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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: AFT, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 11 of 11
1. Changing Communities with Books: The Citizen Power Project

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In November, First Book and its partners the American Federation of Teachers and the Albert Shanker Institute presented the Citizen Power Project; a challenge to educators nationwide to identify, plan, and implement a civic engagement project important to their students, school or community.

Fifteen projects received grants to help turn big plans into big impact.

The projects represent a wide range of civic engagement – from teaching empathy and healthy habits to supporting student voices and helping the environment.

So far, the civic impact of these projects has been phenomenal.

In Framingham, Massachusetts, middle school English teacher Lori DiGisi knows her students don’t always feel empowered. “They feel like the adults rule everything and that they don’t really have choices,” she explains. “The issue I’m trying to solve is for a diverse group of students to believe that they can make a difference in their community.”

Using the First Book Marketplace, Lori and her class chose to read books about young people who did something to change the world — books with diverse characters that each student could identify with. Through stories, Lori’s students have begun to understand that they too can make a difference.

From here, Lori plans to narrow the focus onto the issue of improving working conditions. Students will interview custodians, secretaries, and cafeteria workers in their school to understand what their working conditions are like and ask the all-important question: what can we, as middle schoolers, do to make your working conditions better?

claudine-quote_editMeanwhile in Malvern, Arkansas, middle school English teacher Claudine James has used the Citizen Power Project to improve upon an already successful program. In 2011, Claudine visited the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC and wanted to bring that experience back to her students.

That year her class studied the Holocaust and put together their own Holocaust Museum in their school and opened it to the public.

The reaction to the museum was something Claudine never expected.

“It was very well received by the community and in fact, we had an opening day reception on a Sunday afternoon and there was no room to even stand.”

Claudine has organized project-based learning initiatives like this every year since. The Malvern community has embraced them, and even come to expect them.

This year, powered by the  Citizen Power Project, Claudine and her class are planning an exhibit called, ‘Writers from Around the World’. They are reading books by authors from all over the globe. Her goal is to promote tolerance and understanding among her students and for them to promote those ideas to the community.

“When my students are presented with problems that other people from other cultures have to overcome, they see the world in a new light,” explains Claudine, “then they go home and spread the word.”

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Artwork by one student in Racheal’s class depicting the negative impacts of climate change.

In Newark, New Jersey, kindergarten teacher Racheal Safier has her young students thinking globally. “We wanted to figure out what climate change is,” she explains, “they took a really big interest in how global warming affects animals.”

Racheal has been amazed by her student’s enthusiasm for this topic and the project, but she knows where it comes from. “Books have been the launching point for so many of the ideas generated in my classroom.”

Now that ideas are being launched, Racheal wants to show her class the next step: what actions do we take?

And they have many planned. There will be brochures distributed to parents, a table at the school’s social justice fair, maybe a video, and even letters to the President.

“I want it to be their project — and some of the things they come up with, I am really blown away.”

These three projects are just a snapshot of all the important work educators are doing around the country for the Citizen Power Project. Lori, Claudine, and Racheal are shining examples of the impact that educators can have on their students and their communities.

For educators to create change though students they need access to educational resources. First Book is proud to help provide that access for the Citizen Power Project.

When these 15 projects are completed in early 2017 be sure to check the First Book blog to see videos and pictures, and read more impact stories of impact from across the United States.

 

If you’re an educator serving kids in need, please visit the First Book Marketplace to register and browse our collection of educational resources. Click here to learn more about the Citizen Power Project.

The post Changing Communities with Books: The Citizen Power Project appeared first on First Book Blog.

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2. How Books Inspire Action: The Citizen Power Project

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All too often, young people feel they don’t have the power to fix problems in their communities.

How can books inspire students to take action and become engaged citizens?

Earlier this year, First Book, along with our partners the American Federation of Teachers and the Albert Shanker Institute, presented educators nationwide with a challenge: identify an issue and a civic engagement project important to their students, school or community. We then asked for proposals on how, with the support of books and resources from First Book, could their students take action to address that issue and show their students that they have a voice and the ability to make positive changes happen.

We called this challenge The Citizen Power Project. Funded by the Aspen Institute’s Pluribus Project, 15 proposals  – five each from elementary, middle and high schools – would be chosen to receive a collection of special resources to help them implement their projects and a $500 grant for use on the First Book Marketplace.

More than 920 proposals were received.

The 15 classroom projects that stood out and won the challenge addressed a wide range of issues, such as:

  • Learning about global cultural perspectives as a way to build compassion,
  • Planning a community garden to promote healthy eating,
  • Combating bullying,
  • Learning American Sign Language and
  • Building a health and wellness library.

We believe these projects, and the books and resources First Book will provide to help them flourish, will help these educators and the young leaders they teach to advance the causes they are so passionate about. And, by sharing stories about the successes of these projects, we hope to inspire others around the country to be change makers, themselves.

With our partners, we’ll be checking in with the inspiring projects through the end of the year to update you on their progress toward creating innovative learning environments, and the impact of the projects on their respective communities.

Stay tuned for more about the Citizen Power Challenge winners! Read more about the Citizen Power Challenge here.

The post How Books Inspire Action: The Citizen Power Project appeared first on First Book Blog.

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3. Affected by Hurricane Sandy? First Book Can Help You Get New Books.

First Book and Hurricane Sandy relief

Click here (or on the flyer above) to sign up! Feel free to share this link, or download the graphic and share.

 

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4. Reclaiming the Promise of Public Education

Today’s guest blog post is by Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, on the importance of ensuring all educators and students have the books they need for back to school. 

Volunteers from the American Federation of Teachers help First Book Book Bank staff pack and organize books for distribution at the First Book National Book Bank Warehouse in Baltimore, MD, December 4, 2013.As an educator, there’s nothing quite like walking into the classroom on that first day of school. The fresh, expectant face of each child looking up at you, their minds like the pages of a new book—waiting to be opened.

Teachers and school staff are in the business of opening minds, and there is no better way to do just that than through reading. Books are portholes to vast, new and different worlds—and, together with First Book, the AFT has put 2 million of those portholes into the hands of students in need.

AFT Alabama 05I am proud to say that, in the three years that the AFT has partnered with First Book, every AFT membership division has gotten involved in communities across the country. We helped to create a library at St. Mary’s Orphanage in Mobile, Ala.; we distributed thousands of anti-bullying books at public school assemblies in Cleveland; we handed out bilingual and Spanish books to students and families at soccer tournaments in Texas; and much more. One of my favorite First Book stories is about a school bus driver in Houston who started a mobile library on his bus to encourage reading outside of school.

This partnership is just one way the AFT is reclaiming the promise of public education and helping to ensure that all children are prepared for school, college, career and life.

Another example is Share My Lesson, the free online platform developed by the AFT and TES Connect to bring educators together to access and share high-quality teaching resources. And now Share My Lesson has teamed up with First Book to provide resources and tools to complement First Book books.

So as the school year gets underway in millions of classrooms across the country, the AFT and First Book aim to ensure that all teachers and school staff have the books they need to open their students’ minds.

I’ve included a list of a few of my favorites, many of which are from the AFT Collection on the First Book Marketplace.  I hope that they will help ignite a lifelong joy of reading.

Early Childhood:

very_hungry_180The Very Hungry Caterpillar  by Eric Carle

All children will enjoy the story of the hungry caterpillar who ate his way to becoming a butterfly.

(For early childhood educators and parents looking to pair specific skills and activities with books to enhance learning and growth in a child’s earliest years, be sure to check out the AFT’s Transitioning to Kindergarten resources and our Mind in the Making section.)

 

Lower Elementary:

click_clack_1Click, Clack, Moo by Doreen Cronin

Every budding unionist can learn something from Farmer Brown’s cows, who not only know how to type but also understand the power of collective action. An audio book on CD is included.

 

 

Upper Elementary:

families_kuklinFamilies by Susan Kuklin

Children from 14 families make up the tapestry of this delightful book, which shows the diversity of families in America today. From mixed-race and immigrant families to families of gay and lesbian couples and families with children with special needs, this book celebrates one and all.

 

Middle School: 

out_of_mind_draper_cdfOut of My Mind by Sharon Draper

The story of Melody, who refuses to be defined by her cerebral palsy, will change the way that any reader, young or old, looks at or thinks about a person with disabilities. The author, Sharon Draper, is a former AFT member from Cincinnati who has won numerous awards for her groundbreaking prose.

 

High School:

145_street_walter_dean_myers145th Street: Short Stories by Walter Dean Myers

Set in my hometown of New York City, this collection of stories chronicles one block of the greatest city in the world. From Benny, a fighter on the way to a knockout, to Angela, who starts having prophetic dreams after her father is killed, the characters of 145th Street pull readers in and keep them through every page.

 

Work with children in need?  Sign up with First Book to access these great books and resources!

Randi Weingarten is president of the 1.6 million-member American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO, which represents teachers; paraprofessionals and school-related personnel; higher education faculty and staff; nurses and other healthcare professionals; local, state and federal government employees; and early childhood educators.

The post Reclaiming the Promise of Public Education appeared first on First Book Blog.

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5. 40,000 Books for Kids In Syracuse

“So many of our kids have access to books at the library, but rarely do they have a book of their own.  In many homes, a book would represent a real luxury item.” – Kevin Ahern, President, Syracuse Teacher’s Association

With 85 percent of students in the school district eligible for free or reduced lunch, it’s no surprise that Kevin Ahern, President of the Syracuse Teachers Association, was thrilled when presented the opportunity to provide 40,000 free books to his community. All he had to do was sign up 2,000 local teachers and program leaders with First Book.

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Luckily, Kevin had plenty of help. Throughout the month of October, the Syracuse Teachers Association, along with local educators, reached out to schools, community centers and the United Way of Central New York to spread the word about First Book – and the chance to receive free books.

Jennifer Horn, a First Grade teacher at Webster Elementary in Syracuse, led the charge to encourage everyone at her school to sign up. “I was knocking on people’s doors, handing them flyers, saying ‘I don’t care if you’re not a teacher, you work with our kids! These are free books, just sign up!’”

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The Syracuse Teacher’s Association successfully signed up 2,000 educators. And when 40,000 books arrived, the community rallied together to unpack, sort and distribute. At one point, the show of support was so impressive that there were more volunteers than work to do.

At 8:30 a.m., those who signed up, along with community members and parents streamed through the doors of the civic center. By 11:00 a.m. only one title was left.

“I wish we had a video of the piles of books. They just dwindled and vanished. Kids were picking out books and teachers were getting collections for their classrooms. It was impressive,” said Jennifer.

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Jennifer’s excitement and motivation to help stemmed from her students and their families’ need for books. At Webster Elementary, one out of six students does not speak English. In total, 68 languages are spoken through the school, adding an extra challenge to teachers and students alike. In Jennifer’s 14 years of teaching, books have bridged the gap for students like hers.

“The kids love books even if they aren’t able to read the words. They like the pictures, they love tracking words and get really excited when they learn a few words and can recognize them in print!” she shared.

Jennifer allowed her students to choose their favorite book to take home and used some of the books to teach lessons on sharing and honesty.

“One little girl kept giving her book back to me. I said ‘no you can take it home, it’s yours.’ She pointed to her backpack and I told her ‘Yes! You can put it in your backpack and take it home!’”

The post 40,000 Books for Kids In Syracuse appeared first on First Book Blog.

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6. How Books Inspire Action: The Citizen Power Project

firstbook-tampa-99

All too often, young people feel they don’t have the power to fix problems in their communities.

How can books inspire students to take action and become engaged citizens?

Earlier this year, First Book, along with our partners the American Federation of Teachers and the Albert Shanker Institute, presented educators nationwide with a challenge: identify an issue and a civic engagement project important to their students, school or community. We then asked for proposals on how, with the support of books and resources from First Book, could their students take action to address that issue and show their students that they have a voice and the ability to make positive changes happen.

We called this challenge The Citizen Power Project. Funded by the Aspen Institute’s Pluribus Project, 15 proposals  – five each from elementary, middle and high schools – would be chosen to receive a collection of special resources to help them implement their projects and a $500 grant for use on the First Book Marketplace.

More than 920 proposals were received.

The 15 classroom projects that stood out and won the challenge addressed a wide range of issues, such as:

  • Learning about global cultural perspectives as a way to build compassion,
  • Planning a community garden to promote healthy eating,
  • Combating bullying,
  • Learning American Sign Language and
  • Building a health and wellness library.

We believe these projects, and the books and resources First Book will provide to help them flourish, will help these educators and the young leaders they teach to advance the causes they are so passionate about. And, by sharing stories about the successes of these projects, we hope to inspire others around the country to be change makers, themselves.

With our partners, we’ll be checking in with the inspiring projects through the end of the year to update you on their progress toward creating innovative learning environments, and the impact of the projects on their respective communities.

Stay tuned for more about the Citizen Power Challenge winners! Read more about the Citizen Power Challenge here.

The post How Books Inspire Action: The Citizen Power Project appeared first on First Book Blog.

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7. Reconnecting McDowell: First Book Joins the Effort to Rescue a West Virginia Community

“Our kids don’t get to have dreams, aspirations, hopes. They can’t even think about college; it’s not in their minds. That’s why these books are so important. Books are the beginning of everything. You learn about other places, you learn about the world.”

– Angela Fedele of the WE CAN Program, a statewide program based in Princeton, W.Va., that provides volunteer mentors for at-risk kids

Chandler Arnold, First Book's executive vice-president, talks with local kids in McDowell County, West Virginia

McDowell County, West Virginia, home to about 22,000 people, is one of the poorest counties in the state, and ranked last in education. Which is why First Book has joined a coalition of businesses, labor unions and nonprofits – more than 40 local, state and national groups altogether – who are working to change that.

For our part, First Book has pledged to provide a brand-new book to every student in McDowell County, books chosen by the local teachers and program leaders who work with the kids. And that’s just the beginning: We distributed 300,000 brand-new books in West Virginia in the last few years, and we’re working with almost 500 local classrooms and programs across the state. Every one of those kids is connected to an ongoing supply of new books through First Book.

“We’re here today because we want to level the educational playing field,” said Chandler Arnold, First Book’s executive vice-president, speaking yesterday at the kickoff ceremony in Charleston. “We want to ensure that the children of McDowell County have access to a steady supply of top-notch books and educational resources.”

AFT President Randi Weingarten shares a new book from First Book with a student in McDowell County , West VirginiaLean more about the project, led by the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), at Reconnecting McDowell.

Help us get the word out, West Virginia! If you work for a school or program that serves children from low-income families, or if you’d like to help your child’s teacher or program leader get new books, sign up with First Book. And if you’d like to join one of our local volunteer groups, we’d love to hear from you.

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8. New Books! First Book Joins Forces With Cincinnati Teachers

“We’re taking a stand with our friends at the American Federation of Teachers to make sure kids in Cincinnati get the help they need — from all of us — to succeed. More than anyone, teachers understand the transformative power of books. By working together with teachers, First Book is ensuring that Cincinnati’s kids have new books of their own.”
– Kyle Zimmer, First Book’s president

First Book is teaming up with local teachers to bring new books to kids in Cincinnati public schools for their summer reading program. Every one of the 3,000 kids in the program will get three brand-new books of their very own throughout the summer.

First Book president Kyle Zimmer at Ethel M. Taylor Academy in Cincinnati, photo by Bruce CrippenWe kicked things off yesterday at Ethel M. Taylor Academy in Cincinnati with a great event featuring teachers, kids and children’s authors – all our favorite people.

This new partnership is just one of many new programs springing up around the country, thanks to a new partnership between First Book and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT). We’re excited to be working with the AFT; they represent hundreds of thousands of teachers, librarians, school support staff and early childhood educators around the country. Exactly the sort of people that First Book wants to connect with, so we can help them get a steady supply of new books into their programs and classrooms.

The Cincinnati program was made possible thanks to support from United Way of Greater Cincinnati. You can read more about it here.

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9. Teachers Join Forces With First Book: Weingarten Challenges AFT Members to Give Five Million Books to Kids in Need

This is our new challenge. Today I am calling on AFT members to partner with First Book to distribute five million new books this year to students in need.
– Randi Weingarten, AFT president

First Book was in Detroit over the weekend, attending the annual convention of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), one of the nation’s largest teachers’ unions.

First Book displaying some of our books at the annual AFT conventionTeachers are some of our favorite people; more than anyone, they understand the importance of books and reading, and why an ongoing supply of quality books is so important for turning kids into strong readers and successful students.

We’re especially excited to be working with the 1.5 million teachers, librarians and school staff that make up the AFT. Over the past year, we’ve completed successful pilot projects together in over 20 cities across the country, putting nearly 250,000 new books into the hands of children from low-income families.

Now the AFT is stepping up to do even more. At the convention, AFT president Randi Weingarten challenged the assembled educators to distribute five million new books over the next year.

“By working with our friends in the AFT, we’re able to reach thousands more schools serving kids in need,” said First Book president Kyle Zimmer. “The dedication of these educators is inspiring. Everyone at First Book is proud to be able to help them make a difference in their students’ lives.”

Any teachers, librarians or school staff working with children from low-income families can sign up with First Book to access a steady stream of new, quality books.

Click below to see a video of Kyle talking to the assembled AFT educators about our work together, and about her memories of Mrs. Evans, her own unforgettable first-grade teacher.

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10. First Book and AFT Bring a Truckload of Books to Hurricane Sandy Victims

Last night, four First Book employees, with help from American Federation of Teachers’ volunteers, ventured to a small alley in the financial district of New York City to unload, label and sort 30,000 children’s books for victims of Hurricane Sandy.

The American Federation of Teachers and their local New York affiliate, the United Federation of Teachers, requested 30,000 new books from First Book to go to kids in the affected areas. To get the books there on time, First Book staffers loaded a 26-foot truck with the 30,000 books yesterday afternoon and drove them to a warehouse in lower Manhattan.

Anna Taleysnik-Mehta, who headed up First Book’s efforts, stated:

“Books for tomorrow ready to go, almost all the rest are up in storage and being sorted; we just did a day of work in an hour and change thanks to the amazing building crew and AFT and First Book staff”

We couldn’t be more grateful for the volunteers who lent their support to this effort. Our thoughts continue to be with the millions of Americans who are still impacted by this storm.

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If you are interested in providing books to children in need who are affected by Hurricane Sandy to help them get through this challenging time, please donate.

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11. 15,000 New Books on the National Mall, Plus Celebrities, Cabinet Secretaries and Cute Kids

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

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

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

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

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

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

signing

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

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