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 15, 2015

BROWN GIRL DREAMING by Jacqueline Woodson and THE FARMER AND THE CLOWN by Marla Frazee

We had a terrific meeting in January, and a quite animated discussion on our 'novel' (actually a memoir) Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson. Even though this book garnered starred reviews in every library/book-related journal, and the National Book Award for Young People's Literature, the majority of our members in attendance didn't love it. Some were put off by the line breaks in the poetry; others said they didn't get a sense of how the author really felt as she experienced (as a child) some of the important moments in civil rights history as well as upheavals in her own family. However, a couple of us had a more positive take: one person said the book felt 'like a symphony,' weaving in and out and around a theme; another felt it beautifully pointed to the importance of family, teachers, words, stories, and books that went on to inform the author's desire to become a writer. Differences of opinion make for great discussions!
As for the picture book, The Farmer and the Clown by Marla Frazee, our discussion started out with everyone saying it was 'cute' and 'pleasant' and a 'nice read.' But as we discussed it further, we began to agree that it was a much deeper story about the real meaning of family, friendship, loneliness, and love. We ended up all agreeing that it was indeed a terrific book, with wonderful illustrations by the author that portrayed the feelings of the story almost as much as the text did.

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