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Upcoming Events for Children's Librarians
Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals Announced:
The winners of the 2013 CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals were announced on June 19, 2013, at a ceremony at the Natural History Museum in London. The U.K.'s most prestigious prizes for children's books were won by Sally Gardner for Maggot Moon (Hot Key Books) and Levi Pinfold for Black Dog (Templar), respectively. Maggot Moon is a dystopian novel featuring a hero that has dyslexia, which the author Gardner also has. The winners join a distinguished roll call of authors and illustrators dating back to 1936 for the Carnegie Medal, and 1955 for the Kate Greenaway Medal. Both books are published in the U.S. by Candlewick Press, and Pinfold received the Greenaway for only his second book. The awards are administered by the Chartered Institute for Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) in the United Kingdom: http://www.cilip.org.uk/news-media/Pages/news130619.aspx.
The CILIP Carnegie Medal 2013 shortlist in full:
The CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal 2013 shortlist in full:
Author Elaine Landau Dies:
Elaine Landau, author of many non-fiction titles for young people, passed away on June 29, 2013 at the age of 65. She died of complications due to autoimmune diseases. She is the author of over three hundred books with topics such as the Gulf Oil Spill, head lice, Wild West legends, earth science, holidays, the supernatural, planets, dinosaurs, firefighting, ancient civilizations, and ecology; Landau also wrote about a broad range of contemporary issues. Her interests were many and varied and she never hesitated to share what she learned with her readers.
Landau received a number of honors. Her books were chosen for ALA/YALSA Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers, International Reading Association's Children's Choices and IRA Young Adult Choices, NCSS/CBC Notable Children's Trade Books in the Field of Social Studies, NSTA/CBC Outstanding Science Trade Books for Children and Bank Street College of Education's Best Children's Books of the Year. She had at least three Society of School Librarians International Honor Book Awards. Her books were included on the New York Public Library's Books for the Teenage, Booklist's Top Ten Biographies for Youth, the Center for Children's Books' Best Book List, Los Angeles' 100 Best Books, and VOYA's Nonfiction Honor List. Her books were also honored on a number of state awards, and she received other awards too numerous to list. Besides being an extraordinary non-fiction writer, Landau was a mentor to many in the Florida SCBWI and her boundless energy and encouragement were an inspiration to fellow writers, many of whom considered a good friend.
Author Barbara Robinson Dies:
Barbara Robinson, author of the long popular The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, published by HarperColllins in 1972, died on July 9, 2013. She was 85. The book, which many consider to be a holiday classic, was named an ALA Notable Children's Book and received the Georgia Children's Book Award, Indiana's Young Hoosier Book Award, and Minnesota's Maud Hart Lovelace Book Award. In 2012, it was also included in SLJ's Top Hundred Children's Novels.
Robinson wrote two sequels featuring the "Horrible Herdmans" - The Best School Year Ever (1994) and The Best Halloween Ever (2004). The Best Christmas Pageant Ever was made into a television special in 1983, starring Loretta Swit, for which Robinson wrote the screenplay. Robinson was born in Ohio, later attending Allegheny College. She worked as a librarian in Sewickley, PA, and was a mother and grandmother.
Do-It-Yourself Program Ideas
Star Wars Party
Holding a "Star Wars" program at your library can be a great way to draw in Tween boys, as well as the whole family! Start with a display of "Star Wars" books, graphic novels, and DVDs. Be sure to include the "Origami Yoda" series by Tom Angleberger.
See if there is a "Star Wars" club in your community. In the San Francisco Bay Area, there is the Golden Gate Garrison, a group of adults who do volunteer work, dressed as Darth Vader and Storm Troopers. They often will do library appearances, demonstrating how they make their costumes, and showing collectables.
Libraries can also set up craft and game stations. Have two high school volunteers at each station to run the game or help younger children with the crafts. There may be a science fiction, film-making, or anime/manga group at the high school who would love to volunteer for a "Star Wars" program.
Here are some activity ideas, many inspired by postings on the PUBYAC listserv:
Games Relating to Specific Books:
From time to time, we will reread classics or award winning children's books from the past to see how they might be viewed in our current day.
Blume, Judy. Tiger Eyes Bradbury Press, 1981, 206p.
Libraries may see tweens and teens requesting Tiger Eyes, a Judy Blume book from more than 30 years ago, because it was recently released as a new feature film. Co-written and directed by Blume's son Lawrence, the film (which I haven't seen yet) seems to focus more on the main character's friendship with Wolf (based on the publicity for the film), than it does in the novel.
The main character is 15-year-old Davey, a girl dealing with the shooting death of her father, and the family's temporary move from the Jersey Shore to Los Alamos. Davey's friendship with Wolf, in the book, is a relatively minor part of her year-long process of coping with her loss. Her mother and little brother cope differently but all of their experiences seem authentic.
Less well-rounded are the characters of Davey's aunt and uncle with whom they live, who seem like stereotypes. Aunt Bitsy (Bitsy? Really?) comes off like a subtly racist society matron, while Uncle Walter is an impatient scientist at Los Alamos, lecturing Davey on morals when she thinks he is immoral for helping to build weapons. Although this takes place in the present, the history of Los Alamos as the site of the building of atomic bombs is a key component of the plot and themes of the book.
For a book over 30 years old, it doesn't seem that dated. In fact, the racism depicted by the white families in Los Alamos, mainly against the Latino residents, seems contemporary - similar to the recent laws in Arizona that targets anyone who "looks" like an undocumented immigrant. There are a few pop culture references but only a few, so it won't create any barriers to contemporary tweens who can appreciate Davey's story. And unfortunately, Davey's father's death (as the novel begins, he has been shot during a hold-up of the family's convenience store), is especially timely with the heighten discussions on gun deaths recently.
Davey's friendship with Wolf, which is not really a romance, happens when she meets him a few times while she is hiking, and later when she is a hospital volunteer. She is intrigued by him, but there is no romance outside of an innocent kiss. The only thing that happens in the book that may disturb some parents is the drinking done by some of the high school students, but not by Davey; in fact, she points out to her friends that getting drunk is "stupid."
Even if a reader has not been touched by violence or a death in the family, Davey's story will help the reader understand how that affects people. Davey goes through the customary stages of grief, as does her mother, but they cope pretty well considering how shocking it is. Luckily, they have relatives who they can live with; often this type of death causes the family to plunge into poverty and sometimes homelessness.
In many ways, the best scenes in the book are Davey's visits to Mr. Ortiz, one of the hospital patients where she volunteers, who she later discovers is Wolf's father. Mr. Ortiz is dying of cancer, and they have some really nice conversations; when Wolf visits the hospital Davey figures out they are related, which gives her a bond with Wolf who knows how much Davey has done to comfort his father. In the film, the Ortiz father and son are played by real-life father-son actors Russell and Tatanka Means, which may have something to do with the fact this relationship is emphasized in the film. Released as an independent film, the Blumes had complete creative control over the movie. I look forward to seeing it.
The book also does a great job of describing Albuquerque and Santa Fe. I have never lived there but I have visited several times, and Blume's description of the scenery is spot-on. She also describes the balloon races, the shops in Santa Fe, and other areas of New Mexico that clearly demonstrate she has been there. Blume lived in New Mexico for years; she now lives in Florida.
One other thing about this and other "old" tween books I have revisited recently - its relative brevity. So many of these are 200 pages or less, when most new tween and teen novels clock in at 300-400 pages. There is something to be said for these shorter books - kind of a "less is more" concept - that require the author to really focus the plot and characters without a lot of side trips or descriptions. In some ways, these shorter books have an honesty to them, because they are so brief. Only the essential information is included. Maybe tweens and teens would read more if authors went back to that philosophy that every word must count for something.
BayNews needs you! BayNews welcomes any articles, news, ideas on storytime or programs, etc. Just send any articles as a Word attachment to email, to Penny Peck at [email protected]. Thanks!
Submitted by : Penny Peck
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