Authors and illustrators

January 22, 2019

Walter Dean Myers was so much more than an award-winning author.  He was a mentor, spokesperson, and friend to many and a trendsetter in children’s and young adult literature.

In his role as the country’s third National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, Walter traveled around the country with an ambassadorial theme: “Reading is not optional.” Not in a democracy, not in the...

November 27, 2018

There’s power in words. There is even more power in words that are strung together to tell a story. Stories reveal truths, encourage exploration, generate curiosity, and more. They become a connective tissue between time, people, cultures, and experiences.

There’s special power in a story shared aloud.

A few weeks ago, I witnessed an author reading to an all-adult audience. The...

August 28, 2018

Earlier this year, I came across a book that struck a personal chord and made me wonder about its genesis. What made it stand out above others?

Then I had a chance to hear the author, Minh Le, talk about it. I knew he had a background in early childhood policy and has two young children of his own.

His first book,...

July 27, 2018

Becky Koons is a Senior Resident Services Manager with AHC Inc. at the Woodbury Park Community Center in Arlington, Virginia. AHC’s Summer Camp program is designed to prevent learning loss — a particular challenge for low-income students — through both educational and enrichment experiences.

Becky believes there is not much better than sitting on the beach with her toes in the sand...

July 11, 2018

A picture book that can stand up to multiple readings is a good one in my book. You know what I’m talking about — the books a child wants to hear (or read independently) over and over. These are most books with enough textual and visual interest to engage time and again. But a picture book does so much more.

A recent...

May 31, 2018

Emily Arnold McCully has taken readers on a family Picnic, introduced The Queen of the Diamond and a dog named Strongheart. She may be best known as the Caldecott Medalist who took readers to Paris to view the city along with Mirette on the High Wire.

I heard Ms. McCully speak recently at a meeting where she agreed to answer some questions about her...

February 15, 2018

James Ransome and Lesa Cline-Ransome have been writing and illustrating together and individually for many years. And their work continues to grow and evolve. Perhaps James said it best: “What makes illustrating books so exciting is that because each book has a special voice, my approach toward each is different. Whether it be through my choice of palette, design or perspective, there is...

February 12, 2018

I had the distinct pleasure of attending a bookstore program featuring author Lesa Cline-Ransome and artist James Ransome. This husband and wife team continues to create books for young readers that intrigue as well as inspire. And their work — together and as individuals — continues to evolve and grow.

Their newest collaboration is a fresh take on Harriet Tubman,...

January 26, 2018

Bringing guest readers into the classroom is a great activity any time of year. But the calendar is also full of opportunities for hosting special guests who read aloud. Many of these — including World Read Aloud Day, National African American Read-...

January 9, 2018

I just came back from the inauguration of Jacqueline Woodson as the sixth National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature at the Library of Congress. The National Ambassador program — co-sponsored by the Library of Congress, the Children’s Book Council, and Every Child a Reader — was created in 2008 to "raise national...

January 5, 2018

While I’m not big on making my own new year’s resolutions, I do love to take time to reflect on my year of reading and plan what to read next! These bookish resolutions from the kidlit community — compiled by my friend Madelyn Rosenberg — offer lots of ideas for titles to read and a great glimpse of the goals writers set for themselves.

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December 4, 2017

Acting stories out is a brilliant way to get to the heart of what children are reading. And not only does story dramatization have positive effects on language development and student achievement, it is an absolute blast. Wren and her Namma, Jan Worthington, take us behind the scenes of their recent page to stage adventure.

Dr. Janet Worthington is a retired dean and professor who...

November 7, 2017

At An Unlikely Story bookstore in Plainville, MA, Gene sits down for a lively conversation with Wimpy Kid author (and bookstore owner) Jeff Kinney.

As a kid, Kinney was a prankster and a devoted reader of his sister's Judy Blume books. He later discovered fantasy (The Hobbitt, The Lord of the Rings, and the...

November 7, 2017

At the 2017 Emerald City Comic-Con in Seattle, Gene meets up with Ngozi Ukazu, creator of the popular web comic, Check Please! — the quirky story of a pie-baking college hockey player.

Ngozi has been putting pictures and words together since elementary school. She was the comics editor in high school and kept on...

August 21, 2017

Story can do a lot to inspire kids to engage with the natural world. What can you do to get kids outside? Kit Ballenger has some ideas that all start with a book!

Kit is a youth services librarian at An Open Book Foundation and a regular volunteer at the Library of Congress Young Readers Center. An avid hiker and...

August 15, 2017

What do you see when you look at an American flag? What do its colors, stars and stripes call to mind?

“Blue sky/White Stars …”, red and white rows evoke more than simply a flag. It can represent a country’s landscape, its history, and most important, the people who together create one nation, beautiful in their diversity.

The author of...

August 15, 2017

Strengthen your child’s powers of observation and imagination when you spend time together outdoors. You can find nature in a variety of settings within your community, giving children the opportunity to explore by touching, smelling, and examining things to make their own discoveries.

Lulu Delacre, award-winning bilingual...

August 1, 2017

For many sports-loving kids, summer means heading to the field, court, pitch or pool. But a passion for playing a sport can also get kids reading.

Author Fred Bowen shares how his own love of sports relates to reading and what parents can do to help kids connect their own sports experiences to all kinds of reading....

July 11, 2017

Juana Medina was born in Bogotá, Colombia, where she has said that her drawings got her in trouble with her teachers. Happily for the children’s book world, Juana has turned her artistic skills to writing and illustrating. Juana received the prestigious 2017 Pura Belpre Award for Juana and Lucas (Candlewick), sure to be the first of many honors.

She studied at the Rhode Island...

June 22, 2017

Pairing fiction and nonfiction is a great way to engage readers. So is pairing a book with an activity or experience to extend excitement or enhance learning. But there are other kinds of great pairings when it comes to books. Here are Madelyn Rosenberg and Wendy Wan...

Pages

"You know you’ve read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend." — Paul Sweeney