Maybe this is true for everyone, but I doubt I’ll forget my first Newbery-Caldecott Banquet. I was still new to ALSC and had secured funding to attend that annual ALA. Bill Morris, that kindly gentleman whose passion for children’s literature inspires me still, invited me to sit at a Harper table. I had no idea what the evening held. Heck, I had no idea what to wear. I arrived with the Harper entourage and saw sparkles everywhere as beads and rhinestones reflected the luminescence of the event. Women were in gowns, men in serious suits. I spied a long white glove here, a tuxedo there. Champagne was poured and the stars in my eyes were only matched by the stars I saw around me. Among those honored: Virginia Hamilton, Walter Dean Myers, Paul Fleischman, Allen Say, David Wiesner, Jerry Pinkney, Elizabeth George Speare.
You’re marooned on a desert island; what three books and one food item do you need to survive?
On a desert island, I would have Grandfather’s Journey by Allen Say, not only because it was the book that received the Caldecott Award my first time on the committee, but also because it captures significant movements in American art. I cannot imagine being stranded without art. True to Alice’s question, “what good is a book without pictures and conversations,” I would want a book of letters of some sort – most likely E.B. White’s letters; if I cannot converse with someone else, at least the letters invite a considered response. I also would want a book with which I could carry on a lifetime of conversations. For me, the text that I return to over and over again is Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson.
What are your hobbies?
I have many nieces, nephews. and grand-nieces and nephews, so a favorite hobby is ‘aunting.’ I love to cook, though I probably cook less than I do read about cooking in cooking magazines, in cookbooks, in the daily food columns in my local newspaper. Yes, I’m a cooking show junkie – I even ordered my 50th birthday cake from the local bakery “Truly Jorg’s” because I had seen the Jorg team compete so well on the “Food Network Challenge.” I also am a women’s roller derby fan-atic – Boston Roller Derby Dames rule!
What three words best describe you?
loyal, workaholic, (good) writer -- Sometimes, I wish that another three words could describe me, but these will have to do!
Putting Through the Pages
At the downtown location of the Warren-Trumbull County (Ohio) Public Library, the Youth Services staff likes to offer programming that families can enjoy together over the schools’ winter break. After a couple of years of life-sized Candy Land, my children’s librarians decided an indoor miniature golf game would be their next winter project.
Dubbing the program “Putting through the Pages,” they designed each hole to represent a popular children’s book, and, since we wanted to attract children of all ages, they included picture books, beginning readers, and fiction for older children.
My staff is adept at creating programs on a shoestring, but what we may lack in funds, we make up for with creativity, talent, and enthusiasm! Discarded cardboard boxes were transformed into Flat Stanley’s mailbox, Pigeon’s bus, and Hogwarts. Each hole was laid out using foam pool “noodles” cut in half. Putters were constructed out of dowel rods with Styrofoam™ heads covered in duct tape. The most popular design was the Captain Underpants hole that featured toilet paper obstacles and a ramp to land the ball into an open toilet seat (purchased new for the occasion)! Other books featured on the course were Chicka, Chicka Boom Boom; Trashy Town; If You Give a Mouse a Cookie; Charlotte’s Web; Fly Guy; and Skulduggery Pleasant.
Over one hundred people enjoyed playing our ten-hole course (not regulation—we know!), and there are plans to expand and enhance the course for next year. For one thing, the Charlotte’s Web hole really needs a web that says, “Fore!” --Lori Faust, youth services manager, Warren-Trumbull County Public Library
The Gloucester County (Va.) Public Library’s Read-n-Recycle program is all about sharing books, recycling, and spending “money!”
The program is held over a period of two months; we usually shoot for January and February. In the first month, children bring in their gently-used books and exchange them for “book bucks.” Each book is worth one “book buck.” We created our bucks using a dollar bill template found online and adding our library name to it.
Month two is all about spending those bucks. After collecting the books during the first month, we set up our store—a canopy with tables beneath. Books are organized by age groups. Children bring in their “book bucks” to browse and shop for recycled treasures. Each book costs one “book buck.” The store usually remains up and running for the entire second month.
When the program began, it was geared to children up to grade five. Since then, we’ve expanded it to include older kids and the program now welcomes recyclers and shoppers from one- to 18-years-old. Rather than “book bucks,” our teens receive a paper “credit card,” which notes the number of books they brought in to recycle.
The first time we offered the program, we noticed that we realized some of the children saw that some of their books were the only books to choose from. To remedy that, we now make sure to have extra gently-used books on hand, received through regular book donations, to ensure we have a wide variety of books for sale. The program is held at both of our library branches, so we also can swap books between the two to mix things up.
Over the past four years Read-n-Recycle has steadily caught on and the number of recycled books has grown. Last year, we had more than a thousand books brought in during the first month. Books left over after the sale are donated to our Friends of the Library bookstore.
Happy Recycling!—Michelle Edwards, Children's Coordinator, Gloucester County (Va.) Public Library
Celebrate the Moon on September 6 -- Have Your Library Join the Party
International Observe the Moon Night (InOMN) is coming this September 6! InOMN is an annual event that is dedicated to encouraging people to "look up" and take notice of our nearest neighbor, the moon. Check out this site
for materials and resources, and add your own event to the world map. When you're not looking at the moon, try these hands-on activities:
Crater Creations -
In the 30-45-minute Crater Creations activity, teams of children ages 8 to13 drop small objects ("asteroids" and "comets") into layers of sand, flour, and cocoa powder. The impacts create "craters" - just like those seen on the moon! Children observe images of lunar craters and explore how the mass, shape, velocity, and angle of impactors affect the size and shape of the crater.
- Children ages 10 and up use images and information collected from NASA robotic spacecraft to determine the site for a future lunar outpost. Working in teams, they consider environmental conditions, available resources, and scientific importance of different locations on the moon. The teams debate about which site is best and work together to determine which single site to recommend to NASA. This 1 -1 1/2-hour activity can be divided into parts.
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Exhibit Explores Technology's Impact on Books
The Arne Nixon Center for the Study of Children's Literature and the Special Collections Research Center at Fresno State are currently hosting an exhibit, "Turning Pages: Intersections of Books & Technology,” which runs through May 30, 2014.
Technologies new, old, and reinterpreted have altered the paradigm of the book since its inception. From creation and content to format itself, the collective notion of the book, a benign object, is continually changing. “Turning Pages” provides a glimpse into some of the ways in which technology has radicalized books and bookmaking. With examples from both special collections, as well as book art from five world-renowned artists, visitors are invited to explore the convergence of books and technology—from advances in printing to the digital arena to new and exciting forms of art. Exhibition artists include Thomas Allen, Su Blackwell, Brian Dettmer, Pamela Paulsrud, and Mike Stilkey.
2014 President's Program
The theme of ALSC's 2014 Charlemae Rollins President's Program in Las Vegas is "The Ripple Effect: Library Partnerships that Positively Impact Children, Families, Communities, and Beyond." The program will explore how library and community collaborations can be the nexus of support for children and families, and will inspire attendees to create meaningful partnerships in libraries. The event is scheduled for Monday, June 30, 1:00-2:30 p.m., during the ALA Annual Conference.
Amy Dickinson, syndicated advice columnist, will deliver the keynote address and speak about her collaboration with the Family Reading Partnership of Ithaca, N.Y. to launch the campaign "A Book in Every Bed" that then sparked a national movement.
Anna McQuinn, author of "Lola at the Library," will bring an international perspective to the proceedings, speaking on her work in the United Kingdom with young children and their families.
The program will culminate with a panel of librarians from across the country discussing their innovative partnerships that support children and families. Beth Munk, children's services manager, Kendallville Public Library (Ind.), will discuss her collaboration with Big Brothers and Sisters. Lesley Clayton, manager of children’s library services, Mamie Doud Eisenhower Public Library (Broomfield, Colo.) will share her collaboration with the Bal Swan Children's Center, a local preschool, to host parent workshops that support early literacy and social and emotional development.
2014 ALSC National Institute - Register by June 30 and Save!
Don't let the deadline sneak up on you! Act now and take advantage of the early bird registration rate, which expires June 30. Join your fellow children's librarians and educators for ALSC's two and a half day National Institute in Oakland, California, September 18-20, 2014. The Institute schedule is packed with unique education programs, speaker events, and networking opportunities. For the complete schedule of events and registration information, visit the Institute webpage
Hear Ye! Hear Ye!
Megan Schliesman, Cooperative Children's Book Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison, is the winner of the 2014 Intellectual Freedom Award, given jointly by the Wisconsin Library Association (WLA) and the Wisconsin Educational Media and Technology Association (WEMTA). Besides managing the University of Wisconsin Cooperative Children’s Book Center’s Intellectual Freedom Information Services, Schliesman also manages its online forum, “What IF..Questions and Answers on Intellectual Freedom.” Congratulations, Megan!
Ann K. Symons, school librarian and international library consultant, Alaska, is the 2013 recipient of the American Library Association (ALA) Equality Award for her outstanding contributions toward promoting equality in the library profession. Throughout her career, Symons has been an active and effective supporter of intellectual freedom, focusing extensively on school libraries and GLBT issues. Kudos, Ann!
Growing readers: A critical analysis of early literacy content for parents on Canadian public library websites, an article written by Tess Prendergast, Vancouver (Canada) Public Library, and based on her critical study of 20 library websites for a graduate course in family literacy, was published late last year in the Journal of Library Administration (Vol. 53, no. 4). Prendergast is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Language and Literacy Education at the University of British Columbia.
The Poetry Friday Anthology for Science (Pomelo, 2014), co-written by Sylvia Vardell, School of Library and Information Studies, Texas Woman's University, and Janet Wong, was released in March and features 218 poems by 78 award-winning and popular poets, exploring science standards while also incorporating literacy skills. The title was named the Poetry Foundation Children's Poet Laureate "Pick of the Month." Her article Observe, Explain, Connect, also co-written by Janet Wong, was printed in the April/May issue of Science and Children. In addition, Vardell was selected to receive the 2014 ALA Scholastic Library Publishing Award for her “unusual contribution to the stimulation and guidance of reading by children and young people," which exemplifies achievement in the profession. Brava, Sylvia!
Flying Solo: How Ruth Elder Soared into America's Heart, written by Julie Cummins, author and reviewer, New York, is one of the ten books chosen for ALA's 2014 Amelia Bloomer Project Award. The award, administered by the ALA Social Responsibilities Round Table’s (SRRT) Feminist Taskforce, acknowledges well written and illustrated books with significant feminist content, intended for young readers from birth to 18 years old. Flying Solo was illustrated by Malene R. Laugesen and published by Roaring Brook in 2013. Congratulations, Julie!
, Takoma Park Maryland Library, is featured in "Vox Populi
," a semi-regular mini interview series from the Politics and Prose Bookstore in Washington, D.C. In the interview, Karen responds to a selection of questions related to books. Previous interviewees in the series include: Alice McDermott, National Book Award recipient; Christine Brennan, USA Today
columnist; and Howard Norman, award-winning novelist.
ALSC Welcomes New Staff Member
Courtney Jones joined the ALSC team on March 31 as Awards Coordinator. Courtney received her Bachelor of Arts in Fiction Writing at Columbia College in Chicago. She comes to ALSC from ALA's Booklist Magazine, where she worked as editorial assistant for Books for Youth since 2008. At Booklist, Courtney managed the intake of review titles; distributed review materials for Booklist's youth reviewers; answered questions from publishers and reviewers; updated web content for Booklist and Book Links, including curation of the common core resources page; and provided awards coverage for the Booklist blog, Likely Stories. Additionally, she’s reviewed adult, young adult, middle grade, picture books, graphic novels, and audiobooks for Booklist.
Courtney will administer ALSC’s awards program, including ten book and media awards, three Notable lists, seven professional awards, and three scholarships. Among her duties, she will monitor seals production and fulfillment as well as image use permissions; maintain award resource materials and web pages; work with committees and publishers; and coordinate logistics for the award presentation programs. Welcome, Courtney!