[syndicated profile] kirkus_kidlit_feed
During any given year, readers would be entertained and uplifted by Ruby Shamir’s What’s the Big Deal About First Ladies, illustrated by Matt Faulkner. The first in a series for children about American history, it’s an engaging, fact-filled celebration of the first ladies in the White House and the unique contributions each made to this country – and with such precise portraits that it’s great fun to linger over each page, spotting who’s who. Ruby, who believes in children’s ability to explore big ideas, hopes that they see this book as a gateway to American history and civics, a mission that she says now feels more critical than ever.

Civil Rights Then and Now

Jan. 16th, 2017 09:32 pm
[syndicated profile] kirkus_ya_feed
In celebration and honor of this weekend’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, let’s take a look at some of the recent and upcoming books about the Civil Rights Movement!

A Word to the Wise

Jan. 13th, 2017 07:30 am
[syndicated profile] kirkus_kidlit_feed
If I were an educator who taught poetry, I’d be pleased with the wide array of contemporary poetry selections out there today. From picture books, to illustrated middle-grade books, to free verse YA novels, to a few other options in between, there are talented poets in the field who are consistently innovating, working with publishers willing to try new things. To be sure, poetry may not always get as much attention as, say, fiction or graphic novels. But if you are paying attention, you can find treasures.

Patricia C. McKissack

Jan. 11th, 2017 06:21 am
[syndicated profile] kirkus_kidlit_feed
Have you ever wondered who wrote “Amazing Grace” or thought about the haunting story behind the hymn “I’ll Fly Away”? Ever skipped rope to “Hot Pepper” or counted “Eenie, Meenie, Miney, Mo”? Then Let’s Clap, Jump, Sing & Shout; Dance, Spin & Turn it Out!: Games, Songs & Stories from an African American Childhood is for you. Award-winning author Patricia C. McKissack provides a wealth of delightful and informative surprises in this collection of games, songs, and stories from an African-American childhood. Her thoughtful introductions to individual pieces transform this thoroughly researched compendium into an easy-to-share family album, with roots deep in American history.
[syndicated profile] w3c_dpub_ig_feed

Posted by Ivan Herman

See minutes online for a more detailed record of the discussions.

Locator section in the PWP doc

This section is one of the sections to be thoroughly rewritten, but it has not been entirely clear how. There are lots of good technical content there, but the text is nevertheless to specific, not in balance with the rest of the document. It contains references to manifests, canonical, etc, and it is not clear whether it should stay as is.

It has been said that the goal of the document is to provide a good input to the possible W3C DPUB WG, that would then do a more thorough technical specification. After some discussion it was agreed that the core text should be revised to make it shorter and higher level, and push the technical content into an appendix, making it clear that that is really just jotting down ideas for the future.

It was noted that similar discussions are happening in the Readium consortium; it is therefore a good idea to use the experiences in that community to record them in this document, too.

Additional todo-s in the PWP document

There was a short discussion on what else should be done (beyond an editorial reconciliation of the various parts), these included cross references to the use case document. It would also be a good idea to publish this document and the use case as official drafts.


There was a short discussion on the various charters (Business Group, Community Group, Working Group) and their status and timeline. These are all related to the possible IDPF/W3C merger process (which may be completed by the end of the month). There will also be a W3C Member Submission to W3C for EPUB 3.1; the goal is to settle the IPR differences between IDPF and W3C with regard to that document (to make it reusable for further work at W3C without any licensing and IPR issues).

The main role of this IG is to provide technical comments to the WG charter. That may include adding Readium documents, as well as documents coming from the IDPF EPUB WG, to the list of input document to the WG charter as technical input.


Due to Martin Luther King day in the US the next meeting is cancelled.

[syndicated profile] diceytillerman_feed
Is the fact that I freak out when I see any type of drone based in my association of drones with war, or in my extensive experience reading dystopic science fiction?

Counting Down to Midwinter

Jan. 9th, 2017 07:35 pm
[syndicated profile] kirkus_ya_feed
The American Library Association’s Midwinter Meeting starts in a little under two weeks. Most people look forward to the conference because it’s when the Youth Media Awards are held—when we get to find out which books won the Newbery and the Caldecott and the Printz and the Pura Belpré and the Stonewall and the Coretta Scott King awards. For award and book list committee members—the folks who are tasked with actually making those decisions and drawing up all of those best-of lists—Midwinter also means in-person deliberations.

Going to Archival Mode

Jan. 7th, 2017 11:52 pm
[syndicated profile] alaskanlibrarian_feed

Posted by Daniel Cornwall

As most readers know, I’m a librarian. In my field there’s a saying that an untended social media outlet is like an unstaffed front desk – something we like to avoid.

I’ve been mostly scarce here and I’ve decided it’s time to bring this blog to a close. I will leave the current content up, but I do not intend any additional posts and will not respond to comments on any post but this one.

When I started this blog years ago, my main purposes were:

  • Share things that interested me
  • Share my photography
  • Write about politics and sometimes religion

In the past few years, I find that I’ve been sharing most things on Facebook. Also been sharing more of my political thoughts there – though I’ve gone back and forth over whether Facebook is the best place for that. I find a get a lot more reaction and discussion to things I post on Facebook than I do here.

This past year, I read a book that has led me to change how to approach politics, though I’m still in the process of implementing it. The book is:

Akadjian, David. 2014. The little book of revolution: a distributive strategy for democracy.

Mr Akadjian expresses a number of principles but two of the basics that are leading me to focus on Facebook as opposed to keeping a blog are:

  • Speak about your values as opposed to getting into fact wars
  • Focus on people you have a chance to persuade instead of wasting time on extremists who will never change.

I could do the first on this blog, but the second will be much easier on Facebook, since I know my friends better than the general audience of this blog. So that, combined with that I’m already sharing more stuff on Facebook, is leading me to freeze this blog.

If you’ve been interested in my “Working through CRAAP” series or other library/information/media literacy sorts of things, I am keeping my “professional” blog at librarianfromalaska.wordpress.com.

Thanks to all of you who have been regular readers of this blog. I’m somewhat sorry to leave most of you, but no one can be everywhere at once. We need to make decisions about where to spend our energy and I’m choosing an outlet with higher engagement.


Filed under: Uncategorized

Playtime with McKissack

Jan. 6th, 2017 07:20 am
[syndicated profile] kirkus_kidlit_feed
Award-winning author Patricia C. McKissack (born in middle Tennessee, I proudly add) has had a long and distinguished career in the field of children’s literature. Not one to rest on her laurels—I believe she will turn 73 this year—she’s bringing readers this month a superb new book, a volume that I’ve no doubt we’ll judge later as one of the year’s best.

Nikki Grimes

Jan. 6th, 2017 07:20 am
[syndicated profile] kirkus_kidlit_feed

When the opportunity to read aloud arises, acclaimed poet Nikki Grimes shines.

“Oh, I love to read, whether it’s to a single person or an audience,” says Grimes, who spoke with Kirkus by phone from her home in Corona, California. “I’ve found that we really don’t grow out of the love of being read to—I have friends who occasionally call to ask me to read them something.”

In the course of the interview, she offers to read aloud one poem from her latest collection, One Last Word: Wisdom from the Harlem Renaissance. She performs “Crucible of Champions” with warmth, calm, and command.

“When I speak, in general, there’s always a little bit of nervousness, but I think that’s a good thing, because it makes you push to be your best,” she says.

Born and raised in Harlem and the surrounding boroughs, Grimes is the New York Times bestselling author of Coretta Scott King Award winner Bronx Masquerade and Coretta Scott King Author Honor books Jazmin’s Notebook, Talkin’ About Bessie, Dark Sons, The Road to Paris,and Words with Wings. In 2006, she received the NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children.

Grimes first read her poetry aloud in public at age 13, at Countee Cullen Library in New York City. (“My little legs were shaking, I was so scared,” she says.) She recounts the experience in the preface to her new anthology:

“As I ascended the stage that day, I felt as if I were stepping into the stream of the [Harlem] Renaissance poets who had come before me,” Grimes writes. “I feel their weight, and their influence, still. The elegance and power of their poetry gave me wings.”

That the poetry of the Harlem Renaissance might give wings to the next generation of middle-grade readers that they, too, might rise to realize their hopes and dreams—is just one thrust of One Last Word. This innovative collection features classic poems from the Harlem Renaissance—each the inspiration for an original poem by Grimes.

Throughout, Grimes applies a poetic form known as the “Golden Shovel.” (As Kirkus succinctly explains in a starred review, “The Golden Shovel poem takes a short poem in its entirety or a line from that poem, known as a ‘striking line,’ in order to serve as the foundation for a new poem in which each line ends with one word from the original.”) She first learned its parameters—and fell in love with it—when asked to contribute to an anthology honoring Harlem Renaissance poet Gwendolyn Brooks.

“Once I had done the one Golden Shovel, I immediately started brainstorming ideas of how I could apply that form to projects of my own,” she says. “Around that time, I was also reading selected works by Georgia Douglas Johnson, Clara Ann Thompson, and some others and was struck, for the first time, that women of the Harlem Renaissance are rarely, if ever, included in any of the works that we come across about the Renaissance—especially the poets. So those two ideas came together.”

One Last Word features poems by Johnson and Thompson as well as Jean Toomer, Countee Cullen, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Bennett, and Waring Cuney. All lend striking lines to Grimes’ poems centering on the struggles and triumphs of today’s youth.

For example, Grimes chooses the poem “Life and Death” by Clara Ann Thompson. Its first stanza reads:

We live, and how intense is life!
So full of stress, so full of strife.
So full of hopes, so full of fears,
Of joy and sorrow, smiles and tears;
And of how fruitless is the quest,
Unless we’re striving for the best.

That begets Grimes’ “Crucible of Champions,” a poem about six adolescents facing various challenges in their everyday lives. It opens with:

The evening news never spares us. Tune in and we
hear: if you’re a boy and you’re black, you live
with a target on your back. We each take it in and
shiver, one sharp-bladed question hanging overhead: how
long do I get to walk this earth? The smell of death is too intense,
and so we bury the thought, because the future is
ours, right? We get to choose? Well, we choose life.

The young people in this poem contend with racism, learning disabilities, bullying, and the temptation of performance-enhancing drugs. Other works, from the Renaissance poets and Grimes alike, thoughtfully address interracial love, mental illness, poverty, and discrimination.

“A lot of people coming from the adult side tend to think of children’s literature as light verse, nature poems, or whatever,” she says. “No—children are complex human beings, they’re just little, you know? They have a depth of experience to speak to. You can talk to them about pretty much any subject, as long as the language is accessible.

“I never want to write down to a child. I always want to...speak to them directly, recognizing and respecting their complexity.”

Grimes_Cover An original artwork by an African-American illustrator accompanies each pair of poems. Publisher Bloomsbury asked Grimes for a wish list—they all said yes. They are Cozbi Cabrera, R. Gregory Christie, Pat Cummings, Jan Spivey Gilchrist, Ebony Glenn, E.B. Lewis, Frank Morrison, cover artist Christopher Myers, Brian Pinkney, Sean Qualls, James Ransome, Javaka Steptoe, Shadra Strickland, and Elizabeth Zunon. One Last Word also marks Grimes’ debut as a children’s illustrator.

“We’re always looking for ourselves in the images we see, and if we don’t see ourselves reflected, we feel invisible,” says Grimes, who wanted African-American protagonists and representations of the city life she knew as a young reader. “No one should feel invisible between the pages of a book or in the images that fill their lives. We need that confirmation, that reassurance, that validation.”

A hallmark of the Harlem Renaissance was that many African-American artists were published and collected for the first time. In an appendix, Grimes includes brief biographies of the poets as well as biographies of the contributing illustrators. Side by side, page after page, they are a testament to achieving one’s ambitions through vision, hard work, and perseverance—a main theme of One Last Word.

As Grimes writes in “Lessons,”

No matter what, don’t
let a few mean people shake you
till your young dreams lose their feathers and fall.
Hide those baby dreams in the cage of your heart—for now.

“I am all about finding the source of hope, building on that hope, and reminding readers that there’s reason to hope,” Grimes says. “If they dig deep into themselves, they will find that strength [to know], no matter what you’re facing, you can come out of it. Every day we wake up is a new opportunity to build something better, to do something different, to bring a little light.”

Megan Labrise writes “Field Notes” and features for Kirkus Reviews.

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