Ellen Handler Spitz, Visual Arts, in the New Republic and New York Times

Biographies for children tend to err by romanticizing their subjects, setting them up as paragon and perpetuating stereotypes, says Ellen Handler Spitz, honors college professor of visual arts, but two new children’s biographies of modernists Charles Ives and Gertrude Stein avoid that trap. Her review of the books “What Charlie Heard,” by Mordicai Gerstein, and “Gertrude is Gertrude is Gertrude is Gertrude,” by Jonah Winter, appeared in the January issue of the New Republic and can be read here.

Lists, in children’s literature, rather than performing a hold against chaos and disorder, seem to celebrate the luxuriance of the human imagination, says Spitz in a letter to the editor that appeared in the December 24 edition of the New York Times. The letter, which was a response to a December 5 essay entitled “I’ve Got a Little List,” can be read here.

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