What a night! Girls of Summer 2017 launched into the world on Wednesday, June 21. Dancing with Rita Williams Garcia! Book talking with Stacy Hawkins Adams, Beth Morris, Amanda Nelson, and Gigi Amateau. Eating ice pops with girls from all over Richmond. Here’s a peek at how it went down!
How’s this for a good idea on vinyl? Look closely: the book jackets are the record labels
Part of the dream team. Stacy Hawkins Adams and Amanda Nelson. Check the gift bags this year, compliments of Georgi Green
Gigi arrives with the hand-made bags for the girls of summer winners, courtesy of Betty Sanderson
The annual basket of book cover buttons
With the ever fabulous Patty Parks, visionary branch manager of the Richmond Public Library
Some of our guests…
Our audience continues to grow
Our third attempt at a selfie with Beth Morris, part of the GOS 2017 selection committee
Rita Williams Garcia interviewed by Maeve and Alex from Richmond Young Writers. Stacy Adams facilitating.
This is what it’s about. With my friend and co-founder, Gigi Amateau.
To see our entire Girls of Summer list and to start following the weekly author Q & As, visit www.girlsofsummerlist.com.
The Young Readers Center at the Library of Congress is having a grand opening for its Saturday hours this weekend. That means, when folks visit the capital, their kids can have a place to rest from museums and seek shelter in a story time with mom and dad.
I’ll be kicking off the festivities with our beloved Librarian of Congress, Dr. Carla Hayden. I’ve planned a Mango, Abuela and Me read-aloud and book talk, followed by Q& A with kids from around the country.
There will be games, book talks, and performances led by Erica Perl author of Capybara Conspiracy, for older kids, as well. I hear through the grapevine that there’s a wrap up that honors the Chinese New Year (Rooster), too.
I plan to stay the whole day, so whether you’re a fan of picture books or a YA reader, please come keep me company! Now more than ever is the time to celebrate books, reading, and knowledge.
Our twitter hashtag for the day: #CelebrateYoungReaders
PDF for you to download: yrc-grand-opening
Will you be near Washington, DC on May 25? If so, I invite you to join me for an hour at the Library of Congress where we’ll talk about the role of heritage in storytelling.
Last year, Karen Jaffe, Executive Director at the Young Readers Center, convened a successful symposium on strengthening families through diversity in children’s literature. It featured Kwame Alexander, Tim Tingle, Ellen Oh, Gigi Amateau and me. (Here’s the video).
We had such a good time that we’ve decided to do it again this year, adding to the menu of interesting initiatives the YRC is up to. (Hosting the recent Walter Awards, adding a new teen board, to name just two.)
So this year, I’m back to help as moderator, asking questions and learning along with everyone else in the room. Some of my favorite up- and-coming voices in children’s lit are on this panel: Wendy Shang, Aisha Saeed, Rene Colato Lainez, and Elizabeth Zunon. All are authors and/or illustrators whose personal stories and experiences have shaped their nuanced and honest books about how we come to see ourselves as part of the American family.
How do we face unflattering characterizations? What is the balance of writing culturally specific stories and writing the universal? How does the outsider come to feel like the insider, if ever? What are the challenges of naming and embracing home cultures in works for mainstream classrooms in the US?
All that and more on the 25th. Hope you’ll join us.
A few photos for you from my wonderful time in Herndon Virginia as part of their Big Read event. Thank you Signe Fredrich’s and all of Arts Herndon for the kind invitation!
The highlight, by far, was my time with the students – of every age. I visited Herndon High School and Herndon Elementary, plus a special off-site program that stole my heart. It’s called All Ages Read Together, which is housed at the Herndon Senior Center. It pairs senior volunteers with a group of off-the-chart adorable preschoolers. (See for yourself.) It seems like such a smart way to help little ones get ready for kindergarten, while also engaging our seniors meaningfully so that isolation doesn’t creep up on them.
I am so grateful for the welcome I received everywhere. (I’m looking at you, too, library staff at Fortnightly!) Special thanks to Julie Brunson for all the preparation she did to help bring Mango, Abuela and Me to life for both the students and the volunteers.
The students worked on parrot projects before I came to visit them.
Adorable beyond belief.
Kids run the range from readers, like this young lady, to children who are learning to hear the sound of their voice and the names of letters
Telling us about the picture they drew of themselves and their families
Just back from El Salvador, where he visited his abuela and ate pupusas!
The senior volunteers who work with the children in ALL AGES READ TOGETHER. (Lead teacher Julie Brunson second from the right, top)
Mango slices anyone?
Miss Olivia made us empanadas. (Abuela would approve!)
And Carine helped us label things in Spanish and English, just like in the book
The beautiful students at Herndon High School, about to finish their years as ESL students. These students had great questions about Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass, which they all read in English. Such a charming and loving bunch…
It’s always a party when you get to talk with Kwame Alexander, who is basically a treasure to Virginia. (Photo by Kim Dare)
If you care about kids and the books they read, maybe you can make room in your schedule for a half-day conference on censorship this Saturday at Bank Street College in NYC.
I’m no stranger to dust ups about what’s inside my books, sadly – mostly in the form of soft censorship. Just shy of an out-and-out challenge, it means that barriers are thrown between the reader and the book. Barriers like being disinvited to schools. Or having the title of my book changed to dollar signs for the s’s in ass. Or requiring parental notes to read the novel. Or simply not carrying the novel in the library, despite its recognitions by the ALA and other reputable sources.
And I’m guessing that someone will find plenty of reasons to oppose my latest historical fiction novel, Burn Baby Burn, too, for its mention of contraception, Planned Parenthood and maybe even foul language.
I’ll need my brain and my crocodile skin, so this conference actually comes at a good time for me.
What’s especially appealing to me about this particular conference is also this: As the conversation about diverse representation deepens, new and compelling controversies have erupted. The only solution that makes sense? Think, learn, and talk.
Here’s the set up for the day: We’ll be given a brief look at the history of censorship in books for young readers by the eminent children’s book scholar, Leonard Marcus. The panels that follow will consider how authors come to these stories to begin with; the common reasons books get in trouble with censors; and finally, the more recent controversies, including those that have put usual allies in conflict with one another.
I hope you can join us. Here’s a little visual and a guest list so you know what to expect.
Books we’ll talk about with their authors and/or editors:
Other uber librarians and publishing experts on hand:
Allie Jane Bruce, Children’s Librarian, Bank Street College of Education; Fatima Shaik, Children’s/Young Adult Books Committee, PEN American Center; Andy Laties, Manager, Bank Street Book Store;
Kiera Parrott, Reviews Director, School Library Journal; Cheryl Willis Hudson, Editorial Director, Just Us Books, Inc.; Elizabeth Levy, author; Joan Bertin, Director, National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC); Hilary Van Dusen, editor Candlewick Press; David Gale, editor, Simon & Schuster; Shelly Diaz, YA reviewer, School Library Journal
Not anywhere near New York?
You can follow the conversation from afar on #CensorshipConversation, Saturday, April 16, 9 am – 1 pm.