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August and Everything After
kerplunking our way through the last weeks of summer
Today we went blueberry picking, and as the berries kerplunk, kerplunk, kerplunked into my bucket, I couldn’t help thinking about how fast summer has gone and how this time of year always makes me a little bit blue (a teaching friend describes August, for teachers, as a month-long version of the Sunday sads). I savor this time of year so much, or at least I try to, and I’m so glad that my kids still want to go berry picking with me even though they’re older.
Berry picking always reminds me of Blueberries for Sal, too, of course. Did you know that Robert McCloskey did some color studies for the book? I didn’t, until I saw them at the wonderful Robert McCloskey: The Art of Wonder exhibit at the Curtis Library in Brunswick, Maine. I posted a little bit about the exhibit here. But here’s the color study:
And also some sketches and original drawings that likely feel a little more familiar:
And while there’s an adorable new Blueberries for Sal cookbook, I haven’t had the chance to read it yet, and I always make what we refer to as “Jason Reynolds blueberry cobbler” (this makes no sense, since I deleted Twitter, but if you want to know why our house calls it Jason Reynolds blueberry cobbler, read here). The recipe is from the New York Times, adapted from Alice Waters, and it is without a doubt my favorite blueberry recipe and super easy. Here’s a gifted link to the recipe (no paywall)!
Other Things I Enjoyed Recently:
This Lit Hub article, “Let the Kids Get Weird: The Adult Problem With Children’s Books” has so many good things to say about what kids want to read and what adults want kids to read (and, full disclosure, it also made me cringe a little bit because I definitely have some languishing manuscripts that meet the criteria for that terrible weight of adult nostalgia).
Speaking of nostalgia, this beautifully written “farewell love letter to Boston” by Omar Aziz definitely made me miss the city I called home for a decade.
And a former student, who I spent the better part of spring talking about the Eras tour with while we shelved books, gifted me another fun sticker! This one features Taylor Swift albums as books (it’s not the exact one pictured, which you can get on Etsy).
Make Way was reviewed in the Wall Street Journal! Here’s some praise from Meghan Cox Gurdon:
“Make Way” opens with simple statements that feel like both encouragement and elegy: “In the beginning, a duck is an egg. A drawing is a blank page. A sculpture is a lump of clay.” Through the ups and downs of the paired stories, readers ages 5-8 will participate in “the building up and the taking away” as ideas are turned into art. Ms. Keane’s retro pictures here have wonderful color and ebullience, bringing liveliness even to static scenes (of quiet thought, of patient studio work) and acting as a visual reminder of the exciting potentialities of invention.
Saturday, August 19th in Lake Placid, NY: Adirondack Family Book Festival, 10am-4pm
Saturday, September 9th in Bath, ME: Bath Book Bash, 11am-4pm
Saturday, October 21st in South Burlington, VT: Book signing at the South Burlington Public Library, 10am
And Always, Picture Books
I usually end these newsletters with a roundup of picture books I’ve read recently. These days, I’ve been appreciating updates from Veruca the Bookstore tortoise (the first thing my kids asked about when they heard Bear Pond Books had been affected by flooding). So, I thought I’d share not one, but two favorite tortoise books that are perfect for back-to-school:
Hurry, Little Tortoise, Time for School! by Carrie Finison and Erin Kraan
Truman by Jean Reidy and Lucy Ruth Cummins
I’m also thinking a lot about Mary Ann Hoberman, who passed away last month at the age of 92. Her book A House is a House for Me was a perennial favorite in our own house, when my kids were little, and maybe even when I was little? I’m not exactly sure—- but I do know that when someone gifted it to us when my daughter was born, it felt so very cozy and familiar, like something I had read and enjoyed a very long time ago, many times before. And Betty Fraser’s illustrations for the book are wonderful, too. So much so that I’ve wanted this one as a tattoo for about a decade:
It’s a book about all of the things, big and small, that children try to understand, and the perfectly-paced rhythm and rhyme make for a great read-aloud.
*Please note that the books mentioned above contain affiliate links to Bookshop.org, a site that helps support local independent bookstores.