25 Years After; or, 10 Things I Learned at My High School Reunion

I am not nostalgic for my high school years.  As a teen, I was acutely self-conscious, chronically insecure, often depressed.  Yes, I also experienced a wider range of emotions (including joy and laughter) during those years, but my dominant impression of teen-age-hood is gratitude at having survived it. But I returned for my 25th reunion…

A Manifesto for Children’s Literature; or, Reading Harold as a Teenager

Those of us who read, create, study, or teach children’s literature sometimes face skepticism from other alleged adults.  Why would adults take children’s books seriously?  Shouldn’t adults be reading adult books? There are many responses to these questions: Children’s books are the most important books we read because they’re potentially the most influential books we…

Moomin Merchandise

Occasionally, publishers and authors send me children’s books. When time and interest coincide (alas, too infrequently), I review them and post my reviews here. More often, I write reviews of books I’ve bought. I do not review children’s-book-related tie-ins. I view such products with some skepticism, and have written critically about merchandising that targets children….

A Brief Inquiry Into the Paradoxes of Academic Achievement

When I started writing what was then a biography of Crockett Johnson (back in the late 1990s), I thought: When I finish this, I really will have achieved something. Even as I wrote other books, I continued to think of the biography — which became a double biography of Johnson and Krauss — as The Big Achievement….

Stayin’ Alive

While riding my bike last Tuesday morning, a car hit me.  It was 7:45 am, I was cycling uphill and due west.  A car coming due east — blinded by the sun, the driver later told me — took a left turn and hit my bicycle on its (and my) left side.  Fortunately, neither of us were…

Summertime, and the Living Is Busy

The week’s chronicle of precisely how an academic (specifically, me) spends each summer day is now complete. Those who followed this admittedly dull exercise might have some questions. Those who couldn’t bear following it can save themselves both time and tedium by skimming through the Q+A below. Q: How many hours did you work this…

What Do Professors Do All Summer? Thursday

Welcome to te penultimate day of this week-long excursion into the summer work schedule of academics — or, really, one academic.  Me.  If you’ve come this far, I’ll presume you’ve read the earlier entries (links at end of this piece).  If you haven’t, the whole thing starts back on Saturday.  You might begin there.  Or…

What Do Professors Do All Summer? Wednesday

Starting on Saturday, I began blogging a summer-work-week in the life of an academic — specifically, me.  We are now up to day 5.  The goal is simply to show — in as much detail as I can — precisely what I do in the summer. Indeed, if all academics who have a blogs did this,…