10 Influential Children’s Books

trio of boys with books lying in grass

For modern readers, the idea that children’s books should be entertaining is a given. But that wasn’t always the case: In the late seventeenth century, philosopher John Locke’s suggestion that reading be fun for children—instead of simply instructional—was revolutionary. Bas Bleu has carried children’s books for twenty-five years, always with a mind to which stories would be most enjoyable to budding bluestockings. In honor of the 100th anniversary of Children’s Book Week, we put together a short list of influential children’s books that have been enjoyed by generations of readers. We couldn’t possibly fit all of the worthy titles on one list, so feel free to add your favorites in the comments below! Continue reading

One Shadow on the Wall: An Interview with Leah Henderson


Bas Bleu’s July Book a Month 2018 selections transport readers around the world, including to Africa in our Young Readers pick, One Shadow on the Wall by Leah Henderson. Set in modern-day Senegal, the novel follows a young boy named Mor as he struggles to support himself and his two sisters after the death of their parents, endeavoring to honor his promise to his father to keep their little family together. With an endearing protagonist and a touch of magical realism, One Shadow on the Wall is a heartfelt story about perseverance, loyalty, and family. This week in the Bluestocking Salon, we’re chatting with author Leah Henderson about her literary inspiration, her globetrotting adventures, and the children’s books that influenced her. Continue reading

Margaret Wise Brown

Margaret_Wise_BrownOn page nine of our Summer 2014 catalog you’ll find Goodnight Songs, a collection of long-lost lullabies penned by popular children’s author Margaret Wise Brown. Her books Goodnight Moon and The Runaway Bunny are classics cherished by millions of readers, but the story behind Goodnight Songs may be the beloved writer’s most extraordinary.

A Literary Pioneer
Born in Brooklyn in 1910, Margaret Wise Brown didn’t set out to become a bestselling children’s author. In fact, she never expressed much affection for children at all, telling Life magazine,“I won’t let anybody get away with anything just because he is little.” Continue reading

The Books We Never Outgrow

BubbaandBabbaWhen my sister was a baby, she received a gift destined to become a treasured family keepsake: a hardcover first edition of Bubba and Babba, Maria Polushkin’s adaptation of a Russian folktale about two lazy bears whose idleness threatens to get the better of them. My parents read us that story so many times my sister memorized it, convincing several family friends she could read at a ridiculously tender age. (She ruined the con at a dinner party when an eagle-eyed guest noticed she turned the page too early.) To this day, that beloved—and, sadly, out-of-print—book serves as a sort of family shorthand, cheekily referenced whenever one of us oversleeps or balks at doing the dishes. Continue reading