Guest Blogger

A Friendship Born Online: Author Mitali Perkins and Me

“One of life’s greatest joys is to create spaces where young people feel safe, welcome, and beloved. Stories are one such space.” — Mitali Perkins When I read Mitali Perkins’ article in School Library Journal in 2007, No Place Like Home: Books Can Create a Strong Sense of Place, I knew I had found a kindred spirit. She, like I, had lived many places before seventh grade, and geography and place were very important to her. She wrote: “Many of the books I read again and again as a child shared one attribute: they offered a strong sense of place.” I wrote to her after reading the article, but I no longer have access to that original email because my Yahoo! account is no longer accessible. 

Blogger Jonathan Dolce

Not Another “Best of” Post

large orange block letters spelling not another

This Is Not Another “Best of” [input year] Post I promise you this is not another Best of [input year] post. In fact, if I were to rename it, it’d be The Most Exciting Stuff in the Youth Services World, like, right now; right now. I like pointing these things out so much I create a biweekly Youth Services newsletter for my colleagues. [mysteriously] Who knows, maybe I’ll unleash it upon the internet in 2021? [strokes goat goatee] It’s loaded with all things frabjous, from live webinars with authors whose work we drool upon to easy crafts, programming ideas, news – [foreign accent] your interest is piqued, no? Oh! And this stuff is all totes free! Sans fees! Gratis! Famous Authors Live! This subheading should read “Not Another Webinar” Probably the most important webinars For the Parents and Caregivers we serve This is not a section about stuff to do…

Guest Blogger

#ALSC20 Awesome Afternoon with #OwnVoices

Authors Kacen Callender, Kyle Lukoff, and author-illustrator Christian Robinson kicked off the afternoon with a conversation about LGBTQIA #OwnVoices stories with moderator Ellie Krug. The panelists discussed how they approach the concept of “mattering” in their work. Lukoff said he doesn’t often outwardly state that, “we matter… because I know we do.” He starts with the assumption that these characters matter, that they know that they matter, and he tells their stories. Callender expressed how they received emotional wounds as a kid, how they still trying to heal; that’s one reason they write for children who are experiencing these, too. Robinson discussed his book “You Matter.” He said that book came out of a question, “what did I most want to tell children? … you matter because you are here, because you exist,” not because of anything a child does. The panelists also offered advice for librarians to help and…

Guest Blogger

Virtual #ALSC20 – too many great things

I have to say, I am SO glad that all of the sessions are being recorded for us! It’s been hard to choose what to see, and I am thrilled I can go back later and catch the ones I missed while I was in a different session. This is a huge plus of attending a virtual conference! I picked up some amazing Global Citizens programming ideas from Hallie Jackson from Fairfax County Public library; I can’t wait until we have patrons back in the library, because I want to jump into those new ideas asap. The We Are Water Protectors general session gave some fabulously interesting background stories of the book about the peaceful stand of current Indigenous-led protests. I thought it was interesting, too, to learn that the book was originally conceived as a YA novel; author Carole Lindstrom realized that young people “get it,” and need to…

Guest Blogger

Breakfast talk: Generational Love

For this first panel, we met four amazing authors: Minh Le, Siman Nuurali, Bao Phi, and Kao Kalia Yang. I loved hearing about their families’ storytelling traditions and how that led them to writing children’s literature. I feel Yang’s feeling of gratitude for making it so far through this year, and also for being able to hear these authors’ diverse experiences that shaped them and informed their writing later in life. I loved how Minh Le mentioned how his parents and grandparents “held the keys” to his cultural background through their stories, and how he was inspired by real-life heroes in his family history to create new heroic characters. Siman Nurali spoke of how she was influenced by her family’s storytelling, and she’s really proud that her children today also identify with those stories and know that Kenya is “home.” The generational storytelling continues! The panelists also related how they…

Blogger Sarah Bean Thompson

Interview with Poet David L. Harrison

Children’s librarians are experts in making local connections. As a librarian in Springfield, Missouri, I have gotten to know our resident children’s poet and author, David L. Harrison. Mr. Harrison has hosted several book releases and readings at my library. His programs are energetic and always include lots of engagement for the kids. I love having a local author available to help us promote a love of reading and writing to kids and it’s wonderful having a local connection for writing events at our library. Mr. Harrison has helped us out in the past by serving as a judge on our teen writing contest and his love of books and libraries shines through in all that he does. He is an invaluable partner for our library and I would encourage other librarians to reach out and make connections with their own local authors. I recently had the chance to ask…

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…