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Litchfield MN 55355


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Friday, June 28, 2019

Read Children's Books and Audition for "Jeopardy"

By Jan Pease

Are you a fan of the T.V. show “Jeopardy?”  My work schedule allows me to occasionally watch an episode. Over a period of some weeks, every time I tuned in, the same gentleman was playing, winning more and more money.  Professional gambler James Holzauer had a winning streak that looked like it would never end. He won 32 games, winning $2,462,216.  In an article by Karen Springen for Publisher’s Weekly, April 30 2019, Holzauer credits nonfiction children’s books from  the libraries in various cities he’s lived in for the vast amount of information he knows. His main problem was that many libraries, including Seattle, don’t allow adults in their children’s sections without a child.  He used holds to get the books he needed, rather than being a creepy man hanging out in the children’s section.  Ms. Springen quoted his statement in the New York Times that the library’s children’s section is the place to go for books “tailored to make things interesting for uninterested readers. 

 What does this have to do with anything?  Well, I happen to love children’s nonfiction books.  I just recommended “Killer Style: How Fashion Has Injured, Maimed, and Murdered throughout History,” by Alison Matthews David, to a reader who doesn’t always read nonfiction.  A gruesomely attractive cover helps draw attention to this interesting read, which got a five-star review at  

Another fun book offers devious clues about characteristics of thirteen familiar animals.  “Beastly Puzzles: A Brain-Boggling Animal Guessing Game,” by Rachel Poliquin,  looks like a perfect book for a rainy day or a road trip. 

Dan Gutman is known for his hilarious writing in the “My Weird School” series has turned his talents to helping young readers read critically. His book, “My Weird Reading Tips,” will help young readers know how to understand concepts like point of view or whether a statement is fact or opinion.  Of course, since it’s by Dan Gutman, “My Weird Reading Tips” is also very funny.

I don’t know if Mr. Holzauer read any children’s poetry as he prepared for “Jeopardy,” but our library has just received “The Proper Way to Meet a Hedgehog and Other How-To Poems,” selected by Paul B. Janeczko.  This sweet book is just what it says: poems written by various poets that tell how to do various things, such as “How to Build a Poem,” by Charles Ghigna; or “How to Tell a Camel,” by J. Patrick Lewis.  My personal favorite is, “How to Pay Attention,” by April Halprin Wayland.  Check out this wonderful book to find out why.

Mr. Holzauer’s reign of “Jeopardy” ended when Emma Boettcher, a librarian at the University of Chicago, defeated him.  She used his strategy of being quick on the buzzer, choosing higher categories categories first, and intentionally searching for “Double Jeopardy” questions. She also holds a vast amount of knowledge in her wonderful librarian brain.  I wonder if Ms. Boettcher reads children’s nonfiction books! See you at the library!