Thursday, September 27, 2012

Presidential Campaign 2012: The Future of Education

For those interested in the future
of all our children's education:
President Barack Obama’s and Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney’s views on education. 

Both President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney were interviewed earlier this week about their ideas for the future of American education as part of NBC News' "Education Nation" Summit. Savannah Guthrie interviewed President Obama, and Brian Williams interviewed Governor Mitt Romney. Below are excerpts from the  interviews.  Links to the full interview transcripts are included following the excerpts.

President Barack Obama discusses education in an interview with
NBC's Samantha Guthrie September 24, 2012. Photo
“Well, the key is to work with teachers. When you look at what's happening in Denver, for example, School District, teachers have embraced the idea of merit pay for teachers who are really doing a great job. But what is still a challenge, and I think teachers have a legitimate gripe here, is making sure that the assessments are done properly, that it's not just based on standardized tests, which, oftentimes, forces schools to teach to the test.

And one of the reasons that we have sought reforms to No Child Left Behind. I think it had great intentions. I give President Bush credit for saying, "Let's raise standards and make sure that everybody's trying to meet them." But because so much of it was tied just to standardized testing, what you saw across the country was teaching to the test.

And I-- I can't tell you how many teachers I meet who say, "You know what? This makes school less interesting for kids. And as a consequence, I'm ending up really shrinking my curriculum, what I can do in-- in terms of creativity inside of the classroom." And that's not how you or I, for example, when we think about our best teachers, we don't think about studying a bunch of tests to see how we're going to score on a standardized test.”

Presidential Candidate
Mitt Romney
Republican presidential candidate ,Mitt Romney is interviewed by
NBC newsman Brian Williams at the NBC Education Nation Summit
in New York, Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2012.
Photo: Evan Vucci / AP
AUDIENCE QUESTION 5: Hi, my name is Nick Hilgoyle (ph). I'm a high school student from New York and I just wrote a book on education.

My question is considering that the advent of standardized testing has increased to historic levels, causing a lot of teaching to the test, billions of dollars into testing and really the killing of creativity in many ways, how would you as president change this trend and how do you put students directly in your administration and let them have a voice in this policy decision-making process?

ROMNEY: First of all, you will find throughout your life that there are tests, and I don't know a way to evaluate the progress of students other than by evaluating it through testing of some kind or another.

If there are tests that are ineffective or that measure things that are not really relevant, why, obviously, you try to improve the test but you'll have an SAT when you graduate from high school, you'll -- if you want to go into graduate school you'll have an advanced test, GMAT or other test and you'll find throughout your life that there are going to be tests.

And we always complain about them. I complained about them when I was a student. And we don't like tests but there's really no other way we found out to determine whether a student is succeeding or not succeeding and, frankly, whether the teacher is succeeding or not succeeding. So I don't have a better model than saying we're going to evaluate our kids through some kind of a testing system.

When I became governor of mass, we had this graduation exam. I took it because I would hear from teachers we're having to teach to the tests. I took the exam -- and I passed it, by the way, but --


ROMNEY: -- although I took it at home so no one really got to see my answers, but, you know, when it got to the math section, there was geometry, algebra, calculus, trigonometry. I mean, these are the topics there. I don't know what teaching to the test would mean if it were not teaching basic math skills.

On the language side, I read paragraphs and then I wrote down or -- excuse me -- I checked off the things I'd seen in the paragraph. If teaching to the test means learning how to read and write and learning how to do basic math skills, then there's nothing terribly wrong with that. I added science and so people are going to get tested in biology and geology and so forth. This is part of what we expect schools to do.

What I was concerned about before we had these kind of tests is that we might have faculty members go off on a completely different tangent from the basic math and English and science skills our kids need to succeed.

So I'm not going to replace testing. I would love to improve it. That's why when No Child Left Behind was passed the author said we'll let each state create your own test and evaluate how well students are doing.

But I'm going to keep in place the testing. And as with regards to student involvement, I hope students are very involved in the political process and in the process of the quality of your education. I would love to have the students grade the teachers at the end of the year as opposed to just the other way around so that teachers get feedback.

We did that when I got to graduate school. We got to grade the teachers and then it was published. They put it up for the whole school to see in business school, how each teacher did on a whole series of dimensions and it helped. It helped the teachers. I think -- I believe in a lot of feedback.

So far from being a guy who would say let's stop testing, I'd just try and make our testing more effective, expand it in ways that maybe haven't been thought of before and recognize we need to drive the quality of education and it's one tool we have to do it.

To read the complete transcript of President Obama's interview with Savannah Guthrie at NBC News' "Education Nation," click here

To read the complete transcript of Governor Romney's interview with Brian Williams at NBC News' "Education Nation," click here.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Picture Books Provide a Child's First Experiences with Art and Story

Editor Patti Lee Gauch Declares
the Value of the Picture Book

In the recent School Library Journal article "Editor Patti Lee Gauch Talks About the State of the Picture Book," author Mahnaz Dar reports on Gauch's speech at the New York Public Library Children's Salon, in which Gauch discusses how picture book stories resonate with young readers. Here is an excerpt:

"Gauch defended picture books as vital to children’s development, stating that they are a 'child’s first introduction not only to art but to narrative form.'

Gauch also addressed digital picture books, acknowledging that electronic versions do have their place. Gauch, however, stressed that a physical book is in and of itself an art form, describing the amount of effort that goes into designing a book’s endpapers or binding and concluded that children should have access to both formats."

To read the article in its entirety, click here

MORE Information
About the Value of Picture Books!

To learn how Caldecott Award winning illustrator David Macaulay defines a great picture book,  click here to read an interview on the NCBLA's website

To read suggestions for selecting books for young people, including picture books, read children's book expert Stephanie Loer's article here on

And for field trip suggestions for museums that highlight children's book illustrations, such as the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, Massachusetts and the National Center for Children's Illustrated Literature in Abilene, Texas, check out the NCBLA article "A Literacy Field Trip."

You and the young people in your life can discover the vibrant world of picture books at your library!

Monday, September 24, 2012

NOW on READ.GOV! Fun Story Game for Kids of All Ages Penned by Katherine Paterson, Jon Scieszka, Jack Gantos, and MORE!

Share The Exquisite Corpse Adventure with Young People
A Rollicking, Progressive Story Game Played by
20 Celebrated Authors and Illustrators and Just Re-released on READ.GOV!

The Exquisite Corpse Adventure is a progressive story game just like the one many families play on road trips, at camps, at parties, at home when there is a power outage. It is a game where one person begins a story, stops at a cliffhanging moment, and the next person picks it up, continuing on until everyone in the group has the opportunity to contribute. And just like in those games, in The Exquisite Corpse, characters spontaneously erupt out of our authors’ imaginations; plot lines tumble forth, some realized, some lost; and we are often poised at the edge of a cliff with no logical solution in sight!
The Exquisite Corpse Adventure contributors include some of America's most gifted authors and illustrators: M.T. Anderson, Natalie Babbitt, Calef Brown, Susan Cooper, Kate DiCamillo, Timothy Basil Ering, Jack Gantos, Nikki Grimes, Shannon Hale, 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.

Chris Van Dusen's Illustration for Episode 1
Copyright (c) 2009
Originally published on Read.Gov as part of a national reading and writing initiative created by The National Children's Book and Literacy Alliance and the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, The Exquisite Corpse Adventure is now available for your reading and listening pleasure for a second exclusive engagement on Read.Gov. Episode 1, written by Jon Scieszka and illustrated by Chris Van Dusen, is now online. Two new episodes will be published each Friday until the story ends!

To read or listen to Episode 1, click here
The Exquisite Corpse Adventure is available in both hardcover and paperback from Candlewick Press. It is also available on audio.  

Extensive Online Education Support Materials Available!
Add to the educational journey using the NCBLA's treasure trove of online educational support materials for
The Exquisite Corpse Adventure on the Exquisite Corpse Adventure Education Resource Center. Overflowing with supplemental articles, classroom activities, reading lists, art activities, discussion questions, and more, the Education Resource Center is designed for moms and dads, teachers and librarians, grandparents and guardians—all adults who live and work with young people and have a vested interest in helping kids read more, write better, and create stories and art that expand all of our universes.
The Exquisite Corpse Adventure Education Resource Center provides three categories of content:
* General interest articles explain the history of the Exquisite Corpse art form and how it is played, provide instructions for playing progressive story games, and offer tips for parents to encourage reading in their homes.
* Episodic materials include links to author and illustrator biographical information, annotated lists of recommended reading (thematically linked to each episode!), classroom activities, art activities, and discussion questions—provided and customized for each Exquisite Corpse episode.
* Literacy resources include authoritative articles on reading and writing from the NCBLA and other literacy experts, links to informative websites and blogs dedicated to literature and literacy, and links to Exquisite Corpse Adventure contributors’ websites and video discussions.
AND, on, you can find The Exquisite Prompt: Classroom Writing Resources, a set of writing challenges designed as a classroom activity for kids in grades K-12. Writing prompts are inspired by the celebrated authors and illustrators who participated in The Exquisite Corpse Adventure. Using Reading Rockets' creative prompts, you can invite kids to make their own maps, write their own hero stories and myths, and even explore their dramatic sides by penning a play!

To buy The Exquisite Corpse Adventure from the bookseller of your choice, click here.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Attention Teachers! Nonfiction and Fiction Common Core Resources

Engaging Ideas for Implementing Nonfiction and Fiction Common Core Reading Standards Using Multiple Sources

A perfect interdisciplinary resource for helping teachers implement Common Core Reading Standards with both a historical and contemporary perspective is NCBLA's Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out and its companion education website

The art and literature anthology Our White House purposely juxtaposes contradictory primary and secondary historical sources so that young people can experience what historians often discover in their search for objective truth – multiple perspectives representing different points of view. 

As recently reported in the Candlewick Classroom for Teachers newsletter, this juxtaposition is ideal for implementing the following two Common Core Reading Standards:
  • RI.5.6. Analyze multiple accounts of the same event or topic, noting important similarities and differences in the point of view they represent.
  • RI.7.9 Compare and contrast a fictional portrayal of a time, place, or character and a historical account of the same period as a means of understanding how authors of fiction use or alter history.
Implementing the Standards in the Classroom Using the Legend of Dolley Madison

Copyright (c) 2008 by Wendell Minor
As the grand dame of Washington society for more than two decades, the vivacious Dolley Madison was exalted by many in the early nineteenth century as “Lady Presidentress.” Graced with a warm, friendly demeanor and a natural instinct for skillful entertaining, Dolley’s years as first lady made her a legend. Yet Dolley is not only remembered for her social skills. She is also celebrated for having saved priceless White House artifacts from the White House before they were destroyed by British troops during the War of 1812. Though others pleaded with her to leave the executive mansion immediately when the sounds of battle approached, Dolley insisted on gathering what she could—her husband’s letters, the national seal, and the portrait of George Washington. Or so the legend goes. Just what happened that day on August 24, 1814, in the frightful hours before the British troops burned down the White House?

You can engage students in this historical drama using multiple sources of the Dolley Madison legend provided in both Our White House and
  • Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out includes several illustrations and literary pieces that focus on the War of 1812, such as Wendell Minor’s stunning painting of the early White House engulfed in flames, Ralph Ketcham’s discussion of President Madison’s struggle to preserve peace and national dignity, and Susan Cooper’s poignant letter imagined from the perspective of a British soldier. Our White House readers will find not only Paul Jennings’ side of the story in an excerpt from his memoirs, but also Don Brown’s take on the legend executed in a luscious watercolor and accompanying story titled “Dolley Madison Rescues George Washington.” Completing the section about the War of 1812 is Meg Cabot’s time-slip narrative, “Another All-American Girl.”
  • On, you can find the article "Primary Sources: Dolley Madison's Letter to Her Sister About the Burning of the White House," which not only summarizes the legend, but also includes the complete text of Dolley Madison's letter, links to Paul Jennings' memoirs, discussion questions, and activity suggestions for use in the classroom, all of which relate directly to the RI.5.6 and RI.7.9 standards!
Our White House is available
in both hardcover and paperback from Candlewick Press. 
Ask for Our White House at a library or bookstore near you!

To learn more about Our White House and, please click here.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Presidential Campaign 2012

Get Kids Involved in This Fall's Presidential Campaigns with Great Ideas for Hosting Their Own Mock Campaigns and Elections

You can encourage young people to host their own mock election at home, in school, at your local library, or at your local community center! Depending upon the number and ages of kids within your group, you may want to organize a full-fledged campaign and election with complete media coverage or a simpler voter registration drive and election day. 

Discuss with young people the presidential campaign and election process and all the activities that are involved in getting someone elected as president of the United States. (Refer to "Help Wanted: President of the United States," "Persuading the People: Campaigning for President," and "Getting the Votes and Getting Elected: The Popular Vote vs. The Electoral College" all on for more information.) Then determine the activities you would like to include in your own mock election. 

You might consider grouping kids and their responsibilities into three groups, picking and choosing the responsibilities you want to assign based on the time and resources available:
  • Campaign Committees
  • Media Group
  • Get Out the Vote Committee
For more ideas and instructions on how to help your kids organize their own campaigns and election, check out the NCBLA's "Host a Mock Election" activity in the free and comprehensive resource Race to the Ballot: The Our White House Presidential Campaign and Election Kit for Kids!

In this election year, the NCBLA has created the Presidential Campaign and Election Kit to help all adults who live and work with young people engage with our kids in informed discussions about the presidential campaigns and election, teach them to think critically, and energize them to learn more about the political process in America. This Kit includes:
  • Exclusive articles regarding such topics as presidential job requirements, the history of presidential campaigns, and the evolution of voting rights.
  • Activities to use with young people in the classroom or at home.
  • Discussion questions you can share during class, around the dinner table, and at a Scout or club meeting.

The anthology Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out and its coordinating educational website provide the perfect springboard for engaging youngsters in the discussion of current events, history, and the importance of the democratic vote in America. Our White House was created by the National Children's Book and Literacy Alliance as a collaborative effort by over one hundred award-winning authors and illustrators to encourage young people to read more about America’s rich history and culture; to think more about America’s future; to talk more about our nation’s leadership; and to act on their own beliefs and convictions, ensuring this great democratic experiment will survive and thrive.

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

Thursday, September 13, 2012

In Case You Missed It

Washington Post Article Addresses
the Impact of Technology
on Kids' Learning and Development

A 13-month old uses an iPad
In the article titled "Is Technology Sapping Children's Creativity?" published in the Washington Post by education writer Valerie Strauss, education professor Nancy Carlsson-Paige examines how technology is affecting our kids' learning and development. Here is an excerpt:

It wasn’t long ago that we were talking about how much TV kids should watch. And now here we are in the midst of a technology revolution that is happening so fast we can barely keep up with the number of devices and the options for screen time available to kids — on computers, tablets, cell phones, iPhones, flip down car monitors, interactive “app” toys, and on and on. 

There has not been time to reflect on how this cascading influx of technology is affecting us all or to study the potentially far ranging influence it is having on our children. While electronic games for young children are flooding the market (72 percent of iTunes’ top-selling “education” apps are designed for preschoolers and elementary school children), the research on their impact is scant. 

To read the entire article, click here

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Contemporary History for Kids!

Help Young People Separate Fact from Fiction in This Fall's Campaign Rhetoric
Our White House Resources Provide
Extensive Articles, Activities,
Discussion Questions, and MORE!

Now that the Republican and Democratic Party conventions have ended, the presidential contenders are back on the road extolling their experience and ideas for moving the country forward. The stump speeches and interviews with the candidates, their surrogates, and their respective campaign representatives often include swats and jabs at their opponent, some true and some not so true.  In the wake of the 2010 Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, Super PACs have created a relentless stream of TV ads to promote presidential candidates independently of each candidate’s campaign, adding more flames to the political fires. How can adults help young people separate the fact from fiction?

Parents, teachers, homeschoolers, and librarians can work with young people to not only encourage political curiosity, but to also teach them healthy skepticism and critical thinking skills helpful in sorting through the campaign rhetoric--critical thinking skills that can also serve young people in all of life’s decisions. 

The anthology Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out and its coordinating educational website provide the perfect springboard for engaging youngsters in the discussion of current events, history, and the importance of the democratic vote in America. Reviewing magazine ads and TV commercials that market services and products directly to children with youngsters and asking them to question how they appeal to them lays the groundwork for critically reviewing political ads in the future. Older youngsters may be surprised to learn that many of the techniques used in spinning toothpaste and toys, such as leaving out critical facts and appealing to authority, work equally well in crafting campaign commercials. 

To address the critical need of engaging our nation's young people in this year's election, the NCBLA has created Race to the Ballot: The Our White House Presidential Campaign and Election Kit for Kids!

This all-in-one educational resource includes informative articles explaining presidential job requirements, the history of presidential campaigns, and the evolution of voting rights. Also included are extensive discussion questions, engaging activities, and references to even more resources.

  • In the article "Help Wanted: President of the United States," young people can learn the president's job description as specified in the Constitution, how an American seeks the presidency, and what kind of compensation a president can expect.
  • Young people can read how today's heated campaign rhetoric is nothing new, how dissent about how to develop infrastructure and confront foreign aggression led to a vicious battle in the press between supporters of early presidential contenders John Adams and Thomas Jefferson in the article "Persuading the People: Presidential Campaigns."
  • Younger kids may enjoy learning how presidents are people with quirks and flaws just like anyone else in "Presidents Are People Too!" by Heather Lang. 
  • And for specific ideas on how to help young people sort through all of this year's campaign rhetoric, check out "Separate Fact from Fiction: Analyze the Campaign Rhetoric." 

Race to the Ballot: The Our White House Presidential Campaign and Election Kit for Kids! is available free on To review the complete Kit, including an easy-to-print PDF version, click here

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

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Make Plans to Attend the National Book Festival

National Book Festival to be Held in 11 Days!
Podcasts Let You Hear Festival Authors
Before the Festival

The 12th annual Library of Congress National Book Festival will be held on the National Mall between 9th and 14th Streets on Saturday, September 22, 2012, from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and on Sunday, Sept. 23 from noon to 5:30 p.m., rain or shine. The event is free and open to the public. 

If you live in the area or will be traveling through, you will want to attend this glorious day celebrating the joy of books with readers of all ages who come from across America and other countries! Be sure to bring your kids!

More than 100 authors, illustrators and poets will make presentations on the National Mall throughout the weekend in the Children, Teens, Fiction & Mystery, History & Biography, Contemporary Life, Poetry & Prose, SciFi Fantasy & Graphic Novels and Special Programs pavilions, plus the Family Storytelling Stage featuring authors and musical acts popular with young children. For a complete list, click here.

To listen to one-on-one chats with festival authors, such as National Ambassador for Young People's Literature Walter Dean Myers and Newbery Medal author Lois Lowry, click here. From this page on the Library of Congress website, you can also watch videocasts from author and illustrator presentations at previous book festivals, including the NCBLA's dramatic reading of The Exquisite Corpse Adventure at last year's festival, which featured authors and illustrators Mary Brigid Barrett, Calef Brown, Susan Cooper, Jack Gantos, Gregory Maguire, Patricia McKissack, Katherine Paterson and Chris Van Dusen.

For more detailed information about this year's festival, including a map of the festival grounds, click here.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Congratulations to NCBLA Board Member Patricia McKissack

Children's Book Author Patricia McKissack Awarded the PEN/Steven Kroll Award 

The National Children's Book and Literacy Alliance is thrilled to congratulate board member Patricia McKissack who was won the PEN/Steven Kroll Award. The PEN/Steven Kroll Award honors the author of an illustrated children's book; McKissack has been granted the award for her book Never Forgotten (Schwartz and  Wade/Random House). This annual award is being conferred for the first time in 2012 and comes with a prize of $5,000. Judges for the Kroll Award were Carmen Agra Deedy, Susan Kuklin and Vera B. Williams.

The PEN Awards are the most comprehensive literary awards program in the country. This year marks PEN’s 90th anniversary. For more than 50 of those years PEN’s Literary Awards program has honored many of the most outstanding voices in literature. For more information about the PEN awards, click here

Pat and Fred McKissack at the 2011 National Book Festival.
Photo by Rocco Staino.
Patricia McKissack’s picture book, Mirandy and Brother Wind, was awarded a Caldecott Honor Medal. In addition to writing her own books, Patricia often writes as a team with her husband Fredrick McKissack. Together they have written over one hundred books for young readers, including picture books, beginning readers, information books, and biographies. Their book, A Long Hard Journey: The Story of the Pullman Porter, was awarded both the Coretta Scott King Award and the Jane Addams Peace Award. Patricia and Fred McKissack feel strongly that all young people need good literature by and about African Americans and have stated a dual goal of improving the self-image of African-American children and of encouraging an open attitude in all children toward cultures different from their own.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Parents, Teachers, Homeschoolers, Librarians, and Community Leaders!

Help Our Nation's Young People Dig Into This Year's Presidential Election and
Learn More About Civic Engagement
Our White House 

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

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

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

The Our White House anthology is supported by a companion educational website,, which expands the book content with additional stories, primary sources, articles, activities, and discussion questions related to book topics. The Race to the Ballot: Our White House Presidential Campaign and Election Kit for Kids is the most recent addition to this site, designed to help you engage young people in this year's presidential campaign and election season!

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

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

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

Publisher’s Weekly Starred Review!
“Eight years in the making, this anthology of White House history convenes an all-star roster of 108 children's authors and illustrators, as well as a few scholars and former White House employees and residents and it is a blue-ribbon choice for family sharing during an election year. Chronologically ordered, the entries range from poems to presidential speeches, satirical cartoons to stately portraits. . . . The volume makes the invaluable point that history does not have to be remote or abstract, but a personal and ongoing engagement.”

The Horn Book Starred Review!
“With something for adults and children alike is the sumptuous new anthology Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out. . . . The contributors are all luminaries of the children’s book field. A fascinating, eminently browsable, and accessible entrance into the People’s House.”

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

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

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

About The National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance
The NCBLA is a 501(c) (3) not-for-profit organization founded by award-winning young people’s authors and illustrators. Acting as an independent creative agent or in partnership with interested parties, the NCBLA develops original projects, programs, and educational outreach that advocate for and educate about literacy, literature, libraries, and the arts.

We believe that literacy is essential to the development of responsible citizens in a democracy. And we believe that citizens, both young and old, must have equal access to stimulating books and information sources that invite them to dream and give them the tools to achieve their dreams. As writers and illustrators, teachers and mentors, parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles—as citizens and neighbors—our ultimate question is always how can we best serve all of our nation’s children?

For more information about the NCBLA, please visit our website at