MARK YOUR CALENDAR
Upcoming Events for Children's Librarians
Newbery Medalist Jean Craighead George Dies:
:Author Jean Craighead George, best known for her middle grade novels such as Julie of the Wolves and My Side of the Mountain, has died at the age of 92. A cause of death has not been announced, but she is said to have died “"peacefully and painlessly"" according to her agent Ginger Knowlton.
Having worked as a journalist when she was younger, George wrote her first novels in the late 1940s with her then-husband John Lothur George. After they divorced in 1963, she continued to write and in 1972 Julie of the Wolves was published. The tale of a young girl experiencing changes forced upon her culture from the outside, the book was awarded the Newbery Medal in 1973 and came to be included in elementary school reading lists.
Jean Craighead George continued to write well into the 21st century and ultimately wrote more than 100 books. Her work was characterized by a keen interest in the natural world, and in the impact of mankind on the world in which we live. For more information, check out: www.nytimes.com/2012/05/17/books/jean-craighead-george-childrens-author-dies-at-92.html
Caldecott Medalist Leo Dillon Dies:
Leo Dillon, who collaborated with wife Diane to earn two Caldecott Medals and many other awards, died on May 26, 2012. Leo Dillon was 79 years of age, and died from complications from lung surgery. The couple won back-to-back Caldecott Medals for Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears in 1976 and Ashanti to Zulu: African Traditions in 1977. They illustrated many children's books, as well as distinctive book covers, often reflecting Leo's African-American culture. They received the Coretta Scott King Medal for Illustration in 1991 for Aida, as well as five CSK Honor books over their career. Leo Dillon was the first African-American to receive the Caldecott; he was born in Brooklyn, and met Diane at the Parsons School of Design. www.nytimes.com/2012/05/31/books/leo-dillon-illustrator-of-childrens-books-dies-at-79.html .
Author Ellen Levine Dies:
Ellen Levine, award-winning author, teacher, mentor, and passionate advocate for social justice, died on May 26 after a battle with lung cancer. Ms. Levine graduated magna cum laude from Brandeis University, M.A. University of Chicago, and J.D. NYU School of Law. She was the author of fiction and non-fiction for children, young readers and adults that focused on important social issues and historical periods. Henry's Freedom Box (Caldecott Honor) is the true story of a slave who mailed himself to freedom; Darkness Over Denmark details the rescue of Jews by the Danes in World War II; A Fence Away from Freedom details the internment of Japanese Americans in the 1940s; Freedom's Children, a profile of young black civil rights activists in the 1960s; I Hate English, about a Chinese girl struggling to learn English, has become a resource for ESL teachers. Her most recent novel, In Trouble, the story of two pregnant girls in the l950's, reflects her profound belief that the right to choose abortion is an individual choice, and that whatever one's ultimate decision, it must be viewed with compassion and respect. www.legacy.com/obituaries/nytimes/obituary.aspx?n=ellen-levine&pid=157842058 .
Author Peter Sieruta Dies:
Peter D. Sieruta, author, reviewer, and respected voice behind the blog Collecting Childrens Books , died suddenly at his Michigan home on May 25, after suffering complications from a fall. He was 53. He was known to many for his knowledgeable and opinionated posts about the books (and book creators) that were of passionate interest to him. As a print author, he penned Heartbeats and Other Stories (HarperCollins, 1989) a collection for teens that embraced such themes as sibling rivalry, first love and friendship. At the time of his death, he was co-authoring a work tentatively titled Wild Things!: Untold Stories Behind the Most Beloved Children's Books and Their Creators which is scheduled to be published by Candlewick next year. www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/authors/obituaries/article/52162-obituary-peter-d-sieruta.html.
Author Rosa Guy Dies at age 89:
Rosa Guy, a Caribbean-born writer known for her unflinchingly direct novels for young people about black life in urban America, died on June 3, 2012 at her home on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. She was 89. The cause was cancer. The themes to which she returned repeatedly in her Young Adult books included race, class, poverty, sexuality and simmering tensions between American blacks and Afro-Caribbean immigrants newly arrived in the United States. Of her books for young adults, the best known was a trilogy of novels, The Friends (1973), Ruby (1976) and Edith Jackson (1978). The books drew partly on Ms. Guy's experience as a young immigrant from Trinidad, coming of age in New York without money, parents or stability. The Friends centers on the sometimes wary alliance between two teenage schoolmates: Phyllisia Cathy, an educated West Indian immigrant, and Edith Jackson, a poor, street-smart African-American born and reared in Harlem. The second book in the trilogy features Phyllisia's sister, Ruby, who embarks on a lesbian relationship with another girl - a taboo subject in children's literature then. The third returns to Edith, now in a foster home and pregnant, who must choose between having the baby and having an abortion. www.nytimes.com/2012/06/07/books/rosa-guy-89-author-of-forthright-novels-for-young-people.html
2012 South Asia Book Award for Children's and Young Adult Literature:
Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards
On June 7, 2012, The Horn Book's editor in chief Roger Sutton and 2010 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award-winning author Rebecca Stead (When You Reach Me, Random House) announced the 2012 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award winners:
For more information, see: www.hbook.com/2012/06/news/boston-globe-horn-book-awards/2012-boston-globe-horn-book-awards-for-excellence-in-childrens-literature/
Pop-Up and Toy Books
Aesop. Aesop's Fables: A Pop-up Book of Classic Tales. Illus. by Chris Beatrice and Bruce Whatley. Little Simon, 2011. $27.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-7146-7.
Six very elaborate, large pop-ups are the most memorable thing about this collection of ten Aesop's fables. Four tales are told in small booklets, the other six in double page spreads, each with a large pop-up and smaller pull-outs. The illustrations are quite dark, done in a realistic style, most likely in gouache or oils, but they are too dark to carry to an audience. If a library has a non-circulating collection of toy books for a child to use in the library, this would be appropriate for that collection.
The six major tales include "The Goose That Laid the Golden Egg," "The Fox and the Crow," "The Lion and the Mouse," and "The Ant and the Grasshopper." The tales are very brief - just a few paragraphs - and sometimes memorable phrases are left out. For example, in "The Tortoise and the Hare," the phrase "Slow and steady wins the race" is not mentioned, and in "The Wind and the Sun," the tale is so brief it doesn't have the storytelling voice needed with Aesop's fables.
The four brief stories told in small pullouts are "The Dog and His Bone," "The Horse and the Stag," "Two Travelers and the Bear," and "The Fox and the Grapes." The entire book's text is in very small print, with the moral of each story set on a bordered ribbon that may be difficult for some readers to find in the dark and detailed illustrations. There is also a very brief source note with a few facts on Aesop.
Cousins, Lucy. Hop, Skip, and Jump, Maisy! A Maisy First Science Book. Candlewick, 2012. $12.99. ISBN 978-0-7636-5813-7.
With Cousins' signature deeply saturated color artwork, Lucy the little white mouse demonstrates various movements, and shows other animals to pick from that can also do the movement. This is a simple preschooler's look at how animals move that could fit into a science curriculum. But the main focus is to have fun, and get the listener to move, too!
Most of the movement is accomplished with pull-tabs which allow the 3-D Maisy to move against the colorful backdrop. The paper engineering is very sturdy, so this would work both for a storytime, and for library circulation. Of all the books reviewed in this month's Pop-up column, Maisy's is the most library-appropriate.
Dahl, Roald. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: Pop-up Book. Illus. by Quentin Blake. Penguin/Puffin, 2011. $29.99. ISBN 978-0-14-241930-4.
For fans of the movies and novel, this is a nice memento but doesn't take the place of the original book. In ten spreads, the story of Charlie Bucket is summarized, and accompanied by elaborate large pop-ups, flaps, and moveable segments. The artwork uses a soft color palette, with Blake's energetic ink sketches filled with watercolor wash.
The story describes Charlie's impoverished family, and how he found the candy bar that contained the golden ticket. Each of the other children on the tour of Wonka's factory are given a two-page spread concerning their disappearance, along with the little song the Oompa Loompas sang about each child. The story concludes with Wonka and Charlie in the glass elevator. Since this story is for those over age seven, it is likely the pop-ups will stand up to some use.
Both Charlie and Willy Wonka resemble the actors from the first film adaptation, not the Johnny Depp version, and the Oompa Loompas have blond hair and light skin, unlike the African versions seen in the original book. The text captures the language Dahl used in the original, which is nice, and may encourage children to read the original. Libraries could use this in a noncirculating collection for in-house use, but it is unlikely to survive circulation. Perhaps the best use is as a gift.
Zelinsky, Paul O. Knick-Knack Paddy Whack! Dutton, $20.99. ISBN 978-0-525-46908-7.
A companion to Zelinsky's pop-up version of Wheels on the Bus (Dutton, 1990), this adaptation of the song "This Old Man" might be useful for storytimes with less than 15 preschoolers as the pictures contain very small details in the illustrations. A boy outside on his skateboard encounters the various tiny men described in the song, many of them approx. two inches tall.
Each old man, many resembling garden gnomes, are revealed by pulling a tab or lifting a flap. Each holds the numeral for the number described in the song. The next to last page shows all ten men in the various places on the boy (such as knee, shoe, etc.), and then shows them rolling down a hill. The final spread shows the ten men and the boy at home, playing music. It is an imaginative but unclear interpretation of the song.
The full color cartoon-like illustrations appear to be done in pencil and watercolor, with relatively soft hues. The pull tabs stick a little and are delicate, so this is best used by an adult who is showing it to a child, and it may not stand up to library circulation. Overall, the interpretation of the song is not as literal as the pop-ups in Wheels on the Bus, so this won't be as memorable. It would make an excellent gift item, so recommend it if your library has a gift shop.
Danks, Sharon Gamson. Asphalt to Ecosystems: Design Ideas for Schoolyard Transformation. New Village Press, 2010. 276p. $39.95. ISBN 978-0-9766054-8-5.
Sharon Danks is a Bay Area resident, and served as planner for the San Francisco school district's green schoolyard program. She has a Masters' degree from UC Berkeley in Landscape Architecture and Environmental Design, and works with schools to make them both environmentally and educationally solid with green schoolyards. Asphalt to Ecosystems is her guidebook to designing and building schoolyards that connect play and learning with the natural world. She has visited schools all over the world and includes more than 500 color photos from these schools, showing how playground design can offer space for learning.
From the traditional blacktop and grass fields of most schoolyards, the book describes how playgrounds transform into spaces for growing food and plants, allowing for wildlife, birds and insects, and offering equipment that encourages creativity and collaborative play. The old design only encouraged competition, which often deviated into bullying, but the new design facilitates role-playing, storytelling, and stewardship of the land. She addresses risk assessment so that the new models for schools avoid hazards while still allowing for water features, entertaining playground equipment, and plenty of trees and greenery.
One of the most effective aspects of the book is the "before and after" photos, showing a stark urban blacktop that was transformed into a beautiful park-like setting. These changes encourage a wide variety of games and play as well as the traditional sports seen on old fashioned playgrounds. These new schoolyards also allow for many more teaching opportunities, especially in the sciences.
Danks stresses that the design of a schoolyard or public space benefits from participation by the children - allowing them to have input on the design creates ownership. These schoolyards often raise property values, and vandals are hesitant to intrude because they know the kids are enjoying the spaces. Often parents are motivated to volunteer to help maintain these spaces.
The recent ACL Institute on food justice discussed the edible schoolyard program; this book compliments that effort with additional changes to the schoolyard that have a similar value in showing children how they can interact with the environment. This is a great book to offer to teachers, administrators, and school board members. Libraries planning renovations can easily adapt some of the design ideas to make their outdoor spaces more pleasant and potential sites for library programming.
Readers will find this both a "how to" on adapting a traditional schoolyard into a green learning environment, and find lists of resources at the back of the book for more information.
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Submitted by : Penny Peck
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