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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.

The end of the year

Wow! Hard to believe that it will be 2011 in just over a week! 2010 seemed to fly by particularly quickly.

Books for peace?

Over 50 years ago, the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) was established by Jella Lepman. Her vision for the organization was to "to promote international understanding through children's books." There are now over 70 chapters of IBBY throughout the world, including the US chapter, known as USBBY.

The "other" in books for children

We've come a long way but there's still more to do to change attitudes about books for children — especially books by or about those with other than European heritages.

Every week is National Young Readers Week

Today concludes the official celebration of National Young Readers Week. But if the goals of the founders — Pizza Hut and the Library of Congress Center for the Book — are realized, then children will become lifelong readers, making every week one for readers of all ages. (Learn more about National Young Readers Week.)

What books do

As in all families, ours occasionally has a disagreement. Though we may not be able to touch on hot-button topics, we can still talk about books and other things we are reading.

When I recently saw some young children I know, whose family is going through a tough time, we talked about Halloween — and books. In a school where I'm working with teenaged parents of young children, we connect over books we share.

Books. They open doors to experiences that can be shared between people of different backgrounds, of diverse ages, and even between readers and nonreaders.

Celebrate fall!

I love the change of season. And fall's a favorite. There's a lot to celebrate in autumn.

Grace Lin introduced me to a celebration that I'd not come across before. The Mid-Autumn Moon Festival is presented in a new book, Thanking the Moon (Knopf) that follows a Chinese American family as they enjoy a moonlit picnic sharing mooncakes and moon legends while giving thanks.

Picture books on the decline?

A recent New York Times article reveals that picture books are no longer as popular as they once were; that sales are down, that parents are often looking to chapter books to propel their children forward educationally, perhaps for what is considered more sophisticated literary or educational experiences.

Stuff and nonsense.

Common sense confirmed: books + access = young readers

It's something that makes perfect sense. Those who work with children have seen it time and time again. But now there is actual data to support what common sense has told us all along: "Giving children access to print materials is associated with positive behavioral, educational, and psychological outcomes."

Got to or get to?

Do children feel that they've got to read or that they get to read? There is a difference.

Last week I wrote about what Peter Dickinson called "rubbish" and letting kids read a fair amount of it. Adults often feel strongly about what children read. They may love or loathe certain children's books — and adults are generally the ones who put books into children's hands. But their response can vastly differ from children's responses to the same material.

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