“It’s a Book About Nothing”
I’ve recently noticed something about children’s books.
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:
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 email@example.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.
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