With the opening of my new long-term project/bookshelf/store— Pelican Tips— I wanted to explain just a couple things.
- I am little. I do not pretend to be the sole voice of authority on what makes for a great picture book. And I am not an expert. I am just a woman with an inordinate love for children’s literature… and for picture books in particular. That’s all I am.
- I have nothing to conquer and nothing to prove in my little corner of cyber-space here. I am thankful to be fully supported by my husband and that I don’t need to foster any ambitions of becoming a famous success in the blogging world.
- I enjoy and am humbly grateful for the little Amazon affiliate bonuses that I collect through my work here. I would write anyway, without the bonus, but am thankful for the possibility that exists to earn a wee bit to support my family along the way. They aren’t nearly what we pay out in public school taxes each year… but these bonuses do help us to fund books for our own homeschooling needs and other small things. Thank you so much for your support!
- My bookstore, while an ongoing project, will never be totally comprehensive. No one person on God’s good earth could find and catalogue every great book ever written. I also confess that I have not read every title that I recommend. But after a long affliction of bibliophilia, one develops a certain perception and discernment (looking at the author, illustrations, publisher, year of publication, reviews, etc.) with judging whether or not a book is likely to be twaddle, propaganda, or worthy of our children’s minds and hearts. It’s not a perfect system, but it is one that has served me quite well most of the time.
- There are many, many other souls out there who also love picture books. I am not better than them. Indeed I am grateful to many of them for helping me form my own lists and ideas also. I am happy to see our culture rebuilt—through an appreciation of reading quality literature— and don’t feel any need for competitive thinking among us. It is disordered to think that another person’s goodness, skill or success diminishes our own. Each has something different to offer— nuances in how they determine what goes on their recommended lists— and this is great! Readers relate to different writers and find certain kinships in how some people write, and not particularly others. Together, we are all aiming for Heaven. That is our goal… that is what unites us. I am happy in fact, to share with you some of the websites from which I occasionally glean ideas. While I don’t read blogs regularly (despite writing my own!) anymore, I do tune in here and there when time permits and catch a few articles of interest. And I am happy to point others to places where other good people are writing notable things about picture books too. While I have some differences in opinion with ALL of these sites on some things, each has benefitted me in some way and I’ve appreciated getting some book ideas on occasion (in no particular order):
- Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast
- Brain Pickings
- 4 Real Forums (Picture Book Discoveries)
- Mercator Net (Reading Matters)
- New York Times (Children’s Books)
- Wildflowers and Marbles
- Seven Little Australians
- Read it Daddy
- Shower of Roses
- Picture Books Blogger
- Playing By the Book
- MacBeth’s Opinion
- By Sun and Candlelight
- One Potato
- 32 Pages
- Vintage Children’s Books My Kid Loves
- What Do We Do All Day
In addition to those, I freely admit to following certain publishers and authors and illustrators online. The rest of what I know comes from over a decade of first-hand “research and testing” with my own children, lots of serendipitous finds online and in real life, and a whole lot of library fines. There is also a list of books that have helped to form in me a heart made for stories. Each of these books (shown on the acknowledgement page here) has in its own way, refined my vision and articulated thoughts for me that, left to my own devices, I could never do justice. I am indebted to the genius and thoughtfulness of many wonderful people who have come before me.
So you see, this is why I feel free to explain and even delight in my littleness. Of myself, I can do nothing, and have nothing to offer you my reader! Any gift, talent or skill I may exhibit is from Him, they are not my possessions. My very favorite, contemporary spiritual writer is Fr. Jacques Philippe and he says it best here:
“This is why humility, spiritual poverty, is so precious: it locates our identity securely in the one place where it will be safe from all harm. If our treasure is in God, no one can take it from us. Humility is truth. I am what I am in God’s eyes: a poor child who possesses absolutely nothing, who receives everything, infinitely loved and totally free. I have received everything in advance from the freely bestowed love of my Father, who said to me definitively: “All that is mine is yours.”
And what I have been freely given, I offer to you. Thank you.