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Field Notes: Teaching Flying Lessons & Other Stories

In a foreword to the paperback edition of the groundbreaking anthology Flying Lessons & Other Stories — edited by Ellen Oh, first published in 2017 in partnership with We Need Diverse Books, and dedicated to the late Walter Dean Myers — Christopher Myers writes, “Imagine…this book you are holding, Flying...
      

Five Questions for Maxine Beneba Clarke about When We Say Black Lives Matter

When Kitty and I visited All She Wrote Books last week, it was the first time we were able to see "in person" some of our recent favorite new picture books. Some of them even came home with us — including When We Say Black Lives Matter by Maxine Beneba Clarke, winner of...
      

Antiracist Baby and "didactic intent"

Regardless of your politics, for those of us invested in children's literature, watching Ted Cruz’s questioning of Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson earlier this week was a bit surreal. I mean, children’s books make their way into culture-wars debates all the time, but that usually happens in the once-sleepy...
      

Mirrors, Windows, Sliding Glass Doors; Prisms…Curtains…Starting Blocks…and More!

The first evening I walked into room 212 of Ramseyer Hall at The Ohio State University and took a seat near the front, so I could see and hear everything Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop shared, my life as a librarian, writer, and speaker was changed forever. You see, my family...
      

Tu Bishvat is here

In addition to being Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Monday is Tu Bishvat*! The holiday, whose name just means “the fifteenth day of the month of Shvat,” is a Jewish holiday considered the New Year of the Trees.  It’s a day to celebrate all things tree-related. Need a book recommendation?...
      

When Failure Is Not an Option: Connecting the Dots with STEM

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A few years ago, I was asked to give the keynote address as part of a daylong STEM workshop for middle-grade science teachers. I suggested inviting a NASA specialist for a separate virtual session. It wasn’t the first time I’d done that. While conducting a session on planets for fourth...
      

ABC Your Way to Confidence

Velena Collins Smoot is the author of the picture book ABC Your Way to Confidence, illustrated by Whimsical Designs by CJ, and self-published. She's family with someone I consider like family (Hi, Winsome!), and I was happy to be able to learn more about her very personal and heartfelt project. Follow @abcyourway on...
      

Enriching the "image libraries"

In his 2013 Horn Book article "Young Dreamers," Christopher Myers wrote:  "Images matter. They linger in our hearts, vast 'image libraries' that color our actions and ideas, even if we don’t recognize them on a conscious level. The plethora of threatening images of young black people has real-life effects. But if...
      

Nonfiction Windows So White

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Every reader of this magazine knows that Rudine Sims Bishop’s “Mirrors, Windows, and Sliding Glass Doors” framework has become a central part of our vocabulary as we evaluate books for children and teenagers. Indeed it is a kind of organizing metaphor in the industry-wide push for a more representative literature...
      

Lady Danbury reads

Last week in virtual school, Adjoa Andoh, a.k.a. Lady Danbury, read Sleep Well Siba & Saba by Nansubuga Nagadya Isdhal, a local-born author, to my second grader and me, as part of Tàta Storytime. Remote school can be fun! What are some other Family Reading/remote schooling wins? ...
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