Blogs about Reading
Page by Page
Reading Rockets' children's literature expert, Maria Salvadore, brings you into her world as she explores the best ways to use kids' books inside — and outside — of the classroom.
The east coast (including the Middle Atlantic States) has been blanketed. It is winter after all — everywhere. Even the far south has felt winter's bite.
It's wonderful to curl up with a good book or bake a tasty something but sometimes something more active is called for. This something can help parents and children (or teachers stuck indoors with restless kids) get moving while reading — and even creating a way to remember these days.
A new book/activity kit called Movie Maker (Candlewick) may just do the trick. It is sure to engage children of various ages in different ways. The cover claims that it contains "everything you need to know to create films on your cell phone or digital camera."
The illustrated director's handbook takes a can-do approach and includes an introduction to those who wrote the book (all of whom claim to have been filming since primary school).
The book includes an introduction to movie terms and stages of production as well as types of films (fiction, documentaries, live action, or animation). And it all comes in a box that serves as a "clapper board."
So, let's make (or plan to make, or write the script for, or rehearse…) a movie and avoid a snow daze on gray snow days!
Adult book club inspires the young
What can an adult book discussion do for young children? More than I'd imagined.
A friend of mine copied me on an email she'd sent out for her first grade son with, of course, a note to the recipients' parents. This 7-year old wanted to share books with his friends much as his mother did with hers.
Rafe wrote that he wanted to "start a book club with you…It will be all kids' books, of course. We can go in order for who picks the book, or we could all decide together, or the moms (or dads) could make suggestions and we could all decide together."
He goes on to suggest a book (Charlie & The Glass Elevator by Roald Dahl because his class had read Charlie & the Chocolate Factory and watched the movie) as well as a time and place (his house where his mom will provide snacks).
Rafe added that "moms and dads are invited if they want to give suggestions about things to talk about."
Children more often than not do what adults do, not necessarily what adults say to do. My friend understands that and is providing her children with a model to build friendship, fun, and learning, around books.
Not only is Rafe inspired to read and talk about books, the book club (which won't meet until next month) has inspired another child to try to read a longer book. Whether he reads it with his parents or independently really doesn't matter as much as the fact that he's willing to become part of a community of readers and talkers and maybe even thinkers.
I'll have to think about books that may be appealing to a young, fledgling book club. If you have any suggestions, let me know!
And the Caldecott gold goes to...
Each year, individual committees that work independently select honor books and one winner for each of the major children's and young adult book awards. The official announcement of the 2011 Caldecott, Newbery, and Coretta Scott King Awards — and others — were made today in San Diego. Interesting to note that there was some overlap among the books.
As often happens, I was surprised — but nonetheless delighted — by the winners.
The Caldecott Medal was awarded to illustrator Erin E. Stead for A Sick Day for Amos McGee, written by Philip Stead (Neal Porter/Roaring Brook). It is a sweet, appealing story of friendship and kindness returned, gently and expressively illustrated.
There were two Caldecott Honors named.
Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave, (Little Brown) illustrated by Bryan Collier and written by Laban Carrick, is based on the life of an African American who did not allow his enslavement in 19th century South Carolina inhibit his creativity and talent. Strong images combine with minimal text for maximum impact.
The second honor book is about as different from the other books as possible but nonetheless engaging and appealing. Interrupting Chicken written and illustrated by David Ezra Stein (Candlewick) is a comic bedtime tale with a twist with almost frenetic illustrations.
Together, these books represent what the 2011 Caldecott Committee determined to be the most distinguished American picture books published in 2010. They certainly represent a range of books, styles, and topics in picture books.
It's always a surprise — and fun to guess what will win. And just think, it's time to start looking for and thinking about what will happen in 2012!
- Authors & illustrators
Guessing the gold!
If you want to join what is now known as the Youth Media Awards via the web, you'll have to get up mighty early if you live on the west coast.
The announcement of the oldest and most widely known children's book awards will take place during the midwinter conference of the American Library Association which will be in San Diego (CA). At this press conference, streamed live on Monday, January 10 from 7:30 to 9:00 a.m., the Newbery, Caldecott, and the Coretta Scott King Awards will be among those announced.
For as many years as I've been involved with children's books, I'm more often than not surprised by the choices. Each committee, different every year, has its own energy — and it's that unique blend that allows one book to be named each year.
What might be given the gold (or silver) this year? It's wide open! Here are some books that may be discussed. The books suggested here, by the way, are not presented in any order simply as they occurred to me.
City Dog Country Dog by Mo Willems, illustrated by Jon Muth (Hyperion) is a poignant story of an unlikely friendship illustrated with lush, expressive watercolors.
Possibilities are explored as Laura Vaccaro Seeger explores the What If? (Roaring Brook) of sharing on a beach. Minimum text encourages multiple examinations of rich illustrations.
During a storm, a rat terrier is separated from his friend, Abba Jacob, on an isolated atoll in Snook Alone by Marilyn Nelson, illustrated by Timothy Basil Ering (Candlewick). Evocative line and wash illustrations vividly portray emotions in this action-packed story.
Dramatic collage art follows one female Asiatic black bear in this engaging but passionate call for conservation in Brenda Guiberson's Moon Bear illustrated by Ed Young (Holt).
Art & Max by David Wiesner (Clarion) examines the creative process as explored by two reptilian friends. There's a reason Wiesner has been awarded the Caldecott Medal three times!
Ballet for Martha by Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan, illustrated by Brian Floca (Roaring Brook) explores a different sort of creativity; this time how music, dance, and sets come together to produce a ballet. Spare illustrations breathe life into a lucid text.
Denise Fleming's distinctive paper collage illustration successfully present a rhythmic, gentle, brilliantly hued bedtime book for the young in Sleepy, Oh So Sleepy (Holt).
Is It's a Book by Lane Smith (Roaring Brook) a strong contender? Probably not, but it is such fun (at least for older children and adults), I had to give it a mention!
Child of the Civil Rights Movement by Paula Young Shelton, illustrated by Raul Colon (Schwartz & Wade) is based on the author's experience as the daughter of a significant Civil Rights leader. Illustrations both inform and evoke the period, people and emotions.
There's magic in Chalk by Bill Thomson (Marshall Cavendish). Dramatic illustrations in acrylic and colored pencil tell the story of what happens when chalk drawings come to life.
Got other suggestions? Feel free to weigh in! We'll see how well we did after the official Caldecott Committee's deliberations!
- Authors & illustrators