I was looking at the Highlight’s Educational Foundation’s list of up-coming workshops and saw one titled “Books that Rise Above” ( http://www.highlightsfoundation.org/workshops/books-that-rise-above/) with Patti Lee Gauch, Linda Sue Park, Leonard Marcus, Deborah Heiligman and Elizabeth Bird as faculty to discuss, “What makes a children’s book a classic?” The term “classic,” has been used to sell books from the beginning of time.  But the whole concept of identifying characteristics of classic children’s books sat in the back of my brain for a couple of days while I worried it around. Can one really pre-predict what books will end up as classics?  Do you really think Margaret Wise Brown thought Good Night Moon would still be around?  Or Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are?  As a children’s poet the question I was really asking was, what makes for a classic children’s poetry book?  I thought about all the poetry books I’ve read in the last 20 years.  Which of the early ones are still available? Which ones are out of print?  What qualities make a poem memorable and long lasting?  Of course Karen Hesse’s OUT OF THE DUST, will always be around because it was a Newbery winner.  Award winners will stay in print, but what makes a poetry book, or collection an award winner?  What qualities do you think the poetry book needs?


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