Notes from Candice Ransom

The Big Green Textbook

My first inkling there was a thing called children’s literature came at a yard sale.  I picked up a thick green textbook, Children’s Literature in the Elementary School, by Charlotte S. Huck.  I marveled at the idea that people discussed and studied the books I loved and planned to write, that children’s books were literature,

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Hubble's Bubble

Our Public Libraries and the New Normal

I’ve been delving into my home library since March.  Just yesterday I chose a vintage children’s book, an ex-library copy of a book I’d read (from a public library) when I was a kid.  Look at the regulations pasted on the inside cover—particularly the last paragraph.    As much as I’m enjoying my private library,

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Miss the Library? Not So Much.

I could stand almost everything about this pandemic except the public library closing. The library is essential! We bought property to build our house based on proximity to the library. I stopped on my way back from exercise class four and five times a week. Some library systems let people know in advance of closing,

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My Truck Office

Over the years, I’ve often had a tote bag on the passenger seat of my little red truck that held a pen, notebook, and current reading book.  But cloth tote bags are too flimsy and usually become grungy.  Then I bought a canvas garden tote from Cracker Barrel because it was sturdy, had several pockets

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I Once Had My Own Literacy Program

Last night, I wrapped a box of the Boxcar Children books I’d written for a friend’s granddaughter.  She is nine and into the Boxcar Children.  I autographed each title, added a note as to why I am not Gertrude Chandler Warner, the original creator of the Boxcar Children, but a ghost writer, revealed a secret

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Dear James Daunt

  Dear James Daunt,  Some people don’t think you can save Barnes and Noble bookstores, but I’m cheering you on.  You turned around Waterstones, that gem of a bookstore chain in Britain.  You understand that we need bookstores, even Barnes and Noble, often the only bookstore in some areas in America. A good bookstore is

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How to Write About Your Trip

You wait years to take an important trip, saving money, carving out time from work and obligations, reading up on your destination.  You finally go and see the places on your list and more besides.  And then you come home, and friends and co-workers ask, “How was your vacation?”  Because you know people aren’t really

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Welcome to Our “Watership Down” Porch!

Our farmhouse front porch needed refreshing.  Changing the chair cushions and plunking down a few potted plants didn’t seem enough.  I’d written a column for Bookology Magazine, “Richard Adams Gave Me Rabbits,” about how Watership Down was the last book that changed my life.  That gave me the idea to makeover our porch with a

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When a Map Is a Journey

It has been said that a map isn’t a journey.  But sometimes–especially in books–it is. The first map I remember was flashed briefly on TV, part of a commercial for Story Book Land.  It aired on “Captain Tugg,” a local kiddie program.  I adored Captain Tugg, so anything he endorsed must be gold.  Like the

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Teaching Passion

Some years ago, when the director of Hollins University’s graduate program in children’s literature asked me to teach a critical class on the history of children’s book illustrators, I said no.  Even with an MFA in writing for children from Vermont College, an MA in children’s literature from Hollins, scores of published books, and years

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England Have My (Winter) Bones

I love winter indoors.  Outside, not so much.  I’m not a fan of snow, bitter temperatures, ice, chilling rains, and many gray days in a row that constitute a Virginia winter.  Even as a kid, I didn’t like winter sports. So, every January and February I escape Virginia and head to Britain.  I read British

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Paperback Writer

Once upon a time, I sold a million books.  Most of my books landed on bestseller lists.  Every Saturday was devoted to answering fan mail.  Readers figured out where I lived and came to my house.  What? you’re thinking.  Not Candice Ransom, author of a lot of books, but who has hardly set the world

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