Thursday, December 23, 2010

Happy Holidays from the National Children's Book and Literacy Alliance. . .

Sing with Your Children Over the Holiday Season!
Words and Music Make Delightful Family Memories!
Here are the lyrics to a family holiday favorite and if you need help remembering the tune, Boston Celtic Shaquille O'Neal can help! He was recently the guest conductor at the Boston Pops- enjoy the Pops video below and sing along with your kids!

(Leroy Anderson / Mitchell Parish)

Just hear those sleigh bells jingling,
ring ting tingling too
Come on, it's lovely weather
for a sleigh ride together with you
Outside the snow is falling
and friends are calling "yoo hoo",
Come on, it's lovely weather
for a sleigh ride together with you.

Giddy yap, giddy yap, giddy yap,
let's go, Let's look at the show,
We're riding in a wonderland of snow.
Giddy yap, giddy yap, gidd yap,
it's grand, Just holding your hand,
We're gliding along with a song
of a wintry fairy land

Our cheeks are nice and rosy
and comfy cozy are we
We're snuggled up together
like two birds of a feather would be
Let's take that road before us
and sing a chorus or two
Come on, it's lovely weather
for a sleigh ride together with you.

There's a birthday party
at the home of Farmer Gray
It'll be the perfect ending a of perfect day
We'll be singing the songs
we love to sing without a single stop
At the fireplace while we watch
the chestnuts pop. pop! pop! pop!

There's a happy feeling
nothing in the world can buy
When they pass around the coffee
and the pumpkin pie
It'll nearly be like a picture print
by Currier and Ives
These wonderful things are the things
we remember all through our lives!

Just hear those sleigh bells jingling,
ring ting tingling too
Come on, it's lovely weather
for a sleigh ride together with you
Outside the snow is falling
and friends are calling "yoo hoo",
Come on, it's lovely weather
for a sleigh ride together with you.

It's lovely weather for a sleigh ride together with you.
It's lovely weather for a sleigh ride together with you.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Still Shopping? Gift Book Suggestions from Steven Kellogg

Author-Illustrator Steven Kellogg Recommends Two Books for Holiday Giving

Attention last minute shoppers! If you are looking for  gift ideas for the young people in your life,  consider two book suggestions from award-winning author-illustrator Steven Kellogg. Kellogg proclaims both The Amazing Bone by William Steig and The Maggie B by Irene Haas to be "wonderful."

In Steig's delightful picture book The Amazing Bone, it's a bright and beautiful spring day, and Pearl is dawdling on her way home from school. Most unexpectedly, she strikes up an acquaintance with a small bone. Pearl and the bone immediately take a liking to each other, and before you know it, she is on her way home with the bone in her purse, left open so they can continue their conversation. But the trip home turns out to be surprisingly treacherous. Can a pig and a small talking bone outwit a band of robbers and a hungry fox? The Amazing Bone is the winner of multiple awards, including American Library Association Notable Children's Books; Caldecott Honor Book, Picture Book; Boston Globe - Horn Book Award; New York Times Book Review Notable Children's Books of the Year. The Amazing Bone is available in both hardcover and paperback.

Read more about author and illustrator William Steig on the MacMillan website.

The Maggie B by Irene Haas is the story of a wish come true. Margaret Barnstable wanted more than anything else to sail for a day, "alone and free with someone nice for company" on a ship named after her. One night, she wished for it on the North Star, and when she woke up she was in the cabin of the The Maggie B, with her small brother James. It was a most wonderful day, with everything she needed. This s
umptuously illustrated picture book  is
available in hardcover at a bookstore near you.

Author-illustrator Steven Kellogg has loved picture books ever since he was a child; the illustrations of Beatrix Potter and N.C. Wyeth were his early favorites. He grew up in Connecticut, drawing constantly and telling stories to his younger sisters. He has written or illustrated, or both, over 100 books for children and young people. Awards for his work include the prestigious Regina Medal for his lifetime contribution to children’s literature, as well as the Irma Simonton Black Award, the IRA-CBC Children’s Choice Award, the Parents’ Choice Award, inclusion on the ALA Notable Books lists, Booklist Editors’ Choice, School Library Journal Best Books of the Year, and the Horn Book Fanfare.

His most recent book is And I Love You  written by Ruth Krauss and illustrated by Kellogg. 

Kellogg is a vice president of The National Children's Book and Literacy Alliance. He is a contributor to the NCBLA's reading outreach projects, the art and literature anthology Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out, and the progressive story game, The Exquisite Corpse Adventure, available on READ.GOV

Learn more about Steven Kellog and his books on his website.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Last Minute Gift Book Suggestion from Author Nikki Grimes

Nikki Grimes Recommends The Underneath for Holiday Giving

If you are still looking for holiday gift book ideas, author Nikki Grimes would like to recommend the New York Times bestselling novel The Underneath by Kathi Appelt for readers ages 8 to 12. Here is what Kirkus Reviews has to say about The Underneath, "When fate separates them, an old hound dog and two foster kittens survive the dangers of the bayou to find one another. Seeking shelter, a homeless pregnant cat responds to the "bluesy" baying of a hound named Ranger who lives chained under the porch of a shack in the woods of the East Texas bayou. He happily shares the Underneath with the cat and her two kittens, Sabine and Puck. The kittens are safe from Ranger's evil master Gar Face as long as they remain hidden, but Puck ventures out "straight into the terrible hands of Gar Face," who does his best to drown both the curious kitten and his mother. Somehow Puck escapes after promising his dying mother he will find Sabine and free Ranger, but he's on his own in a bayou teeming with mysterious creatures. Aided by Small's lively illustrations, Appelt intricately weaves these animals' ancient stories into Puck's survival saga to produce a magical tale of betrayal, revenge, love and the importance of keeping promises."

The Underneath was a National Book Award Finalist and a Newbery Honor Book.  It also received the Pen USA Award, and was a finalist for the Heart of Hawick Children's Book Award.
Read more about Kathi Appelt and her books on her website.

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; “Jazmin’s Notebook” (Dial), a Coretta Scott King Honor Book and Bank Street College Book of the Year; “The Road to Paris” (Penguin), another Coretta Scott King Honor Book; 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; “Hopscotch Love” (Lothrop); “Oh, Brother” (Greenwillow); “What Is Goodbye?” (Hyperion); “Talkin’ About Bessie,” the 2003 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award winner and Author Award honor book; “Aneesa Lee & the Weaver’s Gift,” an American Bookseller Pick of the List (Lothrop); “From a Child’s Heart” (Just Us Books); “A Dime a Dozen; My Man Blue” (Dial); “Come Sunday” (Eerdman’s), an ALA Notable book; “At Break of Day” and “When Daddy Prays” (Eerdman’s). Other works include “Stepping Out with Grandma Mac,” a Notable Social Studies Trade Book; and “Shoe Magic” (Orchard); “A Pocketful of Poems” (Clarion); “Wild, Wild Hair” (Scholastic); “Portrait of Mary” (Harcourt Brace), a work of adult fiction; and NAACP winner “Barack Obama: Son of Promise, Child of Hope” (Simon & Schuster).

Grimes' most recent book  is the young adult novel A Girl Named Mister.

Grimes is also a contributor to The Exquisite Corpse Adventure, available on READ.GOV, and the author of a moving poem about President Obama's inauguration, which was published in the recent paperback edition of the art and literature anthology Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out. Grimes is a member of the board of The National Children's Book and Literacy Alliance.

Learn more about Grimes and her books on her website.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Last Minute Gift Book Suggestion

Author M. T. Anderson Recommends Newbery Honor Book by Grace Lin

Author M. T. Anderson suggests anyone looking for a gift book for young people add Grace Lin's award-winning Where the Mountains Meet the Moon to the top of their lists. About this New York Times bestseller Anderson says, "Grace Lin's Newbery Honor winning story of a brave girl's miraculous quest to save her village from starvation is a pip of an adventure story for younger readers. While it reads like a Chinese fairy-tale of adventure -- with dragons, disguised kings, and talking fish -- it is also a beautiful meditation on the way that, as we grow older, we come to truly understand the places we grew up."

In its starred review, Andrew Medlar of Booklist says, "In this enchanted and enchanting adventure, Minli, whose name means "quick thinking," lives with her desperately poor parents at the confluence of Fruitless Mountain and the Jade River. While her mother worries and complains about their lot, her father brightens their evenings with storytelling. One day, after a goldfish salesman promises that his wares will bring good luck, Minli spends one of her only two coins in an effort to help her family. After her mother ridicules what she believes to be a foolish purchase, Minli sets out to find the Old Man of the Moon, who, it is told, may impart the true secret to good fortune. Along the way, she finds excitement, danger, humor, magic, and wisdom, and she befriends a flightless dragon, a talking fish, and other companions and helpmates in her quest. With beautiful language, Lin creates a strong, memorable heroine and a mystical land. Stories, drawn from a rich history of Chinese folktales, weave throughout her narrative, deepening the sense of both the characters and the setting and smoothly furthering the plot. Children will embrace this accessible, timeless story about the evil of greed and the joy of gratitude. Lin's own full-color drawings open each chapter. "

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon was featured on the December Today Show Kid's Books Club. Watch a video of Al Roker interviewing Grace Lin about the book. 

To learn more about author and illustrator Grace Lin and all her books, check out her website and read her blog. Her website includes a free downloadable Activity Book and Event Kit to help you enrich the reading experience of Where the Mountain Meets the Moon with the young people in your life.

M. T. Anderson has written stories for adults, picture books for children, adventure novels for young readers, and several books for older readers (both teens and adults). His satirical book Feed was a Finalist for the National Book Award and was the winner of the L.A. Times Book Prize. The first volume of his Octavian Nothing saga won the National Book Award and the Boston Globe/Horn Book Prize. Both the first and second volumes of that two-part series were Printz Honor Books. He has published stories for adults in literary journals like The Northwest Review, The Colorado Review, and Conjunctions. Anderson is also a contributor to Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out and The Exquisite Corpse Adventure, which is available on READ.GOV. Anderson is a member of the board of the National Children's Book and Literacy Alliance. You can learn more about Anderson and his books on his website.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Need Ideas for Book Gifts for Children? Check Out The Horn Book Magazine's "Fanfare" Best Books for Kids 2010!

From Roger Sutton, Editor-in -Chief, Notes from The Horn Book:  

Horn Book Fanfare
"Every year, the Horn Book editors look back through the five hundred or so books reviewed in the Magazine — almost all highly recommended to begin with — to select the best of the best, so to speak. Reflecting changing demographics, the economy, and public funding, children’s book publishing goes in cycles, and right now hardcover fiction for ten-year-olds and up claims the biggest piece of the pie — and this list. Still, though, I think this year’s Fanfare list has something for just about everybody, and I hope you find some useful suggestions for your holiday shopping. Books are so easy to wrap."

Find books gift suggestions for kids and teens from The Horn Book's Fanfare list at:

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Give Books for Christmas!

NCBLA President Mary Brigid Barrett Picks for Great Book Gifts 

New Favorites:

The Chiru of High Tibet by Jacqueline Briggs Martin, illustrated by Linda Wingerter (picture book)


Ting and Ling: Not Exactly the Same! written and illustrated by Grace Lin (early reader)


Marching for Freedom by Elizabeth Partridge ( nonfiction, for middle grades)

Old Favorites:

Gone-Away Lake by Elizabeth Enright (middle grade novel)


Return to Gone-Away Lake by Elizabeth Enright (middle grade novel)

A Child's Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman ( for the whole family!)

For Mom and Dad and Your Favorite Teacher!


A Family of Readers
The Book Lover’s Guide to Children’s
and Young Adult Literature
by Roger Sutton
and Martha V. Parravano
Foreword by Gregory Maguire (nonfiction, wonderful guide to help your kids become life-long readers!) 

Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann (fiction, because Mom and Dad should have a great fiction read at Christmas, too!)

Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff ( nonfiction for adults)

Christmas is a great time to give books to your children. The best gift of all is to help and encourage your children to become life-long readers!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

In Case You Missed It!

A Sputnick Moment 
for Our Schools, Our Nation, Our Children? 

 "With China’s debut in international standardized testing, students in Shanghai have surprised experts by outscoring their counterparts in dozens of other countries, in reading as well as in math and science, according to the results of a respected exam. "

“Wow, I’m kind of stunned, I’m thinking Sputnik,” said Chester E. Finn Jr., who served in President Ronald Reagan’s Department of Education, referring to the groundbreaking Soviet satellite launching. Mr. Finn, who has visited schools all across China, said, “I’ve seen how relentless the Chinese are at accomplishing goals, and if they can do this in Shanghai in 2009, they can do it in 10 cities in 2019, and in 50 cities by 2029.” 

“We have to see this as a wake-up call,” Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said in an interview on Monday.“I know skeptics will want to argue with the results, but we consider them to be accurate and reliable, and we have to see them as a challenge to get better,” he added. “The United States came in 23rd or 24th in most subjects. We can quibble, or we can face the brutal truth that we’re being out-educated.” 

"In reading, Shanghai students scored 556, ahead of second-place Korea with 539. The United States scored 500 and came in 17th, putting it on par with students in the Netherlands, Belgium, Norway, Germany, France, the United Kingdom and several other countries." from "Top Test Scores From Shanhai Stun Educators" by Sam Dillon, in The New York Times.

The last time there was an orchestrated unified, national reading advocacy and education campaign was in the late 1950's in reaction to the "Space Race." And it was a successful campaign; literacy skill levels increased as well as leisure reading. Isn't it time for everyone interested in national literacy, in promoting and developing our kids' critical and creative thinking skills, to band together for a new national national education campaign that will give all adults who live with and work for children the skills they need to promote and teach literacy skills, and teach and expand our kids' critical and creative thinking in the arts, humanities and sciences? We all need to take collective responsible for all our children's education-- parents, family members, community leaders, youth leaders, educational professionals, politicians, government, business and corporate leaders, the media-- everyone!


"The cause of the racial gap in student achievement has nothing to do with the children, and everything to do with the values and priorities of the society in which we live." Pedro Noguera.

Read more at:

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Celebrating the Holidays at the White House

The official Christmas tree was delivered to the North Portico of the White House in a horse-drawn carriage and presented to First Lady Michelle Obama on November 26. And on December 2 President Obama, the First Lady, and Vice President Biden hosted a Hanukkah celebration in the East Room of the White House in which the President remarked, "Let us give thanks to the blessings that all of us enjoy. Let us be mindful of those who need our prayers. And let us draw strength from the words of a great philosopher, who said that a miracle is “a confirmation of what is possible."

Learn More About American Holiday Traditions and White House History
The December holidays provide a fabulous opportunity to help young people learn about their own history and heritage, as well as the history, heritage, and traditions of others.  Following are some resources you can share with young people to engage their natural curiosity and introduce them to holiday traditions at the White House:

Watch a video of the delivery of this year's douglas fir Christmas tree from Lehighton, Pennsylvania to the White House on November 26.

Watch a video of the lighting of the menorah and the Hanukkah celebration at the White House.

Discover 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 guest writer Renee Critcher Lyons on Read on for an excerpt:

A tree has not always graced the White House at Christmastime. In fact, Franklin Pierce (1856), our 14th president, became the first to embrace the 500-year old tradition of bringing a tree into the home to celebrate the hope of Christmas morn. And, the practice did not become a yearly event until the 1880’s. Only one president since has frowned upon the use of an official White House Christmas tree, Teddy Roosevelt. Our 26th president (1901-1909), at a time before Christmas tree farms were prevalent, believed the harvesting of Christmas trees might deplete our national forests, and thus banned the practice from the White House.

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 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.

Special Note: This year's National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony will be held Thursday, December 9 at 5:00 PM.  Nightly musical performances will take place each weeknight between 6:00 PM and 8:30 PM and each Saturday and Sunday between 1:00 PM and 8:30 PM. Read more on the National Park Service website.

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

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

Monday, December 6, 2010

In Case You Missed It!

Children's Book Champion 
Anita Silvey 
Picks Top Ten Children's Books of 2010 for The Boston Globe!

"Although I admired many books for young readers in 2010, these 10 exemplified “the unique factor.’’ All combine the highest standards of art and writing; when introduced by an enthusiastic adult, they connect with young readers. Children’s books that adults admire but that children also find meaningful have always been the most difficult to create. The authors and artists of these works accomplish that feat in very different and original ways." from "Top Ten Children's Books of 2010" by Anita Silvey, The Boston Globe.

For a full listing of Anita's choices, got to:


Anita has also created a delight-filled and vital new blog of interest to parents, teachers, librarians-- everyone  who wants kids reading great books that entertain, inform, and inspire!

While you have your morning coffee, check Anita's "Children's Book-A-Day Almanac!" It will rev you up to meet your kids with enthusiasm much more than any morning caffeine! Hip- hurrah!!

Find Anita's blog at:

Anita Silvey is a children's literature expert and the author of 100 Best Books for Children and 500 Great Books for Teens.  Silvey has devoted 35 years to promoting books that will turn the young -- and families -- into readers. To do this she has appeared frequently on NPR, "The Today Show," "60 Minutes," and radio programs in the United States and Canada to talk about books for children and teenagers. As Publisher's Weekly has said "It would be hard to find a more authoritative voice than Anita Silvey." To find out more about Anita and her incredible body of work, go to:

Friday, December 3, 2010

Looking for a Holiday Gift? Try Your Local Bookstore!

Tips for Finding the Perfect Gift Book

Finding the perfect book or two for the young people in your life can be a daunting experience. Bookstore shelves are overflowing with tall books and tiny books, books that tell tales of faraway princesses and books about animals both cute and exotic, even books that sing, talk, and sparkle! How does one choose?

In the article “A Holiday Gift Book Buying Guide for Your Family,” librarian Natacha Luzzi offers these tips:

  • 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!"
Read the complete article on the NCBLA website here.

Reading Rockets Buying Guide Makes Recommendations for Kids 4 Through 9
If you prefer to walk into the bookstore with a list in hand, be sure to check out Reading Rockets’ fabulous annual
Books as Gifts Buying Guide! This year’s buying guide includes a carefully selected collection of poetry, bedtime stories, biographies, tales about lizards and rabbits and horses, and much more — dozens of terrific titles.

Reading Lists for Older Kids
If you are looking for a book to treat an older child, be sure to check out the Young Adult Library Services Association's list of the 2010 Best Books for Young Adults, which includes dozens of fiction and nonfiction titles. You may also want to peruse's expert list of Great Books for Teens, which includes themed lists with categories such as Baseball Books, Fantasy, Multicultural Stories, Poetry, and Romance & Relationships.

One Additional Recommendation
onsider Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out, which was previously featured on an episode of the “Martha Stewart Show” as one of The New York Times “Eight Great Books for the Holidays!”
This award-winning anthology includes original poetry, historical fiction, nonfiction, and primary source materials about American history using the White House as a unifying theme. It's a perfect book for kids of all ages, families, teachers, classrooms--anyone who loves art and history and literature! 

Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David McCullough introduces this creative tour de force, in which 108 renowned authors and illustrators have donated their poetry, prose, and art to help advance the cause of young people’s literacy and historical literacy. The illustrations, essays, short stories, presidential letters, personal reflections, and historical accounts in Our White House inform and entertain, offering a window on more than 200 years of American history.

Our White House is now available in a paperback edition and includes a NEW poem by Nikki Grimes and coordinating illustration by A. G. Ford about President Obama's inauguration.  Look for the hardcover and paperback editions at a bookstore new you!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Fill Holiday Vacations with Family Field Trips

Art Exhibits Feature Picture Book Art at Museums Across the Country
The enchanting illustrations of a picture book are often a child’s very first glimpse into the art world. If you are traveling or taking time off to spend time with the young people in your life this holiday season, why not expand your child's world by sharing the magic of picture books, illustrated texts, and other works of art at traveling and ongoing exhibits in museums across the country.

At the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, Massachusetts
Monsters and Miracles: A Journey through Jewish Picture Books
Through January 23, 2011
A collaboration with the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles and the Yiddish Book Center, this ambitious exhibition showcases more than 100 illustrations and texts from time-honored classics and popular favorites, from the sixteenth century to the present.

Eric Carle: A Feast for the Eyes
Through March 20, 2011
Join us for a smorgasbord of picture book art that explores the unique role food plays throughout children’s literature. In collaboration with Museums 10 joint venture, A Table for Ten, The Carle brings you this recipe for good eating.

At the Morgan Library and Museum in New York City
November 30 through January 9, 2011
Greeted with universal acclaim at the time of publication, A Christmas Carol might rightfully be called an "instant masterpiece." When the manuscript was returned after printing, Dickens arranged for it to be finely bound in red morocco leather and presented it as a gift to his solicitor. It was purchased by Pierpont Morgan in the 1890s. The original manuscript by Dickens is on view in a special presentation in the museum's newly restored McKim Building.

At the African Art Museum in Washington, D.C.
Works of Art by Haitian Children After the Earthquake
Through January 16, 2011
Soon after the devastating January 12, 2010, earthquake, First Lady of Haiti Elisabeth D. Preval called on Haitian artist Philippe Dodard and his fellow artists, as well as psychologists, educators, and politicians, to create a safe place for children to express their feelings through art. Featured are nearly 100 paintings and drawings created by Haiti's young people at Plas Timoun (The Children's Place), arts centers housed in converted buses at two locations in Port-au-Prince.

At the National Center for Children's Illustrated Literature in Abilene, Texas
Through January 29, 2011
Caldecott Medalist Brian Selznick studied illustration at the Rhode Island School of Design, and while in school, he resisted the suggestions of many who thought he should write and illustrate children’s books. However, after completing undergraduate study and taking time to travel and explore, he knew that he wanted to create children’s books. Selznick received a 2002 Caldecott Honor for The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins, written by Barbara Kerley. He won the 2008 Caldecott Medal for his innovative, cinematic The Invention of Hugo Cabret

At the Brandywine River Museum in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania
The N.C. Wyeth Gallery features approximately 40 paintings and illustrations by N.C. Wyeth, including works for Treasure Island, Kidnapped, and The Last of the Mohicans.

Every Picture Tells a Story in Santa Monica, California
Every Picture Tells a Story is a gallery dedicated to the art of illustration and children's literature, a place where the original works from books are recognized as fine art and where one can appreciate a finished book as a work of art in itself. There's something for everyone: children's book art, fantasy art, cartoon art and editorial cartoons.

For even more suggestions of art museums with kid-friendly exhibits and events, read the NCBLA's article "A Literacy Field Trip" and check out Parents Magazine "Top Ten Best Art Museums for Kids."

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Read About Eleanor Roosevelts's White House Kitchen at WWW.OURWHITEHOUSE.ORG and in this week's New Yorker

Cooking in the White House Kitchen 

Thanksgiving week is filled with food talk. Use that interest in food and kitchens as a segue to introducing your kids toWhite House history. Read Laura Shapiro's fascinating article about Eleanor Roosevelt's food philosophy in this week's New Yorker and also read A Taste of the Past: White House Kitchens, Menus, and Recipes by Mary Brigid Barrett on the companion education website, Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out --- and informally share the information you find with the young people in your house and classroom. You might like to try out one of the many White House recipes as part of your Thanksgiving feast this year! (The painting at right was done by Irish artist P. J. Lynch to illustrate Patricia MacLachlan's charming short story "Hands," featured in the award winning NCBLA anthology, Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out, now out in paperback!

All proceeds from Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out go to supporting the work and projects of the National Children's Book and Literacy Alliance, a not-for-profit nonpartisan organizations that believes universal literacy is essential to keeping a democracy healthy and thriving.


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

November Is National Literacy Month

Literacy Resources and Activities from the NCBLA and Beyond!

A great place to start looking for literacy resources is your local library. Almost every public library sponsors special programs, reading contests, book clubs, and family events to help make family reading and learning a life-long pleasure. Librarians are also a rich resource. They can suggest books and offer expert advice to parents, guardians, and other adults looking to create life-long readers. 

Read  "Parent Tips for Encouraging Reading and Literacy Development.
Read and think about "Why Kids Need Books." 
Learn how you can tackle censorship in your community in the "NCBLA's Young People's Right to Read."  
Check out the vast literacy resources available at and You won't want to miss "Helping Struggling Readers" and "For Middle Schoolers: Activities to Build College-Level Reading Skills."

Discover tips and articles about motivating kids to read on

 Activities to Share                                                                             
Take turns reading each episode of The Exquisite Corpse Adventure on Read.Gov, and check out the coordinating education materials.

Learn about and play a progressive story game!

For another digital reading adventure, share the electronic pages of some fabulous Classic Books on Read.Gov, such as The Story of the Three Little Pigs, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and The Secret Garden, all of which feature the complete texts and illustrations of the originals.

Before you head to the theatre to watch another book transformed to the silver screen, read "Books to Movies: A Literacy Link" for tips on connecting the two media and enhancing the reading experience.

Go to the library  for "An Affordable Family Night Out." For book suggestions, check out the NCBLA's reading lists in "The Parent and Guardian Handbook."

Monday, November 8, 2010

White House on the Waterfront Event THIS Weekend, Nov. 13-14

 National Children's Museum
to Celebrate Children's Literature at

White House on the Waterfront Event
November 13-14
Advance Registration Is Required!
The National Children's Museum will host A Celebration of Children's Literature: The White House on the Waterfront at the Launch Zone to promote literacy and education among children and families in the Washington, DC region. During this weekend-long event, children’s book authors will present readings from the anthology Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out and facilitate discussion and activities related to our government and the White House, past and present.

NCM is pleased to welcome three Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out contributors and National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance (NCBLA) board members:

Steven Kellogg, Regina Medal recipient, author, and illustrator of over 100 children’s books.

Katherine Paterson, National Ambassador for Young People's Literature and Newbery Medal award winner for Bridge to Terabithia and Jacob Have I Loved.

Patricia MacLachlan, Newbery Medal award winner for Sarah, Plain and Tall.

Participating authors will engage families with an interactive discussion, a questions and answer session, and a book signing. The Launch Zone will further involve children by offering a make-and-take craft.

Paperback copies of Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out will be available for sale both days of the event. Hooray for Books (Alexandria, Va.) will facilitate book sales. NCM will also offer its Family Literacy Projects on a Budget® Trainers’ Toolkit for sale. This NCM publication provides educators, family childcare providers, and parents with affordable and creative techniques to engage adults and children in conversation and learning using children’s literature.

Advance registration is required. Families must register for individual authors’ sessions online through the Launch Zone online events calendar. More details and a full schedule of each author’s activities can be found  at The White House on the Waterfront is free to attend and most appropriate for ages 6 to 12.

Saturday, November 13
11 a.m. – 1 p.m. Steven Kellogg
2:30 – 4:30 p.m. Katherine Paterson
Sunday, November 14
1 – 3 p.m. Patricia MacLachlan

The NCM Launch Zone
112 Waterfront St.
National Harbor, MD 20745 

Wednesday, November 3, 2010 Updated with NEW Web Exclusive Articles

Our White House Educational Website: Now Even Better! 

As an Internet companion to the award-winning anthology Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out, the NCBLA's educational website seeks to provide informative and exclusive articles that expand the rich content of the book. Also included on are activities for the home and classroom, research resources, and discussion questions to help parents, teachers, and librarians excite and engage young people about American history, politics, and civic life.

Four New Articles Added!
The NCBLA is thrilled to announce the publication of the following four new articles on Each article comes complete with activities, discussion questions, and suggestions for further reading.

Presidents Are People Too!
In this article written for young people in grades 4 through 6, writer Heather Lang provides descriptive anecdotes of the quirks and flaws of many of America's presidents, providing crisp snapshots of our chief executives' humanity. Discover what you and the young people in your life might have in common with our presidents!

Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!
Wild Animals at the White House

The White House isn’t just the home of our president and his family. Going all the way back to George Washington, the White House has been the home for many animals too. Guest writer Heather Lang invites you to read about some of our presidents' favorite pets, as well as a few that "earned their keep."

Discover 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 this informative article by guest writer Renee’ Critcher Lyons.
Written by staff writer Helen Kampion, this comprehensive classroom kit provides everything teachers, librarians, and parents need to discuss and help young people learn about the steps involved in becoming an American citizen---from the application process to the test and Oath of Allegiance ceremony. The classroom kit also includes several classroom activities, two sample citizenship tests (with answer keys), the complete text of the Oath of Allegiance, and resources for additional information.

What Other Resources Are Available on
You won't want to miss the American history resource and literacy center, a guide to presidential field trip destinations, an extensive young people’s bibliography, and information and resources dedicated to civic education. This substantive educational website has been named one of the American Library Association's Great Web Sites for Kids.

Our White House Now Available in Paperback
Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out---an outstanding collection of essays, personal accounts, historical fiction, poetry, and a stunning array of original art---is now available in paperback at a teacher and family friendly price. This new edition features a NEW poem by Nikki Grimes about President Obama's Inauguration, as well as a coordinating illustration by A. G. Ford.

Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out continues to be sold in hardcover and is also available in libraries across the country.