TWO GREAT CHILDREN’S BOOKS

Kenny’s Window, illustrated and written by Maurice Sendak is a true children’s classic.  Published in 1956, it marks the first time Sendak  writes the text as well as draws the illustrations. The poetic quality of the words is complemented by the soft greys and beiges of the dreamy drawings. Kenny, our protagonist is a dreamer, both figuratively and literally as well.  He dreams a dream in which he receives seven questions to answer, which he finds on a piece of crumpled paper in his pajama pocket the next morning.  In his nightly musings and dreams, he goes on adventures in search of the answers to the questions.  At the end, Kenny learns,”A wish is halfway to wherever you want to go.”As the book ends, Kenny, the dreamer, begins to wish, and what he wishes for in his dream-time, he gets.

A Man Named Thoreau, written by Robert Burleigh and illustrated, again in grey and blacks and whites, by Lloyd Bloom, tells of the life and thoughts of Henry David Thoreau. There are excellent quotes from Walden throughout, and the experience that was Walden is explained well and is aimed at a child’s understanding. The reference to Thoreau as a little boy sets the stage for understanding this man’s life, ” [Thoreau] had lived in Concord since he was a small boy…Most of them (the townspeople) thought he was a little strange.” There is mention of his literary friends, Emerson, Alcott, and others.  The narrative itself has a calm, soothing effect, much as one imagines Thoreau’s personality may have initially  been.  In the back appendix is a helpful timeline of Thoreau’s life.  For a sensitive child who loves nature and thinks about it, perhaps even marching to the beat of a different drummer, he/she will find a “hero” in Thoreau.

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Author: Rae Longest

This year, I will have been a member of AAUW (American Association of University Women) for fifty years, a life time member (which means my fellow AAUW members will begin to pay my annual dues. (ha ha) In the 80's we began a book group to share our love of reading, books,and fellowship with other women and girls who loved the same. We resurrected the group on-line in September of 2015 and went on from there (See "Introduction",first blog). This is my first experience at blogging or publishing anything and is becomes more fun with each blog posted. I am currently teaching as an adjunct at The University of Houston Clear Lake. This makes my 27th year there after three years at Alvin Community College and an almost-twenty year career as a classroom teacher with Alvin Independent School District. Reading and writing are "in my blood" just like teaching is. I hope you enjoy the blog.

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