Posts Categorized: Reading

Billy Collins on poetry, obscurity and not being difficult enough

“I have spoken a lot about wilful obscurity in poetry – where the poet is hiding behind language, using it as camouflage – and I don’t have much tolerance for that kind of poetry,” Billy Collins It’s why I love Billy Collins. In writing picture books you can be generous or self-indulgent. If you’re showing… Read more »

libraries forever

E B White wrote this wonderful letter to a child explaining why libraries are important. Isn’t that great? Here are 10 other writers on libraries… Starting with my very favorite: “People can lose their lives in libraries. They ought to be warned.” Saul Bellow “Without libraries we have no past and no future.” Ray Bradbury… Read more »

why there’s no such thing as children’s books

“I don’t believe that I have ever written a children’s book,” Maurice Sendak once said. “I don’t write for children. I write–and somebody says, ‘That’s for children!’” Madeleine L’Engle said, “You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it… Read more »

Featured Illustrator: Chris Haughton

Chris Haughton is a favorite artist of mine—such a brilliant sense of humor and most of all so very deceptively simple (and believe me, as a picture book writer, I know how extremely hard that is to do…) Behind a “simple picture book” are revision after revision. With How To Be A Baby, for instance,… Read more »

10 Books for Children age 6 to 106 (Pt. 1)

What are your favorite children’s books? People ask me that a lot. It’s a hard question to answer because where do you begin? The best children’s book are, of course, the ones which are nothing of the sort. They are those books which can be enjoyed by a child of any age, from 6 to… Read more »

Picture Books, Theater and the Turn of the Page

A good picture book is like theater. You’re probably familiar with The Caldecott Medal (awarded annually to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children). But who is this Caldecott exactly? Beatrix Potter called him, “one of the greatest illustrators of all.” Maurice Sendak credited him with inventing the modern picture book…. Read more »

Maya Angelou reads “Life Doesn’t Frighten Me”

It was so sad to hear that Maya Angelou’s had died last week. Like so many others around the world, I was touched by the words she wrote and spoke. And by the woman she was. And her spirit and sheer joy of life. I discovered this wonderful recording of Angelou reading one of her… Read more »

The Good Doctor

People often ask me, “Are you related to THE Lloyd-Jones?” To which, of course, I respond … “But I AM the Lloyd-Jones.” Of course, what they’re really asking is: “Are you related to THE Doctor David Martyn Lloyd-Jones?” Dr David Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) is the rock star of theologians, writers, thinkers. (Seen here wondrously on… Read more »

Limericks

Now it’s high time for some Limericks. Limericks? you say. Limericks are sometimes looked down on. Why? Some of the reasons given are: 1/they’re simple 2/they’re short 3/they only have 5 lines 4/they’re not very hard to write (Come to think of it, isn’t that pretty much what some people think of children’s picture books?… Read more »