But there is also a very famous children’s book that is remarkably missing from the list: “Good evening Luna.” Remember: the big green room, with the phone and the balloon and the painting of the cow jumping on the moon, and the relaxing words that millions of children have safely put in bed: “Good night stars, Good night air, good night noises everywhere. “
His absence was so noticeable on the most read list that the library felt the need to explain why, giving an honorable mention to Margaret Wise Brown’s 1947 book. It was almost an apology, since, in fact, there was something to apologize for.
While children and their parents have loved the story before bedtime, Anne Carroll Moore “hated it.” Moore not only directed the children’s section in the library for 35 years, but also invented it. And his influence throughout the industry was felt so widely that, although he technically retired from the library in 1941, his opinion kept the book off the shelves for decades.
“By all measures, this book should be a final payment (in fact, it could be the higher payment) if it weren’t for a strange story: the extremely influential children’s librarian of the New York Public Library Anne Carroll Moore hated good night Moon when it first came out, “the library said in an addendum to its list.” As a result, the Library did not take it until 1972. That wasted time removed the book from the top 10 list for now. But give it time.
The unusual fragment of cultural history, which Slate reported for the first time, draws attention to a largely forgotten figure responsible for introducing a whole generation of children to libraries in the early twentieth century, but which grew at a time in that most libraries did not. even allow children to enter.
Moore’s distaste for the books of several beloved children published in his time, including E.B. White’s “Stuart Little” and “Charlotte’s Web” can make her look villain in the eyes of today’s readers or parents, said Jan Pinborough, author of “Miss Moore thought otherwise: how Anne Carroll Moore created children’s libraries.” For his part, Pinborough said he strongly disagrees that Moore is known for believing that it is the most important job of his life: designing services for children in the library, almost without help, as we understand them today.
“Now we take children’s libraries for granted,” Pinborough told The Washington Post. “But she created these innovations, these beautiful cozy spaces for children. He lowered the signs of silence. She designed tables for children. … And he ordered books in many languages so that all children, including many immigrant children, could take out books and take them home. … He made all these great contributions, but I feel that today he has been evil because of his efforts to cancel some books. “
Moore, born in Maine in 1871, moved to New York in 1895 and soon after “more or less invented the children’s library,” as reported by New York writer Jill Lepore, a Harvard history professor, in a 2008 story about the relationship of the librarian with Blanco. He opened his first at the Pratt Institute in 1896 and the next at the New York Public Library in 1906, as his first director of the department of new children. Less than a decade after filling the shelves with children’s story books, in 1913, those books accounted for a third of all payments at the branches of the New York library, Lepore reported.
Before long, libraries across the country copied Moore’s services for children and sought recommendations on what books to collect.
Once he began offering reviews, Moore’s stamp of disapproval, or his refusal to add a book to his library’s collection, was enough to ruin a book, said Betsy Bird, collection development manager at the Public Library of Evanston, Illinois
“When he didn’t like a book, he said,” This is a truck, “he told The Post Bird, who previously was a youth materials specialist at the New York Public Library. “People would make this pilgrimage to him in the library to show him his book, and if he didn’t like it, he would tell people.”
That’s exactly what happened to Margaret Wise Brown the first time she went to meet Moore with an editorial colleague in 1938, according to a biography of Brown by Leonard S. Marcus. The two disagreed stylistically. Moore was a lover of fairy tales and fables. Brown, a rhyming believer, in talking with children in their own language. They never looked at each other completely in the eyes, Marcus noted.
“Do you want to know what I think of these books?” Moore asked Brown and his partner, Bill Scott, when they came with a stack of books. Truck, Mr. Scott! They are trucks!
Therefore, it would not come as a surprise that, when Brown’s most famous work, “Goodnight Moon,” was published, the unusually powerful librarian in New York “really didn’t care,” Bird said.
“Goodnight Moon” went on sale for $ 1.75 in the fall of 1947 and then, during the following years, it was almost forgotten.
The reviews of that year were good but not great. The Christian Science Monitor said that “it creates an atmosphere of peace and tranquility” for children, while the New Yorker was not moved: “Goodnight Moon” was “hypnotic litany,” wrote the critic, according to Marcus’ biography, “Margaret Wise Brown: Awakened by the moon.
But at the New York Public Library, internal opinion was particularly harsh: it had been “discarded as an unbearably sentimental work,” according to Marcus. Moore had already left the library, but his influence did not disappear in the slightest: he still attended all meetings, as Lepore reported.
And so, for years, presumably following the advice of his most famous internal critic, the library refused to add the book to his collection.
According to Marcus, only 6,000 copies of “Goodnight Moon” were sold in the fall of 1947, and sales had plummeted in their second year in circulation.
Bird said the book’s explosion of popularity in recent years remains a mystery. Marcus theorized that “Goodnight Moon” traveled to more and more parents by word of mouth amid the post-World War II baby boom that began in 1953, when sales suddenly began to rise slowly. “There may not be a specific explanation for what followed: 4,000 copies sold in 1955, 8,000 in 1960, almost 20,000 in 1970, and later, apart from the fact that parents who met Goodnight Moon and found it memorable recommended it to their friends “. he wrote.
However, neither Moore nor Brown would live to see it. Brown died in 1952 at age 42, while Moore died in 1961 at age 89. His influence had lessened towards the end of his life after he disagreed with critics who wrote big on the merits of White’s two classics, “Stuart Little” and “Charlotte’s Web.” – the last of which is number 6 on the list of books most extracted from the New York Public Library.
But Lepore told The Post via email that he would hope that the formidable unpopular views of the New York librarian would not spoil his remarkable influence on children.
“That Moore, she was a gun,” Lepore said. “… But, since people have forgotten, ignored and dismissed everything Anne Carroll Moore did for public libraries and for children, it would be a rather tragic injustice if they remember her just for being attacked for hating Goodnight Moon and ban Stuart Little. “