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, February 21, 2013

CODE NAME VERITY by Elizabeth Wein and NOAH WEBSTER AND HIS WORDS by Jeri Chase Ferris

Even though our novel, Code Name Verity won a 2012 Michael Printz Honor Award as well as a great deal of positive 'buzz,' we didn't particularly love it. Most of us thought the writing was quite good, but we had a lot of problems with many of the incidents that happened in the story. We couldn't believe that a young girl imprisoned by the Gestapo would be given tons of paper and asked to write. We also didn't get the distinction between the two young women, and why the story of 'Maddie' was the main one that was told. We felt that really smart young women who were serious readers would probably like this book, and we liked the fact that it presented information about young women performing heroic tasks during World War II. But -- with all of that -- we still didn't love it!

The opposite was true with our picture book. We almost unanimously LOVED Noah Webster and His Words. We loved the writing, the inclusion of 'dictionary definitions' placed within the text, the great mixture of the art and the text, the humor, the depiction of Noah as a persistent person who never gave up on his dreams (because he was always right!!), and we marvelled at the amount of work he accomplished in his life...(for which we -- word lovers that we are -- truly thank him!) Only one of our members wasn't crazy about the book -- she didn't care for the illustrations, although she felt the text and the information presented were quite good. We also thought the 'back matter' was excellent -- the presentation of more facts about Noah Webster's life through a timeline of specific details and some additional text, plus a list of the author's sources.