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Lisa Von Drasek writes:

Nicholas Kristof writes in the New York Times on Sunday that he is shocked
to learn that children lose reading skills over the summer. His solution
is to suggest some hoary old favorites and invite readers to go to his
blog and provide their own suggestions.

Oh, and then he warns those who suggest comics that he will report them to
their school librarian.

Yikes! So here is my rant on EarlyWord:

That Lisa! Her article on EarlyWord is just her usual, first-rate, 
excellent piece of work. I agree--some of Nick Kristoff's picks are a bit 
fusty and
musty, boy-centered, and not at all diverse. But, hey, that's his list. 
entitled to put his faves in his own column. When's the last time, other
than never, that you saw a major New York Times columnist spend his
entire column talking about books and kids and reading? How great is that?
He also includes his own kids' picks, which I thought was a great touch.

But here's the other thing. That article   has set off a positively
wild storm of responses--1,600 at last count. It was posted on
Friday night at 11; I responded to it an hour later, and there were
already 100 posts. By morning, there were 400 posts. People are having
a total blast reminiscing about their and their children's favorite books.
After reading through all 1,600 posts, I'm happy to tell you that lots
of people out there agree with my favorite fiction book ever:
The Phantom Tollbooth. Hooray!

The other thing you'll notice as you read the responses is how many
librarians have responded. No surprises there, of course. But so many
posts deal with the importance of libraries and librarians, it'll make
you feel downright appreciated!

People on the blog were wanting to see a list compiled, including
authors, so they could find/get/read some of the books. We'll see if
Kristoff will find someone to do that for him. It would be fun to see
how many people recommended each title.

I put a link on there to my 7 classics lists I posted on the great site I'm
working on these days, James Patterson's brainchild and baby, If you want to access the lists
(and my other bibliographies on the site), when you get to the home
page, click on COMMUNITY at the top, then LISTS, and you'll find it all.
Here's the actual link to all the lists:

Which is not the same as the booklists of 250+ recommended books
with very thorough annotations and Then Try lists that
you'll find on the main part of the site, when you just log onto

If you join the site (FREE! Like Facebook, but you don't have to feel
guilty if you only check in once in a while to see what's new), you
can make pithy comments, which I'd love to see. If you comment on
any of my lists or pithy comments, I would be most thrilled.

I think Nick's column marks a very good day for librarians and kids'
books. If you agree (or not), why not post your own thoughts at:


Judy Freeman
Children's Literature Consultant
Reviewer for
Author of Books Kids Will Sit Still For 3
(Libraries Unlimited, 2006;
and Once Upon a Time:
Using Storytelling, Creative Drama, and
Reader's Theater with Children in Grades K-6 (2007)
65 North Sixth Avenue
Highland Park, NJ 08904
732-572-5634 /

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