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Showing posts from November, 2015

I Love You, Charlotte Huck

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Why do I love Dr. Huck? First, because of her commitment to children's literature. Here are excerpts from her 2005 obituary in the L.A. Times: The educator's 33-year effort to develop and enhance an academic program in children's literature at Ohio State University established her as a national authority on the subject.  Huck's reputation grew with the 1961 publication of her textbook, "Children's Literature in the Classroom," now in its seventh edition, and with her 1976 creation of the quarterly review Wonderfully Exciting Books, covering classroom use of children's books.  "Reading was part of my life, and I wanted children to have the same opportunity," Huck said in a 1981 appearance on television's "Good Morning America."

A native of Evanston, Ill., Huck studied at Wellesley College and earned her bachelor's degree from Northwestern University. After teaching briefly in Midwestern elementary schools, she completed her…

Girls Leadership November Read: RICKSHAW GIRL

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I'm thrilled that parents and kids are reading Rickshaw Girl together this month, thanks to a recommendation from Girls' Leadership, a wonderful organization with this mission:

Girls Leadership teaches girls the skills to know who they are, what they believe, and how to express it, empowering them to create change in their world.

Please join us on December 2nd (8 p.m. EDT, 5 p.m. PDT) for a live video chat about the book.


The Danger of a Single Story, Once Again

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Flashback to me as young parent: I'm taking our two brown boys to the library on a weekly outing that never fails to delight. They tug me into the children's section, drop my hands, and race off to wander freely through aisles of beautiful picture books. (I browse, too, but keep an eye on them and the public bathrooms. I've heard my mother's stern warnings about her grandchildren's safety even though I roll my eyes when she issues them.)

Tim picks his usual fairy tales and adventures. Jim finds the scary stories and funny books. I look for good historical fiction to add to the pile. I also am on a constant hunt for brown faces in all kinds of stories. Ezra Jack Keats (A SNOWY DAY) comes home with us, along with Vera Williams (MORE, MORE, MORE SAID THE BABY). Trina Schart Hyman's illustrations of brown princesses and Chinese princes catch my eye.

There weren't any picture books I could find back then about the Indian-American experience and/or our colonial h…

All My World's a Stage: RICKSHAW GIRL Pedals to the Theater

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Last night I had a magical experience. I was invited to attend a workshopping of RICKSHAW GIRL, the stage version, by the Bay Area Children's Theater (BACT). Playwright Aditi Kapil was in town from Minnesota to work with director Vidhu Singh, and our evening started with dinner at Toast in Oakland.

After dinner, we headed to BACT headquarters in Montclair, Oakland, and the talented team of actors, director, producer, and playwright began to work through the script. When you create a story in your head and people it with characters who exist only in your imagination, it is otherworldly to see them come to life. As I listened in wonder, I found myself moved by the plight of a young Bangladeshi girl who wants so desperately to help her family. I had written the darn thing, but last night Naima's story was presented to me in a fresh and sweet form. It was the same; it was completely different. It was magic.