Nate the Great

A few weeks ago, I posted some illustrations from Harry the Dirty Dog that utterly charmed me. Today, I’d like to share another lovely retro find: Nate the Great, written by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat and illustrated by Marc Simont.

Nate the Great

I’m pretty sure I read this series as a kid, but I didn’t remember anything about it. So when I started reading the first book recently, I was shocked by how much wit and voice Sharmat had managed to pack into a second-grade vocabulary.

I’ve always toyed with the idea of writing a children’s book some day, but I’d never been interested in writing “easy readers.” As an adult, I’d long considered that stage to be the dark ages of childhood reading, when one’s inability to read more advanced books barred access to richer, more literarily interesting worlds.

That totally changed when I reread Nate the Great. I’d never before appreciated the challenge–the art, really–of writing for the very young reader. As Sharmat so elegantly demonstrates, reading level constraints are not so much a literary hindrance as a creative opportunity.

And then there are the illustrations. Has someone written an undergraduate thesis examining how children’s books can reflect society’s cultural values? (Because that’s the thesis I should have written.) Nate the Great is such an awesome example of this.

Nate the great



10 Blogs I Love Right Now

I love blogs. I love that a blog is a little space on the internet that someone can carve out for herself. I love that blogs can become communities where like-minded individuals can connect.

I also like that what blogs you read can say a lot about who you are. Not the ones you say you read, or the ones you’ve been meaning to read, but the ones that you actually read.

At first, I was a little anxious about writing this post. What would I learn about myself once I took an honest look at what I was reading every day? Would it be totally embarrassing? Would I be reluctant to share?

As it turns out, I think my list of favorite blogs paints a pretty accurate picture of who I am, guilty pleasures and all. And you know what? I don’t mind it. So, here they are: ten blogs that I love right now.