The Magic Lamp

A good story is a magic lamp: instead of releasing a genie, it releases young readers’ imaginations, delight and sense of wonder. It promises to enrich the way they see life and see themselves. With special emphasis on folk and fairy tales, this blog explores the mind-expanding, life-enriching benefits of stories.

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What Kids Say They Want From Their Parents

I think there are times when we would all like to be able to get inside the heads of the children we know, to better remember and understand what it’s like to be them. There are plenty of middle grade and young adult novels that help us with that, as well a number of...

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“I think you’re a Ferrari!”

As background research for my next middle-grade novel, I’m reading some books on issues related to adolescent development and self-esteem in kids. I thought I would share some of the tidbits I find. For example, in How To Develop Self-Esteem In Your Child: 6 Vital...

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Claudia Finds Herself…In A Museum!

I want to give a plug for E. L. Konigsburg’s charming, insightful children’s novel, From The Mixed-Up Files Of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. It’s a gem. Claudia Kincaid is “one month under twelve” when she decides to run away from home. Here is how the story begins:...

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A Great Deal on the Great Dahl!

I just wanted to send out a quick note about the amazing boxed set of Roald Dahl books now available on Amazon—just in case any of you don’t know about this The set includes 16 of Dahl’s magical stories including his greatest hits: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,...

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A Miraculous Story

One of my favorite children’s book authors is Kate DiCamillo. You may know her from Because Of Winn-Dixieor The Tale of Desperaux, both delightful. But today I want to recommend her book, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, which begins: “Once, in a house on...

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Rethinking the “Real World”

I’d like to start the year by giving a plug for one of my very favorite young adult novels: Marcelo In The Real World, by Francisco X. Stork. If you want something to recommend to a young adult reader, or if you’re looking for a read that will inspire you for the New...

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Finding Your Wow In The Now

As a kind of holiday/new year greeting I would like to share an excerpt from my kids’ novel, The Tale of Hodgepodge. Hodgepodge was a baby hippo, abandoned at birth in the jungle, then found and adopted by Moxie the elephant. When he grew up and realized he was a...

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Where The Sidewalk Ends…The Fun Begins!

I’d like to give a plug for Shel Silverstein’s book, Where The Sidewalk Ends, in case you haven’t read it. It’s a delightfully witty and inventive collection of humorous poems and drawings by the celebrated author of The Giving Tree, A Light In The Attic, and many...

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The Hero’s Path to Joy in Fairy Tales

In his book, Myth As Fairy Tale, Jack Zipes discusses why classical fairy tales have endured. He says: “The classical fairy tale makes it appear that we are all part of a shared community with shared values and norms, that we are all striving for the same happiness.”...

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Feeling Like A Kid, Part 6: Aliveness!

  In the last chapter of his book, Feeling Like A Kid, Jerry Griswold points out that one big difference between adult literature and children’s literature is that in books for kids, everything is often alive—from the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland to...

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Feeling Like A Kid, Part 1

What does it actually feel like to be a kid? Jerry Griswold, director of the National Center for the Study of Children’s Literature, has written an insightful little book that helps us with that. It’s called Feeling Like A Kid. Griswold says there are five themes that...

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