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Showing posts from May, 2014

3 YA Novels To Help Us Remember Our Nigerian Girls

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I've been reading The Locust Effect: Why the End of Poverty Requires the End of Violence by Gary Haugen and Victor Boutros, which makes a strong case against the atrocities of gender violence. Yesterday I ran across this troubling article from ThinkProgress explaining how the world quickly stopped caring about the kidnapped Nigerian girls, and this opinion in the Telegraph that hashtag campaigns may fail by giving the perpetrators exactly what they want: global publicity.

There's another way to keep our minds and hearts focused on the true protagonists of this horrible event—through the power of fiction. Here are three great reads that can connect us to the girls themselves as we hope and pray for their release.

No Laughter Here (Harper) by Rita Williams-Garcia

Even though they were born in different countries, Akilah and Victoria are true best friends. But Victoria has been acting strange ever since she returned from her summer in Nigeria, where she had a special coming-of-a…

Kids Will Love These Five Books "Between Cultures"

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Anne Whaling, children's book buyer at Mrs. Dalloway's Bookstore in Berkeley, asked me and a couple of other visitors (Nina Lindsay, Oakland public librarian and author-illustrator LeUyen Pham) to share a few recommendations of books featuring diverse characters for ages 5-10.

I was delighted to introduce a few of my favorites to an audience of eager readers and their parents. Here are my "quick picks," with annotations provided by Anne and a quick description of why I like the books.

Four Feet, Two Sandals by Karen Williams (Eerdmans). When relief workers bring used clothing to the refugee camp, everyone scrambles to grab whatever they can. Ten-year-old Lina is thrilled when she finds a sandal that fits her foot perfectly, until she sees that another girl has the matching shoe. Soon Lina and Feroza meet, each wearing one coveted sandal. Together they solve the problem of having four feet and two sandals. (What I particularly love in this story: the exploration of po…

Notable Social Studies Trade Books 2014

Notable Social Studies Trade Books 2014
The books that appear in the slides above were evaluated and selected by a Book Review Committee appointed by the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) and assembled in cooperation with the Children's Book Council (CBC). They were written for children in grades K-12, published in 2013, and meet the following criteria: 
emphasize human relations represent a diversity of groups sensitive to a broad range of cultural experiences present an original theme or a fresh slant on a traditional topic easily readablehigh literary qualitypleasing formatwhere appropriate, include illustrations that enrich the text Happy disclosure: OPEN MIC: RIFFS ON LIFE BETWEEN CULTURES IN TEN VOICES (Candlewick) is on the 2014 list (slide #88.)


Hats Off to a Legion of Librarians in Boston and Brooklyn!

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I had a marvelous ten days visiting schools in the Boston area and in Brooklyn, as well as teaching a few workshops at the annual New England Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators conference and the Muse and the Marketplace 2014 conference sponsored by Grub Street.

In case you missed my whirlwind trip via social media, I've gathered a few photo highlights. As you can see below, it took a bundle of librarians to make this trip happen. I returned from my journey even more impressed by these talented cheerleaders of kids and reading. They are truly an American treasure.

In Which I Chat About Privilege, Authenticity, Apps, Books, Tech, and So On With 3 School Librarians

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After 10 days on the road, I'm home again. I presented 26 times in 11 schools and 2 conferences in Boston and Brooklyn, where I got to chat with three brilliant New York independent school librarians (Angie Ungaro, Sarah Murphy, and Kerry Roeder). They create a podcast for librarians called the "Watchers Podcast," and featured an interview with me on Episode 7. They even provide a list of resourcesfor every episode. We recorded in my hotel room in Brooklyn, clustering around the microphone, and it was one of the highlights of my trip.