Idaville

Idaville

I used to think of Encyclopedia Brown mystery stories as logical, serious, and solveable. I probably also believed in a tidy universe. On re-reading, I realize that I was completely and utterly wrong. I missed the humor, I didn’t see the absurdity, and I completely...
Think of England

Think of England

In fourth grade, I read Frances Hodgson Burnett’s 1911 novel The Secret Garden. I owned a mint-green Dell Yearling paperback copy that I must have bought with my allowance money. It was a book that likely inspired my childish love of the idea of England, of the idea...
Books for Another Time

Books for Another Time

As a child, I loved Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie books. I began them when I started third grade. When people ask about formative books, I think first of this series: of these books that I read when I walked around the house, that I carried to the...
Make Fun

Make Fun

Look, it’s been another long year, and my temptation this month is to quote blocks of funny passages from Gordon Korman’s 1981 comic middle-grade novel, I Want to Go Home, and just leave them here without analyzing my childhood or my feeelings. Humor can be a balm, an...
War Rooms

War Rooms

It is probably inevitable The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street, a new book about a large family living in New York City, is about real estate.* Karina Yan Glaser’s charming middle-grade contemporary opens about a week before Christmas when the Vanderbeekers learn that...
Virtuous Reality

Virtuous Reality

This summer, I spent some time re-reading Anne of Green Gables, a book that I turned to frequently in my childhood. It was easy to fall into it, but it also made me think of the lessons we learn—the habits we form—when we are young readers. In Lucy Maud Montgomery’s...

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