Recently at the library bookstore, I picked up CELEBRATING CHILDREN'S BOOKS, edited by Betsy Hearne and Marilyn Kaye. I read it right away cover to cover. It includes essays by authors, editors, publishers, and reviewers of children's books. Here are some of the quotes that spoke to me:
"Creation, whatever its form, is not an act of will, but an act of faith."
".when a story has ended rightly: [it is] not a question of happy or unhappy ending, but the rightness of it."
"We small people enjoy reading – need to read – about big people;"
"Every book is a voyage of discovery."
Jil Patton Walsh
"[the author-reader relationship] is the relationship of willing listener to loving narrator"
"But because I retain this ability to see myself as the center of the universe, I can write for children. And because the adult part of me can see how absolutely ridiculous I am when I am doing it, my writings are readable."
"A good picture book should be true. That is to say: it should rise out of the lives and passions of its creators."
"The child needs to sense that this world stretches far behind him and far ahead of him, that societies change, that people evolve during their own lives, that he himself is a blend of experience and memory. He needs to know that the past as well as the present holds meaning. He needs to listen to the tales of past human suffering and hope. The young have trouble locating themselves in anything except the here and now. But they can be helped to see over the walls of their own personalities."
"As historian he does not invent that past, but he must give it artistic shape if he is to connect with the reader."
"Doing science means being curious, asking questions. It means having a healthy skepticism toward authority and announced truths. It is both a way of looking at the world and a way of thinking. It values both fantasy and reality, and provides a framework for telling the difference."
"To do science is to acknowledge that the world is a complex place but that the complexity can be explored and understood, and that there is order and unity in its diversity. At its core, science is a hopeful activity."
"Curiosity is not limited to personal inquiry. It is a good idea for an editor to ask questions and keep asking them if there is a place in a manuscript that doesn't seem to be exactly right."
"Read like a child, freshly; think like an adult, fully."
John Rowe Townsend
"Not the least important thing about good reviewing is that it's good for authors, who need to be encouraged, stimulated, disciplined, needled, and challenged into doing their best."