Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Charlotte Zolotow's Books Live On

For a while now, I've been meaning to post about some of my favorite authors, and Charlotte Zolotow has been at the top of the list.  Since I didn't even know she was still alive (horrible of me, I know), you'd think the news of her death wouldn't hit me so hard.  But when I saw her obituary in the New York Times today, I actually teared up.

My absolute favorite book of hers is the now-sadly-out-of-print The Sky Was Blue.  This paean to the things in this world which are eternal - the blue sky, the warm yellow sun, the green grass, the love of a mother - set against the backdrop of a little girl looking through a family album and noticing which things are different - modes of transportation, fashion - is just a perfect, reassuring gem. 


I Like To Be Little
celebrates the joys of childhood - of jumping into piles of leaves, going barefoot, skipping.  I love this book even though I very firmly believe - much to the shock of  a little girl next to me sitting outside a ball pit at a children's museum - that adults should have fun too, and that some of the things that are fun for children are still fun for adults.  Like skipping.  And ball pits.  The mother's statements that "grown-ups don't want to" sit under the table or skip or jump in the leaves may be misguided, but these joys - whether of childhood or just of life - still shine through.

In When I Have A Little Girl/When I Have A Little Boy (a flip book), the two child narrators each explain how they will raise their children differently from how they are being raised.  An exploration of how difficult it is to follow rules you may not understand and how good adulthood looks from the viewpoint of a child.

And of course, what child of the 70s (and any other decade, for that matter), doesn't love William's Doll, particularly in the musical rendition on Free to Be You and Me?

I've written about other books by Charlotte Zolotow, in particular Big Sister and Little Sister here and The Quarelling Book here.

Which of Charlotte Zolotow's books is your favorite?

1 comment:

  1. My favorite is "When I Have a Little Girl." I still have my childhood copy, and back then (the mid 1960s) it wasn't a flip book. Just a charming little hardback, with those lovely, detailed Hilary Knight illustrations.