Children’s Book Week Author quotes

Childrens Book Week

We asked a few authors (and our Boxcar Children movie voice actors) what they view as their favorite childhood book. Here’s what they said:

Author Suzanne Enoch Willard Price Safari Adventure“My favorite books when I was a kid were the Adventure series of books by Willard Price (1887-1993). They were all about the zoological around-the-world adventures of teenage brothers Hal and Roger Hunt. Probably not typical books for a pre-teen girl to be reading, but at the time I was going to be the next Joy Adamson or Jane Goodall.” –New York Times Best-Selling Author Suzanne Enoch. Her current book is Mad, Bad, and Dangerous in Plaid.

(Above Image Source: Facebook)


Author Roland Smith imageTreasure Island“My favorite book when I was a kid was Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island. After I finished the book’s seventy-seven word opening sentence I was hooked on reading forever.” –Author Roland Smith. His latest novel, Beneath, is available now.

(Right Image Source: 1859 Mag)


Mary CasanovaCharlotte's Web“As a can’t-sit-still reader who preferred to to spend every minute outdoors, my life changed in 4th or 5th grade when I picked up Charlotte’s Web. Not only was I drawn in by the opening line, promising something was going to happen (“Where’s Papa going with that axe?”), but from the first page I was transported outdoors and to the barn, with all the accompanying sensory details from fresh-cut hay to the hum of honeybees. I entered a world I wanted to return to, and page by page, chapter by chapter, I fell in love with Wilbur, Charlotte, and the other barn-mates, including Templeton. Thank you, E.B. White, for writing a book that turned me into a reader, and eventually, an author who aspires to write with a fraction of as much heart and skill.” –Mary Casanova, author of Grace and Grace Stirs it Up.

(Above Image Source: Facebook)


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“It’s hard to pick one favorite, but a book that has a place in my heart is Rascal: A Memoir Of A Better Era by Sterling North. It’s a beautifully simple, eloquent, heartfelt story, and it was the last book that I borrowed from my parents bookshelf to read to my daughter.” -J.K. Simmons, who voices Dr. Moore in The Boxcar Children movie.

(Image Source: KM/FameFlynet)


Jadon SandHarry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone“My favorite children’s book is Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. If you’ve ever opened it, you know the real magic isn’t in the spells Harry and his friends are learning, but in the words J.K. Rowling writes.” -Jadon Sand, who voiced Benny in The Boxcar Children movie.

(Right Image Source: IMDB)


Children’s Book Week Author quotes

Brazilian Picture Books: My childhood

Albert Whitman author Ana Crespo shares some of her favorite childhood picture books from Brazil in this week’s #Fridayreads. Ana is the author of The Sock Thief (Spring 2015), J.P. and the Giant Octopus (Fall 2015), and J.P. and the Polka-Dotted Aliens (Fall 2015).

I love picture books. So, as you can imagine, I read lots of them. For now, I have a good excuse – a five-year old who loves them as much as I do. However, I don’t think I will have the excuse for too long, as the five-year old will soon move on to more wordily adventures.

Born and raised in Brazil, the books I read as a child were not the same ones you probably read. Throughout my childhood, my two favorite picture books were Flicts by Ziraldo (a renowned Brazilian cartoonist) and Chapeuzinho Amarelo (Little Yellow Riding Hood) by Chico Buarque.

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Flicts tells the story of a lonely color. No one wants to play with Flicts because he’s different. Flicts travels the world looking for a place where he’s accepted, but finds none. He ends up in the moon. As Ziraldo tells it, “nobody knows, except maybe the astronauts” what color the moon is. On the very last page of the edition I have (but can’t find), Ziraldo says he met Neil Armstrong when the astronaut visited Brazil. After telling him about Flicts, Neil Armstrong confirmed, “The moon is Flicts.”

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Chapeuzinho Amarelo is about a little girl who spends her days doing nothing, because she’s afraid of everything. “She was afraid of thunder. For her, worms were snakes. And she was never caught under the sun, because she was afraid of the shadow,” Chico Buarque writes. Eventually, Chapeuzinho Amarelo gets over her fears, thanks to a play with words that just works in Portuguese. So creative!

Because I grew up abroad, I have a lot of catching up to do when it comes to American picture book classics. The first time I read an Eric Carle book, for example, was in 2002. I had never heard of Lois Ehlert, Shel Silverstein, Leo Lionni, or even Dr. Seuss, until about a decade ago. And I am sure there are lots of wonderful authors and illustrators that I still don’t know.

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Of the most recent American picture books, some of my favorites are Mr. Tiger Goes Wild by Peter Brown, The Dot by Peter Reynolds (and almost anything by Peter Brown and Peter Reynolds. What is it about Peters?).

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I also love Stuck by Oliver Jeffers, and Mark Pett’s The Boy and the Airplane and The Girl and the Bicycle. The five-year old excuse loves My Lucky Day by Keiko Kasza, and The Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle.

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However, I don’t read only picture books. I have a lot of catching up to do in other genres too. I love the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, and Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt. Angela’s Ashes is possibly my favorite book ever. I just finished reading To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, which I also enjoyed.

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Before that, I went through some of Albert Whitman’s recent titles–Down from the Mountain, The Black Crow Conspiracy, Biggie, and The Poisoned House. I enjoyed all of them!

What’s your favorite childhood book?

Brazilian Picture Books: My childhood

#FridayReads: J. K. Rowling picks

Albert Whitman’s Associate Editor Kristin Zelazko  joins us for this week’s #FridayReads! Take it away, Kristin! 

I resisted at first. No, that’s not true. I resisted for a very long time. But then I landed a job in children’s publishing and wanted to do some research. My sister’s eyes lit up when I asked to borrow her copy. She had been reiterating the merits of the series to me for years. Despite her praise, despite my love for all things British, I thought muggle was a stupid word.

But somewhere between the cupboard under the stairs and the hut-on-the-rock, my heart melted. I had become a Harry Potter fan. Now, every year around this time, I long to visit the Three Broomsticks for a butter beer, ideally with a cozy sprinkle of snow falling outside and a book to keep me company. Since the Harry Potter series wrapped up years ago and Hogsmeade does not really exist, I turned to The Silkworm, the follow-up to The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith—aka J. K. Rowling—for company this holiday season.

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The Silkworm is not like a warm mug of butter beer. It will not spread holiday cheer. There’s some grisly gore in there. Rowling wants you know this is not a story for children.

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I’m not much of a mystery reader because grisly gore makes me lightheaded. But then I wasn’t much of a fantasy reader when I picked up Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. So I wouldn’t trust anyone but Rowling to navigate the genre of contemporary crime fiction with. Or rather, I only read it because I love J. K. Rowling. The Silkworm centers on the disappearance of an eccentric writer prone to wearing theatrical capes and PI Cormoran Strike’s search to find him.

The eccentric writer’s latest manuscript has been leaked, complete with some very unflattering portrayals of London’s literary community—and a highly sensational ending. Even more sensational is Cormoran’s discovery of the novelist’s body…in an imitation of the manuscript’s highly sensational ending. Oh my.

This is a murder-mystery to be sure, and a page-turning one at that, but it’s really just a vehicle for what Rowling does best. She deftly fleshes out a cast of characters who are all utterly flawed. (Her realistic portrayal of young wizards—ha!—is what I love best about the Harry Potter series.) The characters of The Silkworm are so believably human almost everyone is a plausible suspect.

Without giving too much away, the clues are there all along. Once I finished the book, I found myself rereading much of it for the things I missed the first time.

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In short, I liked it very much. Enough so that I’ve forgiven J. K. Rowling for the end of The Casual Vacancy. And for the word muggle.

#FridayReads: J. K. Rowling picks