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children's literature from a pineapple-lover's point of view…

Tag Archives: Body

So I’m stuck in bed with the flu and thought that this would be an appropriate time to write about wordless picturebooks. Probably not the best reason I’ve ever had but bear with me…I have the flu.

Since picturebooks are equal parts words and pictures (or they’re supposed to be, anyhow), removing the words from a picturebook seems like it would throw off the balance of the book, make it an easier and quicker read for a child (or adult enthusiast). And yet, if done correctly, that doesn’t seem to be the case at all: wordless picturebooks have the ability to encourage a much stronger interaction between the reader  (or beholder as we might call her in this case) and the illustrations and because the only way to fully understand the narrative is to understand what is happening in the illustrations.

There are a few illustrators out there who are extremely familiar with the wordless picturebook. David Wiesner, Barbara Lehman, and Suzy Lee to name a few, have each created award-winning books that tell their characters’ stories without the use of words. Readers get drawn into their illustrations to understand the narrative of the story, making the book more interactive.

Some other awesome wordless picturebook include The Conductor by Laëtitia Devernay, The Lion and the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney, A Ball For Daisy by Chris Raschka, The Boys by Jeff Newman, Mirror by Jeannie Baker, and The Arrival by Shaun Tan. Each of these books successfully conveys a story without the use of words and creates a deeper connection between the beholder and the artist, forging a connection between the two.

There are some absolutely beautiful wordless picturebooks and I’m definitely only naming a few of them. What are your favorites?

Never wordlessly yours (seriously, I have witnesses),

Mel

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Hello blogosphere!

So, after almost 36 hours of children’s literature-related activities this past weekend I decided it was time to finally get this thing up and running. I spent Thursday through Sunday at the Body Electric Institute hosted by the Center for the Study of Children’s Literature at Simmons College.

(for your viewing pleasure: http://www.simmons.edu/institutes/childrens-lit/)

Although we were really cold and stupid-tired we got to meet the rockstars of children’s literature and, suffice it to say, I walked away with a ton of signed books, a much lighter wallet, and a lot of scribbled notes to Kristina.

Prior to this class, students of Simmons College were invited to participate in a Body Electric Symposium, a month-long class that met twice a week to discuss the various books by the authors attending the Institute. I spent six hours a week talking about cerebral palsy, allergies, child abuse, child-fox body-switching (there were a surprising amount of foxes), ADD, ADHD, slavery, sexuality, and anything that addressed the body in any of our texts. We read tons of articles, novels, graphic novels, poetry, picturebooks, and textbooks that deal with the treatment of the body, perceptions of the body, limitations of the body and more.

And on top of that I had another paper due on Tomi Ungerer (if you don’t know him check him out) so I discovered way more about the body than I bargained for.

But it was fabulous and it got me thinking about my own contribution to the body (get it, body?) of children’s literature. I’m getting my MA in Children’s Literature and my MFA in Writing for Children so, of course, I hope to publish books some day, but that’s too far off into the future–what do I do now, today?

Yup, you guessed it: a blog.

I’ll post when I can and hopefully I’ll post something interesting enough for you to keep reading. I have a feeling that most of my posts will deal with picturebooks (the first ones totally will) but I just restarted Harry Potter and I have a ton of YA novels on my list so I’m sure some of that will pop up somewhere in here. And I’m re-watching LOST so I can’t guarantee I that that won’t seep in too. Gotta vent somewhere, right?

Until we meet again…

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