For The New Yorker, Naomi Fry reflects on celebrated children’s writer and illustrator Tomie dePaola, who died at the end of March. As the author of more than 270 works for children, dePaola leaves behind a sprawling legacy. “The universe of dePaola’s books is moral but not moralistic,” Fry writes. “There is disarray in it, and people are imperfect and can make mistakes, but there is goodness, too, and a larger sense that, since an omniscient narrator is often able to shepherd the books’ protagonists to safety, the same might perhaps prove true, by extension, for the lives of these books’ readers.”
After 73 years, everyone’s favorite redheaded comic book hero will be killed off. Archie Andrews will die in a July issue of the Life With Archie comic. “He dies saving the life of a friend and does it in his usual selfless way,” Archie Comics CEO Jon Goldwater said. That won’t be the last you’ll see of Archie, though, because Lena Dunham will write a few issues in one of Archie’s other comic incarnations.
A decade before Matt Groening created The Simpsons, he debuted his first comic, Life in Hell, at a record store in Los Angeles. The strip kept running for thirty-five years, even after The Simpsons brought its creator international fame. He decided to end it earlier this year, and his fans (including Alison Bechdel) are paying tribute.
Renaissance Learning has released its annual report on what children are reading. The NYDaily News books blog takes offense at some of the more popular books named in the report, suggesting that kids and teens deserve to be challenged by better literature. The Huffington Post mines through the report to discover that American teenagers on average are still reading at or near the level of fifth graders.
New Yorkers: the Brooklyn Book Festival kicks off tomorrow evening, and you can get things started off right with this party hosted by Tumblr, Electric Literature, The LA Review of Books, and The New Inquiry. The following night, however, is when you should carve out some time to see The Greatest 3-Minute Book Stories — which will feature readings by Maris Kreizman (Slaughterhouse 90210), Alexander Chee (Edinburgh), Dan Wilbur (Better Book Titles), Christopher Beha (On Making Sentences Do Something), and yours truly (these Curiosities) among others.