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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: diversity, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 421
1. Avoiding LGBTQ Stereotypes

How to make your young adult LGBTQ characters fully realized instead of being stereotypes.


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2. Catching Up: Book Blurbs of Fall/Winter, Pt. 1

I've gotten incredibly far behind on my reviewing, so it's that time again: time to cut to the chase and offer quick, no-nonsense book reviews before I completely forget everything about these stories. This past fall was a real bear as far as... Read the rest of this post

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3. Why You Should See Selma

In celebration of MLK Day today, we wanted to share two perspectives from Lee & Low staff members on why you should see Selma, the new movie based on the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. Much has been said about the lack of Academy Award nominations for the movie, but nevertheless moviegoers are uniformly in agreement that Selma is one of the best movies of the year. It offers a meaningful historical context for current events and a springboard for deep discussion, making it a valuable learning experience as well as a straight-up great movie.

Here’s why we think seeing Selma is one of the best ways you could spend MLK Day:

Jason Low, Publisher: The director of Selma, Ava DuVernay brings the audience a lean, gritty fight for voter rights during the civil rights movement. The depiction of Martin Luther King, Jr. is especially poignant. The name Martin Luther King, Jr. is a household name and a holiday. His name is the stuff of legend. But what many fail to realize is that Martin Luther King, Jr. was a man with faults and insecurities just like everyone else. The film does not shy away from King’s marital problems caused by his infidelities or self-doubt and indecision resulting from the battle fatigue and weight of leadership when so much is on the line. DuVernay’s King is so human that we fear for his life even during the quieter scenes because humans are vulnerable and these were dangerous times.

still from Selma
still from Selma

Conversations between President Lyndon B. Johnson and Martin Luther King, Jr. are riveting. The political needle was just as difficult to move in 1965 as it is today. The Voter Rights Bill was as messy an issue as any US president would have to face. The bill was steeped in violence and racism and Johnson’s instinct to postpone action was derailed when John Lewis and Reverend Hosea Williams tried to lead a march of six hundred protestors over the Edmund Pettus Bridge. The nonviolent protestors were savagely beaten by state police and news cameras captured a brutal, bloody war for all Americans to see.

I brought my family to see this film. Bearing witness to the bravery it takes to protest nonviolently for equal rights was (to me) the chance to see history at its most heroic. Although fifty years has passed since Selma took place, the film feels eerily current. Protests over police killings of unarmed black males are happening all over the country and continue to be front-page news. Watching a film like Selma is difficult, but all the more reason to see it. Great movies will move you, make you feel something and Selma does all of these things very deeply.

Rebecca Garcia, Marketing and Publicity Assistant: During Common’s acceptance speech for the Golden Globe for Best Original Song, he said, “Selma is now.” Even though the Selma to Montgomery Marches were fifty years ago, this film reminded me that the Civil Rights Movement was a hard battle and took a long time to take effect.

David Oyelowo does an excellent job as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. King in this movie struggles with self-doubt, isn’t the perfect husband, and even makes decisions that have other leaders in the Civil Rights Movement question his leadership skills. But this is the Dr. King we all need to see. He’s human and flawed, but is still inspiring and courageous.

While watching the movie, I was reminded of the many protests happening around the country in the wake of the Ferguson and Staten Island grand jury decisions. Change doesn’t happen overnight. Change is an arduous and bitterly long process. Selma serves as a reminder of what has been accomplished and what we still need to accomplish. Selma doesn’t hold back when it comes to the violence faced by protesters.

Ava DuVernay presents us with a flawed, realistic and ultimately human Dr. King. While David Oyelowo does amazing justice to Dr. King, I felt that the talented actresses in the movie (Carmen Ejobo, Oprah Winfrey, and Lorraine Toussaint to name a few) weren’t utilized to their full potential. Even so, Selma is a relevant and timely film that everyone should see. Take tissues with you.

John Lewis in the Lead cover
buy “John Lewis in the Lead”

Additional Resources:

John Lewis in the Lead: A Story of the Civil Rights Movement

Free tickets to see Selma for 7th, 8th, and 9th grade students

Essay about challenges to the historical accuracy of Selma

Did you see Selma? What did you think?

2 Comments on Why You Should See Selma, last added: 1/22/2015
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4. Books of Australia – For Kids

January 26th marks the date in which Australians reflect upon our cultural history and celebrate the accomplishments since the first fleet landed on Sydney’s shores in 1788. Here are a select few picture books aimed at providing children with some background knowledge of our beautiful land, flora, fauna and multicultural diversity. There is plenty of […]

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5. What does an author think of Día?

As part of the lead-up to formal Día celebrations in April, I had the privilege of interviewing an author of multicultural and multilingual books for children–the inimitable Pat Mora herself, author and founder of Día! Ms. Mora is an outstanding advocate for youth literacy, and the books in her body of work are a joy to share with families any time of the year. It was my pleasure to ask Pat Mora a few questions.

Q: You’re the founder of Día, and you’re also an author of children’s books. How do these dual roles affect how you think about Día?

Pat Mora is an author and the founder of Día (image courtesy of Pat Mora)

Pat Mora is an author and the founder of Día (image courtesy of Pat Mora)

Pat Mora: My first book published book was A Birthday Basket for Tía, 1992. I quickly became aware how many children did not have books in their homes and how many families, particularly non-English speaking families, had not embraced their literacy role. I also became aware that many book buyers of all ethnicities were not interested in books by Latinas/os. Both realities saddened me.

In 1996, the idea for Día came to me, an initiative that would honor all children—their importance—and connect them to books, diverse books. I was inspired by Mexico’s April 30th celebration of El día del niño. (Contrary to some information on the Web this is not a Latin American celebration, although other countries celebrate Children’s Day.) I hadn’t planned to become an author/literacy advocate, but that is what evolved. Día has required a great amount of my time and energy. I’m deeply grateful to REFORMA and ALSC for becoming my first organizational partners.

Q: Do you see Día’s mission differently in 2015 than when you started it?

Pat Mora: Definitely! When I first began Día and was quickly joined by REFORMA, we were focused on a national April 30th celebration, El día de los niños, El día de los libros/Children’s Day, Book Day. As a writer aware of the importance of literacy in our democracy and as a book lover—working with committed librarians, REFORMA, ALSC—celebrating children and books seemed natural and essential.

Soon I became aware of the importance of deepening what had become known as “Día” into a year-long commitment (day by day, día por día) with culminating celebrations held in April across the country. Also, I strongly believed that Children’s Day, Book Day needed to be relevant in all the languages spoken in this country. My organizational partners agreed. Other organizations and publishers are joining us aware that Día unites communities.

Q: As an author, how would you ideally like for your books to be shared in libraries and library programs?

Pat Mora: I write for all children so like any author, I long to see my books shared with all children and rely on families, librarians and teachers to connect my books with young readers. Of course, since I’m of Mexican background and bilingual, I hope that adults will share those realities when relevant. It’s an immense private pleasure when I read a word in Spanish to a group, and a Spanish-speaking child gives me a special smile. We all like to see ourselves and our lives in books. In addition to sharing Mexican culture, I also enjoy sharing my love of family time, the natural world, and poetry.

Librarians have tremendous power: power to coach families unfamiliar or intimidated by libraries and schools, and to help such families become literacy advocates. This is a major interest of mine, librarians as literacy coaches. Also, librarians order and promote books. You select what children will view as exciting and valuable. Buying diverse books is important but not enough. By sharing and celebrating good diverse books, librarians help prepare our children to participate in our diverse country. As I said to a wonderful group of South Carolina librarians last April, all librarians have old favorites (for story time, etc.). My hope is that our hard-working and under-praised librarians are becoming excited about new favorites.

Q: What guidance or advice would you give to librarians who are hesitant to share books that are not completely in English because they don’t feel confident reading them aloud?

Pat Mora: Fabulous question! Spanish is the second most spoken language across our country; there are many others, of course. If we are committed to exciting all our children about bookjoy, we need to meet them where they are, as the saying goes. This is a basic rule for effectively connecting with any audience. Just as we want our children to have the courage to say and read words in a language that may not be their home language (English), we can model that bravery by saying or reading words in the home languages of our students—Chinese, Korean, etc.

A child colors during a Día program at Skokie Public Library (image courtesy of Joanna Ison)

A child colors during a Día program at Skokie Public Library (image courtesy of Joanna Ison)

Bilingual students and students whose families want their children to become bilingual (many today) can so profit from and enjoy bilingual books. It saddens me that many bilingual books are not being purchased or used because the librarians or teachers aren’t bilingual. Such professionals tell me that they are intimidated by the books. I appreciate the candor and understand the intimidation, but resources (educational resources) are gathering dust. Sigh. Many librarians take Spanish and enjoy their new skill. Others involve bilingual parents in book sharing and language development. For our children, let’s be bold together!

Q: What type of impact do you think the #WeNeedDiverseBooks project will have on Día celebrations, and on children’s literature as a whole?

Pat Mora: The #WeNeedDiverseBooks project is an exciting initiative. Día also started as a grassroots project, and we share many goals. This new project, adept at technology and energized by a young, committed team, is asking important questions and building much-needed awareness.

For years, I’ve written about and spoken about the need to diversify the publishing system from publishers through the award committees. I’ll touch on this briefly when I speak at ALSC’s Day of Diversity at Midwinter.

Q: What’s your favorite thing about celebrating Día?

Pat Mora: The smiling faces of children, families, librarians, other educators and community members delight me. We are celebrating our young (Children’s Day) just as we annually celebrate Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. Also, we are enjoying bookjoy together. ALSC offers many resources and I have a downloadable booklet of tips to begin your April 2015 planning now, http://www.patmora.com/dia-planning-booklet/

Reminder: 1996-2016, Día’s 20th Anniversary! Together, let’s grow a reading nation!

Amy Koester is Youth & Family Program Coordinator at Skokie Public Library. She is writing this post for the Public Awareness Committee. You can reach her at akoester@skokielibrary.info.

The post What does an author think of Día? appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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6. Ageism in Kidlit

This blog promotes diversity of and respect for character age. 


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7. ALSC at the Midwinter Meeting #alamw15

2015 ALA Midwinter Meeting

The 2015 ALA Midwinter Meeting will take place January 30-February 3, 2015 (image courtesy of ALA).

The 2015 ALA Midwinter Meeting is approaching and ALSC has a ton of great events and activities to tell you about.

In fact, there’s almost too much good stuff to talk about. To fit this discussion into a blog post, we’ve had to condense our list a bit. Here are a few highlights of events taking place in Chicago.

For a full list of ALSC committee meetings, information sessions and get-togethers, please see the ALSC at ALA Midwinter Meeting list. Each of the events listed below are open to all conference attendees.

Leadership & ALSC
Saturday, January 31, 8:30-11:30am
McCormick Place West W179

This event, which is open to all attendees, is an opportunity to learn about new developments in the profession enabling attendees to bring this knowledge back to their libraries. Jenna Nemec-Loise, Member Content Editor for the ALSC Everyday Advocacy Website & Electronic Newsletter will present a review of elevator speeches, value-based language, and an introduction to the ALSC advocacy button campaign. Follow along on Twitter using the hashtag #leadalsc.

Diversity Matters: Stepping It Up With Action!
Sunday, February 1, 1-2:30pm
McCormick Place West W183b

The Diversity Matters: Stepping It Up With Action! update will give Midwinter attendees an opportunity to learn more about the invitation only Day of Diversity: Dialogue and Action in Children’s Literature and Programming event, its outcomes, and participate in laying the groundwork for a promising future. This session will focus on practical strategies participants have successfully employed for increasing diversity awareness within the publishing and library communities. Along with ALSC, this program is sponsored by the Children’s Book Council’s Diversity Committee.

Young Children, Libraries & New Media Survey
Sunday, February 1, 3-4pm
McCormick Place West W183b

The purpose of this update is to discuss the findings of the Young Children, New Media & Libraries Survey conducted by the Association for Library Service to Children, LittleeLit.com and the University of Washington iSchool. A panel of experts from library, research and education fields will discuss the survey results and the implications of the findings.

ALA Youth Media Awards
Monday, February 2, 8-9am
McCormick Place West W375b/Skyline

Join us for the announcement of the best of the best in children’s and young adult literature and media –the ALA Youth Media Awards! Each year the American Library Association honors books, videos, and other outstanding materials for children and teens. Doors open at 7:30 a.m. and fans can follow results in real-time via #alayma, or live webcast. Visit ILoveLibraries.org for additional information on how to follow the action.

For more events and activities, make sure to check out the 2015 ALA Midwinter Meeting site including the handy Scheduler tool.

The post ALSC at the Midwinter Meeting #alamw15 appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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8. Interview with Sandhya Sameera Pillalamarri About The Name Soup

How did the idea for The Name Soup originate? Sandhya Sameera Pillalamarri: The concept of the book was inspired by my long last name. I was always intrigued about its true meaning and where it came from.

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9. The Name Soup, by Sandhya Sameera Pillalamarri | Dedicated Review

The Name Soup is an encouraging story for children and is a poignant read for young students and teachers learning to build tolerance and gain insights within classrooms.

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10. Reading Resolutions

Everyone is making goals and checking them twice. Welcome to January! Fresh ideas, new perspective and a clean slate is on the horizon. As an author and an avid reader my goals tend to lean towards literary objectives. Do you have any goals that focus on literacy? Here are a few of mine: Have at least four library visits each month, read and complete one fiction book and one business oriented book monthly, read through my son's personal library collection in entirety every week (this goal is shared between my hubistrator, sitters and myself because he has a lot of books), write in a gratitude journal daily, work on incomplete manuscripts. Those are my reading resolutions-what are your goals when it comes to literacy? Read to a classroom, volunteer at your library, work on a project related to helping others with their literacy goals. The list can be quite endless. Readers are leaders-let's begin this year by leading by example. Read something great.

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11. Interview: Katheryn Russell-Brown on the research behind Little Melba and Her Big Trombone

Katheryn Russell-BrownReleased in September of 2014, Little Melba and Her Big Trombone is the story of Melba Liston, a little-known but trailblazing musician who broke gender and racial barriers to become a famed trombonist and arranger. We interviewed author Katheryn Russell-Brown to get a better sense of the research that went into writing the book.

Were you able to talk to any of Melba’s friends or family when doing research for the book? If so, what was that like?

Katheryn Russell-Brown: Yes indeed. I spoke with Leslie Drayton who co-led a band with Melba. Melba did not have children of her own, but she considered Leslie her “musical son.” He talked to me about Melba’s personality, how she carried herself and some expressions she used. I still keep in touch with him.

What jazz music did you listen to while working on this story?

KRB: Melba recorded only one lead album, “Melba Liston and Her ‘Bones” (1958). I listened to it many, many times while writing and revising Little Melba.

What aspects of Melba’s story inspired you to write this story for children?

KRB: The more I read and learned about Melba Liston, the more impressed I was with her talent. By every account she was a phenomenal arranger and a master trombone player.

Melba’s mother and grandfather play a large role in encouraging Melba’s trombone playing. What word of advice would you give to parents to encourage their children’s talents or interests?

KRB: What I love is that Melba’s mother, Lucille Liston, followed Melba’s lead even though she wasn’t thrilled with Melba’s choice of instrument. She thought the trombone was too big and that it wasn’t for girls! However, at Melba’s urging, her mother bought the trombone and supported her throughout her career.

What aspect of Melba’s story do you think is especially relevant for young people today?

KRBTry to find something you love to do and do your best with it.

What’s one fact about Melba you learned that didn’t make it to the book?

KRB: Melba appeared in two major motion pictures. In “The Prodigal” (1955), Liston played the harp and appeared in scenes with Lana Turner. She was also a member of the palace orchestra in “The Ten Commandments” (1956).

Pages from LITTLE MELBA AND HER BIG TROMBONEHow difficult is it to play the trombone?

KRB: As I write in Little Melba, “the trombone was no piece of cake.” First, holding it properly is a challenge. Second, it’s heavy, long, and bulky. Third, you have to purse your lips just right, move the slide, and blow!

Even though Melba quits playing the trombone for a while, she eventually returns to it. What would you say to young people that are thinking of quitting something they enjoy doing or are good at?

KRBIf you’re going to quit, quit for the right reasons! Don’t quit because something is hard or challenging. If, however, something that brought you joy is no longer bringing joy, it’s OK to take a break.

Melba loved music and really loved the trombone. However, being on the road was tough for her—times could be tough and sometimes she felt lonely. After going on tour with jazz singer Billie Holiday, Melba decided to take a break. She got a job as a clerk for the Los Angeles Board of Education. She was lured back to music when Dizzy Gillespie asked her to re-join his orchestra and travel to South America.

In addition to your work as a children’s book writer, you are also a Professor of Law and Director of the Center for Race and Race Relations at the University of Florida. How do you think your work as a professor informed the way you decided to tell Melba’s story?

KRB:It certainly did inform my approach to writing Little Melba. I love doing research and I love writing, re-rewriting, and editing.



Filed under: Diversity, Race, and Representation, Interviews with Authors and Illustrators, Lee & Low Likes Tagged: African/African American Interest, children's books, diversity, History, Katheryn Russell-Brown, Little Melba and her Big Trombone, melba liston, Race issues, writing

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12. Monday Review: MS. MARVEL VOL. 1: NO NORMAL by Wilson and Alphona

Summary: I was excited, intrigued, and a little wary when I heard that the new reboot of Ms. Marvel was going to be a Pakistani-American, Muslim teenage girl. I cheered because young women of South Asian descent would finally be represented in the... Read the rest of this post

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13. Some stuff Anglos taught a Chicnao author

In an interview, Sherman Alexie once told Bill Moyers, "I know a lot more about being white than you know about being Indian.”

Similarly, Latino authors likely know a lot more about Anglos than Anglos do about us. This regularly plays out in some Latino literature's Anglo characters. This brings to mind growing up in San Antonio decades ago, and how Anglos gradually worked their way into my life. Although mine is no template for the "Chicano lifestyle," here's how it taught me the first things I learned about Anglos.

A highway like this "improved" my 1st neighborhood
Given the decrepitude of ageing, I don't remember most of the names, but the first one was a neighborhood kid my age, maybe five. He came over regularly and taught me that playing "cowboys and Indians" was fun. Ignorant of the fact that I was part "Indian," we'd ride around the dirt yard on our stick horses, shooting at each other, falling down, and getting dirty. I sort of remember sometimes getting to be the cowboy. He taught me that some Anglos would play with me.

The next ones were female teachers, first through third grade. They were mostly nice, even if I don't remember what I learned from them. Before entering first grade, mi 'amá had already taught me to read, so I assume I picked up whatever math and writing I was supposed to learn because I kept passing to the next grade. The teachers taught me that teachers were Anglo women.

Two incidents in elementary school stick out in my mind. The first was halfway through first grade. Our teacher announced that three of us were being skipped into higher grades. This one poor white boy who could've been twelve years old--the biggest, burliest kid--was being "skipped" to third grade, which was probably still less than age-appropriate for him. I remember thinking the teacher just wanted him gone from her room. From him I learned there were Anglos were much less intelligent than me, even if they were bigger, older and meaner.

Then our teacher announced that two of us--I think the other one was named Judy--were skipping into second grade. That meant something to other kids, my parents, relatives, and the teacher, but I don't remember being impressed by this, since I didn't know what it meant.

Judy gave me another memory, of dancing. During one of those school activities everyone had to participate in, maybe May Day. Out on the playground, we were all paired up and for some reason, nerd-brain, skinny, too-tall, blond Judy got paired up with the shortest kid--a "Mexican" as we called ourselves--who was me. I faked it, going around in circles, thinking I it was supposed to be having fun. Though, not as much fun as getting to be the cowboy. From Judy, I learned Anglo girls would at times be willing to hold my hand, at least in public.

San Anto was the military's playground
Next came my uncle Jack, a military-lifer who later married my mother's sister. He was real white, tall and big, loud and always made his presence known. Whenever the couple came by our house was a treat, probably because their income was higher than most of the family. Before they had any of their own kids, Uncle Jack would take me out while he courted my aunt. The best time was a zoo visit where I got to eat lots of junk because he could afford it. He taught me the military had it much better than most people, though maybe his Anglo-ness had something to do with his good fortune.

Projects like where we lived
About my age, Mary B. didn't teach me as much as I'd have liked. In the federal projects where we lived, her family was one of the few Anglo families around. She had an older sister who was a template for juvenile delinquency, and sort of respected by all the younger kids. Whenever they let her out of juvey or prison, she'd visit with her latest tattooed boyfriend who also looked like he was on parole. They taught me there were tough, young Anglos in the world, whenever they were let out.

Marie B's were shorter than this
Mary B. could've been my first love, or at least experience, except that never happened. She was hotter than her older sister and usually wore shorts that couldn't have been cut any shorter. Neighborhood culture dictated she was unapproachable because she was white, something I didn't understand. For my only teen birthday party I can remember, I invited her and, chingau, she showed up. I danced with her at least once and that was as close to heaven or to Mary B.'s shorts that I ever got. Like Judy, she taught me Anglo girls would dance with you in public, but that my life experiences might be limited to that.

like the coach who "taught" me
There were so few Anglo kids in my junior high (middle) school, none of them would've stuck out. The gym coach, however, taught me corporal punishment and how much it hurt. I got busted doing some regular-Mexican-kid obscenity to another Mexican kid, in jest. But it wasn't funny to the teacher establishment. The board the coach used on the two of us--the "victim" of my jest was deemed guilty as me--taught me to never get caught again. That's how I learned that an Anglo's "paddle" could hit as hard as my pinchefather's leather belt.

My mother snuck me into another school district so I've get a college-prep education. Thomas Jefferson was heavily Anglo, from higher incomes and taller parents, and being the shortest kid from being skipped a grade became a bigger joke; most of the kids were a foot taller than me. I learned they were much more silent around me and resembled actors on TV or commercials, with nicer clothes, make-up and styles of strutting that showed they were better than other humans.

Real pic of my high school
I had some great Anglo teachers, especially in the sciences, possibly why I later imagined studying to become a physicist. I don't remember facing prejudice from the teachers, but that might've been due to my I.Q., more than anything else.

My French teacher came straight out of an 18th century novel. She exuded European style and aloofness that I'd never seen in any "Mexican." Despite being ignored by most of the Anglo student body, I'd come to understand it wasn't that hard to get good grades, especially A's. There was only one student better than me in French class, and her grandmother was French-born.

Everybody knew your grades
Each grading period, we'd go up to the blackboard and write down every one of our grades that the French teacher dictated to us, and then figure out our average. As a private joke, through three years of French, I made it a point to totally fail one test. So, I'd stand at the board, copying down A after A, but always with one F. It was obvious what I'd done. Funny thing is, no student, much less the teacher, was ever impressed by this. It took me years to understand how difficult it was for old or young Anglos to admit when a Mexican could do better than them. And how much they didn't like being involved in my sarcasm.

I could write a book: How Chess Can Pay for Your Lunch
The only friends I had in high school were other nerds, the straight-As, headed-to-Harvard kids who sat together before school playing chess or sat at the lunch table playing chess. No other club, except for science clubs, would have them as members. I was comfortable among them, especially since the only way I ever had money to buy a Coke or breakfast was from beating them at chess.

One of them--name withheld--was as fat as Fat Albert and became my best friend. With coke-bottle lenses, he was definitely smarter than me, possibly the smartest kid in the school of a thousand. Midway through, he spent a summer losing weight, getting contact lenses, and returned as New Hunk on campus, and was admitted into the exclusive club for the richest, cool Anglos. He still came around us, and I learned that if you were Anglo, you could change your outside appearance and improve your status in society.

Berkeley radicalism my best friend's parents saved him from
After we graduated, that best friend and I played tennis for the summer, until we got into a fight over a racquet, and he disappeared. I don't remember why we got in the fight, whose "fault" it was. He taught me I could have Anglo best friends, at least for a stretch. He also taught me that Anglos were sometimes smarter than me, were able to raise their societal standing, and could be accepted to schools like Univ. of Berkeley.

last time I returned to San Anto, for my novel
When his parents refused to let him go to that college, because of the student radicalism of the Berkeley Free Speech Movement, he taught me Anglos could be more fragile than me, who'd only be accepted to UT. His suicide wasn't the last thing I learned about Anglos, but it's enough, for now.

Es todo, hoy,
RudyG, a.k.a. Chicano fabulist-mextasy author Rudy Ch. Garcia, striving to put on paper some of the things I learned about Anglos. And others. And some things I never learned.

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14. ALSC announces Building STEAM with Día booklists

Download all three 2015 Building STEAM with Día book lists

Download all three 2015 Building STEAM with Día book lists (image courtesy of ALSC)

The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association, has released new Building STEAM with Día book lists for children from birth to 8th grade. Intended to accompany El día de los niños/El día de los libros (Día) programming, the four book lists are comprised of multicultural titles that showcase STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) topics.

The four Building STEAM with Día book lists are available for children from birth to Pre-K, kindergarten to 2nd grade, 3rd to 5th grade and 6th to 8th grade. PDFs of the reading lists are available online in full color and are free to download, copy and distribute. Book lists are available to download through the ALSC or Día website.

The lists also feature simple and age appropriate STEAM activities to accompany one of the titles on the list. Each is designed to help librarians and parents bring the book to life through easy hands-on STEAM activities.

Titles and activities in the Building STEAM with Día book lists were selected and developed by members of ALSC’s Quicklists Consulting Committee. These free book lists were made possible through the Everyone Reads @ your library grand funded by the Dollar General Literacy Foundation.

The post ALSC announces Building STEAM with Día booklists appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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15. Gotham Greets the Justice League

JLeagueLogoColor 143x150 Gotham Greets the Justice LeagueOn Friday New York City Mayor Bill deBlasio met with protestors to discuss their demands for police reform after the shocking death of Eric Garner and the controversial grand jury decision that followed. The name of the activists’ organization will sound familiar to any comics fan: Justice League NYC.

That this prominent group of social justice warriors would share a name with DC Entertainment’s leading super-team is no coincidence. Just check out the group’s logo, which features two African-American superheroes flying out of New York City through a graffiti-style logo. Dig even deeper into contemporary activism’s history and we see even more connections: Ferguson protestors formed their own Justice League over the summer, a leading progressive journalist writes at JusticeLeagueTaskForce.wordpress.com, and as pretty much everyone here knows, the Occupy movement made the V for Vendetta Guy Fawkes’ mask a global icon.

The role of comics in recent protests will no doubt be the subject of any number of academic papers, most of which will bear a punny coloned title like “DC Nation: From Social Relevance Comics to Social Change.” Yet before folks explore what all this means at greater length, I want to offer a quick note on how this phenomenon ties into comics’ uneasy relationship with the law.

Before Photoshop and Final Cut made it possible for anyone to transcend their innate limitations, comics offered a cheap and easy way for people to give a visible form to their wildest thoughts. They became pop culture’s analogue to law as the magic mirror of society — photos may have showed us how the other half lives, but in comics we could create the world of tomorrow, free from the strictures of budget, politics, injury, death, and the real world’s ineffective legal system. What’s more, comics also did away with the shadows and fog that even today make inquiries such as the Serial podcast so frustrating — in the comics world we know who is good, who is evil, and who will win; the big question is how good will triumph.

That sensibility is in comics’ DNA, to both good and ill effect. An unreflective transfer of the comics’ approach to seemingly intractable problems would at its most extreme result in moral nihilism, as violence becomes the standard means of removing any obstacle to achieving what is right. At the same time, the comics’ metaphorical blend of constructive critique and unbounded possibility helps explain why the social relevance comics of the 1970s weren’t as much of a break from the past as some might think. We can draw a straight line back from the O’Neil & Adams Green Lantern/Green Arrow through to the Justice League, Shock SuspenStories, Captain America and Wonder Woman — and the same is true moving forward in time to today. Comics have always had the power to show us who we are and what we can be, and they are at their best when they resemble the magic mirror as ideally envisioned by Oliver Wendell Holmes – reflecting not just our own lives, but the lives of all people who have been.

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16. Best Multicultural Books of 2014

Each year, a select diverse committee of experts from the Center for the Study of Multicultural Children’s Literature (CSMCL) identifies the best in multicultural books. The mission of the CSMCL is to provide children, teachers, parents, educators, students, and librarians access to multicultural children’s books with high literary and artistic standards. CSMCL presents the Best Multicultural Children’s Books of 2014. Enjoy! This year’s list was complied by Dr. Claudette Shackelford McLinn, Dr. Naomi Caldwell, Dr. Sujin Huggins, Ana- Elba Pavon, Lessa K. Pelayo-Lozada, and Elsa Marston.

Best Books 2014

Best Books 2014 (photo courtesy of CSMCL)

BECAUSE THEY MARCHED: THE PEOPLE’S CAMPAIGN FOR VOTING RIGHTS THAT CHANGED AMERICA, by Russell Freedman, 83 pages, published by Holiday House, ©2014 (Middle school/High school, nonfiction)

BLOSSOMING UNIVERSE OF VIOLET DIAMOND: THE, by Brenda Woods, 222 pages, published by Nancy Paulson Books, an imprint of Penguin Group, ©2014 (Upper elementary school/Middle school, fiction)

BROWN GIRL DREAMING, by Jacqueline Woodson, 336 pages, published by Nancy Paulsen Books, an imprint of Penguin Group, ©2014 (Upper elementary school/Middle school/High school, nonfiction/autobiography)

CROSSOVER, THE, by Kwame Alexander, 237 pages, published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, ©2014 (Middle school/High school, fiction/novel in verse)

DREAMING IN INDIAN: CONTEMPORARY NATIVE AMERICAN VOICES, edited by Lisa Charleyboy and Mary Beth Leatherdale, 128 pages, published by Annick Press, ©2014 (Middle school/High school, nonfiction/autobiography)

FREEDOM SUMMER MURDERS, THE, by Don Mitchell, 250 pages, published by Scholastic Press, ©2014 (Middle school/High school, nonfiction)

FRIDA & DIEGO: ART, LOVE, LIFE, by Catherine Reef, 168 pages, published by Clarion Books/ Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, ©2014 (Middle school/High school, nonfiction/collective biography)

GABI: A GIRL IN PIECES, by Isabel Quintero, 284 pages, published by Cinco Puntos Press, ©2014 (High school, fiction)

GREAT GREENE HEIST, THE, by Varian Johnson, 226 pages, published by Arthur A. Levine Books, an imprint of Scholastic, Inc., ©2014 (Upper elementary school/Middle school, fiction)

GREEN IS A CHILE PEPPER: A BOOK OF COLORS, by Roseanne Greenfield Thong, illustrated by John Parra, 32 pages, published by Chronicle Books, ©2014 (Preschool/Elementary school, fiction, picture book)

HIDDEN LIKE ANNE FRANK: 14 TRUE STORIES OF SURVIVAL, by Marcel Prins & Peter Henk Steenhuis, translated by Laura Watkins, 211 pages, published by Arthur A. Levine Books, ©2014 (Middle school/High school, nonfiction)

HOUSE OF PURPLE CEDAR, by Tim Tingle, 326 pages, published by Cinco Punto Press, ©2014 (High school, fiction)

JOSEPHINE: THE DAZZLING LIFE OF JOSEPHINE BAKER, by Patricia Hruby Powell, illustrated by Christian Robinson, unpaged, published by Chronicle Books, ©2014 (Elementary school/Middle school/High school, nonfiction/biography)

KING FOR A DAY, by Rukhsana Khan, illustrated by Christiane Kromer, 32 pages, published by Lee &Low Books, Inc., ©2014 (Preschool/Elementary school, fiction, picture book)

LITTLE MELBA AND HER BIG TROMBONE, by Katherine Russell-Brown, illustrated by Frank Morrison, 34 pages, published by Lee &Low Books, Inc., ©2014 (Elementary school, nonfiction/biography, picture book)

LITTLE ROJA RIDING HOOD, by Susan Middleton Elya, illustrated by Susan Guevara, 32 pages, published by G. P. Putnam’s Sons, ©2014 (Preschool/Elementary school, fiction, picture book)

MADMAN OF PINEY WOODS, THE, by Christopher Paul Curtis, 363 pages, published by Scholastic Press, ©2014 (Upper elementary school/Middle school, fiction)

MALALA: A BRAVE GIRL FROM PAKISTAN & IQBAL: A BRAVE BOY FROM PAKISTAN, (Two stories in one book) by Jeanette Winter, 20 pages each, published by Beach Lane Books, ©2014 (Elementary school, nonfiction/biography)

NOT MY GIRL, by Christy Jordan-Fenton and Margaret Pokiak-Fenton, art by Gabrielle Grimard, 34 pages, published by Annick Press, ©2014 (Elementary school, nonfiction/autobiography)

PORT CHICAGO 50, THE,: DISASTER, MUTINY, AND THE FIGHT FOR CIVIL RIGHTS, by Steve Sheinkin, 200 pages, published by Roaring Book Press, ©2014 (Middle school/High school, nonfiction)

RED PENCIL, THE, by Andrea Davis Pinkney, illustrated by Shane W. Evans, 308 pages, published by Little, Brown and Company, ©2014 (Upper elementary school/Middle school, nonfiction)

REVOLUTION, by Deborah Wiles, 495 pages, published by Scholastic Press, ©2014 (Upper elementary school/Middle school, fiction/biography)

SEARCHING FOR SARA RECTOR, by Tonya Bolden, 76 pages, published by Abrams Books for Young Readers, ©2014 (Upper elementary school/Middle school, nonfiction/biography)

SECRETS OF THE TERRA-COTTA SOLDIER, by Ying Chang Compestine and Vinson Compestine, 224 pages, published by Amulet Books, ©2014 (Upper elementary school/Middle school, fiction)

SEPARATE IS NEVER EQUAL: SYLVIA MENDEZ & HER FAMILY’S FLIGHT FOR DESEGREGATION, written and illustrated by Duncan Tonatiuh, 40 pages, published by Abrams Books for Young Readers, ©2014 (Elementary school, nonfiction, picture book)

SHADOW HERO, THE, by Gene Luen Yang, art by Sonny Liew, 158 pages, published by First Second, ©2014 (Middle school/High school, graphic novel, fiction)

SILVER PEOPLE: VOICES FROM THE PANANA CANAL, by Margarita Engle, 260 pages, published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, ©2014 (Middle school/High school, fiction/novel in verse)

STRIKE: THE FARM WORKERS’ FIGHT FOR THEIR RIGHTS, by Larry Dane Brimner, 172 pages, published by Calkins Creek, an imprint of Highlights, ©2014 (Middle school/High school, nonfiction)

TIME TO DANCE, A, by Padma Venkatraman, 307 pages, published by Nancy Paulsen Books, an imprint of Penguin Group, ©2014 (Middle school/High school, fiction/novel in verse)

TWENTY-TWO CENTS: MUHAMMAD YUNUS AND THE VILLAGE BANK, by Paula Yoo, illustrated by Jamel Akib, 40 pages, published by Lee & Low Books Inc., ©2014 (Elementary school, nonfiction/biography)

VIVA FRIDA, by Yuyi Morales, photographs by Tim O’Meara, 34 pages, published by Roaring Book Press, ©2014 (Elementary school, nonfiction/biography)


Today’s guest blogger is Dr. Claudette S. McLinn. Dr. McLinn is the Executive Director of the Center for the Study of Multicultural Children’s Literature. She has been a school librarian, teacher, adjunct professor, and bookseller.

Please note that as a guest post, the views expressed here do not represent the official position of ALA or ALSC.

If you’d like to write a guest post for the ALSC Blog, please contact Mary Voors, ALSC Blog manager, at alscblog@gmail.com.

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17. LGBTQ Stereotypes in YA

Here's a five-part blog series on how to avoid LGBTQ stereotypes in young adult novels.


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18. Podcast interview: Life. Leadership. Video Games. And me.

Classically Trained

I really enjoyed my conversation this fall with Jon Harrison, author the upcoming book Mastering The Game: What Video Games Can Teach Us About Success In Life, who interviewed me for his ClassicallyTrained podcast (“Life. Leadership. Videogames”).

We got to talk about video games (of course), fatherhood, Joey Spiotto’s art, the diversity of characters represented in Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! A Gamer’s Alphabet, the trickiest letter in the book (not Q, X, or Z), my Games & Books & Q&A interview series, and my earliest experiences as a reader and writer.

And let the record show that I caught myself (eventually) after declaring that there are 28 letters in the alphabet.

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19. Ageism

How to incorporate older characters into your books while avoiding stereotypes. 


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20. Thursday Review: WHEN WE WAKE and WHILE WE RUN by Karen Healey

Summary: When We Wake--and the companion/sequel While We Run--are the newest spec fic/sci-fi books by Karen Healey, whose books The Shattering (reviewed here) and Guardian of the Dead (reviewed here) I really enjoyed. If you're already a Karen... Read the rest of this post

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21. The Boys of Blur, by N. D. Wilson | Book Review

The Boys of Blur, by N.D. Wilson, will appeal to readers 8 to 12 who like football, scary tales, and stories about complex family situations.

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22. Five Family Favorites with Patricia Dunn, Author of Rebels by Accident

Patricia Dunn, author of Rebels by Accident, selected her family’s five favorite books with the help of her husband Allan Tepper. They are a beautiful collection of diverse characters and plots.

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23. Monday Review: UNMADE (THE LYNBURN LEGACY #3) by Sara Rees Brennan

Cool font, spooky silhouettes...me like.Summary: Okay, so, I have read books 1 and 2 of The Lynburn Legacy and failed to write about those, so this is really a review of the entire trilogy. I know, I know; I really MEANT to write about them... Read the rest of this post

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24. Hunt for the Bamboo Rat by Graham Salsibury

Zenji Watanabe is 17 years old in the summer of 1941, a Nesei born on Honolulu to Japanese parents.  Naturally, he is fluent in both Japanese and English.  He has also just graduated from high school and is thinking about studying Buddhism in Japan, Meanwhile, he was working to help support his family - mother, older brother Henry, younger sister Aiko, father deceased.

All that changes when Zenji's JROTC commanding officer Colonel Blake shows up at his house one day.  He wants Zenji to be interviewed and tested, but for what?  To travel to the Philippines to translate some documents from Japanese to English.

But when Zenji arrives in Manila, he is instructed to stay at the Momo, a hotel where Japanese businessmen like staying, to befriend them and keep his ears and eyes open.  He is given the key to a mail box that he is required to check twice a day to be use for leaving and receiving information and instructions.  Zenji is also given  a contact person, Colonel Jake Olsten, head of G2, the Military Intelligence Service, and even a code name - the Bamboo Rat.

In December 1941, the Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor and the war in the Pacific begins.  It isn't long before the Americans are forced to withdraw from Manila.  Zenji chooses to remain, giving his seat on the last plane out to another Japanese American with a family.  Not long after that, he is taken prisoner by the Japanese, who torture and threaten him trying to make him admit he is the Bamboo Rat, and considering him a traitor to his county - Japan.

Eventually, the Japanese give up and Zenji is sent to work as a houseboy/translator for the more humane Colonel Fujimoto.  Fujimoto seems to forget that Zenji is a prisoner of war, and begins to trust him more and more.

By late 1944, it's clear the Japanese are losing the war in the Pacific.  They decide to evacuate Manila and go to Baguio.  Even though food is in short supply, Zenji starts to put some aside for the day he may be able to escape into the jungle and wait for the war to end.

But of course, the best laid plans don't always work out the way we would like them to and that is true for Zenji.  Will he ever make it back to Honolulu and his family?

WOW! Graham Salisbury can really write an action-packed, exciting and suspenseful novel.  Salisbury was born and raised in Hawaii, so he gives his books a sense of place that pulsating with life.  Not many authors explore the Japanese American in Hawaii experience during World War II and not many people realize that they were never, for the most part, interned in camps the way the Japanese Americans and Japanese Canadians on the west coast of the US and Canada were.  And although Hawaii was only an American territory until it became a state in 1959, if you were born there, you had American citizenship, just like Zenji continuously tells his Japanese captors throughout Hunt for the Bamboo Rat.

At first, I thought Zenji was too gentle, too innocent and too trusting for the kind of work he was recruited to do, which amounted to the dangerous job of spying.  But he proved to be a strong, tough character even while he retained those his aspects of his nature.  Ironically, part of his survival as a spy and a POW is based in what his Japanese Buddhist priests had taught him before the war.

One of the nice elements that Salisbury included are the little poems Zenji's mother wrote.  Devising a form of her own, and written in Kanji, it is her way of expressing her feelings.  They are scattered throughout the book.  Zenji receives one in the mail just before the bombing of Pearl Harbor and keeps it with him as long as he can, deriving comfort from it.

Like the first novel I read by Salisbury, Eyes of the Emperor, one kept me reading straight through until I finished it.  It is the fourth novel in his Prisoners of the Empire series, and it is a well-crafted, well-researched story, but it is a stand alone novel.  Zenji's story is based on the real wartime experiences of Richard Motoso Sakakida.

True to form, Salisbury brings in a lot of history, along with real people and events, but be careful, fact and fiction are seamlessly woven together.  He also includes the tension between the Filipino people and the Japanese after the Philippines are occupied by the Japanese and the cruel treatment of the Filipino people.   And included is the tension between Chinese and Japanese in Hawaii because of the Nanjing massacre of Chinese civilians in 1937/38.

All of this gives Hunt for the Bamboo Rat a feeling of authenticity.  There is some violence and reading the about Zenji's torture isn't easy, so it may not appeal to the faint at heart.

Hunt for the Bamboo Rat is historical fiction that will definetely appeal to readers, whether or not they particularly enjoy WWII fiction. And be sure to look at the Author's Note, the Glossary and additional Resources at the end of the novel.

This book is recommended for readers age 12+
This book was purchased for my personal library

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25. Protesting Injustice Then and Now

ferguson 2In August we wrote to you about the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Our publisher said then that the matter of representation was urgent; now, four months later, we see that urgency for what it is: a matter of life or death. Michael Brown’s name now sits alongside new names like Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, and Akai Gurley. How many more names will need to be added before things change?

Protests around the country remind us that we are not in a post-racial society, that inequality is still here. This can be a harrowing reminder, but it is also an important teachable moment for young people. How do we put current events in context and help young people engage in today’s big questions?

In difficult moments, books are often a good starting place for conversation. Books that touch on history can be read with fresh eyes in light of current events. For example, in Love to Langston, author Tony Medina describes when a seventh-grade Langston Hughes in 1914 peacefully protests his teacher’s segregation of black students to one row in the classroom. Even when he is expelled, Hughes fights for what he knows is right and his community joins beside him. The teacher is forced to integrate the classroom:

Jim Crow Row
from Love to Langston
By Tony Medina

In the seventh grade
in Lawrence, Kansas
the teacher puts all
us black kids in the same row
away from all the white kids

I don’t roll my eyes
or suck my teeth
with a heavy heavy sigh
and a why why why

I make signs
that read
that read

Jim Crow Row
Jim Crow Row
we in the Jim Crow Row

Jim Crow is a law
that separates white and black
making white feel better
and black feel left back

So we protest
with our parents
and let everybody
know about

Jim Crow Jim Crow
not allowing us
to grow

Jim Crow Jim Crow
don’t put us in a
Jim Crow Row

Whether it was this event or the lifetime of experiences of racism, Langston Hughes was profoundly transformed and wrote about and advocated for equality and justice throughout his life.

I, Too
By Langston Hughes
From the Poetry Foundation

I, too, sing America.

I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.

I’ll be at the table
When company comes.
Nobody’ll dare
Say to me,
“Eat in the kitchen,”

They’ll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed—

I, too, am America.

How will today’s children be impacted and awakened as activists by images of and participation in the protesting in Ferguson, New York City, and around the nation? In what ways will this moment and experience affect our children’s lens by which they view the world and influence their life’s purpose or calling? What art will they create to express this moment and themselves?

A photo from one of the recent protests in New York City.

A photo from one of the recent protests in New York City.

Further reading:

Books on Protest:


Filed under: Educator Resources, Race Tagged: African/African American Interest, children's books, diversity, Educators, History, Langston Hughes, poetry, Power of Words, race, Race issues, racism

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