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Should authors for kids have some of their own? Or not?

This was an interesting piece in the Times yesterday. In it, award-winning author Maile Meloy muses on her experience of writing for children without having had any. 

I plan to discuss this question with the Young Critics at our next meeting in September. Past Young Critics groups have already discussed why authors often get rid of parents in their stories, but this is another issue. "Write what you know" is probably the most common advice given writers. But does "knowledge" of kids need to include having some of your own, or is having been one enough? We've all done that!

Side question: If you only write what you know, how do we get fantasy, science fiction, or even historical fiction?

What do you think? If you're in 4-6 grade and wonder about this stuff, too, join us once a month on Thursday nights for Young Critics. The first month, we'll be discussing whatever you're read recently. (If you've haven't read Meloy's The Apothecary yet, try it--it's terrific!)

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We're Doing Something Very Right

As reported in the New York Times yesterday, pediatrician and literacy advocate Peri Klass, M.D. reports on some exciting new research: scientists are establishing just what happens in children's brains when we read to them. Think it's all just cute bunnies and clueless hippos? Think again! Critical brain networks and visual skills show much greater development when children listen to stories. 

So don't skip that bedtime story tonight!

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Two classics unite! (It may depend on your definition of classic . . .)

I love when non-children's book people mess around with famous picture books.  At least I love it when they end up so hilarious.  Thank you, Mallory Ortberg, for this sentence: "You have given him not a cookie but your own self-esteem."  And you're welcome, everyone else.

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What's YOUR favorite Roald Dahl book? Movie?

So last night we had a lot of fun discussing the book and the movie James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl--and eating pizza! We talked about the various artists who've illustrated the book, who were our favorite characters, and why authors often get rid of parents in their stories. It was interesting to hear the kids' ideas about how the book and movie differed, and why the filmmakers might have made those changes.

Did you know that Roald Dahl disliked Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory--the film adaptation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory-- so much that he refused to permit any other film adaptations of his work until after his death? He thought the movie was too much about Willy Wonka and not about Charlie--and judging just from the title, I'd have to agree!  So Matilda--a big favorite in our group (maybe we'll do that next summer)--and Fantastic Mr. Fox, to name a few, had to wait.

We also talked about other books by Roald Dahl, and which ones were favorites, and why. Have you read Boy: Tales of Childhood, his autobiography? If you have, you can guess why he has so many cranky, even evil adults in his books. And candy. And rats...

We're doing another Read the Book, See the Movie program in two weeks, so if you like movies, join us! We'll be doing How to Eat Fried Worms on August 7th, for entering 4-6th graders. Please register so we know how many pizzas to get! We promise not to make you eat any worms.

Image result for worms fried how

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So much talent!!!

Last Friday evening 14 young Chappaquidians displayed an amazing array of talents at our Third Annual Chappaqua Children's Room Talent Show.

We had singing.

We had dancing.

We had drumming.

We had magic.

And hula hooping.

And pianists.

And violinists.

And a contortionist.

They were all amazing.

We'll do it again next year, so start preparing your acts today!


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