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Authors & illustrators

Why getting out matters

I remember many years ago sharing a book with photographs by Bruce MacMillan with a group of inner-city preschool children. They were bright and vivacious and eager to share what they knew.

While I no longer remember the title of the book, I'll never forget a little boy's response when I asked what the full-color image of a black and white cow was. He exclaimed with authority, "A dog!"

Libraries and the achievement gap

Is the growing gap in children's achievement primarily fueled by economics? What other factors may have a role in it — and how can the apparent trend be reversed?

A recent piece in The New York Times reports studies that indicate a widening fissure in educational achievement between rich and poor. But it also suggests other factors may be at play.

We're all hyphenated Americans

We're all hyphenated Americans really. It's the way we identify our backgrounds and that's fine. If, however, identification by self or others becomes a way to maintain separation, well, that's not fine.

I was reminded recently that books are important as both "mirrors" and "windows" as I introduced books to a group of teenaged parents. They were learning about their children's development and the role of literature and language in it.

And the winner is ... children!

It's always heartening to be with other booklovers — especially those who recognize that the younger we start sharing the power and pleasure of language and story with children the more likely they'll grow into lifelong learners.

It was exciting to attend what has become known as the Youth Media Awards announcements at the midwinter conference of the American Library Association.

Text sets: One theme, several books

Teachers often have a specific theme or content they want to cover, but have a wide range of reading levels in their classroom. One way to handle that situation is to have many books on that one theme, but the books are written at different reading levels. These are often called text sets. I wrote here about a text set on persistence. ReadWriteThink has some good guidelines for creating text sets.

Super Ambassadors for young people and reading!

What do a red cape, a magic wand and a light sword represent? Each seems to be a sign of magic, heroics, something more than mere human, right?

What happens when the writers who hold these objects come together in one room? They become the superheroes and spokespeople to let the world know about the importance of reading.

These are the Super National Ambassadors for Young People's Literature! Together, their power can change the world! And that's just what current and former Ambassadors have set out to do.

A new year and a new National Ambassador

A new year has started and with it a new National Ambassador for Young People's Literature. Our new Ambassador continues a short but highly distinguished group of spokespeople for the importance of literature in the lives of children and young adults.

Walter Dean Myers will assume his newest role next week at a ceremony at the Library of Congress.

Traditions

Even though the weather is mild, it's still December. We've just passed the winter solstice; with it, the shortest day of the year (or the longest night, depending on your perspective) and a timeworn source of various observations.

December is filled with celebrations and traditions.

A book on every bed this holiday

We started a new tradition in our family last year. We'll do it again this year, and I hope you'll consider adding this tradition to your family holiday too! It's a simple one: put a book on every bed.

Classic slow downs

Have you been around a school or even a group of children in the past few days? They seem to be having a tough time sitting still, concentrating. Lots of adults are, too. December is a busy month: presents to buy or make, wrap, give or receive; parties to prepare for; friends and family to see. And more, lots more.

Maybe it's time to slow down and celebrate the season with a good book.

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"So please, oh PLEASE, we beg, we pray, go throw your TV set away. And in its place you can install, a lovely bookshelf on the wall." — Roald Dahl