Book Fest at Bank Street College this Saturday

It isn’t too late to register here for this fabulous one-day conference at Bank Street College here in NYC. Checkout the schedule of events below. Looks great, right?

9:00am – Arrive, register, and drink coffee

9:30am – Welcome

9:35 – 10:15am – “Reading with Pictures: Visual Literacy Yesterday and Today”
Panelists: Lindsey Wyckoff, Archivist, Bank Street College of Education
Francoise Mouly, Publisher, Toon Books and Art Editor, The New Yorker
Rudy Gutierrez, illustrator, Spirit Seeker: John Coltrane’s Musical Journey
Raúl Colón, author and illustrator, Draw!
Moderator: Leonard S. Marcus, children’s literature scholar and Honorary Degree holder from Bank Street College of Education

10:15 – 11:10am – “Artists and Illustrators Talk Visual Literacy”
Panelists: Laurent Linn, author and illustrator, Draw the Line
Hervé Tullet, author and illustrator, Let’s Play!
Angela Dominguez, author and illustrator, How Do You Say?/¿Cómo Se Dice?
Jason Chin, author and illustrator, Gravity
Brian Pinkney, author and illustrator, Max Found Two Sticks
Christopher Myers, author and illustrator, My Pen
Moderator: Susannah Richards, Eastern Connecticut State University

11:10 – 11:25am – Break

11:25am – 12:25pm – “The Whole Book Approach: Reading Picture Books with Children”
Presenter: Megan Dowd Lambert

Join Simmons College professor and author Megan Dowd Lambert to learn about the Whole Book Approach, a co-constructive (interactive) storytime model focused on the art and design of the picture book, which she developed in association with The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. Drawing on her book, Reading Picture Books with Children: How to Shake Up Storytime and Get Kids Talking About What They See (Charlesbridge 2015) attendees will consider the difference between reading with children and reading to children. Active participation throughout the session will allow everyone to reflect on a diverse array of picture books in order to add Whole Book Approach tools and techniques to their own storytime practice.

12:25 – 1:25pm – Book Discussions (DISCUSSION GROUP LEADERS AND BOOK LIST)

1:25 – 2:00pm – Lunch and Book Autographing

2:05 – 2:50pm – “Capturing the Action: Graphic Novels and Visual Literacy”
Panelists: Deb Lucke, author and illustrator, The Lunch Witch
Raúl Gonzalez, illustrator, Lowriders in Space
Jorge Aguirre, co-author and illustrator, Dragons Beware!
George O’Connor, author and illustrator, Olympians series
Moderator: Jesse Karp, Pratt Institute School of Information

2:55 – 3:30pm – Closing keynote: Pam Muñoz Ryan, author, Echo

3:30 – 4:00pm – Autographing in the lobby – books for sale from the Bank Street Book Store team

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“Alice and Her Intended Audience” at the Lewis Carroll Society of North America


This past Saturday I was privileged to present “Alice and Her Intended Audience” at the Fall Meeting of the Lewis Carroll Society of North America along with three former students. After giving an overview of my teaching approach to the book — consisting of reading aloud, games, poetry recitations, tea parties, caucus races, and more — I turned the floor over to the students. First Jake, now in 7th grade, read his “Chaper 5 1/2: House of the Rabbits.” He explain that he had wanted to explore Carroll’s language in his own way. The result is a brilliant and unique creation; he begins by making the White Rabbit a female, provides generaous adventure, and some elegant original poetry as well. I hope the story can be published in total one day (perhaps in the Knight Letter?) for all to see. He was followed by 5th graders Zach and Katalin who described their favorite parts of the unit from last year (mostly playing croquet and the caucus race) and then performed their part of last year’s radio play. The three were the hit of the meeting!

For those in attendance and others interested here are a few links:

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Frank Cotrell Boyce’s Sputnik’s Guide to Life on Earth, Cover Reveal

I’m a huge Frank Cotrell Boyce fan having first encountered him through Millions, his debut children’s book that also was a delightful movie. He followed that with Framed and then Cosmic, one of my (and several of my teacher-colleagues’)  favorite yearly read-alouds. (My blog review is here.) In fact, I was recently trying to decide, as I’m on the last chapter of my current book, whether it should be next. Years ago, when Walden Pond Press heard of my enthusiasm they organized a Skype classroom visit with Frank (for which he had to go to a neighbor’s —I think he didn’t have internet at the time or something like that) which was a blast. In 2013  we finally met in person at the Edinburgh Book Festival . (You can see my report, including mention of his talk there and a photo of us together, here.)  A screenwriter as well, Frank was one of the writers for the clever (remember the many children’s literature references?) 2012 London Olympics opening ceremony.

Frank’s books are always thoughtful, funny, and spot-on perfect for middle grade audiences. And so I can’t wait for his newest, Sputnik’s Guide to Life on Earth, out in the U.S. on June 20th. Here’s the publisher’s description:

Prez knows that the best way to keep track of things is to make a list. That’s important when you have a grandfather who is constantly forgetting things. And it’s especially important when your grandfather can’t care for you anymore and you have to go live with a foster family out in the country.

 Prez is still learning to fit in at his new home when he answers the door to meet Sputnik—a kid who is more than a little strange. First, he can hear what Prez is thinking. Second, he looks like a dog to everyone except Prez. Third, he can manipulate the laws of space and time. Sputnik, it turns out, is an alien, and he’s got a mission that requires Prez’s help: The Earth has been marked for destruction, and the only way they can stop it is to compile a list of ten reasons why the Earth should be saved. Thus begins one of the most fun and eventful summers of Prez’s life, as he and Sputnik set out on a journey to compile the most important list he has ever made—and discover just what makes our world so remarkable.

 Award-winning author Frank Cottrell Boyce returns with another unforgettable story of heart, humor, and finding one’s place in the universe.

And — ta da — here’s the cover!


Thank you. Walden Pond Press, for the opportunity to reveal the cover for Frank’s latest!


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Thinking and Learning About Cultural Appropriation

Currently, I’ve been following  the conversation around the cultural elements in Raina Telgemeier’s GhostsI was impressed with the book when I read it back in July, appreciating the warm relationship between the sisters, the setting, and the plot. A few months later I became aware that there were questions around the Day of the Dead aspects of the work. Not being of the culture represented I listened to those who were, finding Yuyi Morales’ comment on a Reading While White post and Laura Jimenez’s review especially helpful. Concerns about the California mission setting were also considered by Debbie Reese. Now the Mock Newbery blog, Heavy Medal, is grappling with the book.  Mulling over the discussion I’m reminded of the essays in the recent Guardian article, “Whose Life is it Anyway? Novelists Have Their Say on Cultural Appropriation.” They were insightful and helpful — I highly recommend reading them all.



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Netflix’s Teaser Trailer for Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events

January 13th, 2017 can’t come soon enough!


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Melissa Sweet’s Some Writer!

I’ve got a review of Melissa Sweet’s glorious biography of E. B. White, Some Writer!, up today at the Nerdy Book Club.  In addition to my discussion of the book I touch upon my own teaching of White’s children’s books and, at the end, of lovely dessert — a bunch of spreads from the book itself.

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Lewis Carroll Society of North America’s Fall Meeting

The LCSNA will be holding its fall meeting at NYU’s Bobst Library on Saturday, October 15th. With some former students (two 5th graders and a 7th grader), I will doing a presentation on “Alice and her Intended Audience of Children Today.” The children will give their perspectives of their experiences with the book while in my 4th grade class. Then the 5th graders will do a live performance of their section of last year’s class’s radio play while the 7th grader will read an additional chapter he wrote for the book the year he was in my class, explaining just what inspired him. The other presentations look great too. From the LCSNA website:

The exciting Fall 2016 meeting will take place at the Washington Square campus of New York University (home of the Berol Collection of Lewis Carroll, and the LCSNA archives) on October 15th. Fales Library director Marvin Taylor will speak about the exhibition they mounted in the Bobst as part of the Alice150 festivities, “‘Go Ask Alice’: Alice, Wonderland, and Popular Culture.” Monica Edinger, keeper of the well-regarded blog “Educating Alice,” and some of her students will give us a presentation about her use of Alice in her elementary classroom. Matt Demakos will speak about his research concerning “The Walrus and the Carpenter.” Children’s Literature specialist Dr. Jan Susina will give a talk tentatively titled “Alice in the Academy: The Alice Books in the College Curriculum,” Dana Walrath will talk on her illustrated novel Aliceheimers and her use of Alice in making sense of the world of Alzheimer’s. Read the full agenda for details.

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