Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Celebrate Black History Month

Share Stories of African American Heritage with Young People

Resources for sharing the history and accomplishments of African Americans with the young people in your life abound. 

On Reading Rockets.org, discover not only reading lists, but also video interviews with such award-winning authors and illustrators as Ashley Bryan, Bryan Collier, Christopher Paul Curtis, Nikki Giovanni, Nikki Grimes, Patrick and Fredrick McKissack, National Ambassador for Young People's Literature Emeritus Walter Dean Myers, Kadir Nelson, Jerry Pinkney, and MORE! Click here

On the Horn Book, check out a comprehensive reading list categorized by Picture Books, Chapter Books, Intermediate, and Older. Click here

In the NCBLA's anthology Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out, kids can dig deep into America's past and discover how slaves helped build the White House ("Slaves Helped Build the White House!" by Walter Dean Myers), read the memoir of former slave Paul Jennings' account of working in President Madison's White House ("The First White House Memoir: 1865"), and learn about Elizabeth Keckly, who served as seamstress to First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln ("Elizabeth Keckly" by Patricia C. and Fredrick L. McKissack). And in the paperback version, young people can read Nikki Grimes' poem "Inaugural Morning" illustrated by A. G. Ford, which provides a poignant account of President Obama's first inauguration.

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

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Celebrate Presidents Month!

Play Presidential Trivia!

Do you know which president was the first to live in the White House? (Hint: It wasn’t George Washington!) Do you know which president served the shortest term? (Hint: He was president for 31 days in 1841.) Do you know which presidents have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize?

Find these answers—and make up your own presidential trivia questions to ask young people!—by digging into the NCBLA’s Presidential Fact Files on the NCBLA's education website OurWhiteHouse.org, the companion website to the NCBLA's art and history anthology Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out.

The Presidential Fact Files is a treasure trove of information for every one of our nation’s presidents that includes the dates of each president’s terms, party affiliation, family information, as well as legacy summaries and famous quotes. Using the information on each president’s page, you can quickly make up a list of questions regarding a president’s accomplishments or failures, an event that took place during the president’s term, or a famous line from a speech. Each presidential page also includes a “Did You Know?” category, which features additional facts perfect for a trivia game, such as the fact that George Washington was the only president to be elected by a unanimous vote and Theodore Roosevelt was the first American to win the Nobel Peace Prize.

Jot down questions, type them up, or create questions on the fly by reading the Presidential Fact Files web pages from your smartphone or tablet computer. You can choose to play presidential trivia with just a couple people, or you can play with a large group divided into teams. Encourage kids to review the presidential and first lady facts and write their own trivia questions to share with friends and the adults in their lives.

If you plan to play with a group of kids who are different ages, you might want to consider creating a rating system for your questions, such as Easy, Average, and Advanced. Or, consider awarding bonus points for a particularly difficult question.

You can expand your trivia coverage by creating some questions based on America’s first ladies using the NCBLA’s First Lady Fact Files. You can also create questions based on the informative essays and stories in Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out. Be sure to take a look at the presidential images and notes in Bob Kolar's "1600 Pennsylvania Avenue: Who's in the House?" Kolar's illustration is featured above.

Sample Trivia Questions and Answers

• Which president was the first to live in the White House? (Answer: John Adams)
• Which president served the shortest term? (Answer: William Henry Harrison)
• Which president is famous for having said, “My fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you––ask what you can do for your country?” (Answer: John F. Kennedy)
• Which president was the first to use electricity in the White House? (Answer: Benjamin Harrison)
• Before the passage of the 22nd amendment, presidential terms were not limited to two. Which president served FOUR terms? (Answer: Franklin Delano Roosevelt)
• Almost any adult American citizen is qualified to become president. Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution establishes the exact qualifications. What are they? (Answer: Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution establishes that anyone who is a natural-born U.S. citizen, at least thirty-five years old, and has lived in the United States for at least fourteen years can become president.)
• Which presidential candidate was the first to promote his candidacy using television? (Answer: Dwight Eisenhower)
• Which president proclaimed "The Star-Spangled Banner" to be our national anthem? (Answer: Herbert Hoover)
• Which president campaigned successfully in 1840 using the populist slogan "Log Cabin and Hard Cider?" (Answer: William Henry Harrison)
• Which president was so well-known for his silent nature that during a dinner party a guest teased that she had bet a friend she could entice the president to say more than five words during the meal, to which he answered, "You lose?" (Answer: Calvin Coolidge)
• Which first lady worked with the Library of Congress to create the National Book Festival, an annual event first held on the Mall in Washington, D.C. in 2001? (Answer: Laura Bush)
• Who was the only presidential candidate to ever be elected by a unanimous vote? (Answer: George Washington)
• Which president considered himself to have been a "sissy" as a child, having said, "If there was any danger of getting into a fight, I always ran?" (Answer: Harry Truman)
• Which president was the first one to throw the first pitch in a major league baseball game? (Answer: William Howard Taft)
• Which president met with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to improve relations and negotiate a treaty to eliminate a substantial number of nuclear missiles? (Answer: Ronald Reagan)
• Who was the first First Lady to sit in Cabinet meetings? (Answer: Rosalynn Carter)
• Which president was honored for his pioneering work in the discovery and study of fossils by having a species of mastodon named for him? (Answer: Thomas Jefferson)
• Which modern president is credited with passage of the Family Medical Leave Act? (Answer: Bill Clinton)
• Who assumed the presidency upon President Lincoln's assassination? (Answer: Andrew Johnson)
• Which president, in the wake of 9-11, took time off from his duties at the White House to throw the first pitch at a Major League Baseball playoff game in Yankee Stadium to show his support for New Yorkers? (Answer: George W. Bush)
• Which first lady hired a French chef to run the White House kitchens? (Answer: Jacqueline Kennedy)
• Our 43rd president, George W. Bush, is the son of former President George H. W. Bush, who served as America's 41st president. Who was our country's first father and son pair to both be elected as president? (Answer: John Quincy Adams served as our sixth president. He was the son of our nation's second president, John Adams.)
• Which president, having been thrust into the position following the death of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, made the decision to drop two atomic bombs on Japan as a means to end World War II? (Answer: Harry S. Truman)
• Who is the only vice president to have assumed the presidency for a reason other than the president's death? (Answer: Gerald R. Ford)
• Who was the first and only president to serve as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court? (Hint: He served from 1921 through 1930). (Answer: William Howard Taft)

For more activities to help you celebrate Presidents Month, click here

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Family Field Trip!

Celebrate Presidents Month
by Taking Young People to a
Presidential Library or Historic Site

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 key events from the president's term in office.

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. For a comprehensive guide to finding presidential sites and museums, listed by state, check out the NCBLA’s Field Trip Guide for Presidential Birthplaces, House, and Libraries on the OurWhiteHouse.org website. 

Veteran educator Marcy Prager of the Brookline Public Schools enjoys taking her students on a field trip to the John F. Kennedy home in Brookline, Massachusetts, where Kennedy was born. Upon returning to school, Prager asks her students to each sketch a favorite room in the Kennedy house and write about the activities and events they learned used to be held there.

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. For example, the Jimmy Carter Library website (www.jimmycarterlibrary.org) is now offering a multi-disciplinary educational curriculum titled “The President’s Travels” with content for students in grades 2 through 12. And the research section of the George Bush Library’s website (http://bushlibrary.tamu.edu/) offers online access to some of its print and audio-visual archives. Included in the visual archives are photographs from Bush’s life, including his time in public office. The photos are organized by topic, such as Various Campaigns, US Vice President, US President, and Presidential Transportation.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Connect Kids with Presidential History This Month

Engage Kids in Presidential History
Using the NCBLA's
Presidents Month Activities

"From the Foundation Up" by Bagram Ibatoulline
in Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out
Copyright (c) 2008.
The month of February and its focus on presidential birthdays provides the perfect opportunity to engage kids in presidents past and present and to get them excited about American history! The NCBLA has created a toolkit filled with fun and engaging activites you can use TODAY in your classroom, library, club meeting, or at home after dinner. Several of our activities were contributed by educators from across the country.

Our Presidents Month Activities toolkit includes the following:

Visit a Presidential Historic Site or Library
Make a Presidential Monument
Does the Shoe Fit?
Play a Game of Presidential Trivia
Host a Presidential Pet Parade
Great Moments in History: The Movie
Read, Research, Question, Learn!

To visit our Presidents Month Activities page on OurWhiteHouse.org, click here.

Here's a sneak peek at the Make a Presidential Monument activity:

Maryland teacher Michele Kinnear recommends that students create a presidential monument. Ask students to decide which president they wish to honor and explain why in a brief paragraph. Their next step is to brainstorm the monument. Ask students: Will you make a statue? Fountain? Museum? Park?

Additional questions to ask are: Where will the monument be located? Washington, DC? The president’s birthplace? A landmark of an important event of their presidency?

And finally instruct the students to determine what materials will be used. Marble? Brick? Trees?

Once the details have been decided, students should draw a rough sketch of their monument and label the important details. This can be done by hand or computer.

The final step is to create a 3-D scaled model of the monument. Students can choose their materials. Options to consider include: clay, Styrofoam, legos, wood, cardboard, sugar cubes.

This assignment can be completed independently or with a partner. 

To check out the details on all the NCBLA's Presidents Month activities, click here

For stories, essays, poems, and artwork to share with young people during Presidents Month, be sure to check out the NCBLA's award-winning anthology Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out, which provides a perfect resource for learning more about American and presidential history.
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.
Ask for Our White House
at a library or bookstore near you!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Keene State Announces Speakers for Children's Literature Festival

Keene State College
Children's Literature Festival
Scheduled for October 25

Mark your calendars now for the 38th Annual Keene State College Children's Literature Festival to be held Saturday, October 25, 2014 on the campus of Keene State College in Keene, NH. This year's festival will feature the following speakers:

M. T. Anderson is the author of picture story books, pre-teen books, and young-adult novels. He won the National Book Award for Young People's Literature in 2006 for THE ASTONISHING LIFE OF OCTAVIAN NOTHING, volume one of the "Octavian Nothing" books which are set in Revolution-era Boston. Other well-known novels are FEED, a National Book Award finalist about a future world where internet connections feed directly into the consumer's brain and language has gone into a steep decline, and THIRSTY where a boy appears to be turning into a vampire. Learn more about him and his books at www.mt-anderson.com.

Diane deGroat has illustrated over 130 books. She began her career illustrating others' books, then decided she wanted to write her own. Her first chapter book that she wrote and illustrated was ANNIE PITTS, ARTICHOKE, published in 1992. The first picture book that she wrote was ROSES ARE PINK YOUR FEET REALLY STINK. CHARLIE THE RANCH DOG was a #1 book on the NY Times Bestseller List. Diane donated an original from CHARLIE AND THE CHRISTMAS KITTY to the Festival Gallery Collection, along with the steps leading up to it. Diane's web site is found at www.dianedegroat.com.

Oliver Jeffers was born in Australia but soon moved to Northern Ireland where he lived until he moved to Brooklyn in 2008. His unique books have been translated into over 30 languages and have won numerous awards. His most recent book, a NY Times bestseller, is THE DAY THE CRAYONS QUIT. THE INCREDIBLE BOOK EATING BOY won an Irish Book Award in 2007 as did THIS MOOSE BELONGS TO ME in 2012. LOST AND FOUND the animation has won more than 40 international awards. In 2007 Oliver was the official World Book Day illustrator. Oliver's web site is located at www.oliverjeffers.com.

Richard Michelson is a poet, children's book author, and owner of Michelson Galleries. He was born in Brooklyn in an area that was 90% Jewish but 12 years later was 90% African-American. As a result, many of his books deal with racial issues and interactions between races. AS GOOD AS ANYBODY, about the friendship between Martin Luther King, Jr. and Abraham Joshua Herchel and how their friendship promoted the message of love and equality for all, won the Sydney Taylor Gold Medal. BUSING BREWSTER was one of the 2010 New York Times Best Illustrated Books. Other well known books include LIPMAN PIKE and TWICE AS GOOD. More can be learned about Richard at www.richardmichelson.com.

Pamela Zagarenski has received two Caldecott Honor Awards: in 2010 for RED SINGS FROM TREETOPS: A YEAR IN COLORS and in 2013 for SLEEP LIKE A TIGER, both by Joyce Sidman. Her most recently illustrated book is WHAT THE HEART KNOWS, CHANTS, CHARMS & BLESSING by Joyce Sidman. Other titles include THIS IS JUST TO SAY and MITES TO MASTODONS. Pamela had said: "I paint to discover a secret code which needs to be cracked in order to better understand myself, the mysteries of life, the soul, God and even the mysteries I don't yet know exist." Learn more about Pamela and her work at www.pzagarenski.com.
Additional details and registration information are available on the festival website: keene.edu/clf
Keep up with additional festival news on the Festival Facebook page.

Monday, February 3, 2014

February Is Presidents Month!

Get Kids Excited About Presidential History Using the Award-Winning Anthology
Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out

Exciting stories, informative essays, humorous poetry, and extraordinary art can help kids engage in 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, OurWhiteHouse.org, which expands the book content with additional stories, primary sources, articles, activities, and discussion questions related to book topics. The website also includes printable education resource guides on the OWH Plus page to help you make the most of the book's content in your classroom and library. 

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 OurWhiteHouse.org 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
  • Amazon.com 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
  • www.ourwhitehouse.org named a 2009 American Library Association “Great Websites for Kids”