February 24, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

LEGO Essay Contest; Celebrate Picture Book Month | News Bites

Celebrate Picture Books

picture book monthFor the third year, schools, libraries, booksellers, and book lovers are coming together to celebrate Picture Book Month in November. It’s an international literacy initiative that showcases print picture books, founded by author/storyteller Dianne de Las Casas, along with author and illustrators cofounders Katie Davis, Elizabeth Dulemba, Tara Lazar, and Wendy Martin. Every day in November, there will be a new post from a champion of picture books on the Picture Book Month website explaining why he or she thinks picture books are important.

Librarians and teachers can help celebrate the initiative by becoming a Picture Book Month Ambassador and adding an Ambassador badge on their websites. Posters are available for download in a media kit. Participants can register and pledge to celebrate their love of picture books throughout the month and be added to the Picture Book Month mailing list. A theme calendar for Picture Book Month can be downloaded to help you plan a celebration of picture books throughout the month. Ideas for ways to commemorate the event (such as author/illustrator visits via Skype) are provided on the website, and the supporters can help spread the word via social media with #picturebookmonth.

NYC Neighborhood Library Awards

nyc neighborhood library awardsFive winners of the first-ever NYC Neighborhood Library Awards were announced by the Charles H. Revson Foundation on September 17. The awards “celebrate the crucial role of local libraries in serving New York City’s diverse communities” and are the first to honor individual branch libraries. More than 4,000 New Yorkers nominated libraries from May 20 to July 1. A panel of judges reviewed the 10 finalists. The, and. The judges included author R.L. Stine; author Kurt Andersen; Carla Hayden, CEO of the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore; Fatima Shama, NYC Commissioner of Immigrant Affairs; and Don Weisberg, President of the Penguin Young Readers Group.

The five winning branches that have received $10,000 each are: Corona Library (Queens); Macon Library(Bedford-Stuyvesant/Stuyvesant Heights, Brooklyn); New Dorp Library (New Dorp/Midland Beach, Staten Island); Seward Park Library(Lower East Side, Manhattan); and Sheepshead Bay Library (Brooklyn).

The five finalists that have been awarded $5,000 each are: Aguilar Library (East Harlem South, Manhattan); Kings Bay Library (Sheepshead Bay/Gerritsen Beach/Manhattan Beach, Brooklyn); Parkchester Library (Bronx); Queens Village Library; and Tremont Library (Claremont/Bathgate, Bronx).

“These nominations reveal the passion that New Yorkers have for their neighborhood libraries,” said Julie Sandorf, President of the Charles H. Revson Foundation. “Our libraries promote and reflect the promise of our city—evening the playing field for millions of New Yorkers who seek self-improvement.”

Children’s Lit Fellows Program

stony brookThe Stony Brook Southampton’s (NY) Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Creative Writing and Literature is a one-year certificate program for children’s book writers that launched last year. The Children’s Literature Fellows program is now accepting applications for 2014. The selective program chooses only 12 applications each year. The year-long course, which can be completed mostly through distance learning, was developed by author Emma Walton Hamilton and MFA in Creative Writing Director Julie Sheehan. During the course, each Fellow completes either one publishable young adult or middle grade manuscript or, for picture books writers, a series concept with one completed manuscript or three separate manuscripts. Students get to attend the Editing and Publishing Conference where they have the opportunity to meet with editors, agents, and other members of the publishing industry.

“The Children’s Literature Fellowship is the best thing I’ve ever done for myself,” noted middle grade novelist Janas Byrd. “It is a one-on-one mentorship with award-winning authors who are also brilliant teachers.”

The application deadline is December 1, 2014. For more information, visit the Stony Brook website and click on Children’s Lit Fellows.

LEGO Essay Contest

lego its your adventure“It’s Your Adventure, Where Will You Go” is a storytelling essay contest, open to children in the second through fifth grade, sponsored by LEGO Education in celebration of National Literacy Month in September. Students entering must use LEGO Education StoryStarter, a hands-on learning tool that “enhances students’ reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills.”

The challenge is for students to use the Lego Education StoryStarter product to write a 100–200 word creative story using the following prompt:

“It’s the new school year but your principal is nowhere to be found! It’s your school mascot’s mission to find out what happened and bring them back safely to the school. While your mascot is on their adventure, they make new friends along the way. Who will your mascot meet, what cities will their adventure take them to? You get to decide how this story ends!”

Students can build their stories using StoryStarter LEGO bricks, take photos, upload into the StoryStarter Visualizer software, and then write their story for submission. The only limitation is that it must involve the use of LEGO Education materials and showcase student’s writing within the 100–200 word limit.

Entries must be submitted via email by October 21, 2012. The grand prize winner will receive a LEGO model built in honor of their school mascot. The two runners-up will each receive a $1,000 LEGO Education gift card. Be sure to check out the details of the initiative and the rules of the contest.

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Phyllis Levy Mandell About Phyllis Levy Mandell

Phyllis Mandell was Managing Editor/Multimedia Review Editor for SLJ.