February 17, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Archives for February 2012

Irma Black Discussions, What Are We Talking About

Today’s discussion brought up some interesting points… Charting the conversation. What we (the students liked about the book) We liked the way the author put in exclamation points in the sentences. We liked the cartoon illustrations The author showed how excited Lucy was about making a friend. We liked the words in the bubbles so […]

Why picture books redux

Why would I encourage teachers and librarians to participate in the Black Awards for best picture book? The first image that comes to mind is the children in my library. They are  engaged and invested  in the process and the award. I witness six and seven year olds with strong opinions about what makes a […]

High Schoolers Return to Enjoy Irma Black Finalists

If anyone is worried about picture books being too young for their 1st and 2nd graders, may I present you with exhibit A. These high schoolers returned to visit during their Winter Break. They immediately grabbed the Irma Black Finalists and began reading them aloud to each other. I grabbed my IPAD and captured their obvious […]

Why Picture Books?

  Guest Blog Post from Bank Street College of Education School For Children Teacher, Gregory David: Picture books for 4th graders? How about blankies? Or well-worn stuffed animals? Pacifiers? Can we borrow rest mats from the kindergartners? Wrong, wrong, wrong! Our Irma Black picture book study has been the cornerstone of our 4th grade literacy curriculum. […]

Now That We Have Four Finalists

now? While schools across the nation have registered, are reading and discussing the finalists, our first and second graders are too.

The third and fourth graders have made posters proclaiming their favorites.


Budget Time: What Is Your “Big Splash” this Month?

What is the local newspaper article headline for the event that will happen in your library in the next 30 days? “School Library Catches Students Reading” or “New Nooks Ready To Circulate in the School Library” may be ours. March 6th there is a school board meeting in my school district at which the budget […]

You Have to Make Choices Sometimes

“You have to make choices sometimes, and the importance of librarians is a bit less than it used to be,” said Ze’ev Wurman, a Silicon Valley executive who participated in the development of California education standards and served as a policy adviser for the U.S. Department of Education. “In the elementary grades especially, librarians are essentially teacher’s aides, doing a variety of things that have little to do with books or literacy, per se.”

Donna L and 24,999 Other People Have a Message for Arne Duncan

I was at school when the White House petition reached its 25,000 signature and helped students’ researching for a seventh grade debate with a huge smile on my face. One of my seniors wanted to be the 25,000th signature but our slow school networks slowed him down so that “Donna L.” beat him to the honor. A special education teacher, a school secretary, my teaching assistant, students, my husband, a technology person and a young tech intern from New York City all signed.

Librarians responded, AASL and ALA responded–but our advocates were there for us—and that is the BIG message.

The Long Road to Freedom | Books for Black History Month

As Andrea Davis Pinkney explains in With the Might of Angels, “Negro History Week was created by historian Carter G. Woodson to bring national attention to the achievements of black people in America.” In 1976, this week in February became “Black History Month.” Now, African-American History “Month” generally begins in mid-January in anticipation of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and often flows into March, as there is no shortage of strong black women to be remembered and celebrated during Women’s […]

Bill Wallace, Award-winning Children’s Book Author, Dies

Award-winning children’s book author Bill Wallace, died of lung cancer on January 30; he was 64. He started writing books for kids as a form of classroom management. His first published book, A Dog Called Kitty (Holiday House, 1980), is a story about a boy who must learn to overcome his fear of a puppy.

Wallace, a former teacher, explained on his website that he wrote the book “to keep my fourth graders quiet after lunch recess. When they listened to […]

Interview: Ishmael Islam, NYC’s 2012 Youth Poet Laureate

Nineteen-year-old Ishmael “Ish” Islam was recently named New York City’s 2012 Youth Poet Laureate for his winning poem, “Daydreaming at the Voting Booth,” which he performed at a poetry slam at Cooper Union.

SLJ spoke to the Kingsborough Community College student about his new role, his passion for poetry, and how librarians can help spread the love of this art form to their students.

The Youth Poet Laureate program is a voting-themed teen competition designed to energize young voters through spoken word […]

Never A Dull Moment: The action-packed world of hi/lo books

Body piercing? Extreme sports? Teen pregnancy? Welcome to the action-packed world of hi/lo books

“My heart’s desire is to turn reluctant readers into book sluts!” says Tori Jensen.

Jensen, a high school librarian from St. Paul, MN, isn’t out to corrupt kids. She’s simply trying to get them to read, especially those students who’d rather get sprayed by a skunk than curl up with a conventional tome. That’s why Jensen constantly booktalks hi/lo titles and uses […]

The Impossible Scheme: SLJ’s Battle of the Books Is Back

Saddle up. SLJ’s annual Battle of the Kids’ Books tournament is ready to roll.

Are you ready to see Brian Selznick duke it out with Gary Schmidt? Or Kadir Nelson rumble with Thanhha Lai? It’s time for SLJ’s Battle of the Kids’ Books (BOB) again, and this year we’ve got another impressive lineup of titles and judges that is sure to get your heart pumping as we pit 16 of 2011’s best books for young people against one […]

Going Deep: Author-artist Claire A. Nivola’s ‘Life in the Ocean’ tackles some urgent issues

Your gorgeous new picture book is about Sylvia Earle, an oceanographer and leading spokesperson on the importance of the ocean to our planet’s survival. She’s designed undersea research vessels and has spent more than 7,000 hours underwater. Have you ever gone scuba diving or snorkeling?

No, and while doing this book I was thinking, how can I do this book without snorkeling? I’d love to do it, boy. But I’m not a brave soul. I share Sylvia Earle’s love […]

He’s Got Your Back: Senator Jack Reed continues the fight to make school libraries a national priority

It’s nice to know people in high places—and for librarians, Jack Reed is at the top of the list. Just when things were looking hopeless for our nation’s media centers, the Democratic Senator from Rhode Island delivered an unexpected holiday gift to the profession: passage of an appropriations bill in December that included a whopping $28.6 million in federal funds for school libraries and literacy programs in FY2012.

The news was a welcome surprise to library supporters […]

All Together Now: USBBY’s Outstanding International Books connect kids worldwide

Good books and the love of reading can help young people grow in their knowledge and understanding of the world in which they live. Top-notch titles can also help kids from around the globe share powerful emotional experiences, and USBBY’s 2012 list of the 36 most outstanding international books for children and teens aims to do all of that and more. For starters, read the pictures in Anton Can Do Magic, and let the exquisite artwork fill […]

What Is Systems Thinking?: Interactive Components of Video Games Are Perfect Examples

“Why didn’t we do this sooner?” This question was posed by a student at Franklin High School in Portland, Oregon, who was failing Diana Fisher’s math class. Many people dislike math because it is so abstract and just not a natural way to think about problems, Fisher candidly admits. So she’s on a constant quest to make it easier for her students. She found the answer by integrating a systems thinking model into her classroom.

Diana Fisher recently […]

Wood-pulp Pages: For a technology user, a love of print endures | February 2012 Letters

Kathy Ishizuka hit a nerve when she wrote “…we’ve got bigger fish to fry than a nostalgia for wood-pulp pages” (“SLJ’s Top Ten 2011: Technology,” Dec. 2011, p. 46). Just because the bandwagon is electronic, doesn’t mean I should throw away everything I like and value about printed materials to jump on it, and just because I feel some nostalgia for books doesn’t mean their usefulness is bygone.

I’m a supporter of new technology that is well […]

Death and Destruction’s Lure: Catastrophes Equal Riveting Booktalks

Young learners know from watching television and listening to grown-ups that disasters can strike anywhere. Show your booktalk listeners a map of North America and point to Canada’s eastern coast, where disaster struck not once, but twice!

Nova Scotia’s largest city, Halifax, has a superb harbor and a history of horror. The cold waves have sent dead bodies to shore several times in the town’s lifetime. Hundreds washed up in its port when the Titanic sank in 1912. […]

Playful Poetic Forms: Wordscapes | Focus On

Through countless generations, in cultures across the globe, poetry has provided parents and caregivers with a natural means to calm fussing babies and tots and (perhaps unintentionally) to interest them in language. Singing lullabies and chanting nursery rhymes, we tune their ears to rhythm and meaning, drawing children to the sheer pleasure of listening and reading. Poetic wordplay nurtures the enjoyment of language in the growing child.

In the years since Shel Silverstein published “Deaf […]