A FEW OTHER EVENTS FOR
- Happy birthday NASA, the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, established in 1958. Read Orbit: NASA Astronauts Photograph the Earth by Jay Apt, Michael Helfer, and Justin Wilkinson; and Team Moon: How 400,000 People Landed Apollo 11 on the Moon by Catherine Thimmesh.
- Happy birthday Sharon Creech (Walk Two Moons, Love That Dog) and Kathleen Krull (Lives of the Musicians).
- In 1914, transcontinental telephone service begins with the first phone conversation between New York and San Francisco. Read Telephone by Kornei Chukovsky, illustrated by Vladmir Radunsky, translated by Jamey Gambrell; and Tingleberries, Tucketubs and Telephones by Margaret Mahy, illustrated by Robert Staermose.
- The last Friday in July is National Talk in an Elevator Day. Read Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator by Roald Dahl.
July has been designated National Blueberry Month, to alert the public that this is the best time for fresh blueberries. I hope you can pick up some todayâ€”and while you are doing so, take a look at a classic childrenâ€™s book that celebrates this delicious fruit.
One of the most beloved childrenâ€™s books of all times, Robert McCloskeyâ€™s Blueberries for Sal first appeared in 1948. McCloskey was allowed the use of only one color in the book. Most artists would have selected black, but he chose a dark blueberry ink for his art, totally appropriate for the story he wanted to tell. Just like One Morning in Maine, Blueberries for Sal presents another personal look at the McCloskey family in their home setting.
Sal and her mother travel up Blueberry Hill to pick enough fruit to preserve. However, Sal can never quite fill her pail, because the berries taste so good. They both independently encounter a mother bear and cub who are also hunting for their own sweet food. Readers hear the berries â€śkuplink, kuplank, kuplunk!â€ť as they hit the pail; they can see the berries and almost taste them. McCloskey draws on all the senses as he weaves this simple but totally satisfying story of daily life. The endpapers extend the text, showing Mother and Sal as they preserve blueberries in an old-fashioned kitchen with a Garmen stove. Inevitably, this book brings a request to â€śread it again.â€ť Parents and teachers have been reading and rereading McCloskeyâ€™s Caldecott Honor book for more than six decades.
In 1991 Robert McCloskey made a rare foray away from his Maine home to tour and celebrate the 50th anniversary of Make Way for Ducklings. Because I was editor of Horn Book Magazine at the time, I had a chance to spend most of a day with him in Boston, interviewing him for a radio program. He had been my hero since my childhoodâ€”and I was equally enchanted as an adult. I still feel that having time to talk to this amazing and gentle individual was one of the highlights of my career.
Blueberries, by the way, are believed to improve memory. Even if you donâ€™t have the memory of meeting Robert McCloskey, you can share some time with him and his family in Maine, just by picking up a copy of Blueberries for Sal.
Hereâ€™s a page from Blueberries for Sal:
Little Bearâ€™s mother turned around to see what on earth could make a noise likekuplunk?Â
â€śGarumpf!â€ť she cried, choking on a mouthful of berries, â€śThis is not my child! Where is Little Bear?â€ť
Originally posted July 29, 2011. Updated for .