The end of a month

I read a statement on a publisher’s blog that resonated with me: “Black History is American History.” (The publisher is Lee & Low, a press known for publishing diverse books.)

I’ve written about this before and still believe that the sooner we get rid of hyphenated Americans, the better off we’ll be, able to have fuller discussions and let readers of all ages revel in the diversity that is us. 

Awards season – with a few surprises

The Newbery and Caldecott (and other Youth Media Awards) were announced yesterday in Chicago at the midwinter conference of the American Library Association. This year’s Caldecott honorees (gold and silver both) remind me that these books are for a wide range of readers, potentially children up to and including age 14.

Humor run amok

To quote Shakespeare, “All the world’s a stage,/And all the men and women merely players…” Some players take their role too far. They feel that comments must be witty or entertaining, frequently at the expense of others.

Loss of a friend

Walter Dean Myers

I've been away for a while. The family vacation was without Internet access or even phone service. When I was reconnected, I was deeply saddened by news that one of the true giants of contemporary children's and young adult literature had died.

Diversity: what does it mean?

Last week I spent an entire morning with students in 2nd, 3rd and 4th grades. A 3rd grade boy asked me my first name (I was introduced as Ms. Salvadore) before he left. When I told him, his wide grin was accompanied by a question: “Where are you from?” I was sorry to disappoint him. In spite of the way my name sounds, I’m not Hispanic (Italian father, Greek mother; English-speaking home). He said he thought maybe I was Honduran — like him. I also am sorry to disappoint children when I can’t find books that reflect who they are.

Distilled, powerful words

April is almost over and with it ends National Poetry Month. What continues, however, is what Rita Dove, former Poet Laureate, said of poetry. It is "… language at its most distilled and most powerful."

Children respond to poetry from early on — and why not? Its sounds, cadence and music are immediate and appealing. Think of Mother Goose and other nursery rhymes. They've been shared with young children for centuries.

Strong words, strong women

There have always been strong women although we haven't always known a lot about them. The availability of Information about women and their impact has come a long way since the first celebration of Women’s History Week. In 1987, that week was changed permanently into a month-long celebration. Books for children and youth are catching up, too, with more and more publications about women and their achievements.

Celebrating diversity and change all year long

Change is tough. Big things, little things, it’s just not easy for most of us. Nonetheless, change is inevitable. Some change we see immediately, some is more subtle. It’s easy to forget that societal norms are fluid, and that one person can effect great change if they are brave enough to stand up, stand out and work together. And it took real bravery to change the sports world.

What's a picture worth?

What goes into creating an illustration, especially for informational picture books? How do illustrations work with text? And if it's a book of science or social studies — or any other topic, really — how do readers know that the illustrations accurately represent what they are supposed to?

Company on a snowy day

Blizzard [bliz-erd; a long, severe storm; often pleases children]

Stuck inside [stuhk in-sahyd; often bores children; frequently concerns parents and other adults]

If this is something that you confront, you may want to make sure that you've got some company, things to talk about, ideas that may be just plain fun. You may want to start with these books.


"A book is a gift you can open again and again." — Garrison Keillor