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Move Over, Shmelf…There Are Other Books on the Shelf

This past fall I posted a critical review of picture book Shmelf the Hanukkah Elf on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, GoodReads, and Facebook. This caused quite a brouhaha. My review was quoted in the Tablet magazine article, “Stay in Your Lane, Elf,” by Marjorie Ingall, and I was interviewed (along with my colleague Kathy Bloomfield) […]

Review of When the Sea Turned to Silver

When the Sea Turned to Silver by Grace Lin; illus. by the author Intermediate, Middle School    Little, Brown    373 pp. 10/16    978-0-316-12592-5    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-0-316-31769-6    $9.99 In this companion to Lin’s Newbery Honor book Where the Mountain Meets the Moon (rev. 9/09) and Starry River of the Sky (rev. 11/12), young Pinmei goes in […]

Transgender Awareness Month 2016 resources

November is Transgender Awareness Month, a time to celebrate the lives of trans people, remember those lost to anti-trans hate crimes, and renew our commitment to fight for trans rights. The Trevor Project urges the trans community and its allies to educate others, to be “agents of change, transforming fear and bigotry into understanding and […]

Native American Heritage Month 2016 resources

November is Native American Heritage Month, a celebration of the many varied Native American cultures. Check out the official website for more information and lots of resources. If you’re looking for ways to help the Standing Rock demonstrators, consider donating to the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, the Standing Rock Medic and Healer Council, or Sacred […]

Review of Ghost

Ghost [Track] by Jason Reynolds Intermediate, Middle School    Dlouhy/Atheneum    181 pp. 8/16    978-1-4814-5015-7    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-1-4814-5017-1    $10.99 When it comes to providing mirrors for contemporary African American teens, Reynolds (When I Was the Greatest, rev. 1/14; The Boy in the Black Suit, rev. 3/15) has proven himself to be an emerging leader. His latest […]

A Fine Bookshelf

I once taught a rites-of-passage class to a group of African American and Caribbean American teenage girls. The workshops included lessons in history, self-care, and literacy. These classes weren’t supposed to be like school. I was there to help deepen their understanding of their world and their place in it. I created a lesson called […]

The Writer’s Page: On Writing the American Familia

I’ve always been fascinated by how people become part of the American tapestry. Some had ancestors who were enslaved. Others fled persecution, poverty, or violence. Their stories are often a potent mix of hope and tragedy. My parents came to the United States during the mass political exodus of the Cuban upper and middle class […]

Mind the Gaps: Books for ALL Young Readers

When Roger invited me to deliver the keynote for today’s program, I was a bit intimidated. He told me that the idea for the “Mind the Gaps” theme was inspired by Christopher Myers’s essay “Young Dreamers,” published in The Horn Book last November. Christopher’s essay grew from the ongoing question: where are the people of […]

Young dreamers

I had wanted to write something funny. I thought I had something to add to recent discussions about the diversity and lack thereof in children’s literature — a unique perspective, perhaps. I was raised in the midst of these conversations about cultural diversity in children’s media. My father, Walter Dean Myers, has been on the […]

Who Can Tell My Story

We speak a different language in my grandmother’s house. When the family is alone together or with close friends, our language flows into a southern dialect essenced with my younger brother’s (and sometimes my own) hip-hop of-the-moment idioms — what was once good became fresh and is now the bomb. What was once great was […]