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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Washington D.C, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 16 of 16
1. A Visit With the Open Book Foundation

Guest blogger iconIllustrator Frané Lessac shares a recent school visit that she and her husband, author Mark Greenwood, did in Washington, D.C. with An Open Book Children’s Literacy Foundation

One of the highlights of our recent US tour was our visit to Washington, D.C. and our Open Book Foundation day, working with three second grade classes at Savoy Elementary.

The foundation’s mission is to promote literacy among disadvantaged children and teens in the greater Washington, D.C. area by giving books to students and providing access to authors and illustrators – and what a unanimously positive experience it is for all involved!

Frané and Mark at Savoy Elementary

Frané and Mark at Savoy Elementary (image courtesy of An Open Book Foundation)

We conducted a ‘Meet the Author and Illustrator’ presentation followed by an art activity. At the conclusion of each presentation, the Open Book Foundation gave each student a copy of our book, Drummer Boy of John John, to take home, signed and personalized by the people who actually wrote and illustrated it.

Frané Lessac demonstrating the illustration process

Frané Lessac demonstrating the illustration process (image courtesy of An Open Book Foundation)

Here are a few of the student reactions we received:

“You mean we get to keep the book? We don’t have to bring it back?”

“I can keep this book for my entire life. Even when I grow up?”

Wow! While the students might still be talking about the experience, so are we! The Open Book program is as uplifting and rewarding for authors and illustrators as it is for students. We will never forget the look of joy on the faces of the students, who couldn’t wait to take their new books home and share the experience with their families.

Creating art during the visit

Creating art during the visit (image courtesy of An Open Book Foundation)

The fabulous Open Book experience breathes life into writing and art and the process of bookmaking, and opens up the world of reading to students. The Savoy Elementary students were so excited to leave each of our sessions clutching their very own book.

We cannot express our gratitude enough to the Open Book Foundation for the joy and excitement they bring to disadvantaged children. The Foundation’s program of bringing authors and illustrators to their schools, and providing books for their students, classrooms and libraries, is a wonderfully positive step to introduce a lifelong love of books and reading.

Frané and Mark with some happy readers

Frané and Mark with some happy readers (image courtesy of An Open Book Foundation)

To learn more about An Open Book Children’s Literacy Foundation, visit their website.

Frané LessacMark GreenwoodFrané Lessac has illustrated more than thirty-five books for young readers, several of which she has also written. Her husband, Mark Greenwood, is the author of numerous children’s books published in both the United States and his native Australia. They live in Fremantle, West Australia.


Filed under: Activities and Events, Educator Resources, Guest Blogger Post Tagged: An Open Book Foundation, literacy, nonprofits, Washington D.C.

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2. 15,000 New Books on the National Mall, Plus Celebrities, Cabinet Secretaries and Cute Kids

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On Saturday, volunteers from across the country joined First Book on the National Mall in Washington DC to celebrate President Obama’s National Day of Service by providing 15,000 brand-new books to DC-area children from low-income families.

Click here to see photos of the event, including pictures of volunteers, political leaders, and even a few celebrities.

First Book was one of seven nonprofits featured at the event, highlighting the idea of community service in such areas as education, the environment and support for military families.

??Each volunteer packed two books into a bag, and decorated bookplates with personal messages.

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The books, including “Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.” by Doreen Rappaport, were provided thanks to the generous support of our friends at KPMG, the U.S. audit, tax and advisory firm, through its KPMG’s Family for Literacy program.

The bags will be distributed in the coming days to students throughout DC, thanks to First Book’s partnership with the American Federation of Teachers.

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Even if you weren’t able to join us on the National Mall, you can still bring new books to kids in need. Click here to donate to our National Day of Service Virtual Book Drive. Every $2.50 provides one new books to a child in need.

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3. D.C. Kids Get New Books from First Book

First Book distributes new books (80 million and counting) to kids from low-income communities all over the U.S. and Canada, but we do have a special place in our heart for schools and programs in Washington D.C. Not only are they are neighbors, but First Book got its start here in the District of Columbia 19 years ago.

D.C. Kids Get New Books from First BookSo we were pleased to be able to provide grants to twenty schools and programs serving low-income kids here in Washington D.C.

Many schools in D.C. face the same lack of resources that affect so many programs serving children in low-income neighborhoods. Most public high school libraries have eleven books per student, but the library at Ballou High School has less than a tenth of that. The library at Woodrow Wilson High School no longer has a single fiction title. And the D.C. public high school for incarcerated youth has no library at all.

“Our needs are very great,” said Melissa Jackson, Ballou’s librarian. “We’re trying to build our nonfiction and fiction collections, so whatever we can get from First Book we will gladly accept.”

“We’ve recorded about 16,000 books over the last twelve years,” said Carol Fennelly of Hope House, a program that records videos of incarcerated D.C. fathers reading for their children. “And probably 50% to 75% of those books come have come from First Book.”

Each school or program received a grant of 500 free books from the First Book National Book Bank and $1,575 to spend on the First Book Marketplace, an online store serving eligible schools and programs in First Book’s network.

The books were made possible thanks to the support of the Philip L. Graham Fund.

“We will use these books for many purposes,” said Abraham Clayman of KIPP DC: LEAP Academy, a charter school that serves three-, four- and five-year-olds in the District. “We send them home with families, we put them in classroom libraries, teachers use them. I want to say thanks to First Book … we’re really excited about what we’re doing.”

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4. Washington City: paradise of paradoxes

By John Lockwood and Charles Lockwood


The Washington of April 1861—also commonly known as “Washington City”—was a compact town. Due to the cost of draining marshy land and the lack of reliable omnibus service, development was focused around Pennsylvania Avenue between the Capitol and White House. When the equestrian statue of George Washington was dedicated at Washington Circle in 1860, its location—three-quarters of a mile west of the White House, where Twenty-Third Street intersects Pennsylvania Avenue—was described as out of town. Several blocks north of the White House, at L Street, the land was countryside. “Go there, and you will find yourself not only out of town, away among the fields,” wrote English novelist Anthony Trollope in his travel account, North America, after his 1861 visit, “but you will find yourself beyond the fields, in an uncultivated, undrained wilderness.” A writer for the Atlantic Monthly, writing in January 1861, deemed Washington a “paradise of paradoxes,” foremost because it was both “populous” and “uninhabited” at once. Noting another paradox, he observed that the capital was ‘[d]efenceless, as regards walls, redoubts, moats, or other fortifications”—though the only party to “lay siege” to the city of late were the unyielding onslaught of politicians and office seekers, not soldiers.

Travelers arriving from northern cities caught a glimpse of the city’s grandeur and squalor as their train pulled into the B & O Station at the foot of Capitol Hill. “I looked out and saw a vast mass of white marble towering above us on the left . . . surmounted by an unfinished cupola, from which scaffold and cranes raised their black arms. This was the Capitol,” wrote Times of London correspondent William Russell, who arrived in Washington at the end of March 1861. “To the right was a cleared space of mud, sand, and fields, studded with wooden sheds and huts, beyond which, again, could be seen rudimentary streets of small red brick houses, and some church-spires above them.”

From the B & O Station, most carriages and hacks headed westward down Pennsylvania Avenue, the city’s main artery. The Avenue was the traditional route for grand parades between the Capitol and the White House, and by the mid-nineteenth-century, its north side was the location for the city’s finest hotels and shops. Yet many visitors, particularly those from leading cities like New York or London, were unimpressed by its pretensions to grandeur, and found the cityscape a formless jumble. Pennsylvania Avenue, observed Russell, was “a street of much breadth and length, lined with ailanthus trees . . . and by the most irregularly-built houses [and commercial buildings] in all kinds of materials, from deal plank to marble—of all heights.”

At the corner of Fourteenth Street, one block before Pennsylvania Avenue made its northward turn at the Treasury before continuing west past the White House, stood Willard’s Hotel. The hotel, favored by Republican Party leaders, was the center of Washington’s social and business life under the new administration. Willard’s contained “more scheming, plotting, planning heads, m

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5. Welcome to Summer! First Book Drops 150,000 Books on the National Mall

First Book joins the United Way's Day of Action on the National MallTuesday marks the first day of summer, and to celebrate their annual Day of Action, the United Way will be marshaling an army of volunteers to assemble summer reading backpacks for 50,000 elementary school kids from low-income communities.

First Book is proud to be a part of this amazing event, and we’re bringing our favorite thing to the party – books.
Every backpack will contain three brand-new books that the children who receive them will be able to keep. Many children from low-income families have no books of their own at home, so we’re grateful to have the opportunity to change that for so many kids.

If you’re out of school for the summer, or you’re able to take the day off work, we’d love to see you! Volunteers are welcome. Go online to learn more and register.

See you on the mall!

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6. Matt Damon (and his Mom) Sticks Up for Teachers

A teacher wants to teach. I mean, why else would you take a @#$%^& salary and really long hours and do that job unless you really love to do it? — Matt Damon

Matt Damon (and his Mom) Sticks Up for TeachersLots of people have been sending us links to the video of actor Matt Damon defending teachers. Damon was at the Save Our Schools rally in Washington D.C. this weekend with his mother, a teacher, and was interviewed by a video crew from Reason, a libertarian magazine and website.

In the clip, Damon gets quite testy with the spokeswoman and cameraman. (Warning: In this case “testy” also includes some adult language, so please don’t watch this clip if that offends you, or if you are with young children.)

When you watch the entire video, it’s pretty clear that the woman from Reason isn’t interested in telling the stories of teachers and why they came to Washington D.C. for the rally. Instead, she seems interested in presenting teachers in an unflattering light, and making simplistic statements about complex issues like tenure and education reform.

That’s why we’re pleased to see so many people forwarding this video, and talking about it on Twitter and Facebook – overwhelmingly in support of Damon’s comments.

It’s not that he said something brilliant or insightful. It’s that he’s defending school teachers, and we’re glad to see that’s something that resonates with so many people.

What do you think? Let us know, on this blog post or on our Facebook page.

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7. Gilda Joyce: The Dead Drop

Oh, Gilda Joyce. How I love you and your wonky ways.

It's summertime and Gilda has moved to Washington, D.C. for a summer job at the National Spy Museum. How perfect is that? She is sharing an apartment with Caitlin Merrill ( a recent college graduate) who is more than a bit surprised when she takes in Gilda's appearance. She is decked out in her 60s spy chic outfit complete with flipped hair and Jackie O pink suit.

Once Gilda gets to the spy museum, she is in heaven. After getting settled in Gilda gets to go on a field trip with the museum's historian to acquire some new spy paraphernalia from an Russian former spy. On meeting Boris, Gilda immediately notices some of his left over spy habits...like gazing over her shoulder to see who is coming down the street and she notices that her psychic abilities kick in when she is around him.

Soon after the museum acquires Boris' lipstick gun and red glass brooch, Gilda starts having dreams. Dreams that she is certain are a message. And these dreams are peppered with D.C. locations, and well as a blond woman and Abraham Lincoln! Gilda wonders what is going on. Funny things also start happening in the museum...things that cannot be explained or blamed on faulty technology. Is Boris really and ex-spy? Is the Spy Museum haunted? Will Gilda be able to solve any of these mysteries in her new role as spy camp counselor?

Jennifer Allison keeps this series going strong with the familiar (yet growing) character of Gilda in a new location. She is on her own, but Wendy is present in Gilda's letters to her, and Gilda's mom comes in with phone calls. The Washington contingent is fun, and the appearance of a certain author is well placed. D.C. itself becomes a character, as readers see it through Gilda's eyes. Descriptions are rich and detailed, yet don't go on too long. A personal favourite is the description of the crazy hotel where spies and celebrities go when they don't want to be bothered! Though Gilda is 14, she is a young 14. I feel like she gets a bad rep in some circles as unbelievable, but trust me...working in a MS shows that there is certainly a range when it comes to maturity levels and young teens.

For fans of the series, of mysteries and of quirky characters! On shelves May 09.

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8. Poetry Friday: D.C. Poetry Walking Tours and More

If you're trekking to Washington, D.C. next month for the American Library Association's Annual Conference, here are my poetry/writing/book related recommendations:

1) Devour as much of the National Gallery of Art as you can, leaving room for an afternoon shot of energy from the Espresso and Gelato Bar in the East Building and browsing time among the fabulous books of the NGA shop. You might want to check out the exhibit Beat Memories: The Photographs of Allen Ginsberg. I have yet to see it, but this description makes me want to: "The same ideas that inform his poetry—an intense observation of the world, a deep appreciation of the beauty of the vernacular, a celebration of the sacredness of the present, and a faith in intuitive expression—also permeate his photography."

2) Ogle the elaborate decor of Library of Congress, including the Poetry Gallery, as well as its more sober collection of Jefferson's original books and the massive illustrated Gutenberg Bible. Then go online and discover their wealth of poetry-related programs, including the source of many of my Poetry Friday finds, the amazing high school poetry program, Poetry 180.

3) Wait on line at the National Archives to see the words that established a nation. Or pay your respects at Arlington Cemetery to those military men and women whose lives are marked by only a few words on a tombstone. Many journalists and writers are buried there as well.

4) Pay (yeah, I know it's a lot) to view the intrigue and odd hiliarity of the Spy Museum (dog poop surveillance, anyone?) Or don't pay and just visit the ultra-fun shop with unique gifts for writers.

5) Come to the free KidLit Drinks Night.

6) Take a poetry tour. Three downloadable podcasts are available: Full Tour, National Mall, and Northwest Washington. "The DC Poetry Tour features poems by legendary American poets who have called DC home, including Georgia Douglas Johnson, Robert Hayden, Walt Whitman, May Miller, Sterling Brown, Robert Frost, Robert Lowell, and Randall Jarrell. In addition to these seminal voices, you’ll hear contemporary poets . . . talk about the ways in which DC inspires their writing today."

7) Check out the progressive vibe of restaurant and poetry venue, Busboys and Poets, named for poet Langston Hughes who worked as a busboy at the Wardman Park Hotel in the 1930s. Even the menus spotlight political and social justice issues. Three locations.

8) Browse the packed bookshelves at Politics and Prose Coffeehouse and Book Store. (I did my first event as a new author here.) Check out their 25 Books for 25 Years List (Children and Teens Edition).

9) Visit the incredible FDR Memorial. It's filled with eminently quotable words ("the only thing we have to fear is fear

4 Comments on Poetry Friday: D.C. Poetry Walking Tours and More, last added: 5/8/2010
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9. Social Entrepreneurship: From Vision to Action

I was thrilled to recently join other social entrepreneurs speaking with a group of 63 Fulbright Scholars from 47 countries around the world.  The US Department of State brought the Fulbright Enrichment Seminar participants to Washington to explore social entrepreneurship in the areas of environmental sustainability, public health, education, and economic/social equity. As part of this seminar, the Fulbright students met with Washington area social entrepreneurship experts who took part in an interactive panel discussion, which included First Book.

As a panel expert I was thrilled to share what First Book is doing in Washington D.C. and across the United States, but I was especially excited to join Shari Berenbach, President and CEO of the Calvert Social Investment Foundation (www.calvertfoundation.org) and Maya Ajmera, Founder and President of The Global Fund for Children (www.globalfundforchildren.org).  This experience reminded me that the world of social enterprise truly is a small one — the First Book Marketplace received expansion funding from Calvert several years ago and we already offer a number of wonderful books from The Global Fund for Children.

Although the seminar was only for a few short hours, I spoke with amazing young people doing poverty work in Africa, women’s rights work in Asia, and innovative education work in Europe. I look forward to working more with both Shari and Maya and, who knows, perhaps one day even working with one or more of the Scholars I met to provide new books to children in need around the world…needless to say, I returned to First Book more excited than ever about what we do, working to inspire our world’s future generation of leaders every day.

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10. Conference with Beat

For annual conference night owls, Washington DC is the home of some of the country’s great live music venues.  And the lineups for the last weekend of June are spectacular by any standards.

Most famously, the 9:30 Club, accessible via the Green or Yellow Metro lines, has a great lineup. On Thursday night, soul singer Bettye Lavette plays starting at 8 p.m. Friday, I’ll probably be checking out Tinariwen, a band from the Saharan region of Mali, who despite being together for over 30 years, are now enjoying overnight sensation status thanks to fans ranging from Henry Rollins to Thom Yorke, and some great music. Finally, us old timers can see the latest incarnation of Courtney Love’s Hole. Sorry, Monday’sAdam Lambert show is sold out.

Personally, I also love to dance, but don’t always love the velvet rope drama of a nightclub. A new arrival on the DC Scene is U Street Music Hall It feels like a rock club, but it’s bringing some of the best soulful house music and widest known djs around. ALA weekend features Om Records Marques Wyatt.

Stay tuned for more music choices for you late night partiers.

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11. Hawk Roosting at the Library of Congress

A female cooper’s hawk, nicknamed “Cooper,” is currently occupying the Library of Congress’ ceiling lantern inside the main reading room. Visitors and researches can still access the library. The video embedded above shows a CNN news reporter checking out Cooper’s roost.

Library of Congress director of communications Matt Raymond blogged about the hawk: “It’s not ruffling our patrons’ feathers, and they aren’t bothering it either. To them, the whole situation is like water off a duck’s back.”

A professional from the Raptor Conservancy of Virginia has will attempt a humane capture. The library has installed a mesh net so the hawk stays out of the human-occupied areas of the main reading room. (Via the Huffington Post)

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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12. 2010 Nebula Award Nominees Announced

The Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers Association have announced the nominees for the 2010 Nebula Awards. The winners will be named at the Nebula Awards Banquet on May 21st in Washington D.C.

These awards recognize the following categories: short story, novelette, novella, and novel. In addition, three special awards honor filmmakers, young-adult writers, and outstanding contributors to the field.

Last year’s winners included Tor Books publisher Tom Doherty, novelist Paolo Bacigalupi, and short story writer Kij Johnson. Follow the jump to see this year’s nominees in a few of the top categories.

continued…

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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13. Book Sale in Washington DC this weekend

I have a bit of a PSA today, one of our readers emailed us to let us know that they are involved with a school fundraising project this weekend just outside Washington D.C.   Bethesda–Chevy Chase High School is hosting an annual book sale over 20,000 used books to raise funds to support various programs run by the Parent-Teacher-Student Association which include Extracurricular clubs, after-school tutoring, student publications and other quality endevaours. 

All hardbacks are $3, paperbacks are $2 and on Sunday you can pick up a full bag of books for $10.  The sale runs Saturday March 26th from 10am-4pm and Sunday March 27th from 10am-2pm.

Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School is located at 4301 East-West Hwy. in Bethesda. Free parking is available at the school; it is also accessible by Metro Red line, Bethesda stop.

If anyone makes it to the sale drop us a comment and let us know how it went. 

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14. Two San Francisco Bookstores to Close

Two San Francisco independent bookstores will close in coming weeks. Modern Times, a shop on Valencia Street, sold both traditional fiction and progressive titles. A Different Light, located in the Castro District, specialized in books for the LGBT community.

The Bay Citizen reports: “But in recent years the store [A Different Light] has struggled financially. Some publishers have complained about the bookstore not paying its bills on time. The store’s owner, Bill Barker, could not be reached for comment. The person who answered Barker’s phone would not identify himself and said the owner was ‘in the desert’ and unreachable.”

For Modern Times, their landlord decided to not renew their lease. However, the store could reopen. According to an e-mail sent to The Bay Citizen, Washington D.C.-based Busboys & Poets has proposed that the store set up shop on the East Coast.

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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15. John Updike on Art, America, and the “Clarity of Things”

Washington D.C. loves the chance to remind everyone that it’s not just a political town. Once a year, D.C.’s literati get dressed up, bring on the President’s own Marine Corps Band, and silence their Blackberrys for an hour or so to listen intently to the Annual Jefferson Lecture sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

And listen they did, to none other than Pulitzer Prize-winning American novelist, short story writer, poet, internationally-known author and critic John Updike. Updike’s lecture entitled “The Clarity of Things” which examined the connection between America’s art and its ideas by posing the question, “What is American about American art?” Using complementary images found in the Endowment’s new Picturing America initiative – a project which brings great American art to schools and public libraries to help citizens learn about the people, events, and ideas that have shaped national history – Updike guided the audience on a whirlwind, personalized tour of some of the greats in the American pantheon. Discussing the “painterly” (or in some cases, more “liney”) techniques of artists such as John Singleton Copley, Winslow Homer, Gilbert Stuart, and a wide array of others, the 76-year old Updike proved that his discerning eye — not to mention his opinions — are as sharp as ever.

I’m not sure I came away with a better sense of clarity for myself regarding the question he posed regarding Americanism in art, but one thing is for sure — I’d love to have Updike as my guide the next time I go to the National Gallery.

What do you say, John – is it a date?

P.S. For more info about the 37th Annual Jefferson Lecture, you can check out the NEH Press Release or this article about the author.

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16. Inaugural Post

Today the world turned its eyes to Washington, DC where the United States inaugurated its 44th President, Barack Hussein Obama. And while most of our executives have been sworn in here on the banks of the Potomac, our first head of state actually took office a stone’s throw from another river: the Hudson. On April 30, 1789, George Washington took his oath of office in front of a crowd assembled on Wall Street in lower Manhattan. After a long trip from his home in Virginia, he was rowed to New York and walked to Federal Hall, the site of his inauguration and the birthplace of American government. At the time, the city’s inhabitants numbered roughly 30,000, and its homes and businesses did not extend much further than the modern location of Canal Street. Just ten years later, the population of the country’s first capital had swelled to more than 60,000 residents.


Ben Keene is the editor of Oxford Atlas of the World. Check out some of his previous places of the week.

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