook with a slightly different title.

Roald Dahl specials


Have you ever tried to drink a chocolate river?  You can at our Interactive Family Movie on Sunday, September 18.  When you enter,  you will receive a goody bag with treats to enjoy during the movie.

Saturday, September 24 is our big Roald Dahl Turns 100 Celebration.  You can stop in any time from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. for special activities:

You can also bring (or buy) a lunch and enjoy a movie at 12:30 that day!

No registration required; all Roald Dahl programs are drop in to the limit of the room.

Remembering a great writer

August 19 marks the 80th anniversary of the death of poet and playwright Federico García Lorca during the Spanish Civil War.  Here are a few books in Spanish and English for introducing the writer and his work to children:

Federico García Lorca by Georgina Lázaro León
This picture book biography in Spanish was awarded a Pura Belpré Author Honor in 2010.
Poetic text recounts the childhood of the noted Spanish poet, including his love for the nature and folklore of his native Andalusia, his introduction to music and literature at home, and his health problems.

You’re on! Seven Plays in English and Spanish, selected by Lori Marie Carlson
This selection includes “The girl who waters basil and the very inquisitive prince” in English and “La nina que riega la albahaca y el principe pregunton” in Spanish.

Tomie dePaola’s Book of Poems
An illustrated collection of poems by various authors includes “Cancion Tonta” (Silly Song) and “Caracola” (Snail) in both Spanish and English.

A Family of Poems: My Favorite Poetry for Children, selected by Caroline Kennedy
An anthology of poems includes a different interpretation of “Caracola,” titled “Seashell,” in English.

75 years of Lynne Cheney

Former Second Lady Lynne Cheney turns 75 today.  Did you know that she has written a number of books on American history for children?

a abigail
A is for Abigail: An Almanac of Amazing American Women
“Each letter of the alphabet is represented by an important woman in the history of the United States, as well as others in her same field of accomplishment.”

america primer
America: A Patriotic Primer
“Each letter of the alphabet is represented by important people, ideas, and events in the history of the United States.”

time freedom
A Time for Freedom: What Happened When in America
Browse your way through American history with facts, trivia, and quotations.

we people
We the People: The Story of Our Constitution
“In May 1787 delegates from across the country–including George Washington, James Madison, and Benjamin Franklin–gathered in Philadelphia and, meeting over the course of a sweltering summer, created a new framework for governing: the Constitution of the United States.”

when washington
When Washington Crossed the Delaware: A Wintertime Story for Young Patriots
“Best-selling author Lynne Cheney tells the dramatic story of the military campaign that began on Christmas night in 1776.”



Beatrix Potter at 150

When Ms. Wendy wrote recently that the Winnie-the-Pooh stories hold her mother’s voice, the stories and voice I thought of were my grandpa reading the tales of Beatrix Potter.  Somewhere between 3 children and 4 grandchildren he memorized Peter Rabbit, although I enjoyed the stories most when I could look at the beautiful pictures.

You can find a special display in the library of books by and about Beatrix Potter, to mark 150 years since she was born.  Here are a couple of recommended books about her from the children’s collection:

My Dear Noel: The Story of a Letter from Beatrix Potter by Jane Johnson
A letter from Beatrix Potter to a young friend who is ill marks the origin of her famous tales.

Beatrix Potter and the Unfortunate Tale of the Borrowed Guinea Pig by Deborah Hopkinson and Charlotte Voake
A neighbor lets a guinea pig model for Beatrix Potter, but the unfortunate pet does not survive an attempt to eat her art supplies.

Beatrix: Various Episodes from the Life of Beatrix Potter by Jeanette Winter
This simple biography of Beatrix Potter, best known for writing The Tale of Peter Rabbit, includes excerpts from her published letters and journals and reveals why she drew and wrote about animals.

Beatrix Potter by John Malam
This short biography of Beatrix Potter is especially notable for its photographs and examples of Potter’s writing and drawing.

Beatrix Potter by Alexandra Wallner
An appealing picture book biography illustrated in a folk art style

Beatrix Potter and Her Paint Box by David McPhail
An introduction to Beatrix Potter as a child features illustrations by another artist known for cuddly-looking animals


Eve Merriam at 100

Poet Eve Merriam would have been 100 years old today.  She is known for writing everything from children’s picture books to poems for adults.  Here are some of her books that you can find at the library; her poems are also included in several poetry collections.

Goodnight to Annie: An Alphabet Lullaby
In alphabetical order, creatures all over the world fall asleep, from alligators dozing in the mud to zebras asleep on their sides.

On My Street
This book is a good example of how families can make rhymes out of the ordinary people, places, and activities they see around them, like “Mr. Sklar washing his car” or “Pat at the laundromat.”

Ms. Merriam’s poems for older children are often playful.  Here’s one from Blackberry Ink:

Cat cat cat on the bed,
Bed’s too soft, it jumps on my head.
Head head, head’s too hard,
Cat wriggles out into the yard.
Yard yard, cat slips away
Over to the playground where the children play.
Playground seesaw, who wants to ride?
Cat’s all ready on the other side

Chortles: New and Selected Wordplay Poems

The Singing Green: New and Selected Poems for All Seasons features some poems that are about poetry– I could see these coming in handy for an English teacher.

Spooky ABC features spooky illustrations by Lane Smith (you probably recognize his style from books like The Stinky Cheese Man).
A poem for each letter of the alphabet introduces a different, spooky aspect of Halloween.


For the refreshment of the spirit


Is there a favorite book that inspires you, one you return to over and over again?  I was thinking of this idea in connection with this bit in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader:

“On the next page she came to a spell ‘for the refreshment of the spirit.’ … And what Lucy found herself reading was more like a story than a spell. …before she had read to the bottom of the page she had forgotten that she was reading at all.  She was living in the story as if it were real…”

She wants to read the story again and finds that it is fading away.

“…and ever since that day what Lucy means by a good story is a story which reminds her of the forgotten story in the Magician’s Book.”

(She later asks Aslan to tell it to her, and he promises that he will.)

Is there a story that always makes you feel good?

I asked other people in the department, and this is what they wrote.



Winnie-the-Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner are precious to me because they hold my mother’s voice. A. A. Milne’s books were first published in the 1920s when Mom was a little girl when, so the copies that she read to us had been hers as a child.

When I read these stories today I hear her voice in my head. I am transported to the Hundred Acre Wood and to my own childhood. Gloomy donkey Eeyore was my favorite character. “In Which Eeyore Loses a Tail”, “In Which Eeyore Has a Birthday”, and “In Which Pooh Invents a New Game and Eeyore Joins In” were the stories I wanted to hear again and again. Whenever my family was out hiking and came to a bridge over a stream, we always gathered twigs or pine cones so we could play Poohsticks. We wished one another “HIPY PAPY BTHUTHDTH THUTHDA BTHUTHDY”, and quoted Pooh, “Time for a little something”, when we wanted a snack. Rereading the familiar words, I am caught up again in the adventures of some of my oldest literary friends.

Milne’s imaginative wordplay, his gentle humor and memorable characters continue to draw families to the enchanted place he created. Share the original with your children, so your voice will be captured in the pages of these classics for them.


Reading really is in itself a spell.
There are two books I turn to most when needing a “refreshment of the soul”.

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
Doesn’t every child and even adults want a forest to grow in their bedroom?
It is the book that reminds me that our imagination can take us anywhere and when we return supper will be waiting….still hot.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
There are few books that I want to read over and over and this is one of them. The wonderful magical world of Harry Potter is of course the main draw for readers.
J.K Rowling’s writing is so fantastic that I can really get lost into the world the second third or fourth time just  as much the first time that I read it.



I could name a lot of stories, but the Young Wizards series by Diane Duane is a favorite of mine.  It starts in the library, when Nita (who has ducked into the children’s department to hide from bullies) is drawn to a book titled So You Want to be a Wizard.  She takes an oath, meets some allies, and is soon deep in the wizardly business of protecting the universe.

There is plenty of science fiction and fantasy that features battles between good and evil, but there are some things that make this series unique.  The settings range from contemporary New York City (and a creepy alternate Manhattan) to alien worlds.  Humor sneaks in between the more serious moments.  Magic is closely aligned to science and largely consists of being able to talk things into helping you.

I don’t think those things fully explain why I feel truly, deeply happy when I read these books.  They include lots of things I love (astronomy, talking trees, allusions to Norse mythology, more astronomy), but it’s more than that.  These are stories that acknowledge that the real world is full of pain and injustice, but they also show people struggling to do good and make it better– on a big scale or a small one, by magic or by ordinary means.

Looking for more refreshing stories?  You might want to check out the website for the Christopher Awards.  “First presented in 1949, the Christopher Awards were established by Christopher founder Father James Keller to salute media that ‘affirm the highest values of the human spirit.'”  They include television, books and movies for children, teens and adults.