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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!


Posted on Saturday, February 2nd 2013

Roundup of Children’s Literacy and Reading News – JUNE in Review

Welcome to the June Children’s Literacy and Reading News Roundup brought to you by Jen Robinson’s Book Page, Family Bookshelf and me, writing from my relatively new blog Quietly. June was a packed month and went out here in the “beltway” area with a BIG BANG! Do you know what a “DERECHO" is? Many of us in the DC area did not know the word "derecho" and what it really means.  But we know now!  Check it out. What the article does not convey is the agony of power outages in 100 plus degree weather and all the complications created by power outages. It was a long weekend and continues to be a time of power outage for many households and businesses. And that my friends is also the reason this roundup is a bit later than usual although last month was late due to storms as well! Hold on as the end of August draws near…


Poll results!  Let’s start exactly where last month’s “events” section concluded…don’t miss Betsy Bird’s complete polls on chapter books and picture books; her introductory post on the winners will set the stage for you.  

Read about signing up to receive an email with a link to download the PDF of all the posts for both sets of the complete posts when published. Betsy Bird has done a great service for all of us who revere children’s books through her detailed posts on each winning book.  Thank you, Betsy!
(photo by Joel Benjamin)
A New Poet Laureate. The 19th poet laureate for the USA was announced in early June: Natasha Trethewey, a professor of English and creative writing at Emory University in Atlanta. She is our first poet laureate from the South since the first laureate — Robert Penn Warren — was named by the Library of Congress in 1986. Personally I found the most interesting article about the appointment to be a post by Monica Edinger regarding Trethewey’s time as an artist-in-residence at Monica’s school in 2007 - check out the group poem!

How an athlete focused. For those of us who are NBA fans, June was an “NBA Finals” like we have not seen in a while! And as Valerie Strauss shared through her post in The Washington Post, the Most Valuable Player for the regular season as well as the MVP for the Finals had a very special technique for ”focus” throughout this special year leading to the championship for his team!

June Carnival of Children’s Literature: Posted at Practically Paradise, always a Do. Not. Miss. Event.

BIG meetings in June!
(photo from School Library Journal)
It started with BEA in NYC where part of the “watch” included the wild and crazy cloud patterns throughout each day. If I had time I could make an album just on cloud configurations during BEA! While much has been written, discussed, debated about BEA, my favorite session of all was the School Library Journal’s Day of Dialogue panel led by Betsy Bird on “Pushing the Picture Book Envelope”. You’re going to love the picture books discussed that day. Here’s the tumblr site for Wumbers written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld along with a review of said book by Betsy and one in the Wall Street Journal titled “The Surprising Fun of Visual Puns.”  The other books discussed were Chloe and the Lion by Mac Barnett; Jon Klassen’sThis is Not My Hat; and D. B. Johnson’s Magritte’s Marvelous Hat. Another great day was the debut American Booksellers Association’s ABC Children’s Institute; I was delighted to serve on a panel and learned so much myself during that panel!

Next up was ALA and while I did not attend this year, I felt as though I re-created  during my “derecho” weekend what I know would have been a favorite part of ALA for me. I read and savored the July/August issue of The Horn Book which is the annual awards issue.  Wow, was I glad to see it in the mailbox!

Happy Birthday to you, Waldo!  Waldo is celebrating his 25th birthday this month. Building on that phrase we all know “Where’s Waldo?”, Indie bookstores are sponsoring a large scavenger hunt to celebrate Waldo and Shop Local. Kids, parents, Waldo-lovers of all ages are eligible to participate.

(image by Luc Melanson for NYTimes)
OLYMPICS! I love the Olympics, always have, both summer and winter versions.  And did you know that “In ancient Greece, literary events were an indispensable part of athletic festivals…”?  And that “For much of the 20th century,poetry was an official, medal-winning competition in the Games.”?  Check out Champions of Verse in a recent New York Times to learn more about the history of poetry and most particularly about poetry at the London 2012 Olympics…including a massive air drop! Read on the London 2012 website the plans for celebrating all arts during the 12-week London 2012 Festival surrounding the period of the Olympic Games.

(photo and logo image from RR website)                     
It’s back…and I’m so glad!
LeVar Burton has brought back Reading Rainbow: Take a Look. It’s in a Book. And it’s an APP! Head to the site now, you’ll feel better just seeing and reading LeVar’s posts, I sure do! 

And what question have I been asked most as I have shared this great news with family and friends? Here is it with the answer that is given on the website.
Does the new App just play the original Reading Rainbow TV series?

No! This is a completely new multimedia experience, with hundreds of new books to read, original video field trips and much more. Some segments from the Classic Reading Rainbow series can be found in the App …they were just too nostalgic and fun to leave out.

The Brain: More flexible?  Researchers at Harvard University’s Mind, Brain, and Education Program released a report in June noting they are increasingly finding the brain to have more plasticity than previously thought, that different parts of the brain are not necessarily hard-wired for specific tasks and are capable of change in response to experience and training.  These findings have implications for teaching and in turn for teacher training which are being further studied by educational neuroscientists. (Both articles cited are from Education Week and reported by Sarah D. Sparks)

The Buzzword Is Digital Literacy" is the title of a post by American Libraries detailing a session at ALA where Jordan Usdan, director of public-private initiatives at the Federal Communications Communication (FCC) discussed Connect2Compete which is a national nonprofit formed with the goal of helping Americans access technology needed to improve their lives “regardless of their age, race, geography, income, or education level.”  It appears to me this is an organization about which we all need to be aware and help our communities benefit from the initiative.  A National Ad Council awareness campaign is expected soon.

Pew Internet and American Life Project. Do you regularly receive updates from this project?  I recommend you do so, I find the reports quite helpful in studying this “buzzword digital literacy.”  This project “explores the impact of the internet on children, families, communities, the work place, schools, health care and civic/political life.” One example from a recent library report posted in the library section of the project: It is noted 12% of e-book readers have borrowed from a library but of individuals surveyed ages 16 and older as to whether they knew if they could “check out” e-books from a library? 62% did not know.

ReadyNation. You may have known them previously as The Partnership for America’s Economic Success; the group is now at America’s Promise and are defined as “A business partnership for early childhood and economic success.”  It’s a hardworking group that has clearly shown it is serious and it is effective in initiating change.  You are encouraged to study the ReadyNation Pledge; and at the top of each web page you will find a space to enter your email for updates.


10 Important Life Lessons From Children’s Books. The Atlantic, June 21, 2012. I think it is always fun to see this type magazine featuring children’s books old and new…another reminder to all the importance of these books! Perhaps I liked the article as they chose so many of my very favorites?

Don’t forget this free monthly service for parents in English and in Spanish from WETA’s Reading Rockets, ColorinColorado and LDOnLine. See past articles on which this email newsletter has been based and learn all the ways you can use this publication in your community.

Trending Topics for June. Two major topics dominated the information I studied this month for these bookworm suggestions:  (1) Summer Reading and (2) Play.  Here are some articles I considered as highlights and of potential benefit for each of us:
(photo from Reading Rockets website)
Who Else Wants to Motivate Their Kids? by Melissa Taylor who discusses extrinsic, intrinsic motivation and the whole issue of rewards.
Summer Reading incentive programs from Sound It Out by Joanne Meier (Thank you, Jen, for your new listings of “Links I Shared on Twitter This Week” where I found this article!)
Start with a Book is Reading Rockets new website for summer discovery (and all year long in my opinion) for ages 3-9 has a special feature I sure like: when parents sign up for the Reading Tips to Go, ideas are sent righ to their mobile phones…in English and in Spanish, 3-4 messages arrive per week.  Simply text READING to 41411 or visit the web sign-up.  Exciting!
School Family Reading Nights? Morris Elementary in Des Moines, Iowa has a series of seven sizzling summer literacy evenings, each on a different theme for students and families. Two evening’s topics that first caught my attention were “pigs, fiddle and banjo” with another night featuring ”race car and hot air balloon.”

The True Loss of Recess by Peter DeWitt on “Finding Common Ground” at Education Week.
Sunday Dialogue: How Children Play An interesting set of letters sent to The New York Times.
Imaginations More Active Despite Less Play Time, Study Shows by Sarah D. Sparks in Education Week.
The Way We Play, a guest post by Zoe Toft at The Book Chook.

Happy Summer Reading from Jen, Terry and Carol.  We thank you for your interest and advocacy for great literacy experiences for ALL children!



Posted on Wednesday, July 4th 2012