21 May 2008

“New England Voices” for 2008

Last night I had a fine time moderating the Foundation for Children's Books' "New England Voices" event at Boston College.

I introduced Barbara O'Connor by talking about the sense of place in her novels, including her most recent, Greetings from Nowhere. And then I put the Great Smoky Mountains one state too far north. So this morning I'll just let the atmospheric book trailer make that point for me.

When Barbara and I were talking afterwards, I realized that we first met all the way back while she was working on her first novel and I still had a regular job!

Susan E. Goodman then shared the story behind her new book about the US presidential election process, See How They Run. I think it's fair to say that you've succeeded at keeping your own political views out of a book for kids when the first angry email you get accuses you of having a bias against a president you actually voted for.

Susan invites all kids in grade 2 through 8 to participate in her Kids Speak Out! survey.

Lita Judge told the extraordinary story of a post-WW2 relief effort that her ornithologist grandparents spearheaded, with Americans sending shoes, clothing, soap, and other supplies to families in Germany and other parts of devastated Europe. Among the families they helped, it turns out, was that of famed naturalist Bernd Heinrich.

Combining items from her family's archives (which is a fancy word for the fact that her grandparents never threw anything out), period artifacts, and her watercolors, Lita told her mother's side of this story in One Thousand Tracings (also available through the Friends General Conference). Lita and her friendly husband/tech support Dave have created a rich website to share the stories and images that couldn't fit into the book.

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