Children's books

January 25, 2017

It all started with a question. What was their story? Author Linda Barrett Osborne wanted to find out more about her great grandparents who came from Italy in the 1880s and 1890s to the United States — much like the English who settled in Jamestown, Virginia, in the 17th century.

What she found was that America offered hope to people seeking a better life through economic and...

December 12, 2016

Gene sat down with the new Librarian of Congress, Dr. Carla Hayden, at the National Book Festival in Washington, D.C. Dr. Hayden talks with Gene about her life in libraries, starting from when she was a young girl. She shares some of the surprises she's discovering at the Library of Congress. Did you know that the Library has more than 162 million (yep, million) items in its collection? Among...

November 10, 2016

We may never travel far from our own town or city; go to school with people of different backgrounds, have different families, live near a mosque or synagogue, or even eat at a restaurant that serves food from another part of the world.  

But it’s still vital that our children meet and come to know different people from different places. After all, they’re growing up in a world that is...

November 10, 2016

Gene sits down with writer Patrick Ness — author of the award-winning middle grade book, A Monster Calls, the popular YA science fiction trilogy Chaos Walking, and the YA book The Rest of Us Just Live Here, a story about finding the extraordinary in your ordinary self. Ness says that "all writers are noticers" and that stories should reflect the diversity of the world around...

October 18, 2016

I had the absolute lifetime honor of speaking with the legendary Lois Lowry for this episode of Reading Without Walls. The Newbery Award-winning author of The Giver tells us how her quiet childhood helped her become a writer, about her career as a professional photographer, and how she feels about the movie adaptations of her books. And she has advice for aspiring young writers. I...

October 11, 2016

There are few adults who don’t remember where they were on September 11, 2001.  People young and old continue to feel the impact of the events of that day.  It’s hard to keep in mind that there are many, many children who were simply not born when the horrific events of that day unfolded and may not be conscious of how their lives have been altered.

Two recent books reminded me not...

September 22, 2016

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...

September 16, 2016

The highly anticipated National Book Festival 2016 (NBF) in the nation's capital is days away with excitement building in and out of literacy circles.

Diverse literacy opportunities

Readers of all ages who attend on Saturday, Sept. 24 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center will find diverse and entertaining literacy-related opportunities in...

September 16, 2016

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...

September 6, 2016

It’s that time of year again: back to school. It can be a daunting experience especially for young children and for their parents. I remember the mixed feelings I had when my son started school. It was exciting, nerve-wracking, freeing, and devastating all at the same time. Knowing that I wasn’t alone in the way I felt certainly was comforting.

Young children, however, don’t have...

September 2, 2016

Snoopy, the world-famous beagle, aka The Flying Ace, returns to the big screen this fall in The Peanuts Movie from Century Fox and Blue Sky Studios. Meanwhile during September, he is also the Honorary Chair of "Library Sign Up Month."

The American Library Association holds this annual event to mark the start of the school year and to remind patrons that books are a...

August 30, 2016

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...

August 30, 2016

This summer we traveled to France for a friend’s wedding and the Tour de France. It was a trip that included a long road trip with multiple stops. I thought a fun way to get the kids excited about the trip would be a map exercise: creating a visual itinerary to help the kids understand where we were going and what we’d be seeing.

It gave us an excuse to check out some books...

August 22, 2016

We live in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, and it’s been hot. Really hot. And based on the weather reports we’ve seen this summer, much of this country has experienced at least one, if not many heat waves already. Addie and I have been reading about the topic of weather, and she was...

August 22, 2016

Educators who hold to beliefs that audiobooks are cheating can have their say in their personal lives. At school, that point of view stands in the way of academic success for struggling readers for whom audiobooks and alternatives to print are a necessity. 

Decode poorly, read slowly? 

Students who decode poorly and read slowly should use audiobooks to access the curriculum. They also...

August 12, 2016

In this episode, Gene talks to authors and comic book characters about their favorite children's books. See if any of your childhood favorites are mentioned!  

Featured interviews include:

Jenny and Matt Holm (Sunny Side Up) Avatar Aang (Avatar: The Last Airbender) Hank Green (Vlogger, SciShow) Green Arrow and Arsenal (DC Comics) Sherri Smith (Flygirl, Orleans...

August 11, 2016

When you ask my daughter Addie what she wants to be when she grows up, she’ll say a number of things, one of which is wanting to be an architect. When you ask her why she wants to be an architect, she’ll tell you that buildings come in all sorts of interesting shapes and designs. She may also mention that it’d be fun to build dollhouses.

I wanted to help her explore the world...

August 10, 2016

Time to act. Struggling readers who fall behind often stay behind. Is there a way to lift the burden of print?

Because for some there are limits to the readability of a school's books in print and with alternatives increasing, school staff could be more accepting about the multiple ways to read and learn in 2016-2017. Many struggling readers have made strides when they are...

August 9, 2016

Last month I read an article about Clip-Air, a concept for a new modular aircraft. Clip-Air would separate the wings from the fuselage so that body of the plane could be loaded with passengers or cargo anywhere — like a bus station or train depot — and then driven to the wings for takeoff. Even more cool is that up to three passenger or...

August 3, 2016

As a parent, I’m always looking for outdoor activities in the summer to do with the kids right at home, especially the “no fuss, no muss” types of activities. It turns out having your very own Olympics at home is easy to set up, and easy to execute. With the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics upon us, it was the perfect time to host our very own “Go Olympics!” event, and it also turned out to...

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"The things I want to know are in books. My best friend is the man who'll get me a book I [haven't] read." — Abraham Lincoln