WRB—Children’s Literature Supplement, Aug. 2023
One hundred pounds of blueberries
The grass is just beginning to dry, the leaves are just starting to fall, and the cicadas are full-throated in their praise of the season. As the weather begins its slow shifting, adventures abound, and whether you’re off to a new school year or moving to a new place (as Sarah is about to do), you can be sure that something exciting and unexpected is right around the corner. In our collection today, we’re highlighting books about moving, learning something delightful about Flannery O’Connor, discovering a clever form of lending library, and much more.
Moved by the spirit
Packing boxes may be crowding the floor of Sarah’s bedroom, but she’s thrilled to announce that soon, so very soon, she’ll be pulling all her long-suffering frien—sorry, books out of storage. This brought to mind other books about moving and creating a new home, each from a very different author:
Matthew Jackson Meets the Wall by Patricia Reilly Giff (1990)
The Boy Who Fell off the Mayflower by P. J. Lynch (2015)
The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner (1924)
The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes (1944)
School may have started for some, but for others, it’s time for a well-deserved vacation. Here’s one picture book and two chapter books, perfect for whiling away hours in the car or airport:
Counting Our Way to Maine by Maggie Smith (1995)
Pippi in the South Seas by Astrid Lindgren (1948)
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson (1882)
From the first page, Flannery is staring. Staring at everything. At chickens, at her parents, at the stars, at her toes, at an altar, at the darkness and sadness, at Sr. Consolata and her mother, at the old and the young, at the beautiful and the strange. Flannery stares - not to be nosy, not to gossip, or intrude - she stares in order to wonder at the world, to understand the workings of man, to disentangle the strangeness and glory of reality, to know and to love, to revel and to rest.
Too often we find we cannot do this. We do not give ourselves time to stare, to know and be known, to love, as Pushkin writes, “the sticky green leaves,” as expressing the mystery of it all. We are restless, with restless hearts. Perhaps Flannery shows us that while this restlessness and desire might sometimes ail us, the balm for this is to pause and stare and take in all that is around us. To look for grace peeking through, even in the odd, even in sorrow, even in pain. If we take time to stare, and let our restless heart sit, revelations abound.
The WRB already [in our August 16th edition] promoted Nic’s fascinating piece on Bill Watterson, the creator of Calvin and Hobbes, but Sarah wanted to link it here as well. Not only is the piece worth your time, but you should go find (and read) a collection of this childhood staple.