Oh, the places you’ll go ...
BOOKS FOR CHILDREN AND YOUNG ADULTS
Children who read develop empathy and imagination far beyond their own experience, and reading at an early age has been shown to lay the foundation for a lifelong love of words. Books for children and young adults are the focus of this special issue of Pasatiempo, which features profiles of local authors and illustrators as well as a few other regionally relevant stories, including the reissue of Loyd Tireman’s popular Mesaland series from the 1940s. On our cover is Ralph Douglass’ illustration for the cover of Dumbee, a Mesaland book published in 1945; image courtesy University of New Mexico Press.
Children learn to love reading by connecting with characters, voices, stories, and pictures t hat show t hem lives and worlds that are different from their own, or shed light on the mysteries that surround them. There is as much variation in books written for children as in those written for adults, and often just as much depth. Successful authors of the genre know how to break down complicated information about history and nature into bits that little brains can understand. Often, illustrations provide additional context and visual interest for children who are being read to and who are following along with the words as they learn. Several months ago, Pasatiempo asked local authors and illustrators of books for children and young adults to contact us. We heard from New Mexicans who have written books for their grandchildren, an illustrator who works with Rudolfo Anaya, and a rabbi who wants to tell children about Jewish history, among others. In this issue of Pasatiempo, we bring you a profile of an author with a personal story she turned into insightful fiction for teens, an interview with the first Latino poet laureate of the United States — who also writes children’s books — and news of the reissued 1940s series Mesaland, by Loyd Tireman, which features Hop-ALong the rabbit, Cocky the roadrunner, and Quills the porcupine, native inhabitants of New Mexico who frolic and play but also learn important lessons about surviving in the desert.