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Bravo, Children's Bookshelf

November 09, 1986

A recent letter (The Book Review, Oct. 12), critical of Kristiana Gregory for recommending "Children We Remember," a book of photographs of Jewish children of the Holocaust, finally prompts me to write a note of appreciation for Gregory's "Children's Bookshelf" that I have planned to write for a year.

It would be nice if we could shield children from evil--cruel children on the playground, unfair teachers, broken families, and on and on. But this is not the real world.

The truth has to be available in bookstores and libraries. When older children ask to see the World War II books at the library, should we only make available books on military technology and strategy, ignoring the human dimension? I think not!

Children won't be able to cope with difficult and seemingly insurmountable situations that they meet as adults if they have grown up in a cocoon. What they do need is a steady stream of life-affirming books, books that offer a child realistic hope and which radiate eternal truths to an often unlovely world.

Week after week, Kristiana Gregory brings such books to our attention. I welcome her excitement about books like "Brothers: A Hebrew Legend" or Scott O'Dell's "Road to Damietta," in which St. Francis of Assisi is seen through the eyes of a rich, spoiled young woman who loves him. I share her enthusiasm for the color-splashed, rollicking "Friends" by Helme Heine. After reading Gregory's reviews of such books, it is such a pleasure to read and buy the books and see the gladness in children's eyes when they have read them too.

ELIZABETH KRIEGER

Children's Services Librarian

City-County Libraries

San Luis Obispo

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