Authors & illustrators

Hearts & flowers

It's right around the corner — that lovely touch of color in an otherwise drab winter month: Valentine's Day.

And it's a good excuse for a class party or an extra special reason for a celebration at home.

Making valentines for classmates and family is a fine activity; it can be easy but creative and memorable. (I still have some of the homemade cards that my son gave me over the years and memories of making them with doilies and red construction paper.)

Boys and books

A friend of mine (the assistant director of a premier early childhood program) and I were talking about the key role of books in the schools and the way literature stimulates not only a child's interest in reading but also the family's interest. Books are used to connect children, parents, and the school.

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.

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.

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.


"There is no frigate like a book, to take us lands away" — Emily Dickinson