Author Spotlight

34th Annual Virginia Hamilton Conference

Last week, I attended the 34th Annual Virginia Hamilton Conference at Kent State University, focusing on multicultural literature for children and young adults.  Living in Northeast Ohio, I have attended several times in the past; however, this year I am a newly minted member of the Conference’s Advisory Board and got to see a bit “behind the curtain” of the event as well. In addition, this year was unusual.  The typical April date was changed to October to be combined with a Literacy Conference Kent State was hosting this year, and that content was also included in breakdown sessions. The Conference began Thursday evening with dinner, the Arnold Adoff Poetry Awards, and one of the Conference’s three keynote speakers, poet Marilyn Nelson. Present to pick up their poetry awards, and to read excerpts from their work, were winner Nikki Grimes (One Last Word) and honor recipients Hope Anita Smith (My Daddy…

Diversity

Best Multicultural Books of 2014

Each year, a select diverse committee of experts from the Center for the Study of Multicultural Children’s Literature (CSMCL) identifies the best in multicultural books. The mission of the CSMCL is to provide children, teachers, parents, educators, students, and librarians access to multicultural children’s books with high literary and artistic standards. CSMCL presents the Best Multicultural Children’s Books of 2014. Enjoy! This year’s list was compiled by Dr. Claudette Shackelford McLinn, Dr. Naomi Caldwell, Dr. Sujin Huggins, Ana- Elba Pavon, Lessa K. Pelayo-Lozada, and Elsa Marston. BECAUSE THEY MARCHED: THE PEOPLE’S CAMPAIGN FOR VOTING RIGHTS THAT CHANGED AMERICA, by Russell Freedman, 83 pages, published by Holiday House, ©2014 (Middle school/High school, nonfiction) BLOSSOMING UNIVERSE OF VIOLET DIAMOND: THE, by Brenda Woods, 222 pages, published by Nancy Paulson Books, an imprint of Penguin Group, ©2014 (Upper elementary school/Middle school, fiction) BROWN GIRL DREAMING, by Jacqueline Woodson, 336 pages, published by Nancy…

Diversity

Multiculturalism & Diversity: What is the Difference, and Why it’s Important

I’m going to be completely honest with you, I have written- and rewritten- this blog post about 10 times. It’s not because I don’t know what to say, it’s because I have too much to say. When you spend as much time, energy and passion on Multicultural Children’s Literature as I have, it sometimes becomes hard to step back and see the forest- not just the trees. When this happens, I literally play entire conversations out in my head, just so I can streamline my thoughts. This is the conversation going on in my head right now: My Brain (MB): Okay Alyson, here’s your chance to explain to all these people the one thing you’re so passionate about. Try not to make it so wordy (too late), and think, if there was one sentence that you could use to sum up multicultural literature, what would it be? Me: I guess,…

Blogger Public Awareness Committee

Celebrating Mothers and Diversity

Happy Mother’s Day! Did you enjoy celebrating Dí­a ? Don’t forget to share any pictures that you might have taken. I hope that you had a wonderful time observing Dí­a at your library with local families and friends. Now that April 30th has come and gone, don’t think your opportunity to incorporate diversity into your programming and collection has passed! Dí­a celebrates children and books while also encouraging families and children to connect with multicultural books, cultures and languages. To honor the special ladies we all treasure today, I’ve put together some of my favorite books about mothers that can expose children to different cultures and languages. Mama, Do You Love Me? by Barbara Joosse (Chronicle Books, 1998) is a great choice for a multicultural Mother’s Day read. This story tells of an Inuit mother and daughter and is set in the majestic wilderness of Alaska. The child seeks to…

Blogger Public Awareness Committee

Tools for Advocacy

Hows does the Public Awareness Committee help to promote library services and cultural diversity in programs to children? As youth services librarians, we are busy with the day to day task of providing wonderful reference service, homework help, book recommendations, and planning early literacy programs. At time we all feel overwhelmed and think, “How can we ever juggle one more responsibility?”. This is where the PAC come in with lots of ready-made ideas that an individual can evaluate and curtail to their unique library and community needs. Several of the tools shared below will be great jumping off points that are very accessible and will get your creative juices flowing! One main initiative that PAC extends support for is the celebrating of El Dí­a de los niños/El dí­a de los libros, Children’s Book Day, which is traditionally celebrated on April 30. Founded by the children’s book author Pat Mora in…