Monday, February 2, 2015

February Is Presidents Month!

Get Kids Excited About Presidential History Using the Award-Winning Anthology
Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out


Exciting stories, informative essays, humorous poetry, and extraordinary art can help kids engage in the past and make connections with our present and future. A perfect resource for learning more about American and presidential history that provides all of this and MORE is the NCBLA's award-winning anthology Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out.

With Our White House, kids can learn about the building of the White House--and why it once burned. They can engage with intimate stories of those who have resided in the White House over the years, including presidential pets and ghosts! And kids can also discover the joys and sorrows that have faced our nation and the often gut-wrenching decisions needed to be made by our presidents.



Our White House
was created by the National Children's Book and Literacy Alliance as a collaborative effort by over one hundred award-winning authors and illustrators to encourage young people to read more about America’s rich history and culture; to think more about America’s future; to talk more about our nation’s leadership; and to act on their own beliefs and convictions, ensuring this great democratic experiment will survive and thrive.

The Our White House anthology is supported by a companion educational website, OurWhiteHouse.org, which expands the book content with additional stories, primary sources, articles, activities, and discussion questions related to book topics. The website also includes printable education resource guides on the OWH Plus page to help you make the most of the book's content in your classroom and library. 

Learn more about how you can inspire young people using the Our White House resources in the online article "For Educators: Using Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out and OurWhiteHouse.org in the Classroom."

Our White House is available in both hardcover and paperback from Candlewick Press.

Ask for Our White House
at a library or bookstore near you!

Publisher’s Weekly Starred Review!
“Eight years in the making, this anthology of White House history convenes an all-star roster of 108 children's authors and illustrators, as well as a few scholars and former White House employees and residents and it is a blue-ribbon choice for family sharing during an election year. Chronologically ordered, the entries range from poems to presidential speeches, satirical cartoons to stately portraits. . . . The volume makes the invaluable point that history does not have to be remote or abstract, but a personal and ongoing engagement.”
The Horn Book Starred Review!
“With something for adults and children alike is the sumptuous new anthology Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out. . . . The contributors are all luminaries of the children’s book field. A fascinating, eminently browsable, and accessible entrance into the People’s House.”

School Library Journal
Starred Review!
“This handsome compendium is rich with excerpts, poems, and other writings about the historic residence, many of them personal in tone and subject. With artwork as eclectic as the text, the book offers glimpses into the presidents, their concerns, their families, and the mansion itself.”

Featured on the “Martha Stewart Show” as One of The New York Times “Eight Great Books for the Holidays”
On the December 15, 2008 “Martha Stewart Show,” Martha advised procrastinating audience members and viewers to “Think books! I do!” as ideal holiday gifts. With that in mind New York Times book review editor Sam Tanenhaus shared recommendations of eight great books. Our White House was one of those books—the only children’s book on his list!

L.A. Parent
Recommendation!
“This is the definitive White House book for history buffs young and old. Whether you seek ghost stories, architectural details, or personal accounts . . . you will not be disappointed. With amazing artwork and entries spanning more than 200 years from literary luminaries ranging from Charles Dickens to Walt Whitman, Gregory Maguire to David McCullough, there is material enough to keep you coming back for more.”
Awards
  • 2009-2010 National Endowment for the Humanities We the People “Picturing America” Bookshelf Award
  • 2009 American Library Association Notable Children’s Book for All Ages
  • 2009 National Council for Social Studies and the Children’s Book Council Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People
  • 2009 International Reading Association Teachers’ Choices Booklist Selection
  • Amazon.com Best Books of 2008 Top 10 Editors’ Pick for Middle Readers
  • Parents’ Choice Foundation Recommended Book Award, Fall 2008
  • School Library Journal Best Books of the Year 2008
  • The Horn Book Fanfare, Best Books of 2008
  • Publisher’s Weekly 2008 Best Books of the Year, Children’s Nonfiction
  • Publishers Weekly 2008 Cuffie Award, Best Nonfiction Treatment of a Subject, Honorable Mention
  • Scripps-Howard News Service Favorite Children's Book of 2008
  • www.ourwhitehouse.org named a 2009 American Library Association “Great Websites for Kids”

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

State of the Union Address Tonight

Helping Young People Connect with Contemporary Events
Tonight President Obama will make his state of the union address to Congress. Will he find refuge in the White House movie theater sometime beforehand to practice his delivery of tonight's speech, just as his predecessor President George W. Bush liked to do? What policies and legislative goals will the president be promoting tonight? Is the state of the union address important? Need we watch?


In his 1949 state of the union address, President Harry S Truman proposed his program of social and economic reform, asserting that “Every segment of our population, and every individual, has a right to expect from his government a fair deal."

In his state of the union address of 1974, President Richard Nixon refused to resign the presidency despite the rising tide of suspicion that was enveloping him...yet he did resign seven months later.

And in 1982 with the country in recession President Ronald Reagan called for a “New Federalism” in his state of the union address, advocating for less federal spending and more state initiatives to solve social and economic problems.

What might President Obama be proposing for Americans in tonight's speech?
Events such as the state of the union address provide a perfect opportunity to continue our dialog about American history and politics with our young people. Encourage young people to watch tonight's address. Watch it with them! When the speech is over, turn off the TV pundits and discuss the speech. What did they think about it? Do they agree with the president's proposals? Why or why not? Take the time to help young people make the connection to their own lives.
Learn more about the constitutional requirements for the state of the union address in the New York Times article State of the Union.

An excellent resource to consult regarding the presidency, politics, and American history is the
NCBLA’s art and literary anthology Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out. Our White House seeks to build on logical links between literacy, historical literacy, and civic engagement. Coordinating activities and discussion suggestions, as well as additional articles, are available on the book's supplemental website: ourwhitehouse.org.

On ourwhitehouse.org, learn from a political speech writer how a state of the union address differs from an inaugural address in "
Writing Political Speeches: An Interview with Thomas LaFauci." 
Also on ourwhitehouse.org, discover research tips to help adults guide young people in their quest for knowledge, Presidential facts, tips on visiting the White House, and an extensive guide of additional history websites you can share with young people.

Friday, January 9, 2015

New Year Resolutions

I Will Read To My Kids --
If I Ever Find The Time!


All right, so you've heard that you should read aloud to your kids fifteen minutes everyday. You've heard from teachers and pediatricians and politicians and the so-called "educational experts" that it is the best thing you can do ensure your child's success in reading and school. But who are they trying to kid with this fifteen minutes a day deal? It takes a heck of a lot more time than fifteen minutes a day!

First, if you are going to read books, you've got to have books to read. And that means getting everyone dressed, then driving to the library through rain, sun, sleet, hail, or snow, because at ten to twenty dollars a pop you're probably not going to have a pile of kid's books on your shelf at home. And a trip to the library is going to take at least a half hour and then you have to return the books, and of course one book will be lost, and you will be late getting it back. Then you will be penalized with late fees, all of which takes even more time.

And, you have not one child, but three, all different ages, all different temperaments, all different interests. Do you read different books to each child individually? That adds up to 45 minutes a day. And how do you know what book to read to each one? Do you read to all three at once? What if your three year old gets up and walks away in the middle of the story? And what if the baby starts crying? And what if your eight year old doesn't want to read "baby books" any more? And what if you've been working all day and you're so bone tired that you can't even keep your eyelids open to read?

I know. I understand. I've been there, too, with three kids, two jobs, and a husband whose work requires him to travel extensively. So here's the bad news. The best thing you can do to help your child succeed in reading and in school is to read aloud to them, period, the end. Why? Because you, taking the time to read aloud to your children, especially when you are so very busy, shows them that you think words and reading and books are very important. Reading aloud to children enriches their vocabularies, models reading behaviors, expands their emotional expression, and introduces them to story, history, folklore, and culture, enlarging their world. They love you. When you take the time to read to your kids, their love for you spills over. It encompasses all that you do together, so they will automatically begin to love books and language, too. And kids who love books and language definitely have a leg up on everyone else when they start school.

Here's the good news. Forget the fifteen minutes a day thing. Think about reading time in terms of a week's length of time instead of a day. When my kids were little I worried about their eating habits. Were they getting representative foods from all five food groups everyday? No. Sometimes my oldest would only eat chicken nuggets, peas, and white bread slathered with peanut butter for days. Eventually, I stopped worrying about daily food intake and began to think of my childrens' nutrition in terms of a week's time. It was only then that I realized that within a week they ate from a variety of food groups and were getting all the nutritional requirements their bodies needed to grow.

Think of your children's brain growth in weekly terms, too. Think in terms of providing your kids with language enriching experiences. For example; if you don't have the time to read a book aloud, tell them a story while you do the dinner dishes. The story can be as simple as you recalling a childhood memory, like the time your cat Henry gave birth to kittens under your parents' bed. Or, borrow a few book and tape sets from the library and when you are tired, lie down on your bed with your kids and listen to the tape together. While, driving back and forth doing errands play alphabet and word games in the car, or listen to great songs on a tape or a CD and sing along with the lyrics. Have your children "read" you a well loved book that they have actually memorized. Then, when you have the chance during the week to read for more than fifteen minutes, do so. It will compensate for the days you couldn't find time to read.

Be honest with yourself. Is it really a great imposition to get to the library? Do you find the time to go to the mall? Do you find the time to rent videos or DVD's? Videos have to be returned, too. If you really don't have the time to go to the library, check out your library's services. Many libraries now have bookmobiles which bring the books to you. And for returns, libraries can often arrange book pick-ups or they can renew your books over the phone.

Resolve this year to read aloud more to your children. Talk with them. Discuss their day and yours. Tell them more stories, made-up and real. Sing them more songs. It is time spent that you will never regret.

© 2007 Mary Brigid Barrett

Monday, January 5, 2015

From Real Talk Publishing on TeenReads.com

Robin Adelson, Outgoing Executive Director
of the CBC and Every Child a Reader,
Talks to Teen Reads

Take a moment and read the insightful interview with esteemed Executive Director Robin Adelson of the Children's Book Council and Every Child a Reader on TeenReads.com here.

 

Here is an excerpt:

 

Every Child a Reader is a charitable organization focusing on literacy. Its mission is to instill a lifelong love of reading in children. It’s not enough to learn how to read. For a child to truly reach their potential as a student and ultimately as a productive member of society, you need to look beyond just learning the basics of reading. And to get beyond the basics, you have to have an appreciation for reading. With all of the things competing for your leisure time, if reading is one of those choices that you'll consider as you grow up, it expands your horizons in ways that ultimately expand your potential.

We try to instill a lifelong love of reading by promoting the joy of reading, so it’s not just associated with school and chores and homework, but is recognized as something entertaining, cultural and artistic.

 

Learn more about the Children's Book Council at CBCBooks.org and Every Child a Reader at ECARFoundation.org.


Monday, December 22, 2014

Donate Today!

Help the NCBLA
Help All of Our Nation's Kids

In this season of giving, please consider making a tax-deductible donation to the NCBLA. Large or small, we value and honor every donation.

To make a donation by credit card using our secure credit card service, click here.

To send a check or money order, please mail your donation to:

Mary Kemper, Treasurer
The National Children's Book and Literacy Alliance
P.O. Box 1479
Brewster, MA 02631

Thank you! We hope you and your family have a delight-filled holiday season and a joyous New Year!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

How Do You Find Just the RIght Gift Book?


Expert Tips for Finding Perfect Books
for Special Young People

this Holiday Season

When you buy a special book for a child at Hanukkah, Christmas, or Kwanzaa, it helps your child to create emotional connections linking family, tradition, and reading. It also sends the message that receiving books is as pleasurable an experience as receiving toys.

I asked Natacha Liuzzi, librarian and book buyer, for some age-pertinent book suggestions for gift giving this year. Natacha's youthful appearance belies the fact that she has years of experience connecting kids to books. For eight years, Natacha was the Children's Services Librarian at the Hinesburg Public Library in Hinesburg, Vermont. There she was responsible for buying all the children's, middle grade, and young adult materials, servicing children from toddlers through to high school students. Currently, Natacha is the children's book buyer for the independent Bear Pond Books in Montpelier, Vermont. For the past four years she has served on a committee that nominates picture books for the Red Clover Award, Vermont's annual student choice awards. She is also the RIF coordinator for the Hinesburg Community School, providing each student with a free book three times yearly, and she was the Hinesburg Literacy Team coordinator working with area preschool and reading teachers throughout Chittenden County.

Finding a special book for the child you love can be an overwhelming task given the selection available at your bookstore. Natacha offers the following advice:

  • Find out what the child or teen has read already. Ask them what authors they like to read.
  • Discover the subjects and topics that interest them.
  • Find out if they prefer fiction or nonfiction, fantasy or reality.
  • Don't be afraid to ask your neighborhood children's librarian or children's books seller for suggestions and advice.
  • Read your local newspaper's book section. Many newspapers and magazines feature book suggestions this time of year.
  • Be consumer savvy. The books with biggest marketing budgets are not necessarily the best books for you child or teen. And conversely, a book you've never heard of may contain the story that changes your child’s or teen's life. Natacha says, "Just because a book jacket may look promising does not mean the story is going to live up to it. We all fall victim at one time or another to 'judging a book by its cover.'
  • Take into consideration the content and age recommendation. I think great care needs to be taken, especially if a young reader is at a higher reading level. Even though the child can read the material the content is not always appropriate.
  • No one is ever too old for a picture book!!
  • Consider all possibilities: great literature and fun, entertaining books. Says Natacha, "Think of books in terms of chocolate mousse and a Hershey kiss. There are moments for both!"
Great Book Gift Suggestions
Going to the bookstore with a list of recommended books in hand can help guide your choices. Click the titles of the following lists for some authoritative advice:
© 2005, 2014 by Mary Brigid Barrett

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Holiday Traditions in Washington, DC

Share Holiday Traditions
in Our Nation's Capitol
with the Young People in Your Life

The lighting ceremony of the National Menorah on the White House Ellipse will take place Tuesday, December 16th at 4:00 p.m. Tickets are FREE, but required for entry. To learn more, click here

Share the story of how the Christmas tree became a White House tradition and how farmers across America compete to grow the “Grand Champion” selected to adorn the White House each year in "Grand Champions of the White House" by Renee Critcher Lyons on OurWhiteHouse.org.

Read about the history of the National Christmas Tree, which graces the Ellipse between the White House and the Washington Monument, in "Our National Christmas Tree" by Cheli Mennella on OurWhiteHouse.org. Here is an excerpt:

The magnificent blue spruce towers above the Ellipse, the ground between the White House and the Washington Monument. Throughout the year it is a silent reminder of yuletide pleasures and joy. Then in December the tree takes on new significance. Dressed in strands of colorful lights and trimmed with ornaments, the tree, our National Christmas Tree, becomes a beacon of beauty and brilliance.

Watch the lighting ceremony of this year's tree at: http://thenationaltree.org/2014-national-christmas-tree-lighting-on-demand/

Read Newbery-medal winning author Susan Cooper's contrasting memories of the White House--one at a time of sorrow and another at a time of Christmas splendor--in "Memory of the White House" on OurWhiteHouse.org at: http://www.ourwhitehouse.org/memoryofwhouse.html

Discover MORE About the White House and
American History in
Our White House:
Looking In, Looking Out

For even more information and stories about White House holiday traditions, the presidents and first ladies, and American history, check out a copy of Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out from your local library and share the extensive fiction and nonfiction pieces and plethora of original art illustrations with the young people in your life. To learn more about White House holidays, you might choose to read how the American hostage crisis in 1979 affected the lighting of the national Christmas tree during President Carter’s term in office in “From Christmas in Plains: Memories” by Jimmy Carter.

Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out is sold in hardcover and paperback at bookstores everywhere. LEARN MORE about this anthology at OurWhiteHouse.org.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

NCBLA Ed Guides Help You Implement Common Core in the Classroom

Supplemental Education Resources
Created for In Search of Wonder
Now Available Online
for All Educators and Librarians

Are you looking for creative ways to implement outstanding fiction and nonfiction literature in your library and classroom using the Common Core English Language Standards? 

In Search of Wonder Author and Illustrator Steven Kellogg
Photo (c) 2014 David Rzeszotarski
Then be sure to check out the NCBLA's education support materials designed to supplement our recent interdisciplinary professional development day titled In Search of Wonder: Common Core and More, held in conjunction with the Perry Ohio School District.

Author Education Resource Guides
In Search of Wonder Author Katherine Paterson
Photo (c) 2014 Jeff Rzeszotarski
We have developed a series of five education resource guides, each of which provides engaging activities and discussion questions all linked to particular Common Core standards and designed to demonstrate how you can use the books of renowned authors Katherine Paterson, Steven Kellogg, Nikki Grimes, Tanya Lee Stone, and Chris Crutcher in your classroom or library.

Lists of Book Recommendations by Category
In Search of Wonder Author Nikki Grimes
Photo (c) 2014 David Rzeszotarski
In addition, our participating specialists in literature for young people shared their expertise by recommending both fiction and nonfiction book titles—new titles and classic titles!—that represent some of the best books for young people in twelve different categories:
 
Earth Science, Geology, and Plant Life
Humans and Animals, Biology and Health
Chemistry and Physics
Math
Computer Science, Engineering, and Technology
American History
World History
Geography
American Literature
World Literature
Visual Arts
Performing Arts


In Search of Wonder Author Tanya Lee Stone
Photo (c) 2014 Verdi Photography
The entry for each book in the book lists includes a recommended age range and summary to help you decide which books will meet your needs, plus other basic information you need to find the book at your library or bookstore. Just like our education resource guides, each list has been published as an easy-to-print file.


To review, download, and print all our education resources, click here.  

In Search of Wonder Author Chris Crutcher
Photo (c) 2014 David Rzeszotarski
To read more about In Search of Wonder, including the biographies of our participating authors and lists of their books with Common Core Connections, click here

And to see the full photo album from our day-long event that celebrated quality fiction and nonfiction literature, visit our Facebook page. While you are there, be sure to Like Us so you can keep up with all our projects and events!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Two Hundred Years Later.

This Year Marks
200th Anniversary of the
Burning of the White House
"Struggling to Stand"
Copyright  (c) 2008 by Wendell Minor
In August of 1814, during the War of 1812, British troops marched into our nation's capital and set fire to the White House. In the NCBLA's  award-winning anthology Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out, young people can learn not only about the building of the White House, but also why it burned in 1814 through its incomparable collection of essays, personal accounts, historical fiction, poetry, and  stunning array of original art
Engage young people in the following War of 1812 content in Our White House:
  • Wendell Minor's stunning illustration "Struggling to Stand"
  • Ralph Ketcham's enlightening essay regarding the days and events preceding the War of 1812 in "The White House Prepares for War: 1812"
  • Susan Cooper's poignant, imagined letter written by a British soldier to his parents about the burning of the White House titled "The Burning of the White House"
  • Don Brown's story of Dolley Madison in "Dolley Madison Rescues George Washington"
  • An excerpt from the 1865 memoir of Paul Jennings, a former slave who worked in the Madison White House, titled "The First White House Memoir: 1865"

Also check out the exclusive articles and education resources available on the companion website OurWhiteHouse.org, such as: 
"Primary Sources: Dolley Madison's Letter to Her Sister About the Burning of the White House

"Star Spangled Presidents" by Helen Kampion

"Presidential Fact Files" and "First Lady Fact Files

 Our White House is available
in both hardcover and paperback from Candlewick Press.
Ask for it at a library or bookstore near you!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Happy Anniversary "Star Spangled Banner!"

September 2014 Marks
the 200th Anniversary of
Our National Anthem

This month marks the 200th anniversary of "The Star Spangled Banner." Did you know that our national anthem has its roots in a poem and a drinking song? And that baseball played a role in its history?

Share the story of how Francis Scott Key's poem became our national anthem. It's all in "Star Spangled Presidents" by Helen Kampion on the NCBLA's education website OurWhiteHouse.org! Click here to read the article.

The website OurWhiteHouse.org is the online education companion to the NCBLA's award-winning anthology Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out, an incomparable collection of essays, personal accounts, historical fiction, poetry, and a stunning array of original art, offering a multifaceted look at America’s history through the prism of the White House. 

With Our White House, kids can learn about the building of the White House--and why it once burned. They can engage with intimate stories of those who have resided in the White House over the years, including presidential pets and ghosts! And kids can also discover the joys and sorrows that have faced our nation and the often gut-wrenching decisions needed to be made by our presidents.

Our White House
was created by the National Children's Book and Literacy Alliance as a collaborative effort by over one hundred award-winning authors and illustrators to encourage young people to read more about America’s rich history and culture; to think more about America’s future; to talk more about our nation’s leadership; and to act on their own beliefs and convictions, ensuring this great democratic experiment will survive and thrive.


Ask for Our White House at a library or bookstore near you! And learn more at OurWhiteHouse.org

Friday, September 12, 2014

Writing Workshops in Northern Ohio


Northern Ohio SCBWI to Host
Three Fall Writing Events

The Northern Ohio chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) invites adults interested in writing for young people to join them at their monthly workshops and annual conference. You do not need to be a member of SCBWI to attend.

SCBWI is the only professional organization specifically for those individuals writing and illustrating for children and young adults. It acts as a network for the exchange of knowledge between writers, illustrators, editors, publishers, agents, librarians, educators, booksellers and others involved with literature for young people (see www.scbwi.org).

Upcoming 2014 events include:

  • In the Heart of it All – SCBWI: Northern Ohio’s 12th Annual Conference, September 19-20 at the Sheraton Cleveland Airport Hotel. The perfect place to learn more about writing and illustrating and meet some of the most knowledgeable professionals in the field of publishing who are eager to educate, inspire, and encourage attendees!
  • Good is no longer Good Enough – Writing the Stand-out Picture Book/ Novel Workshop with Dandi Daley Mackall, October 18 at the Holiday Inn Cleveland South. Through presentations, writing exercises, Q&A and written critiques, the day's emphasis will be on striving for excellence when writing picture books, nonfiction picture books, novels and historical fiction novels. (There is currently a waiting list for this event.)
  • November 15th Critique Meeting with Michelle Houts, November 15 at the Highland Library in Medina. Bring a manuscript to share or just listen and learn from others’ critiques.
Pre-registration is required for all events. For more details, visit https://ohionorth.scbwi.org

Questions? Contact Victoria Selvaggio, SCBWI: Northern Ohio Regional Advisor at vselvaggio@windstream.net.