Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Horn Book, Publisher's Weekly, School Library Journal--all say Our White House: Looking in Looking Out is one of the Best Books for Kids!

 Our White House: Looking In, 
Looking Out 
Everything You Want Your Kids to Know About the White House and our Presidents!

Building on the logical links between literacy, historical literacy, and civic engagement, the National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance created Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out 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.

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.

It is our hope that adults will share Our White House with the young people they live with and work for, not only to rouse their interest in our nation’s heritage, but also to energize and inspire young people on their journeys to becoming our nation’s future leaders.

The National Endowment for the Humanities has named Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out as one of its notable We the People Bookshelf selection for its 2009-2010 theme Picturing America. The American Library Association, Publsiher's Weekly, School Library  Journal, Amazon, The Horn Book Magazine have all named Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out as one of the Best Books for Young People.  

Here is a sampling of some of the remarkable illustrations in this visually stunning book!

  Bones on the Floor illustration by Brian Selznick 

Elizabeth Keckly and Mary Lincoln      
illustration by Leo and Diane Dillon     
Eleanor Roosevelt illustration by P.J. Lynch
   Teddy Roosevelt's Children by Chris Van Dusen

Presidential Timeline Game illustration by Bob Kolar

Children's Literature Classics

The National Children's Book and Literacy Alliance 
Directs Media to Knowledgeable Children's Literacy and Literature Sources

One of the NCBLA's goals is to help members of the media reach knowledgeable sources in children's literature and literacy. An example of that "media matchmaking"  appears in The Boston Globe this morning.

Enjoy "There's Something About Alice" by Don Aucoin, a great feature piece in The Boston Globe's "g" arts section, which addresses the enduring fascination the world has for all things Alice!

In anticipation of Tim Burtons' new movie version of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland that debuts next weekend, we urge parents and teachers to introduce young people to the book, sharing it, reading it aloud, and talking about it, before taking your kids and young teens to see it. Why? Because once they see the screen image it will be implanted in their heads; they will see Tim Burton's imagination at work, instead of putting their own imaginations to work creating their own visions of Alice and her Wonderland.

Alice in Wonderland is available for free at any public or school library and you can find it on the Internet for free at:

Read Don Aucoin feature article "There's Something About Alice," at:

Tuesday, February 23, 2010




Without this federal funding, over 4.4 million children and families will not receive free books or reading encouragement from RIF programs at nearly 17,000 locations throughout the U.S.

Carol Rasco, the CEO of Reading is Fundamental writes on her blog-

"Unless Congress reinstates $25 million in funding for this program, RIF will not be able to distribute 15 million books annually to the nation’s children at greatest risk for academic failure. RIF programs in schools, community centers, hospitals, military bases, and other locations serving children from low-income families, children with disabilities, homeless children, and children without adequate access to libraries. The Inexpensive Book Distribution program is authorized under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (SEC.5451 Inexpensive Book Distribution Program for Reading Motivation) and is not funded through earmarks. It has been funded by Congress and six Administrations without interruption since 1975."

Right now- call, email, fax, and write your representatives in Congress, and ask them to reinstate money for one of our nation's best literacy programs for kids!


For more information on what to do, go to:

In Case You Missed It!

New York Times' Bob Herbert's Column a Must Read This Morning!

"In 2008, when the math and science test scores came in, Ms. Kenny’s eighth graders had achieved 100 percent proficiency. It was not a fluke.

What’s ironic is that the teachers are doing everything but teaching to the tests. Ms. Kenny’s goals for the youngsters in her schools are the same as those that she had for her own three children, who grew up in a comfortable suburban environment and are now in college. Merely passing a standardized test was hardly something to aspire to.

“I had five core things in mind for my kids, and that’s what I want for our students,” she said. “I wanted them to be wholesome in character. I wanted them to be compassionate and to see life as a responsibility to give something to the world. I wanted them to have a sophisticated intellect. I wanted them to be avid readers, the kind of person who always has trouble putting a book down. And I raised them to be independent thinkers, to lead reflective and meaningful lives.”

It never crossed Ms. Kenny’s mind that a rich and abiding intellectual life was out of the reach of kids growing up in a tough urban environment" 

Read the full column at:

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Exquiste Corpse Adventure Sneak Preview!!!!!


Lemony Snicket is Writing the Very Next Exquisite Corpse Adventure Episode!!
 . . . . .need we say more? 

And just in case you do need a bit more urging, here is a sneak peek, a small crop from Timothy Basil Ering's thrillingly creepy illustration for Episode 11, premiering this Friday, February 26th on!

The NCBLA and the Butler Center for Children’s’ Literature have created a treasure trove of helpful information that will help you to use The Exquisite Corpse Adventure to get your kids reading and writing!
Find the ECA educational support materials at:

Thursday, February 18, 2010

ADVOCACY ALERT!! Raise Your Voice for Libraries!



Libraries are needed even more during tough economic times. What is happening in Boston is happening across the country. Librarians are being cut in public and school libraries, branches are closing, library hours are being greatly reduced, book and new media budgets are being slashed--just when children and adults people need libraries and library services more than ever! There are young people right now who do not have access to libraries because their school libraries have been shut down and their branch libraries have been closed. 

If you care, raise your voice for libraries in your own community and in our nation! Call, email, write, and fax your local, state, and national representatives and let them know how you feel! 

And come to Washington DC June 29, 2010 and tell Congress how you feel at the Raise Your Voice Libraries Rally at the U.S. Capitol!

For more information on how you can become a advocate for libraries, go to: 

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Words of Wisdom

"The successful completion of a picture book depends on the collaboration of many talents. However, when the books are printed and bound, the creative role passes to the people who are the closest to the children, and we depend upon them to share the books with care, enthusiasm, and love. Until a picture book is looked at and read, it remains a darkened theater. The theater is illuminated when an adult opens the book with a child, and, as the pages turn, the curtain rises on successive acts and scenes. Through the reading and sharing, the words pulsate with life, and the illustrations move and glow with action, feeling, and vitality. Of course, each book must stand on its own merit and earn applause and approval from whomever experiences it. But if a teacher, librarian, or parent brings the child and the book together with a sensitive understanding of that individual child and with an enthusiasm for that particular book, it makes an enormous difference in the quality of the book’s reception. When caring adults recommend and share and read the book aloud as if they were a part of its creative life—as if they were presenting it as a treasured gift—then that book has a much greater chance of being special to the child with whom it is shared, and the adult reader will be remembered as being part of that book, and part of that gift, as surely as if his or her name was engraved on the jacket and title page –as a colleague, a co-conspirator, a creative partner."
Steven Kellogg in Children’s Books and Their Creators edited by Anita Silvey 

Check out Steven Kellogg's episode and illustration for the Library of Congress' and NCBLA's national reading and writing outreach project---- The Exquisite Corpse Adventure at!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Exquisite Corpse Adventure Episode 11 Now LIVE

Latest Exquisite Corpse Adventure Episode Written and Illustrated by Steven Kellogg

At the end of Exquisite Corpse Adve
nture Episode 10, our determined heroes Nancy and Joe are forced to part ways for the first time in their lives--Nancy must search for Baby Max and Joe must search for the key. "We can't just walk away, or we'll never find our true parents," declares Joe.

In Episode 11 author and illustrator Steven Kellogg chooses to follow Joe's path. Here's an excerpt:

"Joe had never felt so alone and, indeed, he had never been so alone! He swam steadily out to sea, but inside he was shaken, confused, and distressed knowing that his twin sister Nancy, his devoted companion, his best friend since birth, and the only family he had ever known, might be in trouble!"

Read the complete episode and see Mr. Kellogg's sparkling illustration at!

Steven Kellogg admits to having loved picture books since he was a child. Regarding the art of the picture book, Kellogg states, "The picture book is an art form that is designed specifically for children, but I feel that it can be appreciated and enjoyed by all ages. For centuries a distinguished tradition of illustrated books and manuscripts has existed of which the picture book is a part. It is a synthesis of literature and the visual arts, and the relationship of the written word and the picture is its essence. I am fascinated by the ways in which the picture book can borrow and combine diverse elements from oth
er art forms to achieve startling and moving effects. The turning page, for example, gives the illustrator the chance to utilize the elements of surprise to advance the movement of the story, and to deepen the involvement of the viewer in much the same way that the theatrical director uses the revolving stages or the rising curtain between the scenes and acts of a play."

You can learn more about Steven Kellogg, his inspirations, characters, and books on his website.

Watch a video interview with Steven Kellogg on Reading Rockets.

And don't forget to check out Kellogg's treasures at your local library or bookstore:

Friday, February 5, 2010

Win a Visit From Katherine Paterson

Contest Organized to Offer Visit by America's National Ambassador for Young People's Literature

This past month author Katherine Paterson was named as the second National Ambassador for Young People's Literature by Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. Paterson will serve in the position during 2010 and 2011; she succeeds Jon Scieszka, appointed in 2008, who was the first person to hold the title. Paterson has chosen “Read for Your Life” as the theme for her platform.

The position of National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature was created to raise national awareness of the importance of young people’s literature as it relates to lifelong literacy, education, and the development and betterment of the lives of young people.

The Center for the Book and the Children's Book Council invite schools and libraries across the nation to submit entries explaining what type of event you would develop if Katherine Paterson were to visit.

Details about the Contest
In a Word document file, write a description of the event you would host for Katherine Paterson in no more than 250 words. Be sure to describe in detail how and to whom you would promote the event. Send your entry as an email attachment to no later than midnight EDT on March 15, 2010. Please submit only one entry per institution.

Katherine Paterson’s international fame rests not only on her widely acclaimed novels but also on her efforts to promote literacy in the United States and abroad. A two-time winner of the Newbery Medal (“Bridge to Terabithia” and “Jacob Have I Loved”) and the National Book Award (“The Great Gilly Hopkins” and “The Master Puppeteer”), she has received many accolades for her body of work, including the Hans Christian Andersen Medal, the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, and the Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts, given by her home state of Vermont. She was also named a Living Legend by the Library of Congress.

Paterson is a vice president of The National Children's Book and Literacy Alliance. She is also a contributor to The Exquisite Corpse Adventure and Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out.

Read more about the ambassadorship and Katherine Paterson.

Read Paterson's speech, "The Child in the Attic," presented at the Ohio State University Children's Literature Festival in February 2000 on the NCBLA's website.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Megan McDonald Pens Exquisite Corpse Adventure Episode

The Exquisite Corpse Adventure
Episode 10 LIVE Now on Read.Gov

In the latest episode of The Exquisite Corpse Adventure our twin heroes Nancy and Joe are engaged by a disembodied voice...and they must answer its riddle before the voice will show itself! Can you answer the riddle? Do you recognize its source?

Read the episode titled "Wolf at the Door," written by Megan McDonald and illustrated by James Ransome, now on Read.Gov!

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.

Learn more about the history of riddles and how to write your own in this episode's Classroom Activity. And inspire the young people in your life to learn more about the art technique chiaroscuro using this episode's Talk Art! article, which highlights the backlighting techniques of illustrator James Ransome and Chris Van Dusen.

Episode 10 author Megan McDonald is the author of the critically acclaimed Judy Moody series that has won numerous awards, including Publishers Weekly’s Best Book of the Year and the International Reading Association Children’s Choice Award. Pretending to be a pencil sharpener was her first experience as a writer, and she wrote the story for her school newspaper when she was 10. Her newest book is The Rule of Three (2009), which is a Sisters Club story about the Acton family’s three sisters, all of whom are actors. McDonald lives in California.

Learn more about Megan McDonald at her website. Also, check out her video interview on Reading Rockets.

Episode 10 illustrator
James Ransome has been named by The Children's Book Council as one of seventy-five authors and illustrators everyone should know. Currently a member of the Society of Illustrators, Ransome has received both the Coretta Scott King Award for Illustration and the IBBY Honor Award for his book, The Creation. He has also received a Coretta Scott King Honor Award for Illustration for Uncle Jed's Barbershop, which was selected as an ALA Notable Book and is currently being shown as a feature on Reading Rainbow. How Many Stars in the Sky? and Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt were also Reading Rainbow selections.

Learn more about James Ransome and his books on his website.

The Exquisite Corpse Adventure Episode Ten Illustration © James Ransome 2009