Children's books

Harriet at 50

Even at 50 years old, Harriet can rankle readers. All students of children’s literature (in fact anyone interested in children’s literature) should meet her — even those who first encountered Harriet when they were children. The 1960s were turbulent; change was everywhere — including in books for children. First published in 1964, Harriet the Spy marked a sea change in the direction of juvenile fiction. Some people loved it, others had an equally strong and opposite reaction to the book.

Chatting with Lois Lowry

I had the absolute lifetime honor of speaking with the legendary Lois Lowry for this episode of Reading Without Walls. The Newbery Award-winning author of The Giver tells us how her quiet childhood helped her become a writer, about her career as a professional photographer, and how she feels about the movie adaptations of her books. And she has advice for aspiring young writers. I hope you'll make time to watch!


What adults can learn from children’s books

There are few adults who don’t remember where they were on September 11, 2001.  People young and old continue to feel the impact of the events of that day.  It’s hard to keep in mind that there are many, many children who were simply not born when the horrific events of that day unfolded and may not be conscious of how their lives have been altered.

Meet the Middle-Aged Asian Guy Book Club!

Gene and his good friend and creative collaborator, Thien Pham (Level Up), just started a book club, inspired by their newfound love of YA romance novels. In their first book club get-together, they talk about Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell, a love story of two young people from different worlds. Are Eleanor and Park are too young for "true love"? Would their relationship  be different today (the book is set in the 80's)? What are the three words Eleanor writes on the postcard to Park at the very end of the book?

National Book Festival 2016 Authors: Your Books in Accessible Formats Help Struggling Readers Thrive

The highly anticipated National Book Festival 2016 (NBF) in the nation's capital is days away with excitement building in and out of literacy circles.

National Book Festival 2016

Reading Without Walls

Reading initiatives frequently get kids to read and that’s indisputably good. But Gene Luen Yang, the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, a graphic novelist (aka cartoonist), former teacher, and father, is encouraging readers to think and read outside the box.

Yang’s ambassadorial motto is “Reading Without Walls.” And he’s encouraging kids in classrooms everywhere across the United States (and maybe the world) to do just that with a reading program. 

Books to Ease Back-to-School Jitters

It’s that time of year again: back to school. It can be a daunting experience especially for young children and for their parents. I remember the mixed feelings I had when my son started school. It was exciting, nerve-wracking, freeing, and devastating all at the same time. Knowing that I wasn’t alone in the way I felt certainly was comforting.

Snoopy Livens Up "Library Sign Up Month" While Accessibility Grows in School and Public Libraries

ALA Library Card Signup Month

Snoopy, the world-famous beagle, aka The Flying Ace, returns to the big screen this fall in The Peanuts Movie from Century Fox and Blue Sky Studios. Meanwhile during September, he is also the Honorary Chair of "Library Sign Up Month."

The American Library Association holds this annual event to mark the start of the school year and to remind patrons that books are a key to opportunity and bright futures. 

Meet Monica Brown!

Monica Brown’s life is full of words. She not only writes for and teaches adults, she introduces children to memorable characters in fact and fiction. I met Monica first through stories about Marisol, Lola, and Celia Cruz but one day met the woman behind the words. I stopped at a booth during a conference and met the writer who brought these characters to life for me. Happily, she agreed to answer my seemingly endless questions to share with a broader audience.

Monica Brown

Map Fun: Creating a Visual Itinerary

Shen family trip to France

This summer we traveled to France for a friend’s wedding and the Tour de France. It was a trip that included a long road trip with multiple stops. I thought a fun way to get the kids excited about the trip would be a map exercise: creating a visual itinerary to help the kids understand where we were going and what we’d be seeing.


"There is no substitute for books in the life of a child." — May Ellen Chase