May 23, 2016

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My (Censored) Caldecott Diary: Part I of III

I was a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. During that year, I kept a Day One journal. Now, I’m going to share it with you – typos (I blame auto-correct), lame journal jokes (unfortunately, no one to blame but myself there) and all. In classic journal form, I update it in bursts and there’s […]

Lifting the Cone of Silence? The ALSC Awards and Confidentiality

Did you read this post over at the ALSC Blog yesterday? While I’ve witnessed (and sometimes been a part of) “Should award discussions be secret forever?” conversations over the years, I didn’t expect ALSC Board to gather opinions on the matter. I know when you have a blog you’re supposed to have really strong feelings about […]

Children’s Book Week Celebration: An Interview with Nathan Hale

First Second Books is doing something fun for Children’s Book Week – sharing comics creators in conversation. Today we have a little Q&A with John Patrick Green (Teen Boat, Hippopotamister) and Nathan Hale. John Patrick Green: What are your favorite children’s or comic books from your youth? Nathan Hale: I didn’t have a comic shop […]

Chicagoland! I! AM! EXCITED!

Betsy Bird has brought her brand of children’s literary breeze-shooting to the midwest, and I’m honored to be a part of it: This weekend I get to chat with John Schumacher, Colby Sharp, and Betsy Bird at the Evanston Public Library. If you’re in the area, come on over and say hi.

Are You Thinking What I’m Thinking?

First came… Then came… And I went… Then came… and THEN came… And I went…

2016 is Foxy

The other day The Trend Whisperer (a new nickname I’m trying out for A Fuse #8 Production) mentioned that 2016 is the year of bears on rampages and blobfish. I can’t disagree. But a recent conversation with Benji of Tales of an Elementary School Librarian had me thinking there should be another trend on our […]

Happy Poem in Your Pocket Day!

If you haven’t read this book with students, you should: Tip: It’s available in ebook format if you don’t have it and need to download it quick. If you haven’t shared this song with students, you should: This video has been a big hit with students this week. There’s also a version without the motions, […]

Poetry Friday: Do You Hear What I Hear?

Last week I talked about book spine poems (or centos), today I have three examples:

Beverly Cleary at 100: All the Tributes

Today, to-day, children’s literature legend Beverly Cleary turns 100 year old. The media has taken notice: Book Riot: 100 Awesome Things About Beverly Cleary on her 100th Birthday The New York Times: Happy Birthday Beverly Cleary! The New Yorker: Beverly Cleary, Age 100 The Washington Post: Beverly Cleary on turning 100: Kids today ‘don’t have […]

Everything You Need to Know to Make a Book Spine Poem

April is here. April is National Poetry Month. April is the time for book spine centos. Give one a try. Or try it with your students/patrons. Here are my tips for creating a book spine cento: Check out the book spine poem gallery for inspiration. Get to a place with plenty of books. A library […]

Man in the Mirror

I have a thing for doppelgängers. I get way more entertainment than I should when someone tells me I look like, say, Perfect Strangers actor Bronson Pinchot: Or, perhaps, Moroccan distance runner Hicham El Guerrouj: (I wrote this post about how kids notice this one because of The Guiness Book of Records) Or even Costa Rican […]

What’s in My Spring Break To-Read Pile and Why

What is spring break if not a time to set overly ambitious reading goals? Here’s what I hope to read in the next week and why. A new series! Illustrated by our reigning Caldecott Medal winner, Sophie Blackall, and written by John Bemelmans Marciano – two members of the Atlas Powder Picture Book Company (a.k.a. […]

Notes on March 2016

In March… …we looked at the new books coming from past Geisel winners. …I Instagrammed two author events: Ruth McNally Barshaw and Bob Shea. …Donald Trump reviewed some Seuss classics.

Steal This Idea: Family Fort Night at the Library

The Location: My local public library (Herrick DL). The Event: Family Fort Night. The Plan: For an hour after the library closes, families have run of the children’s section. After a whole group story time, kids and their grown-ups build forts out of whatever materials they bring (clips provided by the library). Then: Grab some […]

Instagramming an Author Event: An Evening with Bob Shea (And a Special Guest)

All ready for our Bob Shea event! AHH! NO! Not ready! I missed something! Ah. Better. Break out the balloons, folks – Bob Shea (and a special guest) visited our school district last night and I have the square-shaped photos to prove it. I’ve never helped organize an evening author event, but I was feeling […]

The Bittersweet Librarian: Full Saturation

You know, I thought I would be happy to see this day. The day when, if a student asked for this book, I could stride over to the shelf, heroically pull it from its place, and make a kid’s day, instead of what I usually have to do: tell them “I think it’s checked out. […]

Book Covers: Before and After

While I tend to think I can spot a cover that will not be a huge success, it can be very difficult to know which covers will draw positive attention – and for what reasons. There are certainly times when I think as I set a book face out, “I better reinforce the carpet in this […]

Create Your Own Meta Picture Book

Meta picture books, where a book somehow comments on the book itself, have seen an explosion in popularity in the last few years, with a number of wildly creative titles. You know what I’m talking about… For fun, why not create your own. Use one of the Meta Picture Book Title generators below. Go ahead […]

Instagramming an Author Visit: Ruth McNally Barshaw

Window decorated: Signs created: And hung: Gift bag assembled. (Thank you Niki (a.k.a. Daydream Reader)): Student book orders procured: Let’s do this. Yesterday author/illustrator Ruth McNally Barshaw visited our school. It was a good day. Way back in aught eight, I read, loved, and reviewed Ellie McDoodle: Have Pen Will Travel (I forgot how nuts […]

Donald Trump Reviews Children’s Books

Today we have a guest post by the frontrunner in the race for the republican presidential nomination, Donald Trump¹. He offered to review a few Dr. Seuss classics… Green Eggs and Ham Phony loser Ted Cruz’s favorite book. Not surprising – it was written by another Ted (Geisel) who also uses a phony name. Careful – […]