Saturday, January 15, 2011

We'll stay up till this decade shines like the top of the Chrysler Building!

The main narrative of Moon Over Manifest takes place during the Great Depression. So does Turtle in Paradise, one of this year's Newbery Honor books.

That's not to say that no other historical period has been highlighted in children's literature lately, or that literature about other parts of history hasn't been honored. (Hello, One Crazy Summer.) But of all the myriad subjects a novel can be about, two of the top-honored children's novels this year are works of historical fiction about the same decade. And that makes total sense.

In recent years, lots of kids have had to learn to understand why their parents don't have jobs anymore... why they can't go on the same trips anymore... why they don't go out to dinner as much... why their summer camps are closing... why others can't afford to donate as much to the charities that serve them. Some of them have probably wondered if it was their fault, and many of them have likely wondered if it would ever get better.

Maybe it's helpful for some of them to know that this has happened before on an even larger scale. (Maybe it's helpful to the authors to write about it, too.) It may help to see that other kids complained, too, and stamped their feet at things that couldn't be changed. And they got through it anyway. And eventually, things did change.

Bet your shiny medals that tomorrow, there'll be sun.

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