Travis Jonker has a manifesto: All Middle Grade Novels Should Be 192 Pages. No Exceptions. I like it. A lot. But still do have an exception. Here’s my comment on his post:
Yes!!! I am with you on this with a caveat (see below). I have always tried to keep my read-alouds (to my 4th grade class) to as close to 200 pages as possible, but it has become harder and harder to stick to that what with many terrific mg books being way more than that. (One of my favorites from last year — Kathi Appelt’s True Blue Scouts — is 352 pages. On the other hand, Jennifer Holm’s forthcoming The Fourteenth Goldfish, which I read aloud to my class last year, is a just right 208 pages.) My reasoning is that I feel that if some of my listeners aren’t 100% into the book (and I can’t believe all of them are rapt no matter how great a reader I am and how great many of us think the book is — they have their own tastes after all), they aren’t stuck with it too too long. And I also think it applies so much to newly independent readers who can lose steam.
That said, I think there is a place for books like Andy Griffith’s 26 Story Treehouse (352 pages) and Stephen Patis’s Timothy Failure (304 pages), books that are light, easy reading for kids who may not gravitate to the arguably more literary titles along the lines of those you mention. They love the longer length of these sorts of books. Makes them feel they are there with those reading so many of the other longer popular titles (e.g. Percy Jackson or Harry Potter).
This is awesome (and from 2012 — how did I miss it?). Via Elizabeth Law.
I believe in families, in the strength of families, and that the strength of a people can be determined by the strength of the families within that people. In December of 2015 the black family will have been established legally in the United States for 150 years. It was December, 1865, that the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery became part of the United States Constitution.
What I proposed to my family was an exhibit, to run in the fall of 2015 outlining the trials and triumphs of the American black family in documents….
Slave documents would constitute the first part of the exhibit, with the second part being a celebration of what marriage has meant to us over the years. It would be great if I could get Obama to declare November 1015 A Celebration of Black Families month. Anyone have his personal cell?….
It takes time to mount an exhibit…. It’s a great challenge but I love it. There’s work to be done.
Excerpts from “150 Years of the Black Family,” a May 2014 post on Walter Dean Myer’s blog.
I think my life is special. In a way it seems odd that I spend all of my time doing only what I love, which is writing or thinking about writing. If everyone had, at least for part of their lives, the opportunity to live the way I do, I think the world would be a better place.
I believe that everyone is intelligent. I believe that everyone can be creative. I like just about everyone I meet. For me, life has been good and it’s up to me to appreciate it. I hope that the next book, story or poem that I write will be worthy of the time the reader spends with it. If it is then my life is successful. If it’s not, then I’ll try again.
The above is from Walter Dean Myers’s website.
The world is a lesser place without this remarkable, brilliant, caring, and —yes— very special man who did seem to like everyone he met. He touched so many through his books, his public appearances, his personal contacts, and so much more than most individuals can do. I think of him as a mentor as I’m sure countless others do too whether they met him in person or through his books and writing. I will treasure all of those always.
His life was successful. A million times over.
My sincere condolences to his family and friends.
Well, they won’t be “my” fourth graders after tomorrow. That is when we have our annual Arch Day when students go through an arch “and into the next grade.” That said, today they are still fourth graders, great readers who, when I asked for some summer reading suggestions for their peers, had a great time.
The rules were the suggestions had to come from their independent reading choices; that meant they couldn’t list books I’d read to them or others they’d read for class projects. Being avid readers, this wasn’t a problem. In fact, what was a problem for some was limiting their list to ten! What I love is how the lists show what wide-ranging readers they are. You will see that one moment they are reading very sophisticated books and at the next something young and light.
Follow this link to my school’s open blog to see some from each child’s list to give you a taste of their wide reading range and to use when looking for books for children in your own environment.
Bank Street College Center for Children’s Literature‘s 2014 edition of their Best Children’s Books of the Year is now out. Here’s a description from their announcement:
The Best Children’s Books of the Year, 2014 Edition includes more than 600 titles chosen by the Children’s Book Committee as the best of the best published in 2013. In choosing books for the annual list, committee members consider literary quality and excellence of presentation as well as the potential emotional impact of the books on young readers. Other criteria include credibility of characterization and plot, authenticity of time and place, age suitability, positive treatment of ethnic and religious differences, and the absence of stereotypes.
Here are links to their honorees in the different age groups:
*Thank you Children’s Book Committee for including Africa is My Home on this list.
When online shopping offers choice, convenience and competitive prices, why would anyone go to an actual shop? To try on clothes, perhaps. To sit on sofas or lie on beds. But if you’re after music, film or books, you’re more likely to go straight to the internet. In the digital age, bricks-and-mortar shops have to work much harder to attract our attention, let alone custom. Brands rip out and refit their stores every few years: interior design is, clearly, already crucial to their fortunes. But could design go further, and lure us away from our tablets and back onto the high street?
Curious to explore this territory, we asked four leading architecture and design practices to create a shop. Specifically, in the age of Amazon and e-books, a bookshop to save bookshops.
Four British architect and design firms were invited to reinvent the brick and mortar bookstore. Read about their results here.