Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Sarah Hale: The Mother of Thanksgiving

Every year at this time, I read aloud Laurie Halse Anderson's picturebook, Thank you, Sarah!: The Woman Who Saved Thanksgiving. 

It is the little known but true story of how Sarah Hale, editor of Godey's Lady's Book, fought for decades to get the fourth Thursday of November declared as a national day of Thanksgiving. Every year, the majority of students in my preservice reading/methods course are unfamiliar with this story and have even argued that it isn't true. Anderson writes the story in a wonderfully engaging way and provides an extensive list of resources in the back. 

One of my students found a new resource which she shared with me. The Public Radio show, BackStory recently featured Historian Anne Blue Wills who tells the story of Sarah Josepha Hale, a New England magazine editor who campaigned tirelessly to put Thanksgiving on our national calendar. The audio slide show titled: Sarah Hale: The Mother of Thanksgiving provides a narrated photo essay that includes photographs and historical documents that would add much to any discussion of why we have Thanksgiving today.

 Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Full Cast Audio Recording of Spilling Ink!

I have been posting about the blog buddies project between my preservice teachers and a class of fourth graders. Together, we are reading Ellen Potter and Anne Mazer's Spilling Ink and posting to our blog titled Spilling Our Ink.

Today, I discovered that Ellen and Anne have performed the first duet recording of Spilling Ink by Full Cast Audio, directed by Bruce Coville. Below is a look behind the scenes...

Sunday, November 7, 2010

NCTE Presentation with Margaret Peterson Haddix

Previously, I have announced on this blog my upcoming NCTE presentation on Virtual Author Visits with Kate Messner, Ellen Potter, and LeUyen Pham which will be on November 20th at 8:00 a.m. in the Coronado/Coronado S Ballroom.

Recently, NCTE started sending presenters a printable flier announcing their upcoming session at the conference, which I think is really neat. Below is the flier announcing my other presentation with author extraordinaire Margaret Peterson Haddix! I hope to see you there.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

NYT Best Illustrated Children's Books of 2010

It's already that time of year! The New York Times annual Best Illustrated Children's books of 2010 is out today--just in time for holiday gift giving.


Written and illustrated by Peter Brown
Annually since 1952, the Book Review has asked a panel of judges to select 10 winners from among the several thousand children’s books published during the year. The judges this time around were Robert Sabuda, a co-creator of the best-selling “Encyclopedia Prehistorica” series and twice the recipient of a Times Best Illustrated award; Elizabeth Bird, a children’s librarian with the New York Public Library, whose first picture book, “Giant Dance Party,” is due out next year; and David Barringer, a novelist and designer who is the author of “There’s Nothing Funny About Design.” —The Editors

Friday, November 5, 2010

My Article: Teaching with Authors' Blogs

My article, Teaching With Authors' Blogs: Connections, Collaboration, Creativity is in this month's issue of the Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy.*

This article was so much fun to write! It was born out of a presentation I did last year at NCTE with five children's/YA authors who are also proliferate bloggers: Laurie Halse Anderson, Barbara O'Connor, Lisa Yee, Justine Larbalestier, and Maureen Johnson.  

As with the presentation, the purpose of the article is to explore the motivation for and content of young adult literature authors' blogs and the potential use of these blogs for teaching and learning the English language arts and 21st-century literacy skills. I include either direct quotes or content from the blogs of all of the authors listed above, plus content from the blogs of Esme Codell and John Green.

A great big THANK YOU to all of these authors for permission to use content from their blogs in the article and for taking the time to share your world with your readers. Hopefully, the article will inspire new readers!

If you read the article, I would love your feedback!

* Johnson, D. (2010, November). Teaching With Authors' Blogs: Connections, Collaboration, Creativity. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 54(3), 172–180.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Prize Is Created for Gay Literature for Young Readers

 From the November 1, 2010 edition of the New York Times:

Prize Is Created for Gay Literature for Young Readers

The American Library Association has added an award for gay and lesbian literature to its annual prizes for children’s books. The prizes, which include the prestigious John Newbery and Randolph Caldecott medals, will be announced on Jan. 10.

The new award, called the Stonewall Children’s and Young Adult Literature Award, is for an English-language book “of exceptional merit relating to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered experience,” the association said on Monday. Stonewall Awards for adult books have been handed out since 1971.
Robert Stevens, the president of the American Library Association, said in a statement that children’s books that include the experiences of gays and lesbians “are critical tools in teaching tolerance, acceptance and the importance of diversity.”

Books that win awards from the association are closely watched by librarians, teachers and parents, and are typically distributed widely in bookstores, schools and libraries after receiving a prize.

The American Library Association said there was a growing demand for hihg-quality children’s books that reflect the experiences of gays and lesbians, citing a national statistic that about 14 million children have a gay or lesbian parent.