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May 7, 2012

On Children’s Book Week, Libraries, Harper Lee and the OTHER Anne Moore

by Christa Jones

Youth MondayIt’s Children’s Book Week, a national celebration of books and reading for youth that originated in the belief that children’s books and literacy are life-changers.  According to information on the CBW website, it was the idea of Franklin K. Matthiews, librarian for the Boy Scouts of America, who in 1913 enlisted the support of two important allies, Frederic G. Melcher, the influential editor of Publishers Weekly, and Anne Carroll Moore, the Superintendent of Children’s Works at the New York Public Library, “a major figure in the library world.”

Mary Vinson Memorial Library’s own Anne Smith Moore, herself most certainly a major figure in Milledgeville’s library world, will observe Children’s Book Week by sharing a special It’s a Bookmark goodie with visitors to the children’s room.

The bookmark includes a Pin the Tale on the Donkey quiz and features artwork based on Lane Smith’s clever 2010 It’s a Book, a fable for our times in which a monkey convinces a jackass of the infinite superiorities of books over electronic games and gadgets. When the jackass finally becomes so involved in the monkey’s book that he won’t return it, the monkey does the logical thing and heads to the library for another one, an example we urge everyone to follow!



 

One of our Mrs. Moore’s favorite books, To Kill a Mockingbird, was written by the famously reclusive Harper Lee.   According to The Daily Beast, Lee surprised a lot of people recently when  she showed up unexpectedly at the Alabama Writers’ Symposium in her hometown of Monroeville, where Fannie Flagg was to receive the Symposium’s  Harper Lee Award as Alabama’s Distinguished Writer of the Year.  Lee didn’t speak, but did manage to leave with one of the awards for herself!

Here are some words of wisdom from “Miss Nelle” about children and reading and libraries that were published in The Writer’s Almanac on April 28, 2012,  her 86th birthday:

“I arrived in the first grade, literate, with a curious cultural assimilation of American history, romance, the Rover Boys, Rapunzel, and The Mobile Press. Early signs of genius? Far from it. Reading was an accomplishment I shared with several local contemporaries. Why this endemic precocity? Because in my hometown, a remote village in the early 1930s, youngsters had little to do but read. A movie? Not often — movies weren’t for small children. A park for games? Not a hope. We’re talking unpaved streets here, and the Depression. […] Now, 75 years later in an abundant society where people have laptops, cell phones, iPods, and minds like empty rooms, I still plod along with books. Instant information is not for me. I prefer to search library stacks because when I work to learn something, I remember it.”

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