Thursday, January 28, 2010

In Case You Missed It! Read "In Arm's Way" by Nikki Grimes

The Exquisite Corpse Adventure
Episode 9 is LIVE on Read.Gov

Written by Nikki Grimes and illustrated by Chris Van Dusen, be sure to check out the latest installment of the online story game, The Exquisite Corpse Adventure, available FREE to all readers on Read.Gov!

The Exquisite Corpse Adventure is a reading and writing outreach project jointly sponsored by the Library of Congress and the NCBLA. This rollicking story adventure is being created by nineteen of America's most gifted storytellers and artists, with a new episode being published every two weeks.


To maximize the educational impact, the NCBLA has created an extensive online educational resource center for The Exquisite Corpse Adventure. You won't want to miss this week's art appreciation materials, which help kids understand and try out the technique of chiaroscuro for themselves.

Adding to the excitement of The Exquisite Corpse Adventure is Reading Rockets coordinating writing contest for young people of all ages, The Exquisite Prompt, complete with its own set of enriching materials! January's prompts are inspired by Gregory Maguire and Patricia and Fredrick McKissack.

Look for these other treasures by author Nikki Grimes and illustrator Chris Van Dusen in libraries and bookstores:


Learn more about Nikki Grimes on her website and in this Reading Rockets video interview.
Learn more about Chris Van Dusen and his work on his website.

And check Read.Gov tomorrow, Friday, January 29, for Episode 10 of The Exquisite Corpse Adventure, written by Megan McDonald and illustrated by James Ransome.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

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 today 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.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Exquisite Corpse Adventure: Interview with Nikki Grimes

Nikki Grimes,
Author of The Exquisite Corpse Adventure
Episode Nine, Talks About Her Work

Episode Nine of The Exquisite Corpse
Adventure, titled "In Arm's Way," is now live on Read.Gov. This latest installment in the online story game introduces a new character to the zany adventure of 11-year old twins Nancy and Joe--a pirate named Angel.

Ms. Grimes is a New York Times bestselling author and the recipient of the 2006 NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children. Her distinguished works include the ALA Notable book, What is Goodbye?, the novels Jazmin's Notebook, Dark Sons, and The Road to Paris (Coretta Scott King Author Honor Books). She recently answered a few questions about her work:

M. T. Anderson has described the process of writing an episode for The Exquisite Corpse Adventure something "like playing a game of hot potato, tossing the spud from person to person, passing it down a line of friends." When the "potato" was passed to you to write Episode 9, how did you feel about the experience? Did this type of writing put you out of your comfort zone...or was it a thrill?

This put me completely out of my comfort zone! I'd never done anything like it before, and in the company of such gifted storytellers, at that. The experience was quite daunting, but I do like a good challenge.

Katherine Paterson, another Exquisite Corpse Adventure author, was recently named National Ambassador for Young People's Literature. A third grader in the audience asked her, "How do you feel when you write?" So, may I ask, how do you feel when you write?

Charged, exhilarated, alive. That's how I feel when I'm writing the first draft, anyway. Doing rewrites is another story, altogether!

Your recent books Make Way for Dyamonde Daniel and Rich: A Dyamonde Daniel Book star a young girl with a sparkling personality who has a knack for language and a knack for understanding people. Did you know someone like Dyamonde when you were growing up? Is Dyamonde someone you wished you had had for a friend?

Dyamonde was unlike anyone I'd known. I'm not quite sure where she came from, to tell the truth. For example, my least favorite subject in school was mathematics, and yet Dyamonde loves math. According to her, math helps her make sense of the world. I don't know where that came from! She was a complete surprise to me, but I love her.

And, you have a new Dyamonde Daniel book (Almost Zero: A Dyamonde Daniel Book, from Putnam) scheduled to be published soon! When can readers hope to see this book in stores and libraries? Can you tell us something about your next writing project?

Ah, Less than Zero will be out this spring. As for new projects, there are several. They include a work of historical fiction set after the Civil War, a collection of tanka poems, and a fourth Dyamonde Daniel book. Those should keep me busy for awhile!

Read Nikki's episode on READ.GOV now! A new episode is published every two weeks. Also, be sure to check out the NCBLA's coordinating Educational Resource Center.

Visit Nikki Grimes' website and read more about her new books.

Monday, January 18, 2010

ALA Announces 2010 Youth Media Awards

Caldecott Medal Awarded to
NCBLA Honorary Board Member
Jerry Pinkney!


Today the American Library Association announced the winners of its prestigious series of awards that honor books, videos, and audiobooks published for children and young adults in the previous year.

The John Newbery Medal, which recognizes the most distinguished contribution to children's literature, was awarded to "When You Reach Me," written by Rebecca Stead and published by Wendy Lamb Books, an imprint of Random House Children's Books.

The Randolph Caldecott Medal, which honors the most distinguished American picture book for children, was awarded to "The Lion & the Mouse," illustrated and written by Jerry Pinkney, and published by Little, Brown and Company Books for Young Readers.

Visit Jerry Pinkey's website.

The Michael L. Printz Award (for excellence in literature written for young adults) was awarded to "Going Bovine" written by Libba Bray and published by Delacorte Press.

The Coretta Scott King Author Book Award, which recognizes an African-American author and illustrator of outstanding books for children and young adults, was awarded to "Bad News for Outlaws: The Remarkable Life of Bass Reeves, Deputy U.S. Marshall," written by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson. The book is illustrated by R. Gregory Christie and published by Carolrhoda Books, a division of Lerner Publishing Group, Inc.

The Coretta Scott King Illustrator Book Award, was awarded to "My People," illustrated by Charles R. Smith Jr. The book was written by Langston Hughes and published by ginee seo books, Atheneum Books for Young Readers.

Congratulations to these talented authors and illustrators!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

SNEAK PEEK! Exquisite Corpse Adventure Episode 9

The Exquisite Corpse Adventure Episode 9

Goes LIVE Friday, January 15
on Read.Gov

The latest installment in The Exquisite Corpse Adventure, the online story game starring eleven-year old twins Nancy and Joe and a cast of other wacky and sometimes bizarre characters, will be published tomorrow, January 15, on Read.Gov.

Episode 9 was written by Nikki Grimes and illustrated by Chris Van Dusen. A crop of Chris' magical illustration appears at right.

And here's a sneak peek at how Episode 9 starts:

Nancy was none too fond of thunder. (It had something to do with her being shot out of a cannon one time too many as a young child. ) Fortunately, Nancy had no inkling of the coming storm.

Nancy, Joe, Max, and Genius Kelly pressed on to the hill and the sea beyond. It seemed to Joe that they had been walking for quite some time and still there was no sea in sight.

The Exquisite Corpse Adventure is a reading and writing outreach project jointly sponsored by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress and the NCBLA. Created by a dream team of eighteen award-winning authors and illustrators, a new episode is published every two weeks. The NCBLA has created an extensive educational resource center in conjunction with the talented professors and staff at the Butler Children's Literature Center at Dominican University to help parents, teachers, librarians, and homeschoolers maximize the educational opportunities presented by The Exquisite Corpse Adventure.

Buttressing the educational mission of The Exquisite Corpse Adventure is The Exquisite Prompt, the coordinating writing contest for kids of all ages sponsored by Reading Rockets. Prompts for January are inspired by Exquisite Corpse Adventure authors Gregory Maguire and Patricia and Fredrick McKissack.

Episode 9 author Nikki Grimes is a New York Times best-selling author and prolific artist, who has written many award-winning books for children and young adults. Her works include the novels Bronx Masquerade (Dial), winner of the 2003 Coretta Scott King Author Award; and Jazmin's Notebook (Dial), a Coretta Scott King honor book and Bank Street College Book of the Year; the popular poetry collections Danitra Brown, Class Clown, Danitra Brown Leaves Town (HarperCollins) and Meet Danitra Brown (Lothrop), an ALA Notable and Coretta Scott King honor book. More recent books include Make Way for Dyamonde Daniel and Rich: A Dyamonde Daniel Book.

Episode 9 illustrator Chris Van Dusen is the author and illustrator of Down to the Sea with Mr. Magee (Chronicle), A Camping Spree with Mr. Magee (Chronicle), and If I Built a Car. Van Dusen also illustrated Kate DiCamillo’s Mercy Watson series (Candlewick). His latest book is The Circus Ship (Candlewick Press).

Check back next week for an exclusive interview with Nikki Grimes!

Illustration © Chris Van Dusen 2009

Monday, January 11, 2010

In Case You Missed It! Read "A Possible Solution" by Natalie Babbitt

The Exquisite Corpse Adventure
Episode 8 is LIVE on Read.Gov

Penned by Natalie Babbitt and illustrated by Timothy Basil Ering, you won't want to miss this most recent episode of the zany online story game, The Exquisite Corpse Adventure, available FREE to all readers on Read.Gov!


This delightful addition to the ongoing Exquisite Corpse Adventure introduces a new character--Sybil Hunch, the Misfortune-Teller--who seems to have walked right out a fairy tale.

The Exquisite Corpse Adventure is a reading and writing outreach project jointly sponsored by the Library of Congress and the NCBLA. Created by a dream team of eighteen award-winning authors and illustrators, a new episode is published every two weeks. The NCBLA has created an extensive educational resource center in conjunction with the talented professors and staff at the Butler Children's Literature Center at Dominican University to help parents, teachers, librarians, and homeschoolers maximize the educational opportunities presented by The Exquisite Corpse Adventure. And don't miss The Exquisite Prompt, the coordinating writing contest for kids of all ages sponsored by Reading Rockets, complete with its own set of enriching materials!

Be sure to check out these treasures by author Natalie Babbitt and illustrator Timothy Basil Ering:



And Stay Tuned! Episode 9 of The Exquisite Corpse Adventure will be revealed this Friday, January 15, to be written by Nikki Grimes and illustrated by Chris Van Dusen.

Friday, January 8, 2010

NCBLA Sidebar Tattle: New National Book Ambassador Katherine Paterson is Launched!




Boffo Event at the 
LOC Book Palace Intros New Fairy Grandmother of Kidlit World!

Your exclusive behind-the-scenes report!







Above photo: Katherine Paterson, the new National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature—and NCBLA Vice-President—with her granddaughter Jordan Paterson at the Library of Congress.



On Monday night while the children’s book world, abuzz with anticipation, waited for news from Washington as to who the next National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature would be, family and friends toasted author Katherine Paterson at an intimate dinner party on Capitol Hill.

Presiding over the table at Bistro Bis, Betsy Groban, SVP and publisher of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s Book Group and Dinah Stevenson, VP and Publisher of Clarion Books, warmly welcomed guests including Katherine’s husband John, their four children, spouses, and an attractive gaggle—or giggle—of grandchildren, as well as John Cole, the director of the Center for the Book at the Library of Congress. Ms. Paterson, in an elegant black pantsuit, a turquoise silk scarf framing her lovely face, with—as stated in The New York Times— “her silver hair cut in a feathered bob,” graciously accepted the many compliments and congratulations of the evening. (When Jon Scieszka was announced as the first Children’s Book Ambassador did The New York Times comment on his coiffure?!—inquiring minds want to know!)


Wednesday morning, bright and early, your faithful reporter made her way to the Center for the Book Offices in the Madison building at the Library of Congress where she found John Cole, Anne Boni, Guy Lamolinara, and Staceya Sistare finishing up last minute details for the day’s event—editing talking points and gathering together copies of Katherine Paterson’s book Bread and Roses,Too to give as gifts to young students attending the event. (Fans of the LOC/NCBLA Exquisite Corpse Adventure may want to know that John and Guy are part of the production team that brings you a new Exquisite Corpse Adventure episode every two weeks!!)






NCBLA board assistant and program director Geri Eddins with Center for the Book Director John Cole.


Guy Lamolinara, Center for the Book staff, and Exquisite Corpse Adventure web designer and webmaster, prepping for Katherine Paterson's Ambassadorial debut!





We left the office carting books down elevators and through underground tunnels to the Library of Congress’ magnificent Jefferson Building, where the main event would take place. Katherine and John Paterson had already arrived and were chatting with the very first Children’s Book Ambassador, the Stinky Cheese Man himself, Jon Scieszka and his beautiful wife Gerri. Fashion notes: Katherine wore a smart black suit with her signature color magenta blouse and silver earrings, her matching "silver hair in its feathered bob" looking quite fabulous. Jon Scieszka’s brilliant head shone brightly under the Jefferson Building chandeliers, as did Gerri’s curly red locks — and don’t miss Gerri's ultra cool retro designer suit in this photo:




Yo! Women's Wear Daily check out this fashion foursome!!!

Mr. Scieszka remarked that there should be some kind of visual acknowledgment or recognition of the Ambassador's' tenure, and suggested to Katherine that their images be added to this mural in the Jefferson building, with he and Katherine's figure portraits floating alongside these Grecian ladies.
 




Katherine's response is unknown, as is the Librarian of Congress, Dr. Billington's. 





This is dedication to a cause! A broken arm did not stop Childrens' Book Council executive director Robin Adelson from trekking all the way to D.C for the event, in spite of the pain! The Children's Book Council, under Robin's creative leadership, co-sponsors the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. Fashion note: Is it a coincidence that Robin's cast and sling are robin's egg blue? Those in the know say no!


And here are Robin's elves from the CBC hardworking staff unpacking souvenir cookies for the kid guests!











Dr. James Billington, Librarian of Congress, arriving to thank Jon Scieszka for two remarkable years of
service to his nation, and to name Katherine Paterson as the new Children's Book Ambassador.












Among the invited guests were third through fifth grade students from Capitol Hill Day School, Brent Elementary School, and St. Peter's Interparish School. Their parents and teachers should be incredibly proud. These students were interested and interesting, asking the new Ambassador Katherine Paterson insightful questions. One of this reporter's favorite questions came from a third grade boy politely inquiring,"How do you feel when you write?"

The kids watching as Katherine Paterson comes to the podium after receiving her Ambassador Medal.

"Read for your life. 
Read for your life as a member of a
family, as a part of a community, as a citizen of this country and a 
citizen of the world."
Katherine Paterson






Among the invited guests were
Katherine Paterson's beautiful daughters, Mary Katherine and Elizabeth Po Li.
And Katherine's beautiful daughters-in-law, Samantha and Arianna. All busy moms with their own fascinating careers.
Surrounding Katherine and her husband John are many of her proud family members, including sons John and David who have recently created their own production company Arcady Bay Entertainment.












Other guests at the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature celebration Tuesday at the Library of Congress included:
Librarian Rita Auerbauch, resplendant in a rich plum-colored two-piece suit with her own silver locks cut in edgy "Judi Dench" style! Rita was a member of the selection committee that chose Katherine Paterson. Other members of the committee were: Betty Carter, Young Adult Library Services Adminstrations board member; Roger Sutton, editor-in-chief of The Horn Book Magazine; Dianne Roback, children's book editor of Publisher's Weekly; Angela Sherrill, Chicago's 57th Street Books children's book coordinator; and the retiring grand poohba himself, wonderful and amazing Jon Scieszka!! Rita is also giving great service to our nation's children this year, chairing the Caldecott Award committee. Bravo Rita!!


Literacy advocate and Reading is Fundemental Chairman Emerita, Lynda Johnson Robb, delayed a trip to Hawaii in order to attend the event. Lynda is dressed in lavender in the picture at right.
Rachael Walker, PBS Reading Rockets consultant and Anita Merina, National Coordinator of the National Education Association's Read Across America Campaign-- fashionistas arrayed in complimentary color schemes of red and green!
In the photo at right is librarian and educational consultant Maria Salvadore (pictured at left), who was on the committee that selected the first national Children's Book Ambassador, Jon Scieszka. Maria is volunteering her time this year to serve on the Newbery selection committee and also serves on the Advisory Council of the NCBLA. Pictured with her is Mary Brigid Barrett, president and executive director of the NCBLA. Maria and Mary Brigid spent hours, weeks, months, planning and coordinating their outfits. Maria's natural blond locks are lightly feathered. Mary Brigid occasionally chops off her hair here and there with some old kitchen shears.
After this marvelous, moving event the Library of Congress held a reception in honor of the new National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature for all the adults in attendance. The incredible kids who attended escaped to a much more kid-friendly environment, having a great time with librarian Jane Gilchrest in the new Young Reader's Center in the Jefferson Building, which is open to the public.




While the guests munched on delicious repast,
the new Ambassador was interviewed
by The Washington Post.
No one told the new Ambassador that Ambassadors
never get a chance to eat!
This reporter bids you a fond farewell, leaving you with this beautiful photo of Katherine Paterson, the new National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, taken by her daughter-in-law photographer Samantha Loomis.
Congratulations Katherine!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Katherine Paterson- New National Ambassador for Children's Literature!!

Hurrah Katherine Paterson!! 
Thank you Jon Scieszka!


Today at the Library of Congress author Jon Scieszka will be applauded and honored for the remarkable work he has done these past two years spreading joy, delight, and an exuberant love of reading to children, young and old, as our nation's very first Ambassador for Children's Books.  With an ever present mischievous twinkle in his eye and an irrepressible spirit, Jon has traveled the length and breadth of our country inspiring young people, especially "reluctant" readers, to read everything from comic strips, to books, to electronic media. He has been so good as "the Ambassador" everyone in the children's book community has been wondering-- who could follow Jon, who could live up the standard he has created?!


Why Katherine Paterson, of course!!!!  Not only is Katherine one of the most honored and esteemed writers in the world, she has also been a life long advocate of peace, justice, universal literacy, and equal educational opportunities for all, especially as those issues relate to young people. She is every child's dream grandmother, and with great wit and warm charm embraces the world with an undying optimism.
She is the perfect choice to be the next New National Ambassador for Children's Literature!! 
Of course, we here at the National Children's Book and 
Literacy Alliance are a wee bit prejudiced as Katherine 
is a Vice-President and founding Board member 
of the NCBLA.


This morning, Katherine and Jon will meet 
privately with Dr. Billington, the Librarian of Congress, 
in his ceremonial office before Katherine is officially named 
as the new Ambassador.


We will report of today's events later today! 
But in the meantime, go to www.thencbla.org for more details!