Month: July 2016
Children’s Book Shout-Outs at the Democratic National Convention
Reading together formed a special bond between mother and daughter, and now with grandchildren Charlotte and Aidan. Three kids’ books in particular received shout-outs from Chelsea; Chugga-Chugga Choo-Choo by Kevin Lewis; Goodnight Moon by Margaret …
Make More Time for Summer Reading
Some ideas include: Setting reading goals Taking a break from screens Hosting book-themed parties Bringing books everywhere Starting a family book club Having a reading night Find more summer reading …
Documentary Following Curious George Creators Hans A. & Margret Rey Announced – Ema Ryan Yamazaki Directorial Debut
New York City, NY – In celebration of the world’s most beloved monkey, who turns seventy-five years old this year, filmmaker Ema Ryan Yamazaki announces the first ever mixed-media documentary …
Happy 150th Birthday to the Multi-Talented Beatrix Potter!
“Beatrix Potter may be best known as the creator of charming characters like Peter Rabbit, Mrs. Tiggy Winkle and Hunca Munca, but, as is true in most lives, she was …
National Ambassador Gene Luen Yang on Diversity and Comics
Through his platform Reading Without Walls, Yang hopes to inspire readers of all ages to expand their reading tastes and discover diversity in both format and content. Check out these …
Dr. Seuss’s The Cat in The Hat Tosses Red and White Stovepipe Hat in the Ring for 2016 Presidential Election, as the Kids’ Candidate
New York, NY — Dr. Seuss’s beloved character the Cat in the Hat has declared his candidacy for president of the United States in the 2016 election, as the one and …
A Different Lens: Part 2
Contributed by Mary Birdsell, Photographer
Last month I wrote an article for this site, discussing my experience photographing children with special needs and my upcoming trip to photograph children in Tanzania. International travel, two words that appear exciting, exotic, and luxurious, are in reality about spending hours wedged between strangers. It is neither exciting, exotic, nor even the slightest bit luxurious. After landing in a different hemisphere, the excitement starts to build again. I’m not sure what I expected to see in Tanzania, but I was surprised to see fields of corn. As a Midwesterner, I’m well versed in fields of corn and found it very welcoming. What made it exotic was seeing palm trees growing next to the corn. Fields, mountains, plains, rainforests, and beaches met to make picture perfect views.
When I started taking pictures, I found it hard to stop. As a photographer, the digital age has made taking large quantities of pictures so much more accessible. Armed with a dozen memory cards and several cameras with a variety of lenses, I took thousands of pictures. So many that after being back on American soil for a month, I still haven’t gone through them all. Some of the pictures will be more quantity and less quality. But how could I stop myself when I knew I may never be on another safari? I could spend hours telling you about the majesty of lions or the colors of the different birds, but even more eye opening were the people I photographed.
The people of Tanzania are welcoming and kind. The buildings are kept meticulously clean. It didn’t matter if the walkways were dirt paths, they were swept and cared for daily. I began to realize how much of our country is covered in pavement. I also began to see how having something that is meager, does not mean it is worthless.
People have value. Inclusion has shown Americans the value of people no matter their ability. In Tanzania they are in the process of acknowledging the value of all of their citizens. In the past, children and adults that had disabilities were kept hidden away in their homes. And while that may still be the case at times, strides are being made to see the worth of all people. Inclusion may be in its infancy in Tanzania, but the teachers there are dedicated to seeing it become the norm.
As a former teacher, I’ve spent many hours training and doing continuing education. I know what a room full of teachers can be like. My experience with Tanzanian teachers taught me that being an educator is something that translates into any language. Committed, passionate, and intelligent teachers are everywhere. Some are teaching in classrooms with 80 students and not enough desks, let alone materials, but they are still advocating for their students.
Just as teachers are teachers no matter their geography, kids are kids no matter their language. I didn’t need to be fluent in Swahili to sense that the bragging adolescent boys were trying hard to be grown up and the young girls sitting quietly were shy. The children were excited to read books and happy to make faces for pictures. Like their American counterparts, they could use a cell phone better than I can and knew the word, “selfie.”
Looking through the lens of my camera took me to the other side of the world to see remarkable people, animals, and landscapes. I saw more than I could process in the three weeks I spent traveling. It made me very grateful that I had the opportunity not only to see these people and places, but to tell their stories.
Mary Birdsell is a freelance photographer and a former Speech and Theatre teacher. She strives to create images that reflect the strengths of each child. This fall, Finding My Way Books will publish two picture books, sharing stories of children with disabilities, and four concept books. All six books will feature photographs Mary took on her trip to Tanzania.
Scholastic Announces Contest to Discover the Next Graphix Author-Artists
San Diego, CA — Scholastic, the global children’s publishing, education, and media company, has announced a contest to find talent to debut on its acclaimed Graphix imprint for children and …
Should Children’s Book Heroes Grow Up?
Author Anthony Horrowitz (the Alex Rider series) firmly believes that the magic of children’s book characters, like Peter Pan, lies in their eternal youth. But authors such as Jamila Gavin …
2016 Eisner Awards Announced
This year’s winners included several graphic novels for young readers: Best Publication for Early Readers (up to age 8): Little Robot, by Ben Hatke (First Second) Best Publication for Kids …
Little, Brown Books For Young Readers Enhances Young Adult eBooks Through Immersive Music Soundtracks With Booktrack Technology Platform
NEW YORK, NY –– Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, a division of Hachette Book Group, and reading technology pioneer Booktrack (www.booktrack.com) launch a new generation of eBooks with an industry-first …
2016 Children’s Choice Book Awards Winners Donate Books to Classrooms
This year’s eight winning authors and illustrators have generously provided books to the following classrooms: R.L. Stine, The Little Shop of Monsters (Kindergarten to Second Grade Book of the Year): …
HarperCollins Children’s Books to Publish Additional Novel and Storybook in Bestselling ‘School For Good and Evil’ Series By Soman Chainani
New York, NY — Today, HarperCollins Publishers announced that an additional fourth novel in the bestselling School for Good and Evil series will be published in Summer 2017, and a companion storybook …
Paul O. Zelinksy, Matt de la Peña and Jane Yolen Headline 2nd Annual Picture Book Summit
All Day Online Event for Picture Book Writers Will Feature Top Children’s Writing Experts, Editors and Agents. Three of today’s most beloved and honored picture book authors will headline the …
Diversity in the News: July 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 …
Digital Literacy for Tweens
According to a survey by the Iowa State University School of Education, students actually learn more easily from books than from the Internet. Complex skills such as online researching, interpreting, and communicating …
Flash Mob of Harry Potter Fans – “Muggle Mob” – Stops Traffic at Scholastic Headquarters in New York City
New York, NY – More than 300 Harry Potter fans formed a massive flash mob or “Muggle Mob” today, taking over Broadway in front of the Scholastic headquarters building in New …
Scholastic Reports Q4 and Fiscal 2016 Results and Fiscal 2017 Outlook
New York, NY – Scholastic Corporation (NASDAQ: SCHL), the global children’s publishing, education and media company, today reported financial results for the Company’s fiscal fourth quarter and full year ended May …
VCFA Young Writers Network
The VCFA initiative will also bring writers to farms and other communities not typically visited by authors. The goal…is to change who gets into a writing career and for young …
Reach Out and Read Kansas City includes Finding My Way Books in Program
Kansas City’s only Medically-Based Children’s Literacy Program will distribute Books Honoring Children with Special Needs Kansas City, KS – July 19, 2016 – Reach Out and Read Kansas City recently added …