February 24, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Archives for July 2006

Color Her Humorous | Under Cover

Hilary McKay contemplates life with the Cassons

Caddy Ever After is your latest novel about the Cassons—a funny family of artists whose four kids are named after paint colors. As a novelist, what attracts you to kooky, dysfunctional families?

A lot of people call them dysfunctional. I don’t call them dysfunctional myself.

How would you describe them?

They’re just getting by like most of the families I know here in England. Not all of them have two resident parents or an income […]

Summertime Blues | Up for Discussion

A librarian explores how genre fiction is like blueberry pie

Years ago, my friend Julie described to me her personal classification system for teenaged boys. “Some guys,” she began, “are like chocolate cake: they’re a lot of fun, but you know they’re not very good for you.” Yes, I thought, some guys are like that. “And other guys,” she continued, “are like lima beans. You know they’re really great, but you just can’t make yourself like them.” Yes, I thought, other […]

A Tie for Third Place | Teenage Riot

Teens need physical spaces as well as virtual places

The media center at Colerain High School in Cincinnati, OH, hosts a poetry contest every April, and this year I was fortunate enough to be a judge. On the day of the event, I arrived before the contest began and noticed an unusual mix of kids: goths, jocks, and trendy girls. Everyone was getting along just fine. Some were joking and laughing as the contest got underway, and supportive applause followed each […]

Boy, Were We Wrong | Consider the Source

Our typical approach to history is doing kids a great disservice

The other day I read one of those books that holds a surprise on every page. Michael A. Morse's academic study, How the Celts Came to Britain: Druids, Ancient Skulls and the Birth of Archaeology (Tempus, 2005), stands our current understanding of the Celts on its head. The Celts, it turns out, didn't come to Britain thousands of years ago—with moonlit Druidic rituals held amidst the megaliths of Stonehenge. They […]

It’s a Gift to Be Fancy | First Steps

Nothing nourishes a child’s vocabulary like an eloquent picture book

Sublime, stupendous, frilly, plume, sprinkles, and baubles are just a few words in the fancy vocabulary of Fancy Nancy, who would never say purple when she could say fuchsia. Two new picture books have recently caught our attention and reminded us of the best way to grow children's vocabularies—by reading the rich trove of illustrated books found in all good libraries.

Jane O'Connor's latest book, Fancy Nancy (HarperCollins, 2006), is a pure […]