You are currently browsing the archives for November 2011.
Displaying 1 - 10 of 11 entries.

Baby Shower? Board Books!

  • Posted on November 30, 2011 at 8:32 PM

I love baby showers just so I can happily share some of the board books that come my way. Tomorrow in the library we will host a baby shower for a teacher. (Don’t ALL parties occur in the library, seriously?!) I asked my friends Krys and Sandra to design a cake so I could focus on the serious choosing of the board books.

Let’s see. The baby’s room is navy and chocolate colored with a sports theme. Hmm? I don’t have any board books with sports as their theme. Looks like the cake will have to cover that aspect.

How else can I tie in? Mommy-to-be is a numeracy coach, so how about counting board books? Duck & Goose 123 may fit. Aha! I have Duck & Goose It’s Time for Christmas! to pair with it by the wonderful Tad Hills.

Maybe I miss something but the reviewers talk about Duck doing the right thing and focusing on getting the tree decorated for Christmas, but I spent the entire time rooting for Goose to continue enjoying the snow by sledding, making a snowgoose, building forts, skating, etc.

Every time I’d read aloud Duck’s saying “It’s not time for … (catching snowflakes, etc.)” I’d whisper “Yes, it is! Go, Goose, Go!” Wouldn’t you want me to read subversively to your darling babies? I make a wonderful babysitter. Duck & Goose It’s Time for Christmas! appeals to me because the cover is so tactilely fascinating, but mainly

I love it because I can go to the Castlemere website and order Duck & Goose dolls. I wonder if the newly opened independent bookstore in Nashville called Parnassus carries these. I must go check this weekend. <sigh> the extra research I conduct going to bookstores for the sake of my students and colleagues <end sigh>

Back to connecting babies with our school…. Our PBL theme is The Circle of Life and we are studying animals so how about the new board book Grandma Calls Me Gigglepie by J. D. Lester and Hiroe Nakata. Swinging, swift moving rhyming couplets take us through this homage to animal behavior and grandparent love so rapidly, that we MUST go back and re-read over and over again. In part to savor the happy feelings of being accepted and in part to discuss each animal’s name and behavioral characterists.

For those of you who think I am too intellectually focused with the babies, I encourage you to watch TV’s Bones as she prepares to become a parent and is already excitedly planning their first frog dissection together. I have been accused of behaving too Bones like recently, but I dismiss that as purely subjective rationalization by others not focused on the facts.

Hmm? If we are looking at loving relationships, we must check out A Bedtime Kiss for Chester Raccoon by Audrey Penn and illustrated by Barbara L. Gibson. The back cover mentions this is “A Kissing Hand book for bedtime”, but I view it as an opportunity to discuss nocturnal animal behavior and the viewpoint of a nocturnal animal’s perception of the afternoon sun. Would you consider these daydreams or nightmares? Actually it is not scary, but comically provides the chance for young children to be braver than Chester. Although, if I had been read this book as a young child, I would have added reasons to my arsenal of “Why I should not have to take a nap?”

This title joins my list of favorites from publisher Tanglewood Press. My Dog, My Cat would make a lovely baby gift. Ashfall (featured in SLJ this month) makes a lovely teen title. I’ve got to keep watching this publisher. Are you?

Back to the board books, I can’t forget to include a Clacker title so I’ll tuck in Clackers Black Cat illustrated by Luana Rinaldo.  There are more words in this book and we can model P-R-E-D-I-C-T-I-N-G, an essential skill to be taught from the cradle. Thank goodness the politicians haven’t mandated testing of parents reading to their child skills yet!

Black Cat includes sound effects for parent and baby to make. I prefer those sound effects instead of holding the book by the handle and shaking it to make it “clack.” Something about using a book for musical effect upsets the literary purist in me, but as long as I can make sound effects a different way, I’ll overlook playing with the book.

Any good future baby mathematician must include art in their repertoire so let’s throw in Artsy Babies Wear Paint by Michelle Sinclair Colman and Little blue and little yellow by Leo Lionni.

Artsy Babies Wear Paint seems to appeal to adults more than children, but I’m going to have to test this on a few babies to be sure. This is part of the Urban Babies Wear Black books. Author Michelle Sinclair Colman has many titles to appeal to a wide variety of parents. Another favorite of mine is her Eco Babies Wear Green title. Unfortunately I gave this away earlier at a conference while presenting nonfiction and ways to introduce informational text from cribs to college.

little blue and little yellow is a must for my board book baby basket. Celebrating it’s 50th birthday, this title is released as a board book. I’m a huge Leo Lionni fan and after having re-read this, I wonder if there is an interactive or e-book title of this for my kindle, nook, ipad apps, etc. Wouldn’t this be a wonderfully interactive title if we could move little blue and little yellow through their story? Has anyone created this yet? I’ll be watching so I can share such an app with baby’s mother as soon as possible.

Did you know that Random House has provided activity pages on their tribute page to 100 Years of Leo Lionni? Go check it out

I’m going to have to stop here for this basket because it’s bulging. I have so many more board books to share. Choosing among them is difficult. What would you add?

STEM Friday

  • Posted on November 25, 2011 at 8:50 AM

To begin STEM Friday today, the blog “Playing by the book ” has a post “in which my kids ran a mile and I had a ball.” I love the creativity on that site and couldn’t wait to share with the teachers at my STEM Magnet elementary school.

From reviewing the book The Icky, Sticky Snot and Blood Book to making their own snot, this family has exploration down! What a way to personify STEM principles.

Currently my STEM school is focusing on our PBL (project-based learning) for The Circle of Life:

In the role of a zoologist, the students at our STEM magnet elementary school will investigate the life cycles of various animals through observation and research using community partners (Nashville Zoo, pet stores, etc.).  Each grade level will focus on a different animal kingdom.  From within that kingdom, each class will select an animal to INVESTIGATE and then design an apparatus that will assist in the survival of that animal.  These will be presented to a public audience for review and a DVD will be made for the MNPS teacher tube.

Our Essential Question is How does an organisms’ physical attributes aid in its survival?

While I have been frantically locating books for my students on individual animals, I’ve also used the purchase of 72 new Netbooks at our school as an opportunity for staff and students to learn how to access e-books like Capstone Digital, databases such as PebbleGo’s Animals, World Book Encyclopedia online through TEL (the Tennessee Electronic Library) and the Encyclopedia Britannica – particularly their Animal Kingdom section.

I led an afterschool session on electronic resources such as these for my staff:

In addition my students helped me review books from the publishers Rosen, Lerner, Heinemann-Raintree, Enslow, Marshall Cavendish, ABDO, Stone Arch, Picture Window Books, Compass Point, and Capstone. The students have been arguing about their favorite titles and writing sentences to tell me why we should purchase more in each series.

A surprising favorite has been Marshall Cavendish’s Benchmark titles. The Guess Who series was very popular with the preschool and kindergarten students. Can you picture them bouncing on their bottoms with hands over their mouths trying to catch their guesses from escaping as we turned each page?

The most popular kindergarten series is the Benchmark Rebus Animals in the Wild Ocean set. We began with my sending  the Jellyfish title into a kindergarten classroom (while I waited for the Bearport Portuguese Man of War title to arrive through Interlibrary loan).

Within half an hour several ELL students raced into the library to ask for additional books in the series. They conveyed to me that those were excellent books and they needed more, more, more.  There are even teacher guides for this series from the publisher’s website.

Remember that I am providing unique animals for 465 students with the following focus:

  • Preschool – Birds and animals that live in trees
  • Kindergarten – Ocean animals and Fish
  • First Graders – Mammals
  • Second Graders – Insects and Arachnids
  • Third Graders – Reptiles
  • Fourth Graders – Amphibians

The Backyard Safari series has been an excellent addition. Mighty Minibeasts appeals to our second graders. There are many series with reptiles, but the problem has been amphibians. I was able to pull out an older animal encyclopedia set and teach fourth graders how to use the index to find a list of possible amphibians for them to research.  There are not as many amphibian books. Second most difficult was locating divergent reptiles such as lizards, Gila Monster, Komodo Dragon, etc. We could find snake titles and turtle titles. Capstone’s Desert Tortoises provided us launching points for further research with third graders.

I am still seeking more titles and will share them with you as soon as I can pry the titles back from my reviewers. I cannot wait to hear from other STEM educators to learn something new today.

**** FOLLOW UP ******

For unknown reasons, this blog post did not go live Friday as it should have. I apologize and hope everyone continues to send me their links.

Icefall by Matthew J. Kirby

  • Posted on November 19, 2011 at 7:44 PM

Icefall by Matthew J. Kirby was compelling reading. As the temperature dropped outside, I curled up with this tale from the frozen north and warmed myself with Nordic storytelling of the finest.  I couldn’t wait to return to reading each chapter of Solveig’s growth in confidence and storytelling ability. Here’s a synopsis from the author’s blog:

“Trapped in a hidden fortress tucked between towering mountains and a frozen sea, Solveig, along with her brother the crown prince, their older sister, and an army of restless warriors, anxiously awaits news of her father’s victory at battle. But as winter stretches on, and the unending ice refuses to break, terrible acts of treachery soon make it clear that a traitor lurks in their midst. A malevolent air begins to seep through the fortress walls, and a smothering claustrophobia slowly turns these prisoners of winter against one another.

Those charged with protecting the king’s children are all suspect, and the siblings must choose their allies wisely. But who can be trusted so far from their father’s watchful eye and unchallenged authority? Can Solveig and her siblings survive the long winter months and expose the traitor before he succeeds in destroying a king, his empire, and his children?”

While I was happily reading the survival story of Solveig, Asa, and Harald, suddenly along came Alric the skald, and Hake, the chief of the Berserkers. Yes, oh, joyful Norse myth lovers, our Berserkers are an integral part of this middle grade story. For those of you who mistakenly think all Vikings were barbarians, check out the Viking Answer Lady’s post on berserkergang.

However, the focus of this story is truly on the power of words and tales. Using skaldic poetry and focusing on the oral tradition of storytelling, Matthew J. Kirby has composed a tale of Nordic historical fiction that will be a welcome addition to middle school collections. The storytelling not only complements the action, it compels the readers to sink themselves into this solitary fiordic holding. The story enables our characters and the readers to cope with life, death, fear, and betrayal. Words are powerful. This story is powerful.

Recently I received a donated review copy of Icefall by Matthew J. Kirby from my district office with a note that the book was processed ready for entry into the cataloging system. I wasn’t sure this was an elementary title so I took it home to curl up and read.

Well, okay, I confess that I immediately “had” to read this title because it focuses on Norse mythology. The stories my late grandfather told me that he had heard from his sisters are reflected in the spirit of these tales. My grandfather was the only one of his siblings born in the U.S. after his family moved from Norway. He died when I was only seven, but I can still recall some of the stories he told when my brother and I wouldn’t take our naps. After he died, my grandmother continued telling stories from a wider variety of international folklore. The Norse legends are still dear to me and underappreciated. Schools focus on Greek and Roman myths. Even when the curriculum specifically states the inclusion of the African, Asian, Norse, Native American, Indian, Persian, and Chinese myths, they ignore it.

Comfort versus Processing Ability

  • Posted on November 19, 2011 at 4:26 PM

Several notable educators have been reading Ian Jakes commentary on this article: Universität Mainz. “Reading a book versus a screen: Different reading devices, different modes of reading?.” I want to comment on this and to share my concerns on purchasing an e-reader, so be sure to read to the end of this article.

I noticed that Judy Moreillon commented on the 21st Century Fluency Project that “the challenge with non-book print readers becomes the distractions and interruptions that e-devices can present.” She also noted “we need to be careful about using the term “reading” when we are actually describing skimming and scanning.”

The article in Science Daily begins: “A book or a screen – which of these two offers more reading comfort? There are no disadvantages to reading from electronic reading devices compared with reading printed texts.

I searched the article for references about measuring reading comfort and the disadvantages or advantages, but I don’t think the study correlated as well with the opening statement. What exactly does this term “reading comfort” mean? The article wants to debunk the subjective perception that readers prefer printed text. Here are two important paragraphs from the article to consider:

“Almost all participants stated that reading from paper was more comfortable than from an e-ink reader despite the fact that the study actually showed that there was no difference in terms of reading performance between reading from paper and from an e-ink reader. “We have thus demonstrated that the subjective preference for the printed book is not an indicator of how fast and how well the information is processed,” concludes Professor Schlesewsky.

“The study analyzed the differences in reading from various kinds of media (e-book, tablet PC, paper) in two sample groups, young and elderly adults. Each participant read various texts with different levels of complexity on an e-book reader (Kindle 3), on a tablet PC (iPad), and on paper. The reading behavior and the participants’ corresponding neural processes were assessed by means of concurrent measures of eye movements (eye tracking) and electrophysiological brain activity (EEG). The criteria that were taken into account and analyzed were changes in the theta frequency band power, reading behavior, text comprehension, and information recall as well as the participants’ preferences for the respective medium.”

To me, those paragraphs discuss the ability to comprehend and process information. According to the researchers, there is no difference in ability to process information. This appears to mean equal processing of information should negate concerns on reader comfort. I am curious what the researchers refer to as reading behavior.

How can you judge comfort? It has nothing to do with the speed of eye movement and tracking of distractions, but everything to do with perception. Comfort is a factor that would seem to correlate with the desire to continue an activity. If someone perceives curling up with printed material as more enjoyable, will they be more likely to repeat the action of reading than someone who curls up with an electronic device?

As for myself, I am enjoying reading on my droid phone using nook and kindle app’s especially out in public when the speed at which I flick pages is less noticeable. When someone new watches me read a magazine, he or she usually accuses me of skimming and scanning instead of reading. Instead I am speed reading, chunking material, and using techniques of speed reading I learned in middle school with my best friend Ken.

When I am home and in the school library, I want my printed books. I surround myself with printed magazines, newspapers, and BOOKS. Yet yesterday my physical education teacher raced in to the library to show us her new Kindle Fire. Several teachers and paraprofessional assistants huddled around while we ooohed and aaahhhed. She kept exclaiming how happy she was that all of her Kindle book titles immediately were available on her Fire.

I noticed how the kindergartner class exploring Starfall on the library computers were entranced with these adults squealing with excitement as the teacher showed all the added features of the Fire (what Judy M. might consider distractions). I asked one kindergartner sitting closest what he thought and he eagerly asked, “Where are your books?” The teacher showed him and immediately his finger darted out to touch the screen and turn the pages.

My sweetie constantly is looking for signs that I have decided which e-device I want so he can buy it for me. I hate dithering so, but I cannot decide which features are most important to me. Do I want a huge battery? Am I willing to sacrifice battery life for color? How important is glare? How often will I be reading in low-light situations versus reading in the bright sunlight? How important is reading magazines and picture books in color to me? Currently 100% of the titles I’m reading on my phone are strictly print with no images, so are my habits going to change if I have the ability?

And… the number one selling point for me is which device is most comfortable for me to curl up with in my usual reading places? Aha! Comfort rules my purchasing decisions.

Cat Secrets and More

  • Posted on November 14, 2011 at 3:34 AM

Cat Secrets by Jef Czekai is one of our favorite read-alouds this year in grades K, 1, and 2. I was amazed how many students loved Cat Secrets. It remains one of the most sought-after titles in our collection.

When we began our school year, I desperately sought titles to engage students and to help them interact. Cat Secrets was a huge hit because students felt like the cats were talking directly to them…. much like in Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus or the old Sesame Street Grover favorite There’s a Monster At the End of This Book. Every time I read this title, students instinctively began play-acting and participating. It took no coaching and they were happy to anticipate what they’d need to do to prove they were cats.

The preschool and kindergartners also enjoyed Ashlee Fletcher’s My Dog, My Cat where we were able to compare and discuss same and opposites. The second through fourth graders enjoyed hearing Bad Kitty Meets the Baby by Nick Bruel. This chapter book is perfect for those who loved the original Bad Kitty series in kindergarten.

What picture book titles have you used well this year?

Dianne de Las Casas interview

  • Posted on November 13, 2011 at 10:09 PM

I appreciate Dianne de Las Casas  answering some questions and updating us on Picture Book Month:

Tell me about the response to Picture Book Month. Have authors stepped up to volunteer? Do you believe the word has gotten out there?
The response to Picture Book Month has been overwhelming! The movement has gone viral and is being celebrated around the world: Australia, Canada, Philippines, UK… The hashtag on Twitter is #PictureBookMonth and you can follow much of the action there. There has been a such a positive reaction to Picture Book Month, which demonstrates that the picture book is indeed alive and loved.
Picture book authors, illustrators, and literacy ambassadors have contributed amazing essays on the importance of picture books. From November 1 to December 1, one essay is posted every day from our Picture Book Champions who include, among others: Peter Brown, Leslie Helakoski, Eric Kimmel, Jarrett Krosoczka, Dan Yaccarino, and Jane Yolen.
Picture Book Month Partners include Better World Books, Children’s Book Council, Reading is Fundamental, and Scholastic. Every week we add more. Bloggers have embraced Picture Book Month placing the Picture Book Month Ambassador logo on their blogs and sites. On Twitter, people are donning the Picture Book Month “Twibbon,” a digital ribbon that is placed on their Twitter avatar (picture).
Schools and libraries have been sending me pictures of their Picture Book Month celebrations. I Skyped with one high school class in Indiana whose teacher, Paul Hankins, is coordinating Skype Read-Alouds in honor of Picture Book Month. These high school students are sharing picture books via Skype with other schools across the country.
I’m astounded and delighted by the show of support for the venerable picture book. Long live the picture book!

What do you think the most important message for the month is?

I believe that the important message of Picture Book Month is that the picture book is an enduring piece of literature, a magical combination of words and art, whose impact on literacy is unparalleled.

The Common Core State Standards focus on the importance of informational text. How do you see this impacting picture book usage in an elementary school classroom?

As a learning tool, there is so much “meat” inside a picture book. With regard to language arts, the picture book is brimming with language, vocabulary, and literary devices such as similes, metaphors, personification, and onomatopoeia. Both fiction and nonfiction picture books bring the world to life for students in a way that text books do not. The picture book is a great way for a teacher or librarian to supplement their lessons. Information can be found not only in the words of the picture book but in the subtext of the illustrations. A picture book is a powerful and beautiful teaching tool.

If you could put only ten picture books in your suitcase to share with every kindergartner in the country, what would you choose?

Oh my goodness. This is the toughest question of all. It’s like a mother to choose her favorite child. But here we go:
  • The Dot by Peter Reynolds – This is an amazing book about creativity and making your mark on the world. This book has a built-in post reading activity. Everyone can make dots! And they will all be beautiful.
  • Wild About Books by Judy Sierra and illustrated by Marc Brown – This rhythmic, rhyming book espouses the love of books through an enterprising librarian’s stop at the zoo.
  • In My World by Lois Ehlert – Ehlert captures the world through a child’s eyes. The exquisite die cuts, the bright colors, and the simple words are married harmoniously to create a perfect picture book read-aloud for young children.
  • Tikki Tikki Tembo by Arlene Mosel and illustrated by Blair Lent – This book was a childhood love and made me laugh out loud. I fell in love with the sing-songy name. I still sing it! Tikki Tikki Tembo No Sa Rembo…
  • Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson – This classic has an enduring message of imagination. It’s one of the most creative picture books I’ve ever seen. Then every Kindergartener can be given a purple crayon to see where their imaginations lead them.
  • Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak – This classic book is classic for a reason. Monsters are scary but Max tames them and tames himself in the process. And mom loves Max no matter what, leaving his dinner waiting for him, still hot. I love how children can participate in the telling of this story.
  • Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin and John Archambault and illustrated by Lois Ehlert – This is such a fun read-aloud with its catchy chorus. A Kindergarten must-have!
  • Kindergarten Rocks! by Katie Davis – Kindergarten can be a scary place but a child finds out that kindergarten isn’t just fun, it rocks!
  • Alphabet Under Construction by Denise Fleming – If Kindergartens must learn their ABCs, why not construct them? From airbrushing the A to zipping the Z, a little mouse constructs the entire alphabet. LOVE this creative treatment of ABCs!
  • How Are You Peeling? Foods with Moods by Saxton Freymann and Joost Elffers – Talking to kindergarteners about feelings can be difficult. Why not show them? This innovative book using fruits and veggies to demonstrate emotion is just amazing.

How many states have you visited schools as an author & storyteller?
I’ve visited more than 500 cities, 30+ states, and multiple countries. I love doing school visits and inspiring kids to read, write, and tell stories! I have such a marvelous job!
Tell me about your newest title.
My newest book is Blue Frog: The Legend of Chocolate illustrated by Holly-Stone Barker. It is a wonderful Aztec legend of how chocolate came to the world. The illustrations are gorgeous (cut paper and collage) and I love telling the story because it has a fun refrain plus it involves one of my favorite foods ever – CHOCOLATE. :)

November is Picture Book Month! Join the picture book party. Read * Share * Celebrate!

Dianne de Las Casas

Award-Winning Author & Storyteller
Founder of Picture Book Month
The Story Connection
P.O. Box 2656
Harvey, LA 70059
Friend me!
Fan me!
Follow me! 

Children's Books:
  • *The House That Santa Built (Pelican Publishing; 2013)
  • *The Little "Read" Hen (Pelican Publishing; 2013)
  • *Beware, Beware of the Big Bad Bear (Pelican Publishing; 2012)
  • *Dinosaur Mardi Gras (Pelican Publishing; 2012)
  • *Blue Frog: The Legend of Chocolate (Pelican Publishing; 2011)
  • *The House That Witchy Built (Pelican Publishing; 2011)
  • *There's a Dragon in the Library (Pelican Publishing; 2011)
  • *Mama's Bayou (Pelican Publishing; 2010)
  • *The Gigantic Sweet Potato (Pelican Publishing; 2010)
  • *Madame Poulet and Monsieur Roach (Pelican Publishing; 2009)
  • *The Cajun Cornbread Boy (Pelican Publishing Co., 2009)
Professional Books:
  • *Handmade Tales 2: More Stories to Make and Take (Libraries Unlimited; 2012)
  • *A Is For Alligators: Draw & Tell Tales from A-Z (Libraries Unlimited; 2011)
  • *Tales from the 7,000 Isles: Filipino Folk Stories (Libraries Unlimited; 2011)
  • *Tell Along Tales: Playing with Participation Stories (Libraries Unlimited; 2011)
  • *Stories on Board: Creating Board Games from Favorite Tales (Libraries Unlimited; 2010)
  • and many more including the best-selling Handmade Tales: Stories to Make and Take
I love being in the presence of Dianne de Las Casas. She is a storyteller in all aspects. Being in her presence inspires you, fills you with joy, and motivates you to share stories with students.  When I heard that she was helping found Picture Book Month, my first thought was "Of Course!" and then to wonder about some of my other favorite picture book authors. Are they in? Will they be sharing this month? I have to keep checking in at to see who's featured each day.

My next thought was envy. I remember that my friend Nancy Dickinson was able to host Dianne de Las Casas at her school. I want Dianne at my school. I can already envision my students’ excitement. But, how do I pay for this?

May I confess to you my fear on seeking funding for author visits? I worry about how I can justify these and how I can convince administrators of the importance. I have met so many authors that I truly believe change children’s lives through in-school presentations. How do I quantify this to get funding? The same goes for storytellers. I know of several other schools in my district that are able to bring in nationally renowned storytellers. How do they get the funding?

Dianne de Las Casas has provided funding information on her website at <>. Will I be brave enough to begin the drive to fund a storyteller? When I taught at Hickman Elementary we were able to pay for some local authors – usually for less than a thousand dollars. We had Tim Ross, Michael Shoulders, Ronda Flowers, and an author from New Zealand come in.

Six years of personal blogging

  • Posted on November 13, 2011 at 1:45 PM

November 2005 I began blogging for myself at Previously I had been posting for school library organizations like TASL (Tennessee Association of School Librarians). After chatting with Doug Johnson, I felt strong enough to start sharing my own thoughts via blogs. My first post was about the need for original thought

Two years later I began blogging for SLJ and changed my blog presence to Practically Paradise. Over 1,000 posts later, I still feel I have much to share. Sometimes the thoughts are so busy spinning in my head, that I don’t write and share. I’m torn between perfection and practicality. My resolution for this seventh year of blogging is to share swiftly and stop searching for perfection.

November is Picture Book Month – are you in?

  • Posted on November 13, 2011 at 12:36 PM

I meant to post this November 1st, but time slipped away. Not only do I believe in sharing picture books, I believe in the group huddle around the librarians chair for storytime. I’ve used the Elmo and other document cameras to project the story, but the effect is not the same as caressing the pages and slowly swiveling the book to little bodies poised for each picture. I prefer cuddling close when reading. I believe students need this close proximity to story. How do you feel?

“I have always believed that literature begins in the cradle — the poems we say to the babies, the stories we tell them — prepare them to become part of the great human storytelling community. We humans are the only creatures in the known universe who make and remake our world with story.”* – Jane Yolen from her Picture Book Month essay

The New York Times declared, “Picture Books No Longer A Staple for Children” in an article published in October 2010. The controversial article incited a barrage of responses from the children’s book industry, many in defense of the venerable picture book. In addition, the digital age has ushered in an unprecedented amount of ebooks and, with devices like the iPad, the color Nook, and the Kindle Fire, picture books are being converted to the digital format.

Thus, Picture Book Month was born. Founder Dianne de Las Casas decided it was time to celebrate picture books in their printed format so she created an initiative to designate November as “Picture Book Month.” Katie Davis, Elizabeth Dulemba, Tara Lazar, and Wendy Martin came on board to champion the cause and spread the word. A logo was designed by Joyce Wan. A website ( was created to feature essays from “Picture Book Champions,” thought leaders in the children’s literature community. Each day in November, a new essay will be posted from such notable contributors as Suzanne Bloom, Peter Brown, Jarrett Krosoczka, Leslie Helakoski, Eric A. Kimmel, Tammi Sauer, Dan Yaccarino, and Jane Yolen.

Better World Books and organizations like Scholastic Book Fairs Philippines are lending their support. The website will also feature links to picture book resources,authors, illustrators, and kidlit book bloggers. In addition, parents, educators, and librarians can download the theme calendar to help them plan their picture book celebrations and access picture book activities.

Join the celebration! Visit The website officially opens on November 1, 2011.

*“Picture books are important because they are with us for life. They are the most important books we’ll ever read because they’re our first. No matter how many books we’ve read since, they will always have a place in our hearts.”* – Dan Yaccarino from his Picture Book Month Essay.

*Read ***** Share *** **Celebrate!*

Sourcebooks Discount

  • Posted on November 7, 2011 at 8:26 AM

Did you know that Ingram books has a 10% discount available to all public and school library customers from November 1 to December 31, 2011 for qualifying titles ordered from Sourcebooks?  You can shop ipage® and the discount applies to qualifying titles on all purchase orders submitted during the term of the offer, with no discount code required. Sourcebooks titles eligible for the +10% additional discount

I wanted to show you the list of eligible titles, but I’m waiting for the rep. to reactivate my account. In Tennessee all members of TENN-SHARE receive discounts from Ingram books, but we have to renew our accounts yearly. That’s always frustrating to me since Follett, Davidson books, Junior Library Guild, Bound to Stay Bound, Children’s Plus, and Capstone know who I am from one year to the next.

Tweet! Tweet! and Retweet!

  • Posted on November 7, 2011 at 12:51 AM

The ALA Washington Office has written a tweet that is to be sent out in anticipation of the Senate ESEA hearing on Tuesday, November 8th. Please spread as widely as possible!!!  In order to create a concentrated Twitter bomb, they are requesting that you send this tweet out on Monday, the 7th, at 11 A.M. Eastern time.

Below is the tweet:

Senate holding #ESEA hearing 11/8 & #SchoolLibraries aren’t included. Why?! Good #schools need good #libraries!

For members who want to send the tweet directly to their senator, there are enough remaining characters to do so. Here is an example of a tweet directed at a Senator Mark Kirk from Illinois.  Please replace with your own Senator (@SenatorXXXXX)

@SenatorKirk Senate holding #ESEA hearing 11/8 & #SchoolLibraries aren’t included. Why?! Good #schools need good #libraries!