Janie B. Cheaney

Janie is a senior writer who contributes commentary to WORLD and oversees WORLD's annual Children's Book of the Year awards. She also writes novels for young adults and authored the Wordsmith creative writing curriculum. Janie resides in rural Missouri.

Life beyond looks

Children’s Books | Nonfiction Book of the Year: Learning to see past outward appearances
by Janie B. Cheaney
Posted 4/11/17, 10:43 pm

“When we come together in groups, we make amazing things. Our admission ticket into these groups is not our thoughts or feelings. Our faces are our tickets. Our faces let us look out and know others and let them know us.” So begins Robert Hoge’s Ugly: A Memoir, which our selection committee chose as WORLD’s Children’s Nonfiction Book of the Year.

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A hero’s humility

Children’s Books | Novel of the Year: The Secret Keepers wraps universal themes in a fun, absorbing story
by Janie B. Cheaney
Posted 4/11/17, 08:13 pm

In Trenton Lee Stewart’s The Secret Keepers, Reuben Pedley, 11, lives with his widowed mother in a modest apartment in the Lower Downs of New Umbra. He spends his summer break exploring the abandoned buildings in his depressed neighborhood. On one of these expeditions he discovers a leather pouch containing an antique watch and winding key. Reuben guesses it’s valuable, but not until his meeting with elderly watchmaker Mrs. Genevieve does he suspect it may have supernatural powers.

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Bad words

Children’s Books | Literary trends: When kids’ and teens’ books are rated ‘D’ for Discernment
by Janie B. Cheaney
Posted 4/11/17, 07:56 pm

In seventh grade, my teacher Mrs. Beard called on an unprepared student. “Oh my gosh!” the girl said. That exclamation brought the lesson to a halt. My gosh, Mrs. Beard explained, was a euphemism for another expression she did not say, but wrote on the board: My God! Now, what does the Third Commandment say? (Most of us knew what she was talking about, even if we didn’t have the commandments in numerical order.) What’s the implication? (That we shouldn’t use God’s name in vain or even substitute for it.) Lesson concluded; now back to Texas history.

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