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Mock book awards | Class #6, fall 2016

During our last class on November 30, students will meet in mock award groups. At the first class, we formed five award committees based on students’ personal preferences. We’ve got a Geisel committee, a Sibert committee, and three Caldecott committees. Each student nominated one or two 2016 books which they will present to their group […]

Charlotte’s Web | Class #6, fall 2016

Our class won’t meet next Wednesday because of Thanksgiving, so this post is going up early. During our last class meeting (November 30), we will be holding five mock book award sessions. There are three Caldecott groups and one each for Geisel and Sibert. Check out the books they have nominated here [link to come] […]

Giant Squid

Do you like creepy, shiver-inducing monster stories? If so, you’ve got to see Giant Squid by Candace Fleming, illustrated by Eric Rohmann. Sometimes when we discuss an information book — yes, it’s nonfiction — here, there are debates about whether it’s really a picture book. Is there enough play between art and text? Is there […]

Teaching poetry

In a short 6-week module like the one I teach at Harvard Ed School, time is the enemy. My quixotic goal for this too-short class is to expose students to all aspects of children’s literature, in breadth and in depth. Of course, every year and there is something I wish we had discussed in more […]

Sarah S. Brannen and Ekua Holmes

During last night’s class, we had two guests: Sarah S. Brannen and Ekua Holmes, both illustrators of information books we were reading for this week. Sarah S. Brannen illustrated Feathers: Not Just for Flying by Melissa Stewart and has nearly twenty books under her belt. Ekua Holmes has one book out so far: Voice of […]

Can One Balloon Make an Elephant Fly?

Earlier this fall, we took a careful look at Emma and Julia Love Ballet based on Julie Danielson’s recommendation. Here’s another title that Julie has high on her radar. (I hope all of you  illustration-lovers follow her blog Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast. Whenever I need in-depth information about illustrators, I try Seven Imp first. […]

Folklore and poetry | Class #5, fall 2016

For our class on November 16, we are reading four books and one article. I like combining these two genres because both need to be read aloud in order to really appreciate them. Folklore has to have a strong voice, as it comes from an oral tradition where storytellers have individual styles, just as today’s […]

Javaka Steptoe on Radiant Child

In our November/December 2016 issue, reviewer Lolly Robinson spoke with author/illustrator Javaka Steptoe about his personal connection to the subject of new biography Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. Read the full starred review. Lolly Robinson: You and your father, John Steptoe, were both artists in NYC when Basquiat was working. Did […]

Review of Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat

Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat by Javaka Steptoe; illus. by the author Primary    Little, Brown    40 pp. 10/16    978-0-316-21388-2    $17.99 Picture books about artists are tricky. Should the illustrator mimic the subject’s style, or instead attempt to capture his or her essence? Steptoe does a little of both in this introduction […]

Why teachers should know the Virtual History Exhibit

We have an opening in the post schedule this week because there’s no class tonight, so I want to make a plug for our Virtual History Exhibit which displays items from our archives over the past 100 years. Because of our unique place in the history of children’s books in the US, the VHE has […]