March 22, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Archives for September 2006

Muslims in Children’s Books | Up for Discussion

An author looks back and at the ongoing publishing challenges

A few years ago I came across a For Better or For Worse cartoon strip in which Elizabeth and a friend are in a cafeteria. In the background, standing in line, was a Muslim girl in hijab. It gave me a ridiculous sense of joy–of validation–to see “myself” reflected in a cartoon strip. Especially since this Muslim wasn’t doing anything bad. No bombs. No threats. No screaming headlines. She was just […]

Indelible Labels | Scales on Censorship

Should students be limited to books that match their reading levels?

My school uses a computerized reading program that assigns reading levels to students. I’ve been asked to label our library books and restrict students to their appropriate reading levels. Is that acceptable?

The American Library Association discourages placing prejudicial labels on library materials. Some school librarians may argue that labeling and shelving books by grade level makes it easier for children to find titles that correspond to their reading levels. […]

The Shape of Things to Come | Consider the Source

Can you judge the contents of a book by its trim size?

The other day I read an interview with Peter Chernin, who is the number-two guy in News Corporation, the world’s leading publisher of English-language newspapers. Chernin, second only to Rupert Murdoch himself, extolled the success of, which News Corporation owns.

He spoke about the great changes afoot in the world of news and entertainment. With so many digital options, he pointed out, people can always have something they love; […]

Think You Can’t? | Nonfiction Booktalker

In these tales of remarkable people, where there’s a will, there’s a way

Imagine you're a kid who wants to be an Olympic diver, but you're not allowed near the water. In 1932, that was the case for Sammy Lee, a Korean-American kid only allowed to swim in his California town's public pool one day a week, when nonwhites were permitted to use it. So instead, Sammy learned to dive in a sandpit. As you'll find out in Paula Yoo's Sixteen […]

Get Out of the Library! | Teenage Riot

The best place to provide library services for teens may not be in the library

When it comes to library service for teens, the most important words you may hear are “Get out of the library!” For successful teen librarians, outreach is the best and most efficient way to connect with teens.

Think about it. For nine months of the year, most teenagers don’t have time to visit the public library. Every weekday is consumed by seven hours of school, six […]

American Born Chinese | Under Cover

Gene Yang’s remarkable graphic novel grapples with racial prejudice

American Born Chinese features three story lines—one about the Monkey King, a traditional Chinese folk hero; another about Jin Wang, an Asian-American boy who attends an all-white school; and the third about Chin-Kee, the embodiment of negative Chinese stereotypes. How did you come up with the idea?

Originally, I was going to do it as three separate books, and I was trying to decide which one I wanted to tackle first. Eventually, […]

Free Reading

If there were a surefire way to help kids become more literate, would you ignore it? Of course not. But that’s exactly what’s happening across much of our nation. Try searching the literacy information that’s available from your state’s department of education, and you will be lucky to find a single mention of this method. Or peruse the National Reading Panel’s 2000 report, a federally funded study of research-based reading practices, and you’ll discover that this approach is scarcely mentioned. […]

From a Distance | First Steps

A library program connects inmates and their children through reading

The tension in our first class is almost tangible. The inmates, waiting in the hallway and watching us unpack books and set up the DVD player, shuffle into the room. They’re walking into a “parent education” class and have little idea what to expect. They’re not the only ones. As the library staff members who are about to lead the session, we’re not sure how well things will go.

We start with […]

Operating Instructions: Letter to a first-year school librarian

Congratulations! You’ve recently graduated from library school and have just started your first year as a school librarian—arguably the most challenging but rewarding job you’ll ever have. As a school librarian, you must be able to work with anyone in the school, from students to veteran teachers. No other instructional member of the faculty works with as many people as you do. You will be your school’s literature aficionado, technology expert, and lead information manager.

Starting a new position as a […]