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1. Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 6/27/16: Stephen King, George RR Martin and Neil Gaiman walk into a writer’s workshop…

§ Webcomic of the day: “Your lack Friend” by Ben Passmore. Just read it. It’s an excerpt of a longer work that will be sold at MICE in Boston, Ripexpo in Providence and NOCAZ Fest in New Orleans, and available online from .Radiator Comics.   § This kept coming into my inbox: a Spidey Zine […]

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2. I'm attending #alaac16

I'm headed to the American Library Association's Annual Conference in Orlando , or #alaac16, if you're following along on Twitter.

I won't be posting here, but I'll be tweeting from @shelfemployed, and I'll be live-blogging for the ALSC Blog.  If you're #alaleftbehind, or interested in all things bookish and librarianish, follow along.


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3. Come Meet LEE & LOW BOOKS at ALA 2016!

It’s that time of year again! The annual ALA conference is just around the corner and we would love to meet you! We’ll be in at Booth #1469!

ala annual conferenceSee below for our signing schedule as well as a few other events we’ll be participating in:

SIGNINGS AT BOOTH #1469

Friday, June 24

Lee Bennett Hopkins (Amazing Places), 6:00-6:45 PM

Saturday, June 25

G. Neri (Chess Rumble), 10:00-10:45 AM

Susan L. Roth and Cindy Trumbore (Prairie Dog Song), 11:00-11:45 AM

René Colato Laínez (Mamá the Alien), 1:00-1:45 PM

Kimberly Reid (Perfect Liars), 2:00-2:45 PM

Sylvia Liu (A Morning with Grandpa), 3:00-3:45 PM

Sunday, June 26

Monica Brown (Marisol McDonald and the Monster), 9:15-10:00 AM

Lulu Delacre (Olinguito, from A to Z!), 11:00-11:45 AM

Karen Sandler (Tankborn Trilogy), 12:00-12:45 PM

Gwendolyn Hooks (Tiny Stitches), 1:00-1:45 PM

 

PANELS

Join LEE & LOW representatives at the following panels:

Saturday, June 25

Director of Marketing & Publicity Hannah Ehrlich at the Library for All panel: Diverse Books from Across the Globe, 10:30-11:30 AM, Hyatt Regency Orlando, Room Regency Ballroom T

Publisher Jason Low at Ideas Exchange: Increasing Diversity in the Publishing and Library Workforce, 2:45-3:30 PM, Convention Center, Room W414CD

 Sunday, June 26

LEE & LOW Book Buzz: Diverse and Fabulous Books from LEE & LOW, 3:30-4:15 PM, Convention Center, Room Exhibit Hall – Book Buzz Theater

Monday, June 27

Pop Top Panel on Bilingual Books: The  State of Bilingual Children’s Books, 9:00-9:50 AM, Convention Center, Room Exhibit Hall – PopTop Stage

Hope to see you there!

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4. Technology, project management, and coffee yogurt: a day in the life of a librarian

There is one week each year when it is completely acceptable to fawn over libraries and librarians and all that they do for communities, institutions, and the world in general. Of course, you may find yourself doing that every week of the year, anyway, but we have great news for library fans -- it’s National Library Week in the US.

The post Technology, project management, and coffee yogurt: a day in the life of a librarian appeared first on OUPblog.

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5. Inviting all our readers into stories: Reflections on Matt de la Peña’s talk at the #AASL15 Author Banquet

As school librarians, we have the honor and responsibility of knowing all of the students in our school. We watch them grow as young readers, we share their excitement finding books that speak to them and light a spark in their eyes. But we also have a responsibility of finding and promoting books that speak to all of our students—not just the majority of our students.

This weekend, I had the honor and responsibility of organizing the author events at the American Association of School Librarians National Conference (#aasl15). Matt de la Peña, Rita Williams-Garcia and Sonia Manzano spoke to a full banquet of librarians about their experiences growing up as young readers, and the impact they seek to make through their writing.

Matt de la Peña has received much praise and recognition for his realistic fiction for young adults, including his standout Mexican WhiteBoy. I have been thrilled that he has begun writing more for younger children, and have absolutely loved this year’s stellar picture book Last Stop on Market Street.

When Matt was growing up, he didn’t find many stories that spoke to him, didn’t like reading or writing—until he read A House on Mango Street, by Sandra Cisneros. This slim, powerful collection of stories spoke to him so deeply that he read it over and over again, nearly memorizing it. The story “Darius and the Clouds” particularly stayed with him, inviting him into the world of poetry, giving him permission to see poetry as something he could try.

Was it that Cisneros provided a mirror for Matt, or that she understood Matt’s heartbeat? She spoke in a language that he understood, filled with metaphors and imagery that connected to his experiences as a young Latino growing up in the United States.

And now when he writes, Matt wants to create stories that have diverse characters, yes, but really with characters full of heart, full of complex emotions, full of language and experiences from a wide range of backgrounds. Diversity is not the issue these characters wrestle with, but rather part of the fabric of their lives.

As we select stories to share with our students, we need to provide a number of ways in for our students, not just thinking about their race, but also thinking about what might create a spark for them, what helps them feel a character’s heartbeat, what helps them hear the language of their soul. It is essential that our stories have diverse characters, that we acknowledge and affirm our children’s lives and experiences, and that we say again and again that stories are for all of us.

Later this week I will share about the amazing impact that Rita Williams-Garcia and Sonia Manzano had on our audience at #AASL15. Thank you so much to Penguin Random House for sponsoring Matt de la Pena this weekend. It was a truly pleasure having him as our guest.

If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books. Thank you for your support.

©2015 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

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6. Caretakers of our readers: Reflections on Rita Williams-Garcia’s talk at the #AASL15 Author Banquet

Day in and day out, school librarians help children find books that speak to them. We help our students grow as young readers, but even more than that we create memories each and every day. In doing this, we have a responsibility as caretaker of our children, finding and promoting books that speak to all of our students—not just the majority of our students.

This weekend, I had the honor and responsibility of organizing the author events at the American Association of School Librarians National Conference (#aasl15). Matt de la Peña, Rita Williams-Garcia and Sonia Manzano spoke to a full banquet of librarians about their experiences growing up as young readers, and the impact they seek to make through their writing.

Matt de la Peña, Rita Williams-Garcia & Sonia Manzano at AASL banquet 

Rita Williams-Garcia sparkles with energy, laughter and heart every time I meet her or read her stories. Rita received the Newbery Honor and the Coretta Scott King Award for the outstanding novel One Crazy Summer, and was a National Book Award finalist. Delphine, Vonetta and Fern’s story continues in P.S. Be Eleven, and now their story comes to a close with this year’s Gone Crazy in Alabama.

Rita began by sharing her early memories, growing up in the cocoon of her family’s love. At the age of 2, her family moved from New York to Arizona, traveling that long way by car. Rita described traveling through the South as the first time she saw her mother frightened: crying and fearful when the police stopped them. They didn’t stay in hotels, but were welcomed into other black families’ homes along the way—something that Rita didn’t think about at the time. As she said, when you are a child, your eyes are open and your memories stay with you.

As young children, we only know our direct experiences. Our children notice race, but might not know how to process their thoughts. In first grade, Rita’s teacher read wonderful stories—but when she read the stories of Little Black Sambo, Rita clearly remembers feeling that her classmates were laughing at Little Black Sambo, feeling different from her classmates because she was one of the only black children in her class.

When we share stories with our students, we must think about the memories we are creating. How are we validating their experiences? How are we inviting them into the conversation of stories?

Librarians and teachers are the caretakers of our children’s reading lives, as teacher and friend Donalyn Miller so wonderfully said on the NerdyBookClub. Every time we recommend books to children, we are inviting them to see themselves in stories. The stories we buy and collect must have many entry points, must have many different types of characters, must reflect the diversity of broader world around us.

We do this, as Rita reminded us, by being honest with our young people about the world around us, being authentic, and engaging in the hard conversations of our times. I love this tweet from Rita. These are turbulent times, full of strong emotions. When we have honest, caring discussions together, we can all move forward.
All week I am sharing about the amazing impact that Matt de la Peña, Rita Williams-Garcia and Sonia Manzano had on our audience at #AASL15. Thank you so much to HarperCollins for sponsoring Rita Williams-Garcia this weekend. It was a truly pleasure having her as our guest.
If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books. Thank you for your support.

©2015 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

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7. Diverse Stories, Diverse Lives: Reflections on Sonia Manzano’s talk at the #AASL15 Author Banquet

Reading IS thinking. As we share books with our students, we talk with them and show them through these small (or grand) conversations that books and stories help us make sense of a very confusing world. We have a responsibility to find and promote books that speak to all of our students—not just the majority—and that help connect all of us as readers.

Sonia Manzano, Rita Williams-Garcia & Matt de la Peña at the 2015 AASL Authors Banquet
This weekend, I had the honor and responsibility of organizing the author events at the American Association of School Librarians National Conference (#aasl15). Matt de la Peña, Rita Williams-Garcia and Sonia Manzano spoke to a full banquet of librarians about their experiences growing up as young readers, and the impact they seek to make through their writing.

Sonia Manzano played Maria on Sesame Street for forty-four years, teaching us how to count in English and Spanish, how to say our ABCs, how to laugh with (and gently tease) our friends like Oscar the Grouch. Named as one of the “25 Greatest Latino Role Models Ever”, Sonia has retired from her television role and is devoting more time to her writing. Her memoir, Becoming Maria: Love and Chaos in the South Bronx, reveals life-changing moments in her early life that led to her later success.

As a young person, Sonia never felt represented in the media she watched or the books she read. She told us:
“In all my viewing I never saw anybody who looked like me or lived in a neighborhood like the one I lived in. Not being represented in the media made me feel invisible.”
The books that teachers shared were no better--Dick and Jane’s family was nothing like her own. Reading and writing were not things that happened at home growing up—curling up with a book was seen as lazy. But Sonia has always been drawn to the stories of others.

Books connect us as people because we see pieces of ourselves in the stories we read. Manzano shared with us teacher Monica Ediger’s thought that the only way to help young people do better than previous generations is to share “sensitive mirrors of others into distant tragedies.” Books can help young readers understand the plight of the less fortunate, help them think about the confusing world around them.

As we read and share stories, however, we must make sure our diverse students are represented in these stories, not just inviting them to think about someone else’s experience. Sonia told us:
“There is something so important about seeing yourself and your own experiences reflected in media. As much as I saw pieces of myself in these other characters, it wasn’t until I was taken to see West Side Story that I realized that the world of creating art was accessible to me and that I could actually be represented on stage and in books the way I was, not just as part of someone else’s experience.”
Whenever we choose a book to recommend, whether we are a parent, teacher or librarian, we are making a statement about what stories we value. We must continue to be inclusive, to challenge ourselves to think beyond stereotypes. In our own reading, we must strive to find stories in which we see our children’s lives and experiences validated. Sonia concluded her speech by reminding us of this:
“When you make decisions on what books to share, think of the child who doesn’t see himself reflected in society, books that will be the beginning of an experience and not the end, and books that are full of emotion.”
Create a conversation about the stories you read, around the dinner table, around the classroom rug, at the circulation desk. Reading IS thinking, and our students will surprise us every day with the power and depth of their ideas.

Last week I shared about the amazing impact that Matt de la Peña and Rita Williams-Garcia had on our audience at #AASL15. Thank you so much to Scholastic for sponsoring Sonia Manzano this weekend. It was a truly pleasure having him as our guest.

If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books. Thank you for your support.

©2015 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

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8. Student-to-Staffers: Where are you now?

ALA Student-to-Staffers: Where are you now?

Way back in June of 2007, I had the honor of representing TWU’s School of Library and Information Science at ALA Annual in Washington, DC.  I was a member of TWU SLIS-buttonALA’s StudeALA Annualnt-to-Staff (S2S) Program, with assignment to the ALSC Division.  If you’ve never heard of the S2S program, you can read about it here.  There are 56 active ALA Student Chapter Groups at accredited graduate schools.  Each is entitled to submit one name for consideration for the program.  Schools have varying criteria. My school chose the student – me :) based on an essay contest.  Others have different criteria, but the end result is that 40 promising students receive a free trip to ALA Annual in exchange for working with  ALA staff during the week.  I was able to choose with whom I wanted to work. An aspiring children’s librarian, naturally, I chose ALSC.

It was my first connection with the national community of librarians.  It was during my week as an ALA S2S er, that I first met ALSC’s own Aimee Strittmatter, Laura Schulte-Cooper, and Marsha Burgess, and I began my continuing association with the division. I wrote a piece about my experience for  ALSConnect, now called ALSC Matters. (I am no less bright-eyed and bushy-tailed now.)

If you know someone in grad school right now, do them a favor and let them know about the S2S program.  If you participated in the S2S program, give a shout out!  Did you work for ALSC at the conference?  When or where did you attend?  How wonderful was it?

(The Student-to-Staff Program was established in 1973. There should be a lot of us out there!)

 

The post Student-to-Staffers: Where are you now? appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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9. ALA Youth Media Awards announced today!

Watch the Golden Globes last night?  Well, it's award season for books, too!

The big news today for librarians, parents, teachers, and fans of #kidlit, is the announcement of the American Library Association's Youth Media Awards. I'll be driving to work as the live webcast begins, but I'll be checking in as soon as I get to work!

Most people know the Newbery and Caldecott Medal awards, but there are many others.  You can check them out the complete press release here: http://www.ala.org/news/mediapresscenter/presskits/youthmediaawards/alayouthmediaawards

You can watch a live stream of the event beginning at 8:00AM EST today, January 11, 2016.  Here's the link: http://ala.unikron.com/2016/ .

You can also follow the Twitter hashtag #ALAyma for live updates.

I hope to see a few of my favorites!



Image source: openclipart.org

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10. Whips AND chains

story-of-oI’d really like to ban the term “self-censorship” from discourse, given that we already have a spectrum of words–from “prudence” to “cowardice”–that say more precisely what we mean, and because it causes us to be confused about what censorship actually is.

As Megan Schliesman at Reading While White posted last week, the discussion about A Birthday Cake for George Washington is not about censorship. People talking about what’s wrong with the book are not censors; people saying it will damage children are not censors; Scholastic deciding to cease the book’s distribution is not censorship. Hell, somebody buying a copy of the book only in order to consign it to a bonfire is not censorship. (I think I told you guys I did this once, with a Sidney Sheldon book whose utter disregard for logical plot construction and consistent characterization caused me to pitch it into the fireplace by which I was reading. It felt naughty.)

Censorship happens when the government–and this includes public libraries–gets into the business of restricting access to information. As far as A Birthday Cake for George Washington is concerned, it would be censorship if a library that held a copy decided to restrict readership to adults, for example, or removed it from the collection on the basis of its being “offensive” or “harmful to children.” It is also censorship if a public library decided not to purchase the book on the grounds that it is offensive or harmful, or if the library thinks it will get into trouble with those who find it so. This is of course very tricky–libraries don’t purchase more books than they do, and it’s rarely one criterion that guides that decision. Here is where we have to trust in the librarian’s integrity and the library’s book selection policy and adherence to ALA’s Library Bill of Rights. I know I’ve told the story here before about the librarian I knew who didn’t purchase a sex ed book for children on the grounds that it didn’t have an index. Yes, it did not have an index–but that wasn’t the reason she didn’t buy it.

I bring all this up because of an interesting exchange I had on Twitter last week with YA novelist Daniel José Older. Reacting in a subtweet to my post about A Fine Dessert and A Birthday Cake, Older wrote “Ah here’s the Horn/Sutton tut tutting on why Scholastic should’ve let kids read that book,” with a screenshot of part of the post. I replied–or barged in, depending on your views about subtweeting–that I and the Horn believe kids should be allowed to read any book they wish. Then he asked me if I was cool with kids reading Little Black Sambo, Mein Kampf and The Story of O. (I think he dated us both with that last example.) Although I’m aware that this was intended as a sort of gotcha rhetorical question, it made me realize that Mr. Older is probably not familiar with the way librarians think. I said I was perfectly fine with kids reading any or all of those three books.

A bias toward believing that people, kids included, should be able to read whatever they want is so ingrained in librarianship that we can forget that it seems like a radical stance to civilians. And as discussions about children’s books have moved, via social media, beyond the usual suspects of teachers, librarians, and publishers, it would be good for all concerned to remember that our assumptions are not necessarily shared.

The post Whips AND chains appeared first on The Horn Book.

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11. My Values Workshop for LLAMA’s Career Institute at ALA in Boston

What Matters? A Workshop for Developing & Articulating Our Values

I went to ALA for the first time in several years last week. I don’t think I’ve been to ALA since the Think Tank has been in existence. It was a great setup. Conference was in Boston. I was giving a pre-conference. Part of my deal was that I’d get registration for the conference, and one night in a fancy hotel (and some $). It worked out great. Usually, I admit, I dislike workshops. I don’t like to be in them and I barely know how to give them. However, my feelings on this are not normative, so I tried to bring my education and my experience to an afternoon workshop for about twenty people and have some useful exercises and activities as well as some good discussion. I think it went well. My main self-critique was that I had made sure I had three hours of “stuff” for a three hour workshop and maybe didn’t leave enough time for people to just talk to each other. More blank spaces next time. You can read through my slides as well as see the handouts and exercises (and the image credits) at this URL: http://www.librarian.net/talks/llama16/. ALA had a conference app that encouraged you to upload your slides to the application so people could have them. Great idea in theory, but in reality I didn’t see any privacy policy and was a little leery of giving up my content so I uploaded a single slide with the URL to my actual slides. Hope people didn’t feel that it was too cheeky. A few other photos of my ALA trip are here. Thanks so much to everyone who came to the pre-conference and especially to LLAMA who invited me and took very good care of me. They were a joy to work with.

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12. ASCLA Member? Please Vote!

The ALA Elections are starting soon.

If you're a member of ASCLA (the Association of Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies) please consider voting for me for - I'm running for Secretary.

The full slate of candidates is at the ASCLA blog.

Thank you!



Amazon Affiliate. If you click from here to Amazon and buy something, I receive a percentage of the purchase price.

© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy

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13. ALA, the Sunday version

Here are a few pictures from my day. I did not take pictures at the publisher breakfast. It was a tad crowded and I was balancing a coffee cup on my knee. But I did get to hear about a bunch of new books. Always a good thing. Some librarians had volunteered to help out in the presentations. There was storytelling. At 7:00 AM. I am not really a storytelling sort of girl at any hour, so that was a little rough on me. However, I did love thinking about that new Brian Pinkney book.

I am having some issues with these silly pictures…so I will just caption them and hope for the best!

I visited the Horn Book booth for a bit.

 

I ran into two of my favorite guys. One is Roger Sutton. The other is my husband, Dean Schneider, fresh off his book committee work.

 

The Notables Committee members have a LOT of books to consider…and they cannot have a list of four hundred books…

 

Here they are, talking about Notable books.

 

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14. ALA Annual 2015 — How to Participate From a Distance

Summer is here and at least in Illinois, it’s heating up fast! With June halfway over, we know that ALA Annual is on the horizon. And what says summer better than San Francisco, California? The theme this year is “Transforming libraries, ourselves.” With 25,000 library affiliated folks coming to town, it’s an event you don’t want to miss!

Unfortunately, I’ll be diligently working in Illinois during ALA Annual, but that doesn’t mean I have to miss out on the conversations. If you’re like me and won’t be in San Fransisco, here’s a guide to staying in touch, from a distance.

If you’re looking for a broad overview of the conference:

  1. Get on Twitter. One thing I’ve learned time and time again this past year is that librarians are active on Twitter. Follow the conference Twitter account @alaannual or the general hashtag for the event is #alaac15. Some sessions have specific hashtags, which you can find in the scheduler section of Annual’s website. If you have time to get on early, try to scout out some fellow librarians who will be at ALA Annual. They can be your eyes and ears during the conference.

Note: It’s really hard to actively follow hashtags on Twitter’s general account. I suggest downloading Tweet Deck or use the website Tweet Chat to track the event. I’m partial to Tweet Deck because you can follow multiple hashtags while watching your feed and seeing who is replying to your tweets. It can be a lot of information but a great way to really stay in the loop.

  1. Check out ALA’s other social media platforms. Following #alaac15 on Instagram or ALA’s general account for visuals of the event. ALA also has an active Tumblr and Facebook. See this general handout for all the handles and account links.

If you’re looking to dive a little deeper into ALA Annual:

  1. Look at the ALA Annual highlights to get an idea for what’s happening during the six days of the conference. So much is going on during those six days, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. This is especially good if you want to look at the big speakers during the conference.
  2. Next, take a look at the ALA Annual program book, which is in PDF form on the web. If you’re just interested in the various sessions, skip part I of the program book and jump to part II.
  3. In part II, the sessions are broken up program content areas (most revolving around the idea of transformation). I suggest looking for sessions either within a content area or searching (love Control F when searching PDFs) to look for keywords of topics you’re interested in.
  4. Once you’ve got a list of interesting sounding sessions, go back to the Scheduler and look up them up. Some sessions have a specific hashtag to follow. I also have been looking up the speakers on Twitter, both for me to follow right now and then during ALA.
  5. When looking on the Scheduler, see if any resources, handouts, or additional links have been posted. You might find access to great materials before the conference even begins!
  6. Put the session time in your calendar so you know when to be more actively checking Twitter and other social media sites.

Hope that helps and here are some of the sessions I’m hoping to virtually check out:

  • DiverseZineties; Promoting Diversity and Self-discovery Through Making Zines with Teens, Saturday, June 27
  • Library of the Future—Learning with the Participatory Library at Cedar Rapids Public Library, Saturday, June 27. This was the public library I went to as an undergrad; their new library is gorgeous. Opportunity does arise from tragedy. 
  • Voices of Youth: Community partnerships for video production, Saturday, June 27
  • From Maker to Make-HER: Leveling the STEM Playing Field for Girls, Sunday, June 28
  • Seeing Through Walls: Library-Based Video Conferencing to Connect Kids with Parents in Jail, Sunday, June 28. I worked for The Director of Outreach Services at Brooklyn Public Library. He’s an amazing librarian and his team is doing incredible things with outreach and engagement at the Brooklyn Public Library.
  • Yik Yak and the Academic Library, Sunday, June 28 (Sunday Ignite Session topic)
  • Naked Truth: connect.create.contribute, Monday, June 29
  • What do LIS Students Really Think About Their Education?, Monday, June 29. These are my peers and I did attend the LIS Symposium on Education [it was awesome!]

I’m excited about ALA Annual and the chance to participate virtually. I’ll be tweeting from @hailthefargoats and hope you’ll join the conversation too!

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15. Off to San Francisco!



I'm off to the annual American Library Association Conference today!  For conference news, updates, and insight, be sure to follow the ALSC Blog.  I (and many other ALSC members) will be live blogging from the conference on the ALSC Blog.  If you prefer, follow the hashtag #alaac15 on Twitter.

Cheers!

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16. The Answer is Yes -- reflections on the power of literature, of stories, of community

My friends, we live in a time when the world is being thrown about by so many forces. There are times when I feel swept under by the prejudice and hate that still engulfs our world. But then I look at the way we are able to create good in small measures--especially through sharing stories and songs and community--and I know that we can recreate our worlds step by step.

celebrating the Coretta Scott King Awards with Emerson students and staff

Christian Robinson
& Patricia Hruby Powell
I was thrilled and honored to share the Coretta Scott King Awards celebration with two students and two staff members from my school community. The awardees' speeches are still reverberating within me. Christian Robinson spoke about how Josephine Baker had always inspired him with her courage and determination, and then he and Patricia Hruby Powell danced with delight.

Kwame Alexander, accepting the CSK honor award for The Crossover, read a poem he had written just a few nights before, filled with hope, pain, and the determination to change the world for our children.

Christopher Myers, in his acceptance speech, talked about giving up on the world:
"I can barely hear, over the silence of all those children, those lives that we have cut out of our literature. I am frightened by the possibilities that all of their voices, so long censored, can only now be heard on news broadcasts in burning cities, on endless loops of helicopter film footage."
The pain he talked about reverberates through me--as an educator, I am so disheartened by the persistent racial achievement gap in my community. And yet, Chris also talked about the power of stories to change our world, to create new worlds for our children.
"I’d just about given up on the world.

Then I remembered that I am a storyteller, and in the hands of a storyteller, we can make new worlds. Our narratives can carry the full weight of the past and build infinite futures. With pens and word processors, with paint and ink and collage, we can, like Misty, like my father, create possibilities where there weren’t any before. Rewrite reality. And there will be days I want to give up on the world as it is, but I will never give up on the worlds that I have yet to make, the worlds that my friends are making, the worlds that all of us here share and do so much to bring into reality."
Jacqueline Woodson began her speech by talking about the power of community, the power of gathering together in a room to celebrate and to share. In this age of online communication, it is so important to carve out time to be together in person.

But then she went on to talk about the strength of our broader community, both in the ancestors that walk with us every day and the people who hold us up here and now.
"We are here because of our ancestors and elders and the people who hold us up every day — thanks for helping all of us never forget them or the way each of us finds a way to make a way out of no way — every single day. Thank you so much, all of you who believe in Diverse Books, who believe in keeping young brown children — and all children — dreaming."
This community of authors, illustrators, and librarians comes together to keep our children dreaming in the possible, in making new realities. It is hard work, advocating and supporting and promoting good literature that speaks to children. But together we can.

I love how good teaching passes from one person to another, creating a life of its own. Nikki Giovanni wrote in her profile of Newbery-winning author Kwame Alexander,
"Kwame learned maybe only one thing…from me…The
Answer Is Yes…
Yes to small cities and Book Festivals around the country who needed
a writing friend…Yes to starting his own Book Festival…
His own publishing company…His own line of greeting
cards and posters…Yes to his own idea of empowering
young writers by helping them publish a Book-in-a-
Day…Yes to the excitement of life…to writing on the
road…to growing taller and stronger while trusting that
vision and strength…and every time he said Yes we all
said Yes to him…"
The Answer is Yes. That's it. I want to share that buoyancy, that power to keep afloat, with my students. And I am sure, as sure as I can be, that our stories help us not only see ourselves but also see what our world can be. The Answer is Yes.

Please take the time to read the Coretta Scott King Award acceptance speeches, published in The Horn Book and available online.

Thank you to Andrea Davis Pinkney who helped me bring my students to the CSK breakfast. Thank you to all the honored authors and artists for inspiring us to keep sharing stories with students and with each other. Thank you to my family for supporting me and helping me celebrate with the world beyond our immediate community.

©2015 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

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17. ALA, the Sunday version

Here are a few pictures from my day. I did not take pictures at the publisher breakfast. It was a tad crowded and I was balancing a coffee cup on my knee. But I did get to hear about a bunch of new books. Always a good thing. Some librarians had volunteered to help out in the presentations. There was storytelling. At 7:00 AM. I am not really a storytelling sort of girl at any hour, so that was a little rough on me. However, I did love thinking about that new Brian Pinkney book.

I am having some issues with these silly pictures…so I will just caption them and hope for the best!

I visited the Horn Book booth for a bit.

 

I ran into two of my favorite guys. One is Roger Sutton. The other is my husband, Dean Schneider, fresh off his book committee work.

 

The Notables Committee members have a LOT of books to consider…and they cannot have a list of four hundred books…

 

Here they are, talking about Notable books.

 

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18. ALA 2015 Recap: Wins in Diversity

Another year, another successful ALA annual! We were so excited to be in San Francisco this year, especially in light of the recent SCOTUS ruling on gay marriage! What better city to be in than the one that elected Harvey Milk to public office and issued marriage licenses to same-sex couples in 2004, kickstarting a fight for LGBTQ marriage rights in California?

We started off the conference with some great news: Foreword Reviews named us Indie Publisher of the Year 2014! We were thrilled and humbled by this honor. You can see what they said about us here.

foreword review indie publisher of the year 2014

We had a full signing schedule, including award-winning authors and illustrators, and a couple of debut authors. Another highlight was getting to meet many of our Children’s Book Press authors and illustrators who are based in California. We’ve often only emailed back and forth with them, so it was nice to finally meet in person!

ala signing floyd cooper
Illustrator Floyd Cooper demonstrates how he creates his art.
alal signing nikki grimes
Authors G. Neri and Nikki Grimes  – what a duo!
ala signing jane bahk
Debut author and New Voices Award winner Jane Bahk
ala signing children's book press
The LEE & LOW team with Children’s Book Press authors and illustrators

We were also excited to see Frank Morrison honored at the Coretta Scott King breakfast for his illustrations in Little Melba and Her Big Trombone! He wrote a moving speech about breaking out of the mold, as Melba did:

I was dazzled by this six year old [Melba] hearing the rhythm and beats in her head. I believe this is true for all artists. First you have to have the love, then passion, next discipline, tenacity, and bravery. I truly believe this is what took Melba from performing on the steps with her grandfather in front of a dog at seven years old to performing in front of thousands on stages around the world. Let’s all encourage our youth to recognized their gifts and if they don’t fit the cookie cutter,
Break! The! Mold!
Other winners also gave contemplative, beautiful, and inspiring speeches (you can read Jacqueline Woodson’s here).

Publisher Jason Low participated in an Ignite Session with a presentation called “Diversity’s Action Plan,” a five minute talk packed with big ideas about how to create change in the publishing industry. If you missed it, you can watch all 5 minutes right here:

One key takeaway: we’re asking people to sign a petition for publishers to participate in our Diversity Baseline Survey, which will measure staff diversity in the publishing industry and give us a benchmark for improvement. If you haven’t signed yet, please take a minute to do so. We’ve now surpassed 1,500 signatures!

jason low ala
Publisher Jason Low at ALA’s Ignite Session

Valynne E. Maetani, debut author and winner of Tu Book‘s New Visions Award, was at the Pop Top stage to talk about her new YA mystery novel, Ink and Ashes. Afterwards, she signed books at our booth, and completely sold out!

ala signing valynne e maetani
Author Valynne E. Maetani

It was a lot of fun to meet everyone and enjoy San Francisco, and we’re looking forward to Orlando next year!

What were your ALA highlights? Let us know in the comments!

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19. ALA Wrap Up, Conference Tips & Book Giveaway

We had a blast at our first American Library Association (ALA) conference, and we thought it’d be fun to give some tips for people who wondered if this conference was for them.

UNDER A PAINTED SKY spotted in the Penguin booth!

UNDER A PAINTED SKY spotted in the Penguin booth!

For librarians, ALA annual is the BIG Library Conference of the year, full of everything from the World of Manga to Educating with Robots.

8 Diverse Debuts with Marie Lu, from left, Kelly Loy Gilbert, Holly Bodger, me, Anna Marie McLemore, Marie Lu, I.W. Gregorio, Renée Ahdieh, Sabaa Tahir

8 Diverse Debuts with Marie Lu, from left, Kelly Loy Gilbert, Holly Bodger, Stacey, Anna Marie McLemore, Marie Lu, I.W. Gregorio, Renée Ahdieh, Sabaa Tahir

Stacey: With a book recently out, I attended as a signing author, as well as a panelist for the 8 Diverse Debuts with Marie Lu panel. So, for one of the two days I attended, I was busy getting ready for the panel, as well as meeting readers/librarians. The panel was awesome – we had a filled room, and though I was super nervous, I managed not to croak. (One of these days, we will do a post on “How Not to Croak When Doing a Panel.”)  In the evening, there was a special dinner where the Newbery and Caldecott awards  are presented and speeches are given.

Snagging ARC of Alexis Bass' new book WHAT'S BROKEN BETWEEN US, from left, Alexis, Kelly Loy Gilbert, Abigail Wen, Stephanie, Virginia Boecker

Snagging ARC of Alexis Bass’ new book WHAT’S BROKEN BETWEEN US, from left, Alexis, Kelly Loy Gilbert, Abigail Wen, Stephanie, Virginia Boecker

Stephanie: Since I wasn’t going to ALA as an author, my experience was significantly different than Stacey’s. To be honest, I almost didn’t attend the event; most of my friends were there as published authors and I was nervous that I would feel as if I didn’t fit in. But I’m so glad I went—and I’m not just saying this because I managed to snag ARCs of Amie Kaufman‘s ILLUMINAE and Rae Carson‘s WALK ON EARTH A STRANGER.

For me, the biggest highlight of ALA was getting the chance to talk to so many publishing professionals and connect with writers and authors who I usually only see on Twitter.  When I first stepped into the Moscone Center I was both thrilled and terrified. With over 3000 booths and 25,000 people, I’m sure you can all imagine how massive it seemed. It truly felt like the Disneyland of books—magical, exciting and a little overwhelming. I would have probably felt even more overwhelmed if I was there as an author knowing I would need to do signings and panels, and that I wasn’t just free to explore and do whatever I wanted. So, in the end I was extremely grateful that this was my first experience, because I learned a lot just from walking around and talking to people. It was still a little intimidating, but by the end of the weekend, Stacey and I both felt as if we’d conquered the Exhibit Hall.

Both: Here are a few tips we’ve put together to help those of you who plan to attend ALA in the future:

1) HAVE A PLAN OF ATTACK. Rather than using the pinball approach of pinging around from booth to booth with no defined course—map out where and when you want to go.  Most authors only sign for 30 minute to 60 minute periods of time, so if you want to snag a signed book or ARC from one of your favorite authors you’ll want to plan it out, using the guide that each attendee is given upon registration.

2) DON’T BE SHY. Most publishing professionals and authors are there because they want to promote their books, which means they are probably going to be thrilled to talk with you. If you don’t know what to say, “What books are you excited for?” is always a great start. That will generally lead to the exhibitor telling you all you need to know about their latest and greatest, and occasional they will even reach into a secret drawer and give you a copy of the book as well.

3) YOUR HOTEL IS PART OF THE CONFERENCE AS WELL. People at ALA like to have fun, so when you go back to your hotel instead of just heading back to your room and passing out, try to make an effort to hang out. One of our conference highlights was meeting a YA book buyer for Scholastic Book Club. We ran into her in Stacey’s hotel lobby and when we started asking questions about what it was like to be a buyer that she was happy to answer. That night, not only did we make a new friend, but we learned a whole lot of great things about Scholastic.

4) BUSINESS CARDS ARE NOT OBSOLETE. If you attend ALA and take our advice not to be shy, it’s a good idea to have business cards, so you can make sure to stay connected with the people you meet. *Other good things to bring include: comfortable shoes, fun pens if you’re signing books, snacks, and bottled water (so that you don’t end up paying a vender $5.00 for drink).

5) LAST, BUT NOT LEAST, GET A CONFERENCE BUDDY. Not only is everything more fun with friends, but ALA is so big it’s a great idea to have someone else help you navigate.

Those are a few of our tips, if any of you have any ALA tips or conference tips in general, we’d love to hear them in the comments!

And, since ARCs are not meant to be hoarded, we wanted to host a giveaway using some of the books we managed to grab while ALA. To win, please fill out the Rafflecopter below.

One lucky winner will be able to choose from among these books:

An ARC of OUT OF DARKNESS by Ashley Hope Pérez

An ARC of FOR THE RECORD by Charlotte Huang

An ARC of BLACK WIDOW FOREVER RED by Margaret Stohl

An ARC of THESE SHALLOW GRAVES by Jennifer Donnelly

An ARC of THE SCORPION RULES by Erin Bow (signed)

An ARC of THE FOXGLOVE KILLINGS by Tara Kelly

An ARC of FORGET TOMORROW by Philip Dunn

Paperback of MORE THAN MUSIC by Elizabeth Briggs (signed)

An ARC of SYMPHONY FOR THE CITY OF THE DEAD by M.T. Anderson

An ARC of BLOOD AND SALT by Kim Liggett

A SECOND lucky winner will be chosen from the COMMENTS to receive another ARC. And finally, a THIRD lucky winner will receive 2 ARCs from our top secret grab bag.

Two top secret ARCs, all packaged and ready to for you to win.

Two top secret ARCs, all packaged and ready to for you to win.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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20. Librarian Interview – Betsy Bird

I suspect that even if you have only been writing for children for a short while, if you live in the US (and maybe elsewhere) you will know the name Betsy Bird, who was the Youth Materials Selections Specialist of New … Continue reading

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21. ALA Makes the Best of Facebook Page Hack

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22. The race is on

IMG_4294Calling Caldecott, Heavy Medal, and Someday My Printz Will Come are all up and running, so it’s time to start thinking your woulds and coulds and shoulds about this year’s field of potential prizewinners. (And SLJ has posted its reviews of the National Book Award longlist, although I have to say I think it’s tacky to announce a longlist of ten that will shortly become a shortlist of five.)

The lists of potential winners referenced in the blogs above make me wonder how important publication date is to getting a gold sticker. It’s a complicated calculus because publishers generally release what they think are heavy-hitters in the fall, not with an eye to catching the committees’ attention (right?) but because people buy more books toward the end of the year. But has anyone ever looked at what percentage of prizewinners were published before September in a given year?

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23. Haven't Contacted Your Senator Yet? Act now for School Libraries!

Last week we called on library staff and advocates to contact Congress to support school libraries, and many of you responded (yay!)!  So far, there have been 2,971 emails, 446 Tweets and 39 phone calls.  That’s great, but with over 98,000 school libraries and 17,000 public libraries in the U.S. we can do better!  ALA staff are meeting with key Congressional staff later this week to ask for support for school libraries.  Right now we need one final push from library staff and advocates so that when ALA meets with Congressional staff your grassroots support will be the evidence Congress needs to take action for school libraries and ensure they’re adequately funded in the ESEA reauthorization.

Here’s how you can make sure that happens:

  1. Go here: http://cqrcengage.com/ala/home
  2. In the blue bar in the upper half of the page, choose how you want to contact your members of Congress: letter, Tweet, or phone call
  3. Click on the option(s) you want, provide the required contact info, & submit.  The letter and Tweet are pre-written for you, so it’s super easy! (but you do have the option to customize them if you want)
  4. Forward this message to library advocates in your community & encourage them to do take action, too
  5. Pat yourself on the back for a job well done!

For more information, read this blog post from ALA.

Thank you,

Beth Yoke

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24. ALA Responds to Pew Library Study With PSA

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25. Banned Books Week 2015

If everyone adhered to this great advice from Dav Pilkey, there would be no need to call attention to Banned Books Week!  Grab a good book and celebrate your freedom to read.


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