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FORT WORTH, Texas -- What do the authors of the children's book "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?" and a 2008 book called "Ethical Marxism: The Categorical Imperative of Liberation" have in common?
Both are named Bill Martin and, for now, neither is being added to Texas schoolbooks.
In their haste to sort out the state's social studies curriculum standards, the State Board of Education recently tossed children's author Martin, who died in 2004, from a proposal for the third-grade section. Board member Pat Hardy, who made the motion, cited books he had written for adults that contain "very strong critiques of capitalism and the American system."
Interesting discussion in The Scotsman about how today's children are no longer reading classic novels such as Wind in the Willows, Moby Dick and Oliver Twist. The bestseller lists are dominated by Harry Potter, The Twilight Series and other recent titles.
"Sometimes it can be a little daunting to be given a 600-page classic and told it is a classic if you are a young kid, so maybe it's about how you present books and talk about them."
To get hung up on whether children are reading "the classics", though, is to miss the point, says Ali Bowden, director of Edinburgh's Unesco City of Literature Trust .
"I think the most important thing is that kids read, rather than being overly prescriptive on what they read. "I think the classic novels are still being taught in schools and I suspect most kids are being given contemporary books rather than classics at home. A lot of kids are reading a whole range of books, including classics.
"Nurturing a passion for reading is really important, rather than giving kids a really strict book list."
Rebecca Stead has won the 2010 Newbery Medal for When You Reach Me (Random/Wendy Lamb). Jerry Pinkney has won the 2010 Randolph Caldecott Medal for The Lion & the Mouse (Little, Brown). And Libba Bray has won the 2010 Michael L. Printz Award for Going Bovine (Delacorte). The awards were announced this morning at the American Library Association’s midwinter conference in Boston.
More from Publishers Weekly.
Article from Publishers Weekly which mentions the ascending titles for these plus other prizes to be handed out by the ALA's ASLC and YALSA divisions next Monday.
Librarians have begun steadily posting results of mock Newbery discussions/events on the ALSC listserv. Consensus there appears to give the nod to When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead as the winner, with a variety of honors going to The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin, The Year the Swallows Came Early by Kathryn Fitzmaurice and All the Broken Pieces by Ann Burg. Calpurnia Tate and Where the Mountain Meets the Moon received a couple of first-place votes, too.
Library cats have garnered nationwide media coverage recently. Not wishing to offend canine loving readers, today's post gives library dogs equal time. Libraries across the country from Swampscott, MA. to San Jose, CA. are making exceptions to that arcane "No Dogs Allowed " rule for a program proven to help struggling young readers.
Profile of 'Bridge to Terabithia' author Katherine Paterson, who is to be appointed the national ambassador for young people's literature today. Story in the New York Times.
She discusses her lonely childhood growing up as the daughter of missionaries in China, and her subsequent travels in Japan. "Books", she said, were "where the friends were."
How to make a pop-up book by Robert Sabuda, leading children's pop-up book artist and paper engineer, who works with Matthew Reinhart on this Encyclopedia Prehistorica Dinosaurs: The Definitive Pop-Up (not available on Kindle?)
Want to try your hand at it? It doesn't look easy.
From BookPage (they are running a contest--add your comment and maybe you'll win)...two picture books for the upcoming holiday...
Duck for Turkey Day
By Jacqueline Jules
Albert Whitman & Company, $16.99, 32 pages, ages 4-8
By Laurie Friedman
Carolrhoda Books, $16.95, 32 pages, ages 4-8
Excellent blog post (and very entertaining video) by Elizabeth
Bluemle in Publishers Weekly about how overweight characters are described in children's books. She is concerned that writers of children's fiction are casting negative aspersions on overweight characters instead of just describing them...
'Fat issues loom large in our culture, as it were, and kids pick up messages about how they should look that batter their confidence at every turn. Literature for young people should be one place where kids don't find themselves mocked, dismissed, or shamed. I am not talking about books that deal directly with weight; it's the books that don't realize they are reinforcing negative stereotypes that concern me.
While we have all become accustomed to popular culture’s celebration of thin, what I didn’t expect is that books — the refuge of the chubby kid, the place where people understand the value of what lies beneath the surface, a land of acceptance and tolerance for difference — would come around to betray their readers.' More from PW.