“Frindle” Author Remembered | News Bites

Author Andrew Clements is being remembered by educators, fans, and peers; the Library of Congress presents Rosa Parks through her own writings, photos, and memorabilia; Science teachers can earn a prize valued at $5,500 in an engineering contest; and more in this edition of News Bites.

Author Andrew Clements is being remembered by educators, fans, and peers; report shows books used in NYC schools curriculum are overwhelmingly white; WNDB/Penguin Random House Creative Writing Award submissions open; the Library of Congress presents new Rosa Parks exhibit; and more in this edition of News Bites.


Frindle Author Remembered

Andrew Clements—author of middle grade best-seller Frindle and more than 80 other titles from picture books to YA novels—has died. He was 70.

As the news spread, educators, fellow authors, and fans took to Twitter to share their memories. Librarians, parents, and teachers noted the impact he had on children’s lives—and theirs. And fellow authors spoke of his kindness and talent.

“So sad to hear of the passing of Andrew Clements, a legend in children's books,” Alan Gratz, author of Refugee and other children’s and YA titles, wrote on Twitter. “Might be the most-read kids book author most adults have never heard of. I finally got to meet him last year. So gracious and kind. My own Ban This Book was modeled on his work.”

Colby Sharp posted a video of an interview he did with Clements, writing, “Talking to Andrew and his wife gave me hope for the world.”

Clements was an English teacher and musician before becoming an author. He is best-known for Frindle, which was published in 1996 and has sold millions of copies worldwide. The first book of his YA “Things” trilogy, Things Not Seen, won the 2004 Schneider Family Book Award in the teen category.

His last book, The Friendship War, a middle grade title, was published in February 2019.


2020 Creative Writing Award

 We Need Diverse Books and Penguin Random House have opened submissions for the 2020 Creative Writing Awards. High school seniors who attend public schools in the United States and are planning to attend college in fall 2020 are eligible to take part in the competition.

Five first-place prizes of $10,000 will be awarded in fiction/drama, poetry, personal essay/memoir, and spoken-word poetry. There will be an additional first-place award to the top entrant from the NYC area. Runners up will also be honored.

The deadline for submissions is March 2, 2020. Winners will be announced on June 5, 2020, on the award website.


Report NYC Schools Show Overwhelmingly White Books in Curriculum

A new report by the NYC Coalition for Education Justice (CEJNYC) showed an overwhelming lack of diversity and representation in authors and characters in the books used in the curriculum for preschool to eighth grade in the largest public school district in the country.

Looking at 1,205 books across 16 commonly-used curricula and booklists, the CEJNYC examined the racial/ethnic demographics of the authors and compared that to the demographics of the schools. Of the 1,205 books we analyzed, 1,003 books were by white authors, while white students represent only 15 percent of NYC’s student population, according to a report. More than half of the books had white main characters, the report said. 

NYC educators and administrators are not the only ones called out in the report. Of the 12 texts in the New York Public Library booklist for pre-K classes, there are 0 Latinx authors, 0 Asian authors, 0 Native authors, 1 Black author, and 11 white authors.


Library of Congress Debuts Rosa Parks Exhibit

A new Library of Congress exhibition, “Rosa Parks: In Her Own Words,” which opens December 5, tells the story of Parks' life beyond her refusal to give up her seat to a white person and move to the back of the bus in Montgomery, AL, in 1955. It explores her early life and activism, the Montgomery bus boycott, the fallout from her arrest for her family and their move to Detroit, and the impact of her life.

The exhibit demonstrates that Parks was “a seasoned activist with a militant spirit forged over decades of challenging inequality and injustice.” This is the first exhibition of the Rosa Parks Collection, which includes her personal writings, reflections, photographs, records, and memorabilia—including her account of “keeping vigil” with her grandfather to protect their home from Klansmen and a manuscript in which she writes about a childhood encounter with a white boy who threatened to hit her. 

A new book, “Rosa Parks: In Her Own Words,” is a companion to the exhibition. There is also a digital version of the collection, which includes parts of the exhibit and a resource guide.


 

 

Engineering Contest Applications Open

Vernier Software & Technology is accepting applications for its 2020 Engineering Contest, which recognizes the innovative use of Vernier technology to introduce engineering concepts or practices to students. The competition is open to middle school, high school, and college educators, who must complete an online application and produce a video demonstrating an investigation done with students, the Vernier technology used, and the engineering concepts addressed.

Middle and high school educators must also explain how the project addresses engineering practices in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).

Applications are due by February 15, 2020. The winner—who will receive $1,000 in cash, $3,000 in Vernier technology, and $1,500 toward expenses to attend the 2020 National Science Teachers’ Association (NSTA) STEM conference or the 2020 American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) conference—will be announced in March.


Updated Book on Teaching Challenged Titles

SLJ ’s Scales on Censorship columnist Pat Scales has updated Teaching Banned Books: 32 Guides for Children and Teens. This second edition includes graphic novels and nonfiction. The book deals with issues such as bullying, racism, bigotry, and making tough choices.


Penguin To Acquire Eric Carle LLC

Penguin Young Readers is acquiring Eric Carle LLC, the asset holder of the IP rights for picture-book creator Eric Carle, whose books have sold more than 145 million copies worldwide. The deal, which includes publishing rights and licensing, is expected to close on January 1. For more than 20 years, the Eric Carle studio has managed the business assets of Carle’s work, expanding the brand to include theater adaptations of Carle’s books, apps, and other retail opportunities. Penguin’s Eric Carle publishing will continue at the World of Eric Carle imprint.

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