100 Scope Notes
Inside 100 Scope Notes

“It’s a Book About Nothing”

Nothing

I’ve recently noticed something about children’s books.

Nothing.

Nothing has become something.

If there’s one requirement for a book, it’s that the book be about something. Because of this, nothing is the ultimate subversion – it makes sense that children’s book creators would want to toy with that.

In the past few years, the idea of nothing being something has been mined in a number of different ways.

As an antidote to the perceived business of modern life:

As empathy for the inevitable boredom of childhood:

As “be careful what you wish for” humor:

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As a meditation on the meaning of nothingness:

And as the set-up for a reminder that no self-respecting book for kids is truly about nothing:

Here’s the thing about nothing: it can be anything you want.

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About Travis Jonker

Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at scopenotes@gmail.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.

Comments

  1. Yeah, actually, this could be true. That thing happening on my language (Turkish) too. I cannot be sure is that good or bad thing.

  2. What an interesting trend! All of these look so delightful, and I can see kids benefitting later on for having these “antidote[s] to the perceived business of modern life,” as you say. Thank you for sharing!