(the Storm Book)
I’m sad tonight. Charlotte Zolotow has died.
I’ll leave it to someone else to talk about Zolotow’s contribution to children’s literature. I can only speak to how much she contributed to me, personally.
My grandmother loved her books, and I have a handful of signed first editions that she got for me. They entered my life when I was just the right age for them.
Zolotow’s books were special to me. Different from other books. Calm. Complex,
I loved The Storm Book.
I loved Mr. Rabbit and the Lovely Present. Deeply.
“She likes birds in trees.”
But wow. I loved My Grandson Lew best of all.
I had a grandpa who died when I was little myself. And I think Zolotow captured something in that book… the longing, the sense of loss, the vague memory. But the presence of a life, as well as the absence of a death.
Somehow, I got that, as a kid…
Though as an adult… I see it differently.
(My Lew with Zolotow’s Lew)
So I am going to sit down tonight, and read CZ’s books to my kids, and think about the power of a good book at the right time.
Not a joke. Not a “hook.” Not a product. But a book.
The right book. Speaking in a clear true voice for the people who need to hear it…
Just the way a grandfather might speak. With a crinkled eye, and a quiet laugh, or a wistful smile.
So that he can’t possibly be forgotten.
Not even when he’s gone.
we will remember him together
and neither of us
will be so lonely
as we would be
if we had to remember him
(My Grandson Lew)