A FEW OTHER EVENTS FOR
- Happy birthday Elvira Woodruff (Dear Austin: Letters from the Underground Railroad).
- Itâ€™s the birth date of Patricia Wrightson (1921-2010), The Nargun and the Stars.
- In 1910, the first Fatherâ€™s Day is celebrated in Spokane, Washington. Read A Perfect Fatherâ€™s Day by Eve Bunting, illustrated by Susan Meddaugh, and Fatherâ€™s Day by Anne Rockwell, illustrated by Lizzy Rockwell.
- Itâ€™s World Sauntering Day, so slow down and enjoy the world around you! Read All the World by Liz Garton Scanlon, illustrated by Marla Frazee; Crinklerootâ€™s Guide to Walking in Wild Places by Jim Arnosky; and Ramonaâ€™s World by Beverly Cleary.
Around this time of year we celebrate Fatherâ€™s Day. Now, as a rule, children are not particularly excited to read a book about an adult, even if they love their father. They would rather read about children they want to hang out with. But one of the best childrenâ€™s books of all times (perfect for reading to children at the end of first grade or independent reading in second and third), focuses on a fatherâ€”and a dragon. In My Fatherâ€™s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett, nine-year-old Elmer Elevator travels a long distance to Wild Island to save a baby dragon. After stowing items he may need in a backpack (a lollipop, hair ribbons, rubber bands, a toothbrush, and chewing gum), Elmer must outwit a tiger, gorilla, and crocodiles before he completes his quest. In fact, he needs every item he has carried with him. What would you put in a backpack if you needed to save a dragon?
After Ruth Stiles Gannett had graduated from college, she found herself out of work and went to her fatherâ€™s home at Cream Hill in West Cornwall, CT. In a couple of weeks she spun out My Fatherâ€™s Dragon. Her father, Lewis Stiles Gannett, the daily book critic of the New York Herald Tribune, happened to be one of the most influential figures in the publishing industry, and he connected her to a publisher, Random House. Her stepmother, Ruth Chrisman Gannett, had her own skills; sheâ€™d just won a Caldecott Honor that year and provided magnificent illustrations for this new book. Ruthâ€™s husband-to-be, Peter Kahn, an artist and typographer, helped with the maps of Wild and Tangerine Islands as well as the book design. A few weeks after this little family project was published on April 12, 1948, it won the Herald Tribuneâ€™s Childrenâ€™s book awardâ€”it never hurts an author, then or now, to have friends in high places.
Actually these Herald Tribune judges made a prescient choice, because this delightful and whimsical book has enchanted children for decades. For more information, check out ReadÂ Aloud Dad’s blog on the book. Â As Nick Clark, Director of the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, says in Everything I Need to Know I Learned from a Childrenâ€™s Book, â€śFrom My Fatherâ€™s Dragon I learned that you have to use your noodleâ€”and that the underdog can triumph in the end.â€ť So if you want to use your noodle today, pick up a copy of My Fatherâ€™s Dragon and celebrateÂ Elmer Elevator and the magnificent creators of Wild Island.
Hereâ€™s a page from My Fatherâ€™s Dragon:
Originally posted June 19, 2011. Updated for .