Since I know many of BookPage’s readers love to read children’s and teen books themselves (or with their kids), I wanted to alert you to a couple recent recommendations on BookPage.com:
Editor Lynn Green interviewed both Andrea Pinkney and Jon Katz for issues of Reading Corner (sign up here).
Pinkney wrote Bird in a Box, a middle grade novel that takes place during the Great Depression. The story centers on a group of kids in Brooklyn who are captivated by boxer Joe Louis. Here’s a preview of the interview:
Why was Joe Louis such an important figure for African Americans in the 1930s and ’40s?
When Joe Louis came onto the boxing scene, he symbolized tremendous hope for African Americans. Joe was boxing at a time when black folks in America were still considered second-class citizens, and when segregation was still a sad reality. But in boxing, one’s ability to swing hard in the ring has nothing to do with the color of their skin. Louis’s pounding punches showed the world that a black mother’s son had superior abilities.On the night Barack Obama won the presidential election, there was an overwhelming pride that welled in the hearts of many people. There was cheering in the streets. Tears of joy came to the faces of grown men. A black man had made momentous progress toward social change. This same pride and elation filled the night of June 22, 1937, when Joe Louis, “the Brown Bomber,” became the heavyweight champion of the world.
Is there a specific message you hope young readers will take from this book?
More than anything, I’d like young readers to know that even when it feels like life is giving you a beating, there’s always hope around what may at first look like a very dark corner.
Lynn interviewed Jon Katz about picture book Meet the Dogs at Bedlam Farm. Take a look at these main characters:
Why did you decide to write a book for children at this point in your career?
Children are the purest and most intense animal lovers on the earth. They experience animals in a very particular way, unfettered by the many issues adults bring to their attachments. Animals are the beloved and imaginary comforters and soulmates of many children, as psychologists can attest. Kids talk to animals in very touching ways.
Animals are sometimes scary to them, but more often are very loving and never cruel or wounding. Animal fantasies are a seminal part of childhood development. The Bedlam Farm dogs run the gamut for kids—the troubled dog, the love dog, the serious dog, the healing dog. Until I wrote Meet The Dogs Of Bedlam Farm, I didn’t quite realize how broad and familiar an emotional range Lenore, Frieda, Izzy and Rose covered.
We hope you enjoy these books. It’s always a pleasure to interview authors, especially when they provide such thoughtful answers as Pinkney and Katz.
What children’s books are you recommending lately?