April 23, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Archives for September 2009

Good & Plenty: Graphic Novels for K-4

It used to be hard to find good graphic novels for the K–4 crowd. My, how times have changed.

Just a couple of years ago, it was tough to find good graphic novels for the K–4 crowd. Sure, there were some standout selections, such as Andy Runton’s Owly, Jimmy Gownley’s Amelia Rules!, and Jennifer and Matt Holm’s Babymouse, but they were lonely exceptions in a barren landscape. Things quickly changed when publishers realized that the same set that reads (and buys) […]

Operation Facelift: Cover Makeovers Can Be the Fountain of Youth for Many Titles

When it comes to my middle schoolers, the old saying “You can’t judge a book by its cover” couldn’t be further from the truth.

To prove the point, I recently booktalked a stack of titles to a class of seventh graders. I intentionally chose them because our library had two of each—an original and a redesigned copy. One was Sarah Dessen’s Someone Like You (Viking, 1998). The kids seemed genuinely interested in this coming-of-age novel about rebellion, first love, and the […]

Pen Ultimate: National Novel Writing Month

For kids who take part in National Novel Writing Month—the acid test for would-be authors—it’s no guts, no glory

Kathleen Kohl was penning 2,000-word short stories at 12 years old and by 13 set her sights on writing a novel. In a move gutsy enough for any would-be writer, much less a teenaged one, Kohl last year signed on for National Novel Writing Month, an online contest, of sorts, that challenges all comers each November to complete a 50,000-word piece of […]

Excuse Me. Do You Speak Digital?: Harvard’s John Palfrey Explores What It’s Like to Be a Digital Native

John Palfrey

John Palfrey is one busy guy, with an impressive gig. In 2008, he was named the Henry N. Ess III Professor of Law and Vice Dean for Library and Information Resources at Harvard Law School. And when he’s not teaching courses on intellectual property and Internet law, there’s a good chance he’s overseeing the L school’s research library. Palfrey, along with Urs Gasser, executive director of Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society, is coauthor […]

The Odd Couple: An Interview with Author-Illustrator Jerry Pinkney | Under Cover

Jerry Pinkney’s ‘The Lion & the Mouse’ is the cat’s meow

You’ve won five Caldecott Honors and five Coretta Scott King Awards. But a lot of folks are saying this is your best book yet.

You often hear authors and artists say, “I respond to and I’m inspired by the child within me.” And a lot of my career was about that. I was reaching down to find that part of me that spoke not only about my childhood but what I […]

Ready, Set, Go! Storytime Can Help Children (and Parents) Become Kindergarten-ready. | First Steps

On these early autumn days, in communities big and small, kindergarteners are stuffing backpacks with colored markers, glue sticks, tissues, and sometimes a favorite book or stuffed animal. Getting ready to start school requires so much preparation that it often eats up the last few weeks of summer. But as we know, preparing for kindergarten entails a lot more than one month of gathering supplies and buying new shoes.

What should young children know going into kindergarten? How to share and […]

The Aztecs, the Inca, and the Maya: Empires Lost & Found | Focus On

Human sacrifice. Lost cities. Ruthless leaders. Unimaginable riches. Tragedy. Mystery. Mummies! If, as it is said, “zombies are the new pirates,” then it might also be said that the big three ancient American civilizations are the new ancient Egypt. The best books on these cultures capitalize on the wealth of primary sources available–translations of Mayan hieroglyphics; Aztec codices; the journals of explorers, conquistadors, and of the conquered–in order to put the staggering facts of pre-Columbian life into perspective. When […]

Scaring Up Some Fun: Richard Scarry Titles Back in Print from Sterling

Richard Scarry’s picture books have enchanted children for decades with their endearing animal characters, warm watercolor hues, action-packed layouts, and winning blend of learning and fun. Librarians need no longer sigh over the dog-eared, grimy condition of the much-circulated volumes penned by this perennially popular author/illustrator, since Sterling has reissued a series of his titles that have been out of print or out of stock since the mid-to-late 1980s.

According to Bill Luckey, Sterling’s Children’s Editor, these new editions are part […]