Category Archives: Other


But the truth is that those of us who feel book-shame are probably worrying too much. Most people neither notice nor care what others are reading.

The above is from Charles McGrath in “Is There Anything One Should Feel Ashamed of Reading?.” And I’m now thinking — is there anything I’d be ashamed to be seen reading? Not really. That said, I love reading on my Ipad largely because I am a very fast reader and it allows me to have at my finger tips tons to read, but a secondary aspect is the privacy aspect. I like deciding who sees what I read, good stuff or bad. But I like control a lot of what people know about me. There isn’t much, blog readers may have noticed, about me personally here, for example. That said, privacy doesn’t always apply to children. That is, while we adults may care or not about what we read, many of us care a lot about what kids read. Some, in fact, make them feel all too embarrassed for their choices. And that is indeed a shame.


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Thinking About International Children’s Books

I’m really looking forward to this free event next Saturday, April 18th:

Where the Wild Book Are 

An event exploring and celebrating international picture books and the publishing industry, emphasizing their role in promoting global literacy and creativity.

Where the Wild Books Are was conceived by artist Etienne Delessert, who, along with author/illustrator and Parsons faculty Steven Guarnaccia, will present the event as a creative response to explore cultural trends and changes in the field of global publishing and their impact on the cultural literacy and the imaginative capacities of the next generation.

Join critics, authors, illustrators, publishing professionals, and educators from Europe, the United States, and beyond as they introduce audience members to a diverse array of important picture books published in France, Switzerland, Italy, Germany and Japan. Take part in a lively exchange on the ethical, commercial, and aesthetic dimensions of the evolving global publishing scene.

Saturday, April 18, 2015 at 1:00 pm to 6:00 pm
The Auditorium at 66 West 12th Street, Alvin Johnson/J.M. Kaplan Hall
66 West 12th Street, New York, NY 10011

More information and registration here.

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SLJ’s Battle of the Kids’ Books 2015

And we are off! Today is the first match of the 2015  SLJ’s Battle of the Kids’ Books. And it is a doozy — Brown Girl Dreaming versus Children of the King judged beautifully by Holly Black. We’ve also got our kid commentators — including one new 7th grader who is doing a fabulous job right out of the gate. You can see all the judges here and the contenders and the brackets here. It is a lot of fun, I promise you!

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Lena, Hilary, and Eloise

Lena Dunham’s Girls isn’t my thing, but I’m very interested in her forthcoming documentary, It’s Me, Hilary: The Man Who Drew Eloise.

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In the Classroom: the Irma Black Award


The Irma Simonton Black and James H. Black Award for Excellence in Children’s Literature (Irma Black Award) goes to an outstanding book for young children – a book in which text and illustrations are inseparable, each enhancing and enlarging on the other to produce a singular whole. The Irma Black Award is unusual in that children are the final judges of the winning book.

The finalists have been announced. They are:

  • Blizzard by John Rocco (Hyperion)
  • Elizabeth, Queen of the Sea by Lynne Cox, illus. by Brian Floca (Schwartz & Wade)
  • Sam & Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett, illus. by Jon Klassen (Candlewick)
  • Shh! We Have a Plan by Chris Haughton (Candlewick)

And now classrooms and libraries throughout the country can participate in the voting process. More about how to do so here.

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Diverse Thinking from Diverse Folks About Diverse Books

Roxanne Feldman (AKA fairrosa), who is originally from Taiwan, and I are longtime close friends; she was an early and very important sounding board for me as I worked through how to tell the story that became Africa is My Home. For both of us the topics of diversity and identity have long been important, ones we constantly discuss and reflect upon in terms of our practice at school and outside in the children’s book world. Roxanne has now started a blog series in which she thoughtfully and carefully considers these topics. Anyone who knows Roxanne is aware of how thoughtful and passionate she is on these issues and how much we always learn from her. I highly recommend reading the following first three in the series and following her blog so as to read the rest.

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Celebrating The Bank Street Book Store

There are two major independent children’s bookstores in New York City’s borough of Manhattan, the downtown Books of Wonder and the uptown Bank Street Book Store. Both are important and wonderful to visit, each offering distinctive sensibilities. Today I want to celebrate The Bank Street Book Store, an important part of the venerable Bank Street College of Education, an institution that started  downtown on Bank Street (thus the name), but long ago moved uptown to 112th Street where it still is. As for the bookstore, it began in a tiny lobby space in the college building, then spent many years on the corner of of 112th and Broadway, and has now moved a few blocks south to 107th and Broadway.

Living nearby, for years I’ve walked by the bookstore daily with my dog, sometimes dropping in to see what was new, to chat with the managers (firstly the great Beth Puffer and now the passionate Andy Laties) and employees, to buy something as a gift for a friend or for my class, to attend an author reading, or just to browse. The bookstore kindly invited me to celebrate the release of my book last year and I go often to their events — these feature all sorts of authors — everyone from the parodic Stephen Colbert to book experts like Betsy Bird.  There are also free puppet shows, story times, literature discussions, and more. And this coming Saturday they’ve got a grand opening festival going on all day with an exciting array of authors.

On Friday they had a party introducing their gorgeous and warm new space and it was a lovely event with many recognizing the important history of the college and the bookstore in terms of children and their books. Below is the bookstore’s tweeted photo of many of the authors who came to the party including Fran Manushkin, Robie Harris, Peter Lerangis, Chris Grabenstein, Carol Weston, Yvonne Wakim Dennis, Arlene Hirschfelder, Susan Milligan, Selene Castrovilla, and me with my dog Lucy*.


And so if you are in New York City and are checking out all our wonderful bookish places, be sure not to miss this excellent bookstore.

* I told the young bookstore employee tweeting the event that Lucy was a “retro dog” being a traditional miniature poodle. I’ve now learned from her subsequent tweet that retro=disco these days.

Author of AFRICA IS MY HOME shows off her disco poodle Lucy!

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