Sunday, April 24, 2016

Being a Child Again

Last week my children's literature class had one of its highlights: our "class trip" to the children's room at the Putnam County Public Library.
One of the things I love best about my life in tiny Greencastle (pop. 10,000) is how compact everything is. It's literally one short block from Asbury Hall on the DePauw campus, where I teach my class, to the public library (and two short blocks from there to the courthouse square, i.e., "downtown"). So I can have an outing to the library during a class period and still have the students arrive on time to their next commitments.

Our wonderful children's librarian, Krista Mullinnix, was ready for us, with appealing new picture books laid out on the low tables in the "Maker Space." Her presentation to us highlighted some of her favorites, and now I have a list of great new-to-me titles to share with Kataleya when I return home in a few weeks: Rhyming Dust Bunnies by Jan Thomas,  Press Here by Herve Tullet, and Waiting by Kevin Henkes. Krista made me be the one to read aloud the hilarious, but embarrassing-for-the-one-reading aloud, picture book The Book with No Pictures by B. J. Novak. I saw several students in tears as they later read silently Ida, Always, by Caron Lewis, based on the true story of two Central Park Zoo polar bears, inseparable until death. (I'm going to wait a while longer to share that one with Kataleya.)

Best of all, though, was just being in the space of this library's enticing children's room, getting to enter through an extra-tiny door and then curl up reading inside a hollow tree trunk or on a cozy window seat.

What's better for children's literature students than to have one sweet hour to be a child again?

What's better for any of us?

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