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Welcome to the JANUARY Children’s Literacy and Reading News Roundup, brought to you by Jen Robinson of Jen Robinson’s Book Page, Terry Doherty of The Family Bookshelf and me.

January as always has been a month of great anticipation and excitement as book awards were being announced almost daily with the longest list announced this past Monday, the ALA Youth Media Awards.  The month has been one of reflection on the wide array of great books for children and youth, individual favorites, classroom favorites whether “winners” that have shiny seals now affixed to their covers or “winners” because a group of children found a title to be just the one to click with them, to spark a real understanding of the place for reading in their lives! Students may ask “Just how are decisions made about which books receive those shiny seals?” and you will be glad you’ve read Monica’s post at the NERDY BOOK CLUB about the Newbery. Of course there are many columns spending time on the winners and those books left out and more. But one of my top favorite topics after awards Monday is always to learn about THE CALLS to the winners. Thinking about Jon Klassen (pronounced Claw-son I am told) and the waiting cab driver, and the SECOND call that came from Seattle…what a Chinese fire drill! Now I am wondering, Jon (who prefers a good old fashioned baseball cap himself): did you even try to explain to the driver what had been happening upstairs while he waited?

In the midst of all the excitement, however, I found myself wishing and wishing with each announcement there would be more minority authors, illustrators, characters in books awarded prizes outside the awards so designated.  It is a concern, and clearly I am not the only one by a long shot concerned.  Read Mitali’s Fire Escape and that of Fuse #8 (scroll down to Whitey Whitey Whiteville) on the same issue.

AND, there are MORE awards to come…yes, February 14 the CYBILS will be named! And don’t forget that Susan Thomsen of the blog CHICKEN SPAGHETTI keeps an ongoing list of The Best Children’s Books of 2012: A List of Lists and Awards.


imageIf you have not started clicking through to 28 Days Later 2013 you really must start now; only one day missed in this month of February and of course it is there for you to treasure as well! I relish these posts annually and refer back to them often throughout the year…a great gift the organizers give to us each year. Go on, hit the site, “you’ll be glad you did”!

The Chinese New Year this year begins February 10The Year of the Snake!  There are numerous activities, book lists and more at Apples 4 the Teacher


International Book Giving Day:  February 14 - don’t forget!  Where are you going to place books?  To whom are you going to give a book(s)?

.image©Elizabeth O. Dulemba. All Rights Reserved.

Terry has announced the 5th Annual SHARE A STORY - SHAPE A FUTURE blog tour with the theme LiTERACY: THE FIRST FIVE YEARS. Go over now and learn the different ways you can contribute and participate in what is always a special week of learning!


Oooh, the books are announced, the brackets drawn…are you ready for Battle of the Kids’ Books sponsored by School Library Journal?



From National Public Radio came Music, Multivitamins And Other Modern Intelligence Myths based on a paper published in January by John Protzko, Joshua Aronson and Clancy Blair at NYU.  The authors reviewed dozens of studies on a topic of interest to parents, educators, and policy-makers alike: “what, if anything, one can do in the first five years of life to raise a child’s intelligence.”  The comments were numerous and strongly worded.  I particularly liked these closing thoughts as I find them critical to this whole issue of literacy and children (note: I have no opinion on the supplements):

The take-home lessons for parents are relatively modest: consider some Omega-3 supplements and sit down with your toddler and a good book for some interactive reading.

But the implications for voters and policy-makers are profound. Teaching parents to engage in interactive reading and elaborative conversations with their little ones and improving access to high-quality preschool could go a long way towards eliminating economic disparities in intelligence test results in early childhood.

An article I’ve reviewing a great deal recently was written by Thomas Friedman: It’s P.Q. and C.Q. As Much As I.Q.. In noting the world is now not simply more connected but instead “hyper-connected” Friedman states “How to adapt? It will require more individual initiative. We know that it will be vital to have more of the “right” education than less, that you will need to develop skills that are complementary to technology …The winners won’t just be those with more I.Q. It will also be those with more P.Q. (passion quotient) and C.Q. (curiosity quotient) to leverage all the new digital tools to not just find a job, but to invent one or reinvent one, and to not just learn but to relearn for a lifetime.”  It’s something many have been saying for years but oh, is it more true now. And it says a great deal about the importance of the next section: GROWING (literate) BOOKWORMS in this Roundup each month.

For grades 4-12 parents and other interested parties, the monthly newsletter, January 2013 edition, WORD UP! features ‘technology’ this month. 

Among ED WEEK's “10 most viewed articles in 2012" was one regarding the changing roles of librarians: Common Core Thrusts Librarians Into Leadership Role. Similar to the great poster noting “Librarians, The Ultimate Search Engine.” 

Susan from The Book Chook reminded us The New York Times' ROOM FOR DEBATE has a debate/discussion on DO WE STILL NEED LIBRARIES?  Both the columns and the comments are great food for thought. And another reminder of the same ROOM FOR DEBATE hosting of the discussion on “What’s ‘Just Right’ for the Young Reader?" in late December. 


Reading aloud received a lot of ink in January; some favorites of mine include:
Three best places to leave lots of books around your house?
+ Storytelling: How reading aloud is back in fashion (with a surprise twist!)
Great cover and a BIG book in importance!  Get ready, the 7th edition of Jim Trelease's valued book on this topic of reading aloud, due out June 25!
+ Are you familiar with READ ALOUD: The 15 Minute Movement?  15 Minutes. Every Child. Every Parent. Every Day.

imageWant to share the classics with your child? Book Patrol introduced me to The Cozy Classics in January. Board books available now are MOBY DICK and PRIDE AND PREJUDICE; coming this spring are LES MISERABLES and WAR AND PEACE.  Intriguing, eh? Don’t miss the trailer at Book Patrol.

Boys’ books?  Girls’ books? Literaticat writes on the topic, and I say “AMEN”! She also admits as do I that I still like “pink and glittery”—- plus if you are out of it as to “Spikeletz” as was I, you can bring yourself up to date with this post!

Katie Davis’ BRAIN BURPS celebrated its 100th podcast featuring the first three National Ambassadors for Young People’s Literature discussing ”What Is Literacy?”  Katie’s post at HuffPo is a great complication of information about the Ambassadors and will take you to the podcast as well.

We don’t want to feel less when we have finished a book; we want to feel that new possibilities of being have been opened to us. We don’t want to close a book with a sense that life is totally unfair and that there is no light in the darkness; we want to feel that we have been given illumination.
― Madeleine L’EngleWalking on Water

We’ll be back soon with a mid-February Roundup. And in the meantime, we’ll be sharing reading-related news on Twitter @CHRasco@TheReadingTub, and @JensBookPage. Thank you for your passion and advocacy for children’s literature and literacy!

P. S.  Can’t resist sharing this lovely light we really need on our desks, right?image

Lumio is simple and intuitive. The lamp automatically turns on and off as you open and close the cover. A flexible and durable spine design allows you to control brightness by adjusting the angle without a switch or button.

Check out Jen’s additional January comments as well as Terry’s extra news!


Tags January Children's Literacy and Reading News Roundup Jen Robinson Jen Robinson's Book Page terry doherty The Reading Tub The Family Bookshelf Carol Rasco quietly ala youth media awards The Nerdy Book Club Monica Edinger newbery medal Caldecott Medal Caldecott 75th Anniversary Jon Klassen Mitali's Fire Escape Fuse 8 Production cybils Susan Thomsen Chicken Spaghetti The Brown Bookshelf 28 Days Later Black History Month chinese new year The Year of the Snake International Book Giving Day Share A Story-Shape A Future Literacy: The First Five Years Battle of the Kids' Books SLJ