Tonight my book club meets to discuss Last Stop on Market Street. It sounds as if it’s a murder mystery or possibly a case of amnesia. Maybe it’s about time travel or a farmer’s market.
But I’m hosting the discussion, and I can tell you it’s not about any of those themes. It’s the 2016 Newbery Award winner, and it’s a gentle children’s book. The Newbery is usually given to a middle grade novel or a young adult book. But this year, Matt de la Pena became the first Hispanic author to win for a children’s story.
Given that I’ve just published a children’s book, I’m thrilled. And given that children’s literature is seeing a Renaissance only heightens my excitement. It gives me hope that my own Philip & Phoebe is in a good place.
I’ve followed children’s literature closely over the years. From E.B. White to Dr. Seuss to Lois Lowery, it’s a trove of excellent writing that explores a multitude of topics and themes. If you don’t believe me, read Number the Stars or Johnny Tremain; and you’ll become a convert. Which is what I hope to accomplish tonight during our book discussion.