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26. Developmental relationships: what are they and why should library staff have them with teens?

 
For years, library staff working with teens have used the Search Institute’s 40 Developmental Assets for Adolescents to demonstrate how library programs and services can contribute to youth becoming successful adults. Other youth-serving organizations also use the language of assets and asset development, so describing library teen services in terms of assets can help align that work with broader community-wide efforts to prepare teens for constructive and fulfilling adult lives.
However, when it comes to the day-to-day interactions individual staff members have with teens, sometimes it can be difficult to figure out what assets are being built, and how best to guide staff to be more intentional about fostering positive youth development.
The Search Institute has created a new framework which can help staff internalize practices that contribute to youth success — and benefit adults, too! The Institute defines a developmental relationship as “a close connection between a young person and an adult or between a young person and a peer that powerfully and positively shapes the young person’s identity.” Developmental relationships involve expressing care, challenging growth, providing support, sharing power, and expanding possibilities.The complete framework, including 20 specific actions and more background, is available at the Institute’s website.
Sara Ryan for the Administrator Resources Taskforce

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27. Getting Ready For Annual 2015 – It’s Never Too Early

The YALSA Local Arrangements Committee is super excited that ALA15 will be in San Francisco. We hope you’re looking forward to coming to the city by the bay and would like to offer some tips on how to make that happen!

First things first: secure your conference registration. If your supervisor needs a gentle nudge to offer support, ALA has some tips for you.

Additionally, the programs that YALSA sponsors will undoubtedly keep you on the leading edge of your profession. Other perks like free and cheap books, unparalleled networking, and vendor discounts may sway your supervisor.

Next, get funded! If your library can support you going to the conference but can’t justify the financial support, here are a few tips to get some assistance:

9528069608_b3824f4e45_z

“F Special – San Francisco – 2013″ by scottloftesness is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Lodging in San Francisco can be on the pricier side, and hotel rooms can be on the miniscule side. Luckily, you’ll be spending your time out and about at both the conference and the amazing sights that SF has to offer. To save, use the YALSA confererence wiki (which we will be adding to all year) to find a roommate. Sites like VRBO.com and Airbnb.com can lead you to find interesting places that you can share with a group. Another lodging option is to commute like the rest of us and stay in the East Bay, as Oakland and Berkeley are just a 30-minute BART ride away.

Speaking of BART, San Francisco’s public transportation is a great way to save on your expenses. BART runs from both SFO and the Oakland International Airport (where you may find cheaper flights) and you will definitely not need a car while in San Francisco. Streetcars and buses are convenient and offer a unique look at our city.

In the coming months, we’ll be sharing more tips on how to make ALA15 the best conference experience, offering suggestions for food, activities, and more. We look forward to seeing you there!

Sarah Levin

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28. Picture book roundup - Library books

September, National Library Card Sign-Up Month, is almost over, but if you're still looking for a good book to share, here are two new ones:

  • Kohara, Kazuno. 2014. The Midnight Library. New York: Roaring Brook. 
By the time this month is over, I will have visited thirteen kindergarten and four preschool classrooms to promote Library Card Sign-Up Month.

It doesn't matter what other books I have in my bag.  When kids see The Midnight Library, it's the one they want to hear!  Apart from Kazuno Kohara's eye-catching linocut illustrations in three colors, here's why I like it:
  • It features a library that's open all night long.  I wouldn't want to work there, but it makes for a really good story!
  • It highlights the fact that libraries are adaptable.  The squirrel band needs to practice some new songs for an upcoming concert?  No problem!  The library has an activity room they can use.
  • It features one of a librarian's favorite activities - reading stories.  Wolf is crying because her book is sad?  No worries! The librarian reads it with her.  It has a happy ending!
  • It's absolutely perfect for Library Card Sign-Up Month!  Tortoise can't finish that 500-page book before the library closes at sunrise? A library card is what he needs!

See this and more interior artwork at the publisher's website.

  • Becker, Bonny. 2014. A Library Book for Bear. Somerville, MA: Candlewick. Illustrated by Kady MacDonald Denton.

I've loved the Bear and Mouse series ever since it came out, and while this one is not my favorite (I still love A Visitor for Bear best!), it's a good addition to your collection of library-themed books.  You really can't go wrong with Bear and Mouse.

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29. Reread #39 Blackout

Blackout. Connie Willis. 2010. Random House. 495 pages. [Source: Bought]


This year I've decided to reread all of Connie Willis' time travel books. This is the third book I've reread. I've also reread Doomsday Book and To Say Nothing of the Dog. I first reviewed Blackout in November 2010. I reviewed it again in January 2012.


Blackout is about (three) time travelers studying World War II. For the most part, the novel is set in the year 1940. However, the novel also contains other stories--almost like riddles. These small stories are set in 1944 and 1945, they feature other characters--or do they?--studying World War II: V1 Rockets and V-E Day.

Merope Ward (aka Eileen O'Reilly) has gone back to study the evacuation of children to the country. She is working as a nurse/maid on a country estate. Her assignment was for the spring of 1940.

Polly "Sebastian" (she takes on a different Shakespearean last name for every assignment) has gone back to study the London Blitz. She wants to work as a London shopgirl. Her assignment was for the fall of 1940.

Michael Davies (Mike) has gone back to observe the Dunkirk evacuation. His assignment was for the summer of 1940.

They've heard over and over again that historians cannot change the past, that historians cannot damage the timeline, that historians can merely observe past events. But what if everyone was wrong? What if time travel is dangerous and risky? Not just dangerous for the time traveler who may find himself/herself in trouble, but dangerous for everyone. What if there are negative consequences for time travel?

Eileen, Polly, and Mike will question what they've all been told when they find themselves trapped in 1940 unable to return to Oxford and their own time. Eileen missed her deadline because of a quarantine initially. Months later she tried to use her drop and failed. She thought it was because there were too many people nearby--the military has just taken possession of the estate where she worked. She remembers that Polly Churchill will be in London soon. She wants to find her and use her drop to go back. Mike was injured during the Dunkirk evacuation. An injury that kept him trapped for weeks. His drop is also impossible to use. He remembers Polly's assignment. He goes to London desperate to find another time traveler. These three reunite only to discover what Polly already knew--her own drop was damaged--she thinks because of a bomb. She was hoping that THEY were there to rescue her. Being trapped changes everything.

Blackout is an intense read. Primarily the focus is on what war was like on the homefront, what the war was like for Londoners. I definitely recommend this one. But it does come with a warning. It is only half the story. All Clear is the sequel, and, you'll want to read it to finish the story. Blackout does not stand on its own.

© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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30. What’s An On-Demand?

On-demand assessments allow us to check and see, rather than speculate, on what kids already know and can do. Then we can make well-informed choices about what to teach.

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31. Using Technology to Help At-Risk Teens

Public libraries are, as ALA President Courtney Young said in a July 2014 Comcast Newsmaker interview, “digital learning centers.”  We are able to provide access to computers, wireless capabilities, and also a space to learn. Access to technology becomes even more important to our “at-risk” teens; the library becomes a safe spot to use these resources. The question becomes how do we help them use this technology and learn from it? Earlier this month, the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education (SCOPE) published a report titled “Using Technology to Support At-Risk Students’ Learning.” This brief defines “at-risk” students as high schoolers with personal and academic factors that would could cause them to fail classes or drop out of school all together. They give three variables for success, real-life examples to why these variables work, and then recommend policies to help achieve these variables. While the article was geared towards schools, these variables are important to keep in mind as we work with the teens in our libraries.

When learning new digital skills, youth must be engaged in interactive projects, must do more discovery and creation than the standard “drill and kill,” and must have a blend of both teacher and technology (6). These variables are part of the larger, digital learning ecosystem which places the learner at the center. This ecosystem relies on the constant bi-directional dialogue as the learner engages with learning outcomes, technology, and the context of the situation (which includes the activity, the goals of the activity, and the community the learning is taking place in). As we use technology and support our teens, we should be in constant reflection mode, altering our future programs to best fit the needs of our teens. Feedback we receive can help us discover what we are doing well and what needs to still be worked on. How we shape our digital literacy programs are up to us; we know our community of teens better than anyone else in the library. If we highlight and support their interests, they are most likely to be engaged with the program and more likely to return the library and use our resources.

These variables overlap and are more powerful when used together. The authors cite that interactive learning allows “students to see and explore concepts from different angles using a variety of representations” (7). As the teen engage, they are likely to discuss their findings with the people around them, which in turn strengthens both the learning and the existing community. As we work with our teens, we should push for creation versus just going through the steps, because this form of interactive learning this strengthens retention of skills and again, creates conversation. As we implement this programming, we can also be resources and a support team for our teens. It is important to stress that we don’t have to be the experts, and there might be times where we are all learning together. The moments of collective learning enhances our community and creates shared memories the teens won’t forget. Looking at the big picture, by keeping these variables in mind, we can empower our teens through access to technology they might not have regular access to.

To me, these variables seem obvious and are important to keep in mind as we think about creating programming that target digital literacy skills. This might also be because of the assistantship I am a part of at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. Our nine month grant from the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity focuses on eliminating the digital divide across the Urbana-Champaign community. I am working with two after-school programs and am developing curriculum to support digital literacy. As we think about this article and our own libraries, this can be our framing question: How can we support teens’ digital literacy with the resources our library has? These variables also push us to provide more than just access to our teens. While access is important, this article reminds us that thoughtful programming can engage our teens, help them become a stronger part of our library community, and grow as an informed global citizen. We can help them create content they can share with the world and empower them to use technology as a tool to better themselves. Over the following months, I’ll be creating digital literacy programs and will be keeping these variables from the SCOPE article in mind. I cannot wait to share my discoveries with you and hope some of what I learn and create can be used with the teens you serve.

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32. Creative Writing is Not Hot

Each year for the past nineteen years, the International Reading Association has published a list of What’s Hot and What’s Not in literacy education in their magazine, Reading Today. The list is based on… Continue reading

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33. Surprise! It’s Racist! Unwanted Children’s Book Surprises.

IfIRanZoo 219x300 Surprise!  Its Racist!  Unwanted Childrens Book Surprises.I think many of us have done this at some point.  You’ve picked up a favorite old children’s book to read to your own kiddos.  Everything’s going smoothly and you’re all having a fabulous time.  Then, WHAMMO!  Surprise!  It’s racist!

Have no idea what I’m talking about?  Well today we’re talking race and we’re talking classic children’s books.  It’s a match made in heaven!

A couple things inspired this post and the first was when I received a copy of the new edition of If I Ran the Zoo by Dr. Seuss.  Ladies and gentlemen if prior to reading this book you had asked me whether or not Dr. Seuss was ever racist in a picture book I would have laughed you off.  WWII political cartoons?  Sure.  But his books?  Not unless you count that theory about The Cat in the Hat and the elevator operator.  Then I bring this book home and my husband proceeds to read it to my daughter.  It’s all going well for a while . . . then we have some problems.

There are the little African guys, grass skirts and all:

IfRanZoo1 500x350 Surprise!  Its Racist!  Unwanted Childrens Book Surprises.

There’s the Arabic fellow where it is suggested that he be collected along with his steed.

Screen Shot 2014 09 24 at 11.14.46 PM Surprise!  Its Racist!  Unwanted Childrens Book Surprises.

And then there’s this:

Screen Shot 2014 09 24 at 11.15.06 PM Surprise!  Its Racist!  Unwanted Childrens Book Surprises.

The text honest-to-goodness uses the term “slant-eyes” at one point.

You see, when it comes to surprising racism, we all sort of expect Native Americans and African-Americans to fare poorly.  We tend to forget how AWFUL Asian people had it, and they show up all the friggin’ time.  Whether it’s The Cricket in Times Square (see this rather lovely critique of it here) or Cheaper by the Dozen (check out the chapter “Chinese Cooking”) it’s out there.  But the most unexpected racism?  Voila:

CharlieGreatGlass Surprise!  Its Racist!  Unwanted Childrens Book Surprises.

Surprised?  Many of us have heard the tale of how the Oompa Loompas were changed from African pygmies to something significantly less offensive in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  So why does no one recall that Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator has its own cringe-worthy moment?  I suspect because it isn’t accompanied by any art.  You see, there’s a moment when the President calls the Prime Minister of China . . . I’ll just leave it at that.  Let your imagination fill in the details.

Not that there aren’t surprises in books where Native American and African-Americans fare poorly.  We all know the Little House books are racist but we forget the details until we stumble on them.  Then there are the fuzzy cases.

I was having dinner with librarian Kyle Lukoff and we were discussing these types of books.  Heck, that conversation was the real impetus for this post.  We covered the usual suspects (Pippi in the South Seas, Doctor Doolittle, etc.) when Kyle pointed out a book that might not be out-and-out racist but sure is unfortunate.  Remember the Mr. Men books?  Of course you do.  So do any of you guys remember this fellow?

MrUppity Surprise!  Its Racist!  Unwanted Childrens Book Surprises.

Author/illustrator Richard Hargreaves was an Englishman so one can hope that the term “uppity” perhaps did not have the same connotations in his part of the globe as here.  Maybe.  It’s just awfully odd that the only brown-skinned Mr. Men character I can think of happened to get that particular moniker.  The scan here makes him look possibly purple.  It would be better.

For my part, lots of my favorites have one element that drives me crazy: cannibals.  Lots of my dearly beloved books from childhood turn out to be just chock full of them.  From The Thyme Garden and Magic by the Lake (both Edward Eager) to Bednob and Broomstick and The Phoenix and the Carpet, seen here:

NesbitCannibals Surprise!  Its Racist!  Unwanted Childrens Book Surprises.

Doggone it.

So fess up.  What’s your childhood favorite that caught you off guard years later?

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34. One Year in Coal Harbor (2012)

One Year in Coal Harbor. Polly Horvath. 2012. Random House. 224 pages. [Source: Review copy]

I'm not sure I loved-loved Everything On a Waffle OR One Year in Coal Harbor. But I think I almost loved both books. I think my favorite part--for better or worse--was the recipes at the end of each chapter. I loved Primrose's narration of this recipes. They were cutesy at times, I admit. But they were pure fun. I kept reading so I could get to the next recipe. I'm not sure I was supposed to like them that much.

As to the rest of the book, I'm glad she's still in touch with her former foster parents. I think her foster parents, Bert and Evie, are more developed than most of the other characters. Primrose's parents still felt under-developed to me. I liked meeting Ked. I am glad that Primrose finally, finally got someone her own age to spend time with. I liked Ked very much. Both before and after. I wish that the romance between Uncle Jack and Miss Bowzer was better. I'm not sure what better would look like. I am not sure that the romance should be center-stage of this book. And I am glad with the overall outcome. But it just felt awkward at times. Granted, we see all of this through Primrose's eyes, so maybe Uncle Jack and Kate saw each other more than we know, and had actual conversations.

I like the idea of liking this book. It has a couple of cute concepts: the restaurant that serves EVERYTHING on the menu with a waffle, the couple that serves just about everything with mini-marshmallows. But the book(s) remain almost for me.
© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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35. Learning from Teens: Thoughts for Teen Read Week

Teen Read Week is coming up October 12-18, and libraries are encouraged to use the theme “Turn Dreams into Reality” to share our knowledge, resources, services, and collections with teens in an effort to promote reading for fun. As professionals working with teens in the library, each of us curates our own personal collection—in folder and binders, dog-eared books and browser bookmarks, or just in our haphazardly cataloged heads—of resources that guide us in promoting reading. Yet as we inform our patrons about the epic books in our collection, the multiple formats in which they can check out our materials, and the research on the college success of avid readers, let’s not forget that some of our greatest resources are the very subjects of our resource-sharing: the teens themselves.

It’s an easy thing to forget since, as library professionals, we like to think of ourselves as the experts. In many things, we are. And in some, we aren’t. You know that book that won dozens of awards but you just can’t get any teens to pick up? How about the poorly-written piece of fluff that they can’t get enough of? In the end, we can only guess at what will go over well. Each person has his or her own individual taste, but more often than not, teens’ tastes will be more similar to one another’s than adults’ tastes will be to teens’.

Our goal during Teen Read Week is to promote reading for pleasure, and the only way to do that is to help connect teens with books they like. There may be a time and place for encouraging teens to read “healthier” books than the ones they want—that’s up for debate. But this week isn’t that time. If we want teens to learn that reading is fun, we need to think like teens. And while we can’t entirely re-wire our brains (and probably wouldn’t want to, having been through that angsty stage of life once already), many of us are lucky enough to spend enough time around teens that we have easy access to two simple techniques: observe and ask.

Most library staff are good at observing. Circulation stats are great for long-term trends. For the short-term, pay attention to reference questions and keep an eye on the “Just Returned” shelves. Displays and handouts can be useful, too. I once put up a “Take a Book, Leave a Book” display in which teens were encouraged to check out a book off the shelf and replace it with one of their favorite titles from the collection for someone else to discover. Or, leave some genre booklists near your YA stacks, and observe which go out the quickest.take a book 2

Asking is perhaps a less commonly used tool. Asking a teen what books she likes may seem less efficient than checking stats, but its impact is great in a different way. When we make a habit of asking teens their opinions, we show that their library is their own, and exists to meet their needs. We acknowledge that we, the “book experts,” respect and want to learn from their expertise. We begin a conversation that builds relationships, which lead to trust and a sense of community that allow us to better encourage the teens’ love of reading and the library. With further questioning, we can learn why a teen likes what she likes, and can use that knowledge to gain a deeper knowledge of teens’ reading preferences which will allow us to serve them better in a wider variety of situations. By encouraging them to talk about books, we help the teens learn to summarize and distill the core meaning or experience of a story. They practice explanatory and persuasive skills in telling us why the book was good.

Identify the best opportunities for conversing with teens about books in your job. For me, one opportunity is when walking from the Youth reference desk to the Teen Lounge to help a patron locate a title. Readers’ Advisory interactions are naturally a time to learn about someone’s reading tastes, especially if you ask why the patron enjoyed a certain title rather than coming up with readalikes based on your own criteria. Making a comment like “That’s a great book” or “That’s a very popular book” can sometimes spark a conversation. (Remember, you don’t always have to like the book. Saying something is popular or that you’ve talked to other teens who liked it is a great way to say something positive while getting around expressing your own opinion.)

If you are a collection developer, asking knowledgeable teens for their input on the collection encourages them to feel that they can make a difference in the library. When a teen asks me for manga suggestions, after helping him out I might say, “I am actually the person who decides which manga we buy for the library. Are there any we don’t have that you think we should?” I might ask the same question to someone I see reading manga in the Teen Lounge, if she seems willing and I get a good opening (I wouldn’t want to interrupt someone’s reading, of course). Most libraries have a suggestion process, but patrons might not know about it or might not take the initiative to use it, whereas they’d be happy to take a minute or two to respond to a direct question.

Keep in mind that some teens won’t want to talk, and if they don’t, don’t push it. The goal is to help them interact positively with books and the library, and if talking to library staff is not positive for the patron, then you are subverting your own goal.

We can learn a lot from professional literature, degree programs, conferences, and fellow library staff, but you can only learn about the unique characteristics of your own community by engaging with its members, and you can only learn what it is like to be a teen by talking to teens. Teens are often looking for opportunities to be seen as adults rather than children, and will appreciate your interest in their opinions. Meanwhile, you will be building a program that is truly centered on those you serve.

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36. Blog Tour: The Rise of Aurora West and EXLUSIVE ART by David Rubin




About the Book: Monsters are plaguing Arcopolis and children are not safe. Haggard West is the hero that is trying to take them down and he has an apprentice: his daughter Aurora West. Aurora discovers that the monsters may have something to do with the mystery behind her mother's death and if she can unlock her childhood memories and remember her imaginary friend, she might be able to piece it all together. All she has to do is survive Sadisto and his murderous gang long enough to uncover the past.

GreenBeanTeenQueen: The Rise of Aurora West is set in the same world as Battling Boy but is a prequel to that graphic novel and stands on its own. No prior knowledge or readership of Battling Boy is required, but I'm sure readers will want to pick up Battling Boy after finishing this one! The story is fast paced and is a bit dark with an everyday hero out to fight monsters in a dystopian future.

The Rise of Aurora West is a graphic novel with lots of adventure, mystery, family drama and secrets, an awesome hero on the rise and a fantastic father/daughter relationship. Add in some pretty creepy monsters, a city with no hope, and a a bit of archaeology and you've got one action packed story that is easy to get lost in. This is part one of a two volume series and I can't wait to get my hands on the next part of Aurora's story! If you have graphic novel fans who enjoy adventure and hero stories, be sure to add this one to your shelves.

Check out this exclusive art from David Rubin featuring one of those creepy monsters-seriously, I would not want to run into this guy!



 Full Disclosure: Reviewed from ARC sent by publisher for review

0 Comments on Blog Tour: The Rise of Aurora West and EXLUSIVE ART by David Rubin as of 9/25/2014 9:39:00 AM
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37. Fusenews: Properly vicious

MinistryofMagic 318x500 Fusenews: Properly viciousThere comes a time when I have so much news for a Fusenews that it paralyzes me and rather than write one up I just let my files accrue more and more schtoof until the vicious circle ends with a massive deletion.  Today some of this stuff will strike you as a bit out of date, but the bulk is pretty darn fun.

  • Anytime I write a post that involves race in some way I gird my loins and prepare for the worst.  The worst did not occur yesterday, however, when I wrote about moments of surprising racism in classic children’s books.  Perhaps everyone was distracted by Jonathan Hunt’s post on The Present Tense.  Now THAT is a hot and heavy discussion!
  • Oh, Cotsen Children’s Library.  Is there anything you can’t do?  Because, to be perfectly frank, I think even the prospect of interviewing Philip Pullman would render me effectively mute.  And then there was that AMAZING piece on the woman who makes Harry Potter miniatures.  Seriously, this is your required reading of the day.
  • Because I love Kalamazoo in all its myriad forms, this caught my eye.  For you Michiganders out there:

In February 2014, 95 youth librarians, youth library workers, and students gathered at Clinton-Macomb Public Library for a truly excellent day of professional development, idea-sharing, networking, and learning, unconference style. In 2015, we’ll gather April 24th at Kalamazoo Public Library. Hosted by Lisa Mulvenna (Clinton-Macomb PL), Anne Clark (Alice and Jack Wirt PL, Bay City), and Andrea Vernola (Kalamazoo PL), the MI KidLib Unconference will feature relevant and engaging sessions decided on by participants at the conference. And as is typical of an Unconference, it’s FREE to attend. Registration begins in January 2015.

Here are the session notes from last year in case you want to see what we learned together. We hope you’ll join us and spread the word to anyone who’s interested in youth services in libraries!

  • If you had told me even two years ago that I would be the de facto mathematics librarian, ideal for moderating events like the Science & Mathematics Panel of Jordan Ellenberg, “Science Bob” Pflugfelder, and Benedict Carey at the Penguin Random House Author Event for NYC Educators, I would have been utterly baffled.  And yet here we are.  Know any teachers in the NYC area?  Because the whole kerschmozzle appears to be free.
  • Things That I Didn’t Know Existed Until Recently: Apparently the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center created a site called BookDragon that seeks to create a site for multicultural children’s literature.  And not just of the Asian Pacific nature either.  It’s a true multicultural site and a fun one to scroll through.  Check it!
  • This came out a while ago so I’m sure you already saw it, but just in case you didn’t, the Marc Tyler Nobleman Kidlit Mashups are nothing short of inspired.

TonyStark 300x216 Fusenews: Properly viciousOh man. Iron Man as a goodnight picture book done in a homemade cut paper style.  Not a real book.  Should be though.  Thanks to Marjorie Ingall for the link.

One of my favorite illustrators, Aaron Zenz, wrote me the following message you would be very wise to read it, oh those amongst ye with an artistic bent.  This art gives light and life and meaning to my day:

We play this game on our second blog every three years or so, and I believe you’ve made note of it in the past.  So I thought I’d let you know this time around also that we’re letting professional illustrators and artists dip into the 8 year archive at Chicken Nugget Lemon Tooty to reimagine Z-Kid art once again:http://www.isaacgracelily.blogspot.com/2014/08/8yearcelebration.html

There have been some great kid lit contributors in the past like Nathan Hale, Charise Harper, Jarrett Krosoczka, Renata Liwska, Adam Rex…   And even though the call just went out for this new round, kid lit folks Julie Phillipps and Doug Jones have already hopped on board (both of them have also played all three times!)

Go!  Play!

  • My sister wrote me the other day to ask for a recommendation of a great children’s book about a jellyfish.  I complied then found out why she wanted to know.  I love it when she succeeds in her crazy plans on her blog but truth be told she’s awfully hilarious when she fails.  It’s a Jellyfish in a bottle [FAIL].
  • Daily Image:

It’s nice to have friends who know boats.  Particularly when they start critiquing classic works of children’s literature.  My friend Stefan Driesbach-Williams recently posted this familiar illustration:

MaxBoat 500x373 Fusenews: Properly vicious

Then he wrote, “I’m seeing a cutter with a loose-footed staysail and a boomkin.”

But it was the response from his nautical friends that made my day.  One Levi Austin White responded with the following:

“Aye! Captain Max has only got his smallest storm stays’l aloft like a prudent mariner, although his main looks really drafty and dangerously powered up.

He seems to have his main trimmed in all the way, but headed dead downwind. That seems like a disastrous combination considering his mains’l tuning. I don’t see any reef points on his main though, so perhaps he’s outta luck.

Any news on his journey? Did he survive the storm? The way the seafoam is scudding across the wave tops, I’d say that he’s on the lee shore of a low lying island, with 50-70 kts windspeed. Looks properly vicious.

Best of luck, Captain Max. May the seas be forever in your favor.”

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38. Flashback July 2012

A look back at what I reviewed in July 2012:



One Moment by Kristina McBride. From my review: "If you could change one moment in your life . . .  That’s how Maggie feels. She wants to change one moment so that it doesn’t end with her boyfriend Joey dead, floating in the water below the cliff. Only thing is, she doesn’t remember what happened at the top of the cliff; she remembers agreeing to jump off the cliff into the cool water below, something Joey and her other friends have done countless times over countless summers. But after that, she remembers nothing. So what is the one moment to change? Something at the top of the cliff? Earlier, when she agreed to jump? If they all hadn’t gone to the party the night before, would things have ended up differently?"

Dark Companion by Marta Acosta. From my review: "Jane is a terrific mix of tough and vulnerable, smart and naive. Here she is on why she is at school: “It was rage that got me to Birch Grove Academy for Girls and out of Hellsdale. I nestled into my bed, knowing that rage would help me survive here, too.” Jane may know the way of the streets, but families are alien territory. What I liked about Jane is how her background impacts her; for example, one of the first thing she does when she settles into her own home (which is a cute little cottage I would love to live in!), is to find a place to hide those things that are important to her. When Mrs. Radcliffe takes her on a shopping trip so that Jane is ready for school, Jane returns half the clothes and pockets the money, putting it in with her secret stash. She’s a foster child who has to hide what is important to her, and who has to be always ready to run."

A Confusion of Princes by Garth Nix. From my review: "Prince Khemri is one of the ten million Princes who rule the Empire. To “ordinary folk,” these Princes seem immortal. And, it’s true, that they can be reborn in certain situations; and that they are augmented in what may appear to be super-human ways. . . . The sixteenth anniversary of his selection as a Prince-candidate is Khemri’s day of investiture as full Prince. He even gets assigned a Master of Assassins! Khemri has big plans, based on his grooming as a Prince and the things he’s been taught. He’s going to get a warship, go explore, make his mark, and become the next Emperor. Turns out, his education wasn’t complete. Some details were left out. Like the competition between Princes can be deadly. Instead of sitting back and living out the adventures lived in his favorite Psitek experience, The Achievement of Prince Garikm, he finds himself being saved from assassinations attempts and enrolled as a Naval candidate because the Academy is one of the few safe places. That’s all in the first thirty pages. That doesn’t even cover Khemri’s three deaths. Action, suspense, space pirates, and, yes, even a touch of romance in this intergalactic adventure."

Lies, Knives, and Girls in Red Dresses by Ron Koertge, illustrated by Andrea Dezso. From my review: "I love retold fairy tales, especially when they twist and tweak and turn inside out. You may remember that from my post about the TV show Once Upon A Time. Take something you think is familiar, look at it from a new direction, what new truths are there? Most of these tales live in a world that is both modern and fairy tale. The first one is The Stepsisters, from Cinderella, and begins “I write this on a brailler, a kind of typewriter/ for the blind.” Like some (but not all) of these stories, it takes the viewpoint of a secondary character (the stepsisters) and makes references  that are both non-fairy tale (a brailler) and classic (the birds pecking out their eyes.) It gives a different perspective: “Mother turned us against our stepsister,/ belittling her.”"

This Is Not a Test by Courtney Summers. From my review: " I like zombies. Love zombie movies and TV shows and books. I want three things from a zombie book: a new take on the story. A good metaphor for what the zombies represent. And a concrete tip or two on how to survive the zombie apocalypse.
This Is Not A Test is told from the point of view of a depressed, abused teenage girl who wants to die. Sloane was “rescued” by two high school classmates, Rhys and Cary, who didn’t know she wasn’t trying to survive, not like the rest of them. And now she is one of six, huddled up in a school, exits blocked and barricaded. Five teens who want to survive: . . . . And Sloane, whose secret is she’s not like them, never has been. Sloane doesn’t want to live, but she doesn’t want to put the group at risk, won’t do to them what [her sister] Lily did to her, so she finds herself with them, in the high school, where her silence is mistaken for strength."

Long Lankin by Lindsey Barraclough. From my review: "When reading this, I was reminded of three authors: Diana Wynne Jones, because Barraclough’s capturing of childhood reminded me of Jones. When Cora discovers a piano in her aunt’s house and wants to play, she sits down. But what child just sits down on a piano stool? “I sat down on the stool, one of those that whirled around and went up and down, and I must have whizzed round on it for five minutes at least before I cam to a stop, all giddy.” Stephen King and Peter Straub, because Long Lankin is a horror story about cursed generations, missing children, murders, witchcraft, and the supernatural."

And a little blatant self promotion, for the book Sophie Brookover and I wrote, Pop Goes the Library, because in 2012 was when a e-book version became available! Yes, the title is still in print, still for purchase, and still has a lot of valuable information... even if it was written before the Brangelina wedding.




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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39. Shh! We Have a Plan by Chris Haughton

Shh! We Have a Plan is Chris Haughton's third picture book and the third book of his I have reviewed. The palette Haughton used in his first book, Little Owl Lost, caught my attention right away. Haughton's choice of potent colors, the kind you might be more likely to find in 1960s décor than a children's book drew me in. But it is his skill at story telling, both with words and pictures,

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40. Not-So-Cozy Bedtime Stories

Some of my favorite story time themes involve contrasting themes: Big and Little, Noisy and Quiet, and Awake and Asleep.  While I have several favorite titles perfect for snuggling just before bedtime, they’re not stories that I want to include for a 10:30 story time full of wide-awake toddlers. Luckily, there are any number of rollicking stories that are bedtime-oriented, but won’t invoke drowsiness:

beebeebird

(image from HarperCollins site)

Although “beebee bobbi bobbi” runs through my head all day long after using this in story time, I can’t resist using The Baby Beebee Bird in story times about baby animals or my awake/asleep story time.  This energetic story about a baby bird who prefers to (initially) sleep through the day and sing all night long (and making a very restless night for the other zoo animals, until they hatch a plan to teach the bird a lesson) will require creative and loud animal noises from the reader.

bedtime_jungle

 

(image taken from John Butler site)

Although this take on “Over in the Meadow” certainly qualifies as a “cozy” bedtime story, the variety of animals and audience participation possibilities (counting, etc) make Bedtime in the Jungle  a fun read for story times at any time of the day. It’s also great for story times involving baby animals, jungle animals, or counting.

bunnies_bed

(image taken from Random House site)

The Bunnies Are Not in Their Beds inevitably checks out with a story time patron after I include it in a story time; hopefully, the clever bits in the illustrations that go unnoticed in a large group setting (the headline in the newspaper, for instance) will be observed in an one-on-one setting.  The increasingly racuous bunnies, who are clearly not ready for bedtime, are hilarious.

 

piggies_pj

(image taken from Simon & Schuster site)

Stories in rhyme can be troublesome to read aloud; uneven rhyme schemes can make reading aloud awkward. You won’t have that problem with Piggies in Pajamas; this is a funny and bouncy tale of pajama-clad piggies who always manage to appear to be resting quietly each time Mama Pig checks out the commotion upstairs.

 

Do you have any favorite bedtime stories? Share in the comments!

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41. Lord and Lady Spy

Lord and Lady Spy Shanna Galen

Sophia Smythe is hiding in a wardrobe, waiting to capture Napoleon's top aide, when a fellow spy comes in and grabs him first. She is then unceremoniously laid off, as the war is over and the government no longer needs as many spies. And so she's packed off home to her boring and distant husband.

Adrian Smythe is shocked when he is laid off--didn't he just hand over Napoleon's top aide? Now what is he supposed to do? Go home to his boring and dowdy wife?

Then, the top secret Barbican group realizes it can hire one of them back. Whoever solves a simple murder case first can be reinstated. Only first, Sophia and Adrian have to get over the shock once they discover each other's true identities! As the danger mounts, they learn to work together as a team and slowly piece their marriage back together.

YES. This is a regency retelling of Mr. and Mrs. Smith. YES. It is 100% awesome.

I loved the action and the mystery, but I also loved the real distance between them and how they slowly come back together. Not having keep secrets about huge parts of their identities--the parts they cherish the most--definitely helps. Once they can be completely honest, they're almost entirely different people. But there are other issues--Sophia has suffered a string of miscarriages, the grief from each tearing them apart as they didn't know how to mourn together. On top of that, she knows she can't go through that again and so she's fearful of physical intimacy because of what may result. And I loved seeing them work together on spy stuff, and how their newfound respect for each other's work lead to a romantic relationship.

Like I said, it was AWESOME and I loved it and I'm excited to see that it's the first in a series--all retellings of spy movies (which is a premise that could be awful, but it's NOT.)


Book Provided by... my wallet

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42. GLBT Round Table News and Resources

Want to find out what the GLBT Round Table is up to and the latest LGBTQA news in general? Sign up for the new GLBTRT News! It’s easy: go to http://www.glbtrt.ala.org/news , scroll down, and sign up. You’ll get in-depth news stories, learn more about how the GLBT Round Table works, and gain access to great book reviews! You can even contact the GLBT Round Table News Committee and submit news of your own.
Speaking of great LGBTQA resources, why not also check out the newly updated Professional Tools page to access a whole slew of bibliographies and other resources for librarians. Brought to you by the GLBT Round Table Resources Committee.

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43. how the broadband sausage does or does not get made

The Vermont Department of Public Service will hold public hearings to gather public input on the final draft of the 2014 Vermont Telecommunications Plan. The Plan addresses the major ongoing developments in the telecommunications industry, including broadband infrastructure development, regulatory policy and recommendations for future action. The Department will hold two public hearings in Orange County on the public comments draft of the Plan prior to adopting the final Plan. Middle Branch Grange, 78 Store Hill Road, East Bethel, Vermont, September 18, 2014, at 2:00 p.m.

telecom meeting

I went to this meeting. There weren’t even going to be any meetings in Orange County, the county where I live, until someone showed up at one of the Barre meetings and suggested them. So there were two meetings in Orange County last week. One during the day in Bethel and one in the evening in Strafford. Unfortunately the weather didn’t totally cooperate so there was a local power outage for some reason and a forecast of a hard frost that evening. So a lot of the farmers who would have shown up at this even had to stay home and cover plants and do other things that farmers do when the weather starts getting cold.

I’ve been doing a lot of leisure-time stuff in keeping with my theme this month but today I went to work. I sat and listened to multiple stories of farmers and other neighbors struggling with digital disinclusion. I took some notes and I made a statement. This is the polished version of what I said.

My name is Jessamyn West, I’m a technology educator in Randolph Vermont and I wrote a book about the digital divide. I have three points I’d like to make

  1. We’re interested in results, not projections. A lot of the data we hear talks about when we’re going to have everyone online, or points to the number of people who have this technology available. I’d like to know why people aren’t online and what we’re doing to work with those people. Saying that most Vermonters have access overlooks the chunk of people with no access who should be the focal point of future build-outs. This report talks about how Burlington Vermonters have a choice of ISPs and overlooks that most of us have almost no consumer choice at all.
  2. And while we’re getting people access, let’s make sure they all have the same access. People talk about 3G and 4G as if they are the same as cable or DSL. They’re not. They come with bandwidth caps, overage charges, and a lot of concern about impending lack of net neutrality. Similar to how, back when people had dial-up, some people in more remote locations had to pay for the phone calls in addition to having to pay for the service. We’re seeing the same gap now with remote users only having satellite or cellular-based access. We should strive for everyone having equitable access.
  3. Most important to me is what we call the empowerment or the usability divide. I heard a person earlier say she wanted to get access to the internet so that she could run a website for her small business. Just getting access isn’t going to give her a website. She’ll need resources and likely some human help in order to be able to do that. And where does that come from? It used to be that the digital divide was just “People don’t have access to computers” and then it was “People don’t have access to the internet” and now that most people have access, sometimes only through their public library, we are still seeing participation gaps. These gaps align along the same lines as other structural inequalities like poverty, educational attainment, age, race, and disability status. The people not participating are already facing multiple challenges. We know this. We need to find a way to support those people and not reinforce those inequalities.

The hardest to serve have always been the hardest to serve; the challenge of getting everyone online is going to necessarily mean having a plan for those people as well as everyone else. Thank you.

1 Comments on how the broadband sausage does or does not get made, last added: 9/25/2014
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44. Common Core Review: Eye to Eye: How Animals See the World by Steve Jenkins

Eye to Eye: How Animals See the WorldHave you ever thought much about the different kinds of eyes that exist in the animal world? What about the evolution of the eye? Did you know that some animals use their eyes for more than just vision? In his book Eye to Eye, author and illustrator Steve Jenkins takes a closer look at the eyes of a variety of animals. Beginning with an overview of the four basic kinds of eyes (eyespot, pinhole, compound and camera), Jenkins provides specific examples of different animal eyes and what makes them unique. For instance, the bullfrog uses its eyes to push food down its throat and the stalk-eyed fly relies on the length of its eye stalks to attract a mate. Some creatures, like the blue mountain swallowtail butterfly, can see high-frequency colors that are invisible to the human eye; while others, like the sea slug, have only eyespots which can detect the presence of light, but cannot perceive solid images or colors. Using his trademark cut paper illustrations, Jenkins has put together yet another concise, informative, and visually engaging exploration of the animal world. Full of interesting facts and bright, colorful illustrations, Eye to Eye is sure to entertain and inform readers of all ages.

Virtually any Steve Jenkins book lends itself nicely to fulfilling the informational text requirements of the Common Core Standards. His work is well researched, focused, and engaging and his artistic style provides the opportunity for cross-curricular collaboration with the arts. Here are some possible connections to make using Eye to Eye:

• Once students have a better idea of how various types of eyes work and look, they can choose an animal and recreate a cut or torn paper collage image of that animal’s eye along with a brief description of what kind of eye it is and any special functions or features.
o CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.7
Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.

• Common Core Standards for writing can be met by asking students to compare and contrast the different features of two animals’ eyes and write up two scenarios – one in which each animal would thrive while the other might struggle.
o CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.7
Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects based on focused questions, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.

• Try pairing Eye to Eye with Beth Fielding’s Animal Eyes (2011) for some more information about other animal eyes and ask students to compare and contrast the information and authors’ styles.
o CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.9
Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take.
o CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.8
Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and integrate the information while avoiding plagiarism.
o CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.9
Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

All standards are from the Common Core State Standards Initiative website

Posted by: Staci


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45. Celebrating the wonderful RAIN in California: Rain, by Linda Ashman & Christian Robinson (ages 4-8)

I woke up to the sound of soft rain this morning and savored the small moment. It made me think of a lovely book that all our Berkeley school libraries have: Rain, by Linda Ashman, illustrated by Christian Robinson. I absolutely adore this book, especially for the way both author and illustrator notice small moments.
Rain
by Linda Ashman
illustrated by Christian Robinson
Houghton Mifflin, 2013
Your local library
Amazon
ages 4-8
Rain tells the story of two very different people’s reaction to a rainy day. The illustrations are full of details that kids notice and can talk about. A happy little boy and a grumpy old man wake up to a rainy morning, and each immediately react to the prospect of putting on their rain gear. The old man says, “Nasty galoshes. Blasted overcoat.” The little guy, on the other hand, tells his mom, “It’s raining frogs and pollywogs!”
interior from Rain, by Linda Ashman & Christian Robinson
They each go their own way until they meet in a cafe. Kids will love noticing what happens when the little boy offers his cookie to the old man. Will the grumpy old man refuse, or will the young boy’s enthusiasm win the day?

I loved talking with students about how the author noticed small moment details in the dialog and how the artist noticed small moment details in his illustrations. Students are talking about "small moments" as they craft their own stories, as a way to flesh out details in creative writing. Our 2nd graders noticed so many details, from the emotions of other customers in the cafe, to the interactions between the boy and the shop keeper.
Christian Robinson at Emerson, May 2014
The illustrator Christian Robinson visited all Berkeley elementary schools last year, thanks to a grant from the Berkeley Public Schools Fund, and so many students will be able to remember the story and meeting the artist. He is absolutely delightful.

For a bit of fun, check out his website: theartoffun.com and notice how small moments can be captured in words as well as pictures. This image (from Robinson’s Fall 2014 Publisher’s Weekly cover) is not from the book, but it is a small moment that has me smiling this morning.

Christian Robinson at Emerson School, May 2014
The review copy comes from our school 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.

©2014 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

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46. A Little Hump Day Shine

My word this year is ‘shine’. It can be so easy catching myself not shining my brightest. Typically, those are times I don’t allow others to shine. I’m too bright too dull the glow of others! (Repeating 3x daily)

Technology helps me, helps us, shine. I recently updated my iPhone to the new IOS and found that I went back to the same ol’ settings I’ve had. While I appreciate Apple making me aware of some of the new functions, I’ve found my comfort zone. But to shine like a new copper penny, when I go for the trade in, I think I’ll go ahead and make some  real changes. I’ve never really used the Passport app so, I plan to explore that and a few other options. Changing the phone around keeps the brain young!

AND!! I decided to upgrade the Nook! I love playing with new tech toys and finding new ways to locate and share information but I can be frugal, too. If it ain’t broke, why get rid of it? I hate to admit this out loud but I do still have two of the old-fashioned heavy televisions and I drive a 2000 Honda. I was so surprised to hear that cars now tell you when the air is low in your tires! Not only am I saving money by keeping what still works, but it seems like I’m still thinking for myself as well.

René Saldaña Jr. shines brilliantly over at LatinosinKidlit when he firmly states “the books are not hard to find.” I agree, Reñe! It’s old and lame to say you can’t find any Latino books. True, there are not enough, but the ones that are there can be found.

Bringing that real shine to diversity, Kathryn Allan and Djibril al-Ayad discuss their forthcoming anthology Accessing the Future which explores disability and the intersectionality of race, nationality, gender, sexuality and class. They’re raising funds through Indiegogo to get this amazing book published so, check out the interview and shine on them with a little donation to support the cause.

Cyntwe_need_diverse_books_logohia Leitich Smith Shines no matter what! Her recent blog post details the WeNeedDiverseBooks announcement to incorporate as a non-profit and its inaugural advisory board members Grace Lin, Jacqueline Woodson, Matt de la Peña, Cynthia Leitich Smith and Cindy Pon.
“Incorporating will give us the legitimacy and standing we need to move forward with our mission,” says Lamar Giles, VP of Communications. “We have many exciting projects in the works.”

On the BrownBookShelf, Sharon Flake asks about how well you shine. She asks “Are you unstoppable?”unstoppable

On September 30, 2014, my new novel, Unstoppable Octobia May, will hit bookstores nationwide.  On that day I would love you and/or the young people you influence to join me in shouting out to the world that they too are unstoppable by holding up the following sign, words, image:

I AM UNSTOPPABLE

#UNSTOPPABLEOCTOBIAMAY

Shining winners of the 2014 South Asian Book Awards

Elizabeth Suneby

Razia’s Ray of Hope: One Girl’s Dream of an Education
(Kids Can Press, 2013)

Jennifer Bradbury

A Moment Comes
(Atheneum Book, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, 2013)

2014 Honor Winner
Farhana Zia
The Garden of My Imaan
(Peachtree, 2013)

Kudos to Walter Mays, president elect of the Assembly of Literature for Adolescents of the NCTE for his efforts to bring more diversity to the ALAN workshop which will be held this November in Washington DC. Among the many outstanding authors on the roster we’ll find

Jason Reynolds

Jenny Han

Kwame Alexander

Pam Muñoz Ryan

C.J. Farley

Coe Booth

Christopher Paul Curtis

Ying Compestine

Vinson Compestine

Atia Abawi

Tanuja Desai Hidier

Patrick Flores-Scott

Kekla Magoon

G. Neri

WOW!!! W0 W!!!! I will be there! You?

 

 


Filed under: Causes Tagged: #WeNeedDiverseBoosk, ALAN

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47. Little Melba and Her Big Trombone

Little Melba and Her Big Trombone  by Katheryn Russell-Brown illustrated by Frank Morrison Lee & Low Books, 2014 ISBN: 9781600608988 Grades K-5 The reviewer received a copy of the book from the publisher. "Spread the word! Little Melba Doretta Liston was something special."  The first line of this picture book biography announces to readers that they are about to meet an amazing individual.

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48. Happy Banned Books Week!

Captain Underpants BBW PosterHere we are in the middle of Banned Books Week again! This is one of my favorite celebrations of the year because I love to read and I love to defend everyone’s freedom to read. I appreciate the conversations that I get to have with customers around banned books and I have a lot of fun working with creative staff to plan our celebrations.

This year at Rochester Public Library (MN) we created posters of staff holding the top ten challenged books of 2013. We also created a banned/challenged books reading area which we put right inside the front entrance. The area includes piles of banned books, comfortable seating, signage explaining book challenges and bans and small cards with the staff photos on one side and the list of the top 10 challenged books of 2013 on the reverse.

BBW Reading areaThere are many creative ideas for celebrating banned books out there. Have you seen the wonderful things that the Judith F. Krug Fund grant recipients are doing?

What are you doing to celebrate the freedom to read?

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49. Go to Sleep, Little Farm by Mary Lyn Ray, illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal

I became an instant fan of artist Christopher Silas Neal after reading Lifetime: The Amazing Numbers in Animals' Lives, a fantastic non-fiction book, by Lola M. Schaefer. His newest book, Go to Sleep, Little Farm, writtenMary Lyn Ray, is another visual treat. While the illustrations, which often play nicely against the text, may be a bit stronger than the writing, there is much to enchant

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50. Join the Readers of the Banned


It's Banned Books Week again... and this time oft-banned Dav Pilkey's Captain Underpants is on a fabulous graphic that I just had to share. Look, I'm not gonna say "you must go read banned books now!" Instead, I'll say "I bet if you/your kids read a bunch of great books, you'll find that some of them have been banned. Maybe most of them."

I love Dav Pilkey's quote, too (referenced here, though I'm not sure it's the original source):

"I don't consider the books to be anti-authoritarian, but I do think it is important, if you think something is wrong, to question authority — because, you know, there are villains in real life, and they don't always wear black capes and black hats. Sometimes they're dressed like authority figures. And kids need to know that it's important to question them."

What he says! And support librarians and teachers this and all weeks when folks try to speak for more than just their own children's reading options. 

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