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Interview with Two Literacy Experts Delves into Censorship Issues in Children's Literature
Recently NCBLA President and Executive Director Mary Brigid Barrett and children's literature specialist Maria Salvadore talked with Anna Pivovarchuk of the Fair Observer. The interview is published in an article titled "Banning Children’s Literature: The Right to Read." Here is an excerpt:
|Illustration courtesy of FairObserver.com.|
Pivovarchuk: Children’s books — or literature for young adults — have been the most frequently challenged throughout history. From Huckleberry Finn, The Catcher in the Rye, to the Harry Potter series that topped the list over the last decade, and now to Captain Underpants, which pushed the controversial Fifty Shades of Grey off the top spot in 2013. What it is about these books that makes parents so angry?
Barrett: I think sometimes, on a surface level, parents feel that exposure to certain books challenges the beliefs and values they are trying to instill in their children, and they feel threatened. As a parent and teacher, I totally understand those feelings, especially when talking about age appropriateness issues. Over the last three years, visiting schools and working with children, I have found a number of kids as young as third grade who read The Hunger Games books. No matter how intellectually precocious a third grader is, few, if any, third graders would have the experience level and the emotional maturity to deal with the violence level in those books.
But banning The Hunger Games is not the answer. I found, as a parent, the best way to handle a situation where your child is adamant about reading a book, which you are worried is inappropriate, is to read it aloud with your child, so you can comment on it; your child can share his or her reaction to what is read; and you can then have a discussion with your child, sharing your values, your feelings about what is read and, in turn, your child can share his or her concerns and ask you questions.
A dear friend, author Katherine Paterson, has often found her books on the most challenged children’s books list. One of those, The Bridge to Terabithia, is often challenged for a variety of reasons. Amongst challenger claims are that it contains offensive language, promotes secular humanism, new age religions, cults and witchcraft. But Katherine thinks that in some parents it ignites a much greater parental fear — the fear of your child dying. One of the main child characters in the book dies, and not from an illness or premeditated act, or adult abuse or error, but from a total accident where no one is at fault and no one is responsible. Katherine feels that the real reason the book is challenged is that parents want to feel they are in control, and have the ability to keep their children safe. But deep down, we all know that no matter how much we love our kids, no matter how we try to protect them, anything can happen at any time. The Bridge to Terabithia reveals the deepest, darkest fear we all have as parents: that we can care for our children, but we cannot control the universe — it can take them at any time.To read the entire article, vist FairObserver.com.
Great Ideas for Connecting Kids
to Books this Summer,
Especially for Coaches,
Counselors, and Mentors
Grandparents, uncles, aunts, friends, neighbors, coaches, scout and camp councilors, youth volunteers—all of you have far more influence on the kids in your life than you know. And you have enormous influence on the children and teens that have parents who, for whatever reason, are unable to fulfill their parental responsibilities. Your position is free of even ordinary parental/child/teen tension, and because of that, your leadership and friendship are hugely meaningful, especially to preteen and teens that are naturally looking beyond their own backyards for mentors. Don’t be afraid to exert your influence encouraging kids to read, to write, to stay in school and learn.
Young and single adult mentors’ words are gold – especially to teens – so share what you’re reading with the kids. The next time you visit or meet with kids, bring magazines that you enjoy and magazines you think they would like, too. Mention articles in newspapers that interest you, as well as online materials. Share a book – a mystery, romance, biography, fantasy, or information book – that you have found especially entertaining or helpful. You are much cooler than any old parent or guardian, and if you suggest something to read, the kids will be eager to read it themselves.
Coaches and youth organization leaders schedule an informal “rain” practice or meeting in the children’s or young adults’ rooms at your local neighborhood library. Make sure to email or call your library to let them know when you will be coming to visit. And give them an idea of how many kids will be coming. If you, or your kids, do not have library cards, take the opportunity to get a library card and show the kids how to use it. Ask the librarian to show the kids where books and magazines are located that relate to their interests: sports, scouting, camping, arts and crafts, games, etc. Make sure the librarian introduces them to picture books and novels, to great stories that relate to their interests. And be sure that the kids know that they can also borrow audio books, music CDs, and video and DVDs of their favorite movies – all for free. The example of a coach or scout leader borrowing books from the library will have a far greater impact on kids than any literacy entreaty delivered by their parents or teachers.
Write up your team’s, group’s, or organization’s activities and email or fax your report to your local community paper to get your kids reading newspapers. Community papers are eager to report town activities. If your report gets published, make sure you bring the newspaper to the next practice or meeting to share with your kids. Read the blurb or report out loud and show the kids other sections of the paper that may be of interest to them. If you work with tweens and teens, rotate the “reporter’s” duties through various members of the team and let them write up the information about the game or group activity. They will be thrilled to see their words printed in the local paper. If you live in an urban area that supports a major newspaper, be sure to bring that newspaper to a meeting and point out the sports and life style sections that echo the kids’ interests.
Explore how you can connect the kids in your team or group to reading and books. When kids join America SCORES Soccer, they commit to learning how to be great soccer players and to reading and writing poetry. America SCORES is a nationwide program that uses poetry and soccer as tools to teach literacy, life skills and the importance of community service to inner-city elementary school children. The children participate five days a week for ten weeks each fall and spring. They spend two days a week learning poetry and implementing a community service project; the remaining three days per week are devoted to soccer instruction and games played against other area SCORES teams. “SCORES student-athletes improve their reading and writing skills, learn to express themselves, help their community, make lasting friendships, and learn valuable life skills that will help them advance in the classroom, on the playing field, and in society.”
SCORES was originally designed to be both a literacy and sport program, but your team or organization need not totally overhaul its mission in order to connect kids to books. If you run a scouting or recreation program, you might consider starting a book discussion group that meets regularly at a local spot kids enjoy, like a burger joint, ice cream parlor, local park, coffee shop, or neighborhood library. Your local librarian can suggest age appropriate books that work well for kids’ book discussion groups. You may create an incentive program with an award or certificate for the kids on your team that read a designated number of books during the season. Legendary basketball coach Phil Jackson gave his players a reading list at the beginning of each season. You may choose to read a humorous poem at the beginning of your youth organization meetings. A Big Brother or Sister can take their charge to a great kid’s movie inspired by a children’s book, then go to the library or bookstore and get the book that inspired the movie and read it together. The opportunities to connect kids to books are limitless!2005 (c) Mary Brigid Barrett; The National Children's Book and Literacy Alliance
Summer Reading Recommendations from Authoritative Sources Abound
Would you like to visit your local library or bookstore with a list of summer reading books for your kids in hand? Then check out inspiring recommendations from the following expert sources:
And don't forget to ask the librarian at your local library for help in finding just the right book for your child! He or she can help you find the perfect books for your kids based on their interests and reading levels.
To Spark Summer Learning,
Start with a Book!
Need help coming up with ideas to keep your child reading and writing over the summer? Reading Rockets’ Start with a Book has some cool ideas to jump start your summer learning adventures:
- Strengthen kids’ literacy, inquiry, and problem-solving skills with a combination of great books and the easy hands-on activities Start with a Book offers in these science-themed activity packs.
- Use Start with a Book themes to plan reading and learning adventures in your own community. Take advantage of the related books, activities and apps selected to extend the learning.
- Encourage kids to write about their learning adventures using this fun, downloadable Adventure Tracker.
- Can’t get to the library? Create your own summer reading program and let kids log all of their summer reading with the Start with a Book Summer Book Tracker.
- Sign up for Summer Reading Tips to Go and get more great ideas for reading, writing and hands-on summertime fun texted right to your phone, in English or Spanish.
Behind the Scenes During Filming of
The Great Gilly Hopkins
S. E. Hinton did it in the film adaptation of her novel The Outsiders. And Louis Sachar did it in the film version of his book Holes. Now Katherine Paterson has done it--she has filmed a cameo role in the movie version of her novel The Great Gilly Hopkins, the story of the brash, brilliant, and completely unmanageable 11-year Gilly who is shuffled from foster home to foster home until she meets Maime Trotter.
|Sophie Nelisse and Toby Turner act out a scene in the bus station. |
Katherine admits on her website that her childhood dreams did not include wanting to become a writer, "The fact is that I never wanted to be a writer, at least not when I was a child, or even a young woman. Today I want very much to be a writer. But when I was ten, I wanted to be either a movie star or a missionary." And now, with her cameo role in The Great Gilly Hopkins, Paterson has attained her childhood wish!
|Katherine Paterson and Sophie Nelisse get direction for their scene.|
The title role is played by the young Sophie Nélisse. "Best Actress" Oscar winner Kathy Bates plays Maime Trotter. The star-studded cast also includes Julia Stiles, Octavia Spencer, Glenn Close, Toby Turner, Clare Foley, Bill Cobbs, Billy Magnussen, Zachary Hernandes, Salvatore L. Rossi, and Sammy Pignalosa. The movie is tentatively scheduled to play in theaters in early 2015, but don't wait for the movie! Why not visit your local library and share the joy of this National Book Award and Newbery Honor winner with the young people in your life today?
|Toby Turner, Sophie Nelisse, and Katherine Paterson.|
|Clare Foley and Sophie Nelisse.|
A Call to Action to Massachusetts Residents from Library Advocates
Dear Massachusetts Library Supporters:
A Conference Committee – their names and contact info are at the end of this letter – has been appointed to resolve differences between the Senate and House versions of the FY15 State budget. Now is the critical time for all of us – librarians, trustees, friends, library users, anyone – to let members know it’s important to reverse some long-overdue library funding deficits. This year is a big opportunity. We must act, even if you never have before!!!
The Western Massachusetts Library Advocates (WMLA) urge funding of the Senate version of the FY15 State Budget for Mass Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) accounts:
7000-9401: State Aid to Regional Libraries:
Senate $9,883,482 vs. House $9,805,978
7000-9501 State Aid to Public Libraries:
Senate: $9,989,844 This amount restores state aid to the 2009 funding level. This is the increase the library community has needed for many years. The Conference Committee should support this increase. The House called for $7,223,657. While any increase is helpful, we feel the State should be able to return funding for this account to the amount it had 6 years ago!
7000-9506 Library Technology and Resource Sharing:
Senate: $2,867,823. Provides an increase of $938,585 over the FY 2014 budget. This increase over the House’s $2,129,238 will help end the Digital Lockout that really needs addressing.
Center for the Book:
In this case, WMLA supports the House Budget that created line 7000-9508 For the Center for the Book, Inc., chartered as the Commonwealth Affiliate of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress; provided, that the Massachusetts Center for the Book, Inc. shall be established as a public- private partnership charged with the development, support and promotion of cultural programming designed to advance the cause of books and reading and enhance the outreach of potential of public libraries within the Commonwealth $125,000. The Senate did not pass the amendment.
Conference Committee Members
If you live or work in one of these communities, please consider taking 5 minutes to contact your legislator to ask for their support of these important line items. If you don't live in the communities, please write to your State Senator and State Representative and ask them to contact the committee to urge support.
Senator Stephen Brewer:
Ashburnham, Athol, Barre, Brookfield, Charlton, East Brookfield, Hardwick, Hubbardston, New Braintree, North Brookfield, Oakham, Paxton, Petersham, Phillipston, Rutland, Spencer, Sturbridge, Templeton, Warren, West Brookfield and Winchendon, Brimfield, Holland, Monson, Palmer and Wales, Ware, Ashby
State House: 617-722-1540, District: 978-355-2444
Senator Jennifer Flanagan:
Fitchburg, Gardner and Leominster, Berlin, Bolton, Clinton, Lancaster, Lunenburg, Sterling, Westminster, Townsend
State House: 617-722-1230, District: 978-534-3388
Senator Richard Pat Ross Ferry:
Millis, Needham, Norfolk, Plainville, Wellesley, Wrentham, Attleboro, North Attleborough, Natick, Sherborn and Wayland
State House: 617-722-1555
Representative Brian Dempsey:
State House: 617-722-2990
|Photo courtesy of the Maya Angelo website.|
My Morning with MayaMary Brigid Barrett
Nervous and expectant, I stood outside the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in the rain waiting for Maya Angelou’s car to arrive. I had been corresponding by mail and phone with Professor Angelou’s assistant for months making sure everything was in order for this speaking engagement. Ms. Angelou would need a private room with fresh fruit and bottled still water where she could wait alone before she spoke, and retreat to later, for there was to be no interaction with the audience before or after her speech. Each week’s phone call with Professor Angelou’s assistant outlined new criteria and demands for the visit. I had begun wondering, and worrying, that one of my life heroes was a high maintenance prima donna.
—Later, I was to learn why her assistant had wanted a private room for her after her speech. The crowd that gathered in the lobby, awaiting her after her presentation, was like my Uncle Mike who when overjoyed, grabbed you, crushing you in a huge bear hug, completely unaware that his embrace was so tight you couldn’t breath. I had grown up around a lot of politicians and was used to crowds, but I had never seen anything like this. I knew I had to get Dr. Angelou out to her car fast. I nabbed my friend and assistant Sally Truslow and told Ms. Angelou I wanted to get her to her car swiftly and safely. She was trembling, the emotion from the crowd was that intense. Sally and I put one arm around each side of her, a wonderful security guard held an umbrella aloft, and we pushed through the crowd out to the car for her get-a-away. It was my first experience with crowd crush, I gained a whole new respect for those who work to protect notable people and dignitaries.—
The event being held was The National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance’s first major production, a national symposium entitled “Children and Books at Crossroads," Friday, October 9, 1998. I had worked hard to get a high quality venue—the Kennedy Presidential Library— and worked even harder to get First Lady Hilary Clinton on board as the Honorary Chair of our event. I knew I needed a major presence, a person of depth, quality, and experience to anchor our roster of speakers, a person who knew and understood the power of the written word, a person who understood the transformational power of story and books in young people’s lives. I had long admired Maya Angelou and when I first mentioned to our board that I wanted to go after her as the morning keynote for our symposium, they were enthusiastic, but doubtful of her availability. But I knew if I could “get” Professor Angelou, she would be the solid cornerstone upon which I could then build the whole day’s quality content.
Thankfully, miraculously, Maya Angleou said yes. And because she said yes, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David McCullough said yes. And education activist and author of the powerfully moving book, “Fist, Stick, Knife, Gun,” Geoffrey Canada said yes. And CBS “Sunday Morning” host Charles Osgood said yes. And Harvard astrophysicist and literacy advocate Margaret Geller said yes. As did author Sven Birkerts, and Harvard professors Catherine Snow and Jeanne Chall, publisher Lisa Quiroz, and literacy advocates Dr. Perri Klass, William Truehart, and Elizabeth Segal. And Mrs. Teresa Heinz-Kerry honored us by personally chairing our symposium. They all joined the party because Maya Angelou was the first to say, yes, I will come.
A big black sedan pulled up in front of the library’s main entrance. I opened the door for Professor Angelou, introducing myself, welcoming her, helping her from the car, reaching high to hold an umbrella over her head. She immediately engaged me in conversation as we walked into the library and up the elevator to her private room, asking me in-depth questions about our organization and our goals. I get rather passionate when I talk about kids and books and reading, and as I shared information not covered in my correspondence, my nervousness disappeared. It was only later that I realized her interest and considerate questions were meant to put me at ease. The room the Kennedy Library had provided for her was lovely and quiet. She asked where everyone else was, and I explained our board members, with family and guests, were in a large, communal “Green Room” downstairs. She asked me to take her there, to meet everyone, and suggested we bring the bowl of fruit along with us. Before we stepped back onto the elevator, she stopped, placing her hand on my shoulder—even though her posture was curling forward and she leaned on a cane, she was so very tall. Why, you’re passionate believers, she said, a grassroots group reaching up, reaching out.
She entered the Green Room quietly, without fanfare or drama, but everyone riveted toward her anyway. She chose to sit at the table’s end, between a charming young intern from the Kennedy Library and my two daughters Elizabeth and Emily. Introducing herself, she engaged all three young women in conversation, asking them about themselves, their interests, their schools. They were entranced, and my mother heart overflowed with emotion, my mind and eyes making a mental snapshot of the moment for a life memory. CBS’s Charles Osgood was good-humouredly helping my husband Dick and our son Patrick hand-letter panelist name plates—a last minute rescue of an overlooked detail. The room was filled with board members and their spouses—Katherine and John Paterson, Patty and Bob MacLachlan, Sally and Bob Truslow, Natalie and Sam Babbitt and their daughter Lucy, David Macaulay, and Stephanie Loer, and dear friends and supporters Libby Rock and Grant Oliphant. Our organization, the NCBLA, has always been a family affair. Everyone mixed and mingled, introducing themselves and each other to Margaret Geller and Geoffrey Canada and other panelists as they joined us. Maya Angelou was just one of the NCBLA gang.
When Mrs. Heinz-Kerry arrived; it was game time. I escorted both Dr. Angelou and Mrs. Heinz up to stage left, where they could have a bit of privacy before their presentations. I got them some comfortable chairs, then headed to the podium. My job was to welcome attendees, set the tone for day, hopefully providing a bit of humor and inspiration, then introduce Mrs. Heinz-Kerry. Beyond teaching in front of my class at RISD, or giving a presentation at an SCBWI conference, I had very little public speaking experience. There I was, the girl from Cleveland’s West Side, standing at the podium in the Kennedy Presidential Library, in front of Congressional aides, literacy activists, children and family television producers and executives, professional educators, academics, major magazine editors, reporters, and one of my heroes, Maya Angelou—and I was terrified. Without a typed copy of my speech, I would never have remembered later what I said. I only remember that when I finished, after greeting Mrs. Heinz as she walked to podium, Maya Angelou was waiting in the wings. She cupped my face with both her hands, soft and warm, and told me, nicely done little chicken. Always, always follow your heart. We stood there together, her very tall, me very short. She held my hand tight as she waited to go onstage for her speech. And of course, she soared, the tempo and beat of her words and wisdom creating a song of inspiration and hope.
Thank you Maya Angelou for your courage and the many gifts you shared with the world. You were an incandescent flame of hope in weary world. Thank you for a morning of lovely memories.
President and Executive Director
The National Children's Book and Literacy Alliance
Educators, Librarians, Parents, and Students of Education and Library Science!
Have You Registered for the NCBLA's Professional Development Day
In Search of Wonder: YOU are invited to attend a very special event with five renowned authors to learn about new and classic fiction and nonfiction literature that can be used in the classroom across a variety of academic disciplines. We will discuss ideas, voice concerns, inspire each other, and work together to demonstrate the power and magic of books and how outstanding literature can be used with and beyond Common Core. In Search of Wonder will take place Friday, October 17 in Perry, Ohio and will include not only presentations by our featured authors, but also an expert panel discussion titled Great Books for Classroom Use, Common Core tie-in instructions, book sales, autographing, book raffles, and MORE! For details and to register, click here.
Common Core and More?
Five Featured Authors! KATHERINE PATERSON, United States National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature Emeritus and author of Bridge to Terabithia, Jacob Have I Loved, and The Great Gilly Hopkins.
STEVEN KELLOGG, a recipient of the prestigious Regina Medal for his lifetime contribution to children’s literature, the author and illustrator of Johnny Appleseed: A Tall Tale and Sally Ann Thunder Ann Whirlwind Crockett, and the illustrator of Is Your Mama a Llama? and Snowflakes Fall.
NIKKI GRIMES, recipient of the 2006 NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children and author of What is Goodbye?, Coretta Scott King Award winner Bronx Masquerade, and Coretta Scott King Author Honor books Jazmin's Notebook, Talkin' About Bessie, Dark Sons, The Road to Paris, and Words with Wings.TANYA LEE STONE is the award-winning author of the the young adult novel, A Bad Boy Can Be Good for a Girl; picture books Elizabeth Leads the Way and Who Says Women Can't Be Doctors?; and narrative nonfiction Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared to Dream; The Good, the Bad, and the Barbie, and Courage Has No Color. CHRIS CRUTCHER is a recipient of the American Library Association’s Margaret A. Edwards Lifetime Achievement Award and two Intellectual Freedom awards, one from the National Council for Teachers of English and the other from the National Coalition Against Censorship, and the author of young adult fiction including Period 8, Angry Management, Deadline, and The Sledding Hill.
The First 100 Registrants Will Receive a Copy of Through the generosity of Candlewick Press, the first 100 people who register will receive a free hardcover copy of the NCBLA's award-winning anthology Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out at the end of the conference. A $30.00 value! Our White House is the perfect book for Common Core highlighting American history, literature, science, and art!To read all the details of the day, click here.To register now, click here.
Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out
YA Author CHRIS CRUTCHER to Speak at
In Search of Wonder: Common Core and More
October 17th in Perry, Ohio
The National Children's Book and Literacy Alliance is thrilled to announce that esteemed author for young adults Chris Crutcher will be joining Katherine Paterson, Nikki Grimes, Steven Kellogg, and Tanya Lee Stone as a keynote speaker for In Search of Wonder: Common Core and More, an interdisciplinary, professional development day designed for educators, librarians, parents, and students of education and library science to be held October 17 in Perry, Ohio. Together we will share information about new and classic fiction and nonfiction literature that can be used in the classroom across a variety of academic disciplines ~ a semester’s worth of information in one day! Chris Crutcher was raised in Cascade, Idaho, a lumber and cattle ranch town located in the central Idaho Rockies, a two hour drive over treacherous two-lane from the nearest movie theater and a good forty minutes from the nearest bowling alley. In high school he played football, basketball and ran track, not because he was a stellar athlete, but because in a place so isolated, every able bodied male was heavily recruited. “If you didn’t show up on the first day of football practice your freshman year,” he says, “they just came to your house and got you. And your parents let them in.” His early interest in stories came principally from reading Jean Shepherd and other fine authors in the Playboy Magazine delivered monthly to his house because, as he overheard his father saying to his mother, “Some of the very finest contemporary American literature graces the pages of that magazine.” Full disclosure, there is justified suspicion that he may have perused some of the photography before settling down to serious reading. Crutcher’s years as teacher, then director, of a K-12 alternative school in Oakland, California through the nineteen-seventies, and his subsequent twenty-odd years as a therapist specializing in child abuse and neglect, inform his thirteen novels and two collections of short stories. “I have forever been intrigued by the extremes of the human condition,” he says, “the remarkable juxtaposition of the ghastly and the glorious. As Eric ‘Moby’ Calhoun tells us at the conclusion of Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes, ‘Ain’t it a trip where heroes come from’.” He has also written what he calls an ill-advised autobiography titled King of the Mild Frontier, which was designated by “Publisher’s Weekly” as “the YA book most adults would have read if they knew it existed.” Chris has received a number of coveted awards, from his high school designation as “Most Likely to Plagiarize” to the American Library Association’s Margaret A. Edwards Lifetime Achievement Award. His favorites are his two Intellectual Freedom awards, one from the National Council for Teachers of English and the other from the National Coalition Against Censorship. Five of Crutcher’s books appeared on an American Library Association list of the 100 Best Books for Teens of the Twentieth Century (1999 to 2000). A recent NPR list of the Best 100 YA and Children’s books included none of those titles. Time flies. Crutcher no longer listens to, nor contributes to, NPR. Learn more about Crutcher and his books on his website ChrisCrutcher.com. To learn more about In Search of Wonder and to register, click here.
Creating A Home Atmosphere The following article, written by NCBLA Executive Director Mary Brigid Barrett, comes from the NCBLA's Parent and Guardian Handbook: Some tweens and teens have a natural compulsion to write, but many kids would rather clean their room, the kitchen, and the garage than complete a writing assignment. Providing your kids with a comfortable, supportive atmosphere is one of the best things you can do to help them become strong writers.
That Supports Great Writing
Check out more helpful information to make literacy a priority in your home in the NCBLA's Parent and Guardian Handbook.
- Writing is hard work, consequently, many kids put off writing assignments to the last possible moment. If your tweens or teens dread writing, encourage them to do their writing assignments first, before they do their other homework. Writing with a tired, fried brain only compounds the challenge. If your kids are given an assignment that spans a length of time, encourage them to address it early on to avoid the last minute "all nighter" syndrome.
- Writing is an activity that is done alone. If your teens do not have a room to call their own, provide a space that they can claim as their own. It should have a comfortable chair to sit in and a surface on which to write. Some teens will write better while sitting on the floor or sprawled across their beds. What is important is that they have their own space.
- Make sure you have ample writing materials on hand. Keep pencils, pens, erasers, lined writing paper, and computer paper in an accessible place in your home.
- If you do not have a personal computer your neighborhood public library will have computers that your kids can use free of charge. Call your library and ask what times the computers are likely to be open without a long wait.
- Turn off the television. Writing involves a great deal of concentration, and when writing informational essays and reports, a great deal of research reading, too. Television is a distraction your kids can do without.
- Some kids write better in total silence and some kids write better with music playing lightly in the background. If your teens insist that music be playing while they write, suggest that they experiment with different kinds of background music. Make your kids aware that writing is both an internal and an external auditory experience, and the rhythm of their written words may be influenced by the music they play while they write.
- Make sure that you have a dictionary and thesaurus in your home that is readily accessible. Encourage your teen to use them daily.
- Great readers make great writers. Encourage your kids to read great books and magazines. And make sure you let them see you reading! Your example will be more powerful than anything you say.
In Search of Wonder:
Common Core and More
Professional Development Day
October 17th, 2014 in Perry, Ohio
The National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance is launching a new education initiative—In Search of Wonder: Common Core and More—in Northern Ohio this fall! This inspiring professional development day is designed for teachers, librarians, and caretakers—any and all adults who live with and work for young people! “In Search of Wonder: Common Core and More” will take place on NEOEA Day, October 17th, at the Goodwin Theatre in Perry, Ohio and will feature authors Katherine Paterson, Nikki Grimes, Tanya Lee Stone, Steven Kellogg, and a soon-to-be named YA author! For more information and registration details, click here.
We are working with Perry, Ohio School’s chief media specialist Jodi Rzeszotarski and the Cleveland Public Library’s Director of Children’s Services Annisha Jeffries to plan the day’s schedule so we ensure In Search of Wonder addresses the Common Core needs of all teachers and librarians.
Recently, I spent time with Jodi at the Perry Schools touring their beautiful facilities and had an inspiring afternoon working with Annisha and her talented and energetic staff at the Cleveland Public Library (CPL). As a teen working in downtown Cleveland, I spent most of my lunch hours at the CPL, so it was with special joy that I saw all the remarkable changes Annisha and her staff have created—a new teen room, the only safe harbor for teens downtown, a beautiful arts center for creative activities, and the huge reading rooms overflowing with books, looking out onto the city and the lake. Annisha and her staff have accomplished so much in two short years!
Mary Brigid Barrett
President and Executive Director
The National Children's Book and Literacy Alliance
Lives change @ your library:
Celebrate National Library Week
This week, and throughout April, libraries in schools, campuses, and communities nationwide are celebrating National Library Week as a time to highlight the value of libraries, librarians and library workers.
Libraries today are more than repositories for books and other resources. Often the heart of their communities, campuses or schools, libraries are deeply committed to the places where their patrons live, work and study. Libraries are trusted places where everyone in the community can gather to reconnect and reengage with each other to enrich and shape the community and address local issues.
Librarians work with elected officials, small business owners, students and the public at large to discover what their communities needs are and meet them. Whether through offering e-books and technology classes, materials for English-language learners, programs for job seekers or those to support early literacy, librarians listen to the community they serve, and they respond.
First sponsored in 1958, National Library Week is a national observance sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries across the country each April.
To learn more, be sure to visit your local library!
Share a Poem with the Kids in Your Life!
National Poetry Month is a month-long, national celebration of poetry established by the Academy of American Poets in 1996 with the ultimate goal of widening the attention of individuals and the media—to the art of poetry, to living poets, to our complex poetic heritage, and to poetry books and journals of wide aesthetic range and concern.
Here are ten suggestions from the Academy of American Poets for celebrating National Poetry Month:
1. Read a book of poetry.
2. Memorize a poem.
3. Revisit a classic poem. Maybe a Shakespearean sonnet?
4. Put poetry in an unexpected place...perhaps on your child's pillow?
5. Bring a poem to your place of worship.
6. Attend a poetry reading at your bookstore, library, or coffee shop.
7. Support a literary organization.
8. Take a poem out to lunch.
9. Recite a poem to family or friends.
10. Add your favorite verse to your email signature.
Visit poets.org to discover the remaining 20 ways you can celebrate National Poetry Month! Which is your favorite? What other ideas can you come up with? How can you integrate poetry into your family's daily life?
MORE Poetry Resources!
Poetry lovers who also enjoy American history may delight in reading Gregory Maguire's poetic metaphor about the White House titled "Looking In, Looking Out" and Nikki Grimes' poem about a blind student's visit to the White House titled "Staking Claim." Both are available exclusively on OurWhiteHouse.org.
Also be sure to review the diverse poetry included in the printed anthology Our White: Looking In, Looking Out, which is available in libraries and bookstores. Included in the Our White House collection are Jane Yolen's imagined conversation between John and Abigail Adams titled "The White House First Residents," Jack Prelutsky's humorous poem about the Clinton's cat titled "I Live in the White House," Jon Scieszka's rhyme titled "The White House," Lee Bennett Hopkins' poem titled "Good Nights," Kate DiCamillo's touching piece about Lincoln's death titled "In Early April," and Paul B. Janeczko's haunting "Mary Todd Lincoln Speaks of Her Son's Death, 1862."
New York Times Article Explores the
"Word Gap" Between Children from
Low-Income and Affluent Families
“In the same way that we say you should feed your child, In the New York Times article "Trying to Close a Knowledge Gap, Word by Word," Motoko Rich writes:
brush their teeth, you should be stimulating their brain
by talking, singing and reading to them,”
- Ann O’Leary, Director of Too Small to Fail.
Amid a political push for government-funded preschool for 4-year-olds, a growing number of experts fear that such programs actually start too late for the children most at risk. That is why Deisy Ixcuna-González, the 16-month-old daughter of Guatemalan immigrants, is wearing a tiny recorder that captures every word she hears and utters inside her family’s cramped apartment one day a week.To read the complete article, click here.
Sherlock Holmes Exhibition
Now at Center of Science and Industry
in Columbus, Ohio
“We separated the science lessons from the interactive mystery
so the mystery was a place to practice and
use the information you already learned.”
- Exhibition Creator Geoffrey M. Curley
“The International Exhibition of Sherlock Holmes,” a traveling exhibition now at the Center of Science and Industry in Columbus, Ohio, invites history, literature, and science fans of all ages into the streets of Victorian London, where you can follow in the footsteps of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's master detective Sherlock Holmes and work side by side with the legendary literary figure. Featuring more than two dozen hands-on, interactive exhibits and 300 original manuscripts, publications, period artifacts, film and television props and costumes, the exhibition encourages visitors to become Holmes’ eyes and ears as he "tackles a baffling new case in a world steeped in innovation and experimentation" To read the review by Karen Jones "Entering World of Literature's Great Sleuth" in The New York Times, click here.
To learn more about the exhibit at the Center of Science and Industry in Columbus, Ohio, click here.
Ask Your Senators to Support Funding for Libraries and Literacy!
Appropriations season is heating up in Washington, DC. Please call your U.S. Senators by Wednesday, April 2 and ask them to sign two separate "Dear Colleague" letters that will greatly help libraries:Support Funding for LSTA in FY 2015
Ask your senators to support funding for the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA). Here's why:
Your senators can sign a letter indicating their support for LSTA in the FY15 budget, here's how:
- LSTA is the primary source of funding for libraries in the federal budget
- LSTA helps many public libraries provide services to users that include, but are not limited to: job searches, résumé building help, digital literacy workshops, access to e-government services, etc.
Democrats: Ask your senator/s to contact Sen. Jack Reed's (D-RI) office to sign the LSTA letter.
Republicans: Ask you senator/s to contact Sen. Susan Collin's (R-ME) to sign the LSTA letter.
Support Funding for the Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) Competitive Grant
Ask your senators to support Childhood Literacy in FY 2015. Here is why:
Ask your senators to sign a letter supporting Childhood Literacy in FY 2015, here's how:
- Congress included $25 million in the FY15 budget for this competitive grant administered through the U.S. Department of Education to support school libraries and national nonprofit literacy organization working toward childhood literacy
- A minimum of half of this money will go as a competitive grant to low-income school libraries to help update their books and materials.
Democrats: Contact Sen. Jack Reed's (D-RI) to sign
Republicans: Contact Sen. Charles Grassley's (R-IA) office to sign
It is SO EASY to make these phone calls! On the ALA Legislative Action Center page, type your zip code into the "Call Now" box to find the number for your senator. Please ensure you call by April 2.
Thank you for supporting literacy and libraries!
Create Drama in Your Classroom or Library Reading the Readers Theater Script
for Grace Lin's Starry River of the Sky
The art of Readers Theater provides an inexpensive and compelling way to get kids reading! Readers Theater is similar to a radio play in that no costumes or props are required. Readers simply stand on stage--or in the front of the classroom!--and read their lines from a script, using their voices to dramatize the production.
The National Children's Book and Literacy Alliance, in partnership with the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, recently presented a Children's Literary Lights Readers Theater presentation at the 2013 National Book Festival. Following the Festival, the NCBLA created a Readers Theater Education Resource Guide, as well as several scripts, for adults to share with the young people in their lives.
In Grace Lin's middle-grade novel Starry River of the Sky (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers), the moon is missing from the remote Village of Clear Sky, but only a young boy named Rendi seems to notice! Rendi has run away from home and is now working as a chore boy at the village inn. He can't help but notice the village's peculiar inhabitants and their problems-where has the innkeeper's son gone? Why are Master Chao and Widow Yan always arguing? What is the crying sound Rendi keeps hearing? And how can crazy, old Mr. Shan not know if his pet is a toad or a rabbit? But one day, a mysterious lady arrives at the Inn with the gift of storytelling, and slowly transforms the villagers and Rendi himself. As she tells more stories and the days pass in the Village of Clear Sky, Rendi begins to realize that perhaps it is his own story that holds the answers to all those questions.
|Author and illustrator|
The Readers Theater script for Starry River of the Sky engages young people in the folktale "The Story of the Old Sage," one of many embedded in Lin's novel.
To print and share Lin's Readers Theater script for Starry River of the Sky, click here.
To learn more about Readers Theater and to print our Readers Theater Education Resource Guide, click here.
To learn more about Grace Lin and her books, visit her website: GraceLin.com.
Foreign-Born American Patriots
Now Available at a
Book Store or Library Near You
The NCBLA congratulates our volunteer writer and Advisory Board member Renee Critcher Lyons on the publication of her book Foreign-Born American Patriots: Sixteen Volunteer Leaders in the Revolutionary War (McFarland), now available on shelves in a library or for purchase from a bookstore near you.
<!--[if gte mso 9]> Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE <![endif]-->Foreign-Born American Patriots portrays sixteen volunteers: the writers, soldiers, merchants, farmers, sailors, guerilla fighters, pirates, financiers, and cavalry leaders, who traveled from abroad to join the American revolutionary cause. Such portraits consider Patriots John Paul Jones, Thomas Paine, and Baron von Steuben, but also lesser known heroes, such as Founding Father Pierce Butler and Washington’s One-Man-Army, Peter Francisco. Each profile discusses the personal experiences influencing the volunteer leader’s decision to fight for the fledging country, the sacrifices these brave men endured for the benefit of an American victory, and the unique talents respectively contributed to the war effort. All chapters include a listing of landmarks (or in some instances, lack thereof) which honor these incredible visitors or immigrants who ensured the perpetuation of the ideals and values of the American Republic.
Renee’ Critcher Lyonsis an assistant professor in the School Library Media Program at East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, teaching children’s and young adult literature. Prior to her appointment at ETSU, she served as a school/instructional librarian for eight years at the elementary and middle school level and nine years at the high school/community college level. She is a graduate of the Vermont College of Fine Arts’ MFA Program in Writing for Children and Young Adults and the Appalachian State University Masters in Library Science Program.
Share Stories of African American Heritage with Young People
Resources for sharing the history and accomplishments of African Americans with the young people in your life abound. On Reading Rockets.org, discover not only reading lists, but also video interviews with such award-winning authors and illustrators as Ashley Bryan, Bryan Collier, Christopher Paul Curtis, Nikki Giovanni, Nikki Grimes, Patrick and Fredrick McKissack, National Ambassador for Young People's Literature Emeritus Walter Dean Myers, Kadir Nelson, Jerry Pinkney, and MORE! Click here. On the Horn Book, check out a comprehensive reading list categorized by Picture Books, Chapter Books, Intermediate, and Older. Click here.
In the NCBLA's anthology Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out, kids can dig deep into America's past and discover how slaves helped build the White House ("Slaves Helped Build the White House!" by Walter Dean Myers), read the memoir of former slave Paul Jennings' account of working in President Madison's White House ("The First White House Memoir: 1865"), and learn about Elizabeth Keckly, who served as seamstress to First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln ("Elizabeth Keckly" by Patricia C. and Fredrick L. McKissack). And in the paperback version, young people can read Nikki Grimes' poem "Inaugural Morning" illustrated by A. G. Ford, which provides a poignant account of President Obama's first inauguration.
Our White House is available in both hardcover and paperback. Ask for it at a library or bookstore near you!
Play Presidential Trivia!
Do you know which president was the first to live in the White House? (Hint: It wasn’t George Washington!) Do you know which president served the shortest term? (Hint: He was president for 31 days in 1841.) Do you know which presidents have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize?
Find these answers—and make up your own presidential trivia questions to ask young people!—by digging into the NCBLA’s Presidential Fact Files on the NCBLA's education website OurWhiteHouse.org, the companion website to the NCBLA's art and history anthology Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out. The Presidential Fact Files is a treasure trove of information for every one of our nation’s presidents that includes the dates of each president’s terms, party affiliation, family information, as well as legacy summaries and famous quotes. Using the information on each president’s page, you can quickly make up a list of questions regarding a president’s accomplishments or failures, an event that took place during the president’s term, or a famous line from a speech. Each presidential page also includes a “Did You Know?” category, which features additional facts perfect for a trivia game, such as the fact that George Washington was the only president to be elected by a unanimous vote and Theodore Roosevelt was the first American to win the Nobel Peace Prize. Jot down questions, type them up, or create questions on the fly by reading the Presidential Fact Files web pages from your smartphone or tablet computer. You can choose to play presidential trivia with just a couple people, or you can play with a large group divided into teams. Encourage kids to review the presidential and first lady facts and write their own trivia questions to share with friends and the adults in their lives.
If you plan to play with a group of kids who are different ages, you might want to consider creating a rating system for your questions, such as Easy, Average, and Advanced. Or, consider awarding bonus points for a particularly difficult question.
You can expand your trivia coverage by creating some questions based on America’s first ladies using the NCBLA’s First Lady Fact Files. You can also create questions based on the informative essays and stories in Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out. Be sure to take a look at the presidential images and notes in Bob Kolar's "1600 Pennsylvania Avenue: Who's in the House?" Kolar's illustration is featured above.
Sample Trivia Questions and Answers
• Which president was the first to live in the White House? (Answer: John Adams)
• Which president served the shortest term? (Answer: William Henry Harrison)
• Which president is famous for having said, “My fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you––ask what you can do for your country?” (Answer: John F. Kennedy)
• Which president was the first to use electricity in the White House? (Answer: Benjamin Harrison)
• Before the passage of the 22nd amendment, presidential terms were not limited to two. Which president served FOUR terms? (Answer: Franklin Delano Roosevelt)
• Almost any adult American citizen is qualified to become president. Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution establishes the exact qualifications. What are they? (Answer: Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution establishes that anyone who is a natural-born U.S. citizen, at least thirty-five years old, and has lived in the United States for at least fourteen years can become president.)
• Which presidential candidate was the first to promote his candidacy using television? (Answer: Dwight Eisenhower)
• Which president proclaimed "The Star-Spangled Banner" to be our national anthem? (Answer: Herbert Hoover)
• Which president campaigned successfully in 1840 using the populist slogan "Log Cabin and Hard Cider?" (Answer: William Henry Harrison)
• Which president was so well-known for his silent nature that during a dinner party a guest teased that she had bet a friend she could entice the president to say more than five words during the meal, to which he answered, "You lose?" (Answer: Calvin Coolidge)
• Which first lady worked with the Library of Congress to create the National Book Festival, an annual event first held on the Mall in Washington, D.C. in 2001? (Answer: Laura Bush)
• Who was the only presidential candidate to ever be elected by a unanimous vote? (Answer: George Washington)
• Which president considered himself to have been a "sissy" as a child, having said, "If there was any danger of getting into a fight, I always ran?" (Answer: Harry Truman)
• Which president was the first one to throw the first pitch in a major league baseball game? (Answer: William Howard Taft)
• Which president met with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to improve relations and negotiate a treaty to eliminate a substantial number of nuclear missiles? (Answer: Ronald Reagan)
• Who was the first First Lady to sit in Cabinet meetings? (Answer: Rosalynn Carter)
• Which president was honored for his pioneering work in the discovery and study of fossils by having a species of mastodon named for him? (Answer: Thomas Jefferson)
• Which modern president is credited with passage of the Family Medical Leave Act? (Answer: Bill Clinton)
• Who assumed the presidency upon President Lincoln's assassination? (Answer: Andrew Johnson)
• Which president, in the wake of 9-11, took time off from his duties at the White House to throw the first pitch at a Major League Baseball playoff game in Yankee Stadium to show his support for New Yorkers? (Answer: George W. Bush)
• Which first lady hired a French chef to run the White House kitchens? (Answer: Jacqueline Kennedy)
• Our 43rd president, George W. Bush, is the son of former President George H. W. Bush, who served as America's 41st president. Who was our country's first father and son pair to both be elected as president? (Answer: John Quincy Adams served as our sixth president. He was the son of our nation's second president, John Adams.)
• Which president, having been thrust into the position following the death of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, made the decision to drop two atomic bombs on Japan as a means to end World War II? (Answer: Harry S. Truman)
• Who is the only vice president to have assumed the presidency for a reason other than the president's death? (Answer: Gerald R. Ford)
• Who was the first and only president to serve as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court? (Hint: He served from 1921 through 1930). (Answer: William Howard Taft)
For more activities to help you celebrate Presidents Month, click here.
Celebrate Presidents Month
by Taking Young People to a
Presidential Library or Historic Site
More than twenty states boast presidential birthplaces, historic homes, libraries, and museums. Many of these very special places include extensive exhibits profiling events from the campaign trail and include not only samples of campaign posters and other memorabilia, but also audio and video exhibits that enable you to hear or watch the key events from the president's term in office. Before visiting a presidential museum or library, be sure to check out the special activities calendar by calling ahead or reviewing the website because many libraries offer child-friendly and family-oriented activities to engage young people. For a comprehensive guide to finding presidential sites and museums, listed by state, check out the NCBLA’s Field Trip Guide for Presidential Birthplaces, House, and Libraries on the OurWhiteHouse.org website.
Veteran educator Marcy Prager of the Brookline Public Schools enjoys taking her students on a field trip to the John F. Kennedy home in Brookline, Massachusetts, where Kennedy was born. Upon returning to school, Prager asks her students to each sketch a favorite room in the Kennedy house and write about the activities and events they learned used to be held there.
If visiting a presidential museum or library in person is not possible, you can visit one virtually by checking out content on the library’s website. Many presidential museums and libraries offer articles, curricula, and other resources you can download and use free. For example, the Jimmy Carter Library website (www.jimmycarterlibrary.org) is now offering a multi-disciplinary educational curriculum titled “The President’s Travels” with content for students in grades 2 through 12. And the research section of the George Bush Library’s website (http://bushlibrary.tamu.edu/) offers online access to some of its print and audio-visual archives. Included in the visual archives are photographs from Bush’s life, including his time in public office. The photos are organized by topic, such as Various Campaigns, US Vice President, US President, and Presidential Transportation.
Engage Kids in Presidential History
Using the NCBLA's
Presidents Month Activities
|"From the Foundation Up" by Bagram Ibatoulline|
in Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out
Copyright (c) 2008.
The month of February and its focus on presidential birthdays provides the perfect opportunity to engage kids in presidents past and present and to get them excited about American history! The NCBLA has created a toolkit filled with fun and engaging activites you can use TODAY in your classroom, library, club meeting, or at home after dinner. Several of our activities were contributed by educators from across the country.
Our Presidents Month Activities toolkit includes the following:
• Visit a Presidential Historic Site or Library
• Make a Presidential Monument
• Does the Shoe Fit?
• Play a Game of Presidential Trivia
• Host a Presidential Pet Parade
• Great Moments in History: The Movie
• Read, Research, Question, Learn!
Here's a sneak peek at the Make a Presidential Monument activity:
Maryland teacher Michele Kinnear recommends that students create a presidential monument. Ask students to decide which president they wish to honor and explain why in a brief paragraph. Their next step is to brainstorm the monument. Ask students: Will you make a statue? Fountain? Museum? Park?
Additional questions to ask are: Where will the monument be located? Washington, DC? The president’s birthplace? A landmark of an important event of their presidency?
And finally instruct the students to determine what materials will be used. Marble? Brick? Trees?
Once the details have been decided, students should draw a rough sketch of their monument and label the important details. This can be done by hand or computer.
The final step is to create a 3-D scaled model of the monument. Students can choose their materials. Options to consider include: clay, Styrofoam, legos, wood, cardboard, sugar cubes.
This assignment can be completed independently or with a partner.
To check out the details on all the NCBLA's Presidents Month activities, click here.
For stories, essays, poems, and artwork to share with young people during Presidents Month, be sure to check out the NCBLA's award-winning anthology Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out, which provides a perfect resource for learning more about American and presidential history.
Our White House was created by the National Children's Book and Literacy Alliance as a collaborative effort by over one hundred award-winning authors and illustrators to encourage young people to read more about America’s rich history and culture; to think more about America’s future; to talk more about our nation’s leadership; and to act on their own beliefs and convictions, ensuring this great democratic experiment will survive and thrive.
Ask for Our White House
at a library or bookstore near you!
Keene State College
Children's Literature Festival
Scheduled for October 25
Mark your calendars now for the 38th Annual Keene State College Children's Literature Festival to be held Saturday, October 25, 2014 on the campus of Keene State College in Keene, NH. This year's festival will feature the following speakers:
M. T. Anderson is the author of picture story books, pre-teen books, and young-adult novels. He won the National Book Award for Young People's Literature in 2006 for THE ASTONISHING LIFE OF OCTAVIAN NOTHING, volume one of the "Octavian Nothing" books which are set in Revolution-era Boston. Other well-known novels are FEED, a National Book Award finalist about a future world where internet connections feed directly into the consumer's brain and language has gone into a steep decline, and THIRSTY where a boy appears to be turning into a vampire. Learn more about him and his books at www.mt-anderson.com.
Diane deGroat has illustrated over 130 books. She began her career illustrating others' books, then decided she wanted to write her own. Her first chapter book that she wrote and illustrated was ANNIE PITTS, ARTICHOKE, published in 1992. The first picture book that she wrote was ROSES ARE PINK YOUR FEET REALLY STINK. CHARLIE THE RANCH DOG was a #1 book on the NY Times Bestseller List. Diane donated an original from CHARLIE AND THE CHRISTMAS KITTY to the Festival Gallery Collection, along with the steps leading up to it. Diane's web site is found at www.dianedegroat.com.
Oliver Jeffers was born in Australia but soon moved to Northern Ireland where he lived until he moved to Brooklyn in 2008. His unique books have been translated into over 30 languages and have won numerous awards. His most recent book, a NY Times bestseller, is THE DAY THE CRAYONS QUIT. THE INCREDIBLE BOOK EATING BOY won an Irish Book Award in 2007 as did THIS MOOSE BELONGS TO ME in 2012. LOST AND FOUND the animation has won more than 40 international awards. In 2007 Oliver was the official World Book Day illustrator. Oliver's web site is located at www.oliverjeffers.com.
Richard Michelson is a poet, children's book author, and owner of Michelson Galleries. He was born in Brooklyn in an area that was 90% Jewish but 12 years later was 90% African-American. As a result, many of his books deal with racial issues and interactions between races. AS GOOD AS ANYBODY, about the friendship between Martin Luther King, Jr. and Abraham Joshua Herchel and how their friendship promoted the message of love and equality for all, won the Sydney Taylor Gold Medal. BUSING BREWSTER was one of the 2010 New York Times Best Illustrated Books. Other well known books include LIPMAN PIKE and TWICE AS GOOD. More can be learned about Richard at www.richardmichelson.com.
Pamela Zagarenski has received two Caldecott Honor Awards: in 2010 for RED SINGS FROM TREETOPS: A YEAR IN COLORS and in 2013 for SLEEP LIKE A TIGER, both by Joyce Sidman. Her most recently illustrated book is WHAT THE HEART KNOWS, CHANTS, CHARMS & BLESSING by Joyce Sidman. Other titles include THIS IS JUST TO SAY and MITES TO MASTODONS. Pamela had said: "I paint to discover a secret code which needs to be cracked in order to better understand myself, the mysteries of life, the soul, God and even the mysteries I don't yet know exist." Learn more about Pamela and her work at www.pzagarenski.com.
Additional details and registration information are available on the festival website: keene.edu/clf Keep up with additional festival news on the Festival Facebook page.
Get Kids Excited About Presidential History Using the Award-Winning Anthology Exciting stories, informative essays, humorous poetry, and extraordinary art can help kids engage in the past and make connections with our present and future. A perfect resource for learning more about American and presidential history that provides all of this and MORE is the NCBLA's award-winning anthology Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out.
Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out
With Our White House, kids can learn about the building of the White House--and why it once burned. They can engage with intimate stories of those who have resided in the White House over the years, including presidential pets and ghosts! And kids can also discover the joys and sorrows that have faced our nation and the often gut-wrenching decisions needed to be made by our presidents.
Our White House was created by the National Children's Book and Literacy Alliance as a collaborative effort by over one hundred award-winning authors and illustrators to encourage young people to read more about America’s rich history and culture; to think more about America’s future; to talk more about our nation’s leadership; and to act on their own beliefs and convictions, ensuring this great democratic experiment will survive and thrive.
The Our White House anthology is supported by a companion educational website, OurWhiteHouse.org, which expands the book content with additional stories, primary sources, articles, activities, and discussion questions related to book topics. The website also includes printable education resource guides on the OWH Plus page to help you make the most of the book's content in your classroom and library. Our White House is available in both hardcover and paperback from Candlewick Press.
Ask for Our White House at a library or bookstore near you!
Publisher’s Weekly Starred Review!
“Eight years in the making, this anthology of White House history convenes an all-star roster of 108 children's authors and illustrators, as well as a few scholars and former White House employees and residents and it is a blue-ribbon choice for family sharing during an election year. Chronologically ordered, the entries range from poems to presidential speeches, satirical cartoons to stately portraits. . . . The volume makes the invaluable point that history does not have to be remote or abstract, but a personal and ongoing engagement.”
The Horn Book Starred Review!
“With something for adults and children alike is the sumptuous new anthology Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out. . . . The contributors are all luminaries of the children’s book field. A fascinating, eminently browsable, and accessible entrance into the People’s House.”
School Library Journal Starred Review!
“This handsome compendium is rich with excerpts, poems, and other writings about the historic residence, many of them personal in tone and subject. With artwork as eclectic as the text, the book offers glimpses into the presidents, their concerns, their families, and the mansion itself.”
Featured on the “Martha Stewart Show” as One of The New York Times “Eight Great Books for the Holidays”
On the December 15, 2008 “Martha Stewart Show,” Martha advised procrastinating audience members and viewers to “Think books! I do!” as ideal holiday gifts. With that in mind New York Times book review editor Sam Tanenhaus shared recommendations of eight great books. Our White House was one of those books—the only children’s book on his list!
“This is the definitive White House book for history buffs young and old. Whether you seek ghost stories, architectural details, or personal accounts . . . you will not be disappointed. With amazing artwork and entries spanning more than 200 years from literary luminaries ranging from Charles Dickens to Walt Whitman, Gregory Maguire to David McCullough, there is material enough to keep you coming back for more.”
L.A. Parent Recommendation!
- 2009-2010 National Endowment for the Humanities We the People “Picturing America” Bookshelf Award
- 2009 American Library Association Notable Children’s Book for All Ages
- 2009 National Council for Social Studies and the Children’s Book Council Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People
- 2009 International Reading Association Teachers’ Choices Booklist Selection
- Amazon.com Best Books of 2008 Top 10 Editors’ Pick for Middle Readers
- Parents’ Choice Foundation Recommended Book Award, Fall 2008
- School Library Journal Best Books of the Year 2008
- The Horn Book Fanfare, Best Books of 2008
- Publisher’s Weekly 2008 Best Books of the Year, Children’s Nonfiction
- Publishers Weekly 2008 Cuffie Award, Best Nonfiction Treatment of a Subject, Honorable Mention
- Scripps-Howard News Service Favorite Children's Book of 2008
- www.ourwhitehouse.org named a 2009 American Library Association “Great Websites for Kids”
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Celebrate Read Across America Day TODAY Grab your hat and read with the Cat in the Hat today, Monday, March 3, 2014, for the 17th annual Read Across America Day. The Seussical celebration kicks off a week of reading across the nation as NEA members gather students, parents, and community members together to share their love of reading.For an extensive list of resources to make the most of reading in your classroom, library, or home, visit the NEA website.
and KEEP READING!