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29 September 2016 @ 10:42 am

Here is a short slide presentation I did a few years back on the topic of censorship. You can also find it at: www.slideshare.net/professornana
Current Location: home for short while
Current Mood: fighting
28 September 2016 @ 10:37 am
I am collecting recommendations from you for books for a Core Collection for the school library for a K-2 school. I know there are canned packages, but I would rather have YOUR recommendations first. Here is the link to the Google form:

27 September 2016 @ 09:33 am
Generally, one way to get me to pick up a book I might have missed during the year is if it makes the Top Banned Books List: http://www.ala.org/bbooks/frequentlychallengedbooks

Of course, some of the titles are ones I have already read, but I attempt to read as many on the Top Ten List each year as possible. Why, you might ask? In part, I am sure it is because I am perverse when it comes to someone trying to keep me from something. Tell me NOT to do something, and I am just as likely TO DO it. But the more important part of this reading is that a good defense is a strong offense.

Often when I am reading a book, problematic content gets past me. Much of the time it should get past EVERYONE. However, those who challenge books are on the lookout for the red flags: cursing, sexual content are among the top flags. Here is a chart showing the major reasons for challenging a book:

About the only time I will note problematic content is when it seems inauthentic. The characters do or say something that does not seem to fit their characters. I know this seems rather vague, and it is. Sometimes it is tough to pin down when something does not work within the story, when something pulls you out of the story.

So, on this Tuesday of Banned Books Week, let me note some of the most frequently challenged books of 2015 I have read. If you have not, buy a copy (because putting our money where our beliefs are is powerful). Better yet, buy several and share them with others.

All 3 of these appear on the Top Ten list for 2015.
Current Location: office
Current Mood: angryangry
26 September 2016 @ 09:32 am
Here is a list of 20 Banned Books with diverse content. I have read them all. If you have not, this might be a good place to begin. Courtesy of this web site:http://www.bannedbooksweek.org/node/10232

1. A Gathering of Old Men by Ernest J. Gaines
2. A Hero Ain't Nothin But a Sandwich by Alice Childress
3. A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines
4. Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
5. All American Boys by Jason Reynolds
6. Always Running by Luis J Rodriguez
7. Am I Blue?: Coming Out from the Silence by Marion Dane Baue
8. And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
9. Anne Frank: The Diary of a Girl
10. Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden
11. Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X; Alex Haley
12. Baby Be-Bop by Francesca Lia Block
13. Beloved by Toni Morrison
14. Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out by Susan Kuklin
15. Black Boy by Richard Wright
16. Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo A Anaya
17. Color of Earth by Kim Dong Hwa
18. Daddy's Roommate by Michael Willhoite
19. Drama by Raina Telgemeier
20. Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers
Current Location: office
Current Mood: argumentative
25 September 2016 @ 06:22 am
The Gloria Barron Prize winners have been announced: http://barronprize.org/meet-the-winners/.
24 September 2016 @ 05:00 pm
I lost my Dad today. He had been having major health issues of late, and underwent successful surgery yesterday. It looked as though the ,am we called Superman would bounce back once again. But the call came this morning to let me know he had a student turn for the worse and passed away. As everyone who has ever suffered a loss, I wish I had been there to say goodbye. I wish I had traveled with my sisters to see him this summer. I didn't, and that unreasoning guilt stings.

My parents divorced when I was young, and I never had the chance to spend as much time with my Dad as I would have liked. The times we did have are wonderful, warm, sunny memories. Eating hamburgers for breakfast (don't tell on me, he cautioned me), sitting and visiting when he would come to Texas for a visit or when I traveled to Florida to see him. We laughed easily when we were together. We never lacked for things to talk about. We both loved cars and driving. He loved to read, and we talked books. Ex-Pittsburgh dwellers meant we talked Pirates, Penguins, and Steelers, too.

My favorite memory? My friend Martha Magner (who I still miss every single day) and I were in Florida for a conference and Dad and Susan came to visit us one evening. When I excused myself rom the table, apparently Dad told Martha how proud he was of me and my accomplishments. I hold that close right now. It is not that I ever doubted his love or pride. But it was nice to know he told others, too.

I will miss him, no doubt. But i have those memories of learning to dip French fries in chocolate shakes, to eat anything for breakfast we wanted, to stay connected even though apart much of the time. I am holding on to them today.
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Current Location: home
Current Mood: sadsad
23 September 2016 @ 07:24 am
It is always wonderful to read a blog post by someone I do not know and see familiar ideas. That was the case with this post today: http://tnclassroomchronicles.org/ten-tips-creating-culture-reading-classroom/. Ten Tips for Creating a Culture of Reading in your Classroom. Choice, time, access, reflection: all the things many of us have been discussing for years are here as well. The chapter I just drafted contains many of the same ideas as well.

This is, I hope, the choir raising its voice and preaching the benefits of independent reading inside and outside of school. There are other voices out there, voices we should celebrate and elevate and give a turn at solos (to extend the metaphor). Listen to Katherine Sokolowski on her blog talking about failure: http://readwriteandreflect.blogspot.com. Listen to Mindi Wells Rench reflect daily on her classroom experience as she makes a move from one grade level to another: https://www.facebook.com/mindi.rench?fref=ts. Colby Sharp joins in with a post about #classroombookaday: https://sharpread.wordpress.com. And Donalyn Miller and Colby Sharp's new venture adds a multitude of voices to the choir in the Nerdy Podcast: https://nerdybookclub.wordpress.com/the-nerdy-bookcast/.

There are so many voices that are being raised. It would be impossible to include them all here. But you should add these to your "choir" if they are not already a part of them. Listen to the voices on the Reader Leader blog from Scholastic: http://www.scholastic.com/bookfairs/readerleader. And BSP aside, I hope you subscribe to the YouTube channel Karin Perry and I are using to share knowledge about literature for children and YA readers with others: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSaYxeoQmxa8ECTkGO7TfOg.

What is so special about this choir is that there are no divas, no demands for solos or specials. All the members of this group are happy to blend their voices with each other, to raise them in song praising a mutual passion: supporting lifelong readers. Finding new voices is rewarding and encouraging. It means the message, the song, is present, is important, is being sung over and over again. Add your voice to theirs.
Current Location: home
Current Mood: happyhappy
22 September 2016 @ 05:23 pm
I read a blog post today about an award list. The author praised the list as being better than others because it was one from library folks and not critics or authors or others. I cringed at this. I think having a wide array of awards, awards determined by a variety of judges, is a good thing.

As someone who has served on more than a few selection/award committees, I recognize the experience and expertise of the different judges. I have served on YALSA committees where the judges are, to use this blogger's term, library folks. Actually, they ar members of YALSA. I am not a librarian, but I do belong to YALSA. There are many other members like me as well. I do not think my lack of being a library person limited what I contributed to the Printz, Quick Picks, Odyssey, Edwards, or Excellence in Nonfiction, or Morris Committees.

I have served on some selection committees where teachers and children and teens cast votes and I simply coordinated the program. The International Literacy Association's (formerly the International Reading Association) Choices committees provide teachers and kids the chance to voice their favorites. The Walden Committee of ALAN is comprised of a balance among teachers, librarians, and university professors. I have served on that committee (was actually part of the committee that put together the policy for the award) and chaired it as well. I have served as a Cybils judge for several years, too.

And then last year I had the incredible honor of serving on the National Book Award for Young People's Literature committee, serving with a distinguished panel of authors. I have also had the chance to address the committee members who serve on various committees of different professional organizations through webinars and conference presentations. No one on the committees on which I served took the work for granted. Everyone carried the weight of the committee decision willingly.

Each of these committees arrived at their decisions through policy and process. I think each of the lists and award winners reflected the work of the individuals involved. Having different organizations sponsoring awards, different committee compositions, different criteria all serve to strengthen these lists. I celebrate them all. While I know we run the risk of diluting the field when awards seem to be growing exponentially, I also know that some of the newer awards are responsible for honoring books that might otherwise be overlooked.

It is the mentality that one group does it better that bothers me the most. We should embrace and celebrate the different awards, those voted on by kids, those decided by educators of all types. Each list, each recipient, demonstrates to the general public that books are alive and well and literary and worthwhile. I can always support that!
Current Location: home
Current Mood: deciding
21 September 2016 @ 03:16 pm
Do not ask me why, but for some reason today my first thought upon waking was a memory of the former resident of the back bedroom, now Career Girl, giggling through THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR, and then demanding, "Again!" This scene played out over and over or me and for BH with Career Girl and Nurse Girl both. I think somehow the memory surfaced because I read the new Jim LaMarche (Pond) at the office yesterday and it made me think of how much the kids loved his books when they were young.

Of course, this memory reminded me of the power of the REREAD. We have books that we return to over the course of time. The books do not change, but we do along the way. Our lives and experiences make the rereading richer, different. As Heraclitus observed, you never step into the same river twice. I think we never read the same book twice either. Each reading brings its own response.

The memory of, "AGAIN!" has a corollary for me as well. And it has to do with the chapter draft I completed yesterday. Often, when I am writing, whether here on the blog or for some other purpose, I stop and mutter, "I've already written about this. What more is there to say?" I know I am not the only one who feels this way. Donalyn Miller and I have talked about this, this idea that it has all been said, if not by us than by others.

And yet, yesterday while I was working on another project, I found myself diving back into the 1970s and an article by Ken Donelson about what to do BEFORE the censor comes. I actually have a hard copy of this article as the result of a project done for one of Dick Abrahamson's doc classes. I have copies of about a dozen articles that the class considered part of a core collection of sorts. We spanned decades of journals and boiled our results down to these articles. I keep them handy at the office, and refer to them often. This, then, is the "AGAIN!"

The ideas, the work of the past is still important to us today. So, even though I think I have written about something before, I remind myself about that river. It is time to wade again into the water and see what transpires. And so I write "AGAIN!" about reading aloud, about finding time to read, about the importance of books and reading in the lives of us all.
Current Location: home
Current Mood: pondering
20 September 2016 @ 09:50 am
Here are the finalists for the Kirkus Prize in young reader's literature:

Sherman Alexie (writer) and Yuyi Morales (illustrator), Thunder Boy Jr.
Ashley Bryan, Freedom Over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life
Russell Freedman, We Will Not Be Silent: The White Rose Student Resistance Movement that Defied Adolf Hitler
Jason Reynolds, As Brave as You
Traci Chee, The Reader
Meg Medina, Burn Baby Burn

The entire list of finalists is here: https://www.kirkusreviews.com/lists/2016-kirkus-prize-finalists/