Caldecott 2014: The Year in Pictures

locomotive

Welcome to Las Vegas! City of lights, city of sin; of excess, exploitation, and glitter. It may be an unlikely spot for a library conference, but its unofficial slogan makes it an apt one: what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. I’m referring here not to mayhem and debauchery (although…feel free) but to the famed […]

Using picture books to teach satire

The Stinky Cheese Man

It is important to expose children to a variety of genres of literature at young age and to do our best to explain the conventions of that genre in developmentally appropriate ways. One of the genres of literature that might not get as much emphasis in standardized tests but is important to be able to […]

YA dragons and witches

green_half bad

What fantasy fan worth her salt doesn’t love a good dragon or witch story? There’s no shortage of them; but these YA novels are wholly original offerings that focus on the development of complex main characters and the subversion of traditional notions of good and evil. Teenager Nathan is a prisoner in a cage in […]

Science in your backyard

burns_handle with care

Outdoor play can double as an opportunity for learning about the natural world. These four nonfiction picture books may inspire readers to look more closely at the wildlife in their own neighborhoods. In Handle with Care: An Unusual Butterfly Journey, author Loree Griffin Burns explores the life cycle of butterflies alongside the work of a […]

Dog days of summer

stanton_monday, wednesday, and every other weekend

Dogs, cats, and…a sloth. These picture books showcase the comfort, companionship, aggravation, upheaval, and education that pets can bring into a family’s life. In Karen Stanton’s Monday, Wednesday, and Every Other Weekend, Henry and his dog Pomegranate live with Mama on Mondays, Wednesdays, and alternating weekends and with Papa the rest of the time. Rich, […]

Middle-school capers

hilmo_skies like these

Middle school can be a time when kids broaden their horizons, explore new talents, and form more grown-up opinions. But it can also be a time for mischievous adventure, social snafus, rule-breaking, and guerilla-style activism — and these middle-school capers abound with such madcap antics. Twelve-year-old Jade, star of Tess Hilmo’s Skies like These, would […]

World War I Interactive app review

wwi interactive entry of us

World War I Interactive (2012) is part of Touchzing Media‘s interactive history app series (other entries cover the American Revolution, the Civil War, WWII, the Vietnam War, general American history, and the lives of Abraham Lincoln and Mahatma Gandhi). Since my own WWI knowledge comes largely from Downton Abbey and Legends of the Fall, I […]

B: A Profile of Brian Floca

locomotive

An editor’s dream — smart authors, smart artists. They save so much time. That is, they’re up to speed without undue heaving or the need for sand on the tracks (see Locomotive for more on the subject). My subject in this tribute is someone who is all three: author, artist, smart. Given a pencil, Brian […]

A Profile of Kate DiCamillo

kate with squirrel

Superheroes come in all shapes and sizes: Incandesto is a towering beam of light; Ulysses is a squirrel; and Kate DiCamillo, of course, is a writer of children’s books. “For heaven’s sake,” I can hear Tootie Tickham asking, “what kind of superhero writes?” And it’s true that Kate may not be your typical cape-wearing, crime-fighting […]

Rita Williams-Garcia’s 2014 CSK Author Award Acceptance

p.s. be eleven

Good morning, family. I am honored to stand before you all: Coretta Scott King Book Awards Committee Chair Kim Patton and the committee; most distinguished fellow honorees; and all of us joined through our love of books, tolerance, and peace. A certain type of ignorance is truly bliss. I’d been writing for young people over […]