As media coverage has intensified around the events of children crossing the U.S. border, many educators and families are wondering, “What should we tell our students?” For some children, this may be the first time they are learning of these countries. But for many others, these events may involve their own heritage or depict their families’ experiences. Using books to talk about the recent events can be an opportunity to learn about a new region and help children see the cultures and people beyond these events.
We’ve put together a list of 11 books (many of which are bilingual English/Spanish) that teach about the emotional journey families and children must undertake along with the physical journey. These stories allow children to see each other and themselves in characters who are living life to the fullest and refusing to let any obstacle stand in their way.
Whether you are looking to explore the themes of the DREAM Act, learn more about the journey of one’s own family, or see America from a different angle, these books reveal the complexities, challenges, joys, and surprises of coming to a new place. Join these characters as they share their challenges and excitement in moving to a new culture and new school, helping their families adjust, and juggling their home culture with a new culture.
This past weekend was the 22nd Annual African American Children’s Book Fair in Philadelphia. The book fair is one of the largest single day events for African American children’s books in the country – and a great way to kick off Black History Month each February. Below, a few pictures from this year’s event:
Over the past few years, I’ve watched the number of requests for virtual visits go up quite a bit. Part of this is because schools and libraries have had their budgets for author visits slashed, and part may just be because more people have access to speedy Internet and other technology that’s needed for a virtual visit to work.
Either way, virtual author/illustrator visits can be a great way to enable direct interaction between book creators and readers without the costs of an in-person visit. While authors usually still ask for an honorarium for virtual visits, often their honorarium is lower and travel costs are not an issue. Some authors also offer a free shorter (10-20 minute) virtual visit to classrooms or libraries who have purchased copies of their books. Here’s how to set up your first virtual author visit.
1. Set up the technology
Sometimes when I work with people who are thinking about setting up a virtual visit, they get a little panicky about the technology aspect. But virtual visits are actually quite easy, and don’t require all that much in the way of equipment. Here’s a basic list of what you’ll need:
An operating system compatible with Skype, Google Hangout, or another similar program
In her first guest post, author/illustrator Christy Hale shared ideas for how to plan a successful book launch. In her follow-up post, Hale shares tips for planning storytelling and activities for bookstore appearances. Hale is the author and illustrator of, most recently, Dreaming Up, which was named a 2012 ALA Notable Book by the American Library Association and one of the Horn Book Magazine‘s Best Books of 2012.
1. Consider the audience when planning your program. Bookstores host different types of author events. If possible attend other programs at bookstores where you will appear so you can scope out the typical crowd. The time of the event may be a good indicator of the age level likely to attend. At Kepler’s Story Time Sundays, I have read to toddlers and preschoolers with a few older school age children scattered in the mix. A mid-week morning time program at BookSmart in a shopping mall in San Jose drew in moms and caregivers with toddlers and preschoolers. An afternoon program at Linden Tree in Los Altos brought school age children. An early evening program at Reach and Teach in San Mateo was geared toward whole families. My evening launch party at Books Inc. in Palo Alto was mostly attended by adults.
Since KidLitCon, an annual conference for children’s book bloggers, took place right here in New York City this year, I had the happy chance to attend for the very first time, and I also spotted several other publishing people in attendance. I don’t know how the bloggers felt about us publishing folk dropping in on their conference, but hopefully they didn’t mind too much. There were some pretty open discussions of publisher/blogger/author relations at various points, so I don’t think anyone was holding themselves back on our account. And from the publisher standpoint I was glad to be there to listen, in addition to the fact that I am personally a bit of a fangirl of lots of the bloggers who were there and it was fun to meet them face to face.
There are lots of other great recaps of KidLitCon up aroundthe blogosphere, so I thought I’d just list a few of the things I took away from the conference on the publishing side of things:
1. Don’t forget your friends.
There are many different levels of familiarity and relationships, even when you’re just talking about the Internet. As the women of From The Mixed-Up Files of Middle Grade Authors explained in their panel on community building, some people are readers or browsers while others are followers, fans, or even true friends, and friends/fans should not be taken for granted. For those people, that might mean scheduling an in-person meetup or just emailing to say hello.
A few of us made it out for the Brooklyn Book Festival this weekend, so I thought I’d share a few shots of the event. It was a bright, beautiful fall day, and it was great to see so many people come out to celebrate reading (a record 40,000, according to this article).
Joseph Bruchac, author of Wolf Mark, Buffalo Song, and several other titles, was on a panel about sports stories for boys with Jon Scieszka and Gordon Korman, moderated by Lisa Yee. They were hilarious!
Wasn’t it *just* March? Hard to believe we’re already getting ready for ALA Annual in just a few short weeks. The best part of ALA is always meeting people face to face, and we hope many of you will come find us at Booth #2436 to say hello in person.
We’ll be giving out ARCs of Summer of the Mariposas, Guadalupe Garcia McCall’s follow-up to her award-winning debut Under the Mesquite. We’ll also have a limited number of ARCs of Diverse Energies, our upcoming YA dystopian anthology with stories by Ursula K. Le Guin, Paolo Bacigalupi, Cindy Pon, Malinda Lo, and more.
We won’t be at the Texas Library Association annual conference this week, but if you’ll be there you can still connect with two fantastic Lee & Low authors!
Don Tate, author of It Jes’ Happened and illustrator of books like Summer Sun Risin’, will be a keynote speaker at the Black Caucus Roundtable (April 19, 8-10AM) and will also appear on the panel “Books, Boys, and Boxing: Motivating Minority Males to Read” (April 19, 2-3:50PM). He will also be signing copies of It Jes’ Happened with Overlooked Books at booth #2629 (April 18, 12-3PM).
We’re getting excited to head down to New Orleans this week for the American Library Association Annual Conference. New Orleans has always been one of my favorite cities, and I’m looking forward to eating piles of beignets meeting many awesome librarians while we’re down there. If you’ll be there too, please stop by booth #1132 to say hello! Here’s what we’ll have going on:
SATURDAY, 2-3PM: Under the MesquiteARC signing and giveaway with debut author Guadalupe Garcia McCall. This is a PHENOMENAL book – it made me cry right at my desk – so you’ll definitely want to snag a copy.