I had a great time at the Children’s Literature Council of Southern California Spring Workshop last Saturday in South Pasadena. Kristin Fontichiaro and I each spoke about the Common Core State Standards, she offering a great perspective on the ways school and public librarians can support CCSS curriculums while I pondered what effects and implications the Core might have for trade publishing. Many thanks to the Council and conference organizer Laurie Reese for such a terrific morning.
My old friend Marc Aronson will disagree with me, but, I gotta say, every time I read the CCSS standards I like them less. As I said in my talk on Saturday, I approach any new twist or trend in educational thinking with one question–and my self-interested bias–foremost: does this mean more books in the classroom? While you might think the CCSS, with their emphasis on close reading and multiple sources, would mean that yes, classrooms will be clamoring for trade books, I see more of a market for curricular packagers: why buy five different books about Abe Lincoln when WeSlapItTogether Publishers will extract meaty (or not) passages (or “texts,” as the CCSS prefer) from those same books and razzle-dazzle ’em with hyperlinks to even more sources, reading-level calculators, quizzes, and other tools? Make no mistake, the CCSS are big on reading, but books? Not so much. I hope to God to be proven wrong.
My other old friend Ron Koertge joined us for lunch and chat about horseracing and poets (apparently they can be a nasty bunch) and then LAPL librarian Barbara Metzenbaum graciously drove me to Eugene Yelchin‘s house, which was so far back in Topanga Canyon I thought I was in Nevada. Coyotes AND rattlesnakes, but the gracious Eugene showed me his studio and lovely family before Richard picked me up to drive to Santa Barbara, where we talked books and movies with Andy and Adrianne Davis who practically forced me into the contraption pictured above. Then back to LA and a quick visit with the kids and the red-eye home to Brownie (and thank you, Katrina Hedeen, for your loving and expert care of the strange little beast).
And we just stay busy here–the Boston Globe-Horn Book judges will be meeting this weekend; I’ll be announcing the winners at BEA in New York at 1:00PM on June 1st. Stay tuned . . . .