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1. The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary, by Laura Shovan -- story full of distinct voices (ages 9-12)

Many of my students are drawn to realistic fiction because it gives them a chance to immerse themselves in someone else's story. In fact, a recent study has shown that reading literary fiction helps improve readers' ability to understand what others are thinking and feeling (see this article in Scientific American).

Laura Shovan's novel in verse, The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary, is full of distinct voices that prompt us to think about different students' unique perspectives. It's one my students are enthusiastically recommending to one another.

The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary
by Laura Shovan
Wendy Lamb / Random House, 2016
Google Books preview
Your local library
Amazon
ages 9-12
*best new book*
Eighteen fifth graders keep poetry notebooks chronicling their year, letting readers peak into their thoughts, hopes and worries as the year progresses. Fifth grade is a momentous year for many students, as the finish elementary school and look ahead to all the changes that middle school brings. This year is particularly full of impending change for Ms. Hill's class because their school will be demolished at the end of the year to make way for a new supermarket.

Through these short poems, Shovan captures the distinct, unique voices of each student. The class is diverse in many ways--racially, ethnically, economically, and more. At first, I wondered if I would really get to know the different students since each page focused on a different child; however, as the story developed, I really did get a sense of each individual as well as the class as a whole. Shovan creates eighteen distinctive individuals--with personalities and backgrounds that we can relate to and envision. And these experiences shape how each individual reacts to the year.

I particularly love novels in verse because they allow readers a chance to see inside character's thoughts without bogging the narrative down in too much description. As researcher David Kidd said (in this Scientific American article), literary fiction prompts readers to think about characters: "we’re forced to fill in the gaps to understand their intentions and motivations.” This is exactly what ends up being the strength of Laura Shovan's novel.

The funniest thing, for me personally, has been the shocked look of many of my students when I show them this cover. You see, our school is called Emerson Elementary School. "This is a real book?!?!" they say, incredulously. I know my students will particularly like the way these students protest the plans to demolish their school, bringing their protest to the school board.

As you can see in this preview on Google Books, this collection of poems slowly builds so readers get a sense of each student in Ms. Hill's fifth grade. The poetry feels authentic, never outshining what a fifth grader might write but always revealing what a fifth grader might really be thinking.

I highly recommend the audiobook for The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary. The diverse cast of Recorded Books brings alive each character. This would make a great summer listen, or a great read-aloud for the beginning of the school year.

The review copy for the audiobook was purchased from Audible and for the print copy it was borrowed from my local library. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books. Thank you for your support.

©2016 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

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2. Self-Censorship: A Reflection

Coffee resting on tableAs the children’s librarian at my branch I interact with hundreds of kids.  I’ve had parents tell me they appreciate the impact I have on their kids, both as people and as readers. I feel that in some way, it is my job to show them all the ideas and viewpoints out there, so they can be better citizens of the world.

A few weeks ago, a colleague and I were getting ready to head to a school visit.  We had been prepping for this for a while now. Each of us picked books that we thought would resonate with the tweens in our Boston neighborhood.  A few days before, my colleague approached me and told me she wasn’t going to be utilizing one of the graphic novels she originally picked because throughout the book, there were numerous images of the main character smoking.   She didn’t want the tweens receiving the message that smoking at their age was okay.

Since then, I’ve been thinking a lot about censorship.  Not the censorship we hear about in the news, but the everyday censorship that may happen at our libraries.  For the longest time, there has been a pile of anime DVDs on my desk.  A majority of my system’s anime is classified as Teen, but for whatever reason, a few are not.  The DVDs on my desk have been placed there by kids, parents, and even myself, because some of the cover images are suggestive in nature.  More times than I can count, I have been told “these are not okay for the Children’s Room.”  But why?  I mean yes, I understand the suggestive nature of the images, but does that mean it needs to be removed from the shelf?  If I remove it from the shelf, then what happens when a parent comes to me and complains about Sex is a Funny Word?  Or even something like Harry Potter?  Doesn’t my removal of these DVDs from the shelf create a slippery slope?  Where do we draw the line?  Who determines what is okay and appropriate?

I’m still thinking about these questions. One thing I know is that I get to decide what stays on my shelf and what doesn’t, and so in the mean time, the DVDs stay.  Not because I think the images are appropriate, but because it’s not my job to tell someone else what is and isn’t appropriate.  All I can do, is provide them with the tools and ideas to help them be the best people than can be.

Alyson Feldman-Piltch is a children’s librarian for the Boston Public Library.  She likes dogs, ice cream, and baseball.  She can be contacted at afeldmanpiltch@bpl.org

The post Self-Censorship: A Reflection appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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3. Research is My Friend by Lauren Castillo

Lauren Castillo, a Caldecott Honor author and illustrator, kicks off this year's Author Spotlight Series with a piece about how important research is to her artistic process.

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4. Research is My Friend by Lauren Castillo

Lauren Castillo, a Caldecott Honor author and illustrator, kicks off this year's Author Spotlight Series with a piece about how important research is to her artistic process.

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5.

So this is a bit of a serious but necessary post.

I had a death in the family -- someone who is older (67), and wasn't feeling well, but in no way was death expected.

Or planned for.

I know there is often talk of wills and the need for one. And this was a case of no will, but to be honest, the lawyer agreed that it's simple enough that the lack of a will isn't going to be a problem. So yes, the "but I don't have much to leave" or "I don't have children" or "I don't have young children" can make sense.


But it's not just that.

It's the everything else.

And I'm not just talking the funeral and services and memorial. Which can be pricey. And decisions are being made about this when, perhaps, the amount left by the person, and owed by the person, are still unknown. Or unavailable.

It's finding out the things you need to know, especially nowadays when so much is online. How easy, or difficult, is it going to be for people to find out about accounts (banks, credit cards, any other bills) and where things are?

How easy, or difficult, will it be for people to to access usernames and IDs and passwords so that they can access account information? Once, that is, they find out about the account to know they need to find out when a bill is about to paid, or a check deposited, or how much is owed on that credit card?

I mentioned when things are unavailable. Funerals and related costs can be expensive, and if the person's money is not available until after probate -- well, that delay can be a challenge, also.

My final bit is about why it's good to be aware of finances. As much as the death was a surprise, and there's a lot to do -- what doesn't have to be done is an education on family finances and bills. I know that can happen to some, when one person takes care of everything and the other is left surprised at just how much has to be done.

So, anyone, that's my serious bit of advice for today. Yes, keep your passwords secure -- but also have them be somewhere they can be found.












Amazon Affiliate. If you click from here to Amazon and buy something, I receive a percentage of the purchase price.

© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy

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6. Fusenews: The occasional “unruly pleasure”

I’ve done it again.  Delayed my Fusenews too long and now this post is going to overflow with too much good stuff.  Forewarned is forearmed, as they say.


HallmarkMe stuff for the start. And in fact, there just so much Me Stuff today that I’m just going to cram it all into this little paragraph here and be done with it. To begin, for the very first time my book Wild Things: Acts of Mischief in Chidren’s Literature (co-written with Jules Danielson and Peter Sieruta) was cited in an article. Notably, a piece in The Atlantic entitled Frog and Toad and the Self.  Woot!  In other news I’m judging a brand new picture book award. It’s the Hallmark Great Stories Award. Did you or someone you know produce a picture book in 2016 on the topic of “togetherness and community”? Well $10,000 smackers could be yours. In terms of seeing me talk, I’m reading my picture book (and more) at the Printer’s Row Lit Fest on June 11th.  If you’re in the Chicago area and ever wanted to see me in blue furry leg warmers, now your chance has come here.  Finally, during Book Expo I managed to coerce Hyperion Books into handing me three of their most delicious authors (Shannon Hale, Dean Hale, and Eoin Colfer) so that I could feed them to WGN Radio.  You can hear our talk here, if you like.  And check out how cute we all are:

WGN

Colfer, for what it is worth, is exceedingly comfortable.  I highly recommend that should you see him you just glom onto him for long periods of time.  Like a sticky burr.  He also apparently has an Artemis Fowl movie in the works (for real this time!) and you’ll never guess who the director might be.


This is interesting. Not too long ago children’s book author C. Alex London wrote a piece for BuzzFeed called Why I Came Out As a Gay Children’s Book Author.  It got a lot of attention and praise.  Then, earlier this month, Pseudonymous Bosch wrote a kind of companion piece in the New York Times Book Review. Also Known As tackles not just his reasons for a nom de plume (skillfully avoiding any and all mentions of Lemony Snicket, I could not help but notice) but also how this relates to his life as a gay children’s book author.


Hey, full credit to The New Yorker  for this great recentish piece on weeding a collection and the glory that is Awful Library Books.  My sole regret is that I never let them know when I weeded this guy:

150Ways

The copyright page said 1994, but I think we know better.  Thanks to Don Citarella for the link.


Cool. The publisher Lee & Low has just released the winner of the New Visions Writing Contest, now in its third year.  Congrats to Supriya Kelkar for her win!


New Podcast Alert: With podcasting being so popular these days, I do regret that my sole foray into the form has pretty much disappeared from the face of the globe. Fortunately there are talented folks to listen to instead, including the folks at Loud in the Library. Teacher librarians Chris Patrick and Tracy Chrenka from Grand Rapids, MI (homestate pride!) get the big names, from picture books illustrators to YA writers. Listen up!


New Blog Alert: The press release from SLJ sounded simple. “SLJ is pleased to welcome The Classroom Bookshelf to our blog network. In its sixth year, the Bookshelf features a weekly post about a recently published children’s book, including a lesson plan and related resources.” Then I made a mistake. I decided to look at the site. Jaw hit floor at a fast and furious rate leaving a dent in the linoleum. Contributors Randy Heller, Mary Ann Cappiello, Grace Enriquez, Katie Cunningham, and Erika Thulin Dawes (all professors at Lesley University’s outstanding school of ed.), I salute you. If I ever stop writing my own reviews, you’ll know why.


This:

JeffSmith


This one’s just for the New Yorkers. I’m sure you already saw this New Yorker paean to the Mid-Manhattan library, but just in case you didn’t it’s here, “unruly pleasures” and all.


For whatever reason, PW Children’s Bookshelf always goes to my “Promotions” folder on Gmail, so I assume they already mentioned this article. Just in case they didn’t, though, I sort of love that The Atlantic (second time mentioned today!) wrote an ode to Sideways Stories from Wayside School. Thanks to Kate for the link.


Now some Bookshare info.  The idea of providing free ebooks for kids with print disabilities is a good one.  And, as it happens, not a new one.  Bookshare, an online accessible library, just added its 400,000th title to its collection and boy are they proud.  Free for all U.S. students with qualifying print disabilities and U.S. schools, they’ve a blog you might want to read, and they service kids with blindness, low vision, dyslexia, and physical disabilities.


Daily Image:

You probably heard that Neil Patrick Harris will be playing Count Olaf in the upcoming Netflix series of A Series of Unfortunate Events.  Now we have photographic proof.

HarrisOlaf

I wonder if Brett Helquist ever marvels at how much power his art has had over these various cinematic incarnations.  The lack of socks is a particularly accurate touch.

 

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7. How Tech Focused is Your Summer Reading Program?

The summer months are almost upon us and with graduations, orchestra concerts, and field day happenings the end of the school year is at hand. The ALSC Summer Reading Lists have also just been released and children’s librarians across the country are making final preparations before June.

The start of our Summer Reading this year coincides with the launch of our library’s new website. Since so much focus is being placed on content for the website, last fall the children’s department decided to go old school and keep all the reading logs in the library. We are borrowing from Pop Sugar’s Reading Challenge and asking kids to read a total of 20 thematic books.

This decision has led us to think about other ways of incorporating technology into Summer Reading, after years of having patrons log books, minutes, and reviews online. Many libraries use services like Evanced Solutions (this year it’s the Wandoo Reader) and newer products like Beanstack. Beyond tracking and prize distribution online, what can we do to engage young audiences using technology this summer?

  • Michael Santangelo wrote a compelling piece on downloadable audio. Kids and teens are on the go all summer long and for some travel increases. Are we pushing our digital collections and encouraging this format in our communities?
  • For years we have incorporated Learning Quests into Summer Reading as one method of participating. Each week kids submit answers to trivia questions, email images of themselves in costume, and upload videos of their take on our creative challenges. Perhaps there are additional challenges that can be encouraged in a virtual space, while hosting a more traditional Summer Reading model.
  • It’s hard to avoid video clips from Tasty and Buzzfeed DIY on your newsfeed. Why not use this medium to share library program activities or invite kids to make their own DIY videos in a similar style?

Share some of the methods you are using to incorporate technology into your Summer Reading activities!

Claire Moore is a member of the Digital Content Task Force. She is also Head of Children and Teen Services at Darien Library in Connecticut. You can reach Claire at cmoore@darienlibrary.org.

Visit the Digital Media Resources page to find out more about navigating your way through the evolving digital landscape.

The post How Tech Focused is Your Summer Reading Program? appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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8. A Dark, Dark Cave by Eric Hoffman, illustrated by Corey R. Tabor


A Dark, Dark Cave by Eric Hoffman with illustrations by Corey R. Tabor has the feel of an instant classic. Hoffman's rhyming journey of imagination is paired perfectly with Tabor's layered, playful watercolor illustrations and pencil drawings that have a hint of magic to them. Best of all, A Dark, Dark Cave has one of my favorite things to do with kids at the center of the story!

As the "pale moon glows," a sister and brother go spelunking. Hoffman repeats the refrain, "a dark, dark cave," throughout the text, creating a gentle suspense that builds with each page turn while Tabor's illustrations blend the real with the imaginary in a satisfying way that keeps readers guessing - are these two REALLY in a dark, dark cave all by themselves?

A light appears in the darkness, revealing that, in fact, the sister and brother are in a blanket cave! As a kid and a parent, building blanket forts is definitely one of my all-time favorite things to do. We even build blanket forts on rainy days in my library. But, sadly, for this sister and brother, the bright light means Dad coming in and asking them to find a more quiet game because the baby is sleeping. This could easily have been the end to A Dark, Dark Cave. Happily, it is not. There is one more imaginary adventure in store for these siblings, and more marvelous illustrations (and a change in palette) from Tabor!

I hope you will seek out A Dark, Dark Cave by Eric Hoffman, who worked with preschoolers for over 35 years before writing this book, and Corey R. Tabor, making his picture book debut. I read hundreds of new picture books a year (and almost as many old ones) and it is truly rare to find a book of this kind!



 Look for Fox and the Jumping Contest 
illustrated AND written by Corey R. Tabor 
Coming October 2016!





Source: Review Copy

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9. Wishing Day by Lauren Myracle, 314 pp, RL 5




Having been a bookseller for so many years, I am very familiar with Lauren Myracle and her two very popular series, the Winnie Years and the Internet Girls, which, told entirely in texts, emails and IMs, was especially innovative and popular (and prescient) when first published in 2004. But, having a proclivity for fantasy, it took me until now to finally read one of Myracle's books. The blurb for Wishing Day grabbed my attention immediately. On the third night of the third month after her thirteenth birthday, every girl in the town of Willow Hill makes three wishes: the first is an impossible wish, the second is a wish she can make come true herself and the third is a wish made from her deepest, secret heart.

Natasha Blok is the oldest of three sisters born in under three years. In fact, her sister Darya is in seventh grade with her. Ava, their youngest sister is in sixth grade. As Wishing Day opens, Natasha is at the ancient willow tree, planted by her grandmother many times removed, the woman who started the wish tradition. Her aunts, Vera and Elena, are steps behind her, waiting anxiously for Natasha to make her wishes. Natasha's mother Klara disappeared eight years earlier, leaving her father sinking into sadness and silence and her aunts moving in to raise their nieces. Of course Natasha wants her mother back, but she also wants to be kissed and she secretly wants to be somebody's favorite.

Myracle weaves a story rich with characters. Natasha is a typical big sister, stepping in and caring for her siblings after her mother vanishes. Yet, she also let a distance grow between herself and Darya, who, with a head of red, shiny curly hair, a flair for fashion and a firm disbelief in magic of any kind, especially when it comes to the Wishing Tree. And, an even deeper secret than her three wishes is hidden under her mattress. Natasha is a writer, albeit a writer who has yet to finish a story. As Wishing Day unfolds, Natasha learns more about her mother's life before she disappeared, finishes writing her first story and kisses a boy. She also has her deepest secret self revealed when her sisters discover her writing and enter it in a local contest, is not kissed by the boy she thinks she wants to kiss her and might not even want to be kissed at all and, most surprising, discovers that she IS someone's favorite.

Myracle weaves in a thread of magic - beyond the Wishing Tree itself - in the character of the Bird Lady, an eccentric, ancient legend in Willow Hill who has a sparrow nesting in her fluff of grey hair. The Bird Lady appears every so often to utter cryptic words to Natasha, who begins finding meaningful notes around town. The ending of Wishing Day will leave you wondering and wanting more (especially more answers) and, quite happily, there is more to come because this is an intended trilogy! I suspect that the next two books will focus on serious, gorgeous, skeptic Darya and the ethereal, playful, free spirit Ava as Natasha's sisters turn thirteen and make their own wishes.

Source: Review Copy

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10. Celebrating Asian American Heritage Month

I didn't realize how many special occasions occurred in May until I worked on our Celebrations book with Janet Wong. Sure, it's the end of the semester and school year (in many places) and the home of Mother's Day and Memorial Day. But it's also National Photo Month, National Bike Month, National Physical Fitness and Sports Month, and the time we celebrate National Pet Week, National Teacher Appreciation Week, Children's Book Week, National Etiquette Week, as well as World Laughter Day, World Red Cross Day, and World Hunger Day (which is close to Red Nose Day also devoted to eliminating hunger). Wow. And of course there are many other occasions, once you start digging. My family teases me that I always find SOMETHING to celebrate!

Today I'd like to pause and celebrate Asian American Heritage Month and Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month-- with a poem of course! I posted this on Facebook and Twitter, so please forgive me if you've been inundated. I love this poem by my pal Janet Wong and what it says about celebrating Asian Americans, as well as our many diverse, blended, and intertwined roots in the U.S. 

And here are the Take 5 activities that accompany this poem in The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations (Teacher/Librarian edition):

  1. If possible, display a map in the background that features Asia and Pacific Islands while you read the poem aloud, pausing between stanzas. One source is Google.com/Maps/@29,100,3z.
  2. Share the poem again with pauses so the children can join in on the key words Chinese, Korean, and plucots while you read the rest of the poem aloud.
  3. Talk about how new words are “coined” and how plucot is a combination of plum (plu) and apricot (cot), just as the plucot fruit is a hybrid combination of those two fruits. 
  4. Pair this poem with the picture book Grandfather Counts by Andrea Cheng (Lee & Low, 2000). And for more information about celebrating Asian Pacific Heritage Month, check out the resources at AsianPacificHeritage.gov.
  5. For another poem about a family with roots in more than one culture, look for “Our Family” by Kate Coombs (November, page 305) as well as poems in A Suitcase of Seaweed by Janet Wong (McElderry, 1996).
Plus, if you'd like even more poetry, here's a list from my book, The Poetry Teacher's Book of Lists.

Asian American Poetry for Young People

Asian and Asian American poetry for young people is not just haiku; there are many lovely, ancient and contemporary works to share with children. Here is a sampling of poetry for young people by Asian and Asian American poets.

Cheng, Andrea. 2005. Shanghai Messenger. New York: Lee & Low.
Ho, Minfong. 1996. Maples in the Mist: Poems for Children from the Tang Dynasty. New York: Lothrop, Lee, & Shepard.
Issa, Kobayashi. 2007. Today and Today. New York: Scholastic.
Izuki, Steven. 1994. Believers in America:  Poems about Americans of Asian and Pacific Islander Descent. Chicago, IL: Children’s Press.
Lai, Thanhha. 2011. Inside Out and Back Again. New York: HarperCollins.
Mak, Kam. 2001. My Chinatown: One Year in Poems. New York: HarperCollins.
Park, Linda Sue. 2007. Tap Dancing on the Roof; Sijo Poems. New York : Clarion.
Wong, Janet S. 1994. Good Luck Gold and Other Poems. New York: McElderry.
Wong, Janet S. 1996/2008. A Suitcase of Seaweed, and Other Poems. New York: Booksurge.
Wong, Janet S. 1999. Behind the Wheel:  Poems about Driving. New York: McElderry.
Wong, Janet S. 1999. The Rainbow Hand: Poems about Mothers and Children. New York: McElderry. 
Wong, Janet S. 2000. Night Garden:  Poems from the World of Dreams. New York: McElderry.
Wong, Janet S. 2003. Knock on Wood: Poems about Superstitions. New York: McElderry.

Wong, Janet S. 2003. Minn and Jake. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux.
Wong, Janet S. 2007. Twist: Yoga Poems. New York: McElderry.
Wong, Janet. 2008. Minn and Jake’s Almost Terrible Summer. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux. 
Wong, Janet. 2011. Once Upon A Tiger; New Beginnings for Endangered Animals. OnceUponaTiger.com.
Wong, Janet. 2012. Declaration of Interdependence: Poems for  an Election Year. PoetrySuitcase.
Wong, Joyce Lee. 2006. Seeing Emily. New York: Abrams.
Yep, Laurence, ed. 1993. American Dragons: Twenty-five Asian American Voices. New York: HarperCollins.
Yu, Chin. 2005. Little Green; Growing Up During the Chinese Cultural Revolution. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Now don't miss the rest of the Poetry Friday posts that Margaret is gathering over at Reflections on the Teche. See you there!

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11. Big Lift Little Libraries in San Mateo County

I have worked for the San Mateo County Libraries in various positions for the last twelve years and have had a chance to be a part of some really wonderful and inspiring projects. My favorite project I’ve ever been a part of is working with the Big Lift Little Libraries.

You may have seen Little Free Libraries out in your neighborhood or around town near community gathering places. Big Lift Little Libraries operate on the same principle of taking a book and leaving a book, but they are filled specifically with books for children and families.

Over the last two years, we have placed 104 Big Lift Little Libraries around San Mateo County. The libraries reside in medical clinics, elementary schools, churches, parks, beaches, and in front of residential homes. One young girl contacted us about hosting a Big Lift Little Library in her local post office!

I have had a chance to spot a few of the libraries out in the community, which is always a fun treat for me. I also love when people share photos of their new Big Lift Little Libraries once they have it up and running. More information about this project and photos of the Big Lift Little Libraries out in the wild can be found here!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Stephanie Saba is a Senior Librarian at the San Mateo County Libraries in California and is writing this post for the Early Childhood Programs and Services Committee. She is also a member of the California Library Association and is currently serving on the California Young Reader Medal Committee.

The post Big Lift Little Libraries in San Mateo County appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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12. Register for Summer 2016 Online Courses

Register for a Summer 2016 ALSC Online Course!

The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) encourages participants to sign up for Summer 2016 ALSC online courses. Registration is open for all courses. Classes begin Monday, July 11, 2016.

One of the three courses being offered this semester are eligible for continuing education units (CEUs). The American Library Association (ALA) has been certified to provide CEUs by the International Association of Continuing Education and Training (IACET). ALSC online courses are designed to fit the needs of working professionals. Courses are taught by experienced librarians and academics. As participants frequently noted in post-course surveys, ALSC stresses quality and caring in its online education options.

NEW! Engaging Readers and Writers with Interactive Fiction
4 weeks, July 11 – August 5, 2016
Instructor: Christian Sheehy, Digital Initiatives Librarian, Xavier University

The Newbery Medal: Past, Present and Future
6 weeks, July 11 – August 13, 2016
Instructor: KT Horning, Director, Cooperative Children’s Book Center, University of Wisconsin- Madison

Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Programs Made Easy
4 weeks, July 11 – August 5, 2016
CEU Certified Course, 1.2 CEUs
Instructor: Angela Young, Head of Children’s Department, Reed Memorial Library

Detailed descriptions and registration information is available on the ALSC website. Fees are $115 for personal ALSC members; $165 for personal ALA members; and $185 for non-members. Questions? Please contact ALSC Program Officer for Continuing Education, Kristen Figliulo or 1 (800) 545-2433 ext 4026.

Images are courtesy of ALSC.

The post Register for Summer 2016 Online Courses appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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13. Parenthood, a Healthy Nightmare

My husband and I are lucky enough to have good jobs which provide a nice house, a reliable car and we try to go on at least two vacations a year. We both adore the beach and would agree that the perfect day would be spent with the sun on our backs and a cocktail in hand.
Two years ago our life changed dramatically, we found out that I was pregnant. At first, we were nervous and a little anxious, but we soon came around to the idea of becoming parents.

Like many aspects of our lives, we tried to plan for every situation that we could possibly face. We made sure we had as many gadgets that would make our lives as easy as possible. The nursery was complete three months before our baby arrived, and I must admit, it was fit for a princess!

New Arrival

Our baby, Jessica, arrived as planned, and like many new parents, our only wish for was a happy and healthy baby. We were blessed and everything went very well. I had read some terrifying stories, but thankfully, we weren’t cursed with bad luck and had no major problems to report.

The first three months came as a bit of a shock, new born babies don’t come with a manual after all! Sleepless nights, a crying baby and endless amounts of washing, but it was all worth it.

When Jessica was a new born, feeding was easy, babies only consume one thing… milk!!
As Jessica got older, we found that finding healthy foods was a problem. We tried numerous manufactured foods, but she didn’t seem to like any of them. I had read a few articles about making your own food, so thought that I would give it a shot.
The recipes were simple, basically fruit, vegetables (and meat if you choose) could be blended into the correct texture. Making your own food is fantastic, you can be sure of what is going into each meal. No additives or preservatives, just good wholesome food.
After deciding that homemade food was the route I was going to take, I decided to look into buying a good quality blender. I found a website called http://www.blendaway.us/ and they gave me all of the information I needed to make a choice on the blender that was right for me.

A Perfect Solution

Feeding Jessica became so easy, I could knock up a large batch of blended vegetables and freeze it, then defrost ready for use as and when I needed it. Not only was this a fantastic solution because I knew what was going into the food, it seemed that Jessica couldn’t get enough of my home made meals too. A baby that is eating regularly is generally a healthy one, this took some of my major concerns away. It really was the perfect solution.

When it came to moving onto solids, Jessica was already used to vegetables and fruit, so a balanced and healthy menu wasn’t a problem. I understand a lot of children turn those types of food away, but because healthy food was all she was given, she really didn’t know any different. We were more than happy with our decision to opt for home-made baby food.

Two years have passed since our life changing turn of events, and if I am honest, I wouldn’t change her for anything. Even though we both had reservations about being able to provide her with all she needs, and maintain our lifestyle, these reservations later proved to be unfounded.

We still manage to go on vacation, even if our latest trips are to places more suited to Jessica. We are both enjoying parenthood, and even though it is hard work, it has turned out to be the most rewarding of tasks either of us have ever had to face.

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14. SOL Tuesday

Write. Share. Give.

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15. Develop Management Skills without Supervising

I always knew I wanted to manage, but the traditional road to management can be difficult for youth services librarians. Storytime management does not count in the minds of many administrators so how else is one to gain the experience and skills needed to get that management position? I feel fortunate to have had varied opportunities in the youth services field and supervisors and co-workers who were more than happy to help me in my journey to rule the world. Er, um, enter management. Now, as a Coordinator, where I only supervise one person, I realize there is so much more to management than being a boss. Here are some ways to develop non-supervisory skills (though, let’s be honest, they totally apply to supervising) which just may help you explore the world of management, which often excludes supervising actual people (but possibly robots). .

 

Collection Development

We all have collections and they all need to be managed. Scheduled weeding and selecting are important which utilizes organization and time management skills. An understanding of your community is extremely important in collection development and in leadership roles. If you are looking to gain some management skills, start in the stacks.

 

Idea Nurturing

Support co-workers when they have great ideas. If you are already a supervisor be sure to read more about your role in this here. For those who are not supervisors, you can demonstrate your leadership abilities by encouraging others to bring forth great ideas and supporting them in bringing those ideas to fruition. You are not solely responsible for idea creation as a manager. In fact, you will likely be a better manager if your skills lie less in idea generating and more in idea supporting.

 

Project Management

Next time your supervisor asks for volunteers to lead a project, speak up. Even if the project is not your first choice, or something you would normally enjoy. Effective managers are not afraid to do the less desirable tasks and projects. The library cannot run on robots, glitter and unicorns all the time. We have to have safety training and attend meetings and join committees about things we may consider as boring as dust. But these trainings and committees are important to keep the library running smoothly and if you show your willingness to contribute, and put forth your best effort, people will take note of your leadership qualities.

 

Committee Service

Whether you serve on an ALSC committee or a local committee, you can gain valuable project management experience through your service. If you work hard and demonstrate your leadership skills while serving on committees you may have an opportunity to be Chair of a committee. Then, you might want to read up on facilitating meetings and hone your organization and communication skills.

 

Mentoring

Mentorship is an excellent way to sharpen management skills without direct supervision. With your mentee you will develop goals and work towards those goals together over the course of a year. This same process occurs between supervisor and employee. Plus, the ALSC Mentor program always needs more mentors. Read more about the program here.

 

What did I miss? What are other non-traditional management roles?

 

Kendra Jones is the Youth & Family Services Coordinator for the Timberland Regional Library in Washington State and a member of the ALSC Advocacy & Legislation committee. She is also a member of the Managing Children’s Services committee and Co-Chair of the Diversity within ALSC Task Force.

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16. Gimme a C (For Collaboration): Strengthening Outreach Connections

In recent SPLC posts on this blog, we’ve talked building relationship with schools, starting points and more. So let’s say you have a school contact and would now like to leverage that SPLC-Committee-Wordle-300x240-300x240relationship to reach even more teachers, kids, and parents. What are some events that a public librarian could participate in that would be a valuable investment? Here are some ideas:

Pre-service and Staff Development Days: Most school districts schedule several pre-service or staff development days that occur right before school starts. The students are not be at school, so this is a great time to talk with just teachers. The public library could be a great resource-sharing presenter during a lunch break, or even during a regular session. Because pre-service days happen before school begins, try to schedule this before the end of the school year.

Back-to-School Nights and Kindergarten Round-Ups: Your public library could set up a table outside the school office and share important information for parents and kids. Having a fun activity like an I-Spy Board can be an engaging activity to keep students busy at your table while you share information about the library with parents.

PTO/Parent Club Meetings: Some school programs, like Head Start, require parent meetings to feature a presentation by a community partner. Why not the public library? You can share tips for using the library successfully (to calm the anxiety around accruing fines), and special resources that parents may not know about (I share our Cultural Passes to Adventure). You could even offer to host the meeting at the library!

Pre-Assessment Party: About a week before standardized assessment time begins, many schools (particularly Title I Schools) hold special family nights to gear up for testing. Public librarians can be on-hand to share how recreational reading can help a student do well in school.

Familiarize yourself with the school district’s calendar and look for other unique outreach opportunities. Participating in these events shows your community’s families that you are on the same page, and you care about what is important to them.

School librarians: what special events does your school district have?

Public librarians: what unique school events have you attended as a library representative?


S. Bryce Kozla is the Youth Services Librarian for Washington County Cooperative Library Services in Oregon.  Bryce blogs at brycedontplay.blogspot.com and tweets at @plsanders. She is a member of the AASL/ALSC/YALSA Interdivisional Committee on School-Public Library Cooperation.

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17. Live From #KidLitPalooza!

Stay tuned this morning as I add to this post about #KidLitPalooza, live from this amazing event that connects children's authors to students!

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18. Creating Characters as Real as Spit by Maribeth Boelts

Maribeth Boelts provides us with tips for creating authentic, unforgettable characters in stories.

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19. 10 Things Librarians Should Do Before School is Out

It's the final countdown! Another school year in the books (well, nearly...). Why does it seem like the beginning and end of the year are the most frantic times? 100 million things to do, and not enough time. Here are ten things that can help you prioritize before you go out the doors and into summertime!!

  1. Advertise your library social media accounts. That way people can follow you or at least contact you if they need to. Today's new library doesn't ever close, even during summer. If you keep your social media accounts active, you'll have no problem helping people who may need it from a book recommendation or how to access a database.

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2. Summer and reading go together like ice cream and a spoon. Get out information on how to “check out” books for the summer.  Required reading or pleasure reading? Let staff and students know how to access the campus library e-books. Flyers, online or physical posters, email, social media, websites...whatever it takes, let people know they have access to the virtual library

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3. We can never escape from it....professional development. We all need it, we all have to have it. So make sure you go for the best.  Start looking at your favorite sites and places you know will have top-notch PD, including webinars. (and if you're in Texas, come to our NTX Libcamp! http://ntxlibcamp.weebly.com/ )

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4. Take your computer (or device you work with the most) home with you. It’ll save you gas money and headaches. I've often said, "Oh, I'll pick it up on the way..." famous last words! Make sure you can get to it quick. And if it's a desktop, welllllll...

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5. Write down those usernames and passwords. Yes, for your databases but also for ALL THE OTHER things you'll need to remember. Summertime seems to zap memories, especially to whatever you have in the library that needs one (this also includes combination locks too). Don't put yourself in the position of adding to your first week of school frenzy by forgetting them!

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6. Share your knowledge! It never hurts to have a presentation or two ready for those just in case moments when you may get a message asking if you can present to new teachers/other staff or be a part of summer professional development. And if not, then start creating a kickin' library orientation for the new kids coming to campus in the fall!

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7. Get a copy of next year’s calendar now. Find out when new teachers are coming in, when school actually starts for students, and when each six weeks starts. And you know you're going to get well-prepared teachers who want to reserve the library for next year.

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8. Make of list of your TBR (to be read) and let that be your summer goal. Or at least 3 of the best books on it (decisions decisions!)

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9. Meet with local public librarians and see how both of you can collaborate on programs for the summer and possibly for the next school year. Nothing feels better than connecting with your community!

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10. Make a list of your favorite librarifriends you’d love to spend the weekend with, find an Airbnb on a beach somewhere and send out those e-vites! And if that doesn't pan out, tell them you'll see them at conference for a night out!

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20. Summer Is Nearly Upon Us: Part 5 of the Attack on Summer Reading

The summer season at our library is just about upon us.  The reading portion will begin June 1st and the heavy-programming begins June 13th.  Though we are busy getting the last pieces of our program’s structure into place for the launch next week, I’m not too busy to take a minute to rant (it comes quite naturally to me!)  You can consider this post, Part 5 of my Attack on Summer Reading series.   If you haven’t been following along with baited breath, the other posts are here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4.

In April, I talked a bit about the information we gather through registration and reading tracking and what we do with it and don’t do with it.  Turns out, there are some helpful info-bits in there (shocker!)  My library director, who is totally supportive of our switch-up, really wanted us to find a way to track who’s participating all summer-long.  Fair enough.  That is helpful information to have.  But, as you know, I am hesitant (to say the least) to employ any type of registration, so how to do it?  I have been known to have moments of flexibility and we were able to come up with a compromise: kids/teens who get a LEGO to add to our sculpture when they tell us how much they’ve read, will also get a LEGO sticker (on which to write their name) and add to a silhouette/poster that will change each week.  Then, teen volunteers we can tally up who’s been coming all summer. Don’t worry, I see the potential for chaos, but I’m a risk-taker, so bring it on!  I understand that this whole approach may throw our staff into chaos, but I am lucky enough to work with a stellar staff who’s willing to try new things!

Here are some of my big fears questions about how this new approach is going to go:

  • will parents rebel against our no-prize approach and take their kids to the numerous other libraries in our county?
  • will fewer kids spend time reading and will that be a super bad thing?
  • will our ‘tantalize them with in-depth programming’ approach really pique their curiosity enough to cause them to pick up a book?
  • will our weekly camps be too much causing the staff to be totally depleted at the end of the summer?
  • will there be long waiting lists for our camps resulting in disgruntled parents?  (We are capping our camps at fairly small numbers for 2 reasons: we want to offer programs that got deep into a subject; and we want to provide substantial and meaningful exposure experiences which require a small librarian-to-child ratio).

So if I’m not hiding under my desk, you can rest assured I’ll keep the ALSC community posted the answers to the aforementioned questions and on how this whole thing goes, however, I’ll be at ALA next month (woohoo!) and will be blogging on how that whole thing goes!

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21. 1001 Nights Doubleheader

I've had a busy few weeks at work, so I wasn't able to get any posts polished enough to go live. To make up for it(ish), I'm giving you a doubleheader today, where I review two books that are similar in some way and discuss what I think of those similarities and their differences.

Title: The Wrath and Dawn
Author: Renee Ahdieh
Published: 2015
Source: Local Library

Summary: Khalid marries a young woman every evening and in the morning he kills her. Nobody can stop him because, well, he's the king.

After her best friend becomes his latest victim, Shahrzad decides that she's going to take him on, find out why all the murders are happening, and then kill him. It's a good plan, but it goes a little off track when she starts to fall in love with him.

First Impressions: The story was compelling but OH MY GOD. The prose. PURPLE.

Later On: I struggled with this book. I know a lot of people who've been swept away by it, but my brain kept inconveniently breaking in. Like, Khalid? Um, why are you doing all this killing? Shahrzad, honey, why aren't you pointing out that this is super-not-okay? I get that you're falling in lurve and all but kiddies, love is about communication. You know what you're not communicating? THAT HIM KILLING ALL HIS PREVIOUS WIVES WAS NOT OKAY. He victimized his country, he terrorized families, he gave no reason, and OH YES A WHOLE BUNCH OF GIRLS ARE DEAD. I was genuinely questioning why he hadn't been the hell overthrown by now. A lot of the girls he picked were from powerful families - why didn't some of them send in an assassin and STOP THIS NONSENSE?

When a book makes me this WTF, I generally stop reading. This one, I kept reading because I actually did want to find out his reasons. Shahrzad is smart and spunky and loving and loyal, and she's gonna Queen like nobody's damn business, so I was initially in it for her. And then, aside from the whole lots and lots of dead wives thing (which would seem to be a dealbreaker), Khalid was an appealing and warm-hearted guy who seems to be genuinely falling for Shahrzad. We do actually get a reason for all the wife-killing and it's not that Khalid is a serial killer who just can't help himself. But it fell flat for me. I never felt the actual threat of it.

And, yeah. The prose. It seemed like every line had to remind us that Khalid had flashing hazel eyes or that Shahrzad had the shiniest most beautimous hair in the palace, or something.

I know a lot of people loved it, but this one really wasn't for me.

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Book Nut

Title: A Thousand Nights
Author: E.K. Johnston
Published: 2015
Source: NetGalley

Summary: In this retelling of 1001 nights, the main character sacrifices herself to save her sister and marries a king who's murdered all his previous wives.

First Impressions: This was what I wanted The Wrath and the Dawn to be. The focus on women and the work/powers/community/ties of women was beautiful.

Later On: I still get a warm glow when I think of this book - of how important the relationships between women are. Sisters, mothers, aunts, female friends. There's a lovely little bit where the protagonist, who goes unnamed throughout the book, contemplates how her father's first wife, who is also her aunt, always functioned as another mother to her; a relationship that's not often portrayed this way.

This carries through to the palace. She begins to find out the history of the king's murders through talking to his mother and the palace craftswomen, gradually and patiently assembling the pieces into a whole that will let her save the country. Primarily, this is a story of a woman, backed by women, quietly, determinedly putting things right for a country that has gone terribly wrong.

Is it a swoony romance? No. The king is a man possessed by a demon, and there's no falling in love with this demon. At the end of the book, there's a hint that the man within might have started to catch feelings, but the love story here is the protagonist's love for her family, her community, and her country.

More: By Singing Light
Charlotte's Library
 

 Scheherazade and Shahryār by Ferdinand Keller, 1880, taken from Wikipedia

So now for the compare and contrast portion of our show.

It's always interesting to see how two authors take the same base story and make such different things out of it. Where the first book focused tightly on the developing romance between the king and his queen (with touches of a love triangle and another couple's love story as subplots), the second focused on the larger implications of the king's destructive rampage and how it can be repaired. Maybe I'm Old and Fuddy, but that spoke to me more than the intimate romance. Anytime you get royal characters, I'm almost always more interested in the pressure of the fate of an entire nation resting on their choices and actions.

So my reviews, and the reviews linked here, are basically about how these books worked for generally white or white-presenting American ladies. There's a trickier question: how do they work as representations or interpretations of a piece of classic non-Western literature?

In the original story (Britannica.com), the king is killing women because his first wife cheated on him. Obviously, this doesn't play all that well as a trait of a romantic hero. While the books took different tacks, both wisely altered the king's motivation.

I tried hard to find writing about these books from Middle Eastern reviewers, but was unsuccessful. The 1001 Nights is basically the story that we know from Middle Eastern mythology. It is a framing device for retelling many other stories, but only Scheherezade and Aladdin (which was one of the stories told in the 1001 Nights) have entered Western canon to the point where we know the stories off the top of our heads.

From my extremely limited perspective, I would say that both novels used the Middle Eastern setting as an exotic locale or a fantasy land. This isn't that different from a lot of historical novels or historical fantasy. Did they respect the cultures? That's a trickier one because there's a few things at work here. I'm not of the culture. I'm not even very familiar with the culture. And the Middle East is a huge area, made up of many, many individual countries and subcultures, each with their own history. The effect of the Middle-Easternish fantasy land is to back away from that complexity while still retaining the otherness of the setting as a whole.

But some of the major Western stereotypes of the Middle East as a whole were avoided. Although polygamous marriage was an element in A Thousand Nights, in both books, women were largely respected by their male friends, husbands, fathers, and brothers. War and violence is something else Westerners associate with the Middle East, but in these stories, there was purpose to them.

Like I said, I'm not the person to really examine this. If you have background and opinions that are better informed than mine, please let me know so I can add some links.

FURTHER further reading

Islamophobia in YA

Renee Ahdieh, author of The Wrath and the Dawn, briefly discusses the process of worldbuilding a Middle-Eastern infleunced fantasy world

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22. Gender Politics and Construction Equipment: The Eyelashening

File this one under the category: Stuff Parents Notice But Don’t Discuss

You have a child.  The child is quite young, let’s say two years of age. The child loves books about tools, ladders, and banjos (and you would be shocked just how many books for kids contain at east one of those three items).  What the child loves most in this great big, wide, wonderful world, though, is construction equipment.  Excavators and backhoes (don’t call them diggers).  Cement mixers and forklifts.  And so you, good dutiful parent that you are, go off and attempt to find as many construction equipment books as possible so as to feed this insatiable need.

Time passes.  The child is very fond of the books you have chosen.  So fond, in fact, that they’ve taken to having you read them over and over and over again in succession.  And the adult brain, while capable of doing this, begins to realize that the information coming in is the exact same information that came in five and ten and fifteen minutes ago.  So the brain begins to search for meanings in the books.  Connections.  Something, anything really, to keep it occupied.  And that’s when you notice it.  Right there.  Clear as crystal.

The genders of various pieces of construction equipment.

Because, you see, you cannot check out endless books on crane trucks and steam rollers before you notice how these books choose to gender their anthropomorphized mechanicals.

Today, ladies and gentlemen, we pick apart precisely why one book or another chooses to make a wrecking ball a boy or a grader a girl.  Bear with me here.  I’ve read a LOT of these books.  I need to do something with this information or I may burst.

But first, some history!

History Time

Go to your shelves and pick yourselves up a copy of Richard Scarry’s Best Word Book Ever.  A staple of the toddler set, and a fixture on living room bookshelves since the year of its publication, 1963.

Now if you’ll take out your copy of Wild Things: Acts of Mischief in Children’s Literature and turn to page 69 you will find a remarkably well-written passage (*puffs self up*) regarding Mr. Scarry and gender in his books.  It reads, “By the 1970s, author/illustrator Richard Scarry was the object of much feminist criticism for his repeated portrayal of female characters in passive domestic roles in his many picture books showing community workers.  But Scarry eventually heeded the cries of sexism aimed at him.”  He updated the characters in his book.  Back in 2013 I wrote a piece called “Are there any girl bears?”: Gender and the 21st Century Picture Book featuring this fun bit of side-by-side comparison between the original Word Book and its revised edition:

Scarry

Of course, once you know about the update, the changes are shockingly obvious. Scarry didn’t really bother to match the linework when he redid his art.  Or maybe it’s just that the printing technology of the day made for a stark difference in the original and updated characters.  Here are two good examples of what I mean:

Scarry1

Scarry2

As you can see, the original images are using these deeper watercolor shades while the new images are much lighter and simpler.  I do, however, have to give the man credit for the taxi driver in pearls.

And you know what?  I don’t care if the female characters do look Photoshopped in.  I’m grateful, dammit, that there are some women doing labor above and beyond secretarial work.  Scarry even occasionally put men in roles traditionally considered to be the women’s territory.  Mr. Bunny makes breakfast for the family, for example.

Which brings us, naturally, to the present day.  In the 1970s there was a big push for diverse books and titles with gender equal characters.  Time passed and this pressing need became just a bit less pressing.  So let’s take a group of construction equipment titles as an example and see how the ladies fare.  After all, if Scarry updated this bear to look like this:

Scarry3

Note that he just put a bow on a bear in this particular case.

then how hard can it be for books today?

I’ll separate these books into two categories.  The first are anthropomorphized vehicles.  The second, construction workers.  This is by no means a complete listing.  It’s just what I’ve observed in my own life.

Gendered Construction Equipment

Digger, Dozer, Dumper by Hope Vestergaard, ill. David Slonim

DiggerDozer

MAN, I love this book.  I recently got a copy for my son to see, having remembered it a little late.  The edition I received from the library was sparkling and pristine.  You know why?  Because it’s shelved in the poetry section of the library and few folks think to look there for their construction books.  Now I love the way Vestergaard never cheats on a rhyme, that’s true.  But really and truly what I adore about the book is the variety of genders she grants her unusually animate objects.  The skid-steer loader, excavator, ambulance, steamroller, and forklift all identify as female.

DiggerDozer2

Slonim does give big long eyelashes to all the female vehicles, which seems a bit excessive.  You don’t need eyelashes on a Skid-Steer Loader, after all.  But as it happens, eyelashes are the preferred method of gender identification on trucks.  You can see this as well in:

Go! Go! Go! Stop! by Charise Mericle Harper

GO-GO-GO-STOP-Cover-copy

In this book there’s only one female piece of equipment and it’s the dump truck.

GoGoGo2

Not quite as extensive as Vestergaard’s book, but it’s still good to have her there.  Again, Harper goes in for eyelashes.  Scarry used bows.  It’s all relative.

Mighty Dads by Joan Holub, ill. James Dean

MightyDads

An interesting case.  Dean doesn’t go in for eyelashes and Holub seemingly gives some of the little construction vehicles female names (“Mitzy” is one of them).  It’s not 100% clear, but you can read into it what you like.  I think it counts.

Goodnight Goodnight Construction Site by Sherry Duskey Rinker, ill. Tom Lichtenheld

GoodnightGoodnight

Ah.  Alas.  My son adores this book.  He recently got a stuffed version of the excavator for his birthday and he simply could not be more pleased.  But while the pieces of equipment do have genders, they’re all male.

Bulldozer’s Big Day by Candace Fleming, ill. Eric Rohmann

BulldozerBigDay

All boy, all the time too.

Gender of Construction Workers

I’ll be the first to tell you that of all the construction workers who have been helping to build the duplex next door to my house, not one of them has been female.  Still and all, there is a benefit to young readers seeing girls build in some way.  So with that in mind . . .

Dig, Dogs, Dig: A Construction Tail by James Horvath (and subsequent sequels like Build, Dogs, Build and Work, Dogs, Work)

DigDogsDig

I’m writing this at a bit of a disadvantage.  I’ve seeing Dig and Build but I haven’t seen Work quite yet.  Still, on the basis of the first two books in the series, I have one comment: Roxie needs to do some real work.  You see, in the book there’s this pink dog named Roxie who joins the apparently all-male crew on their digs (yes, she has eyelashes).  The problem is that Roxie doesn’t have much to do. For example, on the back of Build, Dogs, Build you can see her welding:

Roxie

But inside they changed it so that the dog doing the welding wasn’t her.  All Roxie got to really do in this book was install a doorbell.  Dig, Dogs, Dig wasn’t much better.  There she just handed down hammers.  I’ll be looking at Work, Dogs, Work soon.  Hopefully they put that gal through her paces.  She needs to earn her keep!

Construction by Sally Sutton

Construction

Very nicely done.  It’s not overt but the construction workers do include female crew members.

Whose Trucks? by Toni Buzzeo, ill. Jim Datz

WhoseTruck

These board books are fantastic.  Men and women work together everywhere.  Also, the kids playing with the trucks at the end of the book are a boy and a girl.  If you haven’t seen this, as well as its companion piece Whose Tools? then you are missing out, my friend.

Diggers Go by Steve Light

       DiggersGo

My son doesn’t have many words but one word he does have is “man”.  “Man?  Man?” he asks as he points to the construction equipment in this book.  He’s not wrong.  You might argue that since the faces are in silhouette there’s no way to really tell if the drivers are men or women, and you’d be right.  Still and all they look like dudes.  When Light puts women in these positions, they tend to have ponytails.  The sole ding in what is otherwise a magnificent series.

 

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23. Live From #KidLitPalooza!

Stay tuned this morning as I add to this post about #KidLitPalooza, live from this amazing event that connects children's authors to students!

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24. Creating Characters as Real as Spit by Maribeth Boelts

Maribeth Boelts provides us with tips for creating authentic, unforgettable characters in stories.

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25. Did You Know This is Advocacy? Early Literacy Programs

If you are anything like me, the first time someone asked you to be an advocate for the library you pictured attending some kind of librarian rally event, writing letters to congressmen, and making super scary presentations to library administration and other stakeholders. While all of these things are certainly advocacy, they were intimidating and sounded like they might take more time than I had. However, after becoming acquainted with Everyday Advocacy and doing a lot of thinking, I realized a lot of what I did every day was actually advocacy. Today, I’ll share an example of an early literacy program that I think of as developmentally appropriate advocacy.

baby face

In 2014, as a result of a random article from the internet and encouragement from many librarian friends, I gave Baby Storytime caregivers washable markers and oil pastels to use to decorate their babies’ faces (read more about the activity here). Every Child Ready to Read tells that practicing reading, singing, talking, writing, and playing with children every day helps them get ready to read. This activity encourages caregivers to talk to their babies and use vocabulary they might not typically use (how often do you talk about diabolical eyebrows with a baby?), caregivers are modeling writing, and are being extremely playful. This activity also encourages caregivers to photograph their babies and post these images on their Facebook pages or send them to family showing off what they did at the library today. This activity entered the regular rotation for an after storytime activity.

How is this advocacy? Caregivers learned, or had reinforced, the notion that the library is not a boring place just for reading and books. They learned that early literacy can be more than sharing books and that they have the tools already to help their child develop early literacy skills. They told all their friends that the library is a cool place because of this activity and others like it. Caregivers hated missing storytime because they were afraid to miss out on their favorite activities. Whenever we needed storytime participants to fill out surveys or comment cards they were more than happy to help. They would do anything to make sure storytimes continued and that storytime presenters were appreciated.

Do you have dedicated storytime families? Are your storytimes growing as a result? Do your storytime families help spread the word about the awesomeness of the library? If yes, congratulations, you are an advocate!

We would love to hear your stories! Matt McLain detailed in a previous Advocacy and Legislation blog, “Did You Know This Is Advocacy”, just how important these stories are personally, locally, and even nationally. Please take a moment to submit your advocacy story to the Everyday Advocacy website.

 

Kendra Jones is the Youth & Family Services Coordinator for the Timberland Regional Library in Washington State and a member of the ALSC Advocacy & Legislation committee. She is also a member of the Managing Children’s Services committee and Co-Chair of the Diversity within ALSC Task Force.

The post Did You Know This is Advocacy? Early Literacy Programs appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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