Let’s talk about one of my favorite things. I love it when stories leave the page and enter into our world. I call it “KidLit IRL”: instances of children’s literature in real life. Ever since reading Inkheart—in which Mo reads characters out of books—I’ve always wanted to bring stories alive (and I’ve been fascinated by those who can and do). And I don’t just mean in a Harry Potter World way. In fact, what thrills most are those smaller homages to the stories that captivate us: public art, buildings, visual references. These nods to beloved stories are like treasures to me. I’ve made it my mission in life to collect them. To document these moments of magic.
It all started with the statues. In 2013, Betsy Bird unknowingly challenged me to find and photograph myself with all the children’s literature statues in the US when she made a list of them. This year, she updated the list and I’m so excited to map out some future road trips. My progress thus far has been slow and steady: the Ducklings in Boston Common (Nov 2014), Alice in Central Park (May 2015), Hans Christian Andersen in Central Park (May 2015), and the Dr. Seuss Memorial in Springfield, MA (August 2015). Don’t believe me? Here are some pictures!
Like I said, I haven’t made much progress. And the thing about not making much progress is that new, magical KidLit things crop up and the to bucket list gets longer and longer… So, yes, while it’s an unrealistic goal to actually go to everything I discover, I’ll try my darnedest!
Back in Springfield, MA, there’s now a new Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum. I wished this had opened when I was still living in Boston because, no joke, the museum opened on my birthday (June 3). Luckily, I can live vicariously through Megan Dowd Lambert and read all about the opening festivities over at the Horn Book. I’ll make it back east someday. I did my senior project in undergrad as a dramaturg for our production of Seussical the Musical. Seuss’s work is near and dear to my heart. I love him alongside his troubling history of racist political cartoons.
What are your favorite moments of KidLit IRL? I’d love to add to my adventure list!
Side note: Besides KidLit creeping into real life, I also love when it shows up in unexpected places online. If you haven’t checked out Atlas Obscura’s Children’s Literature Week posts, do so immediately.