November 21, 2017

The Advocate's Toolbox

New Kid-Lit Landmarks To Be Named During Children’s Book Week

United for Libraries (a division of the American Library Association), Centers for the Book, and a library in maple sugar country are celebrating Children’s Book Week (May 1–7, 2017) with dedications of three Literary Landmarks that recognize a variety of beloved children’s literature.

virginia sorensenMiracles_on_Maple_Hill_1956_cover

On Monday, May 1 in Pennsylvania, the Edinboro Branch of the Erie Public Library will recognize the author Virginia Sorensen. The plaque will be a tribute to the sugar houses of rural northwest Pennsylvania, which were the inspiration for Sorensen’s 1956 Miracles on Maple Hill (Harcourt, 1956). That title, the story of a family who move to maple sugar country to help the father, a POW, overcome the trauma of war, was awarded the 1957 Newbery Medal.

In addition, the event will also recognize the library’s bookmobile on which Sorensen drew inspiration for her novel Curious Missie (Harcourt, 1953).

mark twain

330px-Mark_Twain,_Brady-Handy_photo_portrait,_Feb_7,_1871,_croppedThe site where Mark Twain created the iconic characters in his idylls of the Mississippi River will be recognized on Wednesday, May 3. Quarry Farm in Elmira, NY, now part of Elmira College, was the home of Twain’s sister-in-law, Susan Crane. It still retains the octagonal study where Twain wrote, located about 100 yards from the main house. The characters Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn were more than personifications of American childhood. They “demonstrated that being young was not the same as being immature,” said Dr. Joseph Lemak, director of the Center for Mark Twain Studies. “Seeing an unjust world through a child’s eyes might inspire us to make it better.” The landmark is sponsored by the Empire State Center for the Book, and it’s the 22nd landmark for the state of New York.

Barbara Park

Barbara ParkThe Arizona Center for the Book will be dedicating the first literary landmark for Arizona on Friday, May 5 at the Cherokee Elementary School in Paradise Valley. The landmark will recognize author and famed resident of Paradise Valley Barbara Park, who died in 2013. The author of the popular “Junie B. Jones” series was inspired to write Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus when she noticed a young Cherokee student walking home after he missed the school bus.

The Literary Landmark program is administered by United for Libraries. The Literary Landmarks for Children’s Book Week was spearheaded by the American Library Association/Children’s Book Council joint committee. “The ALA/CBC committee jointly works on many projects to highlight children’s books. Dedicating Literary Landmarks during Children’s Book Week is an excellent example of this partnership,” says Susan Polos, cochair of the committee. “Perhaps in 2018 we can have seven dedications, one for each day of Children’s Book Week.”

Children’s Book Week events expanded in 2017, which is its 98th year. The new additions include reformatted book awards and original materials, including artwork.

RELATED: SLJ‘s Fuse #8 Production blogger, Betsy Bird, rounded up a collection of public children’s literature statues around the country.

 

Rocco Staino About Rocco Staino

Rocco Staino @RoccoA is the retired director of the Keefe Library of the North Salem School District in New York. He is now a contributing editor for School Library Journal and also writes for the Huffington Post.

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