Tell Me What You're Reading #8: Conversation with Youngna Park, Executive Director of Parenting at The New York Times - Children's Books; what to read to your kids!
Our guest today is Youngna Park. Younga is the Executive Director of Parenting at The New York Times, and is currently leading a team at the Times building a new parenting product.
Previously, Youngna was COO and Head of Product at Tinybop, and Youngna has also been a digital producer and a filmmaker. Youngna speaks regularly about building digital products, product management, designing for children, and building a company with a diverse team.
Both Melanie and Eden, who worked with Youngna at Tinybop, suggested I speak with Youngna on the podcast.
When Youngna and I emailed about what she might like to discuss, she said that there were three categories of books she most often reads, fiction, parenting and motherhood books, and children's books.
My immediate reaction was to try to steer Youngna towards a discussion of fiction. However, when we spoke, I realized that as much as I love a good discussion about fiction and fiction writers, a discussion with Youngna about children’s books and parenting narratives would be a unique and very special opportunity.
So, I am very pleased to say that I put aside my preconceptions and we talked about children's books. If we are lucky, we will get Youngna back sometime in the future for a discussion of parenting narratives.
My memories of the books read to me as a child are vague at best.
However, based on a quick email survey, my kids remembered The Maggie Bee, Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs, Tell Me A Mitzi, Mother, Mother, I Want Another, Miss Nelson is Missing, George and Martha, Berenstein Bears, the Hungry Caterpillar, Slugs, Herself the Elf, Bread and Jam for Frances, The Boxcar Children, Encyclopedia Brown, Goodnight Moon, The Carrot Seed and lots of Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein. Carol added Ferdinand, I am a Bunny and Little Owl Leaves the Nest. We did a bit of reading to, and with, our kids
I asked Youngna for her thoughts on this line up, and also to tell me what she’s reading to her kids, about what parents should be reading to their kids and more generally about the children’s book genre.
What Youngna is reading (to her “almost” three year old) . . .
The Maggie B, Irene Haas
The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Eric Carle
The Giving Tree, Shel Silverstein
Encyclopedia Brown, Boy Detective, Donald J. Sobol
Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs, Ronald Barrett
The Big Orange Splot, Daniel Manus Pinkwater
Bruno Munari's Zoo, Bruno Manari
We’re Going On A Bear Hunt, Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury
Where the Wild Things Are, Maurice Sendak
One Morning in Maine, Robert McCloskey
A is for Activist, Innosanto Nagara
Green Eggs and Ham, Dr. Seuss
Chicka Chick Boom Boom, Bill Martin Jr.
Goodnight Moon, Margaret Wise Brown
Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me, Eric Carle
I am A Bunny, Richard Scarry
Iggy Peck, Architect, Andrea Beaty
Rosie Revere, Engineer, Andrea Beaty
Ada Twist, Scientist, Andrea Beaty
The Night Gardener, Terry Fan
Buy on Amazon
Who Needs Donuts, Mark Alan Stamaty
And more . . .
Tell Me A Mitzi, Lore Segal
Mother, Mother, I Want Another, Maria Polushkin Robbins
Curious George, H. A. Rey and Margret Rey
Miss Nelson is Missing, Harry G. Allard Jr., James Marshall
George and Martha, James Marshall
Berenstain Bears, Stan and Jan Berenstain
Slugs, David T. Greenberg
Herself the Elf, Lisa Norby
Bread and Jam for Frances, Russell Hoban, Lillian Hoban
Fireboat, The Heroic Adventures of the John J. Harvey, Maira Kalman
Thomas Jefferson, Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Everything, Maira Kalman
The Boxcar Children, Gertrude Chandler Warner
The Carrot Seed, Ruth Kraus
The Story of Ferdinand, Munro Leaf
Little Owl Leaves the Nest, Marcia Leonard
Chicken Little, Steven Kellogg
The Five Chinese Brothers, Claire Huchet Bishop
Frog and Toad Are Friends, Arnold Lobel
Losing My Son to Reading, Viet Thanh Nguyen, The New York Times, Aug. 4, 2018
The Singular Magic of Maira Kalman At home with the beloved writer and illustrator, Rumaan Alam, The Cut, April 30, 2018
Many classic children’s books have troubling themes or language. Should we read them anyway?, Kate Lewis, The Washington Post, October 29, 2018
J. J. Sempé’s “Reading Group”, Francoise Mouly, The New Yorker, October 15, 2018