The Archive of Childhood, Part 1: Crayons

We tend to imagine the self as an unbroken whole, but it might better be described as plural, a series of selves that, though temporally contiguous (and often overlapping) are not always the “same” self.  That’s one of the conclusions suggested by Robert Krulwich in “Who Am I?,” a Radiolab podcast from 2007.  It is…

French Lyrics Reveal Shocking Truth of Rudolph’s Red Nose

“Le p’tit renne au nez rouge” — Jacques Larue’s translation of Johnny Marks’ “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” — reveals the real reason Rudolph’s nose was so red. Contrary to the 1964 Rankin-Bass TV special, its glow was not caused by an incandescent bulb. The last four lines (above) tell us: His little nose made everybody laugh….

Emily’s Library, Part 8: 25 Fine Books for Small People; or, Further Adventures in Building the Ideal Children’s Library

In this installment of my Emily’s Library series, I notice there are more contemporary books than usual. I didn’t plan it that way — there are certainly more classics I’d like her to have! But, as noted in earlier posts, my goal is to give my three-year-old niece a personal library of really good books, mixing…

Children’s Literature and Comics/Graphic Novels at MLA 2015

Heading to the MLA in Vancouver next month? Well, thanks to Lee Talley (for the children’s lit panels), here’s a list of all the children’s literature and comics/graphic novels panels. If we’ve missed any, then please let me know and I’ll add them! 35. The Graphic South Thursday, 8 January, 12:00 noon–1:15 p.m., 114, VCC West…

Mock Caldecott, 2014: Manhattan, Kansas edition

Just back from our Mock Caldecott, held today at the Manhattan [Kansas] Public Library, and again organized by KSU’s Children’s and Adolescent Literature Community (special thanks to Allison Kuehne and Becca Rowe!). In anticipation of the Caldecott Awards (held in January), we spent a few hours looking at and discussing what may or may not be…

Play It Again, Jon: Songs vs. Performance Pieces

Composer/producer/musician Jon Brion distinguishes between songs and performance pieces. What’s the difference? In a 2006 episode of Sound Opinions (rebroadcast in a 2012 episode of 99% Invisible), he cites Led Zeppelin as an example of the latter. Though he’s “a big fan” of Zeppelin, their songs “are the ultimate performance pieces.” He explains, And the way…

#BlackLivesMatter — A Twitter Essay

1. #Ferguson. #MikeBrown #EricGarner. #TrayvonMartin #BlackLivesMatter. #BlackLivesMatter. #BlackLivesMatter. — Philip Nel (@philnel) December 3, 2014 2. We can tweet #BlackLivesMatter all day. And we should. And we should ask why killing a person of color doesn’t even warrant a trial. — Philip Nel (@philnel) December 3, 2014 3. There’s actually video of #EricGarner saying #ICantBreathe…