April 22, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Archives for March 2007

Excitable Boy | Under Cover

Britain’s John Burningham on his latest creation—and his mysterious life

Edwardo: The Horriblest Boy in the Whole Wide World is about an ordinary boy who is constantly told he’s messy, nasty, and noisy—and he acts accordingly. His life is eventually transformed when he’s praised, instead of criticized. What inspired you to write the story?

God, I don’t know. I found that an extremely difficult book to do.

What was the toughest part, figuring out the transition?

Yes. There was a sequence in […]

The Perfect Partner | First Steps

Head Start is an ideal ally for promoting early literacy

Extending public library service to children who are struggling to become literate isn’t always easy. One of the best strategies we’ve found is to partner with organizations that make it their business to target at-risk families. Head Start has been one of our most effective partners.

Its staff are enthusiastic about books, reading, and libraries. Parent education is an important part of its mission. Most Head Start sites have dedicated time for […]

Taming the Beast: Social Bookmarking

Finding good stuff online isn’t a problem, making sense of it is. Thank goodness for social bookmarking.

Blogs, wikis, and other nifty Web-based tools, ones that enable us to create and distribute content like never before, get all the glory, it seems. Then there are the applications that help us organize all that material that we consume online. Though not as sexy, perhaps, as blogging or podcasting, social bookmarking is equally empowering to users, helping us make sense of what we […]

Gross Them Out | Nonfiction Booktalker

Body functions—yuck!—can lure even the most reluctant readers

When he found out about my booktalking, the businessman next to me on the plane asked that I recommend titles for his home-schooled kids. The nine-year-old boy read voraciously, but the 12-year-old girl wouldn’t touch a book. So I offered my sympathies. Then I pulled out my laptop. Catching sight of some of the eye-catching book covers there, the businessman stared in fascination. “My daughter,” he exclaimed, “would love those books about gross […]

Romeo, Wherefore Art Thou? | Scales on Censorship

Should we cover up the nudity in one of Shakespeare’s classics?

Our high school’s English teachers have asked me to order a few different versions of the film Romeo and Juliet. Some of them are R-rated, and my colleagues plan to fast-forward through the nude scenes or cover the monitor with a towel. If I purchase the films, am I setting us up for a censorship challenge?

Since Romeo and Juliet is taught in most high schools, it’s reasonable for your […]

A True and Terrifying Story | Consider the Source

How to create a context that leaves readers begging for more

Saturday, August 3, 1793. The sun came up, as it had every day since the end of May, bright, hot, and unrelenting…. Dead fish and gooey vegetable matter were exposed and rotted, while swarms of insects droned in the heavy, humid air.” So begins Jim Murphy’s Newbery Honor–winning An American Plague (Clarion, 2003). Last month, I talked about creating context—how to get the necessary background information into a book for […]

The Legacy of Wonder Woman | Up for Discussion

An enlightening look at the feminist ideals that informed this American icon

This year marks the 65th anniversary of one of comics’ oldest and most enduring characters, Wonder Woman. For over half a century, she has entertained and inspired millions, appearing in comic books, newspapers, novels, television, and cartoons. Her image is known throughout the world, licensed on everything from Halloween costumes, Kraft brand macaroni & cheese, and Underoos, to cookie jars, toothbrushes, and the American Library Association (ALA) poster, “The […]