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A learning and sharing community for
DC-area children’s literature professionals since 1945


June 2024 Program


Christina Harrington

Please join Guild members and guests on June 20, 2024, at 11:30 am at Busboys and Poets 450 K Street, NW, to meet Christina Harrington and listen to her presentation. Her talk will include how her latest book, Wildoak, came together and the inspiration behind it.

The presentation includes loads of visuals, inspiration boards, research and process notes—including things like the history of Harrods selling big cats and footage from the 60s of a woman walking her ‘pet’ leopard in Hyde Park! Christina will also share process ‘behind the scenes’ notes and various other experiences in her writing journey. Don’t miss this wonderful opportunity to hear Christina Harrington and participate in the last Guild luncheon of the year. Please sign up by the registration deadline of June 16.

Luncheon Menu: All choices are $30, and all payments are online via PayPal (you may pay with a credit card with or without having a Paypal account). Note that there are no day-of-event or mail-in payments.

(Please know, too, that reservations for monthly Speaker Series events may be cancelled and refunded only prior to 3 days before the event. After that time, there will be no refunds issued. This is necessitated by Busboys & Poets’ cancellation policy.)

Remembering Phyllis Sidorsky

Recollections by Rhoda Trooboff

Former member Phyllis Gibbs Sidorsky passed away on December 30, 2023, in Alexandria, Virginia. She was 96.

After graduation from Juniata College, Phyllis began her career as a social worker. Her deep interest in and support of libraries led her to obtain a Masters in Library Science at The Catholic University of America. She then began a long career as a children’s librarian at the National Cathedral School for Girls, where for twenty years students affectionately called her Mrs Sid. She invited notable children’s book authors to visit the NCS Lower School Library and speak with students. In late autumn she gave annual much-appreciated talks to NCS parents about notable books their children might enjoy.

Phyllis was a prolific reviewer of children’s books. Her reviews appeared in The Washington Post, New York Times, The School Library Journal and Childhood Education. She served on the Notable Books Committee, which selected best books of the year on behalf of the American Library Association.

An avid gardener, watercolor artist, traveler, naturalist, and protector of rescued greyhounds, Phyllis was a beloved fixture of her Old Town Alexandria community. She volunteered for Alexandria’s Meals on Wheels.

Phyllis was predeceased by her husband, Raymond Sidorsky, and their daughter, Erica Sidorsky. She is survived by a nephew, Victor Humphreys, nieces Monica Grant and Ellen Plaza and their children, and remembered with blessings by former students, Alexandria neighbors, and NCS parents and colleagues.

In 1989, Phyllis published “A Girl’s Own Reading List” in the Washington Post, noting that “People expect you to have a special set of criteria when selecting books for a girls' school. Not so. Whether the reader is a girl or a boy, the story must capture the attention and hold it until the last satisfying page. But are there books in which strong female role models exist? Of course.” Here’s Phyllis 1989 list.  


Remembering Joan Carris, 1938-2023

Longtime Guild member and author, Joan Davenport Carris, born August 18, 1938 in Toledo, Ohio, passed away on December 6, 2023, surrounded by her loved ones. She is survived by her husband of 63 years, Tup Carris, her daughters Mindy Goldsmith and Leigh Ann Lather, her son Brad Carris, and grandchildren Emma Lather, Margaret Lather, Ben Carris and Audrey Carris.

Joan graduated from Iowa State University and began her career as an English and French teacher. She went on to author over 30 books, including the Howard Boys series, Just a Little Ham, Witch Cat, the Aunt Morbelia series and the Bed and Biscuit series. She always bemoaned the fact that there were no awards for humor in children’s literature!

Joan also wrote and published the renowned SAT Success study guide and dedicated many hours to tutoring students preparing for the SAT. She returned to school as an adult, earning her Masters in Children’s Literature from Hollins University. Later in life she taught writing for the graduate students at the Duke University Marine Lab in Beaufort, NC, and then a master’s level course on memoir writing in Charlottesville, VA.


She was truly a lifelong learner who loved science, educational travel, and all of the arts. Above all, she loved her family and she loved and admired animals and the natural world. Her philanthropy included donations to the World Wildlife Fund and similar organizations. A donation to Canine Companions has been made in her name. Joan was a beautiful, brilliant woman who will be sadly missed.

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The Children’s Book Guild of Washington, DC, is committed to the fight for racial justice and support for Black lives. Please click on the links above for information on organizations to support, and readings to help educate and inspire positive change. 

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