Constructing the Canon of Children's Literature: Beyond Library Walls and Ivory Towers

By Anne Lundin | Go to book overview

Chapter Three

Best Books: The Reader

"Books swept me away, one after the other, this way and that; I made endless vows according to their lights, for I believed them."

-Annie Dillard, An American Childhood

From the first cautionary advice by Dr. Spock, read by an anxious mother holding in her hand an anguished infant, to the giddy goose rhymes, "Pat-the-Bunnies," or moon melodies read at bedtime, to the cereal boxes of champions on the breakfast table, to the scout manuals memorized, the fugitive diaries, the Peanuts cartoons, and to those first chapter books, a child is raised by arms of print. Those who survive in one-, two-, and three-syllable words travel beyond the rearing borders of home and school through the agency of literature, the fictional journey of the mind. We fall in love with language.

Books swept me away, and I believed them. I have a fervent relation with formative books of my childhood as the ground of my being, the word made flesh. While cultural authorities may marginalize the reader's romance as beyond the cultural forum, these early books matter deeply. Reflecting on his own childhood reading, Graham Greene writes, "Perhaps it is only in childhood that books have any deep influence on our lives.... But in childhood all books are books of divination, telling us about the future, and like the fortune teller who sees a long journey in the cards or death by water, they influence the future." 1 To Eudora Welty her early reading was, as she exquisitely writes, "a sweet devouring," in which she learned the bare bones of language from a love of the alphabet. 2 After creating the image of literature as a "City of Invention," author Fay Weldon writes to her niece: "Truly, Alice, books are wonderful things: to sit alone in a room and laugh and cry, because you are reading, and still be safe when you close the book; and having finished it, discover you are changed, yet unchanged! To be able to visit the City of Invention at will, depart at will-that is all, really, education is about, should be about." 3 Perhaps this is what our own classics are about: a City of Invention whereby we construct meaning and make a life.

Invention evokes Frye's "educated imagination," but the "City" offers more

-109-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Constructing the Canon of Children's Literature: Beyond Library Walls and Ivory Towers
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Series Editor's Foreword ix
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Prologue xiii
  • Chapter One - Best Books: the Librarian 1
  • Chapter Two - Best Books: the Scholar 57
  • Chapter Three - Best Books: the Reader 109
  • Epilogue 141
  • Notes 149
  • Selected Bibliography 161
  • Index 167
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 178

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.