February 22, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

About Debra Lau Whelan

Debra Whelan is a former senior editor for news and features at SLJ.

Calling All Teens: Banned Books Video Contest

Got a great story to tell about a banned book or another disturbing incident involving censorship? Then encourage your teens to enter the 2012 Youth Free Expression Project’s (YFEP) film contest—and give them a chance to win up to $1,000 and a free trip to the Big Apple.

The annual competition, open to kids 19 and under, hopes to educate youth about their First Amendment rights and the importance of free speech. It’s a perfect way to teach a lesson on […]

Interview: Rebecca Stead on ‘Liar & Spy’

SLJ talks to Newbery Medal-winner Rebecca Stead about her latest book, Liar & Spy (Random, 2012), a middle grade novel about friendship, bullies, spies, and family.

Interview: Gary Golio Talks About ‘Spirit Seeker’

Gary Golio speaks to SLJ about his latest picture book, Spirit Seeker: John Coltrane’s Musical Journey (Clarion, 2012), which deals with the tumultuous life of the legendary jazz musician.

‘The Future of Us’ Out in Paperback

The Future of Us (Razorbill, 2012), co-written by Carolyn Mackler and Jay Asher, comes out in paperback today. Find out how to win two autographed copies, one hardcover and one paperback.

SLJ Speaks to National Book Award Finalists

A story about the race to build the atomic bomb, a harrowing tale of the Khmer Rouge’s reign of terror in Cambodia, and an adventure about love, loss, and family are among the National Book Foundation’s five finalists in the Young People’s Literature category.

Interview: Jacqueline Woodson Talks About Her Picture Book ‘Each Kindness’

SLJ catches up with Margaret A. Edwards Award-winner Jacqueline Woodson to talk about her latest picture book, Each Kindness (Penguin, 2012), which deals with empathy, the difficulty of human relationships, and regret.

Ellen Hopkins, Phyllis Reynolds Naylor Honored for Fighting Censorship

The National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) will honor award-winning authors Ellen Hopkins and Phyllis Reynolds Naylor next month for their fight to defend free speech.

Interview: Why Lauren Myracle’s Proud to Top ALA’s List of Most Challenged Books

This week marks the 30th anniversary of Banned Books Week, an annual event that celebrates the freedom to read. We caught up by email with bestselling author Lauren Myracle, who ranked number one on the American Library Association’s top 10 most frequently challenged books in 2011 and 2009—and who also made the list in 2008 and 2007.

School Librarian Lisa Von Drasek Leaves Bank Street to Head the Kerlan Collection in MN

Lisa Von Drasek, a children’s librarian at the Bank Street College of Education and director of its Center for Children’s Literature, has taken a job as curator at the University of Minnesota’s Children’s Literature Research Collections.

Bill Moyers Joins ALA’s Banned Books Week Virtual Read Out

Award-winning journalist Bill Moyers has joined the American Library Association’s (ALA) Virtual Read Out campaign with a three-minute video on book banning and the dangers of censorship.

Interview: ALA’s Carrie Russell Talks About Copyright in the Classroom

SLJ talks to Carrie Russell, director of the American Library Association’s Program on Public Access to Information, about her book Complete Copyright for K–12 Librarians and Educators, a useful tool to help school librarians and teachers better understand copyright law.

Penguin to Launch Kathy Dawson Imprint Targeting Middle School, YA Readers

Keep an eye out for a new imprint that aims to deliver novels and series with hard-hitting issues that reflect the real lives of middle schoolers and young adults. Kathy Dawson, who was vice president and editorial director at Dial Books for Young Readers, is launching her own imprint, which will center around “emotionally-driven” books from various genres that focus on the human condition.

Interview: Dav Pilkey on Captain Underpants #9

SLJ talks to Dav Pilkey about the creative process behind his books, working with DreamWorks to turn Captain Underpants into a 3-D animated movie, and, of course, Captain Underpants and the Terrifying Return of Tippy Tinkletrousers (Scholastic)—the ninth installment of his sublimely silly novels.

Interview: JLG’s Susan Marston Talks About the Hottest Upcoming Books for Fall 2012

We sat down with Susan Marston, editorial director of Junior Library Guild (JLG), which is owned by SLJ’s parent company, Media Source, to talk about the top upcoming books for kids and teens.

Chicago Public Library Steps In During Teacher Strike

The Chicago Public Library is on hand this week to help absorb the influx of students who’ve been displaced as teachers continue their first strike in 25 years.

UK Children’s Laureate Julia Donaldson Embarks on Six-Week Library Tour to Protest Closures

Public libraries in the UK have another strong supporter: Children’s Laureate Julia Donaldson, who, on

Public libraries in the UK have another strong supporter: Children’s Laureate Julia Donaldson, who, on the eve of a six-week library tour, sent an open letter to the newly appointed Culture Secretary Maria Miller, urging her to save Britain’s libraries.

Judy Blume Reveals Breast Cancer Diagnosis

In a candid and sometimes humorous blog post, Judy Blume revealed Wednesday that she was diagnosed with breast cancer in June and recently underwent a mastectomy and reconstruction. She’s now recuperating in New York and getting ready to start work on her next book.

WA’s Pierce County Library System Bids Farewell to Bookmobiles After 65 Years of Service

After more than 60 years in operation, the Pierce County Library System in Tacoma, WA, is saying good-bye to its three bookmobiles as a result of drastic budget cuts.
The library’s board of trustees agreed to the cuts earlier this month in order to offset an anticipated $2.6 million to $3 million budget shortfall for 2013, which amounts to approximately 10 percent of the library’s $26.8 million 2012 operating budget. Stopping the bookmobiles will save the library $180,000.

Interview: Literary Manager Eddie Gamarra on Turning Kids’ Books into Movies

Ever wonder how some of your favorite books make it to the big screen? School Library Journal spoke to Eddie Gamarra, a literary manager and producer at the Gotham Group who specializes in representing works for TV, film, and dramatic right. His latest hot project is Libba Bray’s latest, The Diviners (Little, Brown), which comes out September 18.

Locals Create ‘People’s Library’ During Seattle Public Library Closure

Just because citywide budget cuts have forced the Seattle Public Library to close its doors for a week starting Monday, doesn’t mean kids will be left without good books or fun things to do during that time. A group is organizing a “People’s Library” in the Central District—and it needs children and YA titles.