Monday, April 29, 2013

The George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum Is Now Open

Connect Kids to Presidential History with a Trip to a Presidential Birthplace,
Library, or Museum

The George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum opened last week on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. Its mission is to "serve as a resource for the study of the life and career of George W. Bush, while also promoting a better understanding of the Presidency, American history, and important issues of public policy. The Library and Museum accomplishes its mission by preserving and providing access to Presidential records and other donated collections, hosting public programs, creating educational initiatives, preserving artifacts, and producing innovative museum exhibits." 

To learn more about the library and museum, visit the library's website

More than twenty states boast presidential birthplaces, historic homes, libraries, and museums. Many of these very special places include extensive exhibits profiling events from the campaign trail and include not only samples of campaign posters and other memorabilia, but also audio and video exhibits that enable you to hear or watch the candidates’ stump speeches and the commercials created to help win votes. 

Before visiting a presidential museum or library, be sure to check out the special activities calendar by calling ahead or reviewing the website because many libraries offer child-friendly and family-oriented activities to engage young people during an election year. For a comprehensive guide to finding presidential sites and museums, listed by state, check out the NCBLA’s "Field Trip Guide! Presidential Birthplaces, Houses, and Libraries.”

If visiting a presidential museum or library in person is not possible, you can visit one virtually by checking out content on the library’s website. Many presidential museums and libraries offer articles, curricula, and other resources you can download and use free. The website for the new George W. Bush Library and Museum includes articles the president and his family, as well as a section for teachers that offers classroom resources and professional development materials. The classroom resources includes, for example, the "Primary Sources Toolkit," which provides analysis strategies, lesson plans, and links to a variety of primary sources for the classroom.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Celebrate Dia!

Dia Event Celebrates Many Children, Many Cultures, Many Books
El día de los niños/El día de los libros (Children's Day/Book Day), known as Día, is a celebration EVERY DAY of children, families, and reading that culminates every year on April 30.
Dia emphasizes the importance of advocating literacy for children of all linguistic and cultural backgrounds.
Share the Joy of Dia!
Teachers, librarians, parents, and guardians, YOU can share the joy of Dia with all the young people in your life! Check out the ALA's Dia website for planning ideas and resources, and check out the ALSC's Dia map to find Dia celebrations in communities around the country. 
For a resource guide to celebrating Dia, click here
To review the Dia book list, which lists book recommendations by age, click here

To watch Reading Rockets interviews with celebrated Hispanic and Latino children's book authors and illustrators, including Pat Mora — the founder of El día de los niños/El día de los libros, click here.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Library of Congress Announces National Book Festival Presenters

The Library of Congress
National Book Festival to be Held
September 21-22
NCBLA Board Members
Susan Cooper and Katherine Paterson
Among Authors Invited to Speak

The NCBLA presented a dramatic reading of The Exquisite Corpse
Adventure at the 2011 National Book Festival.
The Library of Congress recently announced its list of confirmed authors and illustrators for this yea's 13th annual National Book Festival, a group of more than 100 of the world's literary talent. The National Book Festival will take place Saturday, Sept. 21 and Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013, between 9th and 14th streets on the National Mall. The event, free and open to the public, will run from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Saturday and from noon to 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, rain or shine.

Poets and authors slated to appear at the festival include Katherine Applegate, Marie Arana, Rick Atkinson, Margaret Atwood, Paolo Bacigalupi, Nicholson Baker, Bonnie Benwick, A. Scott Berg, Holly Black, Taylor Branch, Monica Brown, Steve Coll, Susan Cooper, Justin Cronin, Matt de la Peña, Don DeLillo, Katherine Erskine, Richard Paul Evans, Brian Floca, Eric Gansworth, Albert Goldbarth, Mark Helprin, Gilbert Hernandez, Jaime Hernandez, Juan Felipe Herrera, Jennifer and Matthew Holm, Khaled Hosseini, Kay Bailey Hutchison, Pati Jinich, Adam Johnson, William P. Jones, Cynthia Kadohata, Barbara Kingsolver, Jamaica Kincaid, Matthew J. Kirby, Jon Klassen, Kirby Lawson, Grace Lin, Mario Livio, Rafael López, Kenneth W. Mack, William Martin, Ayana Mathis, James McBride, D.J. MacHale, Heather McHugh, Lisa McMann, Terry McMillan, Brad Meltzer, Elizabeth Moon, Christopher Myers, Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, Kadir Nelson, Patrick Ness, Joyce Carol Oates, Katherine Paterson, Daniel Pink, Andrea and Brian Pinkney, Matthew Quick, Lesa Cline-Ransome and James Ransome, Vaddey Ratner, Christel Schmidt, Jon and Casey Scieszka, Chad "Corntassel" Smith, Andrew Solomon, Sonya Sones, Walter Stahr, Manil Suri, James L. Swanson, Mark Teague, Evan Thomas, Natasha Trethewey, Steve Vogel, Dean Young, Charles Whelan and Henry Wiencek.

The 2013 Library of Congress National Book Festival will feature authors, poets and illustrators in several pavilions, including two Sunday-only pavilions: Graphic Novels/Science Fiction and Special Presentations. Festival-goers can meet and hear firsthand from their favorite poets and authors, get books signed, have photos taken with PBS storybook characters and participate in a variety of activities. An estimated 210,000 people attended in 2012.

Details about the Library of Congress National Book Festival can be found on its website at The website offers a variety of features, and new material will be added to the website as authors continue to join this year’s lineup.

Friday, April 12, 2013

More Ways to Celebrate Poetry Month!

Share a Poem with the Kids in Your Life!

National Poetry Month is a month-long, national celebration of poetry established by the Academy of American Poets in 1996 with the ultimate goal of widening the attention of individuals and the media—to the art of poetry, to living poets, to our complex poetic heritage, and to poetry books and journals of wide aesthetic range and concern. 

As New England AND the NCBLA take off some time this week to celebrate spring break, we present to you these suggestions from the Academy of American Poets for celebrating National Poetry Month. Here's ten from their extensive list:

1. Read a book of poetry.
2. Memorize a poem.
3. Revisit a classic poem. Maybe a Shakespearean sonnet?
4. Put poetry in an unexpected place...perhaps the bathroom mirror?
5. Bring a poem to your place of worship.
6. Attend a poetry reading at your bookstore, library, or coffee shop.
7. Support a literary organization.
8. Take a poem out to lunch.
9. Recite a poem to family or friends.
10. Add your favorite verse to your email signature.

Visit to discover the remaining 20 ways you can celebrate National Poetry Month! Which is your favorite? What other ideas can you come up with? How can you integrate poetry into your family's daily life?

MORE Poetry Resources!

Poetry lovers who also enjoy American history may delight in reading Gregory Maguire's poetic metaphor about the White House titled "Looking In, Looking Out" and Nikki Grimes' poem about a blind student's visit to the White House titled "Staking Claim." Both are available exclusively on

Also be sure to review the diverse poetry included in the printed anthology Our White: Looking In, Looking Out, which is available in libraries and bookstores. Included in the Our White House collection are Jane Yolen's imagined conversation between John and Abigail Adams titled "The White House First Residents," Jack Prelutsky's humorous poem about the Clinton's cat titled "I Live in the White House," Jon Scieszka's rhyme titled "The White House," Lee Bennett Hopkins' poem titled "Good Nights," Kate DiCamillo's touching piece about Lincoln's death titled "In Early April," and Paul B. Janeczko's haunting "Mary Todd Lincoln Speaks of Her Son's Death, 1862."

Learn more about Our White House at

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Celebrate Poetry Month!

Look to Poetry Inspired by the White House
Check Out Offerings in
Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out

April is poetry month, and in celebration, why not find a poem or two to share with the young people in your life? A variety of poems inspired by history and written by some of America's most gifted poets await you within the NCBLA's interdisciplinary anthology, Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out The diverse collection of poems--some poignant, others just plain fun--includes:

"Mary Todd Lincoln Speaks of Her Sons' Death, 1862" by Paul B. Janeczko

"In Early April" by Kate DiCamillo, illustrated by Chris Sheban

"Good Nights" by Lee Bennett Hopkins, illustrated by William Low

"The White House" by Jon Scieszka, illustrated by Tony Fucile

"I Live in the White House" by Jack Prelutsky, illustrated by Jim LaMarche 

"Inaugural Morning" by Nikki Grimes, illustrated by A. G. Ford (paperback edition) 

"Staking Claim," also written by Nikki Grimes, is available on the NCBLA's education website Just click here 

The National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance created Our White House 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. Featuring the work of more than 100 authors and illustrators, this incomparable collection of essays, personal accounts, historical fiction, poetry, and a stunning array of original art, Our White House offers a multifaceted look at America's history through the prism of the White House.

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

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Activist Alert!

Ask Your Congressional Representatives
to Support Funding
for Libraries and Childhood Literacy

Appropriations season is heating up in Washington DC. Please call your U.S. Representative by Wednesday, April 10 and ask them to sign two separate "Dear Colleague" letters that will greatly help libraries.

Support Funding for LSTA
in FY 2014

Ask your representative to support funding for the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA). Here's why:

  • LSTA is the primary source of funding for libraries in the federal budget
  • LSTA helps many public libraries provide services to users that include, but are not limited to: job searches, résumé building help, digital literacy workshops, access to e-government services, etc.
Your representative can sign a letter indicating their support for LSTA in the FY13 budget. Ask your representative to contact Rep. Raul Grijalva's (D-AZ) office to sign the LSTA letter.

Support Funding for the Innovative Approaches to Literacy Competitive Grant
Ask your representative to support Childhood Literacy in FY 2014. Here is why:

  • Congress included $28.6 million in the FY12 budget for this competitive grant administered through the U.S. Department of Education to support school libraries and national nonprofit literacy organization working toward childhood literacy
  • A minimum of half of this money will go as a competitive grant to low-income school libraries to help update their books and materials.
Ask your representative to sign a letter supporting Childhood Literacy in FY 2014, here's how:

Republicans: If your representative is a Republican, ask them to contact Rep. Don Young's (R-AK) office to sign on to this letter.

Democrats: If your representative is a Democrat, ask them to contact Rep. Jim McGovern's (D-MA) office to sign on to this letter.

Please call today! It's EASY.  Go to the Action Alert page of the ALA website and enter your zip code into the "Call Now" box to find the number for your representative.