February—And more awards go to . . .

by Barbara Thompson Book, Indiana University Southeast

This week I explore some of the less popular, but not less important awards, the American Library Association gave out in January. First I’ll discuss the Geisel Award. Created in 2006, the award honors the best book, written in English, for beginning readers. Past recipients of this award reflect the best that is early reading: Ethan Long, Josh Schneider, Kate DiCamillo, Alison McGhee, Geoffrey Hayes, Mo Willems, Continue reading

February—And the next award goes to . . .

by Barbara Thompson Book, Indiana University Southeast

Previously, we looked at the 2014 Caldecott Winner Locomotive by Brian Floca. Then winter exacted its continued revenge in the Northeast and I became a victim of a door locked against the cold, a door jam and cement. Meaning, I fell and dislocated my finger, broke ribs and more. So this week we play catch up.

I promised the answer to who are Flora and Ulysses? Continue reading

February—And the award goes to . . .

by Barbara Thompson Book, Indiana University Southeast

LocomotiveJanuary and February are award months in the United States. We (at least my husband and I) sit before our television and watch to see which members of the various media groups are honored by their colleagues. We debate, discuss, feel old and even yell at the screen as the announcements are made. Although literature for children does not draw a national television audience, it certainly was present on social media and the web. While my phone was not cooperating Continue reading

International Awards: The Batchelder

by Barbara C. Thompson Book, Indiana University Southeast

Last week we explored some of the countries represented in recently awarded Batchelder Awards by the American Library Association. Mildred Batchelder, for whom the award is named was a remarkable and adventurous woman. Born in 1901, she was raised on the Massachusetts coast in the family of a well off businessman. Sent to Mount Holyoke for college, she decided to become a librarian “because she liked seeing college catalogs addressed to “Mildred Batchelder, Librarian’ when she was helping in the high school library.” (Bader p. 16). Continue reading

International Awards: Who’s Being Recognized

by Barbara C. Thompson Book, Indiana University Southeast

Recently the American Library Association gave out its awards for books for Youth and Young Adults at its Mid-Winter Convention in Dallas, TX. In the age of Twitter and other social networks, those of us not able to be in Dallas were able to participate in the announcements in real time. These awards are considered the Oscars of Children’s Literature in the United States, with the Caldecott winner (this year Chris Rascha) and the Newbery winner (this year Jack Gantos) appearing on the Today show the next day. There are so many children’s literature geeks in this country that the event “trended” on Twitter.
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Windows to the World — Part 4

by Barbara Thompson-Book, Indiana University Southeast, New Albany, IN

Welcome back for my final week of exploring the world through both books and the World Wide Web and focusing on Afghanistan, India, and Pakistan. For this final posting I want to thank several people who helped me with this post. First, Holly Johnson urged me to do this region of the world. I was hesitant because until I began my research, all the books I had read on the region were “sad and depressing” as my undergraduates had termed some of the international books I had assigned for them read. Worlds of Words’ own Rebecca Ballenger found me a “tweet” while waiting for a plane to go to NCTE this November. Thanks Rebecca for leading me into a refreshing literature I had never explored. Rebecca did this by sending me to Pooja Makhijani’s Web site about South Asia and the South Asia Diaspora in Children’s Literature. Makhijani is an American born writer with a wonderful Web site about South Asian literature. She has edited a volume entitled Under Her Skin: How Girls Experience Race in America (Seal Press, 2004). Finally I must thank my colleague at Indiana University Southeast, Shifa Podikunju-Hussain, Ph.D. who willingly shared a number of these novels and picture books with her own mother, who was born in Mumbai (formerly Bombay), and her own girls ages 5 and 12. They offered their thoughts as to the authenticity of many of the books about India.

While many of the books (really the young adolescent novels) do fall into the “sad and depressing” category, I found that there are some wonderful picture books and a couple of novels which are refreshingly light, and don’t paint that area of the world as the distressing place we, perhaps, in light of recent events there, usually hold of it.
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Windows to the World — A Quick Look at Haiti

by Barbara Thompson-Book, Indiana University Southeast, New Albany, IN

Fellow travelers, when I was looking at books for the Americas during week two, I failed to mention books on Haiti. That oversight does not mean that there are not some wonderful books available about the island nation so on our minds right now. As teachers and parents, our children and students must certainly have questions about what they are seeing on the news, so I have researched some titles you might want to share and have looked at Web sites that support these books. I want to issue this disclaimer, I have not read some of these books. I am working from reviews published in Horn Book Guide. I used as my search criteria the score of 3 (out of 6 with 1 being highest, and realizing that Horn Book Guide rarely gives out a 1) as the cut off for acceptable books. This does not guarantee that the books are authentic, nor does it guarantee that there aren’t issues of stereotyping in the books. Given the urgency of the topic, I’d rather have the titles out there than err on the side of caution.
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Windows to the Worlds — Part 3

by Barbara Thompson-Book, Indiana University Southeast, New Albany, IN

Welcome back to those of you who have been traveling with me around the world and exploring places we may never see ourselves, but can visit because of the wonderful writing and artwork of authors, illustrators, and photographers sharing their corner of the world. I’ve been pairing books with sources from the World Wide Web, as our world ever expands. To those of you who are just joining me on this adventure, welcome!

This week we are looking at books set in Africa. Keeping in mind Kathy Short’s post, I tried to make sure that the books shared here do not stereotype Africa as a world of poverty. I have to say, that this presented a challenge, first because there is, in fact, so much poverty in Africa, and second because authors have in many cases chosen to highlight the plight of African children. I will try to present a realistic view of Africa, although I have never personally been there. In looking for books to highlight I looked for stories that represented modern Africa or reflected some of the struggles that the African continent has undergone.
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Windows to the World — Part 2

by Barbara Thompson-Book, Indiana University Southeast, New Albany, IN

Last week I explored a part of the world that is fraught with conflict and, though there is conflict in my next area of the world (Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America, and and South America), I’d like to take a more positive approach to the exploration of books from our neighbors to the south and the Web sites that support them. Last week I explored novels, so this week I’ll look at picture books. Let’s have some fun!
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Windows on the World — Part 1

by Barbara Thompson-Book, Indiana University Southeast, New Albany, IN

It has been said that books, including books for children and young adults, can act as “windows on the world.” When we give our children books about places they have never visited, but have heard of from family members, the news, movies, or other print media we offer them glimpses of what living in a culture other than their own might be like. This echoes Holly Johnson’s post in August, about using international books to help inform our children’s understandings about geography and the world at large. She wrote, “I find it important to educate young people about geography and the present reality of a particular region.” Of course in today’s electronic environment, information on just about any topic is at their fingertips via Google or any of several search engines, thus providing another window to the world. The issue then becomes, how can we, as teachers, use both high quality literature about worlds other than the one we inhabit, and bring credible internet sources together to support that literature? That is my intent for the next four weeks — to link incredible stories of places I have not visited except in books with internet sources that have helped inform me about the material I experienced in the books through reading.
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