Ambassador of Children's Lit Recommends Books


jack_book_bigDone with your holiday shopping yet? Uncharacteristically, I am just about there. But if you’re still searching for gifts for the kids in your lives, you might find this list from Jon Scieszka of use.

Scieszka is the author of The Stinky Cheese Man, The True Story of the Three Little Pigs (hilarious, highly recommend) and many other books,and is also the current (and first) national ambassador for young people’s literature. He was appointed to the post by the librarian of Congress and was the first person to hold it; a new one will be named in January.

Scieszka calls the current state of children’s literature “thriving” and “inspiring.” He notes that genres that teachers and librarians used to look down on, like graphic novels, nonfiction, and even audiobooks, are now being understood as good ways to get more reluctant readers into the joy and fascination of a good story. And he notes several of each that are especially good, such as Francoise Mouly’s and Art Speigelman’s TOON books for early readers, Walter Dean Meyer’s histroical novel “Sunrise Over Fallujah” and audiobooks like “Elijah of Buxton” by Christopher Paul Curtis (who lives here in Michigan), narrated by Mirron Willis.

He also notes there were tons of good alphabet books in the last few years, and several forays into children’s books from people typically known for their adult work.

I always love books as gifts for my kids, because they are used longer and more often than just about any other type of gift. Toys break or get boring, clothes get outgrown, but my kids are both still reading some books my daughter recieved as gifts when she was just a baby. I got a little freaked out by the tab at the bookstore this year, but I realized that if even one of the books I was buying for my kids connects with them, it’ll pay for itself a million times over. What are some of your favorite books-as-gifts (either ones you’ve recieved or ones you’ve given)?