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Our Diverse World, Through Books

We may never travel far from our own town or city; go to school with people of different backgrounds, have different families, live near a mosque or synagogue, or even eat at a restaurant that serves food from another part of the world.  

Books Make the World Larger: A Conversation with Patrick Ness

Gene sits down with writer Patrick Ness — author of the award-winning middle grade book, A Monster Calls, the popular YA science fiction trilogy Chaos Walking, and the YA book The Rest of Us Just Live Here, a story about finding the extraordinary in your ordinary self. Ness says that "all writers are noticers" and that stories should reflect the diversity of the world around us. He advises kids to "reach up" and read books that are difficult or filled with ideas that may be beyond your understanding, because storytelling helps us make sense of the world.

Chatting with Lois Lowry

I had the absolute lifetime honor of speaking with the legendary Lois Lowry for this episode of Reading Without Walls. The Newbery Award-winning author of The Giver tells us how her quiet childhood helped her become a writer, about her career as a professional photographer, and how she feels about the movie adaptations of her books. And she has advice for aspiring young writers. I hope you'll make time to watch!

 

What adults can learn from children’s books

There are few adults who don’t remember where they were on September 11, 2001.  People young and old continue to feel the impact of the events of that day.  It’s hard to keep in mind that there are many, many children who were simply not born when the horrific events of that day unfolded and may not be conscious of how their lives have been altered.

Meet the Middle-Aged Asian Guy Book Club!

Gene and his good friend and creative collaborator, Thien Pham (Level Up), just started a book club, inspired by their newfound love of YA romance novels. In their first book club get-together, they talk about Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell, a love story of two young people from different worlds. Are Eleanor and Park are too young for "true love"? Would their relationship  be different today (the book is set in the 80's)? What are the three words Eleanor writes on the postcard to Park at the very end of the book?

National Book Festival 2016 Authors: Your Books in Accessible Formats Help Struggling Readers Thrive

The highly anticipated National Book Festival 2016 (NBF) in the nation's capital is days away with excitement building in and out of literacy circles.

National Book Festival 2016

Reading Without Walls

Reading initiatives frequently get kids to read and that’s indisputably good. But Gene Luen Yang, the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, a graphic novelist (aka cartoonist), former teacher, and father, is encouraging readers to think and read outside the box.

Yang’s ambassadorial motto is “Reading Without Walls.” And he’s encouraging kids in classrooms everywhere across the United States (and maybe the world) to do just that with a reading program. 

Books to Ease Back-to-School Jitters

It’s that time of year again: back to school. It can be a daunting experience especially for young children and for their parents. I remember the mixed feelings I had when my son started school. It was exciting, nerve-wracking, freeing, and devastating all at the same time. Knowing that I wasn’t alone in the way I felt certainly was comforting.

Meet Monica Brown!

Monica Brown’s life is full of words. She not only writes for and teaches adults, she introduces children to memorable characters in fact and fiction. I met Monica first through stories about Marisol, Lola, and Celia Cruz but one day met the woman behind the words. I stopped at a booth during a conference and met the writer who brought these characters to life for me. Happily, she agreed to answer my seemingly endless questions to share with a broader audience.

Monica Brown

Sun versus Shade Experiment

Weather book

We live in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, and it’s been hot. Really hot. And based on the weather reports we’ve seen this summer, much of this country has experienced at least one, if not many heat waves already. Addie and I have been reading about the topic of weather, and she was curious about how hot things can get under the sun.

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"Oh, magic hour, when a child first knows she can read printed words!" — A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, 1943