Children's Librarian Blog Blog
Els Kushner, Children's Librarian

Els Kushner is a lifelong text addict. After teaching preschool and working in bookstores, she settled on librarianship as the best way to feed her habit. Here she'll share her tales from the school library and the world of kid lit..

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New Post at Scholastic Parent Voices

I've just put up a new Librarian Mom post at Scholastic Parent Voices: "Book By its Cover." I'd love some recommendations over there of recent kids' or teen books featuring characters of color whose covers did (or didn't) reflect their content.

BTW-- if you're reading this via a feeder, you may want to update your links, as Scholastic has migrated Librarian Mom to the Scholastic Parent Voices group blog. I'll try to link here when I put up a new post, but can't promise to do so consistently.



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The Responsible Ones

So after I posted last week, I had the weirdest feeling that I’d forgotten something. Then I got an e-mail from my cousin Ellen that reminded me about a story she’d written in the new anthology, Troll’s Eye View: A Book of Villainous Tales, which is a collection of stories about fairy-tale villains. So there’s one about the giant’s wife in Jack and the Beanstalk, and one about Cinderella’s wicked stepsister (or stepbrother, in this case), and like that, by renowned kids’ fantasy writers like Jane Yolen, Delia Sherman, Neil Gaiman, and Nancy Farmer.

Ellen’s story is about the oldest of the twelve dancing princesses—the one who leads all her sisters into the hidden cavern where they dance their shoes to pieces every night. I’d never thought of the oldest sister as a villain before, but I guess in the traditional version of the story she is the instigator of all the trouble. In this version, she’s just trying to keep an eye on her sisters, but she gets blamed. Ellen kindly dedicates the story to “all oldest children everywhere, who are responsible whether they want to be or not.”

I’d read the story a few weeks ago, and smiled in recognition as a fellow oldest-child in our extended family, and then got busy and forgot to write and tell her how much I liked it (Ellen! I liked it a lot!) but aside from that, I’d forgotten that I’d written a whole post about fictional youngest children and here was this swell story about an oldest child and how could I have neglected to write about books that feature oldest children and wouldn’t that be a nice balance?

Except… there is, as I mentioned earlier, a whole raft of series about those endearing, charming, mischievous youngests, but when I try to come up with series focused on oldest kids I mostly draw a blank. Oh, sure, there are lots of big-sibling-little sibling picture books, like Julius, the Baby of the World and the incomparable Max and Ruby (though even in Max and Ruby, who always prevails? Who, I ask you? Not big-sister Ruby, that’s for sure), but as protagonists of novels, especially series of novels, oldest siblings seem to get short shrift.

Well, there is Clementine. Regular readers might have noticed that I have a soft spot for Clementine, with her good intentions and her helpful problem-solving (which is sometimes truly helpful, sometimes, well, not so much) and even the ingenious vegetable-based nicknames she keeps coming up with for her little brother. I have to admit that sometimes I describe Clementine to potential <strike>converts</strike> readers as “like Ramona, but less bratty.” Which isn’t quite fair because Ramona isn’t really bratty. But she is, recognizably, a little sister: cute, demanding, used to being noticed and looked after. And in Clementine, who works so hard to make everything Okay for everyone—her parents, her neighbors, her baffling and persnickety friend Margaret—I recognize a fellow oldest child: responsible, whether she wants to be or not. And Clementine’s parents don’t lay that on her; she just takes it on, as oldest kids so often do.

A couple other fictional kids who take on—or chafe under—the burden of being oldest:

  • From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler’s Claudia Kinkaid, who famously runs away to the Metropolitan Museum of Art partly in protest against the chores and responsibilities she feels are heaped unjustly upon her in her suburban home. Of course, she takes one of her little brothers along, so you could argue that maybe she’s not so dead-set against big-sisterhood overall—one of author E.L. Konigsburg’s many sly touches.
  • Catherine, heroine of Rules, by Cynthia Lord. Catherine is a model big sibling in so many ways: loving, responsible, concerned about her little brother even as his autism makes her life way more complicated than she’d like.

I’m sure there are more…can anyone think of any? And maybe some big brothers to keep those responsible big sisters company?

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Librarian Mom Has Moved!

Librarian Mom is now part of the Scholastic Parent Voices blog! Please update and your bookmarks and click over to Scholastic Parents Voices to continue to read great posts by Els Kushner.

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Animal Babies: A Belated Book Shower Post

Any request for book recommendations triggers something in my brain, and I can’t let go until I find a book that matches it. (It’s an occupational hazard.) So when I read a few weeks ago about a virtual book-recommending baby shower for Nonlinear Girl, I started ticking through all the new-baby books I could think of, even though neither the mom nor the shower host know me from a hole in the wall. I just thought it was so practical, especially since—as the host pointed out—having a nice expansive selection of books would be a great help as the new babies’ incipient big sister gets used to the whole “big sister” concept and as the whole family copes with the chaos that was about to erupt.

Well, the shower deadline is over, and the babies were born about a week ago, but—like those times on the reference desk when I totally NAIL what the patron wants just after they’ve given up and walked out the door—I’ve finally come up with a few contributions for this virtual-shower booklist that are worthy of the fabulous suggestions listed in the shower post:

What is it like to come into the world as a baby chick? How about a whale? An opossum?

The premise for this book couldn’t be simpler: the start of life for twelve different animals, each described in just a sentence or two: “If you were a baby seahorse, you’d pop out of your father’s pouch and swim away with hundreds of sisters and brothers…If you were a soft, new porcupette, you’d say, ‘Uh-uh-uh.” But your prickly porcupine mother would say nothing at all.” The lush illustrations seem almost larger than life, with each scale on the mama snake and wrinkle on the baby deer mouse lovingly distinguished. At the end, of course, we come to the human child addressed in the text, who “rode curled beneath your mother’s heart, growing and growing,” ready to emerge and be held by loving parents. One of my very, very favorite older-sibling presents.

The first time I ever saw a Steve Jenkins book, Actual Size, I knew all I’d have to do was put it on display at my school library, and it would go, go, go right out the door, multiple times. Brothers and Sisters is another addition to the Jenkins canon of knockout gorgeous nonfiction animal books illustrated with torn-paper collage, and filled with loads of kid appeal. It’s really written for school-age kids; if I were sharing this book with a new older sibling of preschool age, I’d do a lot of paraphrasing—it’s pretty text-heavy, loaded with tidbits about sibling relations: naked mole rats dig intricate tunnels with their hundreds of brothers and sisters; nine-spotted hyena same-sex siblings fight hard and viciously, while baby crocodile siblings are generally pals who help each other escape from predators. But even for younger kids, the illustrations, and the concept that many different animals take many different attitudes towards their siblings, could be intriguing and reassuring.

Cutest. Animal. Book. EVER. Like If You Were Born a Kitten, this title is built around one simple concept: the ways different animals express affection. One line of text per page, accompanied by photos: porcupines brush noses, prairie dogs hug, manatees nuzzle, giraffes lick. Guaranteed to make you go “Awwwwww…”

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Moving On, Moving Up: Picture Books for Graduates of All Ages

From preschool to college, this is the time of year for graduations and “moving on” ceremonies; the telltale strains of “Pomp and Circumstance” are heard across the land, and everywhere relatives and assorted friends search for the perfect graduation gift. A car? Hmm, not so much. Cash or a gift card? A little impersonal, maybe. Well, how about a children’s book?

Of course, the perennial presence of Dr. Seuss’s Oh, the Places You’ll Go on the bestseller lists at this time of year is evidence that I’m not the only person to think of this, but if you want to get a little more original with your gift, you have many other options. has a nice page on Children’s Books that Make Great Graduation Gifts; two of the titles on that list, Zoom and Henry Hikes to Fitchburg, are particular favorites of mine too and would make perfect presents for the graduate who could use a bit of perspective.

After some brainstorming, I thought of a few more:

Walk On! A Guide for Babies of All Ages, By Marla Frazee
This understated, charming title purports to be a guide for babies getting ready to walk (“Is sitting there on your bottom getting boring? Has lying around all the time become completely unacceptable?”) but the advice therein—about where to look for support, what to do when you fall, and how to keep your balance—will bring a wry smile, and a bit of encouragement, to anyone embarking on an exciting and scary new endeavor.

Harold and the Purple Crayon, by Crockett Johnson
Give with a card inscribed “Draw your own path!”…and a purple crayon. And maybe a pie. You could include a hungry moose, too, but I wouldn’t advise it.

Mole Music, by David McPhail
A fable about how following your passion can have world-changing—and unseen—effects. Perfect for an aspiring musician.

Miss Rumphius, by Barbara Cooney
There are so many ways to make the world more beautiful. The way Alice Rumphius finds is unexpected and inspiring.

On Beyond Zebra! by Dr. Seuss.
Yes, it’s another Seuss title, but this one is a less literal riff on the “moving on” theme, and a reminder that the world, and the possibilities, don’t end with “Z”.

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Early Literacy: The Mystery Unveiled

In the last few weeks I've been doing a project that has me thinking and reading a lot about the concept of early literacy. Basically, the idea is this: most kids start to actually read at about age six, but before they can do that they have to have a lot of other skills and concepts in place; just like, in order to build a house, first you need property, a foundation, materials, a blueprint, much sawing and hammering and swearing, etc. You don't just wave a wand and poof! have a house, and a kid doesn't just pick up a book and read it out of thin air.

The process of gathering and strengthening those skills is called "early literacy", or sometimes "emergent literacy." I used to hear the term "pre-literacy" used more, but the other two terms emphasize that the whole process of becoming fluent in written language is a continuum that starts from birth and keeps going through adulthood. Learning to decode the words on the page is a big milestone, but it's just one step in the process.

Literacy researchers have put together a list of six main early-literacy skills that kids need to have in place before they can read. The Multnomah County Library has made a great website on the topic that includes a page on the six early literacy skills. The American Library Association's Every Child Ready to Read @ your library site has some excellent resources for librarians who want to incorporate Early Literacy skills into storytimes and parent workshops, as well as anyone who's interested in the research that went into the Early Literacy concept.

Here are the six Early Literacy skills, in no particular order:

1. Vocabulary. The more words kids know, the more they'll be able to recognize when it comes time to recognize them on a page. So just talking to kids--using different words, talking about lots of different concepts, explaining hard words, not to mention reading books, which tend to have a wider variety of language than spoken conversation does--builds up their early literacy skills.

2. Print Motivation. I admit it: this is my favorite Early Literacy skill (yes, I am a library geek who has a favorite Early Literacy skill. My spouse's favorite is Phonological Awareness. What's yours?). It means pretty much what it says: liking books, being interested in what's in them, knowing they have good stuff inside. This is hugely important in learning to read. After all, if all you know about books is that they're boring and hard, why bother? If sharing books together is a treat, a wonder, a delight, kids will have more motivation to stay on the often-rocky road to printed literacy.

3. Print Awareness. Before you can read a book, you have to understand what a book is and how it works: it has a cover, pages which in English are turned from left to right, marks on the page which correspond to the words people say when they talk, pictures that have something to do with the words, and so on. The fun part about teaching print awareness is that you can do it anywhere--out on a walk with street signs, looking at a ceral box, in a store-- there is print all over our world, and kids get excited about finding it.

4. Narrative Skills. Stories! Telling stories! Because what else are books but stories? When you think about it, even nonfiction books are full of stories: how things were discovered or invented; what a firefighter's day is like; what you have to do to make brownies. The more kids understand the structure of stories, the more comfortable they'll be when they encounter them in print. Telling stories to kids--fairy tales, true stories about what happened today, family stories--is great for this one. And so is encouraging them to tell their own stories of all kinds, and really listening.

5. Letter Knowledge. So far, all the skills I've listed are very based in what we used to call "whole language" theory: that the most important thing you need for reading is lots of positive engagement with words and stories and books. But the truth is, even with the richest whole-language exposure in the world, you're going to have trouble reading if you can't tell the difference between a "p" and a "b" and a "d", or understand that upper-case and lower-case letters have the same sounds. The twenty-six letters of the alphabet (52, really, counting the upper-casers) are the physical building blocks of written language in English. There are lots of fun ways for kids to learn about them, from alphabet books like Chicka Chicka Boom-Boom to drawing letter shapes in sand to those good old refrigerator magnet letters.

6. Phonological Awareness. This is the trickiest one for a lot of kids. It means being able to hear and understand that words are made up of smaller sounds, and being able to play with, break down, and manipulate those words and sounds. This all sounds very technical, but actually preschool kids practice phonological awareness all the time: when they say or hear nursery rhymes, when they play the "name game" or "Willaby Wallaby Woo," when they sing rhyming songs, even when they make up their own borderline-obnoxious games like maying meverything mith mee mame metter mat mee meginning.

So, that's it: six skills that you can encourage and teach in the comfort of your own home. Reading books together hits all of them, but there are so many ways they can be woven into the fabric of daily life. And when your kid has them mastered--at age four, at age eight, whenever they're developmentally ready and have enough of these skills under their belt--they'll be ready to read.

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Family Literacy Moments: Sleepover Party

When my daughter's two best school friends slept over last weekend, the incipient waning of her childhood hit me full force. She is eight (and two-thirds!) and her friends are both are nine already, and the three of them together were just so BIG. Physically big. They took up a lot of room. They weren't that much shorter than us grownups. The cadences of their voices, as they compared their favorite TV characters and gossiped about school, weren't those of little kids. The three of them practiced their dance moves for the upcoming school performance; they watched "High School Musical 3" and ate popcorn; they ran around screeching and generally acting like lunatics.

As they were settling down for bed, somehow the conversation turned to Jon Scieszka's The Stinky Cheese Man, which all of them had read and loved. They spent some time chuckling together over it, reminding each other of the funny parts, asking me if I remembered how that little red hen on the back cover gets all freaked out about the UPC barcode, and just generally enthusing.

I was quietly amazed. I mean, here were these Big Kids, who just an hour earlier had been doing their best to practice at being teenagers...and now they were all getting equally worked up and excited over a picture book

We turned out the lights and told them it was time to go to sleep, but the energy was still running high, and the shrieking didn't stop, so after a couple of attempts to shush them I asked if they wanted to hear a story. Maybe Anansi and the Moss-Covered Rock?

"Oh, we know that one," they scoffed, their scorn for such a babyish activity as storytelling obvious in their manner (my daughter was the most scornful). Same thing when I offered to tell Mabela the Clever.

But then, in one last-ditch attempt, I suggested the story about the man whose house was too small. (the most famous book version is Margot Zemach's It Could Always Be Worse.) Two of the girls dismissed that story too, with a "We know that one already!" but, "I don't!" said the third girl, and her friends agreed to let me tell it for her sake.

But once I'd actually started, even the two initially-reluctant girls got into it, suggesting what terrible effects each new animal might have (poop! noise! feathers!). They were a more sophisticated audience than the five-and-six-year-olds with whom I've mostly shared that story, and could tell right away what the pattern was--man complains to Rabbi, Rabbi suggests bringing more animals into the house, things get worse--and predict what would happen next. And they were even patient, if not particularly forthcoming, with my teacher-ish leading questions after the story (What do you think the moral is? What changed between the beginning and the end?)

When I'd finished, my daughter, stalling for more awake time, begged for a read-aloud story, so I read them a section from a library book we had around, Cornelia Funke's A Princess, A Pirate, And One Wild Brother, a lively story of a little girl who defeats some terrible pirates. Again, all three girls were totally into it.

After that, they were finally calm enough to at least act like they were going to go to sleep. Even though they didn't actually conk out for a while, the screaming stopped, and the energy was distinctly more low-key. It made me think about the magic of story shared out loud, and how grounding and relaxing that can be, how it can bring a group of people together, even if they're divided by something as fundamental as age.

I'm grateful that telling stories, talking about books, and reading aloud together is something that she feels comfortable doing with her friends and parents together, even at the advanced age of almost-nine. I don't have any illusions that my kid will welcome a storytelling intrusion on her parties for much longer. But, come to think of it, maybe there are some advantages to having an older, more autonomous kid. Like, maybe next time  they can tell the stories...

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The Joys of Summer...Reading

This is the time of year when a children's librarian's mind lightly-- or not so lightly--turns to thoughts of summer, and, specifically, thoughts of summer reading programs. Summer reading programs have become a staple of public libraries all over the English-speaking world, and maybe beyond. The basics are simple, and don't vary too much from program to program: generally, kids are given a form of some kind with which to keep track of their reading, and then collect rewards from the library--anything from stickers to iPods--when they reach a reading goal.

The specifics vary: Usually there's a theme of some kind, with a catchy slogan, but not always. The reading goal can be expressed in number of books, number of pages, days of reading, minutes of reading, or maybe some other standard that I haven't even thought of. The materials--reading forms, posters, maybe other stuff like bookmarks, postcards or activity booklets--can be simple or elaborate. Often, the libraries incorporate programming--entertainment, visiting authors, completion ceremonies, even sleepover parties--into the summer's plans. Some libraries emphasize completion of the goal, and some focus on participation rather than finishing.

No matter what the details, though, the purpose is the same: to encourage kids to read for pleasure, and to read books of their own choosing; to build connections between families and libraries; and to address the "summer slide"-- the documented drop in reading abilities of the average kid over the long summer vacation.

I've promoted summer reading programs in three different library systems, and ran one at my old school. I even work for a summer reading program; I'm the coordinator for the amazing province-wide British Columbia Summer Reading Club. When I'm on the desk, checking lists and giving out stickers, I love seeing kids get enthusiastic about books over the summer, and I get a big kick out of seeing what they're reading. It's a great time to talk about books, swap recommendations, and just get a chance to revel in the joy of reading.

This year, Scholastic is getting in on the party, with the Scholastic Summer Challenge, a web-based program with booklists, activities, rewards--all designed to encourage kids to "Read 4 or More" books. The program kicks off tomorrow, April 30, at 1 PM Eastern time (10 AM Pacific) with a live webcast game show.

It strikes me that an enterprising kid could sign up for the Scholastic challenge and the program at their local public library--chances are, your library has a Summer Reading Program and is gearing up, even as you read, to put it into action come June. Then kids can have double the incentive, and double the fun. (And you don't even have to tell them it's good for their reading level.)

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Top 10 Picture Books: My Brother Weighs In

My erstwhile little brother (now about 6 inches taller than me), a mild-mannered lawyer by day but with an alternate identity as a spouse, parent, and children's book afficionado, sent me the following email the other night. My response was to write back that it seems the wrong person in the family went into the kidlit blogging business. Here, see for yourself:


Hi Els!
I've been eagerly following the countdown of the 100 favorite picture books over at Fuse #8, and I'm trying to come up with a list of my own. I didn't vote at the time, but why not now?
Of course, I won't send it to Ms. Bird, since the voting's closed over there, but I thought I'd send my ballot to you, just so you'd know.
I decided to limit myself to books I was had read before the list came out. (Shaun Tan's The Arrival certainly would have made my list, but I only read it because I saw it on the Fuse #8 results. Truly amazing, though.) I also don't know what counts as a picture book, versus an early reader, versus a board book, versus illustrated nonfiction, versus whatever, so some of my titles may not, ahem, qualify. And, of course, I don't have a librarian's knowledge of the canon. Nonetheless, here goes:
You think you're embarrassed shouting at the television? Wait till you catch yourself shouting at a book. The best read-aloud. Ever.
2. The Osbick Bird (Edward Gorey)
Yes, it's Gorey, with everything macabre, absurd, and arbitrary that that entails. And it all serves a lovely tale of friendship and companionship.
Made me cry when I first read it.
Beautiful, silly, and heroic.
5. My New York (Kathy Jakobsen)
And it should be on your list, too, based on your recent blog posts. :-)
6. But Not the Hippopotamus (Sandra Boynton)
Boynton! BOYNTON! BOYYYYNNN-TOOOONNNNNN!!! Who cares if they're categorized as board books or whatever? Give Ms. Boynton some love, people. I suppose her votes were split twenty ways, or it fell into the wrong category, or maybe there's a snob factor at work because her lesser stuff sometimes feels less like "art" or "literature" and more like "product." I don't care. And the verses all scan. And the illustrations are funnier than Dr. Seuss'.
Such expressiveness.
8. The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales (Scieszka/Smith)
9. Great Moments in Architecture (David Macauley)
Tee-hee, again. I worship the illustration entitled "Finding the Vanishing Point."
10. Good Night, Gorilla (Peggy Rathmann)
Yes, she can be on the list twice. It's a tricky feat to be both cozy and hilarious, but she pulls it off here.
Honorable mention:
Irving and Muktuk: Two Bad Bears (Daniel Pinkwater)
The Piggy in the Puddle (Pomerantz/Marshall)
Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch... (Noble/Ross)
To Market, To Market (Miranda/Stevens)
Max's Breakfast (Rosemary Wells)
Song of Night (Nakamura/Riley)
The Dumb Bunnies Go to the Zoo (Dav Pilkey)
And of course, if I chose my list tomorrow it would look different. I'd bet all of the voters felt this way.
Enjoy, and love to all,


Sheesh. I haven't even read three of these books. Let this be a warning to older siblings every where: the little sibs can catch up mightily. Even if they work in a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT FIELD. Bravo, James! And thanks for writing my post for me ;-)

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Wonderful Town

I’m back from a whirlwind trip to my hometown, including three (yes, three) Passover seders, one jaunt to Central Park, and a long afternoon waiting in line (followed by a couple of short elevator rides) at the ultimate New York tourist destination, the Empire State Building, where I’d actually never been before. I had an excellent Szechuan dinner and saw a grown-up Broadway show with an old friend, my daughter and my cousins and I went to a circus performance, we did a lot of window-shopping and ate a lot of street food and rode a lot of subways and saw a lot of relatives.

And on the very first day, before we’d even completely slept off our jet lag, we stopped by the main branch of the New York Public Library, posed under the lions, then went inside and met the kidlitosphere’s own Betsy Bird, live on the reference desk. She is swell, by the way, and gamely discussed the Top 100 Picture Books Poll and the virtues of various blogging platforms while simultaneously keeping an eye out for real, actual patrons who might have non-blogging-related questions.

It was a great visit. I love where I live, but I miss New York.

Fortunately for someone like me, who finds comfort in virtual travel through books, there is no better place to miss than New York City. I don’t think there’s any other single locale in the world that has been the setting for more books, especially children’s books. There are probably thousands of them. I featured several last year when writing about city books for kids. Here are five more that might ease the pains of homesickness if, like me, you miss the place where the Bronx is up and the Battery’s down:

Here’s the setup: a yellow-balloon-toting little girl is visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art with her grandmother, but, oh, no! balloons aren’t allowed into the building. A friendly guard saves the day by promising to look after the tethered balloon until the girl can retrieve it, but, oh, no! the balloon flies away. The guard runs after it, and the balloon leads him a merry chase through many of the city’s landmarks. Meanwhile, the girl is looking at some famous pieces of art, each of whose composition echoes the various shenanegans witnessed by the balloon and its pursuers (for example, a painting of Washington crossing the Delaware is shown opposite the scene in which a motley group piles into a small boat to chase the balloon across the pond in Central Park). Great fun, and would make an excellent to NYC for a kid who’s visiting for the first time.

This flat-out gorgeous picture book, adapted from a quilt created by the author-illustrator, is the story of Cassie and her family and their summer nights up on their roof, the “tar beach” of the title. Life is not easy for this family: Cassie’s dad, a construction worker, can’t get into the union because of his race. But at its heart, this book is a tribute to one child’s imagination, and her love of the city; over which she imagines she can fly, soaring over the buildings and bridges and transcending all the problems and worries of everyday reality.

A rebellious child of wealth skates through 1890’s Manhattan during one precious year of freedom, and never really returns. Full of fascinating glimpses of long-vanished sights, like Bryant Park before it was the site of the New York Public Library. And you just have to root for Lucinda all the way.

Tourist suggestion: read this book, and then the sequels, which are, in order, All of a Kind Family Downtown, More All of a Kind Family, and All of a Kind Family Uptown (don’t make the mistake I did and read More AOAKF right after the first one or you’ll get all confused). Then, book a tour of the Lower East Side Tenement Museum to see the tiny spaces that large immigrant families like the one in this book really lived in (though I always got the sense that this family’s apartment was slightly larger than the ones in the Tenement Museum—after all, they had that beautiful parlor that was dusted every day by a different sister!) An American family classic, right up there with the Little House books, Little Women, Betsy-Tacy, and The Birchbark House.

(Full disclosure: I have a family connection with the author. But even if I didn’t, this book would have me wishing I knew her.)

New York City feels like a place where anything can happen, where almost too much life, too much variety, too many different things and people and thoughts, are packed into one small space. Changeling gives that magic another dimension, depicting a city in which fairies and other mythical beings of all cultures, imported to New York along with immigrants from all over the globe, coexist in uneasy harmony (and disharmony) with regular folk and literary creations. I’m rereading it now, in hopes of keeping that magical feeling from fading just a little bit longer.

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