Carol Hurst's Children's Literature Newsletter

Volume 2, Number 3. August 5, 1997. Page 5.

Written by Carol Hurst. Edited by Rebecca Otis.

This issue of the Children's Literature Newsletter is sponsored by:
Carol Hurst, Consultants.
Bringing storytelling and language arts to your workshop, conference and classroom.

Notes From the Road

I've been running around a bit since last we met. It was nice seeing some of you at the IRA in Atlanta. Thanks to all of you who made yourselves known and who had such kind things to say about our website.

There were more website fans at the reading conference in Syracuse and our hostess Sheila Small even ran off some pages from it for handouts to the attendees.

I'd been working off and on all year with Greenfield Center School where my grandsons go and the upper grades had done an extensive study of the Civil War, reading tons of novels and consulting all sorts of non-fiction sources. They'd even done a field trip to Gettysburg. When they were ready to write some skits on the Civil War, I encouraged them to think of small, significant moments rather than trying to recreate Gone with the Wind. At that point, I asked them for some small moment possibilities and was blown away by the depth of understanding and knowledge those kids showed. They were bursting with ideas and the skits they created were outstanding! Congratulations to some very creative teachers and kids! No textbook could have brought them that close to events and emotions more than a hundred years old.

My annual children's literature course at the Lisbon Connecticut branch of Sacred Heart University went well. Cramming a semester's work and reading into one week is never easy but it's always exciting for me and for the graduate students. This year went even better in no small measure due to a visit from Lois Lowry who breezed in and chatted for a couple of hours. Thanks, Lois.

The DLM Kindergarten Institute in Dallas also went well. No bedtime stories this time, however, instead we had a luncheon tale telling.

This was my first visit to the Children's Literature Institute at Shenandoah College in Winchester, Virginia but it won't be my last. Karen Huff and her colleagues do a bang up job. It was great to meet and talk with Caldecott Award winner David Wisniewski. Imagine a beautiful work like "The Golem" being created by a former circus clown! The highlight of the visit for me, however, was being with Nancy Larrick. Winchester is her home and she remains active and involved in just about everything going on there, but the institute is obviously very close to her heart. Her anthologies of children's poetry remain outstanding contributions to the world of children's literature and her writings about children's literature over the years have inspired us all. Karen just sent me a copy of the article Nancy wrote in 1965 for the Saturday Review of Literature chastising the children's literature world in America for its all white characters. Apparently, nobody in the children's literature field noticed or cared about the absence of color in most kids' books until Nancy's eloquence brought the matter to the forefront. It's always great to meet the shakers and movers of the field I like best. See you on the road.

- Carol Hurst


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