“This is a very good start, really. Now, you might want to move that line just a tad to the left, and think a bit about your colors.”
>The recent report about the reluctance of high school biology teachers to teach evolution really drives me crazy. Again. I think I am most bothered by the 60% of teachers who weasel out of or around the topic because of fear, not their own convictions. It’s like librarians who don’t buy certain materials because they [...]
>The children’s librarians over at PUBYAC are discussing impossible homework assignments–like the kid who came in and needed a biography (it had to be a book) about Dick York, famous Indianan. I sympathize–I’m sure I’ve mentioned here before the hordes of kids who came into my little branch library needing copies of God Is My [...]
>Twitter is atwitter with responses to Richard Peck’s remark in Notes that “over and over [kids are]telling me that the books I wrote for them to read are being read to them by their teachers. And hearing a story read doesn’t seem to expand their vocabularies. If a teacher is going to take limited classroom [...]
>M.T. Anderson tipped me to this thoughtful NYT piece about the state of trade books in the classroom (wow, that phrase sounds as antiquated as whole language) and the fact that the Horn Book gets a shout out on the third page. We are of course always gratified when teachers find us helpful in their [...]
I totally wanted to go to one of those. But here’s your chance, if you feel like playing along with the class I’m teaching at the Simmons College Center for the Study of Children’s Literature. The class begins today and is called Crimes and Misdemeanors, and it is something of a lead up to the [...]
>In the most recent Booklist, Michael Cart wonders why “curriculum-related nonfiction” hasn’t “migrated more or less completely to the Internet by now.” Me, too: hardcover series books about countries of the world, mammals of Asia, rocks and minerals of the fifty states, etc. still proliferate like crazy, even though the information they contain is available [...]
Marianthe’s Story: Painted Words / Spoken Memories written and illustrated by Aliki
The story of a young immigrant girl from an unnamed country is told in a pair of back-to-back picture books. The first describes Marianthe’s adjustment to her American school; the second (arrived at by flipping the book over) allows the girl to tell her own story of why she and her mother came to this country. Aliki’s drawings are warm and expansive, giving heart to the somewhat purposive text. Grade level: K–3.
Ramona the Pest written by Beverly Cleary, illustrated by Lois Darling
Eight- or nine-year-olds who can look back upon their kindergarten days will smile knowingly at Ramona’s first encounters with school life. Ramona does not submit to the process of education without a struggle, and the skirmishes, vividly described, will remind the young reader of the child he once was (or wished he had dared to be!). The author has a sure instinct for the thought and expression of five-year-olds. Grade level: K–3.