‘Tis the Season with Lucille Clifton and Patricia Polacco

Recommended holiday reads:

1. Everett Anderon’s Christmas Coming by Lucille Clifton. Illustrated by Jan Spivey Gilchrist. Published by Henry Holt and Co. 1993. An owlet book. We read this book in the classroom, this past Friday before vacation.

ImageNow, this book is out of print, and selling for a small fortune on the Amazon market. I bought it for about $3.00, including shipping, this summer….because I KNEW the price would sky rocket, because that’s what’s been happening of late with invaluable picture books..(that’s what I’ve been trying to tell ya’ll). Anyways, if you nag the sellers on Amazon, the price should drop.

For example, back in February of 2012, I bought bell hooks’ out of print picture book, Skin Again, for $6.00 off of Amazon.Then, this past summer, I had a house flood, and the precious book was nearly destroyed. When I searched Amazon, and elsewhere online, for a replacement, the prices ranged from $65.00-$900. Hmmph. The sums of those hefty prices were not being pocketed by Ms. hooks, I can assure you that. Just another case of literature gentrification. I see it often in the #kidlit world. Anyhoo, I nagged every single dealer of Skin Again on Amazon, and stated that I wouldn’t pay more than $19.00 for it. All dealers refused to lower the price claiming they go by rankings blah dee blah. I began following the sales of it online. I also removed my praising blog posts of bell hooks’ picture books, in order to depopularize the book, as I had been the only blogger of hooks’ works for children, in the last year. The price finally dropped to the teens in November, and I bought a used copy for $18.00, from one of the sellers who originally listed it for $65.00.

So, I don’t recommend paying outlandish prices for necessary children’s literature. If the money was going into the hands of people in the community, then fine. I’d pay the small fortune. But it’s not, so I won’t. I just wait for sales to go down. GIVE US BACK OUR LITERATURE, I say.

ImageI prefer the vintage illustrations, by Evaline Ness, in the original 1971 publication of Clifton’s Everett Anderson’s Christmas Coming.  Take an inside look below:Image

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2. Three Wishes by Lucille Clifton. Illustrations by Michael Hays, Delacorte, 1992. It’s a New Year’s tale about friendship, loyalty, and faith. I plan to read this story in the classroom, on January 3rd, when the students return.

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The original Three Wishes was illustrated by Stephanie Douglas, published by Viking (New York, NY) 1976.

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4. The Trees of the Dancing Goats by Patricia Polacco

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5. Christmas Tapestry by Patricia Polacco

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I realize that I didn’t get into much, or any, description of what these beloved holiday stories entail. However, if you appreciate the authors I’ve chosen, and are moved by the illustrations, and can google a summary of the books, then I say that you’re in good shape to go discover more about these books on your own.

Happy 2014, everyone! Love greatly and read fervently.

– The Picture Book Pusher

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K2 Thought: September SchoolDay Blues

K2 Thought: September SchoolDay Blues

Everett Anderson’s Year by Lucille Clifton

“I already know where Africa is
and I already know how to
count to ten and
I went to school every day last year,
why do I have to go again?”

From beloved author, Lucille Clifton’s children’s book Everett Anderson’s Year. Illustrated by Ann Grifalconi.   I just discovered this poem, yesterday, when this book arrived in the mail. Buying Lucille Clifton’s children’s literature on a budget is an art in itself. Since most of her vital work for young people is out of print, prices can be staggering, and then at times. …not staggering at all. I snagged this one off of the big A online for about $3 just in time for the school year to begin. This was published in the 1970’s, yet it completely bypassed my childhood library life. I only first heard of it about a year ago, when I discovered “who” Lucille Clifton was. All this literature that existed when we were children in the 80’s…if we actually got a taste of it, how much further in security and identity would our generation be? Danny and the Dinosaur taught me nil about how to navigate life, yet it is still a top seller in the child lit world. Syd Hoff – Hmph. Lucille Clifton – holla! Her poems in  Everett Anderson’s Year are so on-point and K2-ready that my heart swells up a bit with each page I turn. My ever-evolving classroom library stays engaging my students. Poems like this remind us to never assume that the little people we teach don’t have waves of complex emotions and perspectives. Our job is not to teach them. Our job is to let them teach us.

Thanks for reading The Picture Book Pusher…..and Lucille Clifton in your classroom.