Multicultural

May 6, 2019

David Bowles is an award-winning writer and poet, reviewer and translator, elected to the Texas Institute of Letters in 2017. He teaches children’s and young adult literature at the University of Texas Rio Grande. Living in Texas on the border of the United States and Mexico with his family, he not only embraces his Mexican-American heritage, he explores it in his writing.

I first...

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...

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,...

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 24, 2018

“Diversity is not a trend.  It’s a fact of life.”

Neal Porter said this at a recent Children’s Book Guild meeting in Washington, D.C. In addition to giving insight into his long career in publishing (his books have won just about every major award including Caldecott Medals), Neal spoke to his hope for the future.

He knows that we (and perhaps most importantly, our children)...

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 19, 2017

This may be the season for celebrations, family travel, and out-of-town guests, but it is also a great time of year to engage kids in all kinds of joyful and meaningful learning experiences. To help make the most of winter break, Reading Rockets’ sister project, Start with a Book provides parents and caring adults with ideas and...

November 22, 2017

It’s the season when we think about giving thanks. Occasionally, we take things for which we should be grateful for granted. Sometimes a fresh look can help us gain greater appreciation.

That’s just what happened when I read a recent book by Khizr Khan entitled This Is Our Constitution (Knopf).  It’s an...

August 25, 2017

Kids benefit when their parents are active members of their community. When they feel their families are a part of the community, kids feel safer, valued, and more confident which opens up great opportunities for learning and exploration.

Ellie Canter, Managing Director at Turning the Page, shares how real-life experiences...

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 11, 2017

Even though it is already back-to-school time in some parts of the country, there’s still time for reading fun in the summer sun for everyone!

Legendary children’s storytime performer and early childhood educator Sol Livingston has some great ideas for summer reading that will inspire reading road trips all year round.

 

Did you book your child’s vacation yet?...

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...

July 7, 2017

Sometimes we need a reminder that big changes in our world often start with small actions. Books can be that perfect reminder, especially for kids who connect with a particular character or find inspiration in fiction and nonfiction about ordinary people who stand up for what's right.

Here’s Margret Aldrich, champion of...

June 15, 2017

This spring, I had the opportunity to hear Newbery Honor winner, Grace Lin, and her longtime friend and editor, Alvina Ling, talk about their friendship, careers, and their work. They share lots in common: friendship, professional...

June 1, 2017

Welcome Colleen Dykema to Book Life! Colleen is an award-winning ESL teacher and reading specialist with Arlington Public Schools. Her teaching career began in 1972, and since 2000 she’s worked with English language learners at Swanson Middle School. A great believer that “reading...

March 21, 2017

Gene sits down with award-winning YA author Jason Reynolds. They talk about the unusual story structure in All American Boys, the inspiration for the book, and how writing it emerged from a deep friendship (full of “uncomfortable, healthy conversations”) with his co-author, Brendan Kiely. With his book Ghost, Reynolds wanted to explore the whole concept of “running” — and...

February 27, 2017

February is ending but that doesn’t mean the celebration of African American history should. After all, good books are good year round.

Plus, there’s evidence that sharing stories with children builds empathy. (Though the study’s focus was on fiction, I think that well-presented nonfiction...

February 9, 2017

American-born Chinese Gene Yang sits down with Chinese-born American Katherine Paterson to talk about the books that most influenced them as readers and writers. Paterson — the child of Christian missionaries — spent her early years in Huai'an and Shanghai. Her first language was Chinese, but the books that she remembers most vividly from her childhood were the works of British writers such as...

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"Let children read whatever they want and then talk about it with them. If parents and kids can talk together, we won't have as much censorship because we won't have as much fear." —

Judy Blume