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, September 4, 2014


We had a small group and great discussions at our last meeting. We mostly thought Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher was a very important book for teenagers (and the adults who work with them) to read, since it portrayed how people's words and actions can have an affect on others -- sometimes a very negative affect. One person said she absolutely 'hated it,' and she felt it wasn't realistic for someone contemplating suicide to take the time to meticulously make tapes explaining the reasons, as well as to create a specific plan for their dispersal. We also felt that throughout the whole story we never really got to know Hannah or Clay or any of the other characters beyond the suicide-related issues. We did feel that it was good to read about Clay's remorse over not having said or done something to help Hannah, but we understood how a teen-aged boy's reluctance was probably quite normal and usual. We did agree that it was a compelling and engaging story, and we knew that many teenagers were obviously reading it as evidenced by the well-worn (and sometimes sticky!) library copies.

We all liked the picture book, Mr. Tiger Goes Wild by Peter Brown, although one of our members felt it was quite predictable and a bit didactic in its message of 'be who you are.' We loved the illustrations, which although quite stylized, provided many specific and humorous details when perused carefully, like the animals' expressions, their clothing, etc. Some of us saw a similarity between this book and Where the Wild Things Are. . .the abililty of the main character to go off and 'be wild,' and then to come back and be welcomed (even though Mr. Tiger's food wasn't still warm like Max's!!) We felt it was a great read-aloud, and that young children would probably like it and understand it.