In the last couple of months, I started telling my two-year-old son the names of the authors and illustrators behind the books we read. I want him to understand the notion of authorship, that stories don’t just appear out of thin air. Well…
One of Noah’s favorite books this summer has been Kitten’s First Full Moon, by Kevin Henkes, and, as we’ve read it many times, Noah seems to have come to the conclusion that Kevin Henkes is the author responsible for all stories in existence.
NOAH: “Dr. Seuss book, by Kevin Henkes!”
ME: “No, Noah. Dr. Seuss writes Dr. Seuss’s books. Kevin Henkes writes Kevin Henkes’s books.”
NOAH: (more enthusiastically) “Dr. Seuss book by Kevin Henkes!”
Now the problem is that Noah realizes how funny we think he is when he ascribes universal authorship to Kevin Henkes, and he knows how to play to his audience. Recently, at the end of an impromptu rendition of “London Bridge Is Falling Down,” Noah closed as follows:
NOAH: “London Bridge is falling down, my fair lady… by Kevin Henkes.”
I’d like to think that our repeated corrections are starting to have their impact, and Noah is starting to figure out that there are other writers beyond Mr. Henkes. Just yesterday, I was reading him the story Knufflebunny, by Mo Willems, an author whose various books we have enjoyed numerous times.
ME: “Knufflebunny, by Mo Willems.”
ME: (excitedly) “That’s right, honey, Mo Willems. We read a lot of books by Mo Willems. We like him a lot.”
NOAH: “Mo Willems… by Kevin Henkes!”