Jason Reynolds Named Banned Books Week Honorary Chair; 1619 Project Books Coming in November; and More | News Bites

Banned Books Week has its first Honorary Chair; two titles created from The 1619 Project will be released in November; free webinars on teaching Juneteenth and reopening institutions after COVID vaccines; and more in this edition of News Bites.

Banned Books Week has its first Honorary Chair; two titles created from The 1619 Project will be released in November; free webinars on teaching Juneteenth and reopening institutions after COVID vaccines; and more in this edition of News Bites.

Jason Reynolds Named Honorary Chair of 2021 Banned Books Week

The Banned Books Week (BBW) Coalition announced today that Jason Reynolds will be the inaugural Honorary Chair for Banned Books Week 2021. Reynolds, who authored two of the top 3 titles on the list of Top 10 Most Challenged Books of 2020, will headline the annual event, which takes place Sept. 26–Oct. 2. The theme for this year is “Books Unite Us. Censorship Divides Us.”

“I’m excited about being the inaugural Honorary Chair for Banned Books Week,” Reynolds said in a statement. “More importantly, I’m excited about this year’s theme, which is so simple, yet so powerful. What does it mean when we say, ‘Books unite us?’ It means that books are the tethers that connect us culturally. Stories ground us in our humanity; they convince us that we’re not actually that different and that the things that are actually different about us should be celebrated because they are what make up this tapestry of life.”

The BBW Coalition called Reynolds “the perfect person” to headline 2021 Banned Books Week and embody its theme.

“For young people in particular, books offer both shared and differently lived experiences that help them develop empathy and understand themselves and their world,” the announcement said. “In turn, censorship isolates us from each other by narrowing our view of the world.”

“1619” titles coming in November

Penguin Random House announced a Nov. 16 publication date for THE 1619 PROJECT: A New Origin Story, created by Nikole Hannah-Jones; and The New York Times Magazine and The 1619 Project’s Born on the Water, by Hannah-Jones and Renée Watson, illustrated by Nikkolas Smith.

THE 1619 PROJECT: A New Origin Story, released by Random House imprint One World, expands on The New York Times Magazine’s The 1619 Project. The book includes seven new essays by historians, dozens of new poems and pieces of fiction, “a significant elaboration” of the Pulitzer Prize-winning lead essay by Hannah-Jones, and a new introduction. Collectively, these expanded elements offer a rebuttal to critics. Hannah-Jones has also written a third essay that makes the case for reparative solutions to the legacy of injustice the project documents.

In addition, the book includes archival portrait photography of Black Americans paired with each essay, curated by Kimberly Annece Henderson.

The PRH imprint Kokila will publish Born on the Water, a picture book chronicling the history of the enslaved African people. The story begins when a Black girl gets a school and doesn’t know what native country her family comes from.

Teaching Juneteenth webinar with Carole Boston Weatherford

Juneteenth is an annual celebration on June 19th commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. Lee & Low publishers is hosting a webinar that will explore the importance of the holiday, how and why it’s celebrated across the country, as well as relevant books, teaching strategies, and more.

The panelists are Newbery and Caldecott Honor-winning author and poet Carole Boston Weatherford ( Juneteenth Jamboree), and educators Dr. Amanda Vickery, assistant professor of social studies at University of North Texas; and Dawnavyn James, a Missouri-based early childhood and elementary educator. The one-hour webinar is on Wednesday, May 12 at 4 p.m. Eastern.

Registration is free, and there is an option to purchase Juneteenth Jamboree when registering.

Follett offers 90-day ebook access

Follett has introduced Follett eBooks: 90-Day Assigned-User Access Model,  which will allow a school to buy an ebook title for as low as $1.29 and assign it to a student for a 90-day period. This access can be helpful for summer reading, whole class novel study, small group literature circles and books clubs, and one-school, one-book initiatives.

The ebooks will be available through a web browser or app, with shopping and purchasing available from Follett through Titlewave. The 90-day, assigned-user access model requires schools to have Follett Destiny Library Manager or Follett Destiny Discover District Manager.

Amanda Gorman makes publishing history

Amanda Gorman’s The Hill We Climb: An Inaugural Poem for the Country, a hardcover edition of her presidential inauguration poem with a foreword by Oprah Winfrey, set a record for the highest first week sales of any poetry book ever published. An audiobook edition, read by Gorman, with Winfrey reading the foreword, was published simultaneously from Penguin Audio.

In September, Gorman will have two more titles published: The Hill We Climb and Other Poems, a collection; and her debut picture book, Change Sings: A Children’s Anthem, illustrated by Loren Long.

Scholastic looking for kid reporters

Scholastic Kids Press is now accepting Kid Reporter applications for the 2021–22 program year. Students must be between the ages of 10–14 (born on or between September 1, 2007 and August 31, 2011) and complete an application, which includes writing a news story, story ideas, and a personal essay. All applications must be received by June 1. No late or digital applications will be accepted.

Completed entries must be mailed to:
Scholastic Kids Press
557 Broadway
New York, NY, USA 10012-3999

No digital applications will be accepted. Students chosen for the program will be notified in the fall. Questions can be sent to kidspress@scholastic.com.

REALM project webinar about COVID-19 vaccines and reopening

The REopening Archives, Libraries and Museums (REALM) project is hosting a webinar about COVID-19 vaccines and how they impact the reopening and ongoing operations plans for organizations. During the event, which will be held Thursday, April 15 from 3-4:30 Eastern, presenters will provide information on vaccine education, including resources to help address vaccine misinformation. They will also discuss vaccines in general and give an update on the REALM project. Registration is free.

Moderated by Kendra Morgan, OCLC senior program manager, the panel features presenters Crosby Kemper, director, Institute of Museum and Library Services; Erica Kimmerling, senior advisor for science engagement policy and partnerships, Association of Science and Technology Centers; Amy Marino, senior program officer, Office of the Under Secretary for Science and Research, Smithsonian; and Elisabeth Wilhelm, co-lead of vaccine confidence team, COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force, CDC.

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