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Month: November 2015

  • Read More! End LGBTQ Bullying!

    By Christian Trimmer, executive editor at Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

    Many of the biggest lessons in my life I learned from books. Bridge to Terabithia helped me understand loss and grief. I figured out how to be a good friend and listener from Judy Blume’s novels. The Romantic Movement challenged me to be more actively present in my relationships. And from Jurassic Park, I learned never to extract dinosaur DNA from amber-entombed mosquitoes.

    It’s heartening that today’s youth are embracing books like Wonder, Out of My Mind, The Thing About Jellyfish, and Eleanor & Park—novels that highlight differences and encourage compassion. I can imagine the wonderful conversations these stories are sparking, and I bet kids who read these books feel better equipped to navigate challenging situations and confront injustice. And I’m going to contend that parents and educators who buy these books for their children are doing so not only because the novels are excellent reads, but also because they recognize the potential lessons to be gleaned from the pages.

    With that in mind, I ask that you put books like the following into the hands of your customers, kids, and students:

    Gracefully Grayson by Ami Polonsky;
    Better Nate Than Ever by Tim Federle
    Husky by Justin Sayre
    George by Alex Gino
    None of the Above by I. W. Gregorio
    Some Assembly Required: The Not-So-Secret Life of a Transgender Teen by Arin Andrews
    Rethinking Normal: A Memoir in Transition by Katie Rain Hill
    I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
    Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out by Susan Kuklin.

    These are just some of my recent favorites. Goodreads offers a number book lists featuring titles that address LGBTQ themes, like this one, and the American Library Association has recognized some truly magnificent books with its Stonewall Award.

    Despite some amazing progress for LGBTQ rights, kids who identify within those groups still face big challenges at school and at home. Nine out of ten kids who identify as LGBTQ report being bullied. They’re eight times more likely to end up homeless. LGBTQ kids are four times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight peers. Nearly half of transgender youth have seriously contemplated suicide; twenty-five percent have attempted it. (More facts here and here.)

    I’m not asking you to promote LGBTQ literature in the faint hope that young people might be more compassionate if they read these books. Studies, like those noted in this article, prove that reading makes us more empathetic. Young people who have read about Katie Hill’s decision to drop out of school and take her classes online because the bullying got so bad will be less likely to inflict the same pain on someone else. Tweens who have read Better Nate Than Ever will no doubt be sweeter to the kid who may or may not be (but who is probably) gay. Teens will realize how much they have in common with Arin Andrews after they read his memoir.

    As publishers, booksellers, educators, and parents, we have this grand opportunity to shape and mold young people’s minds with the literature we give to them. I feel incredibly fortunate that my parents and educators encouraged me to read so much when I was younger—I wouldn’t be the man I am today without the books of my youth. And I wish there had been more books like the ones noted in this post when I was a teenager. As a gay kid growing up in a conservative town in the 1990s, I would have found solace in these stories, and maybe my peers would have been a bit kinder. The only gay character I knew of back then was Matt Fielding on Melrose Place. I know we can do better.

    Christian Trimmer is an executive editor for Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. He is also the author of Simon’s New Bed and (Mimi and Shu in) I’ll Race You!, out December 2015. Learn more at christiantrimmer.com.

  • New Research Report from Scholastic Confirms the Importance of School Libraries and Librarians

    New York, NY – November 5, 2015 – School Libraries Work!, a new research report providing evidence of the positive impact of school librarians and libraries on student learning, was …

  • Public Libraries Expand Story Time

    The surge in story time crowds reflects a widespread belief in the importance of reading together and developing early literacy skills. Story time is drawing capacity crowds at public libraries across New …

  • Kate DiCamillo on Her Mission as National Ambassador

    DiCamillo believes that her work as National Ambassador and National Summer Reading Champion is a natural extension of her lifelong commitment to storytelling — and she’s been honored to share …

  • Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers Preempts ‘The Diabolic’ by S.J. Kincaid

    New York, NY — Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers announced today that it will publish The Diabolic by S. J. Kincaid, a YA stand-alone action-adventure thriller set in space, …

  • PW’s Best Children’s Books of 2015 Announced

    Titles featured on the picture books list include: The Princess and the Pony by Kate Beaton (Scholastic/Levine) Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña, illustrated by Christian Robinson (Putnam) The Only …

  • #DrawingDiversity: ‘Red Knit Cap Girl’ by Naoko Stoop

    Red Knit Cap Girl by Naoko Stoop (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers/Hachette, June 2012). All rights reserved. @littlebrown

  • Paddington Sequel in the Works

    No casting announcements have been made at this point. Based on Brit author Michael Bond’s much-loved series of books, Paddington the film was, by some margin, StudioCanal’s most ambitious project …

  • Winnie the Pooh Illustration Up for Auction

    Based on similar Pooh art auctioned in recent years, the beginning bid has been set at $50,000. Shepard drew Pooh and Piglet dancing in a letter to his agent in 1932. It …

  • Happy Birthday, Mercy Watson!

    Mercy Watson, the best-selling early chapter-book series written by the two-time Newbery Medal winner and National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature Kate DiCamillo celebrates its tenth anniversary this year. Launched in 2005 …

  • #WeHaveDiverseBooks for Kids in Scholastic Reading Club This Holiday

    NEW YORK – November 3, 2015 – Recent research indicates that children say one of the top things they look for in choosing books to read for fun is “having …

  • We Need Diverse Books™ Announces Inaugural Walter Dean Myers Grant Recipients

    October 29, 2015 (New York, New York) – We Need Diverse Books™ (WNDB™) has selected  the first five winners of its first ever Walter Dean Myers Grant: Naadeyah Haseeb, Jami …

  • President Obama on the Value of Reading

    The President remarked on the “incredible variety of voices” in contemporary American literature, and the importance of seeking out diverse books — instead of only “reading stuff that reinforces [one’s] existing …

  • Mad Libs Now Available On Android

    New York, NY – Penguin Young Readers is pleased to announce that it’s most successful app Mad Libs is now available for download on Android devices for the very first time …

  • Kansas Literacy Program Gives Finding My Way Books to Kids

    For Immediate Release – November 2, 2015 – Lenexa, KS –  After learning that kindergarten teachers in Kansas reported that as many as half of their students enter school without the …

  • #DrawingDiversity: ‘El Deafo’ by Cece Bell

    El Deafo by Cece Bell (Amulet Books/ @abramsbooks​, September 2014). All rights reserved. 

  • First Book Honored By Library of Congress for Literacy Efforts

    First Book now serves 200,000 educators, having grown an impressive 500% in the past four years. The Rubenstein Prize is awarded to an organization that has made ‘outstanding and measurable contributions in …

  • Illustrator Tomie dePaola on Inspiration

    DePaola fondly remembers the stories and anthologies his mother read to him as a child. He encourages aspiring artists to look for inspiration beyond the page. Years ago when I taught painting, …

  • Dinner Time Conversation Can Help Kids With Their Reading Skills

    The benefits to children don’t just come from listening to stories. Children who know how to tell stories are also better readers. In one large study, kindergartners who were able …

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