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Everything I Need to Know I Learned from a Children's Book Hardcover – October 13, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-1596433953 ISBN-10: 1596433957 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Roaring Brook Press; 1 edition (October 13, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596433957
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596433953
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 8.8 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #339,706 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Over 100 noteworthy figures, from Ursula K. Le Guin to Jay Leno, convey lessons learned from specific children's books in this affirming collaboration, which is divided into six thematic sections and features full-color images. For each selection, a contributor provides a brief essay about how the book influenced him or her, accompanied by an excerpt. The divergent articulations on the impact of such stories as The Secret Garden (What was the gift of this magical book? muses Katherine Paterson. Then I realize that it was wonder) and Little House in the Big Woods ([T]he romance of the family's wanderlust and their almost unflagging good spirits... shone from the pages, writes Emily Bazelon of Slate.com) create a moving patchwork message about the transformative powers of reading. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal

In this tribute to the lasting impact of children's books on individuals, 110 personalities respond to the implied question, What important message did you internalize from reading this book? Some of the contributors are quite famous; others are less so, and they come from the arts, sciences, politics, business, medicine, journalism, and sports, as well as authors and illustrators of children's books. Among the books are numerous classics, some not originally intended for children, as well as picture books, juvenile and young adult fiction, and nonfiction. The attractive format features a long quote from the book, usually with an accompanying illustration, on the verso; while the recto is divided into two columns, one with the personal essay and the other with Silvey's historical commentary on the book featured, along with a full-color cover illustration. Back matter includes a brief paragraph on each contributor. The essays vary widely in length, and some acknowledge that a treasured children's book was not discovered until adulthood. This attractive volume will be appreciated by lovers of literature for all ages despite the unfortunate choice of a painfully small typeface for Silvey's informative entries.–Marie Orlando, North Shore Public Library, Shoreham, NY
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Customer Reviews

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As much as I wanted to devour the book all at once, I found that it's a book to be savored over many sittings.
The Book Nosher
Each entry features an essay describing the impact of the book on the respondent, an excerpt with illustrations, and background material on the author and the work.
N.L.
Most of us learned to read from children's books, and that was the starting point for everything else we have learned.
Shelley Sommer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Shelley Sommer on November 2, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I found a new book to "dip into" when I have a few minutes or need something inspirational to read - Everything I Need to Know I Learned from a Children's Book by Anita Silvey. I guess on some level, this could be said for the majority of people in the world. Most of us learned to read from children's books, and that was the starting point for everything else we have learned. But...that is not the point of Silvey's terrific book. It's a 230 page collection of small essays by people from across the professional spectrum about how they were inspired by a favorite children's book. The emphasis is on how the book continues to resonate in their lives today. It's interesting to see what people chose to write about. So far, my two favorite essays are Gregory Maguire's on The Diamond in the Window by Jane Langton and Sherman Alexie's comments on The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats.

My only complaint is that I wish there was one line at the bottom of each essay identifying the writer. I knew most of them, and of course, they are all identified in the back, but just flipping through and stopping to see that Stan Lee was inspired by the Poppy Ott books was tricky. With all respect to Mr. Lee, I did not know who he was. I do now. He is associated with Marvel Comics. But I had to flip to the back of the book to find that out. I wish there had been a quick identification under his name so I didn't have to keep flipping back and forth. No problem though. It doesn't take away from this wonderful book.

I was especially excited to see that I share a favorite book with two distinguished people. Before looking at Silvey's book, I thought about what book I would choose. That took 2 seconds: Charlotte's Web. And it turns out that both Louis Sachar and Eric Rohmann felt the same way!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Kirsten G. Cutler on December 17, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This book is a compilation of interesting comments from famous people about the impact of a specific children's book on their development. Each 2-3 page section includes an excerpt from the children's book, a brief biography of the author, and then the commentary by the famous person regarding their appreciation for the book. Addendum material includes: brief biographies of the famous people, a selected list of books by contributors, a booklist of recommended books categorized by subject, and indexes for contributors and the book excerpts. I wish the presentation had been a little more appealing.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By The Book Nosher on February 24, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This book is edited by the eminently qualified Anita Silvey, a former Horn Book editor and publisher at Houghton Mifflin. It's divided into six sections entitled: Inspiration, Understanding, Principles & Precepts, Vocation, Motivation and Storytelling. Each entry has an essay about the book by the contributor, an anecdote about the actual book and/or author, an excerpt from the book itself, and a picture of the book. There's also a heading that states a lesson learned. As much as I wanted to devour the book all at once, I found that it's a book to be savored over many sittings.

There are so many fascinating people featured, and each one of their books is an interesting choice. For instance, the author Sherman Alexie chose Ezra Jack Keats's The Snowy Day, because "it was pretty much the only children's book that featured a protagonist with dark skin...It was the first time I looked at a book and saw a brown, black, beige character--a character who resembled me physically and spiritually, in all his gorgeous loneliness and splendid isolation." The lesson Alexie learned: "People might want to listen to me too."

Or there's the entry by author Judy Blume talking about Madeline being her favorite book. It was checked out from the library, and she loved it so much she hid it from her mother so she wouldn't return it to the library. As she says, "I thought the copy I had hidden was the only copy in the whole world. I knew it was wrong to hide the book, but there was no way I was going to part with Madeline." The lesson she learned: "To understand other people-and myself."

Or there's heart surgeon William C. DeVries, who contributed to the development of the world's first artificial heart. His choice was The Wizard of Oz.
Read more ›
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Flamingnet Teen Book Reviews on March 18, 2010
Format: Hardcover
An inspirational collection of essays from leaders,
artists, authors and even comic book writers who recall
their favorite children's book and the impact it had on
their lives. This book can be read by people of all ages
and each essay is accompanied by illustrations and an
exerpt from the selected books.

This book is sweet,
comforting, inspiring and even unexpected. Usually books
full of essays are boring and after a few pages are put
down and never touched again. However this collection of
essays is unique and honestly, although this is a slang
word, very cool. I couldn't put it down. When I read it it
gave me a warm fuzzy feeling in the pit of my stomach and
put a sweet smile on my face. It is also a must read if
you are looking for wholesome children's novels that teach
a life lessons for your daughter or son.

Reviewed by a young adult student reviewer
Flamingnet Book Reviews
Teen books reviewed by teen reviewers
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