When I Was Young in the Mountains

“When I was young in the mountains, grandfather came home in the evening covered with the black dust of a coal mine. Only his lips were clean, and he used them to kiss the top of my head.”

Would you know reading these sentences that they were written for children ages four to eight? Cynthia Rylant’s Caldecott Honor book, When I Was Young in the Mountains, was the first book this prolific author wrote and was based on her own childhood. Rylant has the gift for simple sentences full of meaning and warmth. Some of her children’s series are funny too — Mr. Putter and Tabby is our favorite.

There’s a common myth that children’s books are easy to write. Not so. Much harder to use words and sentence structure at the right level for children and yet imbue all the meaning their growing minds are capable of understanding. Rylant is a master at it.

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