Even More Unexpected Jolts of Children’s Literature in Very Adult Places
And now it’s time for yet another edition of Unexpected Jolts of Children’s Literature in Very Adult Places. This is where my job as a Collection Manager comes in handy. I go through all the new adult titles coming out, and locate the books with a children’s book focus or mention. And today, I’m starting out with a bang!
The Secret Life of Stories: From Don Quixote to Harry Potter, How Understanding Intellectual Disability Transforms the Way We Read
by Michael F. Bérubé
I think I’m going to have to lean a bit on the Kirkus review to explain precisely what this book is about. Say they:
“How does the study of disability help us to understand stories? In this important contribution to disability studies, literary scholar and critic Bérubé (Literature, Director of the Institute for the Arts and Humanities/Pennsylvania State Univ.; The Left at War, 2009, etc.) examines how characters with intellectual disabilities shape “the specific narrative they inhabit.” What can these characters know about this narrative? How can they serve as “a device for exploring the phenomenon of human sociality?” How can they inform our assumptions about “the ‘real’ and the ‘normal?’ ” Central to this inquiry is the overarching question of how to define intellectual disability. The author resists diagnosing characters and perpetuating stereotypes of such conditions as autism and Down syndrome, rather arguing that each character is distinct.”
The book covers the Harry Potter series, The Woman Warrior, The Sound and the Fury, A Wrinkle in Time, Life and Times of Michael K, Don Quixote, and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.
A Wild Swan and Other Tales
by Michael Cunningham
When I first started this series, I included a Michael Cunningham story that had appeared in The New Yorker. Innocent that I was, it did not occur to me that the Rumplestiltskin tale “Little Man” was just a selection from an upcoming book. Now the book hits shelves within the week. Kirkus called it, “A likable and occasionally provocative set of variations on kid-lit themes.” The fairy tales are familiar. The take is not. I already have a hold on a copy.
The Big Green Egg Book
by Dirk Koppens, Vanja Van Der Leeden, and Remko Kraaijeveld
Bit of a cheat, this one, as the only connection to children’s literature is the fact that I can’t see this cover without thinking of Green Eggs and Ham. Apparently a kamodo style cooker is referred to as a “big green egg”. Who knew? You learn something new every day.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland Decoded: The Full Text of Lewis Carroll’s Novel With Its Many Hidden Meanings Revealed
by David Day
Alice’s 150th anniversary is leading to all kinds of publications. Day is a J.R.R. Tolkien scholar that, according to Library Journal, “proposes that Alice is about Victorians of the time, especially those at Oxford University. A staunch conservative Oxford don, Charles Dodgson, writing as Lewis Carroll, strongly opposed the liberal ideas and reforms that were beginning to permeate Oxford, especially those of Dean Liddell, the father of the real life Alice.” I’ve never heard THAT one before!
And finally, I was looking at an author photo of Ann Patchett the other day, and I couldn’t help but notice some familiar friends in the foreground:
Mo Mo and a Doe Doe Doe.
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About Betsy Bird
Betsy Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.
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