Tuesday, September 25, 2007

A is for Aesop

As part of my personal professional development, I belong to quite a few email lists on the subject of children's/YA librarianship and children's/YA literature. Many months ago, I read a comment made by a poster that has haunted me ever since.

I can't exactly recall what the subject was, but the crux of the poster's complaint was that the younger children's librarians aren't as familiar with older children's literature (meaning that they aren't familiar with books written 15, 20, etc years ago)....that all they focused on were the new books.

Of course, no one can say that this is true of all children's librarians.

However, I definitely took this comment to heart. I definitely know the classics-your Roald Dahls, E.B. Whites, Margaret Wise Browns, etc. But I know there are some holes. It's not intentional-I'm all for reading books that are older. However, with the emphasis/demand on "keeping up"-which increases when you are on awards committees and reviewing-it's easy to ignore the long-standing shelf sitters. This actually started (for me) when I was in library school. Except for the week dedicated to "classics," we were required to read and write annotated reviews of 5-8 children's/YA books every week in my children's/YA classes. The books couldn't be have a publication older than 5 years.

I don't normally discuss on this blog the non-children's/YA books that I read. However, I recently read a book that gave me the idea for my upcoming project. The Know It All is about a man's quest to read the Encyclopedia Britannica from A to Z.

My Encyclopedia Britannica is The Essential Guide to Children's Books and Their Creators. This is one of my favorite guides to children's literature. I read a little bit of it every night before I go to sleep (I used it in my children's literature class, but we weren't required to read the whole thing).

I'm planning on using this book as my Lifetime Reading Plan. At the rate I'm anticipating, I'll finish this when I'm close to retirement. I'm planning on using each entry to fill in the holes in my children's/YA literature knowledge and to refresh my knowledge.

The first entry is on Aesop. I'll read the titles discussed in the entry:

Once in a Wood: Ten Tales From Aesop

The North Wind and the Sun

The Lion and the Rat

Andy and the Lion

This shall be interesting.

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