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A Space of My Own: Celebrating Special Places in Children's Books

by Jean Dugan
July/August 2015
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Article Link: https://www.childcareexchange.com/article/a-space-of-my-own-celebrating-special-places-in-childrens-books/5022424/

Every kid needs a place to call his own. Willy’s was the treehouse he built with his brothers, deep in the woods of an unsuspecting neighbor’s property. As a child, mine was my sandbox, where my friends and I sculpted complex underground worlds. When my family moved into our own home almost 40 years ago, our son Michael claimed a small unused corner of the yard where he could practice whistling through grass, learn the habits of bugs and worms, and observe the world from his secret perch in a space we still call Michael’s Hut. Now we watch from the porch as our grandson carefully moves rocks and branches to make his own private habitat among the trees behind his home.

 

My all-time favorite picture book about a special place is Alice McLerran’s 1991 classic Roxaboxen about a fully imagined child-sized world in Yuma, Arizona. The real creation of the four Doan sisters and their friends in 1916, the roads of Roxaboxen were traced in white stone on a desert hill. This very civilized “playground of the imagination,” as it was called by one of the ...

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