Professional Development: Enslavement

An excellent way for educators to learn about enslavement is to participate in an NEH Summer Institute, Workshop or Landmark Workshop. The selection varies from year to year but the programs I’ve participated in have been excellent learning opportunities. Those listed below are related to enslavement, a complete list can be found here.

Abolitionism and the Underground Railroad

Deadline:March 1, 2016
Dates: July 10-29 (3 weeks)
Project Director(s):
Visiting Faculty: David Blight, Ed Baptist, Stacey Robertson, Judith Wellman
Location: Hamilton, New York
For more information:ghodges@colgate.edu (315) 228-7517 http://Colgate.edu/abolitionism/hodges.

 

Courting Liberty: Slavery and Equality Under the Constitution

Deadline: March 1, 2016
Dates: July 10-23, 2016 (2 weeks)
Project Director(s): Robert Baker and Chara Bohan
Visiting Faculty: Paul Finkelman, Jon Hale, Diana Hess, Peter Hoffer, and Stephen Middleton
Location: Atlanta, Georgia and Charleston, South Carolina
For more information: rwebb7@student.gsu.edu (770) 598-1545 http://sites.gsu.edu/nehcourtingliberty.

Gullah Voices: Traditions and Transformations

Deadline: March 1, 2016
Dates: July 10-15 or July 17-22, 2016
Project Director(s): Robert Stephens and Mary Ellen Junda
Visiting Faculty: Cornelia Bailey, Emory Shaw Campbell, Erskine Clarke, Leroy Campbell, Ron Daise, Geechee Gullah Ring Shouters, Georgia Sea Island Singers, Victoria Smalls, Mary Moran, Wilson Moran, Peter Wood, Karen Wortham
Location: Savannah, GA
For more information: robert.stephens@uconn.edu (860) 486-5760 http://gullahvoices.uconn.edu.

The Legacy of the Civil War: Changing Memories over Time

Deadline: March 1, 2016
Dates: June 26-July 1 or July 10-15, 2016
Project Director(s): Melanie Buffington
Visiting Faculty: Stephanie Arduini, Josie Butler, Juilee Decker, Paul DiPasquale, Gary Gallagher, Vaughn Garland, Kelly Hancock, Sean Kane, Twyla Kitts, John T. Kneebone, Evan Liddiard, Jr., Cassandra Newby-Alexander, Bill Obrochta, Christopher Oliver, Gabriel A. Reich, Patrick Schroeder, Kay Wright Lewis
Location: Richmond, VA
For more information: legacyofcw@vcu.edu (804) 828-3805 http://legacyofthecivilwar.org.

Thomas Jefferson and Community Life at Monticello and the University of Virginia

Deadline: March 1, 2016
Dates: July 17-23 or July 24-30, 2016
Project Director(s): Lisa Reilly
Visiting Faculty: Christa Dierksheide, Bill Ferster, Edward Gaynor, Gardiner Hallock, Emilie Johnson, J. Jefferson Looney, Maurie McInnis, Louis Nelson, Fraser Neiman, Peter Onuf, Lucia Stanton, Henry Wiencek
Location: Charlottesville, VA
For more information: rla@virginia.edu (434) 982-5205 http://thomasjeffersonandcommunitylife.com/.

 

Critical Engagement Through Social Media

This weekend, I was honored to be part of the Center for Teaching through Children’s Books one day event subtitled “I Tweeted, I Tumbled, I Taught”. In addition to hearing many ideas, teaching strategies and insights on using social media for professional development, teaching and engaging with others in ways that are legal and responsible. And, I got to meet people who had only previously been names to me: Betsy Bird, Colby Sharp, Julie Danielson,  Elisa GalleWilliam Teale,  Junko Yokota and Robert Muller. It was a very learning filled weekend as I connected with authors, grad students, librarians and educations mostly from the Chicago area. I didn’t take a lot of pictures, didn’t tweet much, but (and this sounds so self centered) I had so many people wanting to hear my talk, that I recorded it.

Time To Check In

MW15_pod_238x120

OK, are you going to ALA Midwinter? What do you plan/hope to do while there?

I’ll be there!

I’m at the Day of Diversity on Friday, Presenting an Ignite Session on Saturday, searching the Exhibit Hall for books by authors of color and looking to meet those same authors every chance I get. I’m connecting with old friends, meeting with new friends and hoping to have a fantabulous time. It’s also Restaurant Week in Chicago!

Will you be there?

(Re)membering and (Re)living: Probing the Collective and Individual Past

Calls for Papers and Proposals

The ALAN Review
Summer 2015: (Re)membering and (Re)living: Probing the Collective and Individual Past
Submissions due November 1, 2014

Stories are dynamic, told and heard, accepted and revered, rejected and rewritten by readers who draw from their experiences and understandings to garner meaning from the words on the page.  In young adult texts, fiction and nonfiction, historical and contemporary and futuristic, this dynamism can encourage the critique of our collective past, helping us question assumptions about what came before and reconsider our responsibilities to the present and future. These texts can also help us consider the adolescent experience across time and place and explore the similarities and differences that shape reality as young people navigate and draft their own coming of age stories. This universality can foster a connection to others and reinforce our shared existence as members of a human community.  And yet, these texts can give emotional reality to names, dates, and other factual information, letting us imagine the voices of those who lived in other places and times and have sometimes been silenced in official accounts of history, ideally inspiring us honor these voices and generate a better future. Through these stories, we might come to reject a single narrative and develop empathy for individuals we never knew-and those we did and do and will. In this issue, we welcome articles that explore the relationship between young adult literature, history, stories, and readers.  We acknowledge that “every living soul is a book of their own history, which sits on the ever-growing shelf in the library of human memories” (Jack Gantos, Dead End in Norvelt). And that, “If you stare at the center of the universe, there is coldness there. A blankness. Ultimately, the universe doesn’t care about us. Time doesn’t care about us. That’s why we have to care about each other” (David Levithan, Every Day).  Stories matter in this caring: “I leapt eagerly into books. The characters’ lives were so much more interesting than the lonely heartbeat of my own” (Ruta Sepetys, Out of the Easy). As always, we also welcome submissions focused on any aspect of young adult literature not directly connected to this theme.

call for proposals: REFORMA

The Call for Proposals to present at the Fifth REFORMA National Conference (RNC5) taking place in San Diego, CA, April 1-4, 2015, is now open! REFORMA: The National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish-Speaking


Please visit the website below to get the information and send your proposals for leading presentations, facilitating breakout sessions, or exhibiting posters. The conference’s theme is “Libraries Without Borders: Creating Our Future”. The 2014 REFORMA National Conference Program Committee will evaluate proposals for relevance to the conference theme, as well as clarity, originality, and timeliness.

http://reforma.org/rncv_cfp

 

Deadline is September 1, 2014.

Quick Little Post of Possibilities

Hi!

Book reviews to write, classes to plan and, another article underway. So, I’m just going to quickly share to really good opportunities that I really hope one of my readers will jump at.

First, The International Reading Association’s 60th Annual Conference, “Transforming Lives Through Literacy”will be held 18-20 July in St. Louis. Proposals are being accept until 14 July. That’s this Monday, folks so turn on the thinking cap, email that librarian or illustrator or author who just might, who maybe could … explore the possibilities! This is our opportunity to shine a light on the fact that #WeNeedDiverseBooks!

Another impending deadline:

One of the principles of the Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association is to promote literacy in Michigan, Indiana, Illinois and Ohio.  In 2013 The Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association Board voted to create a program  to provide a $1000 grant  to be awarded annually to a non-profit literacy project, nominated by a GLIBA member store.
 
Jim Dana was the founder of the Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association, and served as the Executive Director until his retirement in 2010, when he joined the Peace Corps.  Jim was always involved in efforts to increase literacy while at GLIBA, and continuing during his time serving in the Peace Corps.  It is in his honor that the award is named.
 
Nominations for the grant must be received in the GLIBA office by July 15, 2014. The award will be presented at the Heartland Fall Forum which will be in Minneapolis, MN September 29-October 2, 2014.
 

Go for it!! #ShineOn!!

Rambling on a Rainy Tuesday

This morning, I suddenly realized that one reason I don’t do as many informational posts any more is because I post what I find on Facebook. Please, feel free to follow me there!

Have you had a chance to read “Against YA”? I’ve read pretty lively attacks directed at the thoughts expressed in the article and interesting to note they all came from authors of YA and kidlit, librarians and others with a unique relationship to the industry. Did bankers pay this any attention? How do plumbers and astronomers react to news of so many adults reading books written for those years or decades younger? The decades? That would be me. I honestly doubt I would fill my world with YA if I were not a librarian who works in the field. I know I wouldn’t. Perhaps I would pick up a YA books now and then, but I wouldn’t have the steady diet. I don’t like a steady diet of any gene, any ethnicity or any one thing when I read. I really like this from BookRiot on reading beyond your depths. I feel a constant back and forth in my reading, from stretching my imagination with a good YA spec fic to relaxing into an adult romance to expanding the bounds of my knowledge with professional nonfic. #INeedDiverseBooks

Yesterday, I finally made it back to the gym and as always, I used my time on the treadmill to get some reading done. I’m reading Cynthia Leitich Smith’s Feral Nights at home but prefer reading on my Nook when I’m on the treadmill. So, I began reading Shieldwolf Dawning by Selena Nemorin. As works of speculative fiction, both of these books require world building. The writers had to create myth, place, names, and problems that do not exist in their day to day life. I looked at Cynthia’s blog to get an idea how authors tackle such a project and found Malinda Lo discussing Ash (Little Brown, 2009). Cynthia asked Malinda how she goes about building worlds in her writing.

I was an anthropology graduate student when I began working on Ash, so I approached the world-building from an anthropologist’s perspective. I thought a lot about the rituals that mark the turning points in life–birth, marriage, and especially death.

This was particularly important for Ash because the story begins when Ash loses both her mother and father. I studied funerary rituals in China when I was in grad school, and I relied heavily on that knowledge when I wrote about Ash’s parents’ funerals, and when thinking about how people in that world think about death and dying.

Another of the most significant aspects of the Cinderella story is the fact that the stepmother wants her daughters to make wealthy marriages. I read a lot of analysis of fairy tales, and discovered that many tales included stepmothers because mothers often died in childbirth, and fathers were forced to remarry because they needed a wife to help raise the children.

These family structures might set up a situation in which a stepmother is forced to raise both her own children and another woman’s, and in a world of scarcity, this naturally sets up a kind of competition.

For girls, marriage was basically their ticket to freedom–a girl had to marry in order to support herself later in life, and it was to her advantage to marry well.

If a stepmother is raising both her daughter and her husband’s daughter from his earlier marriage, and there are few eligible males around, it might not be surprising that she would favor her biological daughter.

Obviously not all stepmothers are like this! But doing this research helped me to understand why a stepmother might act this way.

So, I guess I thought about the worldbuilding in a fairly intellectual, anthropological way! But then when I wrote, I kind of just loosened my focus and allowed it to become the background–the motivator for characters’ actions. I didn’t bother describing all the rituals or reasonings behind decisions; I focused on how those rules and practices would influence a character’s behavior. source

As with any writing, authors bring what they know and how they’ve come to view the world into their creation process.

Eric Gansworth’s If I Ever Get Out of Here didn’t have to involve world building, but I think when Eric considered his audience, he realized he’d have to build his world for them to enrich the story. How skillfully he did that! He took us right inside his character’s world and made us feel as though we were accepted.

I wonder which is more difficult, writing about a newly created world or one we intimately know. How does one become aware of things they’ve come to take so much for granted and know they need to be described to an audience?

Some of the following have recently been posted on my FB page.

Saturday 16 August is the date of this year’s International Children’s and Young Adult Literature Celebration: Muslim Journeys. This one day workshop will feature authors Ali Alalou, Saideh Hamshidi, Rukhsana Khan and Naheed Senzai. “This year the celebration will focus on Muslim Journeys by exploring new and diverse perspectives on the people, places, histories, beliefs, and cultures of Muslims around the world, through presentations on literature, media, history and social organizations.”

Creative Child Magazine, published by Scooterbay Publishing (a company that doesn’t appear too focused on diversity), focuses on “helping parents nurture their child’s creativity”. Yesterday, they selected Chinese Fables: The Dragon Slayer and Other Timeless Tales of Wisdom (Tuttle Publishing) as the Book of the Year, kid’s books category.

Works of many outstanding authors appeared on this year’s Bank Street Best Children’s Books of the Year List, including the following authors. Congratulations! Lists were created for a variety of genre for under 5, 5-9, 9-13, 12-14 and 14 and up. I did not look at the 5-9 list.

Margarita Engle The Lightening Dreamer: Cuba’s Greatest Poet (HMH) (12-14 Historical Fiction and 12-14 Poetry)

Margarita Engle Mountain Dog (Henry Holt)

Rita Williams-Garcia: P.S. Be Eleven (Amistad Press/Harper Collins)

Lesa Cline-Ransome: Light in the Darkness: A Story about How Slaves Learned in Secret (Jump At The Sun)

Jewell Parker Rhodes Sugar (Little Brown Books for Young Readers)

Diana López Ask My Mood Ring How I Feel (Little Brown and Co.)

Andrea Cheng The Year of the Baby (Houghton Mifflin)

Andrea Cheng Etched in Clay: The Life of Dave, Enslaved Potter and Poet (Lee and Low)

Cynthia Kadahata The Thing About Luck (Atheneum)

Angela Cervantes Gaby, Lost and Found (Scholastic Press)

Farhana Zia The Garden of My Imaan (Peachtree)

Eric Gansworth If I Ever Get Out of Here (Arthur A. Levine0

Crystal Allen The Laura Line (Balzer + Bray)

Nikki Grimes Words With Wings (Wordsong)

Shaun Tan The Bird King: An Artists Notebook (Arthur A. Levine)

Andrea Davis Pinkney Peace Warriors (Scholastic)

Tonya Bolden Emancipation Proclamation: Lincoln and the Dawn of Liberty (Abrams)

Matt de la Peña The Living (Delacorte Press)

Patrick Scott Flores Jumped In (Christy Ottaviano Books)

Carol Blythe Revenge of a Not-So-Pretty-Girl (Delacorte Press)

Gene Luen Yang Boxers (First Second)

Gene Luen Yang Saints (First Second)

Lynn Joseph Flowers in the Sky (Harper Teen)

Alaya Dawn Johnson The Summer Prince (Arthur A. Levine)

Sherri L. Smith Orleans (Putnam Juvenile)

Swati Avasthi Chasing Shadows (Alfred A. Knopf)

Walter Dean Myers Darius & Twig (Amistad)

I am really enjoying the BrownBookShelf’s Making Our Own Market series. Not only am I learning how African Americans are succeeding in various areas of the book industry, but I’m learning more and more about the industry itself. Most recently, Kirsten Cappy of Curious City discusses marketing African American titles. Here, she talks about how her work to promote Terry Farish’s The Good Braider (Amazon Children’s Publishing).

In “creating partners for the book by finding commonalities,” I reached out to a young Sudanese hip hop artist and shared a galley of the book with him.  A few months later OD Bonny told me the book reminded him of his flight out of South Sudan alongside his brothers.  I asked if we could pay to use one of his songs as the audio for a book trailer.  He responded, “Why wouldn’t you want a song of your own? I’ll write it. Tonight.”

When I heard his song, “Girl From Juba,” I realized that it was not just marketing, but a reader’s genuine tribute to a work of fiction. An author can have no greater gift.  I also realized that I did not need to be the one to produce this trailer. I transferred the book trailer funds to OD and the music video/book trailer was created with an all Sudanese American cast (save one Irish kid), crew, and director. The video had 1000 hits within a week, not of book professionals, but of Sudanese and African American young adults that follow OD’s music.

Ok, I have some writing of my own to do!