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Check It Out

Courier Article by Erika Qualls
Sunday, February 20, 2011

Central Library to host noted children's author Jane Yolen on March 5

Jane Yolen is a celebrated author of children's, science fiction, and fantasy books that have won numerous awards, including the Caldecott Medal for Owl Moon and The Emperor and the Kite. The Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library is honored to host Ms. Yolen on Saturday, March 5 in the Lobby of Central Library. Ms. Yolen has written over 300 books spanning many ages and interests. Below are some favorites at EVPL.

Foiled is Yolen's first venture into graphic novel, and her fantasy elements create another wonderful read for young adults. Aliera Carstairs is a high school girl who has survived the monotony of high school by being a loner. Her passion, fencing, keeps her too busy to worry about her lack of social life. Then she is partnered with the cutest boy in school in her science lab, and after some persuasion, accepts a date with him. Aliera soon discovers it isn't her that he is interested in, but in the red-handled foil that makes her the defender of the magical world of Helfdon.

In The Devil's Arithmetic, Yolen transports 12-year-old, Hannah, back to 1940s Poland to experience the Holocaust first-hand. Hannah is embarrassed by her grandfather and his tirades about the Nazis. Despite her mother's explanations that he and her grandmother lost most of their family members during the Holocaust, Hannah still doesn't understand why her grandfather is so angry. Then at Passover Seder, Hannah is asked to open the door to welcome the prophet Elijah, and is transported to Poland during the Holocaust. There she experiences first-hand the struggle her grandparents went through, but will she ever make it back to her own time?

Yolen used her daughter and husband for inspiration for her story, Owl Moon. One snowy evening in New England, a little girl and her father go owling near their farm. Bundled up tightly, the two make their way slowly through the snow. Along the way, the reader can see a fox, raccoon, fieldmouse, and deer watch as the pair makes their way and Pa imitates the Great Horned Owl's call. Over and over again, Pa's call goes unanswered. Then- finally-they hear an answer.

One of my favorite sets of books by Yolen are the Dinosaur books, including How do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight? and How do Dinosaurs Say I Love You?. Each story is one that parents and children can relate to. In How do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight?, little dinosaurs prolong the evitable of bedtime with the standard moping, crying, and "one more book!" How do Dinosaurs Say I Love You? addresses the fears little kids often have when they know they have done something they shouldn't, and how they come to realize that their parents will love them no matter what.

If you go: Saturday, March 5 starting at 10am, Jane Yolen will present in the Central Library lobby as part of the Young Author's Event presented by the Evansville Area Reading Council and EVPL.

Happy Reading!