Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Literary Lights for Children
This past weekend, Cheryl, Margie and I had the pleasure of attending the Literary Lights for Children event at the Boston Public Library. This annual event honors five children's book authors and illustrators with an afternoon reception in the Bates Reading Hall at the BPL, with each honoree speaking to an audience of children and adults, after an introduction by a middle-school aged student of the Boston Public Schools. The receptions are beautifully decorated, with dainty cookies and lemonade and iced tea. And the authors, this year, as in other years, were terrifically inspiring.
Getting to hear words of wisdom from Sook Nyul Choi, Katherine Paterson, Brian Selznick, and Sarah Stewart (with accompanying illustration by her husband, David Small), was a treat.
I was especially transfixed hearing the inspiring life story of Sook Nyul Choi, growing up in occupied, and then communist, Korea. Her memories of books being forbidden when she was a child, and of her mother covering the windows, lighting a single candle, and reciting traditional poetry and stories to her at night until they all fell asleep, were amazing.
All of the honorees spoke so warmly about their love of books--actual physical books!--and their power to teach and inspire and comfort and befriend equally across the boundaries of all of life's circumstances.
A booksigning after the event left me laden with a pile of new books to add to my bedside table. My favorite takeaway from the event: a postcard from Sarah Stewart with a photo of her elaborate garden on the front, and her tips for aspiring writers on the back. Tip #1: Study Latin. Tip #5: Put your ambition into writing, never into making money.
Loved this event.