“Why Children’s Books: Inspiring Generations”

“Why Children’s Books: Inspiring Generations”

Did a children's book change your life? Do you have special childhood memories attached to a certain book?

Check out this kick-ass event that's happening in my hometown. There is a wonderful exhibit coming to the Richmond Public Library in April that explores the role of children's books in our lives. "Why Children's Books: Inspiring Generations" will feature essays from many notable Richmonders including Shaka Smart, Michael Rao, Alex Nyerges, Jack Spiro, Mayor Dwight Jones, Tim Kaine, Anne Holton, Jason Mraz, and many more.

Me, too. The folks at the Richmond Public Library were kind enough to invite me to write a piece for the exhibit. Guess what book I chose from my childhood? Alvin Schwartz's one and only "Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark." The Wendigo! The Hearse Song! The Hook! They're all right here in one book.

To this day, Stephen Gammell's illustrations still linger at the back of my brain. Encountering his hellish watercolors as a kid first cracking open that book… Now that's the stuff nightmares are made of. I recently saw that SSTTITD was reissued with completely different illustrations by someone other than Gammell, which to me is simply sacrilege. Absolute sacrilege. Don't whitewash my childhood away! If you find yourself in a position to pick up a copy of the book, please, for the love of all that's good and (un)holy, find the original edition with Gammell's masterfully murky ink drawings. Please.

From the Library release: "These essays are personal stories from all over Richmond on children's books that make a real difference. Each story illustrates the power of children's books and their ability to inspire us."

...Or ruin our childhood sleeping habits. Take your pick.

To read more about the event, go to the Richmond Public Library blog: http://bit.ly/GZyw6H

For details and directions, go to the Richmond Public Library website: http://bit.ly/GZyWtK

March 29, 2012

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