Thursday, July 2, 2015

Share the Story of Our National Anthem with Your Kids

"The Star-Spangled Banner"
Will Be Played at Many Celebrations
This Weekend
Do You Know Its History?

Try your luck at a few trivia questions about our national anthem:  
 
Do you know what battle inspired the writing of "The Star-Spangled Banner?" Did you know our national anthem was originally given a different title? Why is the "The Star-Spangled Banner" played at baseball games?

You can learn the answers to these questions and more in the article "Star-Spangled Presidents" by Helen Kampion on OurWhiteHouse.org.  
 
On this fourth of July, why not take a few moments today to share the dramatic story of our national anthem' history with the young people in your life? 

While visiting OurWhiteHouse.org, be sure to check out the vast array of other articles, resources, and activities that help young people connect with American history. 
 
And be sure to ask for the art and literature anthology Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out at a library or bookstore near you.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Keep Your Kids Reading This Summer

Reading Rockets Provides
Engaging Summer Reading Resources



With the coming of summer comes summer reading! And Reading Rockets has lots of resources and ideas you can share to help caring adults encourage kids to learn, read, and have fun in the summer sun.

    Start with a Book, features 24 kid-friendly themes, like dinosaurs, building, animals, sports, superheroes, music and more! Each theme introduces young readers and their families to great fiction and nonfiction books, along with hands-on activities that support reading, writing, and critical thinking skills and links to other great websites and apps with related content. You’ll also find:      


Plus, Start with a Book offers Reading Tips to Go to support to parents who need extra help coming up with ideas to keep kids’ reading and writing skills improving over the summer. Subscribers to this free service get 3-4 short text messages per week—all summer long—in English or Spanish.

Please consider sharing Reading Tips to Go with your readers via social media. A recent study from the National Bureau of Economic Research found that San Francisco preschoolers whose parents received text messages with highly-specific tips on reading to their children or helping them sound out letters and words performed better on literacy tests than children whose parents did not receive such messages.

There’s even more to share with families getting ready for summer at Reading Rockets. The "virtual beach bag" of activities is packed for teachers to help them help families get ready for summer and to launch students to fun, enriching summertime experiences.

And the great titles selected by Maria Salvadore in the 2015 Summer Reading Guide will take young readers on summer reading journeys to Paris, Provence, Zimbabwe, the beach, Market Street and more!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Celebrating Poetry Month

The Horn Book Interviews
Poet Nikki Grimes

In honor of Poetry Month, the Horn Book's Robin Smith recently interviewed acclaimed poet for young people Nikki Grimes. Here is an excerpt:

QUESTION: As you travel and engage with children, how do you inspire in them an interest in reading and writing poetry?

ANSWER: That interest is already in them. Poetry is a huge part of their childhood, from the ABC song to jump-rope rhymes to “Ring Around the Rosie.” Stoking that interest only requires sharing poems with them to which they can relate. One whiff of poetry about the stuff of their own childhood, their own lives, and they are off and running. Once they’ve gotten a good taste of poetry, just try and stop them from reading and writing it!

Read the entire interview here.

MORE About Nikki Grimes
Nikki Grimes does not consider herself a bona fide storyteller, but, as she told an audience at the Library of Congress, she is happy to own the title Poet. Born and raised in New York City, Nikki began composing verse at the age of six and has been writing ever since that time. Grimes is the recipient of the 2006 NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children. Her distinguished works include ALA Notable book What is Goodbye?, Coretta Scott King Award winner Bronx Masquerade, and Coretta Scott King Author Honor books Jazmin's Notebook, Talkin' About Bessie, Dark Sons, The Road to Paris, and Words with Wings. Grimes is a member of the board of directors of the NCBLA. She lives in Corona, California. Learn more about Grimes and her books on her website NikkiGrimes.com.
 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Looking for Quality Books for the Kids in Your Life?

Check out the Bank Street College
Center for Children's Literature
BEST OF THE BEST
List of Books Published
for Kids 0-18 in 2014!

The Bank Street College Center for Children's Literature recently published The Best Children’s Books of the Year, 2015 Edition, which includes more than 600 titles chosen by the Children’s Book Committee as the best of the best published in 2014. 

In choosing books for the annual list, reviewers consider literary quality and excellence of presentation as well as the potential emotional impact of the books on young readers. Other criteria include credibility of characterization and plot, authenticity of time and place, age suitability, positive treatment of ethnic and religious differences, and the absence of stereotypes. Nonfiction titles are further evaluated for accuracy and clarity. Each book accepted for the list is read and reviewed by at least two committee members and then discussed by the committee as a whole.

To download the list (which is categorized by age group), visit the Bank Street College website here.

Monday, March 9, 2015

An Easy and FREE Way to Help the NCBLA

Register the NCBLA
as Your AmazonSmile Charity and
Help Us Raise Funds to Continue Our Mission
   
AmazonSmile, the charitable foundation of Amazon.com, provides an easy way to support charities like the NCBLA each time you shop online. All you need to do is register the NCBLA as your AmazonSmile charity recipient, and AmazonSmile will donate 0.5% of your eligible purchases directly to the NCBLA at no extra cost!



To register, just visit smile.amazon.com and select National Children's Book and Literacy Alliance Inc as your charity of choice. Once you have registered, the NCBLA will automatically receive donated funds every time you shop as long as you start your shopping at smile.amazon.com.

Thank you very much for your kind consideration! 

To read more about the AmazonSmile program, go to: smile.amazon.com/about
National Childrens Book And Literacy Alliance Inc

Monday, February 2, 2015

February Is Presidents Month!

Get Kids Excited About Presidential History Using the Award-Winning Anthology
Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out


Exciting stories, informative essays, humorous poetry, and extraordinary art can help kids engage in the past and make connections with our present and future. A perfect resource for learning more about American and presidential history that provides all of this and MORE is the NCBLA's award-winning anthology Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out.

With Our White House, kids can learn about the building of the White House--and why it once burned. They can engage with intimate stories of those who have resided in the White House over the years, including presidential pets and ghosts! And kids can also discover the joys and sorrows that have faced our nation and the often gut-wrenching decisions needed to be made by our presidents.



Our White House
was created by the National Children's Book and Literacy Alliance as a collaborative effort by over one hundred award-winning authors and illustrators to encourage young people to read more about America’s rich history and culture; to think more about America’s future; to talk more about our nation’s leadership; and to act on their own beliefs and convictions, ensuring this great democratic experiment will survive and thrive.

The Our White House anthology is supported by a companion educational website, OurWhiteHouse.org, which expands the book content with additional stories, primary sources, articles, activities, and discussion questions related to book topics. The website also includes printable education resource guides on the OWH Plus page to help you make the most of the book's content in your classroom and library. 

Learn more about how you can inspire young people using the Our White House resources in the online article "For Educators: Using Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out and OurWhiteHouse.org in the Classroom."

Our White House is available in both hardcover and paperback from Candlewick Press.

Ask for Our White House
at a library or bookstore near you!

Publisher’s Weekly Starred Review!
“Eight years in the making, this anthology of White House history convenes an all-star roster of 108 children's authors and illustrators, as well as a few scholars and former White House employees and residents and it is a blue-ribbon choice for family sharing during an election year. Chronologically ordered, the entries range from poems to presidential speeches, satirical cartoons to stately portraits. . . . The volume makes the invaluable point that history does not have to be remote or abstract, but a personal and ongoing engagement.”
The Horn Book Starred Review!
“With something for adults and children alike is the sumptuous new anthology Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out. . . . The contributors are all luminaries of the children’s book field. A fascinating, eminently browsable, and accessible entrance into the People’s House.”

School Library Journal
Starred Review!
“This handsome compendium is rich with excerpts, poems, and other writings about the historic residence, many of them personal in tone and subject. With artwork as eclectic as the text, the book offers glimpses into the presidents, their concerns, their families, and the mansion itself.”

Featured on the “Martha Stewart Show” as One of The New York Times “Eight Great Books for the Holidays”
On the December 15, 2008 “Martha Stewart Show,” Martha advised procrastinating audience members and viewers to “Think books! I do!” as ideal holiday gifts. With that in mind New York Times book review editor Sam Tanenhaus shared recommendations of eight great books. Our White House was one of those books—the only children’s book on his list!

L.A. Parent
Recommendation!
“This is the definitive White House book for history buffs young and old. Whether you seek ghost stories, architectural details, or personal accounts . . . you will not be disappointed. With amazing artwork and entries spanning more than 200 years from literary luminaries ranging from Charles Dickens to Walt Whitman, Gregory Maguire to David McCullough, there is material enough to keep you coming back for more.”
Awards
  • 2009-2010 National Endowment for the Humanities We the People “Picturing America” Bookshelf Award
  • 2009 American Library Association Notable Children’s Book for All Ages
  • 2009 National Council for Social Studies and the Children’s Book Council Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People
  • 2009 International Reading Association Teachers’ Choices Booklist Selection
  • Amazon.com Best Books of 2008 Top 10 Editors’ Pick for Middle Readers
  • Parents’ Choice Foundation Recommended Book Award, Fall 2008
  • School Library Journal Best Books of the Year 2008
  • The Horn Book Fanfare, Best Books of 2008
  • Publisher’s Weekly 2008 Best Books of the Year, Children’s Nonfiction
  • Publishers Weekly 2008 Cuffie Award, Best Nonfiction Treatment of a Subject, Honorable Mention
  • Scripps-Howard News Service Favorite Children's Book of 2008
  • www.ourwhitehouse.org named a 2009 American Library Association “Great Websites for Kids”

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

State of the Union Address Tonight

Helping Young People Connect with Contemporary Events
Tonight President Obama will make his state of the union address to Congress. Will he find refuge in the White House movie theater sometime beforehand to practice his delivery of tonight's speech, just as his predecessor President George W. Bush liked to do? What policies and legislative goals will the president be promoting tonight? Is the state of the union address important? Need we watch?


In his 1949 state of the union address, President Harry S Truman proposed his program of social and economic reform, asserting that “Every segment of our population, and every individual, has a right to expect from his government a fair deal."

In his state of the union address of 1974, President Richard Nixon refused to resign the presidency despite the rising tide of suspicion that was enveloping him...yet he did resign seven months later.

And in 1982 with the country in recession President Ronald Reagan called for a “New Federalism” in his state of the union address, advocating for less federal spending and more state initiatives to solve social and economic problems.

What might President Obama be proposing for Americans in tonight's speech?
Events such as the state of the union address provide a perfect opportunity to continue our dialog about American history and politics with our young people. Encourage young people to watch tonight's address. Watch it with them! When the speech is over, turn off the TV pundits and discuss the speech. What did they think about it? Do they agree with the president's proposals? Why or why not? Take the time to help young people make the connection to their own lives.
Learn more about the constitutional requirements for the state of the union address in the New York Times article State of the Union.

An excellent resource to consult regarding the presidency, politics, and American history is the
NCBLA’s art and literary anthology Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out. Our White House seeks to build on logical links between literacy, historical literacy, and civic engagement. Coordinating activities and discussion suggestions, as well as additional articles, are available on the book's supplemental website: ourwhitehouse.org.

On ourwhitehouse.org, learn from a political speech writer how a state of the union address differs from an inaugural address in "
Writing Political Speeches: An Interview with Thomas LaFauci." 
Also on ourwhitehouse.org, discover research tips to help adults guide young people in their quest for knowledge, Presidential facts, tips on visiting the White House, and an extensive guide of additional history websites you can share with young people.

Friday, January 9, 2015

New Year Resolutions

I Will Read To My Kids --
If I Ever Find The Time!


All right, so you've heard that you should read aloud to your kids fifteen minutes everyday. You've heard from teachers and pediatricians and politicians and the so-called "educational experts" that it is the best thing you can do ensure your child's success in reading and school. But who are they trying to kid with this fifteen minutes a day deal? It takes a heck of a lot more time than fifteen minutes a day!

First, if you are going to read books, you've got to have books to read. And that means getting everyone dressed, then driving to the library through rain, sun, sleet, hail, or snow, because at ten to twenty dollars a pop you're probably not going to have a pile of kid's books on your shelf at home. And a trip to the library is going to take at least a half hour and then you have to return the books, and of course one book will be lost, and you will be late getting it back. Then you will be penalized with late fees, all of which takes even more time.

And, you have not one child, but three, all different ages, all different temperaments, all different interests. Do you read different books to each child individually? That adds up to 45 minutes a day. And how do you know what book to read to each one? Do you read to all three at once? What if your three year old gets up and walks away in the middle of the story? And what if the baby starts crying? And what if your eight year old doesn't want to read "baby books" any more? And what if you've been working all day and you're so bone tired that you can't even keep your eyelids open to read?

I know. I understand. I've been there, too, with three kids, two jobs, and a husband whose work requires him to travel extensively. So here's the bad news. The best thing you can do to help your child succeed in reading and in school is to read aloud to them, period, the end. Why? Because you, taking the time to read aloud to your children, especially when you are so very busy, shows them that you think words and reading and books are very important. Reading aloud to children enriches their vocabularies, models reading behaviors, expands their emotional expression, and introduces them to story, history, folklore, and culture, enlarging their world. They love you. When you take the time to read to your kids, their love for you spills over. It encompasses all that you do together, so they will automatically begin to love books and language, too. And kids who love books and language definitely have a leg up on everyone else when they start school.

Here's the good news. Forget the fifteen minutes a day thing. Think about reading time in terms of a week's length of time instead of a day. When my kids were little I worried about their eating habits. Were they getting representative foods from all five food groups everyday? No. Sometimes my oldest would only eat chicken nuggets, peas, and white bread slathered with peanut butter for days. Eventually, I stopped worrying about daily food intake and began to think of my childrens' nutrition in terms of a week's time. It was only then that I realized that within a week they ate from a variety of food groups and were getting all the nutritional requirements their bodies needed to grow.

Think of your children's brain growth in weekly terms, too. Think in terms of providing your kids with language enriching experiences. For example; if you don't have the time to read a book aloud, tell them a story while you do the dinner dishes. The story can be as simple as you recalling a childhood memory, like the time your cat Henry gave birth to kittens under your parents' bed. Or, borrow a few book and tape sets from the library and when you are tired, lie down on your bed with your kids and listen to the tape together. While, driving back and forth doing errands play alphabet and word games in the car, or listen to great songs on a tape or a CD and sing along with the lyrics. Have your children "read" you a well loved book that they have actually memorized. Then, when you have the chance during the week to read for more than fifteen minutes, do so. It will compensate for the days you couldn't find time to read.

Be honest with yourself. Is it really a great imposition to get to the library? Do you find the time to go to the mall? Do you find the time to rent videos or DVD's? Videos have to be returned, too. If you really don't have the time to go to the library, check out your library's services. Many libraries now have bookmobiles which bring the books to you. And for returns, libraries can often arrange book pick-ups or they can renew your books over the phone.

Resolve this year to read aloud more to your children. Talk with them. Discuss their day and yours. Tell them more stories, made-up and real. Sing them more songs. It is time spent that you will never regret.

© 2007 Mary Brigid Barrett

Monday, January 5, 2015

From Real Talk Publishing on TeenReads.com

Robin Adelson, Outgoing Executive Director
of the CBC and Every Child a Reader,
Talks to Teen Reads

Take a moment and read the insightful interview with esteemed Executive Director Robin Adelson of the Children's Book Council and Every Child a Reader on TeenReads.com here.

 

Here is an excerpt:

 

Every Child a Reader is a charitable organization focusing on literacy. Its mission is to instill a lifelong love of reading in children. It’s not enough to learn how to read. For a child to truly reach their potential as a student and ultimately as a productive member of society, you need to look beyond just learning the basics of reading. And to get beyond the basics, you have to have an appreciation for reading. With all of the things competing for your leisure time, if reading is one of those choices that you'll consider as you grow up, it expands your horizons in ways that ultimately expand your potential.

We try to instill a lifelong love of reading by promoting the joy of reading, so it’s not just associated with school and chores and homework, but is recognized as something entertaining, cultural and artistic.

 

Learn more about the Children's Book Council at CBCBooks.org and Every Child a Reader at ECARFoundation.org.


Monday, December 22, 2014

Donate Today!

Help the NCBLA
Help All of Our Nation's Kids

In this season of giving, please consider making a tax-deductible donation to the NCBLA. Large or small, we value and honor every donation.

To make a donation by credit card using our secure credit card service, click here.

To send a check or money order, please mail your donation to:

Mary Kemper, Treasurer
The National Children's Book and Literacy Alliance
P.O. Box 1479
Brewster, MA 02631

Thank you! We hope you and your family have a delight-filled holiday season and a joyous New Year!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

How Do You Find Just the RIght Gift Book?


Expert Tips for Finding Perfect Books
for Special Young People

this Holiday Season

When you buy a special book for a child at Hanukkah, Christmas, or Kwanzaa, it helps your child to create emotional connections linking family, tradition, and reading. It also sends the message that receiving books is as pleasurable an experience as receiving toys.

I asked Natacha Liuzzi, librarian and book buyer, for some age-pertinent book suggestions for gift giving this year. Natacha's youthful appearance belies the fact that she has years of experience connecting kids to books. For eight years, Natacha was the Children's Services Librarian at the Hinesburg Public Library in Hinesburg, Vermont. There she was responsible for buying all the children's, middle grade, and young adult materials, servicing children from toddlers through to high school students. Currently, Natacha is the children's book buyer for the independent Bear Pond Books in Montpelier, Vermont. For the past four years she has served on a committee that nominates picture books for the Red Clover Award, Vermont's annual student choice awards. She is also the RIF coordinator for the Hinesburg Community School, providing each student with a free book three times yearly, and she was the Hinesburg Literacy Team coordinator working with area preschool and reading teachers throughout Chittenden County.

Finding a special book for the child you love can be an overwhelming task given the selection available at your bookstore. Natacha offers the following advice:

  • Find out what the child or teen has read already. Ask them what authors they like to read.
  • Discover the subjects and topics that interest them.
  • Find out if they prefer fiction or nonfiction, fantasy or reality.
  • Don't be afraid to ask your neighborhood children's librarian or children's books seller for suggestions and advice.
  • Read your local newspaper's book section. Many newspapers and magazines feature book suggestions this time of year.
  • Be consumer savvy. The books with biggest marketing budgets are not necessarily the best books for you child or teen. And conversely, a book you've never heard of may contain the story that changes your child’s or teen's life. Natacha says, "Just because a book jacket may look promising does not mean the story is going to live up to it. We all fall victim at one time or another to 'judging a book by its cover.'
  • Take into consideration the content and age recommendation. I think great care needs to be taken, especially if a young reader is at a higher reading level. Even though the child can read the material the content is not always appropriate.
  • No one is ever too old for a picture book!!
  • Consider all possibilities: great literature and fun, entertaining books. Says Natacha, "Think of books in terms of chocolate mousse and a Hershey kiss. There are moments for both!"
Great Book Gift Suggestions
Going to the bookstore with a list of recommended books in hand can help guide your choices. Click the titles of the following lists for some authoritative advice:
© 2005, 2014 by Mary Brigid Barrett