Student Snippets A Window Into The Daily Life & Thoughts of SLIS Students

Children’s Literature

I Do Love a Themed Snack!

I am currently waist-deep in my classwork for the semester and starting to feel the toll of the impending final projects, presentations, and papers, not to mention the weekly coursework I still need to stay on top of. But, thankfully, I was recently treated to a wonderful surprise that brightened my week and reminded me again why I love this school, this program, and my fellow students. One of the classes I am taking is entitled Victorian Literature, in which we are focusing particular attention on the subgenre of school stories. Well, as any lit. major knows, it is almost impossible to escape a Victorian literature class without encountering the infamous Alice and her adventures in Wonderland. Now, it’s time for a confession…I’ve never read either of the Alice books before this year. I’ve seen the Disney movie a couple dozen times, sure, but I entered this class and this book with fresh eyes. Well, Mr. Carroll did not disappoint. The whimsical characters, bright poetry, and charming word pictures were a welcome change from the…


Family Reading

As a mom, and as a librarian, I’ve never underestimated the importance of family reading.  We read all the time!  But twice recently I experienced the importance of reading out loud to kids. This summer, my husband grabbed a bunch of chapter books from a “free” box on the street.  One was Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, which I remembered fondly from my own childhood.  I gave it to my 9-year-old, who is an advanced, eager reader.  For whatever reason, she couldn’t get into it, and she was super upset.  I said I’d read it with her, which turned into me reading it out loud to both kids, which was great.  What a super book, with all sorts of vocabulary and concepts to discuss.    I’m taking Children’s Collections this semester, and had to read 37 picture books for one class meeting.  Sure, I could have sat down at the library where I work and read them all in an hour, but instead I checked them out, brought them home and read them…


Revisiting Childhood

As someone who is pursuing a degree in Children’s Literature and Library Science, I spend a lot of time in my courses rereading books I loved as a child. I also get to read books which I missed as a child or which came out after I grew up a little. Many of the books which I reread are considered classics in the field of Children’s Literature (Where the Wild Things Are, Goodnight Moon, Ramona Quimby Age 8). I always enjoy reading the books. Sometimes I will get little flashes of memory-feeling which remind me how I felt when I read the book when I was younger. I’ll remember having my mom read to me, or the first time I connected to the character. Outside of school, I’ve moved away from rereading in the last few years. There are just so many books out there! If I reread a book, I’m giving away the time which I could otherwise spend reading a brand-new adventure! However, this last month, the West Roxbury Branch of the Boston…


Hanging out with the Future Authors of Tomorrow

Yesterday afternoon, I had the pleasure to attend an event hosted by the Children’s Literature Department over at the School of Management. Our neighbors up the stairs, my first interaction with the Children’s Literature Department and Program occurred way back on September 1, 2014. That was the day that I formally moved into my new apartment with three other girls. Two of these young women were just beginning their second year in the Children’s Literature Program.  Since that time, I’ve learned a great deal about the Children’s Literature Program, and all that is has to offer its students. Yesterday, I sat down and listened to various students from the program not only discuss their mentorship experience from the previous semester, but also hear excerpts from the novels that they are currently working on. Hearing the culmination of months, and in most cases, years of effort, was a wonderful experience. I could not only hear the passion that these talented writers had for their work, but also the excitement, pride, and love that they had for…


Thoughts about Perception

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about perception and subjectivity. Those are both ideas that we come across a lot in the fields of Library Science and Children’s Literature. As librarians, we’re supposed to set our own feelings aside and rely on what the patron is telling us. For example, if someone is asking for a “scary book,” we should get more of a sense of what they’re looking for by asking what they’ve read recently that’s like what they want or other factors they’re looking for like a certain kind of protagonist. Reader’s Advisory is, I think, a lot about putting personal preference aside. I’m not a huge fan of Stephen King (much to my father’s disappointment), but if someone was looking for a book that was scary and set in a cemetery with an adult male protagonist, I might suggest Pet Sematary. When looking at books from the perspective of my Children’s Literature courses, I can use my own perception of the book. Reading a book is ultimately a subjective experience. No matter…


A New Kind of Storytime?

One of my greatest regrets about leaving home is that I don’t get to see my five-year-old niece, Riley, very often. But, lucky for me, I got the opportunity to video chat with her this week (bless technology!). One of the greatest challenges about video chat, though, is remembering that not everything you do can be seen. And this becomes particularly important when you’re reading picture books. Or so I’ve come to realize. Simmons faculty Megan Lambert teaches a method of reading picture books called the Whole Book Approach. This is basically just a way of interacting with the picture book as an art form. When reading via this approach, children are asked to engage in a dialogue about the text. They move from being passive listeners to active participants in the story. Though I haven’t (yet) been formally trained in this approach, Megan demonstrates it often in her classes. If you’re curious, you can learn more about this method by taking her course at the Eric Carle Museum this summer. Anyways, I tried to…


A Case for Classes at the Carle

Warning: This is an advertisement. Or perhaps it’s more of an endorsement. One of the coolest things children’s literature students at Simmons can do is attend classes that are held at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, MA. Currently, I am enrolled in one such class–Children’s Book Publishing–taught by Vicky Smith. We meet for the last weekend of every month, mostly in the windowless conference room, but the change of setting is refreshing. (And the lack of windows really isn’t that bad.) Taking a class with students who aren’t Boston-based is enlightening because they bring a different perspective. The cultural climate around the area reminds me so much of Bellingham, Washington (where I went to undergrad) so I feel right at home. So many of the students are writers in the dual degree track–at least in the case of this particular Carle class. For a would-be librarian like me, being surrounded by so many aspiring writers is just the coolest. I could shelve their books someday. Isn’t that wild? The class…


Big Moves

So, I moved. I’m still in Allston (darn), but at least I am several steps closer to Brookline. I could wax poetic about how much I love that city (fun fact: I volunteer in the Teen Room at the main branch of the public library) but that would do little for our purposes here. As much as I might like to publicly complain about my laborious moving process (it really wasn’t so bad), I find myself distracted by a much more exciting move than my own: The Horn Book is coming to Simmons. For the children’s literature world, this is huge. HUGE. I’m telling you. (Don’t believe me? Click here.) This move makes a lot of sense considering that the magazine’s founder, Bertha Mahony, graduated from Simmons in 1902. Nowadays, Simmons (specifically its Center for the Study of Children’s Literature) and The Horn Book are both involved in Children’s Book Boston, a new organization dedicated to providing a shared space for the Boston-based kid lit world. Simmons also hosts The Horn Book at Simmons Colloquium…