cover image Starting from Home: 2a Writer's Beginnings

Starting from Home: 2a Writer's Beginnings

Milton Meltzer. Viking Children's Books, $13.95 (144pp) ISBN 978-0-670-81604-0

Like Beverly Cleary, whose memoir, A Girl from Yamhill , was published this year, Meltzer grew up in the Depression in a hard-hit, working-class family. Born in 1915 in Worcester, Mass., and raised in a neighborhood of immigrants (his parents were Austrian Jews), Meltzer learned firsthand about subjects he would later explore in his distinguished books for children: ethnicity, class and protest. ``I didn't know I would be a writer,'' Meltzer explains. ``Yet something was going on to shape my interests and point of view.'' This memoir has the compassionate yet probing tone of Meltzer's social histories. It is a pleasure to read, with charming confessions of kissing girls and reading dime novels. From the beginning, Meltzer was blessed with a hunger to learn and with an innate faith in the futuretraits that have carried him far and that shine throughout this book. Photos not seen by PW. Ages 12-up. (June)