Press contact: Guy Lamolinara (202) 707-9217
Public contact: Center for the Book (202) 707-5221

October 8, 2009

Children’s Book Historian Leonard Marcus And Children’s Book Writer Jon Scieszka in Program at Library of Congress

Marcus to Discuss Newest Book

Considered one of America's leading authorities on children’s books, historian and critic Leonard S. Marcus will discuss his new book, "Funny Business: Conversations with Writers of Comedy," during a program at the Library of Congress on Tuesday, Oct. 20, at noon in the Mumford Room, sixth floor of the James Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E.

Special guest will be National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature www.childrensbookambassador.com (external link) Jon Scieszka, author of "The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales and "Robot Zot!"

The program is part of the Books & Beyond author series of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. It is free and open to the public; no tickets are required.

What makes "funny" funny? In his new book, Marcus interviews 13 favorite children’s authors, including Judy Blume, Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket) and Scieszka, asking them to share their trade secrets.

"A joke isn’t a joke if you need to explain it," says Marcus. "Even so, the hidden clockwork of comedy . . . has long been considered one of the great riddles of life." There are many kinds of humor, but capturing their essence on paper is a remarkably difficult (and often undervalued) skill. So how do authors create books that not only stand the test of time but also make us laugh? In these fascinating interviews, well-loved writers of humorous books for children discuss an array of topics, from their sources of inspiration to the ways they began writing.

Following the program, "Funny Business: Conversations with Writers of Comedy" will be available for sale and signing.

Marcus began his publishing career with a widely acclaimed biography of "Goodnight Moon" author Margaret Wise Brown, called "Awakened by the Moon." He has also written "Oscar: The Big Adventure of a Little Sock Monkey," which he created with his wife, Amy Schwartz. In May 2008, Houghton Mifflin published his history of children’s book publishing, "Minders of Make-Believe: Idealists, Entrepreneurs and the Shaping of American Children’s Literature," a project 14 years in the making.

The Center for the Book (www.loc.gov/cfbook/) was established by Congress in 1977 "to use the resources and prestige of the Library of Congress to promote books, reading, literacy and libraries." With its many educational programs that reach readers of all ages, through its support of the National Book Festival and through its dynamic state centers in the 50 states and the District of Columbia, the Center for the Book has developed a nationwide network of organizational partners dedicated to promoting the wonders and benefits of reading. The center’s Books and Beyond author series brings writers of all genres to the Library of Congress to discuss their work. The Center also oversees the new read.gov website.

The Library of Congress, the nation's oldest federal cultural institution, is the world's preeminent reservoir of knowledge, providing unparalleled collections and integrated resources to Congress and the American people. Many of the Library’s rich resources and treasures may also be accessed through the Library’s website at www.loc.gov and via interactive exhibitions on a personalized website at myLOC.gov.

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PR 09-204
10/08/09
ISSN 0731-3527

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