Invented Worlds: An Interview with Johanna Winters

In April, my kids and I were lucky enough to see a performance of Ric Averill’s The Runaway Orchestra at the Lawrence Arts Center.  Among the play’s many charms were giant paper mache heads worn by actors portraying various characters.  These puppets were created in a special course taught by the Arts Center’s 2018-2019 printmaker artist-in-residence…
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Je M’appelle Inez

This time of year always reminds me of a cat I once knew named Inez. At least, that’s what we called her, or “Eenie” for short, since she was on the small side. We adopted her from the shelter when she was six months old, but she turned out so wild we couldn’t keep her…
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And the Elpy Goes to . . .

With Golden Globes bestowed and the Oscars on the way, awards season is here. Children’s literature nerds have the morning of January 28th marked on their calendars to gather round their screens for the closest thing librarians have to the red carpet: the live webcast of the ALA Youth Media Awards.  I love awards and…
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The Year in Miniature

One of my favorite small wonders of Lawrence is the architectural model of the University of Kansas campus, currently located on the 3rd Floor of the Kansas Union. My kids love it as much as I do, so we worried when it disappeared earlier this year. Much to our relief, it reappeared a few months…
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I’m Game

Every time I walk past the library’s new circulating board game collection, I remember all the spinners, dice, and busted game box corners in the basements of my childhood. We played the classics—Chinese Checkers, Connect 4, Risk—but also games that date me, based on TV shows I loved as a '70’s kid, like CHiPs and…
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Interesting Trees

Somehow I’ve made it through half my life without knowing bird songs, classical music, or trees.  It’s stunning to ponder how much I’ve missed over the years whenever I heard birds and left it at the simple thought, “Oh. Birds.”  Same goes for my typical reaction to the magnum opus of any given legendary composer…
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Frog and Toad’s Laws of Literary Motion

In my years selecting children’s books for the library, I have often envied the mathematical certainty of the hard sciences.  After all, when the Pythagorean theorem doesn’t work, it’s usually our own bad arithmetic at fault, and Plank’s Constant isn’t exactly wishy-washy.  It’s a little more difficult to make sense of children’s literature sometimes.  Perhaps…
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The Tao of Another Now

Amazon released an original series adaptation of The Man in the High Castle, Philip K. Dick’s classic depiction of a postwar world ruled by the Nazis and Japanese. Hearing this, I headed for the basement to track down my old copy, a paperback on the inside cover of which I had scrawled my name and…
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