Recently, when I was interviewing children in the schools, two asked me about my column. They wanted to know what the "things" meant in "Books 'n Things." When I explained it probably meant profiles of authors, lists and recommendations for titles, they seemed less than convinced. When I told them about "things," which is a notebook and a small drawer where I keep the clippings and ideas that are filed - not always so neatly - or little tidbits of information that I don't want to throw away, they challenged me to write a "Things" column. I in turn, challenged them to keep a notebook of "things," too.

So, Hilary and Matt, this column is for you. I will be back soon to share your "things."In memoriam:

Recent deaths of those who have contributed to the field of children's literature:

- Esther Averill (1902-1992) author of "Daniel Boone," "Hotel Cat" and many others.

- James Marshall (1942-1992) illustrator for "Miss Nelson is Missing," "Rats on the Roof" and many loved books. Marshall was also an accomplished musician and taught French and Spanish.

- Rosemary Sutcliff (1920-1992) who published more than 50 books for children. She was the Carnegie medal winner for "The Lantern Bearers."

- Warwick Hutton (1939-1994), a noted watercolor painter and illustrator who had won many awards. Books include "Noah and the Great Flood," "The Nose Tree" and "The Trojan Horse."

- Valerie Worth Bahlke (1934-1994), who wrote under her maiden name, poet and author who won the NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children in 1991. Her collections of "Small Poems" and "More Small Poems" have been collected in a 1994 edition of "all the small poems and fourteen more."

- Elizabeth George Speare (1908-1994) who won the Newbery Award for two of her four books, "Sign of the Beaver" and "The Witch of Blackbird Pond."

Kudos and awards worth noting:

- Madeleine L'Engle is the recipient of the second Empire State Award for Excellence in Literature for Young People. Maurice Sendak won the first such award in 1990. This is given to a living author or illustrator currently residing in New York state.

(I wonder if a Beehive Award for Excellence in Literature could be initiated for Utah authors and illustrators?)

- The Bridge to Understand Award was created by the United States Board on Books for Young People (USBBY) to honor the memory of Arlene Pillar, a university teacher of children's literature. This award will be given to organizations that provide programs using books about life and culture in other cultures.

- Karen Hoyle, celebrated her 25th year as curator of the Children's Literature Research Collections at the Minnesota Library, one of the finest collections of children's books and research in the world.

- "Cut from the Same Cloth: American Women in Myth, Legend and Tall Tale" written by Robert D. San Souci, illustrated by Brian Pinkney (Putnam) won the Aesop Prize for the children's book that best incorporated folklore in text and illustrations. The award is made by The American Folklore Society.

- LaVar Burton won the NCTE Literacy Award for his work on the PBS series "Reading Rainbows." This award recognizes individuals who show outstanding commitment to the educational development of young Americans.

- Now in its second year, Random House has announced the Dr. Seuss Picturebook Award, which invites any fledgling author/artist to submit a manuscript for consideration. The winner will receive a $25,000 award and a publishing contract with Random House.

- Walker and Co. is publishing the 25th anniversary edition of Ursula K. LeGuin's "The Left Hand of Darkness."

- This year commemorates the 100th anniversary of Laura Ingalls Wilder's frontier journey from South Dakota to Mansfield, Mo., which became the award-winning Little House series.


- There is an annual Make Way for Ducklings parade and ceremony in Boston's Public Garden celebrating Robert McCloskey's Caldecott winning book. Bronze sculptures of Mrs. Mallard and her eight ducklings - Jack, Kack, Lack, Mack, Nack, Ouack, Pack and Quack - graces this lovely setting. Now in Russia a similar sculpture is the center of a parade with the inscription: Given in love and friendship to the children of the Soviet Union on behalf of the children of the United States.

- Four classic children's books appear on postage stamps. The stamps will feature "Little Women," "Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm," "Little House on the Prairie" and "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn."

- A principal in New Mexico lost a bet with 23 second-graders who said that they could read 7,000 pages from library books in a month. They did and the principal ate a plate of fried worms. The idea came from "How to Eat Fried Worms" but the children are said to have provided tablecloth, china and crystal and even a headwaiter . . . and condiments.

(I wonder how chocolate-covered worms taste?)

- In Omaha a group of parents is questioning the "reading incentive" of a school where youngsters need to be lured by promise of fast food and fun time. (The children are given coupons to fast-food restaurants and special recess time.) Their idea is to treat reading as a follow-up of a task or punishment. "When you clean up your room you may then go and read . . . " Incentives like this, say the parents, would put literature back in its respectable place instead of parents needing to record every single minute or page so that the child can get a "reward." No child who had to keep track of time or pages read has ever learned to love a book, they say.

- If you think the price of books has gone up, consider these averages:

Children's book prices, 1967

Picture books: $3.41

Juvenile paperbacks: 67

Children's book prices, 1993

Picture books: $14.91

Middle grade books: $14.40

Juvenile paperback: $8

- The best-selling children's books of all time and the number they have sold:

"Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," Roald Dahl, 1964, 1 million.

"Charlotte's Web," E.B. White, 1952, 3.5 million.

"The Children's Bible," (Golden), 1965, 3.5 million.

"The Clear and Simple Thesaurus Dictionary," Harriet Wittels and Joan Greisman, 1976, 1 million.

"E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial Storybook," William Kotzwinkle, 1983, 1 million.

"Hardy Boys No. 1: The Tower Treasure," Franklin Dixon, 1927, 1 million.

"The Macmillan Dictionary for Children," 1975, 1.5 million.

"Nancy Drew No. 1: The Secret of the Old Clock," Carolyn Keene, 1930, 1 million.

"The Real Mother Goose," illustrated Blanche F. Wright, 1916, 3.5 million.

"The Secret Garden," Frances Hodgson Burnett, 1921, 2 million.

"The Velveteen Rabbit," Margery Williams, 1926, 1 million.

"Where the Sidewalk Ends," Shel Silverstein, 1974, 3 million.