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Celebrating Masha Rudman’s Contributions to Children’s Literature

Masha Rudman taught for more than forty years in the UMass-Amherst School of Education. I knew her as the force behind the Perspectives in Children’s Literature conference, which ran for 24 years. Upon recently retiring, she donated her collection of more than 8,000 books for children to the W.E.B. Du Bois Library, asking that they’d be kept available for circulation. They’ve been arranged in accord with Masha’s textbook, Children’s Literature: An Issues Approach, with categories such as our green and threatened earth, gender, special needs, and many by heritage. You can search the Masha Kabakow Rudman Issues in Children’s Literature Collection here
I’ve always sent students to the 11th floor of tall library (“get out of the elevators, and head away from the campus center, toward the football fields/sunset.”) But now there is so much more. Before Saturday’s program honoring Masha and her gift, many people checked out the stacks.

I said hello to Barbara Elleman, writer, educator, and founder of Book Links, an amazing resource for teachers, with Rosemary Agoglia, curator of education at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. (whose beautiful face I'm sorry you'll have to click on the photo to see. LJ is being uncooperative again).

It was wonderful to hear Masha reminisce a bit and read from some picture books.

Speakers thanking Masha included librarians, professors, writer Jane Yolen via Skype, and Jacqueline Woodson, another writer whose thirty-plus books are represented in the collection. She spoke of how books stay with us, and recited from memory the text of her picture book, THE OTHER SIDE.

Her words of hope for a changed world precisely fitted Masha Rudman’s spirit. 


Wow, 8000 books! Looks like a lovely event. Masha sounds like an extraordinary person!
So many writers, teachers, and librarians around here have had the joy of meeting Masha or hearing her speak. She used to begin conferences by asking people to stand -- authors, illustrators, teachers, librarians, editors, parents, grandparents, readers -- it was fun to see some people bobbing up and down, and everyone in the audience honored.
That's a collection I would love to see! What a wonderful gesture for Masha to donate 8,000 books--she sounds like an extraordinary person.
I can't wait to get back and browse at my leisure. And they promise the collection will keep growing. It was so generous, and of course I'm especially glad that the library honored the request that the collection be circulating.