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November in the Library
November in the Library

by Nell Stewart, Librarian

Early this month I went to the American Association of School Librarians Conference and heard a number of children's authors speak. It was very interesting and inspiring so I will be blogging about it more than once! Here are my initial thoughts, which are about the illustrator of the first of the two books pictured below and about the second book itself.

Cover of When's My BirthdayCover of Payback on Poplar Lane

Christian Robinson, an award-winning illustrator, talked about how he uses actual materials – cut paper, paints – rather than computer graphics because he likes the tactile quality and because it feels good using them. He creates his best work, he says, when he feels good! He made me think immediately of Montessori materials' purpose. Children will be amused to hear that sometimes he gets so absorbed in his work that he takes sips of his paint water by mistake and dips his paintbrush in his coffee!

I picked up an advance copy of a book coming out early next year, Payback on Poplar Lane, and it is hilarious and at the same time raises some issues that resonate well with Montessori's grace and courtesy concepts. Two 12-year-olds start competing businesses and make some big mistakes, which lead them to ask themselves: Can one be a good businessperson and a good person at the same time? If I lie to a friend, how do I make amends? This book will arrive in our library in February; students will laugh (a lot!) as well as learn from it.