Cornelia Maude Spelman’s memoir of her family springs from a meeting and subsequent friendship with the late, legendary New Yorker editor William Maxwell. In the 1920s, he and her parents had been friends as undergraduates at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. When Spelman hints at what she thinks of as the failure of her parents’ lives, he counters that “in a good novel one doesn’t look for a success story, but for a story that moves one with its human drama and richness of experience.”
At their final meeting, Maxwell encourages her to tell her mother’s story. Missing is Spelman’s response to Maxwell’s wisdom. With the pacing of the mystery novels her mother loved, and using everything from letters and interviews to the family’s quotidian paper trail—medical records, telegrams, and other oft-overlooked clues to a family’s history—Spelman reconstructs her mother’s life and untimely death. Along the way, she unravels mysteries of her family, including the fate of her long lost older brother. Spelman skillfully draws the reader into the elation and sorrow that accompany the discovery of a family’s past. A profoundly loving yet honest elegy, Missing is, like the woman it memorializes, complex and beautiful.
Northwestern University Press, Hardcover ISBN-13: 978-0810127128 / $22.95 / 156 pgs / 0.7 x 5.7 x 8.6 inches
An article , “Dear Bill,” which became part of chapter one of Missing was published in Chicago magazine http://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine/November-2008/Love-Bill/
Also available in e-book format at Google Play
Anger can be a scary emotion for young children, their parents, and caregivers. As this little bunny experiences the things that make her angry, she also learns ways to deal with her anger–ways that won’t hurt others.
“This gentle book puts an adorable bunny in a variety of situations that preschool or grade-school children can relate to. Instead of acting out, though, the bunny and her friends find constructive ways to deal with their anger.”
“Through simple language, a young rabbit relates the things that make her angry and the positive ways in which she can deal with her emotions. The situations are realistic and will strike a familiar chord with most children.”
– School Library Journal
A nearly perfect book about anger for young children, this resource lists common reasons children feel angry and also gives very concrete ways for children to cope. The author offers many appropriate suggestions for dealing with the feelings and the situations that generate the anger. The illustrations feature simple and colorful animal characters.”
– Reviews from Parent Council, Spring/Summer 2000
Illustrated by Nancy Cote / Ages 3-6/ Softcover ISBN 9780807588970/ $6.99 2000 Gold Seal Award, Oppenheim Toy Portfolio
“I feel good about myself. Somebody loves me just as I am. I don’t have to look like anyone else, be the same size, or do the same things. It’s fine to be me.” When I Feel Good About Myself offers children positive and upbeat examples about the value of being themselves. A young guinea pig and friends show how they feel good about themselves in common situations that will be easy for readers to relate to. The text and art aim to foster self-esteem and independence.
In Spelman’s note for parents and teachers, she writes: “While it’s nice to have a special talent, those children who don’t have one need to know that they are just as valuable as those who do. We don’t want our children to feel that in order to be loved they must be something they are not. And competition over things one cannot control, like one’s physical attributes, only causes anxiety.”
School Library Journal wrote: “The book could serve as a healthy reminder of the importance of treating oneself and others with respect.”
Illustrated by Kathy Parkinson / Ages 3-6/ Hardback ISBN 978080758871 15.99 Paperback ISBN 9780807589014 / $6.99
“Jealousy is a prickly, hot, horrible feeling,” says a little bear in this book in “The Way I Feel” series of picture books.
A bear cub describes situations that make her jealous: when someone has something she wants, when someone is good at something she wants to be good at, and when someone else gets all the attention. Includes a note to parents and teachers.
Education about how to identify and handle our emotions, especially those that are unpleasant or frightening (and jealousy is one of the most unpleasant) is as important as other kinds of learning. When I Feel Jealous, featuring illustrator Kathy Parkinson’s lovable animal drawings, will help parents and teachers raise the issue of jealousy–of a new baby, of friends, of possessions–with young children and help them manage this common feeling.
School Library Journal wrote, “Perfect for units and discussions on feelings.”
Booklist wrote: “The sympathetic portrayal of common childhood experiences and the simplicity of the narrative make the information and advice accessible, even to preschoolers. Spelman addresses parents and teachers in a note, discussing how to help children acknowledge and deal with jealousy. With Parkinson’s appealing illustrations of dressed animals putting a child-friendly face on the message, this is a good title for school and public libraries to have on hand.”
Illustrated by Kathy Parkinson / Ages 3-6 24 pages Hardcover 9780807588864 $15.99
Softcover 9780807589021 $6.99
Readers can relate to the situations in which this little guinea pig feels sad. The little pig learns how to take actions to help her feel better, and eventually our heroine realizes that feeling sad doesn’t last forever.
Included in the 2003 edition of “The Best Children’s Books of the Year” by the Children’s Book Committee at Bank Street College, and winner of the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Award, this addition to “The Way I Feel” series of picture books aims to help children identify and manage their emotions and relate successfully to others.
School Library Journal wrote:
“An excellent note to parents and teachers precedes this story, in which a guinea pig lists situations that cause her to feel sad. “I feel sad when someone won’t let me play, or when I really want to tell about something and nobody listens.” Children will relate to her feelings and the accompanying illustrations will draw them in to the story. Artwork done with soft lines and muted colors reflects the mood and conveys the emotions of this forlorn little creature. All of the characters, clad in patterned clothing, are charmingly rendered. Readers are reassured that “everyone feels sad sometimes,” that there are ways to feel better, and that sadness eventually goes away. This is a well-constructed and useful resource for family and classroom sharing.”
Illustrated by Kathy Parkinson / Ages 3-6/ Softcover ISBN 9780807588994 / $6.99
Children often feel afraid. This book, with its comforting words and illustrations, will help children address those fears and learn some new ways to cope with being afraid. First, a little bear describes some of the things that frighten him, like bad dreams or big, tall slides, or when his mother goes away. Sometimes, he just feels scared and doesn’t know why! But he learns there are things he can do to make himself feel better.
“The short, well-reasoned narrative, child-centered point of view, and practical suggestions make this a good choice for preschoolers.” – Booklist
When I Feel Scared was featured on the CBS Early Show as part of a program about helping children deal with the anniversary of September 11th. Also, in the newsletter of the Bank Street Bookstore, Sara Yu wrote: “Wonderfully written for the youngest children, this gentle book reassures kids that it’s okay to feel scared and encourages them to tell someone about their fears.”
When I Feel Scared was Included in the 2003 edition of “The Best Children’s Books of the Year” by the Children’s Book Committee of Bank Street College.
Illustrated by Kathy Parkinson / Ages 3-6/ Paperback ISBN 9780807589007/ $6.99
BOARD BOOK EDITION! ISBN 9780807589052/ $7.99