Thursday, August 27, 2009

Happy Birthday May Hill Arbuthnot

Today is the 125th anniversary of the birth of May Hill Arbuthnot (1884-1969). Arbuthnot is best known in the library community for her contributions to the field of children's literature. Her legacy is remembered annually by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) through its May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture Award. Students in children's literature courses in library schools are well acquainted with her book Children and Books which has been published in several editions. This is what Arbuthnot wrote in the Preface to the Third Edition (1964): "Children and Books grew in the first place out of the tantalizing questions adults are always asking: 'What kind of books do children like?' 'How can we get our children to read more and better books?' It grew also out of many observations of children choosing or rejecting books in their homes, nursery schools, libraries and classrooms. It grew from watching artist-teachers using books in such happy and meaningful ways that the children reached new heights of appreciation and taste. It grew from the eager response of college students to the beauty and fun of children's books. It grew from watching parents share their joy in books with their children, making book lovers of them by sheer contagion. And it grew primarily from liking children and books." Wisconsin librarians are very proud of the fact that our own Kathleen (Katie) T. Horning has been chosen to give the 2010 May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture.

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