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1. Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: April 18

TwitterLinksHere are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage. There are a few more than usual, as I was traveling late last week, and then had a big burst of catch-up links on Monday and Tuesday. Lots of links this week about diversity and about libraries. 

Book Lists and Awards

RT @tashrow James Patterson wins the 2014 Chicago Tribune Young Adult Literary Award. http://buff.ly/1l1S0Yk #kidlit

Make 'Em Laugh: Gut-Busting Picture Books That'll Have 'Em Rolling in the Aisles | @FuseEight for @NYPL http://ow.ly/vUt6f #kidlit

Booklist for Easter from @cjfriess | Favourite picture book bunnies http://ow.ly/vPivI #kidlit

Chapter Books for the New Chapter Book Reader | @ReadingWithBean http://ow.ly/vPhZO

20 Books for Tween Boys Reading Up » Children's Book Reviews by @StorySnoops http://ow.ly/vPjw7 #kidlit

So You Want To Read Middle Grade: #Nonfiction for Middle Grade by Sarah Albee @greenbeanblog http://ow.ly/vPfr1 #kidlit

15 Adorable Children's Books For Your Little Architect from @buzzfeed via @PWKidsBookshelf http://ow.ly/vPsvr #booklist

A fine list: 22 Great Non-fiction Books for Boys (& Girls) from @TrevorHCairney http://ow.ly/vPgjr #nonfiction #kidlit

The top 10 most frequently challenged books of 2013, from @GuardianBooks + @bkshelvesofdoom http://ow.ly/vN1Bm #censorship

Great Books About Eggs and Chicks | @sljournal #booklist http://ow.ly/vMQAl #kidlit

Diversity + Gender

We Need Bigger Megaphones for #Diversity in #KidLit | "Why aren't more people" speaking up? @catagator @bookriot http://ow.ly/vPeKy

Becoming More Diverse – A #Library Journey by Crystal Brunelle @librarygrl2 @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/vVOsw #diversity

Shattering the Multicultural Myth of the Market. Let's go, urges @MitaliPerkins http://ow.ly/vUtir #yalit #diversity

Diversity in young adult literature: Where's the 'Mexican Katniss'? ask #yalit authors @cnn http://ow.ly/vMQMW via @PWKidsBookshelf

Stacked: TeenGirls Reading: What Are They Seeing (or Not Seeing)? asks @catagator http://ow.ly/vUsRL #yalit

Men: let us know about female characters you admire | @GuardianBooks campaign #LetBooksBeBooks http://ow.ly/vPgUg

Boys Read Girls (Let Books Be Books) @bookzone http://ow.ly/vPgIy via @charlotteslib #kidlit #gender

RT @ElisabethElling "Are Teen Girls Seeing Themselves Reflected in What They Read?" #yalitclass http://feedly.com/e/YKzivZyN

Sigh: "Being male still seems to present an advantage when it comes to recognition, prestige, and awards" in #kidlit http://ow.ly/vMRKY

eBooks / Online Reading

It’s an #Ebook World for Young Readers 13 and Under Says PlayCollective Report | @sljournal http://ow.ly/vVO9q via @tashrow

RT @tashrow Serious reading takes a hit from online scanning and skimming, researchers say – Washington Post http://buff.ly/1qkngTN #reading

Author @MitaliPerkins is proposing once a week Device-Free Day. Are you in? http://ow.ly/vN1m3

Events (inc. National Poetry Month)

TBD2014BannerSupport @readergirlz Teen Literature Day & "Rock the Drop", @CynLeitichSmith @melissacwalker http://ow.ly/vUsyl

5 Great Poetry Collections for Kids #NationalPoetryMonth@jenndon @5M4B http://ow.ly/vVNQZ

10 Ways to Get Kids Excited About #Poetry by @smozer at @KirbyLarson blog http://ow.ly/vPjjb

Forgiving Buckner by John Hodgen, #poetry @missrumphius | "Can baseball be the true harbinger of spring?" http://ow.ly/vPiKz #redsox

NationalPoetryMonthPoetry Challenge for Kids {Week 3} from @momandkiddo http://ow.ly/vPiro #NationalPoetryMonth

Kidlitosphere

This post made me happy + sad| Children’s Literature Online at a Glance: A Look Back at Friends Long Gone @fuseeight http://ow.ly/vN1Um

On Reading, Writing, and Publishing

Lovely! The Top 10 Reasons Why I Can’t Stop Reading Children’s & Young Adult Literature by @EsMteach @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/vPhG5

Growing Up As an Only Child, Fictional Characters Were My Siblings | @BookishHQ http://ow.ly/vMS12 via @PWKidsBookshelf

Dare to Disturb the Universe: Madeleine L’Engle on Creativity, Censorship, Writing + Duty of #kidlit | @brainpicker http://ow.ly/vMRsK

Schools and Libraries

This is interesting | (Much of) Parental Involvement (at school) is Overrated @NYTimes Opinionator http://ow.ly/vPqwg

Shanahan on #Literacy: How Much In-Class Reading? (On reading aloud and silently in the classroom) http://ow.ly/vPhhi

How VA Middle School Librarian + Book Club Raised Funds to Provide 15k Meals for Students in South Sudan | @sljournal http://ow.ly/vUhW5

Thanks to NBA Star LeBron James, Akron Public Schools Has One of the Largest E-Libraries in Country | @sljournal http://ow.ly/vUh45

12 ways to Save Money at Your Public #Library from @AboutKidsBooks - Borrow Kids Books eBooks Audiobooks DVDs http://ow.ly/vRqJ3

Betsy @FuseEight has set up a very cool #Literary Salon @NYPL on Podcasting Children’s Books w/ @KatieDavisBurps + more http://ow.ly/vRq7K

RT: AboutKidsBooks: 6 picture books about libraries and librarians and 1 article about how to save money at your public library. http://abt.cm/1hHgTtt

What you should do to help libraries in crisis (instead of holding a spontaneous book drive) — @lizb http://ow.ly/vN2ar

Think libraries are dying? Think again @cnn shares #library photos and reports on their enduring popularity http://ow.ly/vPb68

Reasons why you should be taking your child to the #library from @HuffPost + @tashrow http://ow.ly/vN1ru

In Arizona, After Girl Scouts’ #Library Project Set on Fire, Public Support Pours In | @sljournal http://ow.ly/vMQqc

© 2014 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook.

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2. Where In The World: How One Class Used Google Maps to Explore the Vanishing Cultures Series

Throughout April, we are exploring how Jan Reynolds’ Vanishing Cultures series can be used in the classroom to teach about the environment, geo-literacy, global citizenship, and nonfiction. Today, we want to share how one school has integrated geo-literacy with digital and visual literacy.

Michael Willis and the Kaleidoscope Team at Williston Central School in Williston, Vermont helped their 3rd and 4th grade classroom build a map on Google Maps of the cultures featured in the books. Through this project, students were able to investigate topics and themes in the Vanishing Cultures series, practice deriving information from other formats and develop visual literacy skills, and gain rich social studies/ geography content knowledge.

The Google Maps assignment is an exciting way to engage reluctant or struggling readers, facilitate the participation of visual learners and English Language Learners, or provide an extension opportunity for ready or advanced learners. The 3rd and 4th grade students hope that in addition to deepening their own knowledge about traditional cultures, their project provides useful and valuable information for others.

From educator, Michael Willis: My 3rd and 4th grade team wanted to get an author in to share their experiences with our young writers.  Ideally we wanted a local person and sure enough Jan Reynolds, who lives in Vermont, was available.  First we hit up our library as well as the others in our area and got our hands on Jan’s Vanishing Cultures series.  We read aloud her books, visited her website, and then Jan came.

She shared a movie about her work and travels with our whole team in the auditorium and then spent time answering questions in smaller groups.  It was during one of the small presentations that Jan mentioned how great it would be to use Google Maps to highlight her book locations.  I thought it would be a great project for our students, and they were motivated to do it by the idea that the project could be shared with other students who read Jan’s books.

We used Google Maps to plot out where in the world Jan’s Vanishing Cultures books take place, and put together this map.

Map

Williston Central School Google Earth Map for Vanishing Cultures series

Here’s what the students had to say about the project:

What was it like doing the Google Earth Project?

Grace – I thought that it was really fun because we were working with a famous author.  We had to get all of her books and look up where she had been using Google Earth.

Isabelle – We dropped pins on the locations using the facts and map information on the inside covers of her books.  Doing this project motivated us to have to read her books and learn about the cultures that she visited.  It made me appreciate how lucky we are to have the things we have.

Logan – The map project was really interesting.  It helped me understand how many different places Jan had been.  I didn’t know that there were cultures vanishing from the Earth.  It made me want to learn more about the cultures.  The books were helpful because she had really been to visit the people, talk to them, and learn how they live.

Addie – We used the summaries and the content from the books to add a brief description to the pins which marked the places.  This project motivated us because we wanted to help others learn.  It felt special because we were the first ones to do this and actually get published!  Plus, I didn’t even know these cultures existed!

Myleigh – The motivating part of the project was that I don’t usually get to explore the world. How often do people get to learn about this kind of thing?  It was almost like traveling the world reading Jan’s books.

What do you think is the purpose of Jan’s books?  What do they help you realize?

Sean – Her purpose was to teach children about the Vanishing Cultures and what is happening to them.  I think Jan’s message was not that they need our help because they have been surviving for a long time.  She was telling us that we should respect them, their way of life, and to respect their land.  I learned that they are just like everyday people.  To them, I bet we would look like the outsiders.  Everyone has traditions that they do.

Addie – We are lucky to have so many resources to use.

Grace – It made me realize how different these cultures are from us

Isabelle – It also made me realize that we all are not that different.  We may have different stuff and live in different parts of the world, but we all are people.

Grace – We can help other cultures by protecting the regions where they live

Addie – We realized that while our cultures are different, we shouldn’t force them to disappear because we all have something to learn from each other.  We could be more conscious of our waste and our pollution and that could help them keep their culture and survive

Isabelle – I think that it is important to respect different cultures because it’s how they live.  The Celebrations book helped me learn that different cultures celebrate different holidays

What was it like having Jan visit?

Myleigh – It was really cool to see Jan’s presentation and to hear her describe her trips first hand.  It really helped me put myself in her shoes and understand what she was going through.  When I was hearing her use such descriptive language it felt like I was right there with her.

Katrina – I think that since she came it really helped us understand that you should appreciate what you have – even though the people in the other cultures don’t have a lot they still seemed happy.  The people in those cultures work hard to live off the land and work with nature by using their resources. It really helped me learn about cultures that I didn’t know about.

For more resources on the Vanishing Cultures series, check out:

How are you using the Vanishing Cultures series in your classroom? Share your thoughts, experiences, and strategies that have worked in your school and community! Post a comment below or email Lee & Low at curriculum@leeandlow.com.

 

 


Filed under: Curriculum Corner Tagged: CCSS, children's books, classroom projects, close reading, common core standards, digital literacy, diversity, Educators, ELA common core standards, environmentalism, geography, geoliteracy, reading comprehension, visual literacy

0 Comments on Where In The World: How One Class Used Google Maps to Explore the Vanishing Cultures Series as of 4/15/2014 9:47:00 AM
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3. Get Ready for Día!

What celebration are children’s librarians across the United State getting ready for on April 30th that involves families, fun, food and of course, books? Although every day is an opportunity to celebrate the joy of reading, El día de los niños/ El día de los libros (Children’s Day/ Book Day), founded in 1996 by Latino children’s author Pat Mora, “Día” is a wonderful way for libraries to reach out to their community and emphasize the importance of advocating literacy to children of all backgrounds. In addition, Día connects them to different cultures through books, craft activities and recipes.

 Your celebration can be as small as promotingDía at a storytime with a bookmark making craft or as large as an evening event with a special guest such as an author or storyteller. To get started with some excellent ideas, check out the Día Facebook page or the Día Pinterest account.Register your program on the Día Registry and receive special bookmarks, stickers, and posters. Don’t forget about the wonderful Día Family Book Club Toolkit available for free download! A special bonus offered this month only to help you prepare and incorporate Día into your library programming are the four free webinars offered through ALSC. What are you planning for Día?

______________________________________________________

Debra S. Gold is blogging on behalf of the Public Awareness Committee and has been a Children’s Librarian for Cuyahoga County Public Library (Cleveland, Ohio)  for the past thirty years.  She served on the Newbery Committee in 1996, the Caldecott Committee in 2004, and the Coretta Scott Book Award Committee in 2011 and 2012.

0 Comments on Get Ready for Día! as of 4/13/2014 1:21:00 AM
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4. Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: April 11

TwitterLinksHere are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage.

Book Lists

Stacked: Revisiting YA Verse Novels: A 2014 Guide to the Format http://ow.ly/vwXku #yalit

Always good choices | Waterstones Children’s Book Prizes 2014 | @tashrow http://ow.ly/vwXAV #kidlit

A roundup of Rapunzel retellings from @alibrarymama http://ow.ly/vCtot #kidlit

Diversity

Color Your Bookshelf: 39 Diverse Board Books to Give a Baby or Toddler from @SproutsBkshelf http://ow.ly/vx18R #kidlit

On not stereotyping | Joseph Bruchac responds to "You Don't Look Indian" @CynLeitichSmith http://ow.ly/vwV9z

Entertainment Weekly — Kid Lit’s Primary Color: White — thoughts on @ew article from @lizb http://ow.ly/vzC4X #diversity

Events (National Poetry Month)

Poetry writing for kids: 14 Ideas from @momandkiddo http://ow.ly/vzBCc #NationalPoetryMonth

For #NationalPoetryMonth, Five Teen Poet Ambassadors Will Present their Works Across the Country | @sljournal http://ow.ly/vzD4h

Growing Bookworms

Nursery Rhymes: Not Just for Babies! (Activities for older and younger kids)| @ReadingRockets via @librareanne http://ow.ly/vwMHP

How Can a Child Learn to Write in 30 Minutes? (after lots of groundwork) by @TrevorHCairney http://ow.ly/vwZ7a #literacy

Relevant for many! The Lesson I Learned From My Daughter About Reading Choice by @littlemamab @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/vwWR2

Great advice from @SunlitPages Raising Readers: Teaching Children to Read With Expression http://ow.ly/vzCnu #literacy

Miscellaneous

Fusenews: All you need is love (and books before the age of 3) — @fuseeight http://ow.ly/vCuGS#kidlit

Very cool! See a time-lapse video of LEGO Fenway Park being built | BetaBoston http://ow.ly/vwAqG via @tonkazona #RedSox

MagicAndMLK3My photo w/ Magic Johnson + Martin Luther King III at We Day CA, in blog post by my friend Jonathan White http://ow.ly/vwB90 #WeDay

OK, this is very fun! From @escapeadulthood | Dude Transforms Deck Into Pirate Ship http://ow.ly/vzACo

On Reading, Writing, and Publishing

The 9 Most Mischievous Literary Pranksters, Ranked | @HuffPostBooks via @tashrow http://ow.ly/vx0wm

Perspective, people. Thoughts from a mother + author on why she can't respond to everyone's emails from @haleshannon http://ow.ly/vwUtU

Yes (most anyway). Should celebrities stop writing children's books? | The Observer @Guardian http://ow.ly/vzKex via @PWKidsBookshelf

LA Times - 'Fault in Our Stars' writer John Green has a good read on teens, tech by @Gwenda via @PWKidsBookshelf http://ow.ly/vzK3U

How I learned to stop worrying and love the @Kindle @DailyDot via @tashrow http://ow.ly/vx0Th

Schools and Libraries

Nice! New Jersey Librarians Get $116,000 in Makerspace Grants - @ShiftTheDigital http://ow.ly/vzCV6

SummerReadingKids-1Infographic about positive impact of library #SummerReading programs as reported by parents http://ow.ly/i/5a9ww @SantaClaraLib @alscblog

Nice infographic about the positive impact that library #SummerReading programs have on kids http://ow.ly/i/5a9qN @SantaClaraLib @alscblog

Parenting

Food for thought | I'm Done Making My Kid's Childhood Magical | @BunmiLaditan @HuffPost http://ow.ly/vwYp1 via @FreeRangeKids

Risky Play: Why Children Love It and Need It | Peter Gray at Psychology Today http://ow.ly/vwWcx

What Parents Should Know About Kids’ Social Networking from @StratfordSchool http://ow.ly/vwXwZ

Programs and Research

News: @Scholastic Launches Classroom and School-wide Registration for Students to Join the #SummerReadingChallenge http://ow.ly/vwJ8h

Join the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge - @CoffeeandCrayon http://ow.ly/vzBqR #STEM

© 2014 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook.

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5. Four Books to Celebrate El día de los niños

Today’s guest blog post is by Pat Mora, award-winning author and founder of El día le los niños, El día de los libros/Children’s Day, Book Day.

All the books Pat recommends are available at deeply discounted prices on the First Book Marketplace to educators and programs serving children in need.

Pat MoraA lifetime of reading teaches us the pleasure and power of books, and that literature at all levels and from all cultures can not only teach us but humanize us.

Through the writings of others we can share the experiences of a Midwest family on a farm years ago, the fear of a Jewish family during the Holocaust or the internment terror of Japanese families here during World War II. As readers, we can share in the triumph of a black family or an Egyptian family that writes a play about its history or traditions. By reading writers from the diverse cultures that are part of our United States, children learn new songs, celebrations, folk tales and stories with a cultural context.

This is what El día de los niños, El día de los libros/Children’s Day, Book Day is all about – implementing creative literacy strategies using diverse books and planning Día book fiestas for all children, from all cultures, in all languages. High-quality children’s books that reflect our rich plurality are able to reveal the many ways we are all alike as well as the ways we are all different.

Another major element in Día is honoring. Do we connect our literacy goals and efforts with really honoring each child and honoring home languages and cultures? Once honoring culture becomes a priority, creative and dedicated staff and families can propose and share ideas. Teachers and parents can create a sense of “bookjoy” with stories, games, literacy crafts and read-alouds. Coaching parents who did not have diverse literacy experiences growing up is of particular importance; whether a family is Spanish- speaking, English-speaking, Chinese-speaking, etc., we need to invest in respectfully and innovatively coaching multilingual families to join us in sharing a love of books.

Today, twenty-five percent of our children live in poverty – including one-third of black and Hispanic children. By 2018, children of color will be the majority in the U.S. What can we do to serve them and their families well? Celebrating Día and creatively championing the importance of literacy for children from all backgrounds is one way to start. Here’s to becoming a reading nation!

Here are 4 titles that can help you spread “bookjoy” and celebrate El día de los niños, El Día de los libros/Children’s Day, Book Day with children in your community! Sign up with First Book to access these and other great titles on the First Book Marketplace.

crazy_horses_visiongrandmas_chocolate_bilingualmeet_danitra_brown_2tomas_library_lady_mora

You can learn more about Pat Mora and El día de los niños, El Día de los libros/Children’s Day, Book Day on Pat’s website.

The post Four Books to Celebrate El día de los niños appeared first on First Book Blog.

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6. Beyond “Did you know…”: Teaching Geo-Literacy Using the Vanishing Cultures Book Series

JillJill_Eisenberg Eisenberg, our Resident Literacy Expert, began her career teaching English as a Foreign Language to second through sixth graders in Yilan, Taiwan as a Fulbright Fellow. She went on to become a literacy teacher for third grade in San Jose, CA as a Teach for America corps member. She is certified in Project Glad instruction to promote English language acquisition and academic achievement. In her column she offers teaching and literacy tips for educators. 

Vanishing Cultures: Mongolia

Vanishing Cultures: Mongolia

Last week on the blog we spotlighted the work of Jan Reynolds, an author and explorer who has written nonfiction for young readers about cultures across the globe. If we had read the Vanishing Cultures series when I was a classroom teacher, my students would have been competing with each other over who knew the most outrageous fact. Did you know the Tiwi, an aboriginal tribe from an island off the coast of Australia, eat mangrove worms fresh? Did you know the Inuit from the Hudson Bay build rock piles that are stacked to look like men in order to scare caribou toward the real Inuit hunters?

My students loved to play the “did you know…” game. That became a popular sentence starter in our classroom. Students would scramble for the latest book or periodical on animals, prehistoric times, and exotic locales. The peregrine falcon, megalodon, and the giant panda were unshakable favorites.

Yet, we don’t want students to know “just facts” as if they are mini-encyclopedias. We aspire for our students to wonder and to investigate how our world works, how we are all connected to our environment and other humans halfway around the globe, and how our actions here affect others way over there.

The Common Core brings a refreshed spotlight to the nonfiction genre in children’s books, challenging publishers, educators, librarians, and parents to present children with high interest, high quality texts. What a time to engage students’ senses, sustain their wonder, and teach them geo-literacy!

National Geographic affirms, “with the rapid pace of change in the 21st century, it is more important than ever that young people understand the world around them.” It has adopted the concept of “geo-literacy,” and even gone so far as to create a community to support and cultivate “geo-educators.”

Vanishing Cultures: Himalaya

Vanishing Cultures: Himalaya

Enjoyed in classrooms around the nation, Jan Reynolds’ collection on at-risk traditional cultures is even more significant and striking today than when the series was first published. The persistent popularity of the Vanishing Cultures series speaks to its captivating power to make geo-literacy learning personal and tangible. This collection supports geo-literacy learning because each book challenges students to examine:

  • the characteristics of each culture
  • what makes this featured culture unique
  • how this group of people has adapted to survive in its environment
  • what challenges this group of people faces
  • the modern human impact (positive and negative) on this traditional culture and the environment
  • why the author would want to share this story with children and create a whole series on this topic

When we educate children about other cultures and geo-literacy more broadly, we are implanting the idea that we learn in order to make better, more informed decisions. Before our students become adults in positions of power, we want them to have practice in pausing and thinking how their choices to construct their community could disturb the environment of another community or animal species.

The Vanishing Cultures books encourage students to reason and reflect critically and deeply about how humans affect other humans and why we all benefit from diversity. As classrooms around the country can attest, Jan Reynolds’ books will not only spark enthusiasm that we hope ignites into lifelong careers and hobbies, but also conversation on what information we need to make decisions that will shape our and others’ health, environment, and well-being.

Vanishing Cultures: Down Under

Vanishing Cultures: Down Under

Classroom Ideas for Comparing and Contrasting Between Vanishing Cultures Books and Teaching Geo-Literacy

(Reading Standards, Integration of Knowledge & Ideas, Strand 9)

(Writing Standards, Research to Build & Present Knowledge, Strand 7 and 9)

  1. How are these cultures similar and different from each other? What actions do these families take in both books to protect their ways of life?
  2. Compare how the challenges of each culture are similar or different.
  3. Compare how the children in each book demonstrate their pride in their culture. Why is it important for the children to feel proud of who they are and their way of life?
  4. What is the author’s purpose in starting each book with the parents telling their child a story from long ago? How does this affect the tone of and set the mood in the series? How does this opening support the central idea?
  5. After reading two or more of the Vanishing Cultures books, what common features or characteristics does a Vanishing Culture book have? If you were to write a book about your family’s culture, what kinds of things happen in a Vanishing Cultures book? What are some things that will not happen in a Vanishing Cultures book? What central ideas and lessons will be in the book?
  6. Have students create a chart to compare different aspects of life across two or more cultures. Write the name of each cultural group being compared on the top of the chart, and list the topics for points of comparison down the left side. Here are some possible topics: Food, Clothing, Climate, Geography, Important Animals, Homes, How Children Help (Chores), Roles of Men & Women, Family Life, How People Have Fun, Beliefs, Means of Transportation, Challenges Faced Today, Celebrations, Honoring Loved Ones. Have students record appropriate information as they read and re-read the texts.
  7. One elementary class created the “Around the World with Jan Reynolds” project on Google Earth. Explore where each of the books takes place. Compare the political map with the satellite map. Reflect on how geography has helped or hurt the survival of these ancient cultures. Students can create their own maps of the different cultures at National Geographic’s MapMaker’s 1-Page Maps.

Filed under: Curriculum Corner Tagged: CCSS, children's books, close reading, common core standards, diversity, Educators, ELA common core standards, environmentalism, geography, geoliteracy, guided reading, Multiracial, Reading Aloud, reading comprehension, vanishing cultures

0 Comments on Beyond “Did you know…”: Teaching Geo-Literacy Using the Vanishing Cultures Book Series as of 4/8/2014 10:51:00 AM
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7. Black and White and Everything In Between by Savita Kalhan

According to a study by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center at the University of Wisconsin, of the 3,200 children’s books published in 2013 in the US, just 93 were about black people. The UK fares little better by all accounts.

Leila Rasheed has blogged about the importance of non-issue based children’s books featuring children from ethnic backgrounds, and why she finds it hard to write about non-white characters.  http://leilarasheeddotcom.wordpress.com/2014/03/20/permission-to-write-my-experience-of-being-a-british-asian-reader-and-writer-of-childrens-books/

Tanya Byrne has written about this on the Guardian books blog where she calls for more books featuring children of colour. https://href.li/?http://www.theguardian.com/childrens-books-site/2014/mar/20/tanya-byrne-top-10-black-characters-in-childrens-books?CMP=twt_gu

The dearth of non-white characters was raised by Dean Myers, in his article: Where are the People of Colour in Children’s Books. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/16/opinion/sunday/where-are-the-people-of-color-in-childrens-books.html?_r=1

And then again by his son Christopher Myers in The Apartheid of Children. https://href.li/?http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/16/opinion/sunday/the-apartheid-of-childrens-literature.html

There is now an increasing debate and demand for more diversity in children’s literature to reflect our increasingly multi-ethnic and multi cultural society.

Almost thirty years ago Verna Wilkins set up Tamarind Press in an attempt to redress the lack of books with children from non-white backgrounds being published in the children’s market. But ‘mainstream’ publishers have yet to catch up, and there is clearly still a huge lack of such books.

As a British Asian, who is 100% Indian in terms of heritage, but who is essentially more British than Indian, and as a big reader during my childhood, it was always a surprise when I found a book about a child who shared my skin colour. A nice surprise. Yes, often those kids were beset by problems such as racial abuse and stereotyping, but that wasn’t a problem for me because growing up in the UK at the time did in fact necessarily involve having to face those issues to a greater or lesser degree.

What bothers me now is the fact that, as all of the above authors have pointed out, there are still very few books that feature children of colour, whether or not they are issue-based or are 'normal' non-issue based stories .

Children are growing up in a society which is far more culturally mixed and diverse. But, for today's children, not much has changed from when I grew up, in terms of seeing and reading about a diverse range of children like themselves and their friends in literature.

That’s a problem.

I completely agree with Malorie when she talks about diversity of multi-cultural voices in children’s literature being of paramount importance, not least because it would promote awareness and understanding, and tolerance.

On a personal level, as a writer, I have written books featuring all white characters. People have often said that The Long Weekend could have been written by a white Anglo-Saxon. That’s fine. I find it quite amusing. It’s my fully Indian name on the spine. In another novel, Amnesia, the main character is an English boy, but his best friend is Indian and his girlfriend is half Italian. The book I have just completed is about an Asian girl and features predominately Asian characters of different backgrounds. I don’t feel that because I’m Asian I have to write about Asian characters all the time, or that I should feel obliged to.

What’s important in children’s literature is that a diversity of characters in terms of ethnicity and culture is depicted, and that their voices are heard, and that a child is no longer surprised when they find more than one book featuring someone of their ethnicity, culture or colour. Sadly, that’s not happening yet.

 

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8. Talking Every Child Ready to Read® en Español – ALSC Institute Programs

2014 Institute LogoThe upcoming ALSC Institute in Oakland, CA, on September 18-20, 2014, provides an abundance of outstanding programs to attend, from exploring innovative ways for youth services librarians to engage with community to the latest in early literacy research and best practices.

Among the many programs offered will be Every Child Ready to Read® en Español: A How-to Workshop, offering practical information for using the Spanish ECRR Manual and kit’s new tools. Several of the program presenters gave us a few minutes of their time to talk about what Institute attendees can look forward to.

Tell us a little about yourself.

Freda Mosquera: I am a passionate advocate of library services to children and teens of color, and through my own professional journey have had the great professional opportunity to meet others that share this passion and are committed to promoting these services at the local, state at national level. Some of these outstanding professionals comprise this panel. The lives of many Latino children in the United States have been greatly enriched thanks to their contributions. I am infinitely grateful to them for their work and honored to share this panel with them.

Every Child Ready to Read® @ your Library® Toolkit for Spanish-Speaking Communities is now available from the ALA Store (image courtesy of ALA)

Every Child Ready to Read® @ your Library® Toolkit for Spanish-Speaking Communities is now available from the ALA Store (image courtesy of ALA)

Ana-Elba Pavon:  I am currently a Branch Manager at the Elmhurst Branch of the Oakland Public Library.  A co-author of 25 Latino Craft Projects (ALA Editions, 2003), I have spoken on various aspects of children’s, Latino, and Spanish-language library services at various national and international conferences.

Lucía M. González: I am librarian, storyteller, and author.  My book, The Bossy Gallito, was included among the New York Public Library’s 100 Most Popular Children’s Books of the Last Century and 100 Fantastic Tales that Have Withstood the Test of Time.

Tell us about your program in just 6 words.

Freda:  Insightful, empowering, fun, practical, informational and inspiring.

What’s one thing you feel people should know about your program?

Freda:  As the translator of many of the Every Child Ready to Read® en Español slides, guides and bibliographies, and the manual, I believe it is important that librarians, teachers and parents know the manual was developed to help non-Spanish speaker professionals, as well as those that speak the language. People should be aware of the publishers’ (PLA & ALSC) dedication and commitment to produce a culturally appropriate manual that displays a profound respect for the Spanish language and the very diverse cultures of Spanish-speakers in the United States. Professionals that do not speak Spanish should feel confident using this manual. It will greatly help them to provide a much needed service: early literacy for bilingual children, as well as children that are raised in an English speaking world and whose parents speak Spanish.

Sam, Matthew & Isaac reading books" by PittCaleb is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND. No changes were made.

“Sam, Matthew & Isaac reading books” by PittCaleb is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND. No changes were made.

What’s one thing someone who attends your program will be able to take back to their libraries and use right away?

Freda: Librarians will be able to start free literacy sessions and workshops for Spanish-speaking parents, as well as promoting and advertising the ECRR program in Spanish, using the materials contained on the manual.

Looking at the list of other programs on the lineup, which one are you most looking forward to attending?

Ana-Elba:  Making Advocacy Awesome: A Workshop for the Everyday Advocate—You!

Lucia:  Dewey-Lite: A Solution to the Non-Fiction Problem

If you could be any kid’s lit character, who would you be and why?

Freda:  Alice in Wonderland, because I like to think that impossible things are possible.

Ana-Elba:  Piggy from Mo Willems’ Elephant and Piggie series.  I just love those books.  They make me laugh, the kids enjoy them, and they remind me of one of my cherished friendships.

Lucia:  Hermione Jean Granger from the Harry Potter series. She is proud and confident of her Muggle origins, and always smart and brave.

Ted McCoy, ALSC Institute Task Force Member and Children’s Librarian at Springfield (MA) City Library

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9. Resources For Teaching About Wangari Maathai and Seeds Of Change

Jill_EisenbergJill Eisenberg, our Resident Literacy Expert, began her career teaching English as a Foreign Language to second through sixth graders in Yilan, Taiwan as a Fulbright Fellow. She went on to become a literacy teacher for third grade in San Jose, CA as a Teach for America corps member. She is certified in Project Glad instruction to promote English language acquisition and academic achievement. In her column she offers teaching and literacy tips for educators. 

Seeds of Change cover

Seeds Of Change

In honor of Wangari Maathai’s birthday on Tuesday, April 1 and upcoming Earth Day later this month, we at Lee & Low Books want to share all the fantastic resources and ideas that are available to educators who are teaching about Wangari Maathai’s legacy and using Seeds Of Change: Planting a Path to Peace.

Wangari Maathai

Seeds Of Change

Elementary School:

Seeds of ChangeMiddle School and High School:

  • Seeds Of Change won the American Library Association’s Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award for New Talent in Illustration in 2011. The Committee Chair and Book Jury have prepared activities and discussion questions for Seeds Of Change in the 2011 Discussion Guide for Coretta Scott King Book Awards, P. 20-21.
  • Have students read and discuss author Jen Cullerton Johnson and illustrator Sonia Lynn Sadler’s joint interview with Lee & Low, which covers the environment, their travels, and Wangari Maathai’s achievements.
  • After introducing Wangari Maathai with Seeds Of Change, delve deeper with the Speak Truth To Power human rights education curriculum, a project of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights. They present an in-depth exploration on Wangari Maathai, the Green Belt Movement, and sustainability issues.
  • In teaching standard 7 of the ELA Common Core, have students evaluate how Wangari Maathai is presented in a documentary compared to the Seeds Of Change biography. PBS’s documentary on Wangari Maathai and the Green Belt Movement, Taking Root: The Vision of Wangari Maathai, contains a classroom section full of video modules, handouts, and lesson plans.

What did we miss? Let us know how you are using Seeds Of Change in your classroom!

 

 


Filed under: Curriculum Corner Tagged: African/African American Interest, biographies, CCSS, children's books, common core standards, diversity, Educators, ELA common core standards, environmentalism, History, holidays, lesson plans, Reading Aloud, reading comprehension, ReadyGEN, Wangari Maathai

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10. Every Child Ready to Read® for Spanish-Speaking Communities

Every Child Ready to Read® @ your Library® Toolkit for Spanish-Speaking Communities is now available from the ALA Store (image courtesy of ALA)

Every Child Ready to Read® @ your Library® Toolkit for Spanish-Speaking Communities is now available from the ALA Store (image courtesy of ALA)

ALSC and PLA announced the release of a new Every Child Ready to Read® product. The Every Child Ready to Read® your Library® Toolkit for Spanish-Speaking Communities is now available as a digital download from the ALA Store.

Every Child Ready to Read® is a parent education initiative that stresses that early literacy begins with the primary adults in a child’s life. It empowers public libraries to assume an essential role in supporting early literacy within their community.

The Every Child Ready to Read @ your library Toolkit for Spanish-Speaking Communities contains everything you need to offer Every Child Read to Read programming for your Spanish-Speaking patrons. This digital download is a turnkey product that includes Spanish-language activities and booklists.

Join the ECRR Ning Community

Want to learn what other libraries are doing for Every Child Ready to Read? Join in the Every Child Ready to Read Ning community. The Ning community is a place for individuals to post resources like photos, videos, and booklists. It’s free to join!

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11. Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: March 21

TwitterLinksHere are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage.

Book Lists and Awards

2014 Indies Choice, E.B. White Read-Aloud Awards Finalists Announced | via @PWKidsBookshelf http://ow.ly/uNU2V #kidlit

10 New Picture Books that Will Challenge, Amuse and Teach, recommended by @TrevorHCairney http://ow.ly/uNT9e #kidlit

The 2014 Carnegie Medal shortlist has been released http://ow.ly/uLPFn #kidlit @bkshelvesofdoom

2014 Shortlist for The Hans Christian Andersen Award | @tashrow http://ow.ly/uLPhn #kidlit

Guest Post @abbylibrarian | Kelly Jensen @catagator for 2016 Printz http://ow.ly/uJc9B #yalit

Common Core

A Crash Course On #CommonCore @NPR http://ow.ly/uNUAy via @PWKidsBookshelf #literacy

Diversity

A Response to “Where Are The People of Color in Children’s Books” from @StaceyLoscalzo http://ow.ly/uGtNm #kidlit

“The Boundaries of Imagination”; or, the All-White World of Children’s Books, 2014 @PhilNel http://ow.ly/uGscv #kidlit

Gender (including Women's History Month)

The Independent on Sunday will no longer be reviewing books that are "marketed to exclude either sex http://ow.ly/uGsYh @bkshelvesofdoom

Campaign to end gender-specific children's books gathers high-profile support | @GuardianBooks http://ow.ly/uJaUj @PWKidsBookshelf

Is it really true that "Gender specific books demean all children" asks @chasingray | Some counterexamples http://ow.ly/uNTq7 #kidlit

Responses to reactions to Independent on Sunday decision not to feature books aimed at boys OR girls http://ow.ly/uQ4Et @playbythebook

Stacked: Challenging the Expectation of #YAlit Characters as "Role Models" for Girls: Guest Post by @SarahOckler http://ow.ly/uQ3dS

Girls in #yalit have a right to be angry sometimes | Guest Post at Stacked by @EScottWrites http://ow.ly/uNTFL

Hey, Girlfriend — @lizb shares her picks for #yalit where positive girl friendships are front and center http://ow.ly/uJclU

Girls (in #kidlit + #yalit ) Kicking A** With Their Brains: Guest Post by @aquafortis at Stacked http://ow.ly/uJcxK

Women's History: Who Says Women Can't Be Doctors? The Story of Elizabeth Blackwell, by @TanyaLeeStone @MaryAnnScheuer http://ow.ly/uNSXy

Growing Bookworms

Michaels Read | A dad is happy to have his son "not follow directions" as long as reading in bed is the result http://ow.ly/uGsud

Lovely! To My Dear Little Duckie Quotes From Children's Books for When Things Are Not Going Your Way @BooksBabiesBows http://ow.ly/uJcNG

On Reading, Writing, and Publishing

Maine publisher makes way for Robert McCloskey artwork in posters / note cards . Article mentions @FuseEight http://ow.ly/uNUY7

Young people aren’t buying e-readers. Only 5% expect to by one next year | @NYDailyNews via @PWKidsBookshelf http://ow.ly/uJb4f

Promo Friday @gail_gauthier asks: Would You Buy A Book A Blogger Recommended? http://ow.ly/uGvE1 Well, yes, all the time for me

Programs, Events and Research

Celebrating the 3rd year of the 1000 Books Before Kindergarten program @lochwouters library. So great! http://ow.ly/uNSaK

An Estimated Million—from Italy to North Carolina—Participated in World Read Aloud Day | @sljournal http://ow.ly/uJa7t @roccoa

I can see this | @PBSKIDS Survey Says School Readiness More Important to Parents than Letters + Numbers @sljournal http://ow.ly/uNWfP

Levels of key brain chemicals predict children's reading ability, @medical_xpress via @tashrow http://ow.ly/uGwqx

Schools and Libraries

Malorie Blackman: asks: Why are libraries mandatory in prisons but not schools? The Telegraph http://ow.ly/uGwdw via @tashrow

Miami library cuts are forcing tough decisions + huge cuts in purchases of children’s books i http://ow.ly/uNUo0 via @PWKidsBookshelf

This is nice to see | St. Paul to Create 15 New School Library Positions (more than double current amt) http://ow.ly/uJada @sljournal

Five Compliments for Reading Teachers by @JustinStygles @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/uLQ12 #literacy

"Our aim should be to foster a love of reading" vs. focusing on tests, says @amyrass @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/uGwT6

New Report: Pew Internet Releases a Typology of U.S. Public Library Engagement | LJ @INFOdocket http://ow.ly/uJan2

© 2014 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook.

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12. Where can I find great diverse children’s books?

Recently The New York Times paired articles by Walter Dean Myers and his son Christopher Myers, discussing the lack of representation of people of color in children’s literature. Those excellent articles—which pointed out that in the long history of children’s literature we haven’t made much progress—caught the attention of best-selling author Jennifer Weiner, who started the #colormyshelf hashtag on Twitter asking for suggestions of diverse books that she could go purchase for her daughter. What a wonderful way to bring attention to what parents can do!

Just because diverse books don’t always show up front and center in bookstores doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Here’s a list of places to find great diverse books for young readers. Buy them, read them, recommend them. Showing demand for diverse books is one of the best ways to encourage the publication of more of them!

1. PublishersSeveral small publishers (us included) focus on diverse books. They’re a great place to start, and you can usually buy books from them directly, order them through an online retailer like Amazon or Barnes & Noble, or ask your local bookstore to order them (which also displays a demand for diverse titles):

Lee & Low Books (diverse books for young readers featuring a range of cultures)Rainbow Stew image
Tu Books, an imprint of Lee & Low (diverse middle grade and young adult speculative fiction)
Children’s Book Press, an imprint of Lee & Low (bilingual English/Spanish picture books)

Cinco Puntos Press (adult and children’s literature, and multicultural and bilingual books from Texas, the Mexican-American border, and Mexico)

Just Us Books (black interest and multicultural books for children and young adults)

Roadrunner Press (fiction and nonfiction for young readers focusing on the American West and America’s Native Nations)

Piñata Books, an imprint of Arte Público (juvenile and young adult books focused on Hispanic culture and by U.S. Hispanic authors)

Groundwood Books (Canadian publisher of books for young readers with a focus on diverse voices)

2. Blogs That Recommend Diverse BooksThere are some great bloggers out there who do the hard work of seeking out, reading, and recommending diverse children’s books, so you don’t have to! Just hop over to their blogs to find great new books to add to your collection:

The Brown Bookshelf (African American books)

American Indians in Children’s Literature (Native American books)

Latinos in KidLit (Latino books )

BookDragon (all diverse books, with a special focus on Asian/Pacific Islanders cultures)

Diversity in YA (diverse young adult books)

Rich in Color (diverse books for all young readers)

Crazy QuiltEdi (diverse books for all young readers)

Lee & Low Pinterest Board (diverse books searchable by genre and age)

playground image from Marisol McDonald and the Clash Bash

3. AwardsIf you’re simply looking for the best of the best that’s been published each year, awards are the place. Books that win these awards have been vetted by experts (mostly librarians) so you can expect them to be top quality, beautiful, and culturally accurate.

Coretta Scott King Award (African American books)

Pura Belpré Award (Latino books)

Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature

Middle East Book Award

American Indian Youth Literature Award

South Asia Book Award

Américas Book Award (Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino books)

Tomás Rivera Book Award (Mexican American books)

Notable Books for a Global Society (outstanding trade books that help promote understanding across lines of culture, race, sexual orientation, values, and ethnicity)

4. Bookstores: If you prefer to purchase your books through good old-fashioned browsing, there are several great independent bookstores that make it a point to stock diverse books. Below are a few we’ve been to, or that have been recommended to us by readers. If you’re in the area, be sure to stop by to support them!

Avid Bookshop, Athens, GA

Calamus Bookstore, Boston, MAGirl Reading, from Destiny's Gift

La Casa Azul New York, NY

Quimby’s, Chicago, IL

Women and Children First, Chicago, IL

The Book Stall, Winnetka, IL

Politics and Prose, Washington DC

Busboys and Poets, Washington DC

The Flying Pig Bookstore, Shelburne, VT

Birchbark Books, Minneapolis, MN

Ancestry Books, Minneapolis, MN (coming soon)

Antigone Books, Tucson, AZ

Wellesley Books, Wellesley, MA

Librería Martinez, Santa Ana, CA

What did we miss? Let us know in the comments!


Filed under: Diversity Links, Publishing 101 Tagged: book awards, Bookstores, colormyshelf, diversity, multicultural, multicultural books, publishing, resources

8 Comments on Where can I find great diverse children’s books?, last added: 3/24/2014
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13. Looking In, Looking On

I remember back in the mid 90s going to buy a car with my then husband. While we were initially impressed with the presence of black sales reps who approached us, it didn’t take more than a couple of visits to realize that the black sales reps were assigned to black customers.

I was reminded of this experience when I read Walter Dean Myers’ recent editorial.

Years ago, I worked in the personnel office for a transformer firm. We needed to hire a chemist, and two candidates stood out, in my mind, for the position. One was a young white man with a degree from St. John’s University and the other an equally qualified black man from Grambling College (now Grambling State University) in Louisiana. I proposed to the department head that we send them both to the lab and let the chief chemist make the final decision. He looked at me as if I had said something so remarkable that he was having a hard time understanding me. “You’re kidding me,” he said. “That black guy’s no chemist.”

I pointed out the degrees on the résumé that suggested otherwise, and the tension between us soared. When I confronted my superior and demanded to know what about the candidate from Grambling made him not a chemist, he grumbled something under his breath, and reluctantly sent both candidates for an interview with the chief chemist.

Simple racism, I thought. On reflection, though, I understood that I was wrong. It was racism, but not simple racism. My white co-worker had simply never encountered a black chemist before. Or a black engineer. Or a black doctor. I realized that we hired people not so much on their résumés, but rather on our preconceived notions of what the successful candidate should be like. And where was my boss going to get the notion that a chemist should be black?

Publishing more books out by authors of color seems like such an obvious solution to so many problems, however the problem of not enough books with characters of color does not exist in a vacuum.

Numerous people have suggested ways to change what is published and many of these people work outside publishing as do I. I’ve never attempted to write a book, never visited a publishing house and have never tried to obtain an agent. My criticisms of this industry are a bit like Sandra Bullock cursing the universe when she realizes her spaceship had no fuel.

But, I see things and it makes me wonder.

I’ve read too many books by authors of color where the author is truly skilled, the story is fresh, entertaining and well developed. Yet there were shortcomings that ranged from flaws in world building, lacking character development, or the lack or a good sense of setting. Who edits these books?

I know that when artwork and teaching materials is needed for a book, the preference is to assign the project to a person of the same ethnic group.  I can’t identify the thought process behind this. Is a book so “Black” or so “Latino” that only people from that ethnic group will relate well enough to the story to develop it correctly? Or, do we just not work together if we don’t have to?

Isn’t it the oddest thing that we see so many creating ways to help Whites write books about people of color rather than identifying and publishing more authors of color and Native Americans? And don’t tell me authors of color don’t exist! Where are the new books by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich? Neesha Meminger? Sheba Karim? Padma Venkatraman? Derrick Barnes? Alex Sanchez? Kelly Parra? Torrey Maldenado?

Creating a culture inside any industry where people understand the advantages to themselves as individuals, their company and even society as a whole is something that no one outside that industry can force.

I don’t believe there will be more books by authors of color until those in publishing understand that they can mentor and edit someone of a different complexion, that they can be as demanding of these authors and have high expectations of them. Or unless more companies like Quill Shift Agency, 7th Generation Press, Cinco Puntos or Just Us Books exist to innovate alternative avenues of success.

When CBC Diversity first formed, I wondered why they didn’t reach out to those outside their industry to build an alliance. There are so many people who address diversity from so many perspectives that it would have to be empowering to bring them all together. But, as I’ve come to believe I understand problems within the industry, I can’t help but applaud these individuals for trying to do something that certainly will not increase their popularity in their own offices. They best know the limitations inside their industry and what changes need to be made.

How can I end this on a positive note? Well, I cannot ignore all the voices (predominantly female, I must add) that continue to fight the good fight. In many different ways and in many different corners, there are people who are passionately trying to make a difference for young readers. Because right there, those pages in the hands of a young child will color their entire worldview. We have to keep hoping because there is no change without hope. We have to keep our ear to the ground and listen for those who are beating a new path. We can move beyond talk and take action. And, we have to continue questioning this industry.

 

 


Filed under: culture, Diversity Issues Tagged: diversity, publishing, racism, walter dean myers

1 Comments on Looking In, Looking On, last added: 3/17/2014
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14. 10 Great Women of Color Whose Stories You Should Know

In honor of Women’s History Month, we’ve rounded up ten of our books that feature some amazing women of color! From a baseball player to an American politician, these women have helped pave the way for many others.

1. Wangari Maathai, Seeds of Change: Planting a Path to Peace - the first African woman, and environmentalist, to win a Nobel Peace Prize

seeds of change

2. Marcenia Lyle, Catching the Moon: The Story of a Young  Girl’s Baseball Dream - the first woman to play for an all-male professional baseball team

catching the moon

3. Anna May Wong, Shining Star: The Anna May Wong Story - the first Chinese American movie star

shining star

4. Florence Mills, Baby Flo: Florence Mills Lights Up the Stage - an international dancing and singing superstar during the Harlem Renaissance

baby flo

5. Augusta Savage, In Her Hands: The Story of Sculptor Augusta Savagea sculptor during the Harlem Renaissance who carved out her own special place in art history

in her hands

6. Pura Belpré, The Storyteller’s Candle / La velita de los cuentos - New York City’s first Latina librarian

storyteller's candle

7. Patsy Mink, How We Are Smart - an American politician from the U.S. state of Hawaii

how we are smart

8. Hiromi Suzuki, Hiromi’s Hands - one of a handful of women in the male-dominated world of sushi chefs

hiromi's hands

9. Rosa Parks, Dear Mrs. Parks: A Dialogue with Today’s Youth - Mrs. Parks changed the course of history when she was arrested for refusing to give up her seat to a white passenger on a Montgomery, Alabama bus, sparking the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement

dear mrs. parks

10. Zora Neale Hurston, Zora Hurston and the Chinaberry Tree - renowned African American writer

zora hurston and the chinaberry tree


Filed under: Book Lists, Musings & Ponderings Tagged: Anna May Wong, augusta savage, diversity, florence mills, hiromi suzuki, Marcenia Lyle, patsy mink, Pura Belpré, Rosa Parks, Wangari Maathai, women, women's history, women's history month, zora neale hurston

1 Comments on 10 Great Women of Color Whose Stories You Should Know, last added: 3/14/2014
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15. Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: March 14

CTwitterLinksHere are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage. Tons of links around gender this week, as you would expect right in the middle of Women's History Month. 

Book Lists and Awards

Start your voting engines! Children's & Teen Choice Book Awards voting will open March 25: http://bit.ly/1gf3ZPr ! @cbcbook #CCBA14

5 Comic Strip Anthologies for Kids recommended by @delightchildbks http://ow.ly/uz6pn #kidlit

2014 is The Year of the Whale, declares @100scopenotes + he has books to prove it http://ow.ly/uz6AE #kidlit

Suggestions for a dinosaur-themed storytime from @lochwouters http://ow.ly/uz6Gv #kidlit #commoncore

Booklist: A Tuesday Ten: Citizens of Fairyland | Views From the Tesseract http://ow.ly/uvWuA #kidlit #sff

Read Aloud Chapter Books for 4 and 5 (and 6) Year Olds @momandkiddo http://ow.ly/uqQTc #kidlit

Kid-tested list | The Top Ten Favorite Picture Books So Far in @SagesHoots class | @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/uoxS5 #kidlit

Stacked's latest Get Genrefied zooms in on Fairy Tale Re-tellings (there are MANY) http://ow.ly/ujWtW #yalit

Congratulations to @medinger ! Africa is My Home is a 2014 Children’s Africana Book Award Winner http://ow.ly/umFMw #kidlit

The 2014 Lambda Literary Award Finalists have been announced. See list at @bkshelvesofdoom http://ow.ly/umF6c #yalit

NAACP Outstanding Literary Work Awards via @tashrow + @FuseEight http://ow.ly/ujWHh #kidlit #yalit

Diversity and Gender

Is your default character white and male? asks @haleshannon | I, too, have noticed this with my child's toys (male) http://ow.ly/uqPqB

Stacked: I love "unlikable," I write "unlikable," and I am "unlikable" @tehawesomersace on "Unlikable" Girls http://ow.ly/uz6wt #yalit

Guest Post @cynleitichsmith : Ellen Oh on The Ongoing Problem with Sexism http://ow.ly/uvVpb

Stacked: @CherylRainfield , A Hero for Girls: Guest Post by Jennifer Brown http://ow.ly/uvWBk #yalit

Stacked: Positive Girl Friendships in YA: Guest Post by Jessica Spotswood http://ow.ly/utOpx #yalit

Stacked: The Unlikable Female Protagonist: A Field Guide to Identification in the Wild -- Guest Post by Sarah McCarry http://ow.ly/uqTt5

One example of why we should care about the Campaign: Let Books Be Books via @bkshelvesofdoom http://ow.ly/umxd4 #LetBooksBeBooks

Gender-specific children’s books are easier to sell, insists children's book publisher| Independent http://ow.ly/uudlA @PWKidsBookshelf

Parents push to end gender division of boys' and girls' books | @GuardianBooks via @PWKidsBookshelf http://ow.ly/uuddj #letbooksbebooks

Food for thought! Sheryl Sandberg and Anna Maria Chávez on 'Bossy,' the Other B-word - @WSJ http://ow.ly/uoyuS

Further thoughts on the “She’s Being Bossy” @WSJ piece from @StaceyLoscalzo http://ow.ly/uqS5F

Events

Laurel Snyder on the joy for authors in participating in World Read Aloud Day http://ow.ly/ujWnk @LaurelSnyder #kidlit

An invitation! @LizB is Revisiting Harriet The Spy, and she's looking for company http://ow.ly/uz6k3 #kidlit

#Kidlit Celebrates Women's History Month: Two Eminent Victorians: Emily Carr and Lillian Gilbreth (an ind engineer!) http://ow.ly/uvVK5

Yesterday was International Women's Day. @MaryAnnScheuer is celebrating women who have won a Nobel Prize (ages 10-14) http://ow.ly/uoxPE

Great Kid Books: Time for Kids: Online resources to celebrate Women's History Month (ages 7-10) @MaryAnnScheuer http://ow.ly/utNyF

On the #cybils blog: @Cybils Judges and Authors on Women's History at Stacked http://ow.ly/uriGg @aquafortis

Growing Bookworms

Igniting a Passion for Reading: A Retro Review to Reignite the Flame by @leaderandreader @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/uz68d #literacy

Share the Love (of books), Grasshopper by Michael Guevara | @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/utNVH #literacy

"Reading and discussing these books with my kids has to be the best single thing I can do to encourage reading." http://ow.ly/uqRJQ

Useful! Suggestions to encourage unique, out-of-the-box readers by @NancyTandon @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/ujVGp #literacy

On Reading, Writing, and Publishing

Makes sense to me! What Most Successful People Do Before Bed: READ | @tashrow @businessinsider http://ow.ly/uvUQw

Study finds: "people who read regularly tend to be more satisfied with life in general" says @tashrow http://ow.ly/utNry

It's not only adults who need comfort reading | Alison Flood @GuardianBooks http://ow.ly/umFg9 via @tashrow #kidlit

Schools and Libraries

Philip Pullman: 'every school should have a good library' | @TheBookseller http://ow.ly/ukaVF via @PWKidsBookshelf

A Pre-Kindergarten Teacher's Perspective on Reading Aloud at @BooksBabiesBows for @ReadAloud_org Read Aloud month http://ow.ly/utOFg

On Taking Vacation Time to Read Aloud at her kids' school, by @BooksBabiesBows http://ow.ly/uoy5F

© 2014 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook.

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16. Where Do Boys Belong In Women’s History Month?

Jill_EisenbergJill Eisenberg, our Resident Literacy Expert, began her career teaching English as a Foreign Language to second through sixth graders in Yilan, Taiwan as a Fulbright Fellow. She went on to become a literacy teacher for third grade in San Jose, CA as a Teach for America corps member. She is certified in Project Glad instruction to promote English language acquisition and academic achievement. In her column she offers teaching and literacy tips for educators. 

Irena's Jars Of Secrets

Irena’s Jars Of Secrets

I entered the education field to broaden the minds of a new generation and teach the truths that I felt I had missed or was denied in my own education. Indeed, I was not alone in those motivations. According to the Primary Sources project by Scholastic and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, of the more than 20,000 public school classroom teachers polled, 85% of teachers say they chose the profession in order to make a difference in children’s lives.

Despite my righteous ambitions, once in the classroom, I was hesitant to broach the conversation about gender with a mixed class of boys and girls. So many of my own college classes that focused on social justice and equality issues were almost entirely women.

Acutely aware of my students’ fragile perception of themselves, I was intimated by the prospect of guiding the discussion. When I was leading a classroom of my own, it was often easier to concentrate on the benign world of synonyms, dictionary skills, main idea, and genre features than push my students to think about what role gender plays in achievement, history, and identity.

I wondered: How do we teach about women’s history and contributions without alienating boys? Will boys disengage if a girl or woman is on the cover or is the main character? In this day and age, do girls still need explicit attention drawn to high-achievers that share their gender?

Leading up to my first month of March as a teacher, I thought I would “just” read more books with women as the central figures during Women’s History Month, but not explicitly point out that these were all women so as not to freak out boys and hope the girls would pick up on my subliminal messages of empowerment….

Face palm

Insert face palm here.

This thinking was a huge disservice to ALL of my students’ educations. As I introduced books with prominent women historic figures or girl characters, I realized if the books were about gender, we would discuss identity and tolerance. Other times if the story just happened to have a girl character, but gender wasn’t a central feature of the story, my scholars just wanted to focus on the great story and how the universal lessons applied to their lives.

Four lessons to think about when teaching women’s history so both boys AND girls grow and learn:

  1. Two words: cool stories. Above all, if it’s a great story, it doesn’t matter who is on the cover. Everyone will want to sit up and participate.
  2. Pick contemporary and diverse stories. To continue to show the relevancy of the women’s movements and contributions of women to society, we owe it to all of our students to find more contemporary examples of women figures and showcase more diverse participants in equality. Let’s keep exposing our kids to women of today and of different backgrounds.
  3. Show explicit examples of men championing women. Boys need to see great role models of men advocating for women alongside or behind the scenes. There are plenty of men who have been in the trenches with women fighting for social If we want to instill resiliency and develop children’s imaginations, we need to present children with stories about long odds, big dreams, and fantastic leadership that come in all shapes, sizes, and bodies.justice and as invested in their wives, daughters, sisters, and mothers achieving great success in a field of study as the women themselves. If we want future generations of men to respect and support women, we need to offer boys examples of how to recognize and champion women’s contributions. Boys and girls need to see that the struggles for equality impacted everyone and were not about one group’s success at the other’s detriment.
  4. Talk about the universal lesson and character traits. Everyone can learn from a story about overcoming obstacles, persistence, and courage. Women like Wangari Maathai and Pura Belpré fought for what they loved and believed was right first, and then fought for who they were and who they represented. If we want to instill resiliency and develop children’s imaginations, we need to present children with stories about long odds, big dreams, and fantastic leadership that come in all shapes, sizes, and bodies.

Throughout the year and especially during Women’s History Month, we need to teach that gender shouldn’t be an excuse to bar someone from exploring or contributing to a field of study. Concurrently, we want to show all students that gender can offer a unique perspective or approach that should be recognized and celebrated.

Alongside our girls, boys need the language of equality and a broader view of history. Women’s contributions advanced our society and continue to impact all of us. We need to teach that gender totally does matter and, at the same time, totally doesn’t matter.

Shining Star: The Story Of Anna May Wong

Shining Star: The Story Of Anna May Wong

Susan B. Anthony Is Great, But Who Else Do We Have? Here are books about high-achieving women from diverse backgrounds with diverse pursuits.

Baby Flo: Florence Mills Lights Up The Stage

Baby Flo: Florence Mills Lights Up The Stage

Women and The Men That Championed Them. Explore these books with awesome men celebrating awesome women:

Killer Of Enemies

Killer Of Enemies

Stories That Will Hook ’Em All. Here are stories so fun that it won’t matter who is on the cover…but the cover just happens to feature a girl:


Filed under: Curriculum Corner Tagged: children's books, diversity, Educators, Girls/women, History, holidays, Reading Aloud, reluctant readers, Wangari Maathai, women in history, women's history month

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17. The 86th Annual Academy Awards Wins for Diversity

The glitz, fashion, and the glamorous parties are over, but we at LEE & LOW BOOKS are still thinking about the 86th Annual Academy Awards. We were excited to see our infographic on the diversity gap in the Academy Awards shared in several places, including the New York Times Carpetbagger blog, MSNBC’s The Grio, and Colorlines. Even Ellen started off the night with a joke about diversity (“Possibility number one, 12 Years a Slave could win. Possibility number two, you’re all racists. Now please welcome our first white presenter…”). But the highlight of this year’s ceremony was seeing some big wins in diversity:

lupita nyong'o and cate blanchett

2014 Oscar winners Lupita Nyong’o and Cate Blanchett

Lupita Nyong’o, Best Supporting Actress for “12 Years a Slave”: Lupita Nyong’o's touching acceptance speech reminded every aspiring actor and actress that “no matter where you’re from, your dreams are valid.”

Cate Blanchett, Best Actress for “Blue Jasmine”: Cate Blanchett’s empowering speech was an inspiration for women everywhere, as she addressed the stereotype that “female films with women at the center are niche experiences. They are not. Audiences want to see them and, in fact, they earn money. The world is round, people.”

Steven McQueen and Alfonso Cuaron

Directors Steve McQueen and Alfonso Cuarón

Alfonso Cuarón, Best Director for “Gravity”: Alfonso Cuarón became the first Latino director to ever win an Oscar, and in response to a backstage interview with the world press, he said he would “love if that same support is given to some other films that are coming out of there with Mexican filmmakers, shot in Mexico, and with Mexican subject matters.”

Best Picture for “12 Years a Slave”: This film set in pre-Civil War America follows Solomon Northup, a free black man who is abducted and sold into slavery. This is the first time a film directed by a black filmmaker has won Best Picture. Director Steve McQueen dedicated the win to “all the people who have endured slavery. And the 21 million people who still suffer slavery today.”

Congratulations are also due to Robert Lopez, the first Filipino-American ever to win an Oscar for his song “Let It Go” from the movie “Frozen,” and John Ridley for his Oscar for the “Twelve Years a Slave” screenplay, marking only the second time that a black screenwriter has won the award.

It was also a breath of fresh air to see new Academy Director Cheryl Boone Isaacs walk out onstage to introduce herself.

While the wins will certainly change the bleak numbers we reported last week, one year alone is not enough. Here’s hoping this year’s big wins mean more people of color in front of and behind the cameras in the future!


Filed under: Diversity Links, Musings & Ponderings, The Diversity Gap Tagged: 2014 Academy Awards, Academy Awards, diversity, diversity gap, inspiration, Lupita Nyong, Oscars

2 Comments on The 86th Annual Academy Awards Wins for Diversity, last added: 3/6/2014
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18. The Best Cheerleaders May Come In the Smallest Packages: How Siblings Affect Literacy Education

Jill_EisenbergJill Eisenberg, our Resident Literacy Expert, began her career teaching English as a Foreign Language to second through sixth graders in Yilan, Taiwan as a Fulbright Fellow. She went on to become a literacy teacher for third grade in San Jose, CA as a Teach for America corps member. She is certified in Project Glad instruction to promote English language acquisition and academic achievement. In her column she offers teaching and literacy tips for educators. 

Home to Medicine Mountain

Home to Medicine Mountain

My students and their siblings were often alone or spent a lot of time with each other. For some, siblings were the only constant in their lives. Fittingly, siblings and close-in-age relatives held powerful sway and influence over each other.

I found that brothers, sisters, cousins, and neighbors saw each other’s success as their OWN success. One of my third-graders danced in the middle of the carpet for twelve minutes after he heard the intercom announcement that his fifth-grade sister would be the new school president of the student council. What if I could channel that excitement towards literacy?

Brothers and sisters WANTED to see their siblings succeed. Sure, when one of my third-graders struggled to translate from English to Spanish that she hadn’t turned her homework in for a week at the parent-teacher conference, her older sister was delighted to impart the correct information to their mother.

In addition to using siblings for accountability and parent-teacher bridges, siblings became an incredible reward and relationship in my classroom. When my students, especially the struggling readers, made it to a new level, aced an assessment, or turned in excellent high-quality work, I wrote laudatory notes and let those students deliver them to their siblings in another classroom.

Mama Elizabeti

Mama Elizabeti

This system turned out to be just as powerful as a celebratory phone call home to adults, but I was recognizing the child in real time and recognizing the strength of the family presence at school. And it went further: the younger or older sibling was able to celebrate my student in their classroom and admire them publicly amidst their peers for academic achievement. There are not enough Dollar Tree prizes to compete with that kind of reward.

Beyond my school, psychologists have noticed the effect older brothers and sisters can have. In fact, NPR explored the positive and negative consequences of older sibling influence in a segment called, “Big Sibling’s Big Influence: Some Behaviors Run In The Family.”

At Arlington Elementary in Arlington, Tennessee, The Jackson Sun reported how teachers are recruiting older students to read to younger students in their Big Brothers, Big Sisters Reading Club every morning before school. More advanced students can relate to struggling readers and explain strategies in a friendly, non-high-stakes atmosphere.

In Carmel Valley, California, the Read To Me Project is an early literacy program that builds school readiness by engaging elementary brothers and sisters to read to their siblings. So far, 350 participating older siblings are reading to 443 young children across four school districts.

For Dr. Seuss’ Birthday last year at my school in the Bay Area, our kindergarten teachers invited the third-graders to read to them. Everyone was ecstatic to read to their brother, sister, cousin, or neighbor. My scholars had the opportunity to show off the chapter books they were tackling and feel like experts as they helped the kinders decode and recognize sight words. The kinders, in turn, received extra reading time, exposure to high-quality texts, and an opportunity to show off how remarkable their older sibling was.

One of my students who was an advanced learner, but had a very unstable home life, was very, very protective of his three younger brothers. His active kinder brother had refused to read with any third-grader, hiding each time another class of third-graders came throughout the day. Not until the last period arrived and his third-grade brother, my student, finally appeared did this kinder cuddle up to read. Even though my student brought a dense, picture-less chapter book on sharks and their presence in Fiji cultural traditions, his kinder brother sat in rapt attention for nearly an hour soaking in every word from his big brother.

We know the results on a child’s motivation and confidence when parents relish in their child’s success, so why don’t we harness that effect from siblings as well? Equipping our children with the love for reading and the skills needed to confront real world problems involves every stakeholder in our children’s lives—and that may include their smallest (but loudest!) cheerleaders.

If you need more inspiration, check out these books with strong sibling relationships:

Summer of the Mariposas

Summer of the Mariposas


Filed under: Curriculum Corner Tagged: CCSS, children's books, close reading, diversity, Educators, ELA common core standards, Reading Aloud, reading comprehension

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19. ALAN pt 2

Warning: I’ve been working on this for hours. While I know I need to give this 2-3 more read-throughs, I just don’t have time. Please forgive the typos!

I went to ALAN this year because Lyn Miller-Lachmann (Rogue; Nancy Paulsen Books) asked me to moderate a panel with her, Kekla Magoon (The Rock and the River; Aladdin) and Rene Saldana Jr (Juventud! Growing up on the Border: Stories and Poems; VAO Publishing). entitled “It’s Complicated: Diverse Authors Revisit the Classics”. We had a nice turnout and it was great working with these talented individuals, although Rene was unfortunately detained in that terrible storm in Texas and unable to join us.

I was truly disappointed in the lack of diversity at the conference. As a new friend stated “I’m tired of the all White world of YA.” I could count on my hands the number of people of color who were present. While there those who are committed to YA and to the teens who read it, most teachers and librarians of color will choose to come if they see people like them somewhere in the program. It makes you feel welcome, you know?

My criticism is more with the industry and how it promotes authors.

I felt quite welcome at ALAN this year as I always do.

Yea, it bothered me that after all I’d gone through to get there, the room was so packed that it seemed I’d spend the first day standing around the back of the room. But this is a conference where people talk to one another! We talk about the books, the authors, programs we’re planning, students we teach and the shoes we wear. We talk to librarians, authors, editors and university students. While this year we celebrated 40 years of ALAN, we listened to authors as they shared about their writing, their readers and their lives.

I hated that I missed hearing Jacqueline Woodson’s (Each Kindness, Nancy Paulsen Books) poem but I had to get Swati Avasthi’s (Chasing Shadows, Random House) autograph and arrange an interview with her!

Who was it during the Coming of Age session when talking about hope in our stories that said “It’s not the despair that gets you, it’s the hope”?

Alan Sitomer (Caged Warrior, Disney Hyperion) on the same panel postulated that “we all live on hope.” With much passion, he proclaimed that “there’s an assault on kids in urban schools today.” They’re not bright enough, not motivated enough… and this is only said about the urban kids!

Upon receiving the Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award, Eliot Schrefer (Endangered, Scholastic) reflected on his visit to the Congo where he spoke to teens growing up in this war-torn country and he wondered why he was there talking to these students about books. But then, they began taking examples from his reading and applying them to situations in their country.

Fellow recipient A.S. King (Reality Boy; Little, Brown Books for Young Readers) made even more of a point about why she writes. “I need to write the air. I write because I need to. I believe in compassion and community and I’ve always wanted to live in a world where people really are equals … Writing should make us generous. You have to give up yourself to the book. Writing should change you.”

As someone who has moved over to the academic side and who teaches research to students, I really appreciated what Tanya Lee Stone (Courage has no color, the true story of the Triple Nickles: America’s first Black Paratroopers; Candlewick) had to say about research. She suggested getting young researchers to realize what they are passionate about and then figure out what’s important about that. Passion should drive research.

I loved hearing Beth Kephart (Going Over; Chronicle Books) state that “landscape is character” because it spoke to my passion for geography in literature.

Sharon McKay (Enemy Territory; Annick Press) was amazing as she unfolded her personal story that helps her know how to be an insider when writer. “Outsiders have simple solutions.” They don’t understand life’s complexities.

We are all writing about people in the end. We’re all writing about love in the end.” Kephart.

But readers need to find themselves in what they read. They need to be able to relate to the characters and situations.

Sara Farizan (If you could be mine: a novel; Algonquin) reflected on growing up uncomfortable with her gay identity. She found solace in reading and writing and she sought out books. While she found some with gay and lesbian characters, she couldn’t find any Middle Eastern or Asian characters who were facing obstacles like her.

Authors with so many provocative thoughts! While so many writers urge us to push the envelope and to be edgy (which we need to do because so many teen’s lives are edgy) Another perspective was presented by Carl Deuker (Swagger; Houghton Mifflin). “They grow close to 6 feet tall but they’re still very close to Charlotte’s Web”.

I wish I knew who said it!!!
“Why are books the last racial  barrier where many white kids only read about their own experience”? neighborhoods and schools are integrated. We listen to each other’s music, so what is it about books?

I loved witnessing Paul Rudnick’s (Gorgeous; Scholastic) sheer exuberance about writing; Ann Burg’s (Sarafina’s Promise; Scholastic) commitment to truth, Robert Lipsyte’s plea for literacy over sports (where “character has become less important than characters”); Ken Setterington’s (Branded by the Pink Triangle; Second Story Press) work to preserve the pink triangle of the holocaust and was perplexed by science fiction writings admitting the lack of science in their writing yet  managing to redeem themselves in their use of horror.

I was glad to discover a new author of color, Kendare Blake (Antigodess; Tor), a Korean American author.

As is fitting, my take-a-way came from Walter Mayes, librarian extraordinaire and the face of ALAN. Remember, ALAN is part of NCTE, so the majority of people there are teachers. Walter was part of a panel celebrating librarians and media specialists. I think he’s an incredible librarian. Well over 6 ft tall, he’s still close to Charlotte’s Web, still close to what children hold dear. Walter related a story to us.

In his library, the older students are able to speak their mind if no younger students are around. Walter’s students aren’t those urban students but they’re diverse. His library books represent diversity. He’s figured out how to give students what they’re ready for and he knew this particular 8th grade black girl was ready for pretty much the same thing her white classmates were reading until one day, she came in, looked around and said she was tired of all these books with “rich, white bitches”. Their conversation led him to make a selection for her that had her coming back, and coming back and coming back.

Walter, this tall white guy working in a library in an all girl’s school was aware enough to get that not all Black, Latino or Asian kids are able to recognize or articulate their desire for books with characters like them. I can remember Ari, Kekla and even myself being quite satisfied with reading about “rich white bitches”, but once discovering a book with a character like us, we wanted more! For publishers to want students to articulate their desire for ethnic diversity in literature is absurd: they simply haven’t all reached that level of psychological development. Thankfully, librarians get it.

ALAN was stimulating, thought-provoking and irritating. I made wonderful connections in terms of thoughts, ideas and relationships with other people. I just know that a more diverse presentation would have enriched us all so much more. The authors not being there wasn’t because ALAN didn’t invite them, it has to do with who publishers choose to market.

ALAN is very inexpensive to join. The organization is extremely inclusive. Its journal is quite important to the field of YA literature. Let’s not pull away from ALAN. Only by joining such organizations and working with such allies can we get publishers to realize they’ve got to change how they market their authors of color and how they represent YA lit to readers. Next year’s conference will be in Washington D.C..

ALAN is the Assembly on Literature for Adolescents of the National Council of Teachers of English.


Filed under: Programming, publisher Tagged: ALAN, diversity, publishers

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20. Multicultural Holiday Books

It’s that time of year again, when we gather around our families and friends to observe the various winter holidays. Kwanzaa, Hanukkah and Christmas are important holidays that are marked during the month of December. The Public Awareness Committee makes a special effort to promote programs and books that celebrate multiculturalism through promotion of El día de los niños/ El día de los libros, commonly known as Día, and below you will find some of my favorite multicultural holiday picture books. What better way to honor and educate others about these festivities than with a fun holiday book? Little ones and adults alike are sure to enjoy sharing these stories. Any of these titles would make a great gift as well!

Hanukkah Bear by Eric A. Kimmel; Illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka. Holiday House, 2013. Old Bear is mistaken to be the rabbi by Bubba Brayna on the first night of Hannukkah.

Sadie’s Almost Marvelous Menorah by Jamie Korngold; Illustrated by Julie Fortenberry. Kar-Ben, 2013. After Sadie breaks the menorah she made at her Jewish school, her mom helps to convert it into a shammash holder to light the family’s other menorahs.

Daddy Christmas and Hanukkah Mama by Selina Alko. Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2012. Every December, a young girl enjoys celebrating the uniqueness of two winter holidays with her family.

The Christmas Coat: Memories of my Sioux Childhood by Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve; Illustrated by Ellen Beier. Holiday House, 2011. In this winner of the American Indian Library Association’s 2011 Youth Literature Award,  Virginia dreams of the perfect coat that will keep her warm during the harsh South Dakota winter.

Pablo’s Christmas by Hugo C. Martin; Illustrated by Lee Chapman. Sterling, 2006. When Pablo’s father leaves him in charge of the small, rural farm in Mexico, Pablo does his best to make Christmas special.

The Legend of the Poinsettia retold and illustrated by Tomie dePaola. G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1994. This retelling of a Mexican legend explains the meaning of the beautiful flower and how it served as a significant gift.

Seven Spools of Thread: A Kwanzaa Story by Angela Shelf Medearis; Illustrated by Daniel Minter. Albert Whitman & Company, 2000. This original African folktale tells the plight of many brothers who are constantly fighting while cleverly outlining the seven principles of the holiday.

My First Kwanzaa by Deborah Chocolate; Illustrated by Cal Massey. Scholastic, 1999. Lovely illustrations and simple text serve as an excellent introduction to the Kwanzaa holiday as we see one family celebrate their heritage.

What are some of your favorite multicultural holiday books to share during December?

______________________________________________________________

Nicole Lee Martin is a Children’s Librarian at the Grafton-Midview Public Library in Grafton, OH and is writing this post for the Public Awareness Committee. You can reach her at nicolemartin@oplin.org.

 

 

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21. Monday Meanderings

I didn’t post my usual rambling post yesterday, so here it goes today!

I’m working from home this week, working to get an article completed and ready for submission. I’ve got to clear my mind and my ‘to do’ list so I can concentrate on what I need to get done.

I’ve been stalling.

My mind was struck by wanderlust forever ago and I think of writing in small European city where I can visit markets for fresh meats and cheeses and sip hot beverages at a bistro while working late. Or take a long afternoon walk in a tropical hillside to refresh my thoughts after hours of working. These four walls aren’t working for me right now!

I’ve found other, short projects that might get me started.

It doesn’t help that I’m writing about places in YA lit! Or, does it?!

Around this time of year, I work with Zetta Elliott to complete a list of YA fiction books written and published by African American authors. So, far I’ve identified all of 22 books. We do typically identify books that were missed throughout the year, however, that’s a frightfully small number.

Dr Jonda C. McNair release the current edition of Mirrors and Windows newsletter which features informational texts and a profile of author/illustrator Steve Jenkins.  I’ve placed the pdf in Google Drive to make it available, however if it is not accessible, email me at crazyquilts at hotmail dot com and I’ll be glad to forward a copy.

A completely separate publication that came out this week is Windows and Mirrors: Reading Diverse Children’s Literature by Dr. Sarah Park Dahlen in the online publication Gazillion Voices.

Despite the statistics, today’s diverse children have more options to see their experiences reflected in children’s literature. White children, too, have many more opportunities to learn about experiences other than their own. In this essay, I primarily (but not exclusively) discuss Asian American children’s literature to highlight principles for meaningful multicultural content, as well as point out some of the persisting problems, with the ultimate goal of encouraging you to pick good books for young people, especially during this coming holiday season. Given that 3,000-5,000 children’s books in many different genres for a range of reading levels are published each year, I hope to provide you with some principles and guidelines for critically evaluating children’s literature and thinking about our role in supporting and promoting diverse, high-quality stories for all young people.

I recently wrote about the impracticability of expecting students to express their desire for books with characters of their own ethnicity. This is anecdotal statement is something I hope to research further. Why are some young children able to indicate an interest in a book based upon the race of the character while others are not? How and when do children develop racial awareness? My interest deepened when I read an article shared by @WritersofColour on Twitter. The article written by @hiphopteacher posed a much more reflective analysis into why children of colour are less likely to write about their own ethnicity.

In her essayPlaying in the Dark’, Toni Morrison argues that “the readers of virtually all of American fiction have been positioned as white.” (Morrison 1992:xiv) We might ask if the same is true of children’s literature and how that might affect children’s relationship to story-writing.

All in all, giving the young people in your life a book (or books!) written by authors of color this holiday season sounds like a gift worth giving. It would be a great time to donate books by authors of color to your local school or public library, too. Young adult books perfect for giving can be found on my annual booklists and books for all ages of children can be found on the BirthdayPartyPledge.

Teachers and students will equally appreciate learning apps for those tablets Santa places under the tree this year. Consider these 10 (mostly free) apps for documenting learning.

 #NPRBlacksinTech continues on the Tell Me More blog through 20 December. The series is well worth following because there are continuous ‘day in the life’ posts giving readers insights into real life experiences of Blacks in technology. This is so valuable to young people who need to see real life role models! This linkwill take you to the postings on Twitter and you do not have to have an account to read them.

I have another recent post which lists young adult literature from South Africa. In looking at the list you may wonder why J. L. Powers was included as the only non African on the list. Reading her recent post will help you understand why.

… my classmates and friends were the children of recent immigrants or immigrants themselves–some documented and some undocumented. Migrant workers followed the power lines next to our house to go work in the chile fields of southern New Mexico. I witnessed firsthand the injustices of our economic system that encouraged migrant labor, did not pay migrants sufficient wages to support their families, and made it necessary for those who did bring their families to live in our country in poverty and without the protection of legal rights despite working back-breaking jobs every day. These were people I knew. These were people I went to school with, young men I had crushes on, girlfriends I shared secrets with.

I’ve been getting a lot of blogging done in the past week, however that trend isn’t going to continue. BFYA makes its final selections at ALA Midwinter in January and I have more books to read than I have days to read them. No, I will not be blogging much at all! I will take a break on 21 January for Cookies and Cocktails with my sister. Hopefully, the weather will be mild enough for me to drive over to spend the day cooking, eating, drinking and making merry!

You may remember that my word this year is ‘courage’.  I have a better understanding of this virtue and I’ve become more aware of times when my courage fails me. I’m more unwilling to let myself be a coward. I’m a bit more likely to speak up, lean in and move forward. Yet, I still struggle with picking up that phone. I don’t know what it is about the phone, but using it takes a special kind of courage for me!

I’ve found several people including writers and publishers who are going to write about courage in a series that will appear here beginning 21 December. It’s definitely something you won’t want to miss!

For now, I have some researching to do!

“From caring comes courage.”Lao Tzu


Filed under: Me Being Me Tagged: Birthday Party Pledgedge, courage, diversity, technology

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22. Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: February 14

Cybils2013SmallHappy Valentine's Day, International Book Giving Day, and Cybils Day! You can find the Cybils winners on the Cybils blog, in categories ranging from picture books to young adult fiction and non-fiction. This set of winners is the culmination of tons of work on the part of many bloggers, and is NOT to be missed. You can also find out where to get started for International Book Giving Day at Playing By the Book. Wishing you a wonderful, book-filled day!

TwitterLinksMeanwhile, here are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage.

Book Lists and Awards

At Stacked: A new #YAlit Mini-trend: Circuses http://ow.ly/tyZ4R

A Tuesday Ten: Speculative #kidlit with A Dash of Romance | Views From the Tesseract http://ow.ly/tyYVq

SLJ’s Battle of the Books’ Contenders Revealed | @sljournal http://ow.ly/tyZt9 #SLJBOB #kidlit

2014 American Indian Youth Literature Awards | @tashrow #kidlit http://ow.ly/twQb8

A roundup of best book lists for different types of readers from @catagator @bookriot http://ow.ly/3h9AMB

On the #cybils blog: The 2013 Cybils Winners Are Coming... http://bit.ly/LFiXo8

Common Core

Meet the Parents: Critical for Implementing the #CommonCore | @sljournal Editorial http://ow.ly/twPKg

New York teachers get five years to fully enact #CommonCore @NYDailyNews http://ow.ly/twPA5 via @PWKidsBookshelf

Diversity and Gender

2014 New Releases: More LGBTQ YA Fiction collected by @molly_wetta http://ow.ly/tumKV #yalit

Resources to encourage girls to be The Next Generation of Coders @oceanhousemedia via Jeff Berger http://ow.ly/tou7V

Black History Month: Strong Women for Strong Girls (a collection of biographies) | @ReadingTub http://ow.ly/totgb #kidlit

Mitali's Fire Escape: "Casual Diversity" Depends on the Unseen Work of the Author @MitaliPerkins http://ow.ly/tunDo

Events

For the Love of Reading | The @bookchook on International Book Giving Day and Library Lovers Day http://ow.ly/tBcUE #literacy

Ibgd-blog-badge200pxMake Valentine's Day Sweeter with International Book Giving Day! says @BooksBabiesBows http://ow.ly/twZTD #kidlit

Love our Library Lollapalooza Honors Supporters and Raises Money, reports Cynthia Cheng in Santa Clara Weekly http://ow.ly/tBahd

Using the Olympics to help teach kids geography from @momandkiddo http://ow.ly/twZYi

Growing Bookworms

Using poetry to help kids learn to love reading, from @ReadingWithBean | "poetry is like a good fling..." http://ow.ly/tx0bX

Good stuff! The importance of the home/school partnership in raising readers by @carriegelson @KirbyLarson http://ow.ly/twQor

This made me think! | A Little Stone: The Rippling Repercussions of Bookshaming by Priscilla Thomas | @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/tuo2T

Ideas for using Environmental Print when raising readers @ReadingRockets via @librareanne | http://ow.ly/tqrld #literacy

On Reading, Writing, and Publishing

When Adults Read Books For Teens — @lizb | A reminder that "Books for teens are, well, for teens." http://ow.ly/tBrSE

Can Re-Illustration Ever Be Justified? asks @fuseeight (with examples) http://ow.ly/tx01w #kidlit

PercyJacksonPosterCovers for new paperback editions of @camphalfblood the original Percy Jackson series are being announced next week pic.twitter.com/GpM94gu7C5

Pretty neat! Awesome Visual Featuring The Most Popular Books of All Time @medkh9 http://ow.ly/ttJEb via @cmirabile

Parenting

Another good post from @SensibleMoms | Kids Need the Word "No" | http://ow.ly/tumOI

Schools and Libraries

Mid-Continent Public Library Proves Summer Reading Programs Boost Student Achievement | @sljournal http://ow.ly/tBwJY

Good points | The trouble with calls for universal ‘high-quality’ pre-K @alfiekohn @washingtonpost http://ow.ly/tunbc via @FreeRangeKids

Teachers, "I would encourage you to keep in mind that some readers hate reading" by @booktoss @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/tumAR

Technology and Social Media

It's complicated | Five Myths About Teens, Technology, and Social Media | Peter Gray at Psychology Today http://ow.ly/tB6Lv

The Revenge of the Printed Book (why people, inc young people like books) @StephenMarche @esquiremag http://ow.ly/ttIGt via @cmirabile

How the 'Netflix of books' won over the publishing industry (Q&A) | Internet & Media @cnet http://ow.ly/ttHZE via @cmirabile

© 2014 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook.

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23. Using Infographics in the Classroom to Teach Visual Literacy

Jill_EisenbergJill Eisenberg, our Resident Literacy Expert, began her career teaching English as a Foreign Language to second through sixth graders in Yilan, Taiwan as a Fulbright Fellow. She went on to become a literacy teacher for third grade in San Jose, CA as a Teach for America corps member. She is certified in Project Glad instruction to promote English language acquisition and academic achievement. In her column she offers teaching and literacy tips for educators. 

Infographics’ format and economy of words make infographics engaging and accessible to children, reluctant readers, visual learners, and English Language Learners. As infographics contain multiple layers of information, they are a challenging medium for students to practice inferences and interpretation. Lee & Low Books’ infographic series on the diversity gap in major spheres of influence is a valuable vehicle to build students’ visual literacy skills and understanding of diversity. The following discussion questions and suggested activities were created based on the Diversity Gap in the Academy Awards infographic, but these can be applied to the rest of the series.

Infographic: The Diversity Gap in the Academy Awards

Infographic: The Diversity Gap in the Academy Awards (click to enlarge)

Discussion questions to consider with your students:

  1. What patterns do you see? What trends do you see? How are the different charts related?
  2. What is the central idea of this infographic? How do the words, phrases, and visuals interact to affirm the central idea?
  3. Based on the infographic, what does “diversity gap” mean in terms of the Academy Awards?
  4. What might the author’s purpose be in choosing this medium to convey the central idea (to shame, inspire, shock, etc.)?
  5. Does the infographic make the central idea clear and obvious? How does the infographic use an economy of words, language, typography, pie charts, bar graphs, negative space, and title to communicate the central idea?
  6. What type of infographic is this (flow chart, web, map, graph, diagram, table, timeline)? What might the author’s purpose be in choosing this type of infographic? How effective is this format of infographic at organizing and displaying data compared to just text?
  7. Evaluate the effectiveness of the infographic as a form of communication as compared to text alone. Is this the most effective and convincing way to convey information about a lack of diversity at the Academy Awards? Why or why not?
  8. Why might the creators have assembled this information about the Academy Awards and race at all?
  9. Who is the intended audience (moviegoers, actors, directors, writers, producers, movie studios, general public, government officials)? What might the creators of this infographic want them to do with this information?
  10. What is the context of this infographic? What major events in the United States were taking place when this infographic was created? Why is it important to understand the context of the infographic?
  11. Is this infographic’s argument and presentation persuasive or compelling? Why or why not? Analyze this infographic’s effectiveness in inspiring activism.
  12. Based on the information presented, what can you predict future trends will be for award winners, actors, directors, producers, and writers?
  13. Can you determine causes for the lack of diversity in this infographic? Why or why not? How might researchers go about figuring out the cause(s) for the historical and current lack of diversity in the Academy Awards?
  14. What is the impact of a lack of diversity amongst writers, actors, producers, directors, and award winners? What does it mean to be a young child growing up and consuming this form of media (movies)? What will they see? What will they not see? Tell me more about the possible effects of this situation and current trends.

Suggested activities:

  1. Challenge students to translate this infographic’s central idea into a written argument. Students should use key details and evidence from the infographic to assert the central idea.
  2. Have students revise or add on to make the infographic more effective. Students should consider format, adding or deleting information, and more. What would make the infographic stronger, more persuasive, or more memorable?
  3. Encourage students to investigate how these percentages compare to the general public. Students can use the United States Census data for demographics.
  4. Have students investigate possible causes for the lack of diversity in the Academy Awards. Urge students to propose ways to change these trends.
  5. If possible, ask students to research the percent of moviegoers who are people of color. Check industry publications or major news periodicals. How do these numbers compare to the information in the infographic?
  6. Permit students to interview their grade, class, or school on questions, including: Do you go to the movies? How often? What kinds of movies do you see? Who are your favorite actor and actress in Hollywood today? Who is a director/actor/actress of color that you have seen in a movie recently? Why do you think there aren’t more movies by and with people of color? Students can organize and display data in graphs and present findings to the class. Reflect on this information’s relationship to the infographic’s central idea.
  7. Dig deeper—investigate the artists that were nominated each year. How many were people of color over those 85 years? What roles did these artists play in the movies they were nominated for? What genres of movies were they in for this nomination? Explore the people of color who did win best actress or best actor. What roles did they play and what kind of movies were they in when they won for best acting?
  8. Compare this to other Lee & Low Books’ infographics in the series: The Tony Awards,  The Emmy Awards, Children’s Book Publishing, The NY Times Top 10 Bestsellers List, and American Politics. Consider central idea, evidence, format, and audience.
  9. Update the information to include the 2013 and 2014 Academy Awards results. What changed? What did not change?

For further reading on teaching visual literacy and diversity in the classroom, check out these fantastic resources:

How are you building visual literacy skills in the classroom? Let us know below!


Filed under: Curriculum Corner Tagged: Academy Awards, CCSS, common core standards, diversity, Educators, ELA common core standards, History, infographics, Oscars, Race issues, reading comprehension, teaching about race, visual literacy

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24. Lee & Low Likes… Cheryl Boone Isaacs

Since the diversity pieces out there today can be rather disheartening (like our Diversity Gap in the Oscars infographic), we decided to take a look at things that are a bit more positive. And as the 86th Academy Awards are on Sunday, this “Lee & Low Likes” honors Cheryl Boone Issacs, the first African-American president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. It’s important to note that she’s just the third woman to be elected; Bette Davis served for just two month in 1941 and screenwriter Fay Kanin held the position for four years in 1979-1983. Sadly, it’s been 30 years since a woman has held the president position in the Academy.

Cheryl Boone Isaacs picture

Cheryl Boone Isaacs

Isaacs has had a long and illustrious career in Hollywood. She has worked on many Oscar winning movies: as a consultant for The Artist and The King’s Speech and on publicity for Braveheart and Forrest Gump. She was also a president of marketing at New Line Cinema and an executive vice president at Paramount Pictures.

In an interview with Variety, Isaacs talks about how the Academy should be a place that recognizes all of the voices out there: “I think what’s important is … equal opportunity, not holding people back because of their gender, their race, nationality. We are about self-expression and are still the holder of dreams.”

It’s a long road to a more diverse Hollywood, but Cheryl Boone Isaacs is a huge step in the right direction and we very much look forward to seeing the changes she brings during her tenure.

 


Filed under: Lee & Low Likes, The Diversity Gap Tagged: 2014 Academy Awards, Academy Awards, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, diversity, Oscars, Women of Color in Hollywood, Women President

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25. The Importance of Día

2014 Día Map

To find a celebration near you, check out the awesome Día map! (image courtesy of ALSC)

With the population of the United States becoming more diverse each year, working to connect children and their families to books that celebrate our diverse country has never been more important. The Día celebration (El día de los niños/El día de los libros Children’s Day/Book Day) works to do just that.

As the 2014 Día celebration approaches the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) is inviting librarians to register their 2014 Día programs in the Día National Program Registry. By registering their Día programs held throughout the year in the national registry, libraries build a searchable database that showcases all types and sizes of Día programming allowing families to find programs near them. Libraries that register will also receive Día stickers, buttons and bookmarks (while supplies last).

Once you’ve registered your program be sure to look through the new Día website which is packed full of free resources to help you as you plan your program.

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