B.J. Novak, A Prize, and an Event…

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Until yesterday, I had only read B.J. Novak’s new children’s book, The Book With No Pictures, to myself – which is not the way this book should be experienced. I knew Novak’s smart and clever book would be fun to read with a group of kids, but I was not at all prepared for their reaction. I read it to two groups of 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade students during their Library visits in what will go down as one of the most fun story times ever – much of it happily at my expense as I read lines like “I am a monkey who taught myself to read!’  There were literally a few children in each group that laughed so hard that calling the school nurse crossed my mind!  It was fun to watch the kids listening to the book – as they began to understand what was going on. Their look of pure delight reminded me, again, of the power of words to transport us quite literally into another state.  After we read it as a group, a few of the kids wanted to look again….


I am so happy that Jacqueline Woodson’s eloquent and moving memoir in verse, Brown Girl Dreaming, won the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature.


Woodson’s story of growing up as African American in Ohio, South Carolina and Brooklyn is a book I’ve left on my bedside table since I finished reading it months ago. You can pick it up, open to any page, and find something beautiful. Like this…

And somehow, one day, it’s just there

speckled black and white, the paper

inside smelling like something I could fall right into,

live there – inside those clean white pages.

I don’t know how my first composition notebook

ended up in my hands, long before I could really write

someone must have known that this

was all I needed.

Below is the flyer for the December 2 program at the James in Norwell. If you’re local, come by and take a look at some of the best children’s books of 2014….


One more thing….when you have time, watch Ursula LeGuin deliver her passionate defense of books and words in a world governed by capitalism. Her remarks were part of last night’s National Book Award ceremony.

Here’s the link:





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