Category Archives: Other

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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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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Trailer for New Anne of Green Gables

New adaptation premiers on PBS November 24th.



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A Tough Anniversary: 15 Years Since The Towers Fell

Ten days earlier had been our first day of school. At 8am I had opened my classroom door to a bunch of energetic nine-year-olds who quickly discovered the chocolate ladybugs I’d placed on each of their desks for good luck. By mid-morning, I’d led a discussion on classroom rules, helped them stow away school supplies, and taken them on a tour to see where the all-important bathrooms and water fountains were.

That is from Normal Service Will be Resumed, an article I wrote for the  UK’s Times Educational Supplement about my 2001 class of NYC fourth graders’ first day of school, September 11th. Soon ladybugs started coming from all over the world and ever since they’ve been a theme for my classroom. The first anniversary was very tough (you can read something I wrote at the time here), but it does get better as time goes on.

15 years later there are several worthy new 9/11 books for children and young adults. Of the ones I’ve read it is Gail Polisner’s The Memory of Things that resonates most for me personally. She captures that eerie, heavy, time-standing-still, feeling I recall so vividly. (My goodreads review is here). In her Nerdy Book Club post of today she writes of how hard it was to get the book published. That some editors weren’t even able to read it. I suspect I wouldn’t have a few years ago, but as time goes on I’m able to handle a bit more and then a bit more of it. I admire Gail being able to write this book — while I’ve written about the day, I don’t think I could write a whole book. I’m struggling right now with a young college student (I believe she is from China so her view of 9/11 would be significantly different than someone in this country) who is doing a paper on teaching the day as history and wants to interview me.  Her interest is in this as history, but it is still too raw and real for me to discuss it that way. But of course it is for young people and Gail has done a wonderful job providing a tight view of the day for someone their age.

Every day when I read of something dreadful happening  — bombs, war, illness, famine, assault, and more — I consider how amazingly resilient we are as a species, able to move on and live our lives in full whatever the circumstances.


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An Extraordinary 1966 Filmed Interview of Maurice Sendak in His Studio

The following is a brief, but amazing interview of the young Maurice Sendak just after he won the Caldecott for Where the Wild Things Are. Highly, highly, HIGHLY recommended.




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