Monday, June 5, 2017
Thursday, April 27, 2017
Children’s Book Week began in 1913. Franklin K. Matthiews, the librarian of the Boy Scouts of America, began touring the country to promote higher standards in children’s books. He proposed creating a Children’s Book Week, which would be supported by all interested groups: publishers, booksellers, and librarians.
Mathiews enlisted two important allies: Frederic G. Melcher, editor of Publishers Weekly who believed that “a great nation is a reading nation,” and Anne Carroll Moore, the Superintendent of Children’s Works at the New York Public Library and a major figure in the library world. With the help of Melcher and Moore, in 1916, the American Booksellers Association and the American Library Association sponsored a Good Book Week with the Boy Scouts of America.
In 1944, the newly-established Children’s Book Council assumed responsibility for administering Children’s Book Week. In 2008, Children’s Book Week moved from November to May. At that time, the administration of Children’s Book Week, including planning official events and creating original materials, was transferred to Every Child a Reader, CBC’s charitable arm.
This year, the 98th celebration of Children’s Book Week, will feature an increased number of events, reformatted Children’s Choice Book Awards, an enhanced online presence, and additional promotional materials available to participating bookstores, schools, and libraries.
Celebrate this special week by reading a new or favorite book to your young readers. When this is done, everybody wins!
Monday, March 6, 2017
Re-titled to reflect Roald Dahl’s original name for the book, Billy and the Minpins (1991) is the first time Quentin Blake has illustrated a new Roald Dahl hero in nearly 20 years. This new title celebrates Billy as the quintessential Roald Dahl child hero.
Billy and the Minpins is the story of heroic Billy who saves the Minpins, tiny tree-dwelling people whose children are the size of matchsticks, from the fearsome Gruncher.
It explores themes seen in many of Roald Dahl’s other much-loved children’s novels including; small people living in a big world; the glory of flight; confronting demons; and, most importantly, the child hero. In Billy and the Minpins, readers will experience again the magical collaboration between Roald Dahl and Quentin Blake through a brand-new interpretation of Roald’s parting gift.
The Minpins was originally illustrated by Patrick Benson. This edition is still in print today and will sit alongside the new black-and-white edition, Billy and the Minpins.
Quentin Blake said:
I was delighted to be asked to illustrate Roald’s Billy and the Minpins; it feels like the cornerstone in our long collaboration together. As Roald's parting gift, Patrick Benson's illustrations in the original edition were perfectly suited to the lyrical feel of The Minpins. I have always greatly admired Patrick's artwork and am so pleased both books will sit alongside each other, reaching fans of all ages. This new edition has nearly fifty pages of black-and-white drawings, which means I can enjoy myself tremendously going into all the details of Billy’s exploits and adventures with the Minpins in the mysterious forest!
So, for all you Roald Dahl fans out there, look for this new-illustrated book. Have fun!
Friday, February 10, 2017
A bedtime story Mark Twain told his daughters in 1879 — never published before — will be released this fall as a children’s book.
The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine is an 11-chapter, 152-page illustrated storybook “for all ages” with a first printing of 250,000 copies. The “unfinished” story is being completed by author Philip Stead and illustrator Erin Stead and will be published Sept. 26 by Doubleday Books for Young Readers, the publisher announced Friday.
The basis for the book is 16 pages of handwritten notes Twain made after he told his young daughters a fairy tale one night while the family was staying in Paris.
The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine, according to the publisher, “follows a young boy who eats the flower sprouted by a magical seed and gains the ability to talk to animals. From there, the boy and his new animal friends go off on a wild adventure to rescue a kidnapped prince.”
Philip and Erin Stead, who are married, won the 2011 Caldecott Medal for their children's book A Sick Day for Amos McGee.
They have framed the Prince tale as “told to me by my friend, Mr. Mark Twain,” and include occasional interruptions by an imagined meeting over tea between Philip and Twain, according to a news release.
Wednesday, January 4, 2017
A taxpayer-funded book about transgenderism is about to be introduced in schools in the United Kingdom to children as young as seven, provoking significant controversy. The book — Can I Tell You About Gender Diversity? — focuses on a 12-year-old who is transitioning from a girl to a boy through drugs. Critics contend the book not only will confuse its young audiences but advocates medical interventions that are harmful.
The book begins:
My name is Kit and I’m 12 years old. I live in a house with my mum and dad, and our dog, Pickle. When I was born, the doctors told my mum and dad that they had a baby girl, and so for the first few years of my life that’s how my parents raised me. This is called being assigned female at birth. I wasn’t ever very happy that way.
Kit begins to use puberty-blocking drugs to undergo a sex change in the book and “stop my body developing in ways that make me unhappy.”
According to the book’s publisher, Jessica Kingsley Publishers, the book’s intent is to “explain medical transitioning for children aged seven and above.”
The book’s author, CJ Atkinson, told The Guardian that Kit’s transition includes wearing boys’ clothes, using male pronouns, and changing the birth certificate to read Christopher instead of Kit.
This is a brave book that is helping change minds and hearts about transgender children. It is my hope that you will support this book and its message.
Tuesday, December 13, 2016
Annie Harper, one of the founders of Interlude Press, said she has for years recognized the need for fiction that the teen LGBTQ audience can relate to, yet emphasized the universal appeal of Duet titles. “Like all young adults, characters in YA books are discovering who they are and trying to find the courage to show themselves to the world."
Duet’s name is a play on Interlude Press’s musical connotation and, Harper explained, “also implies a little bit of innocence, as well as the love story theme. But that said,” she added, “we are putting out love stories that have an additional dimension to them. We are focusing on stories where romance serves as a catalyst for characters to discover who they are and show their authentic selves.
Beulah Land, according to the publishing house is the story of:
A courageous teenager fights for social justice, survival, and self-defining truth in the forbidding Missouri Ozarks
It is my hope the book will speak not only to teens but to all people who seek to find truth in their lives and about the world.
Tuesday, November 22, 2016
Have a look at this marvelous book for kids. You and they won't regret it!
Wednesday, October 12, 2016
You hear about it so often these days that you just might wonder: How diverse is children's literature, really? The numbers have been improving slowly, but they remain far from true representation. Now, a new, shareable infographic has the numbers you need to talk about diversity in kidlit, and — admittedly — the outlook is pretty grim.
|Adek Berry (AFP Getty Images)|
Several years ago, children's book illustrator Tina Kügler created a widely circulated infographic, "Diversity in Children's Books 2012," which used then-current data from the CCBC. At the time, 93 percent of children's books were about white or non-human characters*.
Although the numbers have changed in the years since Kügler first published her illustration, it has remained in use. In response to St. Catherine University professor Sarah Park Dahlen's request for information on an updated version, a chain reaction led to illustrator David Huyck's involvement. Huyck created a new infographic on diversity in children's literature, and released it under a Creative Commons license.
No wonder Marley Dias got tired of reading about white boys and dogs.
We need diverse books, so that children grow up seeing themselves reflected in the stories they read. White children have no problem locating books about people who look like them, but children of color do not have that luxury. Although 37 percent of people in the U.S. are not white, only 10 percent of children's books published since 1994 "contain[ed] multicultural content," according to Lee & Low Books.
Although children's book publishing appears to be slowly growing more diverse, it remains to be seen whether the trend toward inclusive content will continue in this matter. Gains in representation can be lost just as quickly as they were made, as this year's Man Booker Prize shortlist shows.
So buy diverse books. Talk to your local librarian about creating a more inclusive selection. Pursue the stories of people from marginalized communities, and support the storytellers. Do your part, and we can make sure every kid has a representative bookshelf.
*The exact percentage of books about non-human characters is not accounted for on Kügler's infographic, but it is a distinct category on David Huyck's image.
Image: David Huyck/Dropbox
Friday, September 9, 2016
Frankenstein Frightface Gordon is not your typical sixth-grade monster. In fact, in Uggerland, where goblins and myriad other scary beings thrive, Frank is a monster of a different color. Blue, actually, not the sickly green shade coveted by his kind.
Frankly, Frank is a monster who likes order, not chaos, clean and tidy clothes, not fashion conjured up to frighten folks to death, and worst of all, being kind, not bullying other monsters. Oh, my. This will never do!
The problem is, of course, Frank does not fit into the Uggerland mold; he just isn't "one of us." When a law is passed to get rid of misfits such as Frank, he must do something about it. But what? Seems as if he has to prove his monster mettle, and he does.
From the Grave is a funny and fresh approach to a monster story. Cynthia Reeg has created a lovable young monster who is kind, considerate, and really does not like bullies. Great growing up lessons for kids with no preaching can be found within the pages of this well-written and timely.
Ms. Reeg lives in St. Louis, MO and is a former librarian. She doesn't remember a time when writing was not important to her, and it shows!
Five spookily designed T-shirts in child sizes!
Jolly Fish Press
Friday, August 19, 2016
There are so many fine examples of books similar to these that will enlighten all kids of middle years. Have a look for yourself. Better yet, take that callow-aged kid with you, and grow together!
Friday, July 15, 2016
For children, the high-poverty D.C. neighborhood of Anacostia is a book desert. According to a new study from NYU researchers on the availability of children’s books in low-income neighborhoods in several U.S. cities, only one age-appropriate book is available for every 830 children there. Anacostia isn’t alone.
|(John Spaulding/AP Images for JetBlue’s Soar with Reading Program)|
The recent NYU study, published in the journal Urban Education, compares the availability of children’s books in one high-poverty neighborhood and one “borderline” neighborhood in six U.S. cities. In D.C., Detroit and Los Angeles, they surveyed one neighborhood with a poverty rate of 40 percent or above and another with a poverty rate between 18 and 40 percent. Researchers went street to street in each neighborhood, counting the number and types of print resources available for purchase, from books to magazines to newspapers. In total, they counted 82,389 resources in 75 stores. In three of the six neighborhoods, they found no bookstores at all. Dollar stores were the most common place to buy children’s books.
In each city, researchers found that the borderline communities had on average 16 times more books per child than the high-poverty neighborhoods in the same city. D.C. had the largest divide: In Anacostia, 830 children would need to share a book, while only two would share in Capitol Hill. In Detroit, 42 children in Hamtramck would need to share a book; eleven would in the borderline University District.
“Children’s books are hard to come by in high-poverty neighborhoods. These ‘book deserts’ may seriously constrain young children’s opportunities to come to school ready to learn,” said Susan B. Neuman, professor of childhood and literacy education at NYU Steinhardt and the study’s lead author. “Without resources, school readiness skills accumulated throughout the year are likely to drop precipitously during the summer. This ‘summer slide’ is a serious issue for children in poor and borderline communities, and having limited access to books may have serious consequences.”
JetBlue funded the NYU study. The NYC-headquartered airline has funneled $1.75 million in book donations to kids in many U.S. cities through its “Soar with Reading” initiative. Last year, the program introduced (free) book vending machines to Anacostia and dispensed 27,000 books. The vending project started its second year at the beginning of July.
Wednesday, June 29, 2016
City officials decided that they weren’t going to let a perfectly good abandoned Walmart location go to waste. Rather than let nearly 2.5 football fields of space rot and decay, they decided to transform it into something useful and amazing.
Visit this beautiful library and you’ll get to partake of a full computer lab, 16 public meeting spaces, 14 study rooms, and two genealogy research computer stations.
Cicero once said, “If you have a library and a garden, you have everything you need.” Hence, it can be said that the town of McAllen, Texas has everything it needs.
According to the library directors, new user registration increased by an impressive 23 percent.
What was once a warehouse filled with numerous items humanity never really needed in the first place, now it is filled with a purpose far greater.
Friday, June 17, 2016
Saturday, June 4, 2016
It was just ‘Papa’s written another story—he’s going to read it to me now.'
She recalled a time when she and her younger brother Adam were fighting in the back of a car on a road trip. “My father had been very quiet for a long time, and I guess he couldn’t stand listening to us anymore, and he said, ‘Do you want to hear a story?’ So we settled down, and he recited from beginning to end in verse a story he had just written in his head.”
“It was the only thing he wrote that involved a relationship. I’ve watched children grow up, and that whole drama that’s kind of the precursor to the hell of romance later in life—who is best friends with whom and who likes who when, and this person doesn’t like me now—it’s very painful, and I think that children really like to hear that this is not abnormal, that Frog and Toad go through these dramas every day.”
Lobel never publicly discussed a connection between the series and his sexuality, but he did comment on the ways in which personal material made its way into his stories. In a 1977 interview with the children’s-book journal The Lion and the Unicorn, he said:
You know, if an adult has an unhappy love affair, he writes about it. He exorcises it out of himself, perhaps, by writing a novel about it. Well, if I have an unhappy love affair, I have to somehow use all that pain and suffering but turn it into a work for children.