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1. British writer Philippa Pearce has a lecture series named in her honor, given since 2008 by such luminaries as Michael Rosen and Michael Morpugo. The 2011 lecture, titled “Both Perhaps Present,” was delivered by Philip Pullman, and the transcript is available in full, along with a video of the lecture. If you haven’t read Tom’s Midnight Garden already, you’ll want to run out and find a copy after you learn what Pullman has to say about it.
2. What better source is there on this earth for useful writings than The Horn Book? Here is the first of two essays from that fine rag: the recent Zena Sutherland lecture, entitled Why Books? and delivered by Mo Willems. Zena Sutherland was a professor at the University of Chicago and the author of Children and Books. Mo Willems is…well, you know who Mo Willems is.
3. The second: Jane Langton’s insightful 1973 look at fantasy for children, “The Weak Place in the Cloth.” Part 1. Go here for part 2. Keep in mind her great formulation for making the reader read on: What if? Then what? So what?
4. C.S. Lewis has lots of useful things to say, and many of them are said in his essay “On Three Ways of Writing for Children.” Spoiler: only one of the ways is good. Scroll down and click on the title of the essay. Also read “Sometimes Fairy Stories May Say Best What’s to Be Said.”
5. Heroes, by Diana Wynne Jones. Not strictly about children’s books, but she is a children’s writer extraordinary, so it counts. I only wish there were more of her essays on this site.