Saturday, November 20, 2010

21st November Isaac Bashevis Singer (1902 - 1991) Elizabeth George Speare (1908 - 1994)

There is some debate about the year in which Isaac Bashevis Singer was born, but this does not affect his place in literature. This Jewish, American writer who is best known for his short stories won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1978. He was born in Poland and emigrated to USA in 1935, four years before the Holocaust. He wrote in Yiddish and his books were translated into English. He published fourteen children's books, my favourite being Why Noah Chose the Dove. This story gives a new perspective on a story that most children know well. Each animal tells Noah of their special qualities and why they should be allowed aboard. They are all taken aboard by Noah but when it comes time to choose a messenger, Noah chooses the dove because he did not boast. Singer says, "The dove lives happily without fighting. It is the bird of peace." Eric Carle illustrated the book and his animals, as always, add to the text to make it a book that no one should miss.

Elizabeth George Speare was also an American author. She was well known for her historical fiction and won the Newbery Medal twice. Her best known book The Witch of Blackbird Pond is now considered a 'classic' in children's literature. She didn't write for the age group I teach so I have nothing of hers to recommend for prep school children.

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