Sunday, September 12, 2010

Children's Books and Absent Parents

Earlier this summer, NPR interviewed YA author Lesley M. Blume, who shared her list of must-read children's books and, appropriately, her thoughts on children's stories that don't mention parents -- just like ours.

NPR writes, "Her book list includes a fair number of books about orphans, because, as Blume says, kids seem naturally drawn to stories in which the parents are absent: "Any child can relate to the fantasy of creating a kids-only utopia from scratch in the woods... This is something you see over and over again in classic literature and films. No rules, no baths, no schoolwork."

Find the list at and see if some of your favorites made the cut!

Discuss: What would you have put on the list?

Summer in China

Summertime meant a vacation from school for most, but not a vacation from helping orphans in foreign countries.

Isabella Wechsler spent her summer volunteering in a special-needs orphanage in Jiaozuo, China.

She writes, "Working with the children there was probably one of the most humbling experiences of my life. Almost all of them have physical or mental disabilities of some form. Yet they handle difficult situations, and even the somewhat depressing conditions of their daily life, with such grace. They act genuinely excited when their friends "go to America", even though some of the older ones have slowly watched their friends leave them behind for years. I can't imagine having even half of their mental fortitude, and I am constantly amazed at their appreciation for the littlest things, like a page of stickers. In terms of the orphanage itself, it was pretty nice...since it's brand new and was built to represent the new "model" orphanage that...others [follow]."

Isabella blogged about her experience. Follow these links to read more: