A Notable Summer

Source: www.chicagopubliclibrary.org

“The first week of August hangs at the very top of the summer, the top of the live-long year, like the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning. The weeks that come before are only a climb from balmy spring, and those that follow a drop to the chill of autumn, but the first week of August is motionless, and hot . . . These are strange and breathless days, the dog days.”

Natalie Babbit, Tuck Everlasting

 

Source: www.ala.org/alsc/awardsgrants/notalists

Odds are that at least one of your Facebook friends will post the above quote this week—and for good reason, as this is, IMO, one of the best descriptions of summer ever to come from an ALSC Notable Children’s Book. Tuck Everlasting was named a Notable Children’s Book after its 1975 publication and is now widely hailed as a classic. Announced each year after Midwinter, the Notables lists of books, recordings, and videos, bring well-deserved attention to those titles which are “worthy of note or notice, important, distinguished, outstanding” and make superb resources for curating collections in libraries and homes. And Notables seals, just like those of the Newbery and its kin, help your library community discover these great titles. I’ve found that a great late summer project can be making sure that all of the Notables in the collection have this honor glinting from their cover, and you can buy Notables seals in sets of 24 here, or if you need 1,000 or more you can go here.

Thanks to all of the hard-working Notables committees over the years and best of luck to this years’!

Here are some other great summer-themed Notables from recent decades:

  • Blackout. By John Rocco, Illus. by the author. Disney/Hyperion Books (2012 Books list)
  • Charlie Joe Jackson’s Guide to Summer Vacation. By Tommy Greenwald, read by MacLeod Andrews. Brilliance. (2014 Recordings list)
  • A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever. By Marla Frazee. Harcourt. (2009 Books list)
  • The Fantastic Secret of Owen Jester. By Barbara O’Connor. Farrar, Straus & Giroux. (2011 Books list)
  • Garmann’s Summer. By Stian Hole, translated by Don Bartlett. Eerdmans Books for Young Readers. (2009 Books list)
  • Georgie Lee. By Sharon Philips Denslow, illustrated by Lynne Rae Perkins. Greenwillow. (2003 Books list)
  • Horse Song: The Naadam of Mongolia. By Ted and Betsy Lewin. Lee & Low Books. (2009 Books list)
  • Hot Day on Abbott Avenue. By Karen English, illustrated by Javaka Steptoe. Clarion. (2005 Books list)
  • A Long Way from Chicago: A Novel in Stories. By Richard Peck. Dial. (1999 Books list)
  • My Louisiana Sky. Based on the novel by Kimberly Willis Holt. Hallmark Entertainment (2002 Videos list)
  • One Crazy Summer. By Rita Williams-Garcia. Harper/Amistad. (2011 Books & Recordings lists)
  • The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy. By Jeanne Birdsall. Knopf. (2006 Books list)
  • Stanford Wong Flunks Big-Time. By Lisa Yee. Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine. (2006 Books list)
  • Summersongs. By John McCutcheon. Rounder Records. (1996 Recordings list)
  • Sweet Corn. By James Stevenson. Greenwillow. (1996 Books list)

Congratulations to everyone who is now beginning to wind down their summer programming, and warm wishes for an enjoyable rest-of-summer, and here’s hoping that these titles whet the appetites of our southern hemisphere colleagues for the season headed your way. Happy reading, viewing, and listening to all!

My favorite spot on the Lake Michigan shore by my house to read in the summer. Photo source: Andrew

My favorite spot on the Lake Michigan shore by my house to read in the summer. Photo source: Andrew Medlar

Posted in Blogger Andrew Medlar, Summer Reading | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Newbery-Caldecott-Wilder Banquet Videos

The award acceptance videos from the 2015 Newbery-Caldecott-Wilder Banquet are now available. These speeches took place at the 2015 ALA Annual Conference in San Francisco. Below are the three videos from each of the winners. You can also watch the video of the full banquet (running time 1 hour 45 minutes 54 seconds). Enjoy!

Kwame Alexander – Newbery Speech

Dan Santat – Caldecott Speech

Donald Crews – Wilder Speech

Posted in ALA Annual 2015, Awards & Scholarships, Blogger Dan Bostrom, Literary and Related Awards | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Happy National Respect for Parents Day!

That’s right, August 1st is National Respect for Parents Day. And while I’m not sure what the founder intended, we can show respect for all parents and caregivers by making sure our collections include books reflecting diverse families. We can highlight these books in storytimes, other programs, and displays. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

I Love Saturdays y domingos by Alma Flor Ada

Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match/Marisol McDonald no combina by Monica Brown

Sweet Moon Baby: An Adoption Tale by Karen Henry Clark

Here Comes Hortense! by Heather Hartt-Sussman

Silas’ Seven Grandparents by Anita Horrocks

Monday is One Day by Arthur A. Levine

Spork by Kyo Maclear

The Family Book by Todd Parr

A Chair for My Mother by Vera B. Williams

Along with offering and highlighting materials reflecting diverse families, we can remember to use inclusive language, both spoken and written. For example, when approaching an unaccompanied child in the library, we might say, “Are you with someone today?” rather than, “Are you here with Mom or Dad?” In promotional materials for our programming, we could write, “Children and caregivers are welcome,” in place of, “Children and their parents may attend.”

There are lots of ways to show respect for parents, caregivers, and families! What are some techniques you use? What are your favorite books reflecting diverse families?

Amanda Struckmeyer is a Youth Services Librarian at the Middleton (WI) Public Library. She is a member of the ALSC Services to Special Populations and Their Caregivers Committee.

Posted in Blogger Library Service to Special Population Children and their Caregivers, Diversity | Leave a comment

Crayons, paper, pencils…

Super Turtle (photo by Paige Bentley-Flannery)

Super Turtle (photo by Paige Bentley-Flannery)

Capes are flying in the air at the Deschutes Public Library!

Crayons, paper, pencils are scattered around the room, children are sitting on the floor sharing stories and ideas.  The theme, Super Animals!  What is your Super Animal?  What is your Super Animals’s super power? How will it save the day?

Super Speeding Turtle (photo by Paige Bentley-Flannery)

Super Speeding Turtle (photo by Paige Bentley-Flannery)

As part of  the summer reading program, “Every Hero has a Story,”  children of all ages have been creating Super Animals and bringing them to the library to share.  I love hearing about their super animal power! The Super Turtle is speedy.   The Super Elephant has super water powers and the Super Rainbow Puppy makes mean people nice.  Every day, I receive a new piece of art.  This makes me smile all day long.  The children’s enthusiasm when they share each super animal power and how they will save the day is amazing.  I also love hearing how they created each piece.  Did they use glue? Magazine cut-outs? Paint?  Found objects? Nature? One child created a Super Rainbow Puppy and included flowers, leaves and grass on her canvas.

Super Bunny (photo by Paige Bentley-Flannery

Super Bunny (photo by Paige Bentley-Flannery

One child added beads for eyes and a pipe cleaner for the mouth-Super Bunny!

I hosted weekly summer school visits and after hearing a silly story, learning about a new section of the library and checking out books, children created their own Super Animal at the library.  After, the art committee added foam core to each art piece, making them easier to hang in the meeting room.

The call out in the library event guide was open to everyone in any art form and in any size.  What other animals will appear? Maybe a HUGE Super Giraffe?

Super Rainbow Puppy (photo by Paige Bentley-Flannery)

Super Rainbow Puppy (photo by Paige Bentley-Flannery)

 

The art work goes up Saturday, August 1st and will be on view in the library meeting room the month of August.  We will also be part of the 4th Annual Friday Art Stroll, handing out popsicles while families, children and everyone enjoy looking at the children’s super animals pieces.  You can also create your own Super Animal with chalk outside the meeting room.  Super Bird to the rescue!

Super Bird! (photo by Paige Bentley-Flannery)

Super Bird! (photo by Paige Bentley-Flannery)

 

I look forward to doing more art programs in the library and having art work displayed throughout the library.

Where do you display your art work in the library?  Do you have an art or craft room? Please share in the comments below.

Explore a few art inspired picture books for your next art program at the library.  Draw! Paint! Create! 

Paige Bentley-Flannery is a Community Librarian at Deschutes Public Library. For over fifteen years–from Seattle Art Museum to the New York Public Library to the Deschutes Public Library-Paige’s passion and creative style for art, poetry and literature have been combined with instructing, planning, and providing information. Paige is currently serving on the ALSC Notable Children’s Book Committee, 2015 – 2017. She is a former Chair of the ALSC Digital Content Task Force and member of the ALSC Great Websites Committee.

Posted in Blogger Paige Bentley-Flannery | 1 Comment

New Baby Books

With the imminent arrival of my own new baby, I’ve had baby books on the brain these past few months. From the books we recommend to sleepless parents to the books about childhood and technology we give to the parents of savvy teens, librarians are sometimes intimately involved in the struggles of our patrons’ childhoods. Never is this more clear than when we’re asked for books about a new baby. A great new sibling book can help immensely in easing the transition from being an only child to being one of a group.

julius_baby_of_the_worldKevin Henkes’s Julius, the Baby of the World is one of my favorite picture books, period, but it also is one of the best new sibling books I think I’ve read. I recommend it to parents all the time, and have the personal experience to back it up – this is the book my parents gave to me and my sister before the arrival of my much-younger baby brother. Children of all ages can identify with Lily’s excitement about her new sibling before he arrives and her horror at the way her life changes afterwards! The resolution, when it comes, is perfect. Of course Lily can say mean things about her brother, but no one else can!

peter's chairAnxiety over a new sibling is a universal issue, which is why a book first published in 1967,  Peter’s Chair by Ezra Jack Keats, as relevant today as it was the day it was published. When Peter’s parents repaint his crib pink for his new baby sister, Peter is perturbed but willing to let it go. When they decide to paint his chair, however, Peter takes a stand. Again, Peter’s eventual acceptance of his sister’s place in his life shows a way forward for children hearing the story that is both natural and comforting. Life will change with a new sibling, but it doesn’t have to change for the worse.

What are you favorite books about new babies?

 

Posted in Blogger Elisabeth Gattullo Marrocolla, Children's Literature (all forms), Collection Development | 6 Comments

Interview with Author Michelle Houts

Michelle Houts, author of Kammie on First: Baseball’s Dottie Kamenshek, shares how her book highlights Kamenshek’s life of integrity alongside her professional achievements.  Houts, also the editor of Missing Millie Benson by Julie K. Rubini, reflects on the role nonfiction plays in shaping children’s reading interests and how librarians serve these readers, researchers, and writers.  I received a complimentary copy of these two books in the Biographies for Young Readers series published by Ohio University Press before this interview.     

Author Michelle Houts (Image provided by Ohio University Press)

Author Michelle Houts (Image provided by Ohio University Press)

1.  How did you first learn about Dottie Kamenshek, the famous baseball player loosely based on Dottie Hinson from the popular movie A League of Their Own?  What inspired you to write your book for young readers, Kammie on First: Baseball’s Dottie Kamenshek?

I first read about Kammie in a one-page entry in the book Profiles of Ohio Women. As soon as I read about her, I knew she would be a perfect first subject for the new biography series Ohio University Press was planning. She was a pioneer in women’s sports, a humble leader, and an outstanding person, on and off the field.

2.  Kammie on First is the first book in a new series, Biographies for Young Readers.  What unique challenges have you found when writing this type of nonfiction for children?  What makes biographies a unique and valuable resource for children to access in a public library?      

After three fiction books, I was so excited to be writing biographical nonfiction! That’s because I can remember selecting from the biographies section of my own local library. I loved those matching books about different historical figures. I wanted to replicate that excitement I felt, but I wanted the books to have an altogether different look and feel. The books I remember had a few line drawings, were text-heavy, and somewhat drab in their appearance. I was challenged to create a narrative arc in this new series and create a book that was factual and interesting all at once.

3.  What intrigued you most about the life of Dottie Kamenshek as you learned more about this athlete? What have children found to be most intriguing about her life after reading your book?        

Kammie on First: Baseball's Dottie Kamenshek by Michelle Houts (Image provided by Ohio University Press)

Kammie on First: Baseball’s Dottie Kamenshek by Michelle Houts (Image provided by Ohio University Press)

 Dottie was two things: a stand-out athlete and a humble leader. Sometimes it’s hard to find both those qualities in one person. Most young readers are fascinated by the fact that Dottie and her contemporaries played baseball in skirts, even if that meant sliding injuries were common. The readers are getting a history lesson about life in the 1940s and early 1950s when we begin to discuss the reasons the AAGPBL players wore skirts, had chaperones, and went to beauty school.

4.  In the author’s note from Kammie on First, you share a childhood memory about listening to baseball on the radio. How do you believe children’s memories shape their reading interests?  What should the role of children’s librarians be in encouraging these interests?

 What a privilege and responsibility librarians have when it comes to young readers! To be able to converse with a child, detect what sparks his or her interest, and to then suggest a great book is nothing short of magical. I’m not sure it’s children’s memories as much as their experiences that shape their reading interests. A positive experience with one book can lead a child to quickly choose another in the same genre or on the same topic or by the same author. I recall that as a child, once I’d found mysteries, I had to read every Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden book I could get my hands on.

5. How have public libraries impacted your process of gathering research? What do you believe the role of librarians is in providing accurate information for children and teens?

Since Kammie on First was my first nonfiction title, I started into my research alone and uncertain. It didn’t take long before I found the first research librarian eager to guide me along the path to discovering more about Dottie. Dottie had passed in 2010. She had never married and had no children. She was also an only child, so I would find no siblings or nieces or nephews. With the help of those well-versed in research methods, I was able to find her school yearbook, some early pictures, and eventually, two first cousins. I’m quite certain that libraries provide many children with their first experiences in research – how to look something up and discover more information. It’s a skill they’ll use their entire lives, and they most often learn it from a librarian.

6.  Kammie on First features a great variety of photographs to provide a snapshot into the life and times of this era.  Are there any particular images from your book that you recommend librarians share with a young audience when highlighting this athlete’s life?

 Students always seem to gravitate toward the picture of Lois Florreich being treated for a sliding injury. To me, it speaks to the fact that these women weren’t just out having fun. They were professional athletes, giving it everything they had, and sometimes enduring painful injuries. That’s a photo that tells a great deal about the grit of all the women who played in the AAGPBL.  My favorite picture of Dottie is one of her signing an autograph for a young girl outside the locker room. Even though they are both looking down, you can see that Kammie and her young fan are smiling. It was an important moment for both of them, I’m sure.

7.  How have public libraries shaped your experience as a reader growing up and as a writer today?

 I grew up in Westerville, Ohio, where we had – and still have – a fantastic public library. I can still tell you the exact shelf location of the first book I could ever read alone (I actually believe I had memorized it, but I was convinced I could read!) and the exact shelf that housed the Little House series, which I read through more than once. Going to the library was always a treasured experience as a child. I believe exposure to all kinds of stories at a very young age has really shaped the reader and writer I’ve become today.

8. How can librarians best promote nonfiction books to young readers?

Ah, well, it seems suddenly nonfiction is no longer playing second fiddle to fiction in a lot of situations. I think newer, narrative nonfiction reads more like fiction. I like to tell about how I was so engrossed reading Candace Fleming’s Amelia Lost a few years ago, that a small part of me forgot I knew the ending! As I read, the suspense was real, even though I knew the outcome of Amelia Earhart’s story. That’s what good nonfiction does to a reader. I think that if librarians are promoting great nonfiction right alongside fiction, the stories themselves will grab the reader and send them back for more.

9. What advice would you give to young people interested in a career in writing biographies? How can children’s librarians best support young writers?

 To the young writer, I would say, “Be observant. Be inquisitive.”  Great stories are all around you, and they don’t all belong to the famous. Your elderly neighbor, your teacher, even a classmate may well have had some amazing experiences worth sharing. Ask if you might tell their story and write it down. To the children’s librarians, I would direct young readers first to a book, but then also to the author or illustrator. Helping children realize that behind every book is a writer and sometimes an artist, and always an editor, just might lead a young person toward a career they will love.

Missing Millie Benson by Julie K. Rubini (Image provided by Ohio University Press)

Missing Millie Benson by Julie K. Rubini (Image provided by Ohio University Press)

10. The next book in the Biographies for Young Readers series, Missing Millie Benson by Julie K. Rubini, chronicles the life of the author who wrote twenty-three of the first thirty books in the Nancy Drew Mystery series.  As you are the series editor, did Nancy Drew’s adventures resonate with you as a child?  Why do you think they are relevant to young readers today?

 When Julie Rubini approached the publisher with her proposal to write about Millie Benson, I was on board from the beginning. Nancy Drew has withstood the test of time. I’m amazed that young readers still know this fictional character. It’s very interesting that most of the qualities we love about Nancy are qualities Rubini found in Millie: independent, determined, confident, and hard-working.  Those qualities, whether they be found in fiction or in real people, will never become irrelevant.

Thank you for explaining your writing process and for sharing your perspective on the role libraries play in serving young readers, writers, and researchers!

Posted in Author Spotlight, Blogger Meg Smith, Books | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Comics for back to school!

I know, I KNOW. It’s July 29th. It doesn’t feel like it’s time to go back to school.

And for lots of districts, it’s not.

But for huge swatches of the South and the Midwest, it’s happening this week or next week. It’s so early, it’s so hot. The kids are so cranky (I would be, too, if I had to go back to school so soon!)

What’s the solution?

COMICS.

Here’s some great, recent comics/graphic novels to give to your kids. Throw these up on a display, handsell them, or stealthily slide them across your circ counter. Your tweens will thank you.

Gotham Academy Volume 1. Do your kids love Batman? This comic is set in a prestigious prep school right in the heart of Gotham. With great supporting characters, secrets, and possibly a ghost, this hits all the superhero buttons. The mysterious Wayne family might even make an appearance…

Oddly Normal! Image Comics just reprinted this with a new cover. It’s INCREDIBLY fun. Oddly is a half-witch and having a mother from Fignation isn’t always a walk in the park. It’s even less fun when her parents disappear and she has to go live in Fignation. She’s the only being in the whole world that’s even remotely human. Hijinks ensue.

Baba Yaga’s Assistant is out next week. It’s a bit spooky but not outright scary. Masha needs some adventure so when Baba Yaga advertises for an assistant, she decides to try it out. But she has to be clever and wily enough to earn her place.

BONUS:

I am Princess X is actually a novel, but there’s a story-within-a-story here that’s told in comics, and it’s a very cool example of mixed-format storytelling. May’s best friend Libby passed away a few years ago in a really tragic accident, and she’s been lonely ever since. But all of a sudden, she sees Princess X popping up all over Seattle: Princess X was a childhood creation that only Libby and May knew about. As May dives into the world of Princess X and webcomics, she begins to wonder–could Libby be alive?

Enjoy the last part of your summer!

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Our guest blogger from YALSA today is Ally Watkins (@aswatki1). Ally is a Library Consultant at the Mississippi Library Commission.

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The Washington Office

Before speaking with Marijke Visser, Associate Director of the Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP), I honestly had very little knowledge of what exactly was involved with the duties of the Washington Office staff other than advocating on behalf of ALA and libraries in general. In my usual over-imaginative fashion, I envisioned their days spent in conference rooms filled with charts (as seen in The American President), having power lunches (image courtesy of West Wing), and standing up for libraries using some incredibly uplifting call-to-action speeches (think Braveheart). While I’m sure these moments exist (or at least some version of them), talking with Marijke about the structure of the Washington Office and some of the exciting projects staff are currently exploring broadened my view of their work and inspired me to advocate for our profession with a renewed Scottish-like vigor.

As Marijke explained, the Washington Office is separated into two distinct offices: The Office of Government Relations and the Office for Information Technology Policy. When I thought of the Washington Office, I associated it with direct lobbying on the hill; The Office of Government Relations is the group that works to follow and influence legislation, policy, and regulatory issues on the hill. The Office for Information Technology Policy works with a variety of groups, such as the Department of Education and the SEC, on outward facing issues, such as issues supporting a free and open information society.

One way that the Washington Office, particularly the Office of Government Relations, helps to inform and influence legislation and policy is by identifying and building champions on key issues. This is one way that Marijke highlighted for ALSC members to help and become involved. Creating and nurturing strong relationships between legislative members and local librarians can provide opportunities for librarians to bring attention to key issues impacting library services to children while legislative members build connections on a local level and gain a more direct understanding and/or experience of how issues like literacy, media mentorship, or the digital divide are directly impacting youth. One example Marijke provided of this concept is an interest in how the digital divide is impacting disadvantaged teenagers. The Washington Office was able to connect interested legislative members with local librarians in their service area to discuss how the digital divide impacts teenagers and how libraries are able to help bridge the economic gap for this population.

Towards the end of our call, Marijke explained the Office for Information Technology Policy’s Policy Revolution! Initiative. Funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, this initiative is in its second of three years. Described by Marijke as “shaking up how we do policy”, this initiative is designed to examine how libraries are branded to other organizations, look for more ways for their office to become proactive rather than reactive, and to build connections between agencies many people do not usually associate with libraries, such as HUD and Veterans Affairs. Ultimately the goal is to increase the perception of libraries as essential to policy and community conversations in a way that influences organizations to view library professionals as essential participants at the discussion table.

How does this apply to us? How can a little (seriously… I’m only 5’2”!) children’s librarian in Akron, Ohio stay current on legislative and policy issues? How can I best use this information to make a difference? Marijke suggested following the Washington Office’s blog, the District Dispatch. (http://www.districtdispatch.org/). You can sign up for news and alerts and locate a lot of other advocacy pages at http://www.ala.org/offices/cro/legislationandadvocacy/legislationandadvocacy. ALSC’s Everyday Advocacy website is essential for staying informed and inspired on all facets of advocacy. If you haven’t had a chance to check it out (what are you waiting for?!) you should stop what you are doing right now and visit it at http://www.ala.org/everyday-advocacy/. Also, reach out to your local, state, and national representation to share successes and challenges. While you may not need to directly advocate for an important issue today, building those relationships now may someday prove to be invaluable.

Libraries offer such a valuable service to the public, and librarians are consistently doing important work that directly improves the lives of children. I urge each of us (myself included) to remember the importance of our work on the toughest days and to channel our inner William Wallace (blue face paint is optional).

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Photo courtesy of guest blogger

Photo courtesy of guest blogger

Today’s guest contributor is JoAnna Schofield, member of the ALSC Advocacy and Legislation Committee. JoAnna is a children’s librarian at the Highland Square Branch Library where she enjoys singing Laurie Berkner’s “I Know a Chicken” more than most people. She finds her greatest inspiration from her three rambunctious children, Jackson (5), Parker (4), and Amelia Jane (2). JoAnna can be reached at jschofield@akronlibrary.org. More than anything, she wants you to know if any information in this blog is not accurate, it is completely her misunderstanding and no fault of Marijke Visser. Marijke is truly lovely.

Posted in Blogger Advocacy and Legislation Committee, Legislative & Legal Issues | Leave a comment