Did you know?  Check our Rare Books Page

Connie Diamond
I was a passionate student of literature, and later became a passionate teacher of it. When I left the classroom, I took my love of the subject with me. I have a library in my home in lieu of a dining room, and my favorite social activity is meeting with my book club to discuss impressions and ideas from our latest book choice. I never tire of the beauty of great writing, and am often guilty of reading it aloud to innocent bystanders.

Recent Posts:

The Top Five Children's Books By Virginia Lee Burton

By Connie Diamond. Aug 30, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Caldecott Medal, Children's Books

Virginia Lee Burton won critical acclaim and the heartfelt approval of generations of readers, young and old. How did she accomplish this? She did it by first securing the endorsement of her own two children. Her young sons, Ari and Michael, like all children in Burton’s estimation, were “very frank critics.” By gauging their responses, she would adjust her stories and her illustrations to make sure that she not only captured but also maintained their attention. 

     
Read more...


Holling C. Holling: Stories and Lessons

By Connie Diamond. Aug 2, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Children's Books, History

Who, as a child, has not at least entertained the idea of tying a note to a balloon and sending it out into the great beyond, or scrolling a message in a bottle and tossing it into the sea? The thought of something we authored soaring over the landscape or riding the tides to eventually connect with someone far away is almost as thrilling as going on an adventure ourselves. It may be this innate desire for exploration and connection beyond our backyards—beyond our borders—that has led to the timeless popularity of the children’s books written by Holling C. Holling.

     
Read more...


Reading with Dad on Father's Day

By Connie Diamond. Jun 19, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Literature

The cover art of Reading with Dad by Richard Jorgensen depicts a worn leather chair. On it sits an open book, and beneath it, two pairs of shoes—one large and one small. The chair is not unlike the ones found in our home library. The small shoes are not unlike the lace-up Keds that have littered our house over the years in a rainbow of colors and in various stages of disrepair.  The larger shoes are very much like those whose footprints my daughters try to follow. They are Dad shoes.

If one is to believe the predominant image presented in television commercials and sitcoms, then Dad is a hapless side-kick. While Mom deftly goes about the business of parenting, Dad forgets schedules, dishes out junk food for breakfast, and secures diapers with duct tape.  As humorous as the hapless dad image may be, in real life, the role of dad is a complex and important one. The wonderful dads I know strike the right balance between protecting and empowering, between providing necessities and promoting self-sufficiency, and between accepting and expecting. While managing all of this, good dads also work to build relationship and to pass on their wisdom and their passions to their children. This is a tall order and seems to call for a Swiss Army Knife worth of tools. One of the best tools in that arsenal is reading.

     
Read more...


Arnold Lobel: The Anatomy of a Fable

By Connie Diamond. May 22, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Children's Books, Literature

The genesis of the fable is unclear, but its legacy is far-reaching. The name "Aesop" is synonymous with fables, although the stories themselves and their corresponding lessons had been handed down for generations before he recorded them several hundred years B.C. They made their first appearance in printed English in 1484. It is safe to say, then, that fables are an integral part of our collective literary and cultural history. Their lessons are universal and timeless. Who among us has not been exhorted to heed the lesson of the Hare and the Tortoise and remember that “slow and steady wins the race,” or to mistrust appearances and beware of “the wolf in sheep’s clothing.” These morals were just one component of the fable formula, and they happened to be the component that Arnold Lobel disliked.

     
Read more...


The History and Significance of Dictionaries

By Connie Diamond. Apr 14, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Learn About Books

Language is fluid. In fact, the most recent edition of the Merriam-Webster dictionary boasts seventeen hundred new entries including "photobomb," "meme," "emoji," and "jegging." Looking back at the history of language, it's interesting to note that Noah Webster, the “Father of the American Dictionary,” came of age during the American Revolution. At that time, words had the power to define our national identity. Later, they had the power to reflect that new identity as it evolved. Webster believed that “Great Britain, whose children we are, and whose language we speak, should no longer be our standard...” and so he set out to create a new standard.

     
Read more...


Robert Sabuda and the Art of Pop-Up Books

By Connie Diamond. Mar 8, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Illustrators, Children's Books

Nothing holds so little interest and yet so much possibility as a blank piece of paper. It is a canvas for the written word, to be sure, but in its original state, it lacks dimension, texture and movement. With a few simple folds, however, it can be transformed. It can become an airplane and soar, taking one’s imagination with it. Accomplishing even this rudimentary task requires that one respect the limitations of the material and simultaneously coax out its potential.  Pop-up book artist Robert Sabuda is a master at doing just that.  

     
Read more...


Sir John Tenniel: Illustrator of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

By Connie Diamond. Feb 28, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Illustrators

Those of us who love books tend to do so on many different levels. We love how they look and want to be surrounded by them—their spines neatly lined up on bookshelves or spiral stacked next to our favorite chair. We love how they feel—the leather-covered or dust-jacketed weight of them in our hands. We love how they sound—the crack of the binding and the rustling as we turn the first pages. But mostly, we love the experience of being transported by them.

     
Read more...


Remaining Relevant: Top Ten Victorian Novels

By Connie Diamond. Jan 25, 2016. 11:24 AM.

Topics: Literature, History

The Victorian Era, which corresponds to the reign of Queen Victoria beginning in 1837, gave birth to some of the best loved novels in literary history.  Like most eras, it produced works that both reflected and rebelled against the social mores of the time. Their characters and themes, however, seem to transcend time and place, and present us with stories worth revisiting years, decades, and even centuries later. Here is our list of the top ten Victorian novels.

     
Read more...


The First Day of Winter: Five Frosty Reads for a Celebration of Snow

By Connie Diamond. Dec 22, 2015. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Children's Books, Literature

Snow. Day.  Are there two words in the English language that, when strung together, elicit more joy in the heart of a child? Back in the day, news of a snow day was carried over a staticky radio. Hopeful kids listened for their school’s name in the cancellation list while tucked in bed or sitting in a warm kitchen that smelled of toast and freshly brewed coffee. When it made its alphabetical appearance, a typically quiet and sleepy morning house would be transformed into a household filled with excitement as children threw off their blankets and threw on their winter coats and mittens. Here are a few books that capture the miracle of snow and the magic of a day spent celebrating it.

     
Read more...


Shel Silverstein: Five Lessons for Grown Ups

By Connie Diamond. Nov 23, 2015. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Poetry, Children's Books

Every once in a while the literary world produces a creative genius who, despite initial impressions, defies definition. Shel Silverstein was such a genius. One can find his poetry collections artfully and prominently displayed in the children’s section of any bookstore or library and stacked on pint-sized carts in kinder classes everywhere. Read any one of them with a listening child, and watch the “light in the attic” go on as she discovers a kindred spirit who is full of dreams and fond of silly.

Little ones relish the absurdity in his poems and lean in for more, as with the fun uncle who pulls quarters from behind their ears. The simple pen and ink drawings hearken back to Silverstein’s early career as a cartoonist, and his rhythmic language to his early success as a musician and lyricist. Both of these creative endeavors shed light on his ability to use simple forms to express complex and profound lessons—lessons that children should be taught for the first time and adults should be reminded of again, and as many times as necessary. Let's explore these lessons for grown-ups with the help of excerpts from some of Silverstein's most renowned writings.

     
Read more...


About this blog

How can I identify a first edition? Where do I learn about caring for books? How should I start collecting? Hear from librarians about amazing collections, learn about historic bindings or printing techniques, get to know other collectors. Whether you are just starting or looking for expert advice, chances are, you'll find something of interest on blogis librorum.

Get blog notifications per email:

Download the James Bond Dossier

Recent Posts

Book Glossary
Get your free Guide to Book Care

Blog Archive

> see older posts
A Guide to Historic Libraries Part I