WELCOME! Once a month, usually on a Thursday evening, a group of writers, illustrators, teachers and librarians meets in the Los Feliz area of Los Angeles to discuss children's books. Usually we talk about one picture book and one middle grade or YA novel. After the meeting, Sandy Schuckett, a retired LAUSD librarian, summarizes our discussion. Here are her reports of our thoughts about the books we have read. We'd love to have your comments too!
Thanks to Nancy Hayashi for our wonderful title art! Our group has been meeting since 2007. It was organized under the auspices of the Children's Literature Council of Southern California (CLCSC).

Thursday, January 17, 2013

WONDER by R. J. Palacio, and ON THE NIGHT YOU WERE BORN by Nancy Tillman

We were a small but mighty group at our last meeting. We all agreed that the
novel, WONDER by R.J. Palacio was -- indeed -- WONDER-ful! A couple of people had some concerns with minor plot points, but in general we all loved the way the writing and the voice rang true, the realistic portrayal of Augie and the other kids as well as their middle school experiences, the sections by Augie's sister Via and her boyfriend, the fact that it showed a healthy, 'normal,' loving family, and the excellent way it dealt with bullying and mistreatment of people who are different for some reason without becoming preachy or didactic. We all hope it will win the Newbery, which will be announced on Monday, January 28.

Regarding the picture book, ON THE NIGHT YOU WERE BORN,we all thought the illustrations were quite nice, but had a range of opinions on what I learned is called a "lullaby book." Some of us felt it was a calming book to read to a young child before bed (maybe 'cause it would put them to sleep???)while others thought it was very sweet -- maybe too sweet -- maybe even treacly. We had a great discussion about lullaby books and their purpose, and also about the idea of kids today growing up thinking they are the greatest thing the world has ever seen.....slight differences of opinion on the true value of that as a child becomes a part of the real world. Definitely something to ponder!