All About Adolescent Literacy

All about adolescent literacy. Resources for parents and educators of kids in grades 4-12.
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A video interview with

Leonard Marcus

View Transcript

Bio

Leonard Marcus is one of the most respected writers and historians of children's literature. His critically acclaimed books have looked at Caldecott winners, the history and impact of Golden Books, fantasy writers, and the lives of other children's authors including the influential Margaret Wise Brown.

Marcus reviews children's books for Parenting magazine since and has been a contributing editor to the magazine since 1988. He is a frequent contributor to The New York Times Book Review, Washington Post Book World, The Horn Book, and Publishers Weekly, among other publications. He has also curated exhibitions on children's books and book illustration at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, where he is a founding trustee.

Marcus holds degrees in history from Yale and poetry from the University of Iowa Graduate Writers' Workshop. He was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the Bank Street College of Education in 2007. Marcus and his wife, the picture-book artist Amy Schwartz, live with their son Jacob in Brooklyn, New York.

Selected Books

from Leonard Marcus


Golden Legacy

Age Level: Adult

This well-researched book is a lively cultural history of the Western Publishing Company and their bold WWII experiment to create affordable books for children. Learn, too, about the exceptionally talented writers and illustrators who helped create such a memorable series.

Buy Golden Legacy


Pass it Down: Five Picture Book Families Make Their Mark

Age Level: Adult

Conversations with families provide insight and information into how books are created and the intergenerational impact of illustrating and writing them. From the Rockwells, the Crews/Jonas family, the Pinkneys, the Myers', and the Hurds talent seems to run in the family!

Buy Pass it Down: Five Picture Book Families Make Their Mark


Margaret Wise Brown: Awakened by the Moon

Age Level: Adult

Using original source material, letters, and interviews with people who knew her, Marcus creates a compelling picture of the unusual woman who re-invented children's picture books, especially with her enduring classics, The Runaway Bunny and Goodnight Moon.

Buy Margaret Wise Brown: Awakened by the Moon


Minders of Make-Believe: Idealists, Entrepreneurs, and the Shaping of American Children's Literature

Age Level: Adult

This thoroughly researched and compelling history looks at the editors, authors, librarians, and booksellers who helped answer the provocative and centuries-old question: What should children read? Discover how landmark children's books like The New England Primer, The Cat in the Hat, and The Chocolate Wars helped define children, families, and the culture of their times.

Buy Minders of Make-Believe: Idealists, Entrepreneurs, and the Shaping of American Children's Literature


The Wand in the Word: Conversations with Writers of Fantasy

Age Level: Adult

Marcus presents in-depth interviews with 13 renowned fantasy writers, including Susan Cooper, Nancy Farmer, Brian Jacques, Tamora Pierce, and Philip Pullman. Marcus unearths some common threads (many were inspired early on by J.R.R. Tolkien, for example) and elicits advice to aspiring writers. From Ursula Le Guin: "Read. Write. Read. Write. Go on reading. Go on writing,"

Buy The Wand in the Word: Conversations with Writers of Fantasy


Ways of Telling: Fourteen Interviews With the Masters of the Art of the Picture Book

Age Level: Adult

"A picture book is a dialogue between two worlds: the world of images and the world of words," says Marcus in this lively inside look at the creative work of 14 children's book writers and illustrators. Maurice Sendak, Rosemary Wells, Robert McCloskey, Charlotte Zolotow, James Marshall are among those who are interviewed.

Buy Ways of Telling: Fourteen Interviews With the Masters of the Art of the Picture Book