Nightlight
Children's books and the adults who make them.

Aug. 4 2016 12:08 PM

My Kids Read Only Subliterary Branded Commodities. Yours Probably Do, Too!

The notion of “children’s literature” calls to mind two distinct sensibilities. The first, epitomized by Eloise, is ironic: It creates a gap between the child’s understanding and that of the adult reading to her. (The child thrills to Eloise’s naughtiness; the adult laughs at her narcissism.) The second sensibility is poetic, psychological. Its apogee is Where the Wild Things Are. It makes use of the author’s artistic gifts to represent the world as a child experiences it.

Aug. 3 2016 12:59 PM

Heather Has Two Mommies, and Morris Has a Dress

When Lesléa Newman published her children’s book Heather Has Two Mommies in 1989, the very idea of same-sex marriage seemed like a pipe dream. The LGBTQ community was still in the throes of the HIV crisis; few states forbade sexual orientation discrimination; and the Supreme Court had affirmed the constitutionality of sodomy bans, essentially permitting the criminalization of homosexuality. At the time, a picture book about a young girl with lesbian parents felt like a radical act—and the culture, caught off guard, responded with shock and outrage.

Aug. 2 2016 5:30 AM

We Don’t Only Need More Diverse Books. We Need More Diverse Books Like The Snowy Day.

When we had our first son, four different people gave us the same present: a copy of Ezra Jack Keats’ The Snowy Day. A new child often inspires duplicate gifts—we were given a dozen mostly useless baby blankets, just one more thing to spit up on—but this one was different. Our son is black, and those four friends wanted to make certain our library contained one of American literature’s most beautiful depictions of a little black boy.

Aug. 1 2016 9:02 AM

Welcome to Slate’s Children’s Book Blog, Nightlight!

Welcome to Slate’s pop-up blog about children’s books, Nightlight! You surely have fond memories of the board books and early readers that you read and reread when you were little. Perhaps, like many, you found your world expanded by the message of a chapter book, or your heart broken by a young adult romance. Maybe you’re one of the millions of adults who enjoy reading YA, never mind what the haters say.

July 31 2016 4:04 PM

Harry Potter and the Very Long Discussions of Father-Son Issues

What will you, the Muggle book-buyer, make of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child? To begin with, if you were expecting the eighth Harry Potter novel, you might be surprised to hold instead the script of the two-part play now running on London’s West End. You might then be alarmed to notice thatCursed Child’s author is not, in fact, J.K. Rowling, but the playwright Jack Thorne, working from a story by Thorne, the director John Tiffany, and Rowling.