In honor of National Library Week, I interviewed my daughter, Meghan Day, a children’s librarian at the public library in Irvington, New York. Before that, she spent three years as an editor at Holiday House.
What’s your favorite thing about your job as a children’s librarian?
Connecting kids with great books! It’s rewarding seeing the younger ones get so excited about coming to storytime, and I love the challenge of matching the older ones with the perfect books for their level and interests.
What are some of your favorite books to share, old and new, from picture book to YA novel?
Tough one! Some of my childhood favorites that spoke to me when I was younger, and are probably responsible for my love of reading, are Maurice Sendak’s wonderfully bizarre In the Night Kitchen, Arnold Lobel’s charming Frog and Toad easy reader series, A. A. Milne’s delightful Winnie the Pooh books, Ellen Raskin’s page-turning mystery The Westing Game, E. L. Konigsburg’s unforgettable From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, and the awesomely creepy books of Lois Duncan (especially Summer of Fear and Stranger with My Face).
Among my new favorites to share with kids, and, let’s be honest, enjoy myself, are Peter McCarty’s adorably clever Jeremy Draws a Monster (I’d also like to give a shout out to any picture books from Amy Krouse Rosenthal–funny!–and Carin Berger–gorgeous and sweet!), the endearing and humorous Elephant and Piggie beginning readers by Mo Willems, the perfect-to-read-aloud Toys Go Out and its equally winning sequel Toy Dance Party by Emily Jenkins, pretty much anything by Mary Amato, Rebecca Stead’s incredible When You Reach Me (so happy it won the Newbery, I’ve been talking it up to kids since it came out), and the intensely gripping Hunger Games series by Suzzanne Collins (I’m holding my breath for the final book in the trilogy to come out this August!). Phew. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The good news is, old or new, there’s really no shortage of awesome books to share.
How can children’s writers help their local libraries?
With all the budgetary cuts or threats of cuts happening these days, writing letters to the editor of your local newspaper about the importance of libraries would be a huge help. Also, write your senators about any pending library aid bills–let them know how important libraries are to your community. Support your library with your presence, attending programs and checking out materials. And, last but not least, it’s always a good idea to develop a relationship with your children’s librarian to talk about other ways to support the library with your time and talents. Who knows, it could lead collaborating on a children’s program!