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Archive for October, 2013

October 31, 2013

Fall Conference Signing Schedules

We’re hitting the road in November!  Here’s where you can find us:


AASL in Hartford, CT (Booth #318)

Thursday, November 14

6:00 PM – 7:00 PM: Patricia MacLachlan and Steven Kellogg

Friday, November 15

9:00 AM – 10:00 AM: Kimberly Newton Fusco
Stop by and see Kimberly Newton Fusco speak on the “Overcoming Adversity” panel on Friday, from 3:15 PM to 4:30 PM, in Marriott B!

10:00 AM – 11:00 AM: Jarrett J. Krosoczka
Don’t miss the “Authors Who Skype” panel featuring Jarrett J. Krosoczka on Friday at 8:00 AM in Marriott C! Jarrett will also attend the AASL Author Breakfast on Sunday, November 17, at 9:00 AM

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM: Laurel Snyder
Don’t miss the “Authors Who Skype” panel featuring Laurel Snyder on Friday at 8:00 a.m. in Marriott C!

12:00 PM – 1:00 PM: David Levithan
David Levithan is speaking on the “Presenting Social Issues in Teen Literature” panel on Friday at 10:15 AM in Marriott C—this session is not to be missed!

2:00 PM – 3:00 PM: Jen Bryant and Melissa Sweet
Don’t miss Jen Bryant on the “Biographies through Picture Books” Common Core panel on Saturday at 10:15 AM in Marriott C!

Saturday, November 16

9:00 AM – 10:00 AM: Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm
Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm will attend the AASL Author Breakfast on Sunday, November 17 at 9:00 AM


NAEYC in Washington, DC (Booth #1204)

Wednesday, November 20

5:30 AM – 6:00 AM: Chris Raschka (signing in Scholastic’s booth)

Thursday, November 21

10:00 AM – 11:00 AM: Tad Hills
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM: Dan Yaccarino


NCTE-ALAN in Boston, MA (Booth #1204)

Friday, November 22

1:00 PM – 2:00 PM: Kirby Larson
2:00PM – 3:00 PM: Christina Diaz Gonzalez
3:00 PM – 4:00 PM: Jarrett Krosoczka
4:30 PM – 5:30 PM: Jennifer L. Holm

Saturday, November 23

10:00 AM – 11:00 AM: Judy Blume
12:00 PM – 1:00 PM: Matt de la Pena
1:00 PM – 2:00 PM: Chris Raschka
2:00 PM – 3:00 PM: Patricia MacLachlan
3:00 PM – 4:00 PM: Sandra Neil Wallace
4:00 PM – 5:00 PM: Pat Mora

Sunday, November 24

9:00 AM – 10:00 AM: Jerry Spinelli
10:00 PM – 11:00 PM: Deborah Hopkinson
11:00 PM – 12:00 PM: Maria Padian and Warren St. John
2:00 PM – 3:00 PM: Patricia MacLachlan
3:00 PM – 4:00 PM: Sandra Neil Wallace
4:00 PM – 5:00 PM: Pat Mora

Monday, November 25

3:15 – 3:50  Graphic Novels
Gene Yang, Boxers (Macmillan)
Gareth Hinds, Romeo and Juliet (Candlewick)
Swati Avasthi, Chasing Shadows (Random House)
Sheila Keenan, The Dogs of War (Scholastic)

Tuesday, November 26

8:35-9:10 (35 min)   Science Fiction
Alexander Gordon Smith, Escape from Furnace series (Macmillan)
Michael Grant, BZRK, BZRK Reloaded (Egmont)
Anna Jarzab Tandem (Random House)
Tom Leveen Sick (Abrams)

10:45 – 11:20  New Panel
 Paul Rudnick, Gorgeous, (Scholastic)
Tracy Richardson, The Field, (Luminis Books)
Adele Griffin,  Loud Awake and Lost, (Random House)
Mariah Fredericks, Season of the Witch (Random House)


October 30, 2013

November: National Adoption Awareness Month

There are states that observed Adoption Awareness Month long before it became a national focus.  But in 1990, President Gerald Ford recognized the need for the observance and proclaimed November as National Adoption Awareness Month.  The purpose of this month long observance is to make people aware of the thousands of children and teens that need a loving home.  This year President Obama has turned the focus to those in foster care.  For a long time the belief was that a foster home was a better alternative than orphanages.  There are people who debate that issue today.  Whether a child is in an orphanage or in foster care, the one thing they all have in common – they want a home.

  •  Read aloud the following picture books to young children and ask them to talk about family and why the children in the books need a family:

Sweet Moon Baby: An Adoption Tale (picture book) by Karen Henry Clark & I llus. by Patrice Barton

Ten Days and Nine Nights (picture book) written & illus. by Yumi Heo

  • Read aloud Oddfellow’s Orphanage by Emily Winfield Martin or The Willoughbys by Lois Lowry to elementary and middle school students.  Have readers discuss the humor in these books.  Debate whether the Willoughbys might enjoy the Odfellow’s Orphanage.  Why?
  • Look at suggested community activities for National Adoption Awareness Month.  There are books suggested on this site to help children learn and talk about adoption (http://national-adoption-month.adoption.com).  Have children and teens read a book about orphaned children that isn’t mentioned on this site.  Then have them write a paragraph that recommends the title for inclusion on the website.
  • Have readers use books in the library or sites on the Internet to research the orphan trains.  The following PBS site is helpful.  (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/orphan/.
  • Many families elect to adopt from other countries.  In 1994 the United States agreed to become a part of the Hague Convention that oversees international adoptions.  Read about the guidelines for the Hague Convention of the following website: http://adoption.state.gov/hague_convention/overview.php.  Why are such rules and laws necessary to protect children and the families who wish to adopt them?
  • Have readers find out the guidelines for becoming a foster family in their state.  Based on the guidelines, create a fictional foster family for an orphaned main character in a work of fiction.  Suggestions from Random House include:

Stepping Stones

  • A Little Princess (early reader) by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • Anne of Green Gables (early reader) by M.C. Helldorfer & illus. by Ellen Beler
  • Heidi (early reader) by Johanna Spyri & adapted by Gail Herman & illus. by Lydia Halverson
  • The Little Princess  (early readers) by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • Oliver Twist (early reader) by Charles Dickens & adapted by Les marlin & illus. by Jean Zallinger

Classic Literature

Historical Fiction

Contemporary Fiction

October 30, 2013

Our 2014-2015 TX Bluebonnet Selections!

Congratulations to Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin by Liesl Shurtliff  and  Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead–both titles were selected for Texas’ 2014-2015 Bluebonnet Award Master List!

October 07, 2013

National Bullying Prevention Month


When the staff at Random House Children’s Books began reading Wonder shortly after it was presented to us by its editor, Erin Clarke, we all quickly came to the conclusion that we had something special on our hands. It’s incredibly rare to find a story that inspires so many people, all from different backgrounds, to take a deeper look at themselves and their actions. It began a conversation that spread nation-wide—teachers brought the book into classrooms, classroom reads turned into school-wide reads, and pretty soon entire school districts were adopting the book as required reading.

Raquel (the “R” in R.J.) hits the nail on the head with the quote above. Empathy is difficult to teach, and perhaps one of the reasons why Wonder and other titles have been so successful in inspiring kids and adults alike is that the book doesn’t preach a set of values to readers. Auggie, and the family and friends who chime in, show you the experience of being outside the “norm,” and the way words can be used—intentionally or unintentionally—as weapons. You feel for him when he overhears his friend, Jack, say something cruel, when kids stare at him, when some of his classmates develop a game around not touching him. At one point or another, everyone experiences the sting of being bullied, and everyone is faced with the choice of joining in or rising above hurtful behavior toward others. The Choose Kind pledge campaign was directly inspired by Auggie’s teacher, Mr. Browne, who chose this as his September precept: When given the choice between being right or being kind, choose kind.

 Wonder is a great choice for kids in middle school to start a conversation in your classrooms and libraries about bullying.  We have an educator guide available (with Common Core Standards tie-ins) to help get things started.  Have they already read Wonder, or looking for another perspective? Give Twerp, told from an accused bully’s point of view, a try.

For younger students, may we recommend the absolutely heartwrenching title The Invisible Boy

Looking for more ways to develop a lesson plan around bullying, including activities and vocabulary? Be sure to download our full Bullying Discussion Guide!

To learn more about the origin and mission of National Bullying Prevention Month, please visit PACER’s site.

October 02, 2013

October: National Diversity Awareness Month

Children are taught that the United States is a “melting pot” where people of all cultures, races, religions, disabilities, and socio-economic groups contribute to society.  What they also need to know is that a diverse population includes all ages, genders and sexual orientations.   The best way to help children and teens become aware of diversity is to encourage them to read books with all types of characters.  Perhaps it’s a novel like Racing the Moon by Alan Armstrong where a girl aspires to be an astronaut.  They may gain empathy for those with disabilities after reading books like Wonder by R. J. Palacio.  And with the current national debate about immigration reform, readers need to better understand the plight of today’s immigrant.  Here are a few programming ideas for school and public libraries for National Diversity Awareness Month.

  • Ask readers to find out from their parents or older family members their country of origin.  Then have them seek books about that culture.  Are there family traditions that reflect that culture?  Why is it important to maintain these family traditions?
  • Sponsor a panel discussion of religious leaders in the community.  Have them focus on the aspects of their religion that are universal, and the theology that is different.
  • Invite a “new American” to speak to a group of children and teens.  Ask them to address the following questions:  Why did they come to the United States?  What has been their most difficult adjustment?  Have they encountered any cultural prejudices?  What do they miss about their homeland?  What advice do they give to immigrants seeking to make the United States their home?
  • Identify community organizations that help those from diverse populations.  Visit the website of these organizations and read their mission statement.  Maybe it’s a Senior Action Center, a Kroc Center, YMCA, YWCA, a literacy group, or community health organizations.  Then read a picture book or novel with a main character that might enjoy the services of one of these organizations. Suggestions from Random House include:


All Ages

Song and Dance Man (picture book) by Karen Ackerman & illus. by Stephen Gammell

Stitchin’ and Pullin’ (picture book) by Patricia McKissack  & illus. by Cozbi A. Cabrera

Alida’s Song (middle grade) by Gary Paulsen

Jake (middle grade) by Audrey Couloumbis

Gingersnap (middle Grade) by Patricia Reilly Giff

Lily’s Crossing (middle grade) by Patricia Reilly Giff


Socio-economic Groups

 Faith, Hope and Ivy June (middle grade) by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

The Mighty Miss Malone (middle grade) by Christopher Paul Curtis

Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy (young adult) by Gary D. Schmidt


Disabilities, Disorders or Learning Differences

Annie and Helen (picture book) by Deborah Hopkinson & illus. by Raul Colon

All the Way Home (middle grade) by Patricia Reilly Giff

Beholding Bee (middle grade) by Kimberly Newton Fusco

Navigating Early (middle grade) by Clare Vanderpoole

Wonder (middle grade) by R. J. Palacio

Black Box (young adult) by Julie Schumacher

Small Steps (young adult) by Louis Sachar

Unraveling (young adult) by Elizabeth Norris



Harriet the Spy (middle grade) by Louise Fitzhugh

Hokey Pokey (middle grade) by Jerry Spinelli

The Girl Who Threw Butterflies (middle grade) by Mick Cochrane

Heart of a Shepherd (middle grade) by Rosanne Parry

Racing the Moon (middle grade) by Alan Armstrong

Lord of the Deep (young adult) by Graham Salisbury

The Chocolate War (young adult) by Robert Cormier


Nationalities and Cultures

Cuba 15 (middle grade) by Nancy Osa

How Tia Lola Came to Stay (middle grade) by Julia Alvarez

Return to Sender (middle grade) by Julia Alvarez

Enrique’s Journey (middle grade) by Sonia Nazario

Burning (young adult) by Elana K. Arnold

Mexican WhiteBoy (young adult) by Matt De La Paña



 Tar Beach (picture book) by Faith Ringgold

Bud, Not Buddy (middle grade) by Christopher Paul Curtis

Burning Up  (young adult) by Caroline B. Cooney



Sunday is for God (picture book) by Michael McGowan & illus. by Steve Johnson & Lou Fancher

Amen, L. A. (young adult) by cherle Bennett and Jeff Gottesfeld

Days of Little Texas (young adult) by R. A. Nelson

Growing Up Muslim (middle grade – young adult) by Sumbul Au-Karamall

A Brief Chapter in My Impossible Life (young adult) by Dana Reinhardt

Intentions (young adult) by Deborah Helllgram

Kindred (young adult) by Tammar Stein

Sexual Orientations

Boy Meets Boy (young adult) by David Levithan

Happy Families (young adult) by Tanita S. Davis

Two Boys Kissing (young adult) by David Levithan