Sunday, May 31, 2009

The coolest thing at BEA? Amy Krouse Rosenthal's "The Beckoning of Lovely."
Got something loverly?

Friday, May 22, 2009

Facebook's Book Clubs Gets Kids Excited About Reading

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The arts and brain development: Does music help elementary students with math? Will dancing or painting improve spacial or reading ability?
Nice shout-out for Raising Bookworms at Planet Esme's blogspot, plus tons of other great resources

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Happy Children's Book Week!

In 1919, the American Booksellers Association committed to organizing an annual Children's Book Week. A few months later, the American Library Association officially approved it during its first Children's Librarians session - and twenty five years after that, the newly-established Children's Book Council assumed responsibility for administering the event, planning official events and creating original materials. But the need for Children’s Book Week is as essential today as it was in 1919. The task remains the same as it was when Frederic Melcher made this fundamental declaration: “A great nation is a reading nation.”

You can celebrate Children's Book Week any number of ways. Join the official celebrations...

Tuesday, May 12 - Children's Choice Book Awards Gala
The second annual Children's Choice Book Awards, at the Edison Ballroom in Manhattan. Individual tickets - $300. Call (212) 677-3173, ext. 240 or email

Tuesday, May 12 and Wednesday, May 13 - Children's Book Week in Chicago
Renowned storyteller Barbara Clark performs three events in Chicago to celebrate Book Week and the 40th anniversary of the Coretta Scott King Book Awards. Free and open to the public.

Thursday, May 14 - Children's Book Week in Seattle
National Ambassador Jon Scieszka visits The Secret Garden Bookshop to celebrate Book Week.

Saturday, May 16 - Children's Book Week in Boston
Activities will be held at Copley Square, Boston, at the main branch of the Boston Public Library and also in neighborhood branch locations. Participating authors are Paul Carrick, Erin Dionne, Kate Feiffer, Jarrett J. Krosoczka, Megan McDonald, Sara Pennypacker, Michael Rex, Linda Urban, and Alan Witschonke. Join the fun from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. just outside the Rey Children's Room on the main floor. Free and open to the public.


•Make your voice heard with the Children's Choice Book Awards! Click here to see the finalists, then vote for your favorite! Awards will be given to the winner in each age group and will be posted on the Book Week site.

•Test your skills with Children's Book Week puzzles!

•Great authors have started a story… help them finish the tale with Story Starters.

Download the official Children's Book Week bookmark, or make your own charmed bookmark.

• Tell your teacher or librarian to check out the teachers and librarians page on the Children's Book Council website for great ideas for how to celebrate Book Week.

If nothing else, READ to a child! Remember that a love of reading starts with a connection between reading and pleasure - and the best way to cultivate that connection is to read something wonderful to a child, with love.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Technology + Books = Synergy

Don't worry - I haven't converted to an electronic reader (yet). I still prefer the tangible, tactile pleasure of a good old fashioned book. But I do believe that the technology of the digital age, used well, can be a great enhancement to literacy and reading pleasure. For instance...

"Trouble finding books they like" is one of the top reasons kids say they don't read more, according to Scholastic's recent Kids and Family Reading Report. Two new web sites provide terrific resources in this regard.

Jennifer Brown, children’s editor of the e-newsletter Shelf Awareness, has created the new TwentybyJenny site with the goal of "helping educators and caregivers build a child’s library one book at a time by guiding them to 20 books in each of four age groups (0–3, 4–7, 8–12, and teens)." The site also offers a weekly newsletter and a Twenty blog, which explores book-related themes. Brown focuses on trying to find "a mix of books people might be familiar with, alongside titles they might not have come across before,” as well as books that would appeal to both genders, and different interests and sophistication levels. Her hope is that the lists comprise a good "starter library" for a child, which can then be built upon.

Another great site in this regard - which I've written about here before - is James Patterson's ReadKiddoRead, an invaluable resource for kids as well as parents, caregivers and educators. Patterson's site not only provides scores of recommendations for books sure to engage young readers (or, in Patterson’s words, “great books, cool books, books they would absolutely, positively love… the crème de la crème of reading… very, very special books that kids will gobble up and ask for more”), it also leads young people towards other books and authors that may interest them through the “If You Love This Book, Then Try…” suggestions on each book page. In addition, the site provides reviews, thematic connections, and links to more information about the books and where they can be purchased. Perhaps most valuable, however, is the “Community” section of the site, where members of all ages can connect, discuss topics related to reading, read interviews with childrens book authors and get involved. Here, teachers manage discussion groups with students, reading specialists post blog entries, and parents as well as kids engage in lively discussion, post their reading experiences to forums and groups and get proactive about the role of reading in their lives.

There are also a number of terrific blogs out there with respect to childrens books, many of which are linked to this site. By managing all these with my Google Reader account (which I can then download onto my iPhone - oops, I guess I am reading electronically!) this is a great way to stay current and get new ideas about books my kids might love.

This, I think, is the perfect marriage between the digital world and the world of books - using modern technology to support and enrich the reading experience.