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Hbook Podcast 1.38 – Special Guest Malinda Lo

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Podcast the 38th in which Siân and Roger chat with special guest Malinda Lo. *We’re going on vacation for the holidays! We’ll miss you but we’ll see you in 2017 (good riddance, 2016)!* (nsfw) Malinda info Twitter tumblr Books we talk about Kody Keplinger, Run Sarah Waters, Tipping the Velvet All Out from Harlequin Teen […]

On Julie Hakim Azzam’s “Mommy, Do I Have White Skin?: Skin Color, Family, and Picture Books” (from November 2016)

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“Using picture books, I set out to cultivate an image library that would give my children pictures of families that, like ours, were of mixed ancestry and had skin tones that ranged from light to dark.” Julie Hakim Azzam’s Books in the Home column from the November/December 2016 issue of The Horn Book Magazine discusses […]

Decolonizing Nostalgia: When Historical Fiction Betrays Readers of Color

The Birchbark House

If I look back at my childhood in the nineties, I can tie my preferences for types of play very closely to the types of books I liked to read. Beyond swimming and riding my bicycle, I was an indoor kid who, though I had plenty of friends, was happiest playing with paper dolls, Kitchen […]

Emerson’s “Diversity in Children’s and YA Publishing” panel

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Last week, Martha and I attended an excellent panel on “Diversity in Children’s and Young Adult Publishing,” hosted by Emerson College’s Writing, Literature, and Publishing program. Panelists were Lesléa Newman (author of Heather Has Two Mommies, October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard, and many, many others); Vicky Smith, Kirkus‘s children’s and teen editor; and […]

I Never Met a Fiction I Didn’t Like: Characters Creeping into Reality, from the March Sisters to Simon Snow

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When @Call_Me_Gil started flirting with @AnneWith_An_E on Twitter, their followers took to calling them “Shirbert.” Yes, that’s two contemporary (fictional) young adults named Anne Shirley and Gilbert Blythe, no realer than the L. M. Montgomery characters who first appeared widely in 1908. In this modern-day webseries re-imagining, Anne (as played by Mandy Harmon) started a […]

Was Jo March a Ravenclaw? Authors, Fans, and Who Makes the Rules

Little Women illustration by Barbara Cooney (1955). Scarf composite by Charlotte Reber and Lolly Robinson.

What are Harry Potter’s kids up to? Should Jo have married Professor Bhaer? Could Bella Swan have depended less on Edward? For many readers, part of being a fan is the desire to know more than what’s spelled out on the page. And when answers aren’t readily available, some readers are happy to create them […]

We need (more) diverse authors

#WNMDB

In the Age of Testing, it seems creativity is often left by the wayside. Professional development for teachers these days focuses on practices that supposedly raise test scores. Practice questions. Test-prep software. Data analysis. Incentives. To make room for these practices, it seems that many high schools no longer teach creative writing. We teach reading […]

The Unstoppables app review

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The Unstoppables app (Cerebral: The Swiss Foundation for Children with Cerebral Palsy, May 2015) introduces a diverse group of four young friends with complementary strengths: Melissa, who is blind, can reach high objects with her cane. Mai can jump over obstacles and crouch to go under them. Achim, who is in a wheelchair, can travel […]

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 […]

Thinking about school as a privilege

Virgie Goes to School with Us Boys

As our year in second grade began last fall, my students and I spent some time thinking about why we go to school. In our first few weeks together, I tried to help my students understand that going to school is a privilege that has not always been (and is still not) available to everyone. […]