Multicultural

April 24, 2014

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...

March 7, 2014

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...

February 24, 2014

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. Most...

February 15, 2013

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?

Last night, I heard author Karen Leggett discuss...

February 8, 2013

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.

Words are fun and...

January 28, 2013

Once again at the midwinter meeting of the American Library Association, the winners of the Newbery and Caldecott Medals have been announced. Some of my favorites of the year are among the 2013 winners.

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate (HarperCollins) won the Newbery....

September 28, 2012

Sometimes a week is just not long enough. And sometimes a month-long celebration can begin in the middle of the month.

This is true of National Hispanic Heritage Month which begins on September 15 and continues until October 15.

It's interesting to note that National Hispanic Heritage Week began in 1968...

September 14, 2012

Have you ever blown off steam? Or maybe you've run out of steam.

I got a new appreciation for the power of STEAM at a recent panel discussion convened by Reading Is Fundamental (aka RIF).

Their newest effort combines quality children's books with art and literacy activities to help adults (educators, families, and the community) to enhance STEM education...

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...

January 3, 2012

A new year has started and with it a new National Ambassador for Young People's Literature. Our new Ambassador continues a short but highly distinguished group of spokespeople for the importance of literature in the lives of children and young adults.

Walter Dean Myers will assume his newest role next week at a ceremony at the Library of Congress.

Walter...

July 22, 2011

It's all around us. We wear it, walk on it, and admire it. It comes in different colors, made with different materials and assorted textures. And it often reflects who we are, where we live, our climate, culture, traditions, even our beliefs.

I'd never really thought about any of this until I visited the Textile Museum in Washington, D.C. Textiles are...

May 16, 2011

Three of my very favorite illustrators have been nominated for a very prestigious award, the Hans Christian Andersen.

Every other year, the names of an author and an illustrator are put forward for consideration for this international honor, selected by the National Sections of the International Board on Books for Young People (better known as...

December 9, 2010

Over 50 years ago, the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) was established by Jella Lepman. Her vision for the organization was to "to promote international understanding through children's books." There are now over 70 chapters of IBBY throughout the world, including the US chapter, known as USBBY.

Each year, a committee...

November 18, 2010

We've come a long way but there's still more to do to change attitudes about books for children — especially books by or about those with other than European heritages.

A recent op-ed piece by noted writer, Nikki Grimes,...

February 5, 2010

Should children be subjected to the horrendous images that surround us in newspapers, on television, on the Internet? How can we avoid having them see pictures of the death, devastation, and other horrors?

I'm thinking specifically of the images that continue to come out of Haiti and the ongoing discussion about the appropriateness of what newspapers like the...

January 19, 2010

I'm writing this from Boston where I attended the American Library Association midwinter meeting and where the Youth Awards were announced. Actually, I was part of the process.

I was one of the 15 people on the 2010 Newbery Medal Award Committee. It's been an intense few...

November 13, 2009

This morning my son was asking me about a movie he saw ages ago called "Hook" (Sony, 1990). It's a Robin Williams film that involves an adult Peter Pan and Captain Hook.

As I was re-examining books on my shelf, I came across a stunning book with the same title but an all together different subject....

July 29, 2009

Are awards for children's books useful? What can they do in a real sense?

Children's publishing is a crowded field and for many, awards can help identify not only critically valuable books but help identify new and interesting work.

When it first started some 40 years ago, the Coretta Scott King was intended to recognize the work of African American...

February 20, 2009

February is a marvelous month. It's chockfull of all kinds of celebrations and holidays. And happily, there are lots of books for young readers to enhance and extend them.

There's African American History Month which can be celebrated by reading about distinguished leaders like Coretta Scott King. Stunning illustrations by award-winning ...

January 21, 2009

Change is in the air. It was almost palpable yesterday as throngs of people — including lots of young children — witnessed the inauguration of the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama.

Hope and change have become buzzwords, but you can almost feel both. They're certainly apparent in recent books for children (though not for children only), both inspired by the words of...

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"A poem begins in delight and ends in wisdom" —

Robert Frost