Libraries

July 10, 2014

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.

Walter Dean...

May 8, 2014

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...

March 27, 2014

Even at 50 years old, Harriet can rankle readers. All students of children’s literature (in fact anyone interested in children’s literature) should meet her — even those who first encountered Harriet when they were children. The 1960s were turbulent; change was everywhere — including in books for children. First published in 1964, Harriet the Spy marked a sea change in the direction of...

November 20, 2013

We've all read books whose plot or main character stay with us for a long time. With kids, books can be a great and subtle way to illustrate personality traits we may want to engender. Collections of books with similar themes (sometimes called "text sets") give teachers and parents a way to focus on a theme but do so in such a way that you're not beating your kid over the head with the same...

September 25, 2013

Taking a group of children for an outing can be rough — perhaps more so for adults than for the young people. After all, it's up to parents and teachers to keep track of their charges, worry about transportation, safety, snacks, and more. So why bother? Because field trips make a difference. There's research that supports field trips to art museums, aka "culturally...

September 13, 2013

Labor Day marks the unofficial end of summer after which schools are in full swing again. Various September celebrations are ideal complements to school, community and home activities.

In 1965, September 8 was declared International Literacy Day (ILD) by UNESCO. This year, ILD was marked by presentations and discussions (on the Monday after the official ILD)...

May 20, 2013

Memorial Day is coming up soon — marking the unofficial start of summer. Parents and teachers know how hard it can be for children to remain focused as the school year ends and summer starts.

Summers that don't include books and reading for children most often results in the "summer slide" — the loss of reading skills gained during the previous school year.

Barbara Heyns'...

January 10, 2013

As we begin a new year, let's hope it's memorable for all the right reasons unlike its predecessor. There are positive signs pointing to it.

We all remember superstorm Sandy. Images of destroyed homes, schools, businesses, and libraries will be long remembered — and most of us are on the outside looking in. It's hard to imagine what it must be like to try to find normality when you're...

December 18, 2012

How do you explain the unexplainable? It's impossible for adults to fathom what happened in a quiet Connecticut town, much less try to articulate to children why or how it could have happened.

I don't think there's anyone who hasn't been moved by the news. But beyond the debates around mental health issues or gun control laws, I've been stymied as to what can be done more tangibly...

August 31, 2012

As schools get into full swing, teachers should remind students and parents (and maybe other educators) of the importance of libraries. Every classroom activity can be enriched and enlivened by these rich resources. All that is needed is a library card.

To remind everyone, September is National Library...

June 21, 2012

When I gave some advanced reading copies of books to a particularly astute school librarian friend, she used them in a way that just might help these children avoid the dreaded "summer slide" which happens when children don't read during non-school months.

She asked 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders to examine the books and decide as a group which was their top choice. l had visited earlier...

April 26, 2012

I'm lucky enough to be involved with our school's library renovation project. I wrote about our first meeting here. Yesterday we met with the architects and we had a chance to see their first drafts.

We all know that school libraries are important places. A new two-phase...

April 12, 2012

April is a month full of promise. The sun feels warmer, the days are longer, and there are celebrations galore.

100 years ago, the people of Japan gave cherry trees to the people of the United States. The centennial year of this gift is celebrated with events in Washington, DC all month long during the National Cherry Blossom Festival....

March 6, 2012

Magazines are great reading options. There's new content in every one, and if you have a subscription, it's great fun to get the new issue in the mail! Articles are short enough that they can be read in one setting, and there's usually a variety of writing in each one. The best magazines for kids I've seen often include recipes, jokes, craft ideas, and some stories.

I've written about...

February 10, 2012

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...

February 9, 2012

What does your school library look like? For many schools, it looks just like it did when the school was built, maybe 20, 30 or even 40 years ago. Heavy wooden tables and chairs, a "reading rug" for the read aloud portion of library time, and a big circulation desk for check out. Sound familiar?

So that's what the library probably looks like. But is that what it SHOULD look like? Today'...

July 28, 2011

I remember when I was a kid, summers were filled with free time, playing with friends, and reading lots of books. I read everything from horse stories and fantasy to Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden...

December 23, 2010

Wow! Hard to believe that it will be 2011 in just over a week! 2010 seemed to fly by particularly quickly.

I'm looking forward to children's book awards announcements that will take place early in January. The American Library Association will announce the 2011 Caldecott & Newbery...

September 24, 2010

It's something that makes perfect sense. Those who work with children have seen it time and time again. But now there is actual data to support what common sense has told us all along: "Giving children access to print materials is associated with positive behavioral, educational, and psychological outcomes."

These findings were announced earlier this week by Reading Is Fundamental (...

July 30, 2010

When I was growing up, we had lots of book. Looking back, I know that they were mostly mass market books (remember the Little Golden Books?) and lots of the books my mother read as a child and subsequently gave to us.

My sister and I both grew up to be readers — and so did our children who also have lots of books at home.

I was reminded of this when I...

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"To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark." — Victor Hugo, Les Miserables