Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Caterpillars, Binge Eating, and the Anti-Obesity Campaign

Earlier this week, on the first day of spring, thousands of pediatricians' offices received free copies of Eric Carle's classic, The Very Hungry Caterpillar. These books will be accompanied by growing charts and reading guides to help foster discussion with children about healthy eating habits and fight the childhood obesity epidemic. See what Bill Clinton and Eric Carle have to say about this new campaign. 

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Poems Poems Poems!

The Academy of American Poets has a wonderful website,, that I often go to if I'm looking for a group of poems about a specific theme. It's super-easy to navigate:

So there you go - lots of poems about shoes, aliens, shark week. Also, as you can see, there's a "For Teens" page of poems. Under "Life and Leisure," there's a "childhood" page of poems, and under "Family and People," there are poem pages for "parenting," "daughters," and "sons."

Even BETTER, at least for our investigative purposes, is the Poetry Foundation's website, which has a similar categories function, which they call the "Poetry Tool."

(I made the blue circles)
As you can see, there is a whole section roped off for "Children's."

There are tons of great nooks and crannies on both of these organization's websites - for example, I stumbled upon "Ten Poems to Get You Through Science Class," which I would have loooved to use as a resource while I was growing up. If our lockers were any bigger, I probably would have also appreciated "Ten Poems to Read When You Get Stuffed in a Locker."

Anyway, have fun with these websites!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A bit of pandering to His Excellency....

23rd Annual Lambda Literary Award Finalists were recently announced. Lambda Literary is "The leader in LGBT book reviews, author interviews, opinion and news since 1989."

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Anybody interested in YA writing and publishing?

Check out this new initiative, by authors Nina LaCour and Kristen Tracy, called Write Teen. From their "about" page:
Once, we were teenagers. Now, we’re both published writers and committed teachers who’ve decided to share what we know about writing and publishing young adult novels. Over a series of ten lectures we will study how to craft a marketable teen novel and offer practical advice on how to present your finished work to agents and editors who are actively acquiring manuscripts. Take one class, take all, take those that offer you the insights you need. In addition to sharing our own strategies for writing and revision, we will study critically and commercially successful teen novels and discuss the structural, artistic, and thematic elements that allow these works to resonate with such a wide audience. Between us, we have sold eleven novels to Simon & Schuster, Random House, Disney-Hyperion, and Penguin. We also have over twenty years of combined teaching experience. Wherever you are in your writing life, we look forward to meeting you and guiding you toward your finished story.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Are you all sitting comfortably?

Maybe we should try some improvisational storytelling on Wednesday!

Annie Leibowits' Disney Dreams

Check out these fabulous photos by the great Annie L! Here's Julianne Moore as the Little Mermaid:

And Queen Latifah as Ursula:

Rachel Weisz as Snow White:

Who else but Dame Julie Andrews as Pinocchio's Blue Fairy?

And Scarlet Johanssen as That Gal With The Slipper:

And Tiny Fey as a bedraggled Tink:

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Diving into archives...

I might have written about Project Gutenberg in an earlier post, but it's one of my favorite things, so it's worth re-mentioning. It'll be a really great resource for everyone's final projects, especially if you'll be writing about book culture or if you'll be doing some sort of historical project. Here are some example titles:

Types Of Children's Literature: A Collection Of The World's Best Literature For Children (For use in colleges, normal schools and library schools) Collected and edited by Walter Barnes, A.M. (1920)

Children’s Stories in American Literature, 1660-1860 By Henrietta Christian Wright. New York, Charles Scribner's Sons (1909).

Children's Books and Their Illustrators Author: Gleeson White (1897)

The Children's Story Of The War. Vol IV. The Story of the Year 1915
By Sir Edward Parrott, M.A., Ll.D. (1916)

Children's Hour With Red Riding Hood And Other Stories
Edited by Watty Piper (1922)

Other sites that include thousands of free titles in HTML and .pdf formats include,, and

UPDATE 3/25/11: ok, so apparently there is a whole "children's bookshelf" on Gutenberg.

Another tumblr scour!

I thought I'd search tumblr for more children's lit/children's book items..... click any of the following if you're interested in...

Matilda or e-books old timey gender construction the very hungry caterpillar "post-colonial steampunk children's literature" Dr. Seuss and/or political writing Dune the wisdom of Tolkien or Milne writing and publishing general silliness/Shel Silverstein


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Happy 107th, Dr. Seuss!

The poet who  introduced us to the Lorax forests, green eggs and ham, and Whoville would celebrate his 107th birthday today.  Read Across America Day purposely coincides with Seuss's birthday because, as they say in Seussville, "what better way to celebrate Dr. Seuss's birthday than reading to a child?" Check out how children and adults alike are celebrating this special day!

"You're never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read to a child."

Remembering Janet Schulman

You may, like I did, guess that Janet Schulman was a kindly, soft-spoken, perhaps grandmotherly women who loved children's books enough to compile the treasury we are currently using in our class. If you assume this, as I did, you would be wrong. She certainly had a passion for the children's literature industry, but she had so much more than that. Schulman was a spunky, candid, no-nonsense children's book editor who interrogated gender norms and was once fired for "having the audacity" to question why a female executive made less than a male secretary. Schulman, who recently passed away, will be remembered  by colleagues, friends, and family for her uniqueness, her frankness, and for inspiring those around her not to settle for mediocrity. The article is well worth a read, but to get the gist of her spunkiness, here's what one colleague says about her:

She was at a business gathering there when “X,” a high-ranking (male) executive, said to her, “Tell me, Janet, when are you going to stop dressing like a man?” To which she replied, “As soon as they start paying me like one.”

What's Wrong With Cinderella?

Peggy Orenstein goes beyond wicked stepmothers, fairy godmothers, and glass slippers to examine the cultural impact of Cinderella and the pink-saturated princess culture that Disney (and other corporations) has helped create and fuel. This New York Times article is the basis for her new book, Cinderella Ate My Daughter, mentioned in an earlier post.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011