Author Archives: Curious Minds Welcome

ALSC Institute in Our Backyard

Mark your calendars now for the biennial American Library Services to Children Institute at the beautiful Emory Conference Center. This intensive program will run September 23-25, 2010. Rub elbows with Caldecott and Newbery Award winners, publishers, and movers and shakers of the library world. Registration is open now at

Program tracks include:
The Technology Factor
Transforming Gamers into Readers

Did you ever wonder how to entice gamers away from the video games and into the books? Join experts as they discuss diverse ways of presenting stories to children with a range of reading interests and learning styles. Participants will learn about the wide spectrum of ways that content is currently being presented, such as graphic novels on cell phones that have the appearance of animation, audio book recordings and books with a gaming component.

Presenters: Tim Ditlow, Brilliance Audio; Sara Berliner, ScrollMotion; other panelists TBA.

Digital Natives: How Technology Affects Their Learning

Listen to distinguished professors as they delve into the learning habits of children in the digital millennium. Participants will learn how technology has changed learning in the 21st century and how to relate this information to their libraries and classrooms.

Presenters: Amy Bruckman, Associate Professor, College of Computing, Georgia Institute of Technology (Friday); Ron Brown, Associate Professor, School of Library and Information Science, University of South Carolina (Thursday).

Children’s Literature-You Have to Read This
Diversity in Children’s Literature

Join moderator KT Horning and a distinguished panel of experts as they discuss diversity in children’s literature. Participants will then breakout into small groups for further discussion. Participants will gain insight into Latino, GLBTQ and International literature for children. Bibliographies will be provided for all participants.

Presenters: KT Horning, Director of the Cooperative Children’s Book Center of the School of Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison; Jamie Naidoo, Assistant & Foster-EBSCO Endowed Professor, School of Library & Information Studies, University of Alabama; additional presenters TBA.

Collection Development

Join Betty Carter, Professor Emeritus of Texas Woman’s University and distinguished colleagues as they share their wealth of collection development knowledge and experience. Participants will gain critical insights on how to balance a collection, evaluate children’s literature and learn about sources for forthcoming books. Bibliographies will be provided for all participants.

Presenters: Betty Carter, Professor Emeritus of Texas Woman’s University; Lisa von Drasek, Librarian, Bank Street College of Education; Thom Barthelmess, Curator, Butler Children’s Literature Center, Graduate School of Library and Information Science, Dominican University.

Programming and Partnerships Make the (Library) World Go Round

Storytelling: Alive and Well

Do you want to find new joy in your work through the art of storytelling? Or do you need to refresh your storytelling skills? Storyteller librarians Rita Auerbach and Linda Martin will model approaches to storytelling with an emphasis on using your strengths to tell stories in a manner that’s comfortable for you. Participants will be provided with helpful tips and diverse examples of sure-fire stories to tell.

Presenters: Rita Auerbach, Retired Librarian, Storyteller, and co-founder of the American Library Association’s Storytelling Discussion Group; Linda Martin, Storyteller and Media Specialist.
All for One: Community Partnerships

Kristen McLean, Director of the Association of Booksellers for Children, will moderate a panel on how school and public librarians can partner with their local independent bookstores for solutions to getting and keeping children reading, including authorless events, book fairs, and teacher/librarian “new title” presentation nights. Participants will come away with ideas on how to work together at a time when resources are scarce and partnerships are more important than ever.

Presenters: Kristen McLean, Director, Association of Booksellers for Children; Diane Capriola, co-owner of Little Shop of Stories; school librarian and public librarian TBA.

Workshops, is Verizon Foundation’s online literacy, education and technology initiative for educators, students and parents. supports librarians, media specialists and teachers with free, standards based materials. Participants will learn about this initiative and how to best utilize it in a media center and/or public library. Presenter: Missy Smith, Georgia Department of Education and trainer

Coretta Scott King Book Awards

Discover and celebrate forty years of the Coretta Scott King Award Books. Learn about the history of this award, how one of the award-winning authors uses his art to connect people in our society, and how a collaborative effort helps to bring these award-winning books to children. Participants will then take part in a hands-on session on how to use these books in library programs.

Presenters: R. Gregory Christie, children’s book illustrator and Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award recipient; Collette M. Hopkins, Director, Education and Family Programs, National Black Arts Festival; and Carolyn L. Garnes, Consultant, African-American Children’s Literature Specialist.

Museum and Library Collaboration

Museums and libraries are natural partners and collaboration is a wonderful way to expand programming and resources and a great way to advertise across venues. Topics covered will include learning about collaboration opportunities between museums and libraries and tips on how to begin the collaboration process. Sample collaborative programs will be provided.

Presenter: Elizabeth Hornor, Director of Education for the Michael C. Carlos Museum of Emory University

Closing Session

Every Child Ready to Read

Susan Neuman, Professor, University of Michigan School of Education and member of the Ready to Read research team will discuss the literature review findings on the most recent research and the impact of Every Child Ready to Read. In addition, Ms. Neuman will share with participants the key findings and recommendations for how the program should evolve.

The following special events are included with your registration fee. Additional tickets are available for purchase for a spouse or traveling companion who wishes to attend the following events. Please refer to the registration brochure for pricing.

Special Events

Thursday Opening Dinner and Keynote | 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Close out the first day of the Institute by having dinner with colleagues on Thursday evening. ALSC President Julie Corsaro will welcome attendees to Atlanta and introduce the evenings keynote speakers Carmen Agra Deedy and John McCutcheon. Most recently known for her 2008 Pura Belpré honor book, Martina the Beautiful Cockroach: A Cuban Folktale, Carmen Agra Deedy’s witty storytelling is sure to amuse and delight. Also performing Thursday evening is folk music’s Renaissance man—John McCutcheon. A master instrumentalist, powerful singer-songwriter, storyteller, activist and author, McCutcheon has been hailed one of America’s most respected and loved folksingers.

Friday Morning “Breakfast for Bill” Program | 7:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.
Friday morning will showcase the second “Breakfast for Bill” program, featuring father and son author/illustrator pair Walter Dean Myers and Christopher Myers, and Caldecott-winning illustrator Brian Selznick with Scholastic Vice President and Creative Director of Trade Publishing David Saylor. Walter Dean Myers is a two-time Newbery Honor recipient, five-time winner of the Coretta Scott King Award, and four-time recipient of the Coretta Scott King Honor Award. His son, Christopher Myers, is a Caldecott Honor and Coretta Scott King Honor recipient.

The breakfast, included with registration, will honor the memory of William C. Morris, former vice-president and director of library promotion at HarperCollins Children’s Books, by bringing librarians together with children’s book creators. Morris was a long time ALSC member and friend, recipient of the first ALSC Distinguished Service Award, and an advocate for children’s librarians and literature.

Friday Afternoon Author Luncheon | 12:45 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
As the recipient of numerous awards, including ALSC’s 2009 Wilder Award for lasting contribution to literature for children, Ashley Bryan is an icon in children’s literature. Join us for this inspirational luncheon with Bryan where he will share his experiences and enchant you with his stories. Bryan’s award-winning works span more than thirty years, including “Walk Together Children,” an ALA Notable Book in 1974 and “Beautiful Blackbird,” a Coretta Scott king Book Award Winner in 2004. In addition, he has received one other Coretta Scott King Book Award, six Coretta Scott King honors, the ALSC Arbuthnot Award, the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award, and the Virginia Hamilton Literary Award.

Friday Night Reception at the Center for Puppetry Arts | 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Get a behind the scenes look at Center for Puppetry Arts at Friday night’s reception. This unique cultural treasure has introduced millions of visitors to the wonder and art of puppetry performances. Both children and adults come away educated, enlightened and entertained. Refreshments will be served and transportation is provided.

Saturday Afternoon Optional Tours

The following tours are available for an additional fee. Please refer to the registration brochure for pricing.

Tour 1: Michael C. Carlos Museum, Emory University | 1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Enjoy a guided tour of the Michael C. Carlos Museum located on the Emory University campus. The Carlos Museum is one of the Southeast’s premier art museums with major collections of Classical, Ancient Egyptian, Near Eastern, Ancient American, African, and Asian art, as well as a collection of works on paper from the Renaissance to the present. Box lunch is included.

Tour 2: Auburn Ave. Research Library on African-American Culture and History & Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site | 1:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Join us for a special guided tour of the Auburn Ave. Research Library. Containing collections on the history of slavery, race relations, the Civil Rights Movement, the holdings include the papers of prominent artists, including Ashley Bryan, educators, authors, business leaders, clergy, politicians, lawyers, and musicians. The collection contains approximately 250,000 photographs dating from 1859 and is guardian to more than 200 works of African and African American art. Then visit the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site for a self-guided tour.

Google Wonder Wheel

The geniuses at Google (or evil overlords, depending upon your viewpoint) have done it again.  The Wonder Wheel is a fabulous search tool.  It graphically illustrates synonymous or tangential search terms.  I use it with students to help them clarify search terms when they are trying to narrow topics for research projects.  Type in your search topic, then select “show options” on the blue bar under the search window.  From there, select “Wonder Wheel” and watch the magic begin.  I just ran a search for “banned books” and got the following results:

You can get more specific search results by clicking on any of the hotlinked spokes on the wheel.  A new wheel appears, with even more search terms.  On the right side of the page you see the articles and sites related to the terms.  Try “Georgia habitats” or “figurative language” or any terms you need.  Your students will love this.

I have already put the wheel to good use in my graduate studies.  I ran a search for “self-directed learning theory” and important theorists and topics appeared.  On the right hand side, I found articles from Google Scholar and references to standard texts in the field.  It gives you a starting point in developing your search strategies.  Happy hunting!

Linda Martin

School Librarian – Sugar Hill Elementary

Gainesville, GA

Doctoral Student – College of Educaion, Department of Lifelong Education, Administration and Policy

University of Georgia

Is it July already?

I can’t believe that five weeks have passed so quickly! Tomorrow will be my last day in the Baldwin collection. This truly is a case of “so many books, so little time!” I was invited to give a lecture at Goering’s Bookstore on storytelling in the content areas. There was standing room only! Children’s lit students, public librarians and media specialists. They all had wonderful questions, leading me to believe that I have struck a nerve with this topic. As I continue to read I find more and more research confirming the fact that story, or narrative, is a terrific strategy for deepening comprehension. It works for English as an Additional Language students and differently abled students as a differentiation tool. It allows all learners to contextualize their knowledge.

If you have any interest at all in telling stories, you can easily add a strong component to your lessons and lead classroom teachers to new research and resources. Imagine the collaborative opportunities if you look ahead to next year’s curriculum map and think about all the stories you know or books you have that tie into the standards. Put a few titles on bookmarks and place them in teacher mailboxes. Promote cross-curricular lesson plans and offer to help plan them. Let them (teachers) know what you can do to help them achieve their classroom goals.

I have been swimming in books for the past five weeks. I hope to have a bibliography organized by subject posted to my website next week. As time goes on, I will craft some of these episodes I have found in the Baldwin books into ready-to-tell stories. Wouldn’t it be fun to have a 3 minute math story to keep kids’ attention as you wait for the teacher to pick them up? Or give her a story to tell as they get ready for lunch or the bus? How about telling a story about Deborah Sampson who dressed as a man to serve in the Revolutionary War? Let that be a lead in to a digital storytelling project on the war. As I reflect upon this experience, I know that I’m just beginning to mine the possibilities.

Human Sacrifice – juvenile fiction

So far, this is my favorite subject heading. The Baldwin Library is such a rich collection. I am finding many wonderful stories of historical figures to tie into social studies standards. The cultural aspect of the standards are problematic. Stories of adventures in other lands, books comparing children in different lands – these all are written from the viewpoint of the English colonialist. Any person of color is a “savage” or “heathen”. I found two neat, early books on Hawaii, but they were written by missionaries. There was little detail of the native Hawaiian culture – anywhere it was mentioned, it was pooh-poohed as quaint superstitions to be prayed out of the poor savage.

“From the following pages…you may…learn three Great Moral Lessons.

First, never to approach too near the edge of an active volcano.

Second, never to continue your intimacy with a man who deliberately and wickedly declines to pull you out of a burning crater.

And third, never to intrust the care of youth to a cannibal heathen South Sea Islander.”

The White Man’s Foot (1888), by Grant Allen

If these texts are to be useful, the stories have to be drastically adapted. Perhaps if I frame the stories in the second social studies standard of Time, Continuity, and Change the comparisons of our changing world view will set off some rich discussion. That would be most effective with upper elementary and middle school students.  I’d love to hear suggestions, if anyone has ideas.

I can tell that the math standards will be the hardest to tie into.  I am saving several days to focus on those standards alone.  Science is proving surprisingly easy, with fact-based anthropomorphic stories like The Curious Adventures of a Field Cricket (1881).  Physical and Earth sciences are covered in several story-based volumes called Madam How and Lady Why; or First Lessons in Earth Lore for Children (1872), written by Charles Kingsley, author of The Water Babies

I’ve been invited to speak at a local bookstore next Tuesday night.  As I prepare for that (40 minute) presentation, it will force me to crystallize my thoughts and begin preparing for my (90 minute) workshop in July in Hawaii.  I’m trying to learn to work smarter, not harder.  This is such a wonderful adventure.  I am grateful to the Bechtel committee for the opportunity.

Gainesville (GA) to Gainesville (FL)

For the month of June, I will be the Bechtel Fellow, researching at the Baldwin Library of Historical Children’s Books at the University of Florida. I was awarded this fellowship from the Association of Library Services to Children to support my research into storytelling in the content areas. The Baldwin Library has over 100,000 holdings. I want to mine the collection to find stories that illustrate concepts from the national standards in math, science, social studies, and (of course) language arts. This is a great adventure and I will share a few of my experiences on the GLMA blog.
I’m settled in my cozy apartment behind a restored Victorian house. This should be a perfect sanctuary for productivity. Dewey the Wonder Pug is getting used to the new neighborhood. No one warned me that the state bird of Florida is the mosquito. I have never seen such gigantic bloodsuckers, literally an inch long!
The first day involved meeting at least twenty new people, all of whom promised to be at my beck and call. Talk about being spoiled! Rita Smith, the curator of the Baldwin Library, took me on a behind the scenes tour of the collection. This would be my only opportunity to see the whole collection. The stacks are closed and Rita tells me that I will have a cart with my name on it. I can request up to fifty books at a time to be retrieved from the stacks. The collection is on two levels below the library, temperature and humidity-controlled. The stacks are those moveable shelves that Rita can move with a wave of her hand over the sensors (like magic). Row after row of lovely old bound volumes, some from the 1600s. I feel like a kid in a candy store.
After the tour, Rita and I met Dr. John Cech, Director of the Center for the Study of Children’s Literature and Culture ( ), and professor of children’s literature. He will be my mentor during the fellowship. He is a charming man and he, Rita and I have a lively chat. Dr. Cech wants to find an opportunity for me to tell stories while I am here. In the past the Center produced a daily radio show, “Recess”, hosted by Dr. Cech. This program about children’s books and culture was broadcast on NPR stations. The funding ran out and now Mrs. Smith and Dr. Cech are looking at other options for presenting the program. They are exploring the idea of posting videos on the Center’s website.
My head is spinning from all the information, the excitement, and the possibilities of the month ahead. I can’t wait to share this adventure with you all.
Baldwin Reading Room