ALA Midwinter 2017

Mid-Winter Round Up

What an exciting time to be on the ALSC Intellectual Freedom Committee! Censorship, privacy, equity of access, diversity and information literacy are all hot button issues across the country.  It might be fair to say this is a challenging time as well.   At the ALA Midwinter Conference, this Committee considered how we might safeguard and promote the intellectual freedom of children despite the advent of a more conservative political environment.

ALA Midwinter 2017

#alamw17 Scholastic Literary Event

This morning’s Scholastic Literary Event spotlighted some fantastic middle grade fiction. Four authors were there to present readings from their newest books: Gordon Korman, whose newest book, Restart, looks at a bully who’s lost his memory and is finding he’s a very different person – if everyone around him will let him be. Natasha Tarpley, whose novel, Harlem Charade, blends mystery and art, with a protagonist who’s living on the streets and trying to find out what happened to his grandfather, who was attacked. Madelyn Rosenberg and Wendy Wan-Long Shang, whose novel, This is Just a Test, takes an often hilarious look at a Chinese-American Jewish boy in the early 1980s, who’s worried about nuclear war and his two warring grandmothers. Each author gave a brief talk, introduced his or her book, and, in a fun departure from the usual author readings, engaged the other authors in creating a little…

ALA Midwinter 2017

Picture Books at #alamw17

Saturday morning with picture books at #alamw17. I spotted and grabbed my first two ARCs of the day at a breakfast hosted by HarperCollins. I scored a copy of the new picture book by  Dan Yaccarino- Morris Mole.  I also got a middle grade ARC by Rita Williams-Garcia, Clayton Byrd Goes Undercover! Take a look (and try not to drool!) at the endpapers of Dan Yaccarino’s picture book: To wet you whistle, check out the back of Rita Williams-Garcia new book: Up next, second breakfast with Scholastic authors & illustrators talking about what we all love- picture books! Peter H. Reynolds, Kate Messner, Carmen Agra Deedy, in conversation with Julie Danielson. Here are some highlights from the conversation: Libraries are dreaming academies. . . You [librarians] are the keepers of important ideas. – Peter H. Reynolds @scholastic breakfast at #alamw17 Picture books are an entry in to discussions for all ages….

ALA Midwinter 2017

alamw17 Maker Break

After walking the beat in the exhibit hall (and making two trips to the Post Office area), I sat in on the Maker Break from DK Publishing. I love their maker books – Maker Lab was the handbook that guided a lot of my STEM and Summer Reading programming last year – and I’m excited that they’ve got a new book coming this Spring that will have “cardboard engineering projects”. If there’s one thing I have a surplus of both at home and work, it’s cardboard, so Out of the Box is my kind of book! There were snacks and drinks, and goodies at the table, including a cool DK maker backpack and calendar for each attendee. One surprise maker at each table got a copy of Maker Lab to take home, so that library is going to experience the joy of making awesome slime, too. Allison Davis from Make Media…

ALA Midwinter 2017

Meeting Librarians at #alamw17

The evening lights of Atlanta are glowing and #alamw17 is off to a brilliant start. I hope to bring the delights and conversations of the day directly to you.   I want you to smell that new ARC scent through your screens. I want you to see the amazing picture books up close. If we are lucky, maybe rub elbows with an author or illustrator. So let’s get started!  The first event of the evening was a gathering of librarians but this was not just any party, it’s a Holiday House party. The publishing house was founded in 1935. The brilliant John H. Briggs ran the publishing company from 1965 to 2016 when it purchased by Trustbridge Partners. I really love their recent title Cat on the Bus by Aram Kim.  While at the event, I got to meet new librarians and reconnect with former colleagues. This is what I asked…

ALA Midwinter 2017

#alamw17 “Absence tells a child that their stories don’t matter” – Aisha Saeed

Micah Bazant's "Everyone Is Welcome Here" poster

Today’s ALSC Mini Institute session “Passing the Mic: Muslim Voices in Children’s Literature and Lessons Learned in the Pursuit of Equity and Inclusion” offered highly personal and deeply moving accounts of what it felt like to grow up either invisible in popular media and books or, even worse, seeing your religion and culture reviled or ridiculed when they were mentioned. Authors Hena Khan and Aisha Saeed, and Zareen Jaffery, Executive Editor of the new Simon & Schuster imprint, Salaam Reads gave suggestions for anyone who wants to make sure that Muslim children feel welcome in our libraries. One important step is visibly indicating that your institution is a caring and safe space, for example through displaying books, programming and posters such as this one: Aisha Saeed shared a delightful story of her young son’s joy upon discovering Hena Khan’s It’s Ramadan, Curious George. As a huge fan of all things…