Children

A Children's Play That Imitates Life...Tomás and the Library Lady

A lot of people pay lip service to the wonders of books and libraries, then spend most of their free time playing video games. Tomás Rivera was one person who truly owed his amazing life to the power of books.

The child of Mexican migrant farm workers who didn't speak English, Tomás walked past his local library in Iowa every day, not knowing what it was. The librarian noticed him and finally came outside one day to invite him in. This began an unlikely friendship between a young boy and a stern librarian who shared a mutual passion for stories. The play was written by José Cruz González, playwright in residence at Childsplay in Arizona, and is based on the book of the same name by Pat Mora. Saar is the founder and artistic director of Childsplay. Here's an audio report about the play including snippets of dialogue.

A 16-week national tour began in Hampton, the Iowa town where Rivera learned to read, and in the audience were people who knew the Library Lady. Rivera's widow saw the show in Los Angeles, and Saar says she gave it her blessing. (Rivera died in 1984; UC-Riverside renamed its general library after him.) -- Read More

Once upon a trying time: It might be a good time to update classic children's books

It's the question every parent dreads. "Mommy, what's a collateralized debt obligation?" Who wants to be outed as an ignoramus by a kid? But with economic news blanketing the airwaves, such conversations are becoming almost impossible to avoid. Perhaps we should update children's books in time for the holidays.

Goodnight, Citigroup: a short poem of rescue promises from a little treasury secretary trying to keep the economy from falling into a deep slumber.

Captain Underpants Doesn't Need a Newbery Medal

Is the highest honor in children's literature, the Newbery medal, woefully out of touch? Yes, according to children's book expert Anita Silvey, who made her case in a recent issue of the School Library Journal. Silvey reports that many librarians and book critics think the American Library Association, which awards the Newbery annually, has in recent years chosen "quirky" books that appeal to few adults and even fewer children.

Erica S. Perl, writing in Slate, disagrees.

A Favorite Children's Author Writes His Own Tale

...Knucklehead, by Jon Scieszcka. “Knucklehead” is Scieszka’s own tall tale, a memoir organized like a collection of snapshots about growing up with five brothers in the Flint, Mich., of the 1950’s. Ever the teacher, in this slim volume ­Scieszka writes a model memoir. Or as he puts it, when you are getting in trouble “it’s good to be the one telling the story.”

Scieszka gets children, and he gets their humor. Especially boy humor. He tells the truth about what really goes on when parents aren’t looking. Want to hear more? The book is reviewed in the New York Times Sunday Book Review.

If you go in for crazy knuckleheaded kids stories, you might want to check out this accompanying blog from the paper entitled "Are You a Knucklehead"?.

On Obama's Pick for Secy of Education and Learning to Read

President-elect Barack Obama has chosen Arne Duncan to be the next Secretary of Education.

Gary Stager, "teacher educator, education journalist, speaker, school reformer" is not happy with the choice of Duncan, whose appointment he considers to be just another 'social promotion'.

CEO of Hooked on Phonics, Judy L. Harris, is not happy with what Gary Stager had to say about the appointment; specifically, ""Gary Stager is entitled to his opinions regarding President-elect Obama's selection of Arne Duncan as Secretary of Education and education policy generally. However, it is unfortunate he has tried to trivialize my views by likening my company and its product -- Hooked on Phonics, a product that has helped millions of children learn to read -- to a sponge (with all due respect to the folks at ShamWow). " Here's the rest of her statement.

Reading Can Be a Hair-Raising Experience

Mint Canyon (Santa Clarita, CA) Elementary School Principal Betsy Letzo has come up with some pretty wild ideas. But none have been as hair-raising as her latest reading-enhancement scheme, according to The Signal.

These were the conditions: If students could read and pass comprehension tests on more books that their teachers, the teachers had to sport a Mohawk for a day. Participating faculty lost the heated competition and walked around campus Monday with their hair sprayed into long, stiff, colorful Mohawks. Check out the photo!!

High-quality reproductions of Tenniel's colored Alice illustrations

Boingboing has the following:

"White Rabbit Press is taking orders for a luscious set of prints reproducing the Tenniel illustrations from "The Nursery Alice," signed by one of Lewis Carroll's descendants and one of Alice's, too (as well as a noted Alice scholar)."

Visit White Rabbit Press to see more prints.

Family Reading Night Coming Up

Illinois Secretary of State and State Librarian Jesse White is urging families in Illinois to spend time together reading on the evening of Thursday, November 20th to celebrate the Secretary of State's annual Family Reading Night.

"This special event is a night when parents and children are encouraged to turn off the television, computers, video games and other forms of entertainment and spend time reading together," White said. "Studies have shown that reading together makes families stronger, creates a positive learning environment, and helps children develop a love for reading that can last a lifetime." QC Online.

Library Teaches Students About the First Americans

American Indian Heritage Month was celebrated Thursday at the Coshocton (PA) Public Library with a program open to children in grades kindergarten to sixth grade.

"Around Thanksgiving it's a good time to remember the first Thanksgiving," said children's librarian Diane Jones. "It's not only an educational opportunity, but a chance for the children to have a good time and be exposed to a variety of cultures." Children are shown in this article enjoying a Native American game of 'who's got the stone'.

The Literary Bucket Brigade

Adhering to the Boy Scout Creed of 'helping other people at all times', Thomaston and Cushing (ME) Cub Scout Pack 215 helped librarians move books to the new childrens area at the Thomaston Public Library (where incidentally, they are looking for a new head librarian).

Children's Librarian Debby Atwell said "This was a Veterans Day miracle". Story and photos from Village Soup.

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