Are we doing it white?

whiteladies

Martha and I are teaching a class–that is, we are trying to teach a class, which has thus far been cancelled twice due to snow–on reviewing, and we’ve just assigned the students Malinda Lo’s provocative series of essays about reviewing and diversity. You all should take a look, too. It’s reminding me of a too-brief […]

Five questions for Kwame Alexander

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Middle-school hoops star Josh “Filthy McNasty” Bell wants to play for Duke. His twin brother JB bleeds Carolina Blue. Is there a more apt metaphor for sibling rivalry?! Here we talk to 2015 Newbery Medal winner Kwame Alexander, for The Crossover (Houghton), about sports, music, sleep (who needs it?), and…Gangsta Cookies. 1. The book has […]

“These children need a champion”: an interview with Gretchen Bircher

jimenez_the circuit

Gretchen Bircher is an instructional aide at Adam Elementary School in Santa Maria, California. (She’s also my amazing mom!) Today she is submitting a proposal to the Santa Maria–Bonita School District, advocating that a new elementary school be named in honor of Dr. Francisco Jiménez — author, recipient of a Boston Globe–Horn Book Award, and […]

Picture books measure up

How tall short

When I was a young student, I don’t recall learning about math concepts from picture books. Of course, I could simply have forgotten, but I do think it may be fair to say that there are more high-quality math picture books today than there were when I was a student. Nowadays, whenever I begin a […]

Starred reviews, March/April 2015 Horn Book Magazine

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The following books will receive starred reviews in the March/April 2015 issue of the Horn Book Magazine: Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña; illus. by Christian Robinson (Putnam) Wolfie the Bunny by Ame Dyckman; illus. by Zachariah OHora (Little, Brown) Meet the Dullards by Sara Pennypacker; illus. by Daniel Salmieri (Balzer […]

Empathy spells understanding

Yang the Youngest

If there’s one thing my students have come to know about their teacher, Ms. Tell, it’s that I have an extreme passion for, and knowledge of, the Harry Potter series. I won’t get too much into it (I’ll save that for another blog post), but it’s true. It’s not just the magical characters and enchanting […]

Shutting down the shop (for now)

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It’s been quite a season of books, hasn’t it? As I clear off my picture book shelf, preparing for the 2015 titles, I feel a twinge of nostalgia. There are so many books I have loved this year, but now they have to find new homes. I have piles of 2014 books, all bound for […]

Five questions for Lucy Cousins

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If you know any little girls named Maisy (or Tallulah; or, for that matter, any little boys named Cyril), chances are good that it’s because of Lucy Cousins. Her indomitable little-girl-mouse is beloved by toddlers and their grownups the world over, making Cousins one proud mama. 1. Your latest Maisy book — Count with Maisy, […]

One for YOU, and one for YOU, and one for YOU, and one for YOU….

ABBAWinner

I’m really enjoying the discussions over on Calling Caldecott about this year’s winners. The comments, divvied up between the last two posts, mostly address 1) why The Farmer and the Clown didn’t get any love, 2) why This One Summer DID, and 3) why there are six honor books, a new record. The last question provokes in […]

Build a Boyfriend

jones_build a boyfriend

There are so very many things I could say about Kiki Jones’s Build a Boyfriend (Penguin/Price Stern Sloan, May 2015). Are there overly mature sexual innuendos for children ages ten to fourteen? Sure! Is there a strong message expressing that physical appearance is of the utmost importance when procuring a partner? Yep! What about an […]