Belated Birthday Greetings to Louisa May Alcott and Andrew Clemens.

December 2, 2009

November 29, 1832 is the birthday of Louisa May Alcott who wrote Little Women (1868) when she was 36 years old. November 30, 1835 is the birthday of Andrew Clemens (aka Mark Twain) who wrote The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876) when he was 41 years old and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884) when he was 49 years old. One day and three years apart — there must have been something in the water.

After more than a hundred years, Jo March of Little Women might not seem like such a radical tomboy but for at least 5 generations of American girls, Jo was a rebel and an ideal and Louisa May Alcott’s contribution to challenging the way girls were supposed to act and speak is something to applaud and celebrate. Who can deny a direct link between Jo March and Pippi Longstocking, Harriet Welsch in Harriet the Spy and so many others?

Mark Twain’s Huck and Tom were also rebels — who expressed ideas and feelings not commonly accepted. Twain once said that Tom Sawyer was written in reaction against what he described as ‘good-goody boys’ books.” A successor to both Huck and Tom is found in Jerry Renault, a character in The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier.

Both Louisa May Alcott and Mark Twain created characters who “dared to disturb the universe” an idea expressed in the poem, The Love Song of J.Alfred Prufrock by T.S. Eliot.

Let’s celebrate the rebels in literature — those characters who appeal to our imagination as they renew our capacity to question, act as a force for change and encourage us to ask “on what gournds do I accept the world as I know it?”

Happy Birthday Kevin Henkes— another author on my Evergreen Valentine list.

November 27, 2009

I have a few things in common with Kevin Henkes… As a child he loved to re-read books and he liked to take them everywhere. Even better, all his books showed signs of love— fingerprints on the pages, his name inscribed on the front and back cover and he liked peanut butter— and he was […]


Happy Thanksgiving!

November 23, 2009

There is a saying in my family that a superior meal must be accompanied by first-rate conversation. In keeping with this tradition, Thanksgiving – no matter the menu –provides an opportunity to talk about thankfulness and appreciation. Wishing you a wonderful day filled with cuisine, conversation and camaraderie. Some conversation jump starters— * Aldous Huxley […]


“Happy Birthday William Steig” November 14, 1907-October 2003

November 13, 2009

I always try and be the first person to wish my sons “Happy Birthday”. Depending on what time zone they are living in, I often need to call them a day ahead so, no surprise that I also want to be the first to wish William Steig a Happy Birthday for November 14. He would […]


Imaginary Friends

November 9, 2009

To pay proper homage to Snuffleupagus, who used to be Big Bird’s imaginary friend until parents complained for the show to make him “real”, here are a few of my favorite books about imaginary friends. Leon and Bob by Simon James Jethro Byrd, Fairy Child by Bob Graham Tashi by Anna Fienberg One of my […]


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