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Tag Archives | Newbery Award

Skinny Dip with April Whatley Bedford

April Whatley Bedford

April What­ley Bed­ford

We inter­viewed April What­ley Bed­ford, life­long read­er, cur­rent­ly the Dean of the School of Edu­ca­tion at Brook­lyn Col­lege.

Which celebri­ty, liv­ing or not, do you wish would invite you to a cof­fee shop?

Can I choose two? I would love to have cof­fee with Michelle and Barack Oba­ma, either togeth­er or indi­vid­u­al­ly. I’m sure I’m not alone in this answer, but there are no two peo­ple I admire more in the world, and I also believe we would laugh a lot dur­ing our con­ver­sa­tions.

Which book do you find your­self rec­om­mend­ing pas­sion­ate­ly?

The Girl Who Drank the MoonThis changes on a fre­quent basis, but I just fin­ished read­ing the most recent New­bery win­ner, The Girl Who Drank the Moon. I have not been able to stop think­ing about it since I fin­ished it. Kel­ly Barnhill’s beau­ti­ful lan­guage, the world she imag­ined and described in such exquis­ite detail, the ulti­mate mes­sage of hope and for­give­ness … I could go on and on about this book. I feel sure that the well-deserved award will bring this book to the atten­tion of more read­ers — of every age — who need to know about it.

Favorite city to vis­it?

Until I was for­tu­nate enough to live in them, my two favorite cities to vis­it were always New Orleans, where I lived for 15 years, and New York City, where I have lived for the past three. Now my favorite city to vis­it is San Fran­cis­co, but I also dream of liv­ing in Paris some­time. There is nev­er enough time to explore all the won­ders of each of these unique and cul­tur­al­ly rich cities, and they all have pret­ty fan­tas­tic food, too.

Illustrator’s work you most admire?

Radiant ChildAgain, I could nev­er pick just one but I am cur­rent­ly swoon­ing over Java­ka Steptoe’s spec­tac­u­lar Radi­ant Child: The Sto­ry of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat! Since I moved to Brook­lyn, I have become friends with Java­ka, and when his name was called in Atlanta at the ALA Youth Media Awards first for the Coret­ta Scott King medal and then for the Calde­cott, I couldn’t stop scream­ing. He showed me a draft of the book on his iPad about a year before it was pub­lished, and I was count­ing the days until I could see it in print. His col­lages, evok­ing the style of Basquiat but pure Java­ka, are so cap­ti­vat­ing to me. We invit­ed the fifth graders from a local part­ner school, PS 119, to hear him speak at Brook­lyn Col­lege just a few weeks before ALA Mid-Win­ter and gave them each a signed copy of Radi­ant Child. Being able to con­nect chil­dren with authors and illus­tra­tors is one of the great joys of my per­son­al and pro­fes­sion­al life, and I was thrilled to be able to call the prin­ci­pal of PS 119 after the awards cer­e­mo­ny with the won­der­ful news that she could share with all of her fifth-graders. I am def­i­nite­ly one of Javaka’s biggest fans!

Favorite sea­son of the year? Why?

Grow­ing up in Texas, I was always a sum­mer sun wor­shiper, but since mov­ing to New York, I’ve grown very fond of the fall. As a teacher, the begin­ning of a new school year has always seemed like the real New Year’s for me, but most of my life I lived in places that real­ly didn’t have four sep­a­rate sea­sons. There’s just an excite­ment in the air as the sea­son changes from sum­mer to fall that I love. I’m still not a fan of New York win­ters, but it’s pret­ty hard to beat the hol­i­day sea­son in the city.

Autumn in New York, Central Park, New York Ciity

What gives you shiv­ers?

Sun­sets, fire­works, can­dle­light, shoot­ing stars, light­en­ing bugs, water­falls, the ocean…all in a good way.

Morn­ing per­son? Night per­son?

Most def­i­nite­ly a night per­son.

Your hope for the world?

My great­est hope for the world, espe­cial­ly dur­ing these dif­fi­cult days, is that we are all able to expect kind­ness and com­pas­sion from one anoth­er.

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The Awards

 

In the children’s lit­er­a­ture world, awards hap­pened this week. They don’t receive quite the press or air­time (which is unfor­tu­nate) as The Tonys and Oscars, but they’re impor­tant and excit­ing all the same. Dar­ling Daugh­ter and I have just dis­cussed them at some length over sup­per.

I love the awards. I love feel­ing like I pre­dict­ed a few of them. I love that there are always a cou­ple of sur­pris­es to put on my read­ing list. I even love that I can dis­agree with the selec­tions, at times — I mean, real­ly, that’s kind of fun. Most of all, I love that some of those that win feel extra spe­cial, whether it’s because I know the author, or because the award rec­og­nizes a deep spe­cial­ness that real­ly needs to be rec­og­nized in a book or an artist’s work over time.

I once heard a well-known New­bery author say that you can only receive some­thing like the New­bery award as a gift. You can’t pre­tend for a sec­ond, this author said, that you earned it some­how. The rea­son? It sits on the shelf with so many oth­er tru­ly awe­some books. The author/illustrator has cer­tain­ly done some­thing astound­ing — written/illustrated a spec­tac­u­lar book — and to have that rec­og­nized, well…that’s about as won­der­ful as it gets. But it’s grace. It’s gravy. It’s gift. I like that — it strikes me as being True.

One of the oth­er things I love about the awards is the amaz­ing work teach­ers and librar­i­ans do with kids to get them ready and drum up some excite­ment — the Mock-New­berys, Sib­ert Smack-downs, The Bearde­cotts etc. These lucky stu­dents learn how to appre­ci­ate illus­tra­tions crit­i­cal­ly, learn­ing about and some­times try­ing var­i­ous art tech­niques. They read mul­ti­ple nov­els and study mul­ti­ple sub­jects in the weeks and months lead­ing up to the awards. They learn about the process of book­mak­ing. They make nom­i­na­tions, they argue, they vote, they declare their undy­ing love for cer­tain authors and illus­tra­tors….. I learned none of this as a child — I’m so grate­ful kids do now. What an edu­ca­tion! And what fun!

So, con­grat­u­la­tions to all the award win­ners. Huz­zah! to teach­ers and librar­i­ans every­where. Hur­ray for the read­ers! And thank you to all of the authors and illus­tra­tors, edi­tors and design­ers, agents and pub­lish­ers, some of whom are nev­er rec­og­nized with a spe­cial award. But we are grate­ful—so very grate­ful!—for your work. Our book­shelves groan in appre­ci­a­tion. Our minds are opened, our hearts touched. Thank you for all you do.

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Skinny Dip with Linda Sue Park

Linda Sue Park

Lin­da Sue Park

We inter­viewed Lin­da Sue Park, vet­er­an author and New­bery medal­ist, whose books have inspired chil­dren in many ways, appeal­ing to a wide range of read­ers with books like A Sin­gle Shard, The Mul­ber­ry Project, Keep­ing Score, Yaks Yak, and A Long Walk to Water.

Which celebri­ty, liv­ing or not, do you wish would invite you to a cof­fee shop?

My pater­nal grand­moth­er, whom I nev­er got to meet. How­ev­er, I sus­pect she would­n’t invite me to a cof­fee shop; she’d invite me for naeng-myun instead (Kore­an cold noo­dle soup. Deli­cious.). And I real­ize that she is not a celebri­ty in the con­ven­tion­al sense, but I believe that all brave women should be.

Which book do you find your­self rec­om­mend­ing pas­sion­ate­ly?

Cur­rent­ly: All Amer­i­can Boys, by Jason Reynolds and Bren­dan Kiely

Brendan Kiely, Linda Sue Park, Jason Reynolds

Bren­dan Kiely, Lin­da Sue Park, Jason Reynolds

What’s your favorite late-night snack?

Real­ly good guac with real­ly fresh chips. I will eat mediocre chips if they’re all that’s avail­able. The guac is what mat­ters.

Favorite city to vis­it?

New York!

Most cher­ished child­hood mem­o­ry?

Sat­ur­day morn­ings at the pub­lic library.

First date?

Roller-skat­ing and ice cream, 6th grade, with a boy named Cur­tis. Where is he now?

Xander's Panda Party and Yaks YakIllustrator’s work you most admire?

UNFAIR ques­tion. Reg­is­ter­ing protest by not answer­ing.

No, strike that: I’ll name the illus­tra­tors of my two most recent pic­ture books: Matt Phe­lan (Xander’s Pan­da Par­ty) and Jen­nifer Black Rein­hardt (Yaks Yak). ‘Admire’ is too staid. Their work for my texts THRILLED me.

Tea? Cof­fee? Milk? Soda? What’s your favorite go-to drink?

Tea in the morn­ing, espres­so once or twice a day, swee’ tea when I’m in the South. My go-to is water.

What’s your dream vaca­tion?

Snor­kel­ing, read­ing on a beach, and eat­ing fab­u­lous food, both street and fine din­ing, with fam­i­ly and/or friends, some­where that has live­ly out­door mar­kets.

WormsWhat gives you shiv­ers?

Worms.

Morn­ing per­son? Night per­son?

NIGHT. Morn­ing is a recur­ring insult to the psy­che.

What’s your hid­den tal­ent?

It has fad­ed with time, but I used to be able to iden­ti­fy red M&Ms blind­fold­ed.

Your favorite can­dy as a kid …

As a kid? Why not now? As a kid: Bit O’Honey. As an adult: pecan rolls.

Is Plu­to a plan­et?

Of course not. He’s Popeye’s neme­sis — that big guy, with the arms. 😉

What’s the strangest tourist attrac­tion you’ve vis­it­ed?

The DMZ, bor­der between North and South Korea.

Broth­er and sis­ters or an only child? How did that shape your life?

One of each. I’m the old­est. I don’t think my life has a shape. Or maybe it’s con­stant­ly chang­ing.

The Park family

Best tip for liv­ing a con­tent­ed life?

1) Find a way to do work that you love. 2) When you’ve got the blues, do some­thing for some­one else.

Your hope for the world?

Every child a read­er.

Cavern of SecretsLin­da Sue, thanks for these can­did answers for our Bookol­o­gy read­ers. If they haven’t read all of your pre­vi­ous­ly pub­lished books, we encour­age them to have a Lin­da Sue Park read-a-thon. Could you share with us which books comes out next?

I hope you’ll enjoy the sec­ond book in the Claw & Wing series, Cav­ern of Secrets. It fol­lows Book #1, For­est of Won­ders. You’ll find the book in book­stores on March 7, 2017. Raf­fa sets off on a treach­er­ous jour­ney across Obsidia to save his friends and fam­i­ly … and the world!

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Perspective

Pippi LongstockingAt Bookol­o­gy, we believe the adage about “the right book for the right read­er.” Those are not nec­es­sar­i­ly the books that we see in adver­tise­ments, in the blog­gers’ buzz, or on award lists. Only by lis­ten­ing to each oth­er, and espe­cial­ly to kids, talk about books do we find those gems our hearts were look­ing for but didn’t know exist­ed.

When you think about your favorite books, what’s your per­spec­tive? Do you remem­ber the sto­ry first? The char­ac­ters? The cov­er? The illus­tra­tions?

For many of us, it’s the book cov­er. Yes­ter­day, I was look­ing for books about cats. I want­ed to rec­om­mend some clas­sics. I remem­ber a book from the 1960s that had a boy and a cat on the cov­er. Both of them were fac­ing away from me, look­ing at a neigh­bor­hood. I remem­ber that the cov­er is yel­low. Do you know the book I’m talk­ing about? I asked Steve, because he fre­quent­ly talks about this book. When I described the cov­er, he knew right away: It’s Like This, Cat by Emi­ly Cheney Neville. (I’m not pub­lish­ing the cov­er here because I don’t want to give it away. Take a look at the bot­tom of this arti­cle.)

Often it’s the illus­tra­tions. Who can for­get the thick black out­lines of My Friend Rab­bit? Or the clear, bright col­ors of My Heart is Like a Zoo? Or the pen and ink draw­ings of Lois Lens­ki?

gr_myheart

Some­times it’s the char­ac­ters. The book with the spi­der and the pig. That one with the adven­tur­ous red-haired girl with pig­tails. That book where the high-school kids share their poet­ry in class. That auto­bi­og­ra­phy of the author grow­ing up in Cuba and the USA. Those char­ac­ters are so mem­o­rable that, once read, we can’t for­get them. (The book cov­ers are post­ed at the end of this arti­cle.)

When we’re meet­ing with the Chap­ter & Verse book club each month, the last half-hour is a time to rec­om­mend books we’ve enjoyed. I always add to my read­ing list. Do you have an inten­tion­al, set-aside time for talk­ing with oth­er adults about the children’s books they’re read­ing and are thrilled to rec­om­mend? I par­tic­u­lar­ly love it when they’re books that aren’t on the buzzers’ radar. I feel as though we’ve shared a secret.

Chapter & Verse Book Club, Redbery Books, Cable, Wisconsin

Chap­ter & Verse Book Club, Red­bery Books, Cable, Wis­con­sin

I also hunt through the state lists. These are books that edu­ca­tors and librar­i­ans are choos­ing because they know they have kid appeal. So often, these are not books that have been on award lists … but they’re passed along, buzzed about among child read­ers, rec­om­mend­ed by the adults in their lives.

State Choice Awards

Not all books need to be new. There are fab­u­lous books hid­ing on the library shelves and in used book­stores. Do a sub­ject search. It’s amaz­ing what you can find by look­ing at a library cat­a­log or doing an online search.

Everyone’s pub­lish­ing book­lists these days. How do you know which ones to fol­low? Do the titles res­onate with you? Do you find your­self eager­ly adding their sug­ges­tions to your TBR pile? Then book­mark those lists! Vis­it them fre­quent­ly or sign up to receive noti­fi­ca­tions when they pub­lish their next list.

The award books and books with stars are one way to find good books but don’t rely sole­ly on those sources. Don’t for­get the wealth of fab­u­lous books that fly under the radar.

Talk to each oth­er. Adult to adult. Child to adult. Child to child. Adult to child. Old or new. Hid­den trea­sure or best­seller. We learn about the best books when we hear rec­om­men­da­tions from anoth­er read­er, anoth­er per­spec­tive.

books described in the article

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Authors Emeritus: Lynd Ward

ph_LyndWardBorn in Chica­go on June 26, 1905, Lynd Ward, the son of a Methodist min­is­ter, grew up mov­ing around and liv­ing close to new immi­grants. Ward was a sick­ly baby and the fam­i­ly moved to north­ern Cana­da for sev­er­al months hop­ing his health would improve.

Upon the family’s return, Ward, now a health­i­er child, nev­er lost his bond with the wilder­ness. While at col­lege he met and mar­ried his wife, May McNeer, and left for Leipzig, Ger­many with her short­ly after grad­u­a­tion.

bk_BiggestBearWard’s illus­tra­tions show his respect for all peo­ple and the effects of his stay in the Cana­di­an wilder­ness. Among his books are Calde­cott Medal win­ner, The Biggest Bear (1952), The Sil­ver Pony: A Sto­ry in Pic­tures (1973), a word­less pic­ture book, sev­er­al biogra­phies of famous Amer­i­cans, and one of Mar­tin Luther. A num­ber of these books were writ­ten by his wife, May McNeer.

Among the awards received by Ward are the Regi­na Award in 1975, the Carteret Book Club award for illus­tra­tion, and oth­ers. Two New­bery win­ners were illus­trat­ed by Ward and anoth­er six books with Ward’s illus­tra­tions were named New­bery Hon­or books.

bk_GodsManWard was also an inno­v­a­tive cre­ator of books for adults. He made the first Amer­i­can word­less nov­el, Gods’ Man, which was pub­lished in 1929. He made five more such works: Mad­man’s Drum (1930), Wild Pil­grim­age (1932), Pre­lude to a Mil­lion Years (1933), Song With­out Words (1936), and Ver­ti­go (1937).

The Lynd Ward Graph­ic Nov­el Prize, spon­sored by Penn State Uni­ver­si­ty Libraries, is pre­sent­ed annu­al­ly to the best graph­ic nov­el, fic­tion or non-fic­tion, pub­lished in the pre­vi­ous cal­en­dar year by a liv­ing U.S. or Cana­di­an cit­i­zen or res­i­dent.

Lynd Ward died in 1985.

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