Friday, January 24, 2014

Orbis Pictus and Gray Awards

The 2014 NCTE Orbis Pictus Award for promoting and recognizing excellence in the writing of nonfiction for children goes to:

A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin written by Jennifer Bryant and illustrated by Melissa Sweet (click here to find the book at your local library).

 Honors go to:

  • Locomotive by Brian Floca
  • The Boy Who Loved Math: The Improbable Life of Paul Erdos by Deborah Heiligman, illustrated by LeUyen Pham
  • Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers’ Strike of 1909 by Michelle Markel, illustrated by Melissa Sweet
  • Parrots Over Puerto Rico by Susan L. Roth and Cindy Trumbore  
  • Courage Has No Color: The True Story of the Triple Nickles, America's First Black Paratroopers by Tanya Lee Ston

The 2014 Dolly Gray Children’s Literature Award, recognizing authors, illustrators, and publishers of high quality fictional and biographical children, intermediate, and young adult books that appropriately portray individuals with developmental disabilities, goes to.

Remember Dippy by Shirley Vernick (click here to find a copy at your local library)


Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend by Matthew Dicks (click here to find a copy at your local library)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Scott O'Dell and Charlotte Zolotow Awards Announced

The Scott O'Dell Award for historical fiction goes to Bo at Ballard Creek written by Kirkpatrick Hill and illustrated by LeUyen Pham (find it at your local library here).

The Charlotte Zolotow Award for best picture book text goes to The Dark written by Lemony Snicket and illustrated by Jon Klassen (find it at your local library here).

Congratulations to these authors and illustrators!

Monday, January 20, 2014

World Read Aloud Day and Virtual Author Visits

World Read Aloud Day and Virtual Author Visits

Imagine a world where everyone can read...

This statement is the campaign call to action by LitWorld, a non-profit literacy organization and sponsor of World Read Aloud Day. Celebrated the first Wednesday of March, World Read Aloud Day (WRAD) advocates for worldwide attention to the human right of literacy and importance of reading aloud and sharing stories.  

From the website:

World Read Aloud Day is about taking action to show the world that the right to read and write belongs to all people. World Read Aloud Day motivates children, teens, and adults worldwide to celebrate the power of words, especially those words that are shared from one person to another, and creates a community of readers advocating for every child’s right to a safe education and access to books and technology. By raising our voices together on this day we show the world’s children that we support their future: that they have the right to read, to write, and to share their words to change the world.

Last year on WRAD, 65 countries and over a million people participated in reading aloud and sharing stories. This year, WRAD is on March 5. You can sign up to participate and download a WRAD calendar at:

Many teachers read aloud to their students every day. However, on March 5, 2014, it takes on a greater intention. With this in mind, Children’s author Kate Messner has pulled together a list of children’s and YA authors who have volunteered to spend part of the day Skyping with classrooms around the world to share the joy of reading aloud! You can find Kate’s list at: Check out the list of participating authors. What an exciting way to share the joy of reading aloud.

Help spread the word about World Read Aloud Day and participate on March 5. Happy Reading!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Daniel Handler on "The Dark"

From NPR:

If there's one thing kids are scared of, it's the dark. In his latest children's book, The Dark, Daniel Handler — who writes under the pen name Lemony Snicket — takes on darkness itself, with the story of a young boy who confronts his biggest fear. Handler is known for his dry wit and matter-of-fact take on the mysterious and macabre. In his A Series of Unfortunate Events books and , the protagonists confront twisted characters and dastardly villains.

"I can't think of a story that doesn't have something terrible in it," he tells NPR's Neal Conan. "Otherwise, it's dull. So when I embarked into the world of picture books, my first thought was to do something about the dark.

"I think the book is probably a little bit scary. I also hope it's interesting."

Handler talks about his own childhood fears and the process of writing his latest book.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Katherine Applegate on NPR

Katherine Applegate's Newbery Award winning book The One and Only Ivan is NPR's June Backseat Book Club selection. Yesterday, NPR conducted an interview with Katherine. Enjoy!

PS: Katherine Applegate will be at the National Book Festival this year!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Meet the Authors at the National Book Festival!

Several years ago, I took my son (who was around 10 at the time) and the students in my children’s literature course to an author appearance by Christopher Paul Curtis. His book, Watson’s Go To Birmingham – 1963 had been chosen for the citywide read program. By all accounts, it was an amazing event! Christopher Paul Curtis read aloud the first chapter (which is hilarious), discussed his inspiration for writing the story, and answered questions. 

Afterward, as we stood in line to get his autograph, many of my students commented that they had never met an author before. My son was also enamored. He asked Curtis to sign a poster of the book and to take a picture with him. Later, he hung the poster on his door. As he grew into a teenager, almost everything about his room changed – all except the poster of Curtis on the door. He didn’t want to take it down. It represented an important moment in his life; one that made a lasting impression.

Meeting an author is a wonderful experience. Nowhere is that more apparent than at the National Book Festival hosted by the Library of Congress on the National Mall every September. Large tents are set up on the lawn representing genres or age groups and scheduled authors present over the two day weekend. Two of these tents are for children’s and young adult authors. Book enthusiasts from across the country gather under the tents waiting to be wowed by their favorite authors and every year I am lucky enough to be one of them. This year, the festival will be held on September 21-22. Check out the list of children’s and young adult authors appearing this year here.

However, everyone is not able to attend the National Book Festival. Fortunately, each author is videotaped and the recordings are made available on the website for the National Book Festival. Last year, I heard Patricia Polocco and was simply brought to tears by her powerful presentation. I was able to share that experience with my students by showing the video to my class. There are hundreds of videos of authors available, so you can bring the power of meeting the author to your students!

Friday, June 1, 2012

June is Audiobook Month! Listen free..

2 Free Audiobook Downloads Each Week from Listening Library 

Listening Library is proud to team up with AudioFile Magazine to support SYNC. Beginning this month, SYNC offers FREE audiobook downloads of Young Adult audiobooks and Summer Reading Classics!

Watch for Listening Library's IRISES by Francisco X. Stork available June 21 – June 27 and THE AMULET OF SAMARKAND by Jonathan Stroud available June 28 – July 4.

To find out when you can download titles to listen to on the run this summer, visit www.AudiobookSync. or text syncya to 25827.

NPR Books Confesses Love for Teen Reads




May 30, 2012; Washington, D.C. – A good novel doesnt just transcend the boundaries of its target market – it knows nothing about target markets. NPR Books takes this to heart with the launch of its annual Summer Books package, focusing this year’s theme on the coming-of-age stories that open our eyes to a world beyond childhood and stick for a lifetime. NPR Books will spotlight Young Adult literature with a new series and its annual listeners’ poll in addition to round-ups of critics’ picks and exclusive excerpts from this season’s most anticipated reads.

The centerpiece of Summer Books is “PG-13: Risky Reads,” a new series exploring the ageless themes and no-holds barred style that makes the Young Adult genre eternally inspiring. In first-person submissions, acclaimed authors including Jodi Picoult (My Sister’s Keeper), Abraham Verghese (Cutting for Stone), Lois Lowry (The Giver) and Jesmyn Ward (2011 National Book Award for Fiction, Salvage the Bones) remember the books they may have read before they were quite ready – a child peeking into the world of adults. The series began on All Things Considered with the nightmarish nail-bitter I Am the Cheese, which made a then-12-year-old Ben Marcus worry. Listeners can also visit the This Is NPR blog to read similar narratives submitted by NPR staff. Local stations and broadcast times are available at

In June, NPR Books will begin compiling readers’ nominations for the best YA literature of all time. Listeners can vote for their favorite formative novel and find further inspiration at The Top 100 list will be released in August.

Summer Books 2012 will again offer its extremely popular package of themed critics’ lists compiled by NPR favorites such as Susan Stamberg, Lynn Neary and Maureen Corrigan, as well as acclaimed literary names like romance author Eloisa James (Pleasures trilogy) and novelist Madeline Miller (The Song of Achilles). Other notable compilations include critic Heller McAlpin’s list of “Seriously Funny” reads to distract that fidgety beach buddy, NPR bookworm Nancy Pearl’s “Under the Radar” list of inconspicuous gems, and librarian Lee Butler’s summer reading assignments for those avid YA fans. These recommendations – for literary fiction, mysteries, historical fiction, romance, humor and more – will make even avid NPR listeners turn down the radio and pick up a book. Listeners can also find exclusive text and audio excerpts from some of this year’s best reads at