The Chatterbox | January 4
File under: “A real page-turner”
- It’s a new, even-numbered year and so there’s a new national ambassador for young people’s literature. The New York Times calls the appointment of Walter Dean Myers, 74, “a bold statement” in its January 3 profile of the author and his fascinating life story.
File under: “Partisan playthings”
- Heated debate over LEGO’s recently announced line of toys for girls shows no signs of slowing down, and in fact has recharged the larger conversation about explicitly gendered marketing. Peggy Orenstein’s NYT op-ed is a good place to start, if you missed it last week; KJ Dell’Antonia’s follow-up blog post looks at the broader limitations of overly prescriptive “creative” playsets. If you ask us, LEGO’s one of the companies that got it right—back in 1981.
- …And then there’s the mom from north of London who’s on another planet entirely.
File under: “Movin’ and shakin’”
- Chicago performer and photographer Benjamin Wardell, who recently appeared in a dance show for kids at Indian Boundary Park, just launched a series of video “portraits.” His first subjects? Pint-sized sisters Skylar and Promise. Adorbs.
File under: “The wonder years”
- Just in time for our tweens issue, due out in early February, comes this compelling look at “middle childhood” and the maturation of the brain.
File under: “The bully pulpit”
- With a controversial “don’t say gay in schools” bill still cooling on the back burner, Tennessee legislators have struck yet another match. Due in part to pressure from former state senator turned Christian activist David Fowler, lawmakers there are considering adjustments to Tennessee anti-bullying laws “to protect those expressing religious, philosophical or political beliefs.” Some are calling the proposal “a loophole.”