The first children's room in a public library may have been in Hartford, Connecticut. The head librarian here, Caroline Hewins was an early advocate for taking seriously the reading needs of children starting in the late 19th century. Prior to that children's lit wasn't really treated as a genre that could stand on its own two feet.
Today, of course, it's massive and diverse. Its themes range from light to darkness, its language may be mannered or naturalistic, its art may be glorious or crude. And, there really seems to be a readership for all those possibilities. But, some would say we need more diversity.
Today on the show, we talk about children's books, first from the perspective of two authors and then with a scholar and a librarian.
We want to hear from you. Leave your comments below. What book changed your life? What did you love about a favorite book from your childhood?
Take a listen to Jeff, Sadie, and Eva tell you about The Worst Haircut Ever.
- Stephan Pastis is the author-illustrator of Timmy Failure: Now Look What You've Done, the sequel to Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made. He is also the creator of the comic strip “Pearls Before Swine.”
- Victoria Ford Smith is an assistant professor of English at the University of Connecticut who specializes in children's literature
- Carly Lemire is the youth services librarian at the Blackstone Library in Branford.
- Jeff Cohen is a reporter at WNPR and the author of Eva and Sadie and the Worst Haircut EVER!