Charlotte Zolotow, the author of seminal children's books like William's Doll, I Know a Lady, and The Angry Book has died. Her books profoundly influenced my parenting and my teaching. Ms. Zolotow was also the editor of many of the top children's authors including Paul Zindel, Paul Fleischman, Robert Lipsyte and Francesca Lia Block. The New York Times obituary today described her books as "cleareyed explorations of the interior landscape of childhood."
For a time her book William's Doll, was my son's favorite and we read it night after night. The book resonated for him and for me as a reminder that we do not always need to fill the roles that society has prescribed for us. A book she edited, An Overpraised Season, a collection of great short stories aimed at adolescents, was a key text when I was teaching adolescent literature.
In tribute and celebration of this wonderful writer lets make sure her books stay alive. If you are a parent, read a Charlotte Zolotow book aloud to your children. If you are a teacher read one of her books to your class this week. This action would be a good reminder that the most uncommon core function of reading is emotional connection and human understanding.