Wednesday, September 30, 2009

M.T. Anderson on The Exquisite Corpse Adventure!!!

LA Board Member and
Exquisite Corpse Adventure Contributor
about his Involvement
Writing for the Exquisite Corpse Adventure!

Watch these fabulous Reading Rockets videos of M.T. Anderson talking about the new Exquisite Corpse Adventure interviewed by our friends at Reading Rockets--librarian Maria Salvadore and educator Rachael Walker!!

And for more great Exquisite Corpse Adventure educational materials, check out the NCBLA's Exquisite Corpse Educational Resource Center at where you will find a wealth of information, activities, and book suggestions for each and every Exquisite Corpse Adventure Episode!

Reading Rockets is one of the NCBLA's and the Center for the Book's educational outreach partners for our national reading project The Exquisite Corpse Adventure!! To see the entire video and to find out about Reading Rockets' Exquisite Corpse writing contests for kids and teens, go to:

Enjoy these Reading Rockets videos and please share it with the young people in your life!! And check back often on this NCBLA blog to get the latest Exquisite Corpse Information!!
Coming soon an NCBLA Take 5 interview with Exquisite Corpse Contributor Katherine Paterson!

And be sure to check out this You Tube video of Children's Book Ambassador Jon Scieszka reading the very first Exquisite Corpse Adventure Episode at the Library of Congress Book Festival-- Thank you Jon!!!!

Family Field Trip -The Smithsonian Museum of American History

Take Your Family, Take Your Students to See -

The Scurlock Studio and Black Washington:
Picturing the Promise
at the National Museum of American History!

While visiting Washington DC this past weekend to launch The Exquisite Corpse Adventure, I wanted to go and enjoy the recently renovated National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian. I spent a great deal of time doing research in Washington DC for the NCBLA's award-winning publication Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out and the National Museum of American History was a great place to visit for inspiration!

Visiting a museum reminds me of perusing the stacks in a library-- you go in looking for something specific, but the greatest delight is often when you discover something you weren't looking for at all-- that serendipitous discovery of the unexpected! A
nd that is exactly how I felt when I turned a corner and wandered in the Scurlock Studio Photography Exhibit at the National Museum of American History.

What a visual feast! From 1911 to 1994 the Scurlock Studios--- Addison Scurlock and his sons George and Robert--created a moving visual history of the city they loved. They "depicted the complex world of African Americans in Washington, D.C., a city whose black middle class refused to be defined or held captive by racial segregation and discrimination."

The exhibit includes photographs and action shots
chronicling the lives and interests of Howard University students and faculty; stunning portraits; editorial and news photography and so much more. I was especially struck by the Scurlocks use of light in their studio portraits as an element to reveal the individual personality and character of the person they were photographing. My favorite portraits were of a young man, Charles Tignor Duncan, and one of my education and civil rights heroes Mary McLeod Bethune .

And one section of the exhibit literally took my breath away. In a corner of the gallery there was a special exhibit of photographs detailing opera megastar Marian Anderson's critically acclaimed open-air concert on Easter Sunday, 1939 at the Lincoln Memorial. Complimenting the historical photographs on display was not only an event program autographed by Ms. Anderson, but also the fur coat she wore that day, the same fur coat that we have all seen in those historical photos and newsreels!--Only at the Smithsonian can our nation's history come alive in such a tangible manner!!!

Take your kids, your parents, your students, your friends and neighbors to see this riveting American history exhibit of breathtaking photographs--

The Scurlock Studio and Black Washington:
Picturing the Promise
at the National Museum of American History!

And be sure to share the NCBLA's award-winning publication about American history-- Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out-- and visit the NCBLA's Our White House educational website --recently named one of the American Library Association's Best Websites for Kids!-- posted by Mary Brigid Barrett, president and founder of The National Children's Book and Literacy Alliance.

About the Scurlock Studio exhibit from the Museum of American History:
"Nearly a century's worth of photographs from the Scurlock studio form a vivid portrait of black Washington, D.C., in all its guises—its challenges and its victories, its dignity and its determination. The exhibition features more than 100 images created by one of the premiere African American studios in the country and one of the longest-running black businesses in Washington. Highlights include cameras and equipment from the studio and period artifacts from Washington."

For more information go to:

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

THe Exquisite Corpse Adventure is Underway!!!!

What Is NCBLA Board Member Author M.T. (Tobin)
Anderson Saying About The Exquisite Corpse Adventure?

"Writing the Exquisite Corpse
story is like playing a game of hot potato, tossing the spud from person to person, passing it down a line of friends.

Sure, everyone wants the potato to stay in the air. But it's also really fun if you can put some spin on it when you throw it so the next person has to really reach to grab it. The fumble and save is part of the thrill of the game."

Read the riveting first episode of The Exquisite Corpse Adventure at:

Find great Exquisite Corpse activities and much more for kids at the NCBLA Exquisite Corpse educational resource center at:

The Exquisite Corpse Adventure is a joint project of the National Children's Book and Literacy Alliance and The Center for the Book at the Library of Congress!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Exquisite Corpse Adventure Begins!!!!

The National Children's Book and Literacy Alliance
and the Library of Congress Launch
The Exquisite Corpse Adventure at the National Book Festival!!!

This story starts with a train rushing through the night.

The full moon lights the silver rails winding around dark mountains, through deep woods, and over steep gorges of jagged rock and one freezing cold rushing black mountain river...

.....exclaimed Jon Scieszka, The Library of Congress' Children's Book Ambassador, reading the very first episode of THE EXQUISITE CORPSE ADVENTURE to an audience of over 500 children and adults at the LOC's National Book Festival held yesterday on the National Mall. Joining Jon Scieszka on stage were NCBLA Board members and NCBLA friends, young people's authors--- Steven Kellogg, Megan McDonald, Nikki Grimes, Kate DiCamillo, and Shannon Hale!!! Introduced by Center for the Book Director John Cole all participated in an hour of friendly hi-jinks and engaging banter moderated by the National Children's Book's president Mary Brigid Barrett.

THE EXQUISITE CORPSE ADVENTURE is a progressive story game that children, teens, and adults can read together as it unfolds on the LOC's new website New episodes will appear every two weeks throughout the year, with the very last episode revealed at a special NCBLA/Center for the Book presentation at the Library of Congress' 2010 National Book Festival. The rollicking episodes are being written and illustrated by some of our nation's most talented young people's book writers and illustrators---

M. T. Anderson, Natalie Babbitt, Calef Brown, Susan Cooper, Kate DiCamillo, Timothy Basil Ering, Nikki Grimes, Shannon Hale, Daniel Handler aka Lemony Snicket, Steven Kellogg, Gregory Maguire,Megan McDonald, Patricia and Fredrick McKissack, Linda Sue Park, Katherine Paterson, James Ransome, Jon Scieszka, and Chris Van Dusen!

This extraordinary national reading outreach project jointly developed by the Center for the Book at the Library of Congress and the National Children's Book and Literacy Alliance, was conceived by NCBLA president Mary Brigid Barrett, with the encouragement and enlightened support of John Cole, the director of The Center for the Book-- all to promote the Library of Congress' amazing new website, as well as to excite young people across the country to read and write more!!

Go to Read.Gov to read Jon Scieszka hilarious first episode and be sure to visit again in two weeks when Katherine Paterson takes up the story !!!!

And make sure that you check the NCBLA's new Exquisite Corpse Adventure Educational Resource Center, created by the NCBLA with our friends at the Butler Children's Literature Center at Dominican University, where you will find great ideas, great book suggestions, activities, discussion questions, and art appreciation concepts for every Exquisite Corpse episode to get kids and teens excited about reading and writing!!!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

National Book Festival Scheduled for Sat., Sept. 26

The Exquisite Corpse Adventure to Debut at the National Book Festival

Premiering at this year's National Book Festival on the mall in Washington, D.C., AND on the Library of Congress' new website is the riveting reading adventure--The Exquisite Corpse Adventure!

What in the world is The Exquisite Corpse Adventure, you may be asking? Well, according to Mary Brigid Barrett, Founder and Executive Director of the
NCBLA, "The Exquisite Corpse Adventure is a buoyant, spontaneous experiment; a story game just like the one many families play on road trips, at camps, at parties, at home when there is a power outage. And just like in those games, characters spontaneously erupt out of one’s imagination; plots lines tumble forth, some realized, some lost; and we are often poised at the edge of a cliff with no logical solution in sight!"

Barrett conceived of The Exquisite Corpse Adventure when she was asked by John Cole at the
Center for the Book at the Library of Congress for a reading outreach project to appear as a regular feature on the new website. Barrett suggested they "assemble a 'motley crew' of children’s book authors and illustrators to play the progressive story game," with the initial episode debuting at the National Book Festival and each subsequent episode to be posted on every two weeks after. The story will conclude at the 2010 National Book Festival.

A star-studded team including some of our country's most beloved writers and illustrators have enthusiastically agreed to donate their talents to this story adventure: M.T. Anderson, Natalie Babbitt, Calef Brown, Susan Cooper, Kate Di Camillo, Timothy Basil Ering, Nikki Grimes, Shannon Hale, Daniel Handler aka Lemony Snicket, Steven Kellogg, Gregory Maguire, Megan McDonald, Patricia and Fredrick McKissack, Linda Sue Park, Katherine Paterson, James Ransome, Jon Scieszka, and Chris Van Dusen.

The National Book Festival is free and open to the public!
Please join us for a
special presentation at 10:00 AM in the Children's Pavilion to learn more about The Exquisite Corpse Adventure and hear National Children's Book Ambassador Jon Scieszka read the opening episode! Joining Scieszka on stage will be Mary Brigid Barrett, Kate Di Camillo, Nikki Grimes, Shannon Hale, Steven Kellogg, and Megan McDonald. All authors will also be making their own presentations and signing books at different times throughout the day. Click here for the schedule.

If you can't make it to the book festival, you can read all 27 episodes on beginning September 26.

To make the most of this story adventure, the
NCBLA and the Butler Children's Literature Center at Dominican University have joined forces to create a companion website with activities for homes, classrooms, and libraries; art appreciation information; educational support materials; and annotated lists of suggested books to read aloud or independently! Be sure to check out beginning September 26 to explore these additional resources.

And teachers take note!
Reading Rockets is sponsoring a Prompt Response Writing Challenge inspired by The Exquisite Corpse Adventure. The challenge is an activity that gives K–12 students a chance each month (September through June) to flex their writing muscles with writing prompts, offered in connection with each of the 18 authors and illustrators participating in The Exquisite Corpse Adventure.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Foundation for Children’s Books Fall Events

Join the Conversation this October and November
at Boston College

The Foundation for Children’s Books invites lovers of children’s literature to its two fall events to be held at Vanderslice Hall at Boston College:

Conversations with Author/Illustrator
Mordicai Gerstein

Tuesday, October 13 at 7:30 p.m.

Learn more about Mordicai Gerstein, who has written and illustrated over 30 books for children, including the Caldecott Winner The Man Who Walked Between the Towers. Join others to hear his story, in a conversation with moderator Megan Lambert of Simmons College and the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art.

What's New in Children's Books?
Saturday, November 7 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

This half-day workshop will feature the season’s best new literary releases. Authors and illustrators Jane Yolen, Heidi Stemple, Scott Magoon, and Allen Kurzweil will share their work. Susannah Richards, professor of children's literature at Eastern Connecticut State University, will share her picks for Best New Books for Fall. Book sales and signing to follow.

Jane Yolen is the author of over 200 books for children. She has been called the Hans Christian Andersen of America and the Aesop of the twentieth century. Her books and stories have won the Caldecott Medal, two Nebula awards, and two Christopher Medals. Her daughter, Heidi Stemple, also writes for children, sometimes with her mother. Together, they'll talk about their lives as writers, both together and apart. Illustrator/author Scott Magoon's playful and charming books include The Luck of the Loch Ness Monster, Monster Ride, and his latest book, Spoon, a collaboration with author Amy Krouse Rosenthal. Allen Kurzweil has written two acclaimed novels for children: Leon and the Spitting Image and Leon and the Champion Chip. He invents and uses many of the scientific instruments featured in his novels.

Learn more and enroll at The Foundation for Children’s Books.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Amelia Elizabeth Walden Book Award Finalists Announced

Winner to be Revealed at ALAN Workshop in November

The Assembly on Literature for Adolescents (ALAN) of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) is pleased and proud to announce the finalists for the inaugural Amelia Elizabeth Walden Book Award for Young Adult Fiction. The honored titles for 2009 are:

After Tupac and D Foster, by Jacqueline Woodson (Putnam)
Graceling, by Kristin Cashore (Harcourt)
The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman (HarperCollins)
Me, The Missing, and the Dead, by Jenny Valentine (HarperCollins)
My Most Excellent Year: A Novel of Love, Mary Poppins, and Fenway Park, by Steve Kluger


Established in 2008 to honor the wishes of young adult author, Amelia Elizabeth Walden, the award allows for the sum of $5,000 to be presented annually to the author of a young adult title selected by the ALAN Amelia Elizabeth Walden Book Award Committee as demonstrating a positive approach to life, widespread teen appeal, and literary merit.

The winning title will be announced at an open reception and reading at the 2009 ALAN Workshop in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This year’s workshop is titled “Young Adult Literature in the 21st Century: ‘Scattering Light' on our Freedom to Think, See, Imagine” and will take place November 23-24. Registration is still open. Register here.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Sneak Preview!! The Exquisite Corpse Adventure!!!


Here is a sneak peek, a small crop from the larger eerie illustration Chris Van Dusen has created for the very first Exquisite Corpse Adventure episode written by Jon Scieszka!!! When the Library of Congress launches its new website on September 26th you will be able to read the very first episode!!!

We cannot wait to read it! We cannot wait to see the rest of Chris's illustration! If you cannot wait either, do come to the Library of Congress's National Book Festival on September 26th, and join the NCBLA and the Library of Congress in a special hour long presentation hosted by NCBLA president Mary Brigid Barrett celebrating The Exquisite Corpse Adventure and meet
Jon Scieszka, Kate Di Camillo, Megan McDonald,
Nikki Grimes, Shannon Hale, and Steven Kellogg!!!!

And all you parents, teachers,and librarians remember to check out the NCBLA's main website -- because beginning on September 26th we launch a new Exquisite Corpse Adventure special section on our website with great information, ideas, activities, pertinent web links, literacy resources, and discussion questions all inspired by The Exquisite Corpse Adventure!!!!

For more information about the National Book Festival go to:

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Celebrate Librarians!!!

Hurrah for Cindy DiRusso at the O'Neil branch of the Cambridge Public Library in Cambridge, Massachusetts!

"Sitting under the paper ice-cream cones hanging from the ceiling, DiRusso leads the group in “Open, Shut Them,’’ which always begins her weekly, half-hour sing-alongs at the O’Neill branch of the Cambridge Public Library.

DiRusso, 51, has been doing her songfests at O’Neill, formally or informally, for 28 years. Neither snow nor rain nor heat has kept her from her appointed rounds of “Row, Row, Row Your Boat’’ - only vacations, holidays, the occasional illness, and two maternity leaves." The Boston Globe

Librarians across the country dedicate years of service to children and literacy, and like our teachers, their gifts are often unappreciated by our culture and unacknowledged. It was refreshing to wake up this morning and find a photo and article on the front page of The Boston Globe's "Metro" section, celebrating the career and gifts of Cindy DiRusso. The NCBLA joins in the applause of Ms. DiRusso and hopes the Globe continues to feature articles on teachers and librarians and their invaluable work.

To read more, go to:

Saturday, September 5, 2009

The Exquisite Corpse Adventure Begins September 26th!!!

What's Worrying Joe?
A Talking Pig?
A Ticking Clock? . . .Two Meatballs?

Find out when the National Children's Book Ambassador JON SCIESZKA begins The Exquisite Corpse Adventure at the Library of Congress' National Book Festival on the National Mall, September 26th, 2009!!

AND -- even if you cannot get to Washington D.C., you can read all 26 year-long Exquisite Corpse Adventure episodes at beginning September 26th!!

AND-- Parents, Grandparents, Teachers, Librarians, Guardians, Aunt Keisha, Uncle Ray, Mrs. Perez-Stable who lives down the street and makes wicked chocolate chip cookies, Boy Scout Leaders, Girl's Volleyball Coaches, everyone who loves kids, games, and really hilarious adventures -- you will be able to find all kinds of wonderful companion activities and lots of pertinent educational support materials for The Exquisite Corpse Adventure, including lots of great book suggestions, on the NCBLA's main website,, beginning September 26, 2009!!!!!

Who is writing the the second
Exquisite Corpse Adventure?
Stay tuned!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Back to School: ACTIVIST ALERT!

Banned Books Week:

Celebrating the Freedom to Read--September 26October 3, 2009

It is not too early to start planning how you can celebrate the First Amendment with your family, friends, students-- with all the young people in your life!

The American Library Association has great ideas and activities to inspire you on their website at:

Of interest: Here are the top 30 challenged books from 1990-2000 from the "100 Most Frequently Challenged Books from 1990-2000" compiled by the American Library Association's Office of Intellectual Freedom:

1. Scary Stories (Series) by Alvin Schwartz

2. Daddy's Roommate by Michael Willhoite

3. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

4. The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier

5. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

6. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

7. Harry Potter (Series) by J.K. Rowling

8. Forever by Judy Blume

9. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

10. Alice (Series) by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

11. Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman

12. My Brother Sam is Dead by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier

13. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

14. The Giver by Lois Lowry

15. It's Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris

16. Goosebumps (Series) by R.L. Stine

17. A Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Newton Peck

18. The Color Purple by Alice Walker

19. Sex by Madonna

20. Earth's Children (Series) by Jean M. Auel

21. The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson

22. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle

23. Go Ask Alice by Anonymous

24. Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers

25. In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak

26. The Stupids (Series) by Harry Allard

27. The Witches by Roald Dahl

28. The New Joy of Gay Sex by Charles Silverstein

29. Anastasia Krupnik (Series) by Lois Lowry

30. The Goats by Brock Cole

For the complete list, as well as the listing for individual recent years, go to:

Family Field Trip!

Take Your Kids to the
this Fall!

Experience the vivid colors of fall in New England and journey to the Eric Carle Museum to see a great line-up of fascinating children's book illustration exhibits. Current exhibits highlight the work of Tomie dePaula, creator of Strega Nona, and Ernest Shepard, whose charming pen and ink illustrations for the Winnie-the-Pooh books are imbued with such an energy that A.A. Milne's characters---Christopher Robin, Pooh, Piglet, Tigger, Kanga, and Roo---have enthralled children for generations.

Upcoming exhibits include: work by illustrator and designer Leo Lionni; and illustrations from Golden Books "golden years;" and of course, ongoing exhibits of the work of beloved illustrator Eric Carle.

Many more art exhibits, family events and programs, and professional development workshops are planned for this year. For detailed information about the Eric Carle Museum, as well as directions, visit the website at: