Helen Clare Taylor

Host of Little Voices, Big Ideas

Helen Clare Taylor was born in London, England and came to the USA for the PhD which she earned from the University of Connecticut. She moved to Louisiana to become a professor of English at Louisiana State University Shreveport where she now  serves as Provost and Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs. She became involved in the LEH’s PRIME TIME Family Reading in 2002 and later served as a consultant and trainer for that program.

My favorite picture book is Flossie and the Fox by Patricia McKissack. Why? Because it combines a familiar trope (little girl, journey/task, big bad fox) with a story about how courage, confidence, and just plain being smart can save the day.

Maurice Sendak / Harper & Row

Maurice Sendak’s classic children’s book, Where the Wild Things Are, takes readers on an extraordinary journey into the imagination of the wildest thing of all--the young and precocious Max.

Banished to his bedroom for bad behavior, Max sails across weeks and over a year to the land of the wild things, a bunch of misbehaving creatures who want nothing more than to rumpus till they can rumps no more. But when the bandying about is over, Max discovers he misses his home, and the very person who banished him in the first place: his mother.

Holiday House / Holiday House

 

There’s plenty of attention given to the pursuit of “happily ever after” in stories of all sorts. But how should we go about acquiring happiness? Is there a right or wrong way to do it?

Anansi the spider, the thieving trickster at the heart of Eric Kimmel’s Anansi and the Moss-Covered Rock, offers up an opportunity for pushing past mere moralizing toward more nuanced conversations about when tricks cross over into deception territory--and even when a seemingly harmless little lie may not be seen as such by others. 

 

E.B. Lewis / G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers

Of all the difficult subjects deserving of discussion with children, race and racism are perhaps the most required, and least easy to address.