Monday, July 14, 2014

Attention Coaches, Counselors, Mentors!

Great Ideas for Connecting Kids
to Books this Summer,
Especially for Coaches,
Counselors, and Mentors

Grandparents, uncles, aunts, friends, neighbors, coaches, scout and camp councilors, youth volunteers—all of you have far more influence on the kids in your life than you know. And you have enormous influence on the children and teens that have parents who, for whatever reason, are unable to fulfill their parental responsibilities. Your position is free of even ordinary parental/child/teen tension, and because of that, your leadership and friendship are hugely meaningful, especially to preteen and teens that are naturally looking beyond their own backyards for mentors. Don’t be afraid to exert your influence encouraging kids to read, to write, to stay in school and learn.

Young and single adult mentors’ words are gold – especially to teens – so share what you’re reading with the kids. The next time you visit or meet with kids, bring magazines that you enjoy and magazines you think they would like, too. Mention articles in newspapers that interest you, as well as online materials. Share a book – a mystery, romance, biography, fantasy, or information book – that you have found especially entertaining or helpful. You are much cooler than any old parent or guardian, and if you suggest something to read, the kids will be eager to read it themselves.

Coaches and youth organization leaders schedule an informal “rain” practice or meeting in the children’s or young adults’ rooms at your local neighborhood library. Make sure to email or call your library to let them know when you will be coming to visit. And give them an idea of how many kids will be coming. If you, or your kids, do not have library cards, take the opportunity to get a library card and show the kids how to use it. Ask the librarian to show the kids where books and magazines are located that relate to their interests: sports, scouting, camping, arts and crafts, games, etc. Make sure the librarian introduces them to picture books and novels, to great stories that relate to their interests. And be sure that the kids know that they can also borrow audio books, music CDs, and video and DVDs of their favorite movies – all for free. The example of a coach or scout leader borrowing books from the library will have a far greater impact on kids than any literacy entreaty delivered by their parents or teachers.

Write up your team’s, group’s, or organization’s activities and email or fax your report to your local community paper to get your kids reading newspapers. Community papers are eager to report town activities. If your report gets published, make sure you bring the newspaper to the next practice or meeting to share with your kids. Read the blurb or report out loud and show the kids other sections of the paper that may be of interest to them. If you work with tweens and teens, rotate the “reporter’s” duties through various members of the team and let them write up the information about the game or group activity. They will be thrilled to see their words printed in the local paper. If you live in an urban area that supports a major newspaper, be sure to bring that newspaper to a meeting and point out the sports and life style sections that echo the kids’ interests.

Explore how you can connect the kids in your team or group to reading and books. When kids join America SCORES Soccer, they commit to learning how to be great soccer players and to reading and writing poetry. America SCORES is a nationwide program that uses poetry and soccer as tools to teach literacy, life skills and the importance of community service to inner-city elementary school children. The children participate five days a week for ten weeks each fall and spring. They spend two days a week learning poetry and implementing a community service project; the remaining three days per week are devoted to soccer instruction and games played against other area SCORES teams. “SCORES student-athletes improve their reading and writing skills, learn to express themselves, help their community, make lasting friendships, and learn valuable life skills that will help them advance in the classroom, on the playing field, and in society.”

SCORES was originally designed to be both a literacy and sport program, but your team or organization need not totally overhaul its mission in order to connect kids to books. If you run a scouting or recreation program, you might consider starting a book discussion group that meets regularly at a local spot kids enjoy, like a burger joint, ice cream parlor, local park, coffee shop, or neighborhood library. Your local librarian can suggest age appropriate books that work well for kids’ book discussion groups. You may create an incentive program with an award or certificate for the kids on your team that read a designated number of books during the season. Legendary basketball coach Phil Jackson gave his players a reading list at the beginning of each season. You may choose to read a humorous poem at the beginning of your youth organization meetings. A Big Brother or Sister can take their charge to a great kid’s movie inspired by a children’s book, then go to the library or bookstore and get the book that inspired the movie and read it together. The opportunities to connect kids to books are limitless!


2005 (c) Mary Brigid Barrett; The National Children's Book and Literacy Alliance

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Helping Your Kids Find the Right Books

Summer Reading Recommendations  from Authoritative Sources Abound

Would you like to visit your local library or bookstore with a list of summer reading books for your kids in hand? Then check out inspiring recommendations from the following expert sources:
And don't forget to ask the librarian at your local library for help in finding just the right book for your child! He or she can help you find the perfect books for your kids based on their interests and reading levels.  

Friday, June 20, 2014

Prevent the Summer Reading Slide!



To Spark Summer Learning,
Start with a Book!

Need help coming up with ideas to keep your child reading and writing over the summer? Reading Rockets’ Start with a Book has some cool ideas to jump start your summer learning adventures:

  •  Strengthen kids’ literacy, inquiry, and problem-solving skills with a combination of great books and the easy hands-on activities Start with a Book offers in these science-themed activity packs.
  • Use Start with a Book themes to plan reading and learning adventures in your own community. Take advantage of the related books, activities and apps selected to extend the learning.
  • Encourage kids to write about their learning adventures using this fun, downloadable Adventure Tracker
  • Can’t get to the library? Create your own summer reading program and let kids log all of their summer reading with the Start with a Book Summer Book Tracker
  • Sign up for Summer Reading Tips to Go and get more great ideas for reading, writing and hands-on summertime fun texted right to your phone, in English or Spanish.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Katerine Paterson On Set for GILLY

Behind the Scenes During Filming of
The Great Gilly Hopkins

Sophie Nelisse and Toby Turner act out a scene in the bus station.
S. E. Hinton did it in the film adaptation of her novel The Outsiders. And Louis Sachar did it in the film version of his book Holes. Now Katherine Paterson has done it--she has filmed a cameo role in the movie version of her novel The Great Gilly Hopkins, the story of the brash, brilliant, and completely unmanageable 11-year Gilly who is shuffled from foster home to foster home until she meets Maime Trotter. 


Katherine Paterson and Sophie Nelisse get direction for their scene.
Katherine admits on her website that her childhood dreams did not include wanting to become a writer, "The fact is that I never wanted to be a writer, at least not when I was a child, or even a young woman. Today I want very much to be a writer. But when I was ten, I wanted to be either a movie star or a missionary." And now, with her cameo role in The Great Gilly Hopkins, Paterson has attained her childhood wish!

Toby Turner, Sophie Nelisse, and Katherine Paterson.
The title role is played by the young Sophie NĂ©lisse. "Best Actress" Oscar winner Kathy Bates plays Maime Trotter. The star-studded cast also includes Julia Stiles, Octavia Spencer, Glenn Close, Toby Turner, Clare Foley, Bill Cobbs, Billy Magnussen,  Zachary Hernandes, Salvatore L. Rossi, and Sammy Pignalosa. 

The movie is tentatively scheduled to play in theaters in early 2015, but don't wait for the movie! Why not visit your local library and share the joy of this National Book Award and Newbery Honor winner with the young people in your life today?

Clare Foley and Sophie Nelisse.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Massachusetts! Your Libraries Need You!

A Call to Action to Massachusetts Residents from Library Advocates

Dear Massachusetts Library Supporters:

A Conference Committee – their names and contact info are at the end of this letter – has been appointed to resolve differences between the Senate and House versions of the FY15 State budget. Now is the critical time for all of us – librarians, trustees, friends, library users, anyone – to let members know it’s important to reverse some long-overdue library funding deficits. This year is a big opportunity. We must act, even if you never have before!!!

The Western Massachusetts Library Advocates (WMLA) urge funding of the Senate version of the FY15 State Budget for Mass Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) accounts:

7000-9401: State Aid to Regional Libraries:
Senate $9,883,482 vs. House $9,805,978

7000-9501 State Aid to Public Libraries:
Senate: $9,989,844 This amount restores state aid to the 2009 funding level. This is the increase the library community has needed for many years. The Conference Committee should support this increase. The House called for $7,223,657. While any increase is helpful, we feel the State should be able to return funding for this account to the amount it had 6 years ago!

7000-9506 Library Technology and Resource Sharing:
Senate: $2,867,823. Provides an increase of $938,585 over the FY 2014 budget. This increase over the House’s $2,129,238 will help end the Digital Lockout that really needs addressing.

Center for the Book:
In this case, WMLA supports the House Budget that created line 7000-9508 For the Center for the Book, Inc., chartered as the Commonwealth Affiliate of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress; provided, that the Massachusetts Center for the Book, Inc. shall be established as a public- private partnership charged with the development, support and promotion of cultural programming designed to advance the cause of books and reading and enhance the outreach of potential of public libraries within the Commonwealth $125,000. The Senate did not pass the amendment.

Conference Committee Members
If you live or work in one of these communities, please consider taking 5 minutes to contact your legislator to ask for their support of these important line items. If you don't live in the communities, please write to your State Senator and State Representative and ask them to contact the committee to urge support.

Senator Stephen Brewer:
Ashburnham, Athol, Barre, Brookfield, Charlton, East Brookfield, Hardwick, Hubbardston, New Braintree, North Brookfield, Oakham, Paxton, Petersham, Phillipston, Rutland, Spencer, Sturbridge, Templeton, Warren, West Brookfield and Winchendon, Brimfield, Holland, Monson, Palmer and Wales, Ware, Ashby
Email: Stephen.Brewer@masenate.gov.
State House: 617-722-1540, District: 978-355-2444

Senator Jennifer Flanagan:
Fitchburg, Gardner and Leominster, Berlin, Bolton, Clinton, Lancaster, Lunenburg, Sterling, Westminster, Townsend
Email: Jennifer.Flanagan@masenate.gov.
State House: 617-722-1230, District: 978-534-3388

Senator Richard Pat Ross Ferry:
Millis, Needham, Norfolk, Plainville, Wellesley, Wrentham, Attleboro, North Attleborough, Natick, Sherborn and Wayland
Email: Richard.Ross@masenate.gov.
State House: 617-722-1555

Representative Brian Dempsey:
Haverhill
Email: Brian.Dempsey@mahouse.gov.
State House: 617-722-2990
Thank you,

Sharon Shaloo
Massachusetts Center for the Book

MassBook.org

Friday, May 30, 2014

A Tribute to Dr. Maya Angelou



Photo courtesy of the Maya Angelo website.
My Morning with Maya

Nervous and expectant, I stood outside the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in the rain waiting for Maya Angelou’s car to arrive. I had been corresponding by mail and phone with Professor Angelou’s assistant for months making sure everything was in order for this speaking engagement. Ms. Angelou would need a private room with fresh fruit and bottled still water where she could wait alone before she spoke, and retreat to later, for there was to be no interaction with the audience before or after her speech. Each week’s phone call with Professor Angelou’s assistant outlined new criteria and demands for the visit. I had begun wondering, and worrying, that one of my life heroes was a high maintenance prima donna.

—Later, I was to learn why her assistant had wanted a private room for her after her speech. The crowd that gathered in the lobby, awaiting her after her presentation, was like my Uncle Mike who when overjoyed, grabbed you, crushing you in a huge bear hug, completely unaware that his embrace was so tight you couldn’t breath. I had grown up around a lot of politicians and was used to crowds, but I had never seen anything like this. I knew I had to get Dr. Angelou out to her car fast. I nabbed my friend and assistant Sally Truslow and told Ms. Angelou I wanted to get her to her car swiftly and safely. She was trembling, the emotion from the crowd was that intense. Sally and I put one arm around each side of her, a wonderful security guard held an umbrella aloft, and we pushed through the crowd out to the car for her get-a-away. It was my first experience with crowd crush, I gained a whole new respect for those who work to protect notable people and dignitaries.—

The event being held was The National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance’s first major production, a national symposium entitled “Children and Books at Crossroads," Friday, October 9, 1998. I had worked hard to get a high quality venue—the Kennedy Presidential Library— and worked even harder to get First Lady Hilary Clinton on board as the Honorary Chair of our event. I knew I needed a major presence, a person of depth, quality, and experience to anchor our roster of speakers, a person who knew and understood the power of the written word, a person who understood the transformational power of story and books in young people’s lives. I had long admired Maya Angelou and when I first mentioned to our board that I wanted to go after her as the morning keynote for our symposium, they were enthusiastic, but doubtful of her availability. But I knew if I could “get” Professor Angelou, she would be the solid cornerstone upon which I could then build the whole day’s quality content.

Thankfully, miraculously, Maya Angleou said yes. And because she said yes, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David McCullough said yes. And education activist and author of the powerfully moving book, “Fist, Stick, Knife, Gun,” Geoffrey Canada said yes. And CBS “Sunday Morning” host Charles Osgood said yes. And Harvard astrophysicist and literacy advocate Margaret Geller said yes. As did author Sven Birkerts, and Harvard professors Catherine Snow and Jeanne Chall, publisher Lisa Quiroz, and literacy advocates Dr. Perri Klass, William Truehart, and Elizabeth Segal. And Mrs. Teresa Heinz-Kerry honored us by personally chairing our symposium. They all joined the party because Maya Angelou was the first to say, yes, I will come.

A big black sedan pulled up in front of the library’s main entrance. I opened the door for Professor Angelou, introducing myself, welcoming her, helping her from the car, reaching high to hold an umbrella over her head. She immediately engaged me in conversation as we walked into the library and up the elevator to her private room, asking me in-depth questions about our organization and our goals. I get rather passionate when I talk about kids and books and reading, and as I shared information not covered in my correspondence, my nervousness disappeared. It was only later that I realized her interest and considerate questions were meant to put me at ease. The room the Kennedy Library had provided for her was lovely and quiet. She asked where everyone else was, and I explained our board members, with family and guests, were in a large, communal “Green Room” downstairs. She asked me to take her there, to meet everyone, and suggested we bring the bowl of fruit along with us. Before we stepped back onto the elevator, she stopped, placing her hand on my shoulder—even though her posture was curling forward and she leaned on a cane, she was so very tall. Why, you’re passionate believers, she said, a grassroots group reaching up, reaching out.

She entered the Green Room quietly, without fanfare or drama, but everyone riveted toward her anyway. She chose to sit at the table’s end, between a charming young intern from the Kennedy Library and my two daughters Elizabeth and Emily. Introducing herself, she engaged all three young women in conversation, asking them about themselves, their interests, their schools. They were entranced, and my mother heart overflowed with emotion, my mind and eyes making a mental snapshot of the moment for a life memory. CBS’s Charles Osgood was good-humouredly helping my husband Dick and our son Patrick hand-letter panelist name plates—a last minute rescue of an overlooked detail. The room was filled with board members and their spouses—Katherine and John Paterson, Patty and Bob MacLachlan, Sally and Bob Truslow, Natalie and Sam Babbitt and their daughter Lucy, David Macaulay, and Stephanie Loer, and dear friends and supporters Libby Rock and Grant Oliphant. Our organization, the NCBLA, has always been a family affair. Everyone mixed and mingled, introducing themselves and each other to Margaret Geller and Geoffrey Canada and other panelists as they joined us. Maya Angelou was just one of the NCBLA gang.

When Mrs. Heinz-Kerry arrived; it was game time. I escorted both Dr. Angelou and Mrs. Heinz up to stage left, where they could have a bit of privacy before their presentations. I got them some comfortable chairs, then headed to the podium. My job was to welcome attendees, set the tone for day, hopefully providing a bit of humor and inspiration, then introduce Mrs. Heinz-Kerry. Beyond teaching in front of my class at RISD, or giving a presentation at an SCBWI conference, I had very little public speaking experience. There I was, the girl from Cleveland’s West Side, standing at the podium in the Kennedy Presidential Library, in front of Congressional aides, literacy activists, children and family television producers and executives, professional educators, academics, major magazine editors, reporters, and one of my heroes, Maya Angelou—and I was terrified. Without a typed copy of my speech, I would never have remembered later what I said. I only remember that when I finished, after greeting Mrs. Heinz as she walked to podium, Maya Angelou was waiting in the wings. She cupped my face with both her hands, soft and warm, and told me, nicely done little chicken. Always, always follow your heart. We stood there together, her very tall, me very short. She held my hand tight as she waited to go onstage for her speech. And of course, she soared, the tempo and beat of her words and wisdom creating a song of inspiration and hope.

Thank you Maya Angelou for your courage and the many gifts you shared with the world. You were an incandescent flame of hope in weary world. Thank you for a morning of lovely memories.
Mary Brigid Barrett
President and Executive Director
The National Children's Book and Literacy Alliance

Thursday, May 22, 2014

In Search of Wonder: Common Core & More to be Held October 17

Educators, Librarians, Parents, and Students of Education and Library Science!
Have You Registered for the NCBLA's Professional Development Day
In Search of Wonder:
Common Core and More?



YOU are invited to attend a very special event with five renowned authors to learn about new and classic fiction and nonfiction literature that can be used in the classroom across a variety of academic disciplines.  We will discuss ideas, voice concerns, inspire each other, and work together to demonstrate the power and magic of books and how outstanding literature can be used with and beyond Common Core

In Search of Wonder will take place Friday, October 17 in Perry, Ohio and will include not only presentations by our featured authors, but also an expert panel discussion titled Great Books for Classroom Use, Common Core tie-in instructions, book sales, autographing, book raffles, and MORE! For details and to register, click here.

Five Featured Authors!


KATHERINE PATERSON, United States National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature Emeritus and author of Bridge to Terabithia, Jacob Have I Loved, and The Great Gilly Hopkins.

STEVEN KELLOGG, a recipient of the prestigious Regina Medal for his lifetime contribution to children’s literature, the author and illustrator of Johnny Appleseed: A Tall Tale and Sally Ann Thunder Ann Whirlwind Crockett, and the illustrator of Is Your Mama a Llama? and Snowflakes Fall.

NIKKI GRIMES, recipient of the 2006 NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children and author of What is Goodbye?, Coretta Scott King Award winner Bronx Masquerade, and Coretta Scott King Author Honor books Jazmin's Notebook, Talkin' About Bessie, Dark Sons, The Road to Paris, and Words with Wings.

TANYA LEE STONE is the award-winning author of the the young adult novel, A Bad Boy Can Be Good for a Girl; picture books Elizabeth Leads the Way and Who Says Women Can't Be Doctors?; and narrative nonfiction Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared to Dream; The Good, the Bad, and the Barbie, and Courage Has No Color

CHRIS CRUTCHER is a recipient of the American Library Association’s Margaret A. Edwards Lifetime Achievement Award and two Intellectual Freedom awards, one from the National Council for Teachers of English and the other from the National Coalition Against Censorship, and the author of young adult fiction including Period 8, Angry Management, Deadline, and The Sledding Hill

The First 100 Registrants Will Receive a Copy of
Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out

Through the generosity of Candlewick Press, the first 100 people who register will receive a free hardcover copy of the NCBLA's award-winning anthology Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out at the end of the conference. A $30.00 value! Our White House is the perfect book for Common Core highlighting American history, literature, science, and art!

To read all the details of the day, click here.

To register now, click here