All posts by keilinh

Cultural Travels in Korea

by Stacy Whitman, Publisher of Tu Books

I had two Korean roommates in college. Ever since then, I’ve said, “Someday I will learn Korean and visit Hyun Mi in Korea.” Last year, when I made new Korean friends here in New York City, I decided that “someday” needed to finally be today. I started to learn Korean from a book and a podcast, got addicted to Korean dramas, and this May, finally made that trip to Korea I’ve been meaning to make for over a decade.

On my way to Korea, I had a 7-hour layover in London, another place I’ve never seen in person before. I got to meet Cat Girl’s Day Off author Kimberly Pauley, who showed me 221B Baker St. and the whole area around Parliament—Big Ben, the London Eye, and Westminster Cathedral, for example (the outside—no time for the inside), and then we finished off our whirlwind tour with a full English breakfast.

Stacy Whitman in London
(center) Kimberly Pauley and Stacy Whitman at Paddington Station with Paddington Bear; other sights in London
Busan subway
A subway entrance in Busan, South Korea

I didn’t get to visit my old roommate, but I did visit my new friend from New York, who had moved back to Seoul. I stayed with her and her family in Mokdong, a suburb of Seoul, which I loved not only because I was visiting my friend, but also because I got to experience Korean culture from a closer point of view, not as a tourist in a hotel but as a guest. I got to do normal everyday things with my friend, like going to the grocery store and post office, to the bookstore and to the repair booth on the corner run by the ajussi who might know how to fix my purse (sadly, he didn’t have a good solution). I was greatly impressed with the public transportation system, which got me everywhere I needed to be, and often had malls in the stations!

I also met up with the Talk to Me in Korean crew (from whom I’m learning Korean), who happened to have a meetup when I was in Korea. Here I am with Hyunwoo Sun, the founder of Talk to Me in Korean, and his wife, Mi Kyung. A few of us went out for a kind of fusion chicken, the name of which I’ve forgotten, and then patbingsoo—sweet red beans over shaved ice—after the meetup of over a hundred TTMIK listeners.

Talk to Me in Korean group
Meet-up with Talk to Me in Korean teachers and students

I love Korean dramas, which are often historical, so of course I wanted to see places like National Treasure #1, the Namdaemung Gate (officially known as Sungnyemun), which burned down in 2008 and was just recently restored and reopened, and Gyeongbokgung Palace in the heart of Seoul. The folk museum was fascinating, letting me see Korean history in person—for example, they had a living replica of a Korean street that brought you forward in time from the Joseon era to the 1990s.

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Read three chapters from The Monster in the Mudball!

The end of summer is fast approaching, but it’s not too late to sneak in one last summer read! For a limited time we’re sharing three action-packed chapters from The Monster in the Mudball, out this September from award-winning author S.P. Gates.

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Five Picture Books to Celebrate Women’s Equality Day

Today is Women’s Equality Day and we’d like to thank the women of the past, present, and future for their contributions to women’s rights and gender equality.

Women’s Equality Day was created to commemorate the the 1920 passage of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, granting women the right to vote, but it also highlights women’s continued efforts toward full equality in America.

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Integrating Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening in the Classroom

Katherine Aliguest bloggerKatherine Ali is a dual-certified elementary and special education teacher. She recently graduated as a literacy specialist with a Masters in Science from Manhattanville College. She has experience teaching internationally in northern China and now teaches in the Bronx, NY. 

There is a natural interplay of reading, writing, speaking and listening in the modern day elementary classroom. Morning meetings, read-alouds, and group projects foster an integrated model of literacy with a special focus on speaking and listening. Appendix A of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) states that “oral language development precedes and is the foundation for written language development; in other words, oral language is primary and written language builds on it.”

After students have begun reading and writing, speaking and listening still have an integral place in the classroom – so much that the CCSS set specific standards for speaking and listening to promote a balanced approach to literacy: “The speaking and listening standards require students to develop a range of broadly useful oral communication and interpersonal skills…students must learn to work together, express and listen carefully to ideas, and integrate information.” The speaking and listening standards expect students to participate in “rich, structured conversations” in which they are building on the ideas of others and speaking in complete sentences. Teachers need to create models and routines for deliberate and intentional dialogue that builds bridges to the students’ reading and writing. In that way, students have the opportunity to also recognize the organic intertwining of these modes of receptive and expressive language.

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SNEAK PEEK: Parrots Over Puerto Rico

Iguaca! Iguaca! 

Look! Up in the sky! It’s a Puerto Rican parrot!

Out in October, we’re excited to give you a sneak peek at Parrots Over Puerto Rico!

Parrots Over Puerto Rico
Puerto Rican parrots

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Happy Friendship Day!

This Sunday is Friendship Day, and what better way to celebrate than with books that celebrate friends of all ages and ethnicities!

Friendship Day was originally created by Hallmark in 1919 and people were supposed to celebrate their friendship by sending each other cards. It was officially recognized by the UN in 2011. According to the Friendship Day Declaration, the purpose is to “observe this day in an appropriate manner, in accordance with the culture and other appropriate circumstances or customs of their local, national and regional communities, including through education and public awareness-raising activities.”

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Signings and Readings at the Harlem Book Fair

LEE & LOW BOOKS is going to be at the Harlem Book Fair this Saturday and we’d love to meet you! Stop by booth G38 (located on the North Side of West 135th Street between Malcolm X Boulevard and Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard) for illustrator signings, and the Young Readers Pavilion for readings:Harlem Book Fair

SIGNINGS

Shadra Strickland11:00am-12:00pm

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Author Panels and Signings at ConnectiCon

Tu Books is going to be at ConnectiCon this weekend and Stacy Whitman, publisher of Tu Books, and Jason Low, publisher of Lee & Low Books, would love to meet you! Stop by booth #407 in the dealer’s room, and find some of our authors at panels and signings throughout the con:

ConnectiCon Ad

Signings

Friday, July 12

Bryce Moore1:00pm-2:00pm

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Book List: Picture Books About Travel

Summer is in full swing and that means lots of exciting trips to be planned! We’ve pinned a list of picture books about travel on our new Pinterest board, so you can travel the world without spending money or suffering from jetlag!

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Close Reading + Visual Literacy=Pathways for Understanding

Katie Cunninghamguest bloggerGuest blogger Katie Cunningham is an Assistant Professor at Manhattanville College. Her teaching and scholarship centers around children’s literature, critical literacy, and supporting teachers to make their classrooms joyful and purposeful. Katie has presented at numerous national conferences and is the editor of The Language and Literacy Spectrum, New York Reading Association’s literacy journal.

John Berger, in his famous documentary and book Ways of Seeing, explained that “Seeing comes before words. The child looks and recognizes before it can speak.” Visual literacies are, perhaps, the primary and first ways young children understand the world. Young children are not only visual readers of the world they are naturally close readers as well. They closely read people’s facial expressions. They read signs to orient themselves. They read new blades of grass, flakes of snow, and changes in leaves as signs of seasonal change. For young children, close reading and visual literacies are their pathways for understanding. Yet our capacities to closely read what we see should be valued and strengthened beyond early childhood.

Society certainly thinks so. Instagram now has more than 100 million active users per month and is increasingly being taken up by teens and tweens as their site of choice over Facebook. Pinterest has more than 48.7 million users. Staggeringly, more than one billion unique users visit You Tube each month. Businesses today certainly recognize the power of visually-driven social media outlets as the primary way to reach potential clients. Yet too often the skill of closely reading what we experience visually is devalued in school over traditional print-based text. Are the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) repositioning the power of the visual as part of the definition of what it means to be an attentive reader today? One hopes so.Too often the skill of closely reading what we experience visually is devalued in school over traditional print-based text.

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