ALA Annual 2015

Empathy and Oscar the Grouch: Sonia Manzano #alaac15

If you ever wondered who Sonia Manzano’s (“Maria” from Sesame Street) favorite Muppet is, here’s her answer: Oscar the Grouch. “He’s negative.” He acts anywhere from age 80 to 8. He stirs up conflict in an otherwise harmonious neighborhood, and this conflict leads to stories. In fact, Manzano’s new memoir, “Becoming Maria: Love and Chaos in the South Bronx” (Scholastic) is all about conflict–her tumultuous childhood in the Bronx, her Puerto Rican roots, and her longing for a “Leave it to Beaver” type of stability. With Maria, she was able to act out (and later, write scripts about) a character that children in inner cities could relate to, and provide them with storylines that offered satisfying resolutions–something they may seldom get in real life. She could be a mirror for these kids, an escape from a hard home life, and a role model. Manzano thinks her difficult childhood lead to…

ALA Annual 2015

U is for Ukulele

#alaac15 provides space for meetings of all kinds. Although we’re apparently not that “uncommon,” yesterday I attended a meet-up of ukulele-playing librarians at the ALA Networking Uncommons.  We exchanged emails, discussed creating a group FB page and played a few songs.  Perhaps next year, we can have an ALSC session on Using your Uke for Story Time and Outreach. Wouldn’t that be fun?  Check out today’s gatherings at the Networking Uncommons. http://www.alsc.ala.org/blog/

ALA Annual 2015

Pura Belpré Celebración #alaac15

Sunday’s Pura Belpré 19th annual award ceremony featured a vibrant mix of illuminating speeches, laughter, and entertainment that celebrated Latino Children’s Literature. Highlights included: Yuyi Morales’s acceptance speech in which she vividly recounted her positive and life-changing experiences as a young mother and new immigrant visiting the San Francisco Public Library’s Western Addition branch. Ann, a librarian at the branch, put The Watsons Go to Birmingham in her hands and it was the first English language chapter book she loved, that she shared with her son. Duncan Tonatiuh invited civil rights leader Sylvia Mendez, the subject of his award-winning book Separate Is Never Equal, to address the audience. United States Poet Laurete Juan Felipe Herrera’s speech chronicled his research and writing that documented the extraordinary achievements of Hispanic-Americans. Heartfelt speeches by Susan Guevara, John Parra, and Marjorie Agosín. A fantastic performance by by Quenepas, a Bomba youth song and dance…

ALA Annual 2015

Giving Every Child a Fighting Chance #alaac15

There was hardly a dry eye in the audience following Saturday’s screening of the new PBS documentary, The Raising of America: Early Childhood and the Future of Our Nation. This illuminating film featured moving testimonials from families living in poverty or just barely getting by due to the high cost of quality childcare. The film included facts about the critical brain development that occurs during ages 0-5, and how many children in struggling families are missing out on access to stimulating and education-rich environments and opportunities. Instead, stress (in the form of cortisol) is passed on from parent to child, which leaves a lasting imprint on the child’s development and functioning. This stress follows him or her into adulthood…setting the scene for a cycle that can continue for generations. Clocking in at about an hour, the documentary was extremely powerful and will provoke libraries–and anyone who cares about nurturing a…

ALA Annual 2015

Random Radness @ #alaac15

A funny thing happened at the Metreon food court…some friends and I were admiring a woman’s Rad American Women A-Z (City Lights Publishers) tote bag. We just couldn’t resist going up to her and asking “Where did you get that cool bag?” She said, “I have a family connection.” A few minutes later, Rad American’s illustrator, Miriam Klein Stahl, walked up to us and we were introduced. In a Wayne’s World type moment, we all felt “not worthy!” Ms. Stahl was super gracious and nice, and gave us a stack of Patti Smith stickers. Just goes to show that ALA Annual is always full of surprising and lovely random moments….