Friday, August 1, 2008

Carry-on children's books

Iconic US librarian Nancy Pearl (she has an action figure - blue cardi and shushing finger included) put together a list of 'carry-on reading' for travel for NPR (National Public Radio), including several children's books.  Read the article, or listen to the broadcast on the link - there are links on the page to excerpts from each recommendation (which I've put on the ones mentioned below). 

Her selections include the following (courier font sections are quotes from Nancy's reviews):

  • The Arrival by Shaun Tan: Tan brilliantly universalizes the immigrant experience by making the country of arrival a surreal place that is as wondrously strange to the reader/viewer as it is to the immigrant himself.

  • Chester by Melanie Watt: In literary criticism circles, you often hear the term "metafiction," which the Encarta Dictionary defines as "fiction writing that deals, often playfully and parodically, with the nature of fiction, the techniques and conventions used in it, and the role of the author." Well, when I read Melanie Watt's Chester, I figured that I had come across perhaps the world's very first meta-picture book.

  • Sunshine by Robin McKinley: I have never been a fan of novels with vampires in them. In fact, until recently I'd never read horror fiction at all — I've always felt that real life is scary enough before you add the supernatural to the mix. But I've always loved the novels of award-winning fantasy writer Robin McKinley, and a friend whose book smarts I respected recommended McKinley's novel Sunshine, so I (somewhat hesitantly) picked it up, started reading and found — to my surprise — that I couldn't put it down.

Disclaimer: I didn't just include this blog entry because someone other than me is recommending one of my favourite books, Sunshine.  Nope.  I just want to be helpful, as of course you know ;-) .  Move along now, no bias here....

Image from the NPR article.

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