Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Okay For Now by Gary Schmidt/LIVE webcast!

Click to read the first chapter
I am a big fan of Gary Schmidt! The Wednesday Wars is one of my favorite books. One of the characters from The Wednesday Wars is starring in his new book, Okay For Now, which releases April 5. Though there is a cross over in characters, Okay for Now is not a sequel, but a companion to The Wednesday Wars


As a fourteen-year-old who just moved to a new town, with no friends and a louse for an older brother, Doug Swieteck has all the stats stacked against him. So begins a coming-of-age masterwork full of equal parts comedy and tragedy from Newbery Honor winner Gary D. Schmidt. As Doug struggles to be more than the “skinny thug” that his teachers and the police think him to be, he finds an unlikely ally in Lil Spicer—a fiery young lady who “smelled like daisies would smell if they were growing in a big field under a clearing sky after a rain.” In Lil, Doug finds the strength to endure an abusive father, the suspicions of a whole town, and the return of his oldest brother, forever scarred, from Vietnam. Together, they find a safe haven in the local library, inspiration in learning about the plates of John James Audubon’s birds, and a hilarious adventure on a Broadway stage. In this stunning novel, Schmidt expertly weaves multiple themes of loss and recovery in a story teeming with distinctive, unusual characters and invaluable lessons about love, creativity, and survival.

You can read the first chapter of Okay for Now by clicking on the caption under the book cover above. You can also watch a video of Schmidt discussing the book below. 

As if that's not enough, you can also watch a live webcast with Gary Schmidt on Monday, May 9, 2011 1:00pm EST. Sign up here.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Shaun Tan Wins Astrid Lindgren Award

From the CBC News:

An Australian author and illustrator who nabbed an Oscar in February can now add the world's most lucrative children's literary award to his trophy case.
Shaun Tan, author and illustrator of picture books The Arrival and The Lost Thing, is winner of the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, organizers announced in Stockholm on Tuesday.

The annual honour awards five million kroner (about $766,000 Cdn) to a writer, illustrator or storyteller for his or her outstanding contribution to children's or young adult literature.

"Shaun Tan is a masterly visual storyteller, pointing the way ahead to new possibilities for picture books," the jury said in its citation.

"His pictorial worlds constitute a separate universe where nothing is self-evident and anything is possible. Memories of childhood and adolescence are fixed reference points, but the pictorial narrative is universal and touches everyone."

Tan will receive the award at a ceremony later this year.

The Melbourne-based writer has published more than 20 titles, including The Rabbits, The Red Tree and Tales from Outer Suburbia. His work has been translated into more than 10 languages.

In February, Tan won an Academy Award for best animated short for his 15-minute film The Lost Thing, based on a story he published in 2000.

Established by the Swedish Arts Council in 2002, the Lindgren Prize celebrates writers who work in the spirit of Astrid Lindgren, author of the Pippi Longstocking tales. Previous winners have included Maurice Sendak and Philip Pullman.

Horn Book Starred reviews for May/June

The following books will receive starred reviews in the May/June issue of The Horn Book Magazine:
  • Tweak Tweak by Eve Bunting; illus. by Sergio Ruzzier (Clarion)
  • RRRalph by Lois Ehlert (Beach Lane/Simon)
  • Good Luck, Anna Hibiscus! and Have Fun, Anna Hibiscus! by Atinuke; illus. by Lauren Tobia (Kane Miller)
  • The Trouble with May Amelia by Jennifer L. Holm; illus. by Adam Gustavson (Atheneum)
  • The Last Little Blue Envelope by Maureen Johnson (HarperTeen/HarperCollins)
  • Lark by Tracey Porter (HarperTeen/HarperCollins)
  • Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey (Knopf)
  • Encyclopedia Mythologica: Dragons & Monsters by Matthew Reinhart and Robert Sabuda (Candlewick)
  • Can We Save the Tiger? by Martin Jenkins; illus. by Vicky White (Candlewick)
  • Into the Unknown: How Great Explorers Found Their Way by Land, Sea, and Air by Stewart Ross; illus. by Stephen Biesty (Candlewick)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Book News

 From Publishers Weekly:

More than a decade in the making, Christopher Paolini’s bestselling Inheritance Cycle draws to a close this fall with the publication of the fourth and final book, Inheritance, which Knopf Books for Young Readers will publish on November 8. Random House has announced a 2.5 million–copy first printing for the book. “The burning questions asked by fans around the world will finally be answered in this last installment,” said Paolini in a statement about the new book. “All will be revealed!” 

Paolini’s is quite the publishing success story: he began writing the first book in the Inheritance Cycle, Eragon, at age 15, and self-published it through Lightning Source. Then Knopf signed up the book and published it in fall 2003 (when Paolini was 20), followed by Eldest (2005) and Brisingr (2008). Combined, the books have sold 25 million copies worldwide, and Eragon was made into a 2006 film that grossed more than $75 million in the U.S. and nearly $250 million globally.
“The publication of Inheritance brings a dramatic and satisfying close to one of the best-loved fantasy series in recent publishing history,” said Nancy Hinkel, v-p and publishing director and Knopf BFYR. Executive editor Michelle Frey edited Inheritance along with the three preceding books. Inheritance will be published simultaneously in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Australia, and New Zealand; in the U.S. audio and e-book versions will also be available on November 8. Knopf is planning a 10-city tour for Paolini, beginning on the book’s pub date in New York City.
If you want to sell in the mega-numbers, write or publish a series. That's the clear message from our compilation of last year's bestselling titles. Eighteen books for children and teens sold more than a million copies last year: all of them were from authors of big franchises: Jeff Kinney, Stephenie Meyer, Rick Riordan, Suzanne Collins, PC and Kristin Cast. The Wimpy Kid had a not-very-wimpy total: 11.5 million copies sold, of seven titles. Sales of Twilight books, while still significant, cooled somewhat last year—just over 8.5 million books sold in 2010 vs. 26.5 million in 2009 and 27.5 million in 2008. Riordan's various series added up to more than 10 million copies sold; nearly four million Hunger Games books were sold; and James Patterson's assorted series sold just over 2.5 million copies. Want more? Four-and-a-half million Fancy Nancy books, 3.2 million House of Night books, 2.4 million Pretty Little Liars books, and 1.5 million in the Immortals series, 1.8 million copies of The 39 Clues.

Some newer, up-and-coming series made strong showings in 2010, including Dork Diaries, Fallen, The Adventures of Ook & Gluk, Big Nate, The Carrie Diaries, and the first volume in John Grisham's Theodore Boone series for middle-graders.

And there's still room on the lists for some one-offs: Justin Bieber: First Step 2 Forever; Barack Obama's picture book, Of Thee I Sing; Lauren Oliver's debut YA novel, Before I Fall; and the middle-grade hit The Strange Case of Origami Yoda.

Scholastic Press today released the cover art for Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick, winner of the 2008 Caldecott Medal for The Invention of Hugo Cabret. His new novel expands on the heavily illustrated format of the earlier novel, presenting the stories of two children living 50 years apart, a girl in 1927 and a boy in 1977, who each set out on a quest to find what is missing in their lives. Wonderstruck will be released simultaneously in the U.S., the U.K., New Zealand, Australia, and Canada on September 13.
Tracy Mack, executive editor of Scholastic Press, has been working with Selznick on his latest novel for three years. She says that in Wonderstruck the author “ups the ante and challenges himself to play with the form he created in The Invention of Hugo Cabret, and evolves the form further.” Where that book offers a single story told in words and pictures, she explains, “This novel tells two independent stories—one told in words, the other in pictures. The structure is wholly original, the transitions between stories are awe-inspiring, and how the two stories ultimately come together is tender and resonant.”
Scholastic’s creative director, David Saylor, calls Selznick “a brilliant bookmaker who has a unique vision for all his projects,” and says that his own role in the creation of Wonderstruck “is to help realize Brian’s vision for the book in physical form: how the cover, case, and interior design details should look, how the artwork is showcased, and how the finished book will look and ‘feel’ as both an object and a reading experience. All the details matter to Brian, and I’m his sounding board on the multitude of design decisions that go into making his books.”
For the newly unveiled cover of the novel, Saylor notes, “We really wanted something dramatic, but also something iconic.” After bouncing around many cover concepts that were more complicated, he says, “we were drawn back again and again to the simplicity of the lightning bolt and the New York City skyline in 1977. That image will resonate with readers in surprising ways, starting from the first page and continuing through to the very last.”
The announced U.S. first printing for Wonderstruck is 500,000 copies. Mack believes that the novel will strike a chord with Hugo Cabret fans. “It gives readers much of what they loved about Hugo Cabret, and something entirely new at the same time,” she observes. “Hugo Cabret turned so many reluctant readers into readers, and this new novel has that same potential.”
Not long after the publication of Wonderstruck, The Invention of Hugo Cabret is due to spring to life on screen. A movie adaptation of the novel, which has more than 800,000 copies in print, is scheduled for release by Paramount Pictures in November, directed by Martin Scorsese.
 From Waking Brain Cells:

The Wall Street Journal has the news that Maurice Sendak will be releasing a new book, Bumble-Ardy.  HarperCollins has announced that it will be released this fall with a print run of 500,000.  Sendak first created the character for an animated short on Sesame Street in 1971.  Since that time, he has been unable to forget the character:
"He was funny. He was robust. He was sly. He was a sneak. He was all the things I like," Mr. Sendak said.

National Drop Everything and Read Day: April 12

National Drop Everything and Read Day

What is National D.E.A.R. Day?
D.E.A.R. stands for Drop Everything and Read. National D.E.A.R. Day is a special reading celebration to remind and encourage families to make reading together on a daily basis a family priority.

Can I celebrate D.E.A.R. Day on another date?
Yes, of course. Every day is a great day to Drop Everything and Read! The goal is to make reading a regular part of your routine. So, go ahead and read today, tomorrow, and every day!

Who is leading the National D.E.A.R. Day Celebration? The National Education Association (NEA); Parent Teacher Association (PTA); the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association; Reading Rockets; The General Federation of Women’s Clubs (GFWC); the Newspaper Association of America Foundation (NAA); First Book; HarperCollins Children’s Books; Read Kiddo Read; Walden Media and Ramona Quimby.

More about the partners

When is National D.E.A.R. Day?
The birthday of beloved author Beverly Cleary is the official event date, April 12th. Ramona Quimby, the program’s official spokesperson, is responsible for spreading the word and the love of reading.

Why is National D.E.A.R. Day celebrated on Beverly Cleary’s birthday?
Beverly Cleary receives thousands of letters a year from young readers, many who have participated in D.E.A.R. at school. Their interest in and enthusiasm for this special reading activity inspired Mrs. Cleary to give the same experience to Ramona Quimby, who gets to enjoy D.E.A.R. time with the rest of her class in Ramona Quimby, Age 8.

How can I participate?
Schools, libraries, bookstores and other organizations are being asked to host Drop Everything and Read events on April 12th. You can attend an event in your community or participate right in your own home by reading for 30 minutes!

What materials are available for National D.E.A.R. Day?
Please visit the “Resources” section of this website to find reproducible activities and templates for planning, promoting, and hosting your own D.E.A.R. events.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Erin Gruwell: Darden Lecture in Education

Erin Gruwell: Darden Lecture in Education

Erin Gruwell: Darden Lecture in Education

Presented by Old Dominion University at Ted Constant Convocation Center
April 6, 2011

Erin Gruwell, whose life story inspired the 2007 film “Freedom Writers,” starring Hilary Swank, will give the 2011 Darden Lecture in Education.

Nothing could have prepared Erin Gruwell for her first day of teaching at Wilson High School in Long Beach, California. A recent college graduate, she landed her first job in Room 203, only to discover many of her students had been written off by the education system and deemed “unteachable.” As teenagers living in a racially divided urban community, they were already hardened by firsthand exposure to gang violence, juvenile detention and drugs.

Enter Gruwell. By fostering an educational philosophy that valued and promoted diversity, she transformed her students’ lives. She encouraged them to rethink rigid beliefs about themselves and others, to reconsider daily decisions and to rechart their futures. With Gruwell’s steadfast support, her students shattered stereotypes to become critical thinkers, aspiring college students and citizens for change. They even dubbed themselves the “Freedom Writers” — in homage to civil rights activists “The Freedom Riders” — and published a book.

Inspired by Anne Frank and Zlata Filipovic (who lived through war-torn Sarajevo), Gruwell and her students captured their collective journey in “The Freedom Writers Diary – How a Teacher and 150 Teens Used Writing to Change Themselves and the World Around Them.” Through poignant student entries and Gruwell’s narrative text, the book chronicles their “eye-opening, spirit-raising odyssey against intolerance and misunderstanding.”

While Gruwell has been credited with giving her students a “second chance,” it was perhaps she who changed the most during her tenure at Wilson High School. She decided to channel her classroom experiences toward a broader cause, and today her impact as a “teacher” extends well beyond Room 203.

Currently, Gruwell serves as president of the Freedom Writers Foundation. She raises awareness by traveling nationwide to speak at large corporations, government institutions and community associations. But her capacity to convert apathy to action matters most at schools and juvenile halls, where any observer can watch the expressions of troubled teens shift from guarded cynicism to unabashed hopefulness.

Gruwell and her students have appeared on numerous television shows, including “Oprah,” “The Rosie O’Donnell Show,” “Prime Time Live”,” “The View,” “Good Morning America” and C-SPAN’s “Book TV.” Her class has been featured on National Public Radio and in national newspapers and People magazine. Paramount Pictures released "Freedom Writers" in January 2007.

Gruwell is a graduate of the University of California, Irvine, where she received the Lauds and Laurels Distinguished Alumni Award. She earned her master’s degree and teaching credentials from California State University, Long Beach, where she was honored as a Distinguished Alumna by the School of Education.
The free talk, sponsored by ODU’s Darden College of Education and Pearson Education, will be in the Big Blue Room at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Free parking is available in garages C and D, just off Hampton Boulevard on 43rd and 45th streets.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Patricia MacLachlan to write Boxcar Children Prequel

Author of Newbery-winner Sarah, Plain and Tall
to Write Boxcar Children Prequel

On Tuesday, March 15, Albert Whitman & Company announced that Newbery-winning author Patricia MacLachlan will write the prequel to The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner. To be published in September 2012, the prequel brings together two powerhouse brands of children’s literature. The book will be published simultaneously as an e-book by Open Road Integrated Media. The announcement was made at the Gertrude Chandler Warner Boxcar Children Museum in Putnam, Connecticut.

Excited to be writing the prequel to The Boxcar Children, MacLachlan is particularly interested in the children themselves. “Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny are kind to one another and embody the true sense of family. They are resourceful and positive. I find them both true children and true heroes at the same time. It occurs to me that perhaps their parents were the same. I’m looking forward to exploring that idea and more.”

Patricia MacLachlan, the author of over 20 books for children, won the Newbery Medal for her book Sarah, Plain and Tall.

The Boxcar Children, an award-winning series with over 150 titles and more than 50 million copies in print, has been continuously in print since the publication of the first book in 1942. Albert Whitman will celebrate the 70th anniversary of this beloved series in 2012.

Albert Whitman & Company President John Quattrocchi notes, “Young readers have long wondered how the Boxcar Children came to be orphans. We are pleased and honored that an author of Patricia MacLachlan’s talent and understanding of children will reveal the answer to the world.”

Making the announcement for Albert Whitman & Company was Senior Editor Wendy McClure. Rubin Pfeffer (East-West Literary Agency), MacLachlan’s agent, was also on hand. Representing the museum at the announcement were Fred Hedenberg (Founder and Curator), Patricia Hedenberg (Founding Boxcar Committee Member), and Barbara Scalise (Director). Also present were Bill Pearsall (President, Aspinock Historical Society), Sandra Ames (former grade school student of Gertrude Chandler Warner), and Julia Duquette (former student of Gertrude Chandler Warner and a relative of Warner).

Monday, March 14, 2011

Children's Choice Book Awards: The Voting Begins


Let the Voting Begin!

NEW YORK, NY, March 14, 2011 – The Children’s Book Council (CBC) in association with Every Child A Reader, the CBC Foundation, hosts the fourth annual Children’s Choice Book Awards Program with the announcement of 30 finalists in six categories, including Author and Illustrator of the Year. The Children's Choice Book Awards is the only national children's book awards program where winning titles are selected by young readers of all ages. Children and teens are now able to cast their vote for their favorite books, author, and illustrator at bookstores, school libraries, and at until April 29, 2011.

“This year’s outstanding roster of finalists represents the voices of over 16,000 children and teens, who read and selected the titles – fiction, non-fiction, graphic novels,  picture books - that appealed to them the most,” said Robin Adelson, Executive Director at The Children’s Book Council. “I’m eager to see which titles will emerge as the winners!”

The Children’s Choice Book Award winners will be announced LIVE at the annual Children’s Choice Book Awards Gala on May 2 at The Lighthouse in New York City as part of Children’s Book Week (May 2-8, 2011), the oldest national literacy event in the United States.

The Children’s Choice Book Award categories and finalists are as follows:

Kindergarten to Second Grade Book of the Year:
Even Monsters Need Haircuts by Matthew McElligott (Walker)
Hot Rod Hamster by Cynthia Lord, illustrated by Derek Anderson (Scholastic Press)
How Rocket Learned to Read by Tad Hills (Schwartz & Wade/ Random House)
Little Pink Pup by Johanna Kerby (Putnam/Penguin)
Shark vs. Train by Chris Barton, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld (Little, Brown)

Third Grade to Fourth Grade Book of the Year:
Babymouse # 12: Burns Rubber by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm (Random House)
Bad Kitty vs. Uncle Murray: The Uproar at the Front Door by Nick Bruel (Roaring Brook/Macmillan)
Encyclopedia Mythologica: Gods & Heroes by Matthew Reinhart and Robert Sabuda (Candlewick)
Finally by Wendy Mass (Scholastic Press)
Lunch Lady and the Summer Camp Shakedown by Jarrett J. Krosoczka (Knopf/Random House)

Fifth Grade to Sixth Grade Book of the Year:
Big Nate: In a Class by Himself by Lincoln Peirce (HarperCollins)
It's a Book by Lane Smith (Roaring Brook/Macmillan)
The Red Pyramid (The Kane Chronicles, Book 1) by Rick Riordan (Disney-Hyperion)
Smile by Raina Telgemeier (Graphix/Scholastic)
Zebrafish by Peter H. Reynolds and FableVision (Atheneum/Simon & Schuster)

Teen Choice Book of the Year:
Burned (House of Night, Book 7) by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast (St. Martin’s Griffin/Macmillan)
Fang (A Maximum Ride Novel) by James Patterson (Little, Brown)
Mockingjay (The Final Book of The Hunger Games) by Suzanne Collins (Scholastic Press)
Spirit Bound (Vampire Academy, Book 5) by Richelle Mead (Razorbill/Penguin)
Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan (Dutton/Penguin)

Author of the Year:
Cassandra Clare for Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices, Book 1) (McElderry/Simon & Schuster)
Suzanne Collins for Mockingjay (The Final Book of The Hunger Games) (Scholastic Press)
Jeff Kinney for Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Ugly Truth (Amulet/Abrams)
Stephenie Meyer for The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner (Megan Tingley/Little, Brown)
Rick Riordan for The Lost Hero (The Heroes of Olympus, Book 1) (Disney-Hyperion)

Illustrator of the Year:
Robin Preiss Glasser for Fancy Nancy and the Fabulous Fashion Boutique (HarperCollins)
Loren Long for Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters (Knopf/Random House)
Nancy Tillman for Wherever You Are: My Love Will Find You (Feiwel & Friends/Macmillan)
David Wiesner for Art & Max (Clarion/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Mo Willems for Knuffle Bunny Free: An Unexpected Diversion (Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins)

The finalists for Book of the Year in the Kindergarten to Second Grade, Third Grade to Fourth Grade, and Fifth Grade to Sixth Grade categories are the books that received the highest number of votes in the IRA-CBC Children’s Choices program in June. This joint project of the International Reading Association (IRA) and the CBC began in 1975. Teams of IRA-affiliated educators in five geographic regions receive copies of each submitted title to provide to students to read and rate in classrooms across their region. The votes from the five regions (from approximately 12,000 children) are compiled and the five titles with the highest number of votes in each category (K-2, 3-4, 5-6) become the finalists for the Children's Choice Book Awards.

The Teen Choice finalists are determined with the help of (part of The Book Report Network). The website compiles a list of all the books they have reviewed over the year and encourages readers to write in their own picks if they aren't listed. Teens vote for their favorite book and the top five vote-getters become the finalists for the Teen Choice Book of the Year. This year, over 4,000 teens determined the finalists.

The Author and Illustrator of the Year finalists are selected by the CBC from a review of bestseller lists with an emphasis on Bookscan. Only authors and illustrators associated with books published in the previous calendar year are considered.

About the Children’s Book Council
The Children’s Book Council is the national nonprofit trade association for children’s book publishers. The CBC offers children’s publishers the opportunity to work together on issues of importance to the industry at large, including educational programming, literacy advocacy, and collaborations with other national organizations. Our members span the spectrum from large international houses to smaller independent presses. Membership in the CBC is open to U.S. publishers of children’s trade books, as well as in some cases to industry-affiliated companies. The CBC is proud to partner with other national organizations on co-sponsored reading lists, educational programming, and literacy initiatives. Please visit for more information.

WordGirl Webcast

From On Our Minds at Scholastic:

Teachers and students – get ready for the second annual WordGirl Definition Competition, a free classroom webcast where kids can *dabble* in word domination (no cape required) on April 27th at 1:00 PM (ET) / 10:00 AM (PT)!

In this 30-minute webcast, WordGirl will *engage* students in a fun and entertaining game-show style vocabulary challenge. Students will face villains (in the form of poor word choices) and have an opportunity to practice word usage, reading comprehension, definitions and using words in different contexts. And, as our official *Ambassador* of Summer Reading, WordGirl will kick off the Scholastic Summer Challenge to get students excited about books and reading all summer long.

The event is not only a great way for students to build their *incredible* vocabulary strength, it’s also easy to incorporate into your lesson plans. Once you register your class, you’ll receive an Event Kit with WordGirl vocabulary activities to prep your students for the big day. If you can’t make the event on April 27th, replays will be available soon after the show.

Women's History Booklist

From The Horn Book Magazine Online:

Picture Books
Suggested grade level for each entry: K–3

Emma's Poem: The Voice of the Statue of Liberty written by Linda Glaser, illustrated by Claire A. Nivola (Houghton)
This account of how Emma Lazarus came to write her iconic poem is brief, yet telling — especially when complemented by eloquent illustrations. 32 pages.

Ballet for Martha: Making Appalachian Spring written by Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan, illustrated by Brian Floca (Roaring Brook/Flash Point/Porter)
Choreographer Martha Graham, composer Aaron Copland, and sculptor/set designer Isamu Noguchi collaborate on the iconic Appalachian Spring. 48 pages.

What to Do About Alice?: How Alice Roosevelt Broke the Rules, Charmed the World, and Drove Her Father Teddy Crazy! written by Barbara Kerley, illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham (Scholastic)
Spunky and headstrong, Alice Roosevelt Longworth "was hungry to go places . . . do things." Readers follow her (mis)adventures in illustrations matching Alice's exuberant spirit. 48 pages.

Ida B. Wells: Let the Truth Be Told
written by Walter Dean Myers, illustrated by Bonnie Christensen (HarperCollins/Amistad)
This biography presents, for a younger audience, an understandable and compelling picture of a remarkable woman. 40 pages.

Sojourner Truth's Step-Stomp Stride written by Andrea Davis Pinkney, illustrated by Brian Pinkney (Disney/Jump at the Sun)
Truth's determination and hard work as an abolitionist, preacher, and advocate for women's rights are portrayed in a folksy narrative with illustrations conveying the strength of her personality. 40 pages.

Eleanor, Quiet No More written by Doreen Rappaport, illustrated by Gary Kelley (Hyperion)
Roosevelt's own words define her growth from insecure child to reluctant but forceful political voice to respected citizen of the world. 40 pages.

Elizabeth Leads the Way: Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the Right to Vote written by Tanya Lee Stone, illustrated by Rebecca Gibbon (Holt)
Easy-to-read text and folksy illustrations emphasize the accepted roles of women in the nineteenth century and the groundswell of people, led by Stanton, demanding change. 32 pages.
Intermediate Fiction
Suggested grade level for each entry: 4–6

Independent Dames: What You Never Knew About the Women and Girls of the American Revolution written by Laurie Halse Anderson, illustrated by Matt Faulkner (Simon)
Saucy text challenges conventionally taught American Revolutionary history with tales of the girls and women who organized boycotts, spied on Redcoats, and disguised themselves as male soldiers. 40 pages.

Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice by Phillip Hoose (Farrar/Kroupa)
In 1955 Montgomery, fifteen-year-old Colvin refused to give up her seat on the bus. A compelling narrative balances the events of the civil rights movement with Colvin’s biography. 133 pages.

Lost Childhood: My Life in a Japanese Prison Camp During World War II by Annelex Hofstra Layson, with Herman J. Viola (National Geographic)
In 1942, four-year-old Annelex, her mother, and grandmother, Dutch citizens living in the Dutch East Indies, were interned by the Japanese. A spare narrative lets events speak for themselves. 112 pages.

Louisa: The Life of Louisa May Alcott written by Yona Zeldis McDonough, illustrated by Bethanne Andersen (Holt/Ottaviano)
Informative text and sophisticated illustrations capture the Alcotts' uncompromising ideals, Louisa's struggles with poverty, her growing fame, and her nurturing of her family through many losses. 48 pages.

Anne Frank: Her Life in Words and Pictures by Menno Metselaar and Ruud van der Rol, translated by Arnold J. Pomerans (Roaring Brook/Flash Point)
Annotated excerpts of Anne’s diary accompany extraordinary photographs of her life before and during hiding. The conclusion describes Anne's death and the publication of her diary. 216 pages.

Memories of Babi by Aranka Siegal (Farrar)
Siegal recalls summers on her grandmother's Ukrainian farm; memories include cooking (recipes appended), mushroom hunting, and feather plucking. Anti-Semitism in the region foreshadows Babi’s sad fate. 116 pages.

I'll Pass for Your Comrade: Women Soldiers in the Civil War by Anita Silvey (Clarion)
Why did women, disguised as men, fight in the Civil War? How did they pass? How did these women transition back into civilian life? An engaging social history emerges around these questions. 118 pages.

Amelia Earhart: This Broad Ocean written by Sarah Stewart Taylor, illustrated by Ben Towle (Hyperion)
Narrator Grace, who handwrites a newspaper for her small Newfoundland town, is riveted by Amelia Earhart. She gets the chance to ask Earhart all about her life when the pilot comes to town. 80 pages.

Young Adult Fiction
Suggested grade level for each entry: 7 and up

Up Close: Jane Goodall by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen (Viking)
Effectively integrated excerpts from Jane Goodall’s writings reveal her passion for research, while also providing glimpses of Goodall the woman: extroverted, flirtatious, and loving. 215 pages.

Genius of Common Sense: Jane Jacobs and the Story of The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Glenna Lang and Marjory Wunsch (Godine)
This biography shows Jacobs as independent-minded and outspoken; her authorship of her seminal work and role as scourge of so-called urban renewal are handled clearly and efficiently. 128 pages.

Up Close: Harper Lee by Kerry Madden (Viking)
This straightforward biography covers Lee's childhood, her college years, her persistent rewriting of To Kill a Mockingbird, her friendship with Truman Capote, and the filming of Mockingbird. 224 pages.

I Am Scout: The Biography of Harper Lee by Charles J. Shields (Holt)
Secondary source material, interviews, and a journalistic style create a readable ode to a determined woman who writes, rewrites, edits, becomes frustrated, and finally finishes an enduring novel. 246 pages.

Flygirl by Sherri L. Smith (Putnam)
Ida Mae wants to fly, an improbable dream for a black girl in 1940s Louisiana. When war breaks out, she counterfeits a pilot's license and passes as white to join the Women's Airforce Service Pilots. 275 pages.

Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared to Dream by Tanya Lee Stone (Candlewick)
This story of the effort to get women into NASA's Mercury astronaut training program is thrillingly told and meticulously researched, with first- and second-hand sources and historical photographs. 134 pages.

Suggested grade level listed with each entry

Borrowed Names: Poems About Laura Ingalls Wilder, Madame C.J. Walker, Marie Curie, and Their Daughters by Jeannine Atkins (Holt)
Each of these renowned women had a rocky early relationship with her child that blossomed into mutual respect. Thirty vignettes concerning each mother-daughter pair offer telling facts. Grade level: 7 and up. 209 pages.

Sweethearts of Rhythm: The Story of the Greatest All-Girl Swing Band in the World written by Marilyn Nelson, illustrated by Jerry Pinkney (Dial)
Twenty poems, voiced by instruments, summarize the history of swing. Verbal evocations of the music and its players re-create the time period alongside vibrant watercolors. Grade level: 46. 80 pages.

2011 Notable Children’s Books in the Language Arts

2011 Notable Children’s Books in the Language Arts

The Children's Literature Assembly, a special interest group of the National Council of Teachers of English, announce their annual Notable Children's Books in the Language Arts list:

Angleberger, Tom. (2010). The Strange Case of Origami Yoda. New York: Abrams.

Appelt, Kathi. (2010). Keeper. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Aronson, Marc and Budhos, Marina. (2010). Sugar Changed the World: A Story of Magic, Spice, Slavery, Freedom, and Science. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Baker, Keith. LMNO Peas. (2010). New York: Simon & Schuster.

Bond, Victoria and Simon, T.R. (2010). Zora and Me.  Somerville, MA: Candlewick.

Burns, Loree Griffin. (2010).  The Hive Detectives: Chronicle of a Honey Bee Catastrophe. Illustrated by Ellen Harasimowicz. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Cushman, Karen. (2010). Alchemy and Meggy Swann. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Draper, Sharon M. (2010). Out of My Mind. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Elya, Susan Middleton. (2010). Rubia and the Three Osos. Illustrated by Melissa Sweet. New York: Disney*Hyperion.

Fleming, Candace. (2010). Clever Jack Takes the Cake. Illustrated by G. Brian Karas. New York: Random House.

Fox, Karen C. (2010). Older Than the Stars. Illustrated by Nancy Davis. Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge.

Gidwitz, Adam. (2010). A Tale Dark and Grimm. New York: Penguin.

Golio, Gary. (2010). Jimi Sounds Like a Rainbow: A Story of the Young Jimi Hendrix. Illustrated by Javaka Steptoe. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Kerley, Barbara. (2010). The Extraordinary Mark Twain (According to Susy). Illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham. New York: Scholastic.

Mazer, Anne and Potter, Ellen. (2010). Spilling Ink: A Young Writer’s Handbook. Illustrated by Matt Phelan. New York: Roaring Brook Press.

Raczka, Bob. (2010). Guyku: A Year of Haiku for Boys. Illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Raschka, Chris. (2010).  Hip Hop Dog. Illustrated by Vladimir Radunsky. New York: HarperCollins.

Reynolds, Peter H. and FableVision Studios; Emerson, Sharon. (2010).  Zebrafish. Illustrated by Renée Kurilla. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Riley, James. (2010). Half Upon a Time. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Ryan, Pam Muñoz. (2010). The Dreamer. Illustrated by Peter Sis. New York: Scholastic.

Sidman, Joyce. (2010). Dark Emperor & Other Poems of the Night.  Illustrated by Rick Allen. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Sidman, Joyce. (2010). Ubiquitous: Celebrating Nature’s Survivors. Illustrated by Beckie Prange. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Singer, Marilyn. (2010). Mirror Mirror: A Book of Reversible Verse. Illustrated by Josée Masse. New York: Penguin.

Underwood, Deborah. (2010). The Quiet Book. Illustrated by Renata Liwska. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Viorst, Judith. (2010). Lulu and the Brontosaurus. Illustrated by Lane Smith. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Wiles, Deborah. (2010). Countdown. New York: Scholastic.

Willems, Mo. (2010). City Dog, Country Frog. Illustrated by Jon J. Muth. New York: Disnney*Hyperion.

Willems, Mo. (2010). We Are in a Book! New York: Disney*Hyperion.

Williams-Garcia, Rita. (2010). One Crazy Summer. New York: HarperCollins.

Winter, Jeanette. (2010). Biblioburro: A True Story from Columbia. New York: Simon & Schuster.

NCBLA 2011 Committee:  Mary Lee Hahn—Chair
April Bedford, Mary Napoli, Donalyn Miller,
Nancy Roser, Tracy Smiles, Yoo Kyung Sung
Janelle Mathis—Past Chair

Sixth Annual Carle Honors Honorees

Amherst, MA (March 9, 2011). The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Art is delighted to announce the 2011 Carle Honor Honorees. This year's selection of luminaries include:
  • Lois Ehlert, Artist - Caldecott Honor winning author and artist
  • Jeanne Steig, Angel - Multimedia artist, donor of the William Steig picture book art archive to The Carle's permanent collection
  • Michael di Capua, Mentor - Editor and art director of children's books for over 40 years
  • Karen Nelson Hoyle, Bridge - Professor and curator of The Children's Literature Research Collection at the University of Minnesota.
The Carle Honors celebrate the creative vision and long-term dedication of key individuals and organizations to the world of picture books and the many ways they open minds to art and literacy. The awards recognize for distinct forms: Artist, for lifelong innovation in the field; Angel, whose generous financial support is crucial to making picture book art exhibitions, education programs, and related projects a reality; Mentors, editors, designers, educators who campaign the art form; and Bridge, individuals who have found inspired ways to bring the art of the picture book to larger audiences through work in other fields.

"It is a thrill to honor these individuals whose work has contributed so positively to the world of children's literature. Industry giants on their own, together these four talents comprise a sweeping scope of the breadth and impact of this exceptional genre," said Alexandra Kennedy, executive director of The Carle.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

My Dr. Seuss Day: Bookjoy!

I was so fortunate to have the opportunity to read aloud to an amazing third grade class at a local elementary school yesterday as a guest reader for Read Across America Day.

I read Hooray for Diffendoofer Day!, written by Dr. Seuss with some help from Jack Prelutsky and Lane Smith, and I think the kids enjoyed it. I know I did! I haven't sang, laughed, or danced that much in awhile (what does that say about my life?). I had so much fun! We all had a great time celebrating bookjoy!

Below is a short clip of the read aloud. If you are not familiar with Hooray for Diffendoofer Day!, I encourage you to check it out.

"Queen of the Falls" by Chris Van Allsubrg

ISBN-10: 0547315813
Hardcover, 40 pages
Publication Date: 04/04/2011

I just received an advance copy of Chris Van Allsburg's newest picturebook, Queen of the Falls! It is stunning -- as is all of his artwork -- and it is also his first book of nonfiction.

The publisher's description:
She could remember standing in a park near the falls, hypnotized by the sight and sound, and holding her father’s hand as they took a walk that would lead them closer.
That’s what everyone wonders when they see Niagara . . . How close will their courage let them get to it?

At the turn of the nineteenth century, a retired sixty-two-year-old charm school instructor named Annie Edson Taylor, seeking fame and fortune, decided to do something that no one in the world had ever done before—she would go over Niagara Falls in a wooden barrel.

The publisher's website has a great interview with Van Allsburg in which he explains how he got the idea for Queen of the Falls. I can already envision teachers using Queen of the Falls as a mentor text for teaching children about writing nonfiction on a topic that is interesting or even fascinating to them.

In 1901, 62-year-old widow Annie Edson Taylor needs "a way to strike it rich" after closing her Michigan charm school. Spying an article about Niagara Falls as a tourist destination, she decides to become a popular attraction, too. She commissions a barrel "big enough to hold herself and a large number of pillows," hires a publicist, calls on reporters, and finds a boatman willing to tow her into the river. In his first book since 2006's Probuditi! Van Allsburg chronicles Taylor's determination along with public surprise (and disappointment) at such an unglamorous daredevil. In sepia-tinted portraits, Van Allsburg pictures her in a ruffled blouse, cameo brooch, and billowing skirt, her white hair swept under a dowdy hat. The book is impeccably designed; Van Allsburg's grainy, closely observed colored-pencil scenes mimic documentary photos and are beautifully balanced by blocks of text. There is one full-bleed spread: the falls after the barrel has disappeared. In this unromantic and bittersweet account, Van Allsburg presents the feat as born as much out of need as of courage, with Taylor portrayed as a hardheaded eccentric and an unlikely queen. Ages 6–9. (Apr.)