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Thursday, July 28, 2016

Exploring life's coincidences

“I write for children because I am interested in fantasy and the possibilities for experience of all kinds before the time of compromise. I believe that children are far more perceptive and wise than American books give them credit for being.”  Natalie Babbitt

Happy 85th Birthday today to the author of one of my all-time favorite books, Tuck Everlasting.  While Natalie Babbitt created this tale for young people, it touches each and every one of us and leaves us with both the “awe” factor and the “I wonder what would happen if?” factor as it deals with life, aging and death.

If you haven’t read it, go read it.  If you want to hear more about it and Natalie herself, there’s a wonderful interview with her in the archives of National Public Radio, done in 2015 on the 40th anniversary of Tuck’s publication. 

Growing up in Ohio where she wanted to be an artist, and in particular an illustrator, she entered the writing world because she had things to share with her art and some of it needed words to accompany those illustrations.  Fortunately, for us all, it is one of those “necessity is the mother of invention” things that led to a benefit for readers everywhere.               

In 2012, Babbitt was awarded the inaugural E.B. White Award for achievement in children's literature by the American Academy of Arts and Letters.  In commentary about her writing, New York Times reviewer George Woods said, “Mrs. Babbitt creates a plausible world and peoples it with believable humans, but the most satisfaction comes from the pleasure of her company as she effortlessly takes the reader in velvet-gloved hand to point out life's coincidences and near misses.”

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