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Archive for December 14th, 2015

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by Sam Juliano

First off I want to thank the many readers who have responded en masse to the highly controversial and still running comment thread on the Caldecott Contender picture book A Fine Dessert.  As a result of the passionate response to the book from two unwavering positions, Wonders in the Dark has experienced its busiest week since all the way back in 2009.  Some of the discussion was extremely contentious to be sure from both sides of the divide, and I have never been as intensely involved as I was since the review published late Thursday night.  I have learned a lot about the strong feelings and sensitivity regarding the book’s visualization of slavery in the second part of its four stories.  I remain a big supporter of the book, and have enjoyed much success with it with my classes.  For me there is nothing at all in the publishing industry worse than censorship.  Hence any attempt to suppress this beautiful book is alien to my sense of fair play.  After an initial rush of people who criticized my review and loyalty to the book, the thread then came to life with the appearance of many teachers and book industry people who came to the book’s defense.  In the three and a half days the review has been up it has attracted nearly 3,000 page views, hundreds of link ups from Twitter and Facebook and a barrage of exposure on many blogs, with a few re-blogs to boot.  At present the thread has attracted 154 comments.

It has been another torrid week for the Caldecott series in general, and again I thank the many who have placed comments on all the reviews.  Jim Clark’s review of the superlative Three Times (admittedly a film seen by few) was yet yet another magisterial piece by this great writer and friend.

Everything in my life has been compromised the past several days, so aside from a mid-week film viewing of the Oscar qualifier The Lady in the Van with Maggie Smith, I have been lamentably tied down.  A nagging sore throat complicated matters further.  It is hard to believe we are only eleven days away from Christmas, which really did creep up.  Weather in the New York City area has been unseasonably balmy, and in direct contrast from last year’s frigid December. (more…)

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