8 Questions For: David Sedaris

December 1st, 2011 · 22 Comments · Cameos, Children's Books, Gifts, Culture, Posts by Andy, Uncategorized

For a bunch of years when I worked in magazines, I was lucky enough to have the chance to work with David Sedaris. For an editor, this was like being a baseball-loving kid and having had the chance to be the bat boy for Lou Gehrig. (Or maybe that’s not the best example here, but you get the idea. It was, as Abby would say, a priv-uh-lege.) Anyway, those years were some of the best and most fun I ever had, professionally — and personally, too, as David proved as kind and generous a person as he was talented as a writer. A few months ago, we had him over for some dinner (we made a version of our yogurt-marinated chicken) and he arrived with gifts for the kids: bottle-shaped candles, magnets that looked like leaves, chocolates, Japanese note cards, and two books: Strange Stories for Strange Kids and It Was a Dark and Stormy Night. They’re two parts of a remarkable three-part series, called Little Lit, which was edited by the great Art Spiegelman (of Maus fame) and his equally talented wife, Francoise Mouly. As much as the kids (more…)

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Introducing Fave Five

October 17th, 2011 · 16 Comments · Children's Books, Gifts, Culture

When you are a parent and faced with the reality that your children are doing things like running for student government, logging into their own gmail accounts,and you know…growing up, there suddenly seems to be an emotional land mine buried in every nook of the house. Phoebe’s purple velvet first birthday dress — the one Andy bought for her at Saks in 2003 — hung in the closet for five years longer than she could squeeze a toe into it because I couldn’t bear to stash it in some basement box that probably won’t be opened until Phoebe herself is a mom. The thought of tossing Abby’s “portfolio” of artwork from preschool — even though I haven’t opened it once in three years to admire the work — fills me with dread. And the books! Don’t get me started on the books. If they weren’t threatening to take over the living space in our house, Moo Moo Brown Cow would still be on our TV room coffee table and I would still be telling anyone who would listen: This is the book we were reading when Phoebe said her first word!

No, I can’t ignore the books. The only thing I can do to make myself feel better about getting rid of them is give them to my brother, whose son is only 4, and who still has thirteen glorious Lemony Snicket books to look forward to reading. (Where is the justice in life?) “It’s like your birthday!” my brother says to my nephew every time we do the hand-off. Nathan will grab How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight, and I will go into lock-down mode. If Auntie Jenny allows herself to remember reading that one to Abby, Auntie Jenny just might lose it.

So “Fave Five,” a new series on DALS, is, in part, my selfish attempt to hold on to my daughters’ childhoods — sorry, I mean my daughters’ childhood books that have meant something to our family long after they are no longer in the reading rotation. The series will also give us a chance to write about whatever books happen to making the house happy but don’t seem to fit into one of Andy’s or Phoebe’s epic round-ups. (Expect a lot more of those, too.) The books we choose could be old favorites, they could be new favorites — hell, we might even throw in a game or toy or video or two. Put it this way: If I get that twisty, dark pit in my stomach when I think about handing it off to my nephew, you’ll probably be reading about it here.

And don’t worry, you won’t have to read my sob stories every time you check in. Just click the little button on the right column (right near the Categories list) and it will immediately take you to the latest picks. They will be changing regularly, so check back often.

“Fave Five” logo designed by Robin Helman. Thanks Robin!

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