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Month: June 2016

  • National Ambassador Gene Luen Yang’s Creativity in Progress Series: Part 4

    In his latest post, Yang shares his approach to thumbnails, small sketches of each page in a graphic novel. Yang prefers to place his sketches and script side-by-side on the page (as seen below), …

  • Celebrating 20 years of the Pura Belpré Book Award

    The award was established in 1996 in recognition of outstanding children’s literature that portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino cultural experience. Below is a video retrospective that premiered at the recent …

  • My Socioeconomic Diversity Wish List

    Contributed by Nikki Garcia, assistant editor, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

    Six months ago, I wrote a post for the CBC Diversity blog discussing socioeconomic diversity and my personal struggles with financial security as a child. I wish there were more children’s books when I was growing up that didn’t make me feel different. So for this post, I want to name some books that are showing young readers a different economic view—a view through a different but important lens. Because you just never know who is struggling to make ends meet.

    Here is my book wish list for my younger self:

    Picture Books

    Those Shoes by Maribeth Boelts takes on one of the most common ways young children notice something is different: they start to notice all the new and cool things other children have, because their family buys what they “need” versus what they “want.”

    Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña also approaches the same topic in a similar way. CJ takes the bus with his Grandma every day, but one day he starts noticing how he’s different from everyone else. Why don’t they have a car? And why do they get off the bus in a dirty part of town?

    Middle Grade

    Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate is about a family that has fallen on hard times. With little money for rent and food, they are forced to live in their minivan.

    In Minna’s Patchwork Coat by Lauren A. Mills, Minna’s family cannot afford a winter coat, so she is forced to use an old feed sack, until her neighbors come together and create a coat out of scraps of old fabric.

    Young Adult

    Sorta Like a Rock Star by Matthew Quick shows a young girl living with her mom and dog in the back of a school bus since her mom’s boyfriend kicked them out. Always optimistic, her ability to hope for a better future is constantly tested.

    Tell Us We’re Home by Marina Budhos is the story of three girls living among the wealthy, but with one big difference: they are the daughters of maids and nannies, and because of this, they live by different rules.

    These are just a few books that show socioeconomic diversity across all age groups. Children are never too young or too old to learn about different families.

    Do you know any books that discuss socioeconomic diversity, and touched your heart? Please let us know in the comments—I’m always looking to add to my book wish list.

    Nikki Garcia is an assistant editor at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers where she works on books for all ages. During her time at LBYR, she has had the honor of working with authors such as Peter Brown, Wendy Mass, Matthew Quick, and Monica Brown. Born and raised right here in New York City, Nikki graduated from St. John’s University, and thankfully didn’t have to travel very far to make her dreams come true.

  • Scholastic Acquires Four Books by Nine-Year-Old Reporter Hilde Lysiak

    Hilde Cracks the Case Series to Launch in Fall 2017 As part of Branches Line of Early Chapter Books New York, NY—June 30, 2016¾ Scholastic (NASDAQ: SCHL), the global children’s …

  • Random House U.S. and Penguin Random House U.K. Children’s Divisions to Publish ‘The Elephant Who Wants to Fall Asleep,’ The Follow-Up to The #1 International Bestseller ‘The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep’ By Carl-Johan Forssén Ehrlin

    New York and London — The Random House U.S. and Penguin Random House U.K. children’s divisions of Penguin Random House jointly announce the publication of THE LITTLE ELEPHANT WHO WANTS …

  • Conference’s New Award Recognizes Founding Director of Children’s Literature Studies at Hollins

    Roanoke, Va. – Hollins University’s Francelia Butler Conference (FBC), a one-day, student-run conference dedicated to celebrating children’s literature, is presenting a new prize this year in honor of the founding …

  • Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Unveils First-Ever Curriculum-Based Virtual Reality Field Trips for Google Expeditions

    BOSTON, MA – Global learning company Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) today launched the first HMH Field Trips for Google Expeditions for students grades K-12. Announced at the International Society for Technology …

  • Diversity in the News: June 2016

    The newsletter is a valuable resource for librarians, teachers, booksellers, parents and caregivers, publishing professionals, and children’s literature lovers. Find thought-provoking articles, diverse new releases, and more in this month’s issue and sign …

  • Pottermore unveils new writing by J.K. Rowling about Ilvermorny, the North American School of Magic, in the second instalment of Magic in North America, setting the stage for the upcoming Warner Bros. Pictures film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

    Pottermore.com users can now be sorted into Ilvermorny houses London, 28 June, 2016 – ‘Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry,’ the second instalment in a collection of new original writing …

  • J.K. Rowling to Attend Special Screening of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, to be Held in New York, to Benefit Lumos Foundation USA

    New York, NY – Author J.K. Rowling’s international non-profit children’s organization–announced today that J.K. Rowling will join Academy Award® winner Eddie Redmayne on stage at the Stern Auditorium / Perelman …

  • Mackin Partners with DOGObooks to Enhance Book Discovery

    Mackin partners with the largest site for kids and teens to safely discover, rate and review books BURNSVILLE, MN (June 23, 2016) Mackin announces a partnership with DOGObooks, the largest …

  • Scholastic & Scottgames, LLC Announce a New Book Series Based on the Bestselling Video Game Franchise Five Nights at Freddy’s

    NEW YORK, NY — Scholastic, the global children’s publishing, education, and media company, and acclaimed game developer Scottgames today announced a collaboration on a multi-book deal based on the popular Five …

  • Introducing BOOKMOM, a New Blog Offering Reading Recommendations from a Publishing Insider

    New York, NY — Simon & Schuster’s Children Publishing is excited to introduce BOOKMOM: Picks from a Publishing Parent, a new blog that offers parents reading recommendations from publishing insider …

  • DOGObooks and OverDrive to Enable Social Discovery of eBooks for Kids and Teens

    Tiburon, CA (June 23, 2016) – DOGObooks, the largest website for book reviews by-and-for kids, and OverDrive, the leading digital books platform in libraries and schools, are collaborating to enable social discovery …

  • #DrawingDiversity: ‘City Shapes’ by Diana Murray, illustrations by Bryan Collier

    City Shapes by Diana Murray, illustrations by Bryan Collier (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, June 2016). All rights reserved.

  • Book Spotlight: ‘This Kid Can Fly: It’s About Ability, Not Disability’ by Aaron Philip with Tonya Bolden

    Contributed by Donna Bray, Vice President, Co-Publisher of Balzer + Bray, HarperCollins Publishers

    “How many people with disabilities work here?”

    This was one of the first questions young author Aaron Philip asked our staff when he and his family arrived at the HarperCollins offices to meet us. We all looked around uncomfortably, because the answer is that we work with few to no disabled employees. Aaron went on to speak passionately about the invisibility he and other people with cerebral palsy – and many wheelchair users – often feel when they rarely see themselves represented in the workplace, in television and films, in books, in the news. Aaron is ambitious – he wants a life and a career in the world. But where are his models? This discussion inspired and has stayed with me, and has made me especially glad to be able to contribute to bringing visibility to disability with the publication of This Kid Can Fly.


    An article in the New York Times alerted me to Aaron’s story. The piece was about his occupational therapist who’d been suspended without pay for using her school email address to contact other staff about Aaron’s self-published book – a project that the principal was aware of and the whole school community supported. The therapist’s story was frustrating and sad, but I was intrigued by what I learned about Aaron (pronounced AY-ron). An immigrant from Antigua, he had come to this country at great sacrifice to his family to seek medical help for his cerebral palsy. His family had even been homeless for a time, which forced his father to carry Aaron up several flights of stairs every day, as the building was not wheelchair accessible. Yet Aaron was clearly determined to achieve. He was the inspiration for a nonprofit called This Ability Not Disability and had self-published a book with their help, and had started a Tumblr about his life, highlighting the struggles of wheelchair users and other disabled people. I found his Tumblr (which also featured his anime art), and the more I read, the more I realized that Aaron’s was an important story to tell. With an authentic, accessible voice, Aaron talked about the particular challenges of being a wheelchair-using kid and the loneliness he often feels. One of the biggest hurdles for disabled children is social – other kids can be intimidated by or afraid of what they don’t understand. I hoped that by publishing the memoir of this extraordinary yet relatable 13-year-old, I could give young readers who have their mobility a window into the experiences of a wheelchair user that also highlights the commonalities of their lives. I also hoped that other kids with disabilities would read Aaron’s story and feel inspired and less alone.

    Here are a few of my favorite recent books that shine a light on the lives of young people who are wheelchair users and/or have cerebral palsy. Feel free to add yours in the comments!

    Reaching for Sun by Traci Vaughn Zimmer

    Laughing At My Nightmare by Shane Burcaw

    Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern

    (Disability in Kidlit is a great resource for reviews of other books about many different disabilities, and every year the Schneider Award honors the best in children’s and teen books that feature disabled characters.)


    Donna Bray is vice president, co-publisher of Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. As the editor of picture books, middle-grade, and teen books, she is particularly interested in seeking out new voices that reflect diversity of race, ethnicity, class, culture, religion, and ability. She lives with her family in Brooklyn.

  • Indiana and Michigan Libraries Honored

    Washington, D.C. — The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS), part of the Library of Congress, today recognized two libraries for outstanding service to readers who are …

  • “Reading Without Walls” Display at Wild Rumpus Bookstore

    The display, which will be up through Labor Day, features eye-catching visuals and book recommendations for the Reading Without Walls challenge — to read a book outside one’s comfort zone. The main table will …

  • U.S.A. Gold® Pencils Announces Student Poetry Contest Winners

    Students from Michigan, Mississippi and Colorado Take Home Top Prizes Irvine, CA – June 15, 2016 – U.S.A. Gold®pencils today announced the winners of its first student poetry contest, created …

  • Scholastic to Publish New Edition of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them in 2017

    New York, NY — Scholastic is pleased to announce the publication of a new edition of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them in 2017. Publishing on March 14, 2017, …

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