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Meet the Middle-Aged Asian Guy Book Club!

Gene and his good friend and creative collaborator, Thien Pham (Level Up), just started a book club, inspired by their newfound love of YA romance novels. In their first book club get-together, they talk about Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell, a love story of two young people from different worlds. Are Eleanor and Park are too young for "true love"? Would their relationship  be different today (the book is set in the 80's)? What are the three words Eleanor writes on the postcard to Park at the very end of the book?

Reading Without Walls

Reading initiatives frequently get kids to read and that’s indisputably good. But Gene Luen Yang, the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, a graphic novelist (aka cartoonist), former teacher, and father, is encouraging readers to think and read outside the box.

Yang’s ambassadorial motto is “Reading Without Walls.” And he’s encouraging kids in classrooms everywhere across the United States (and maybe the world) to do just that with a reading program. 

Meet Monica Brown!

Monica Brown

Monica Brown’s life is full of words. She not only writes for and teaches adults, she introduces children to memorable characters in fact and fiction. I met Monica first through stories about Marisol, Lola, and Celia Cruz but one day met the woman behind the words. I stopped at a booth during a conference and met the writer who brought these characters to life for me. Happily, she agreed to answer my seemingly endless questions to share with a broader audience.

'We Need Diverse Books' Values Authors Who Know Diversity Personally, Including Disabilities

A call for submissions for the 2016 Walter Grant is out for new U.S. authors and/or illustrators who are diverse themselves and not yet published. The grant program is inclusive of writers who identify themselves as having a disability as well as other categories of diversity including race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and religion that are listed in the grant application guidelines.

Same but different

A Washington Post columnist recently lamented the impact of the current polarized political climate in the United States. She said it was “contaminating” our children; that its impact was visible in various interactions.

Culturally Responsive Literacy Instruction

Teacher question: I am a Reading Coach at a Title I middle school serving a student population of 95% African American. Less than 40% of our students read at/or above grade level. My goal is to increase the amount of individual time that our students spend reading novels. My suggestion has been to add more classroom novels that are about African Americans, and African American culture. I feel that if we adopt a culturally responsive approach to literature, then our students may become more motivated to read.

Meet the new Ambassador for Young People’s Literature: Gene Yang

Ambassador Gene Luen Yang

On January 7, the 5th Ambassador for Young People’s Literature was officially installed at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC. Gene Yang's induction was attended by former ambassadors, Kate DiCamillo and Jon Scieszka in a role also held by Walter Dean Myers and Katherine Paterson.

Gene Luen Yang, New LOC Ambassador for Young People's Literature, Supports Diversity, Technology

Gene Luen Yang will be inaugurated Thursday, Jan. 6 as the 5th National Ambassador for Young People's Literature at a ceremony at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. I plan on being there!

Teacher, Graphic Novelist

9+ Idea-Packed Resources to Prime Staff Development So All Learners Progress in 2016

There is no single best way to grow professionally. Here are some "finds" that educators and related services personnel can add to their 2016 professional development toolkit. 

1. Reading for All

How to Mix Oil and Water So that Nearly Everyone (including '1 in 5' with poor reading skills) Learns to Read by neuropsychologist Tim Conway at TEDxOcala on Dec. 15. Decide if his "highly effective" science-based approach can impact current approaches to reading instruction. 

Inclusion: Advice, Keys to Educating Diverse Early Learners with Dual Language + Disabilities

The Iris Center announces a new IRISSTAR Legacy Module, Dual Language Learners with Disabilities: Supporting Young Children in the Classroom. It is free online and offers ideas for serving diverse early learners in a classroom where instruction must take into account multiple languages, cultures, diverse learning needs, and backgrounds.

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"Books make great gifts because they have whole worlds inside of them. " — Neil Gaiman