A FEW OTHER EVENTS FOR
- Happy birthday Michael Martchenko (Paperbag Princess), Gail Gibbons (The Vegetables We Eat, The Reasons for Seasons), Bill Wallace (The Backward Bird Dog, A Dog Called Kitty), and Sheila Hamanaka (All the Colors of the Earth, I Look like a Girl).
- Itâ€™s the birth date of Herman Melville (1779-1843), Moby Dick. Read Moby Dick, retold by Lew Sayre Schwartz, illustrated by Richard Giordano, historical text by Steve Urbon.
- Also born on this day was Francis Scott Key (1779-1843), author of â€śThe Star Spangled Banner.â€ť Read The Star-Spangled Banner illustrated by Peter Spier, and Francis Scott Key and â€śThe Star Spangled Bannerâ€ť by Lynea Bowdish, illustrated by Harry Burman.
- Best birthday wishes to Colorado, the 38th state as of 1876. Read Hard Gold: The Colorado Gold Rush of 1859 by Avi.
- Anne Frankâ€™s last diary entry was written on this day in 1944.
- Itâ€™s Get Ready for Kindergarten month. Read Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten by Joseph Slate, illustrated by Ashley Wolff.
â€śIf you had to choose only one childrenâ€™s book, which one would it be?â€ť I am often asked that difficult question. Fortunately, I have not yet been marooned on a desert island with only one book to last me for the rest of my life. But I do have a book to offer up as an answer. This book begins during the first week of August: â€śThe first week of August hangs at the very top of summer, the top of the live-long year, like the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning.â€ť In Tuck Everlasting, a novel published in 1975 and only 139 pages in length, Natalie Babbitt explores a question she had been concerned about as a child: What if you could live forever?
In this story, eleven-year-old Winnie Foster decides to investigate the woods her family owns. There she finds a strange family, the Tucks, who have discovered a source of water that will give the drinker immortality. Rather than counting this a blessing, the Tucks have found living forever a hard burden for eighty-seven years. They have to keep moving. They cannot form relationships with people outside their family because other people grow old and they donâ€™t. And they must foil their enemy, an evil man in a yellow suit who lurks around the woods, sensing that it contains a secret.
After Winnie discovers the Tuck family, she is swept up in a kidnapping, a murder, and an escape from jail. More important, handsome seventeen-year-old Jesse wants her to drink the water when she turns seventeen, so the two of them can have a life together. Immortality or a normal life. To drink or not to drink. That is the question posed to this eleven-year-old girl. Only at the end does the reader learn Winnieâ€™s answer.
Throughout the story, readers are treated to some of the most beautiful language in childrenâ€™s books. Before the popularity of Philip Pullman or J. K. Rowling, I would often get questioned by people as to why I spent so much time championing childrenâ€™s books. My answer was always Tuck Everlasting. After reading it, adults always understand what can be accomplished in our best books for children.
So in these dog days of August, pick up Tuck Everlasting for some refreshment. Although it may not make you immortal, it will definitely remind you of just how precious our days on earth can be.
Hereâ€™s a passage from Tuck Everlasting:
The first week of August hangs at the very top of the summer, the top of the live-long year, like the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning. The weeks that come before are only a climb from balmy spring, and those that follow a drop to the chill of autumn, but the first week of August is motionless, and hot. It is curiously silent, too, with blank white dawns and glaring noons, and sunsets smeared with too much color. Often at night there is lightning, but it quivers all alone. There is no thunder, no relieving rain. These are strange and breathless days, the dog days, when people are led to do things they are sure to be sorry for after.
Originally posted August 1, 2011. Updated for .