All about literature circles

classroom table and chairs

I know it is summer, but I found (especially as a new teacher) that setting aside a good chunk of time to go Beast Mode* on a specific strategy truly helps in its implementation during the next school year. This summer, I’m planning to reflect on how our literature circles went this past year and […]

Five questions for Varian Johnson

Varian Johnson _credit Kenneth B. Gall

Varian Johnson (who was co-valedictorian, with his twin brother, of his high school class, thank you very much) enjoys two careers: as an author and an engineer. It’s not surprising, then, that his new book The Great Greene Heist (Scholastic, 12–16 years) is so meticulously — almost mathematically — plotted. But it’s not all by-the-numbers, […]

Newbery 2014: The Year in Words

diCamillo_Flora

“You’ve got winner written all over you,” says the Whack-a-Duck man in Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee’s Bink & Gollie: Two For One, winner of the 2014 Andrew Carnegie Medal for excellence in children’s video. “How I love it when little ladies win large donuts.” Kate DiCamillo is having a very good year. On January […]

My gun, my foot

KateD

Instant karma whacked me upside the head at the end of last month when the July-August issue of the Horn Book Magazine, wherein I take ALSC to task for demanding too much secrecy around its Newbery and Caldecott deliberations, was mailed a full week early, thus spoiling the entirely justifiable secret of just what Kate […]

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 […]

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 […]

Walter Dean Myers (1937-2014)

Photo by Constance Myers

We are terribly sad to learn of the death of Walter Dean Myers on Tuesday from pneumonia. As an author, his accolades are nearly too numerous to count: National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, Margaret A. Edwards Award winner, (first) Printz Award winner, Coretta Scott King Author Award winner, Newbery honoree, Boston Globe-Horn Book honoree, […]

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 […]