Friday, June 22, 2012

Digital Publishing: An Ever Changing Landscape

The film and music industries chose to resist and to fight changes in their market rather than looking at it as an opportunity to reach its audience in a new medium.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Let Them See You Read

Father's Day is not just a time for kids and moms to pamper the Dads in the family. It's really a day to reflect on what a father is and should be.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR TODD MITCHELL

ALTERNATIVE STORY STRUCTURE

A high school teacher remarked to Todd about a young man in her class who hadn’t gotten into any of reading assignments all year, and in all probability hadn’t read a book in years. When Todd's book THE SECRET TO LYING was assigned, the boy devoured it, relating to the story and the conflicts encountered by the main character. After finishing the book, he told this teacher, “The only thing I didn’t like about this book is that it’s a book.”

This is precisely the problem, especially as boys get older. The idea of a traditional book is so unappealing. Todd is one who explores alternative storytelling mechanisms whether it be with graphic elements like in his FLIGHT OF ANGELS or his non-linear book BACKWARDS scheduled to come out with Candlewick in 2012.




TODD MITCHELL'S TOP 3 BOY BOOKS INCORPORATING GRAPHIC ELEMENTS
"Three? Just three. Okay, I'm guessing people already know about books for younger audiences like the DIARY OF A WIMPY KID series, BIG NATE, CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS, THE STRANGE CASE OF ORAGAMI YODA, and THE INVENTION OF HUGO CABRET —all books for younger teen audiences that use art as part of the narrative in novel ways. What I'm interested, though, is how art can be used with text for older audiences in ways that haven't been done before. "

1. "Sherman Alexi's THE ABSOLUTELY TRUE DIARY OF A PART-TIME INDIAN is one book with art that I'd highly recommend for 9th grade and up.

2. AMERICAN BORN CHINESE, by Gene Yang is a great, quick graphic novel with a lot to discuss for 6th grade and up.

3. And for older teen boys, I recommend checking out Craig Thompson's graphic memoir, BLANKETS."

"But as far as art/text hybrids (books that use art in different ways from comic books, or illustrated novels) I think writers are still trying to figure out what's possible. Hopefully, publishers will begin to take more risks on new projects (hint, hint --if any editor wants to see my latest hybrid project, THE HIDDEN, it's completely different). I think there's a lot of new possibilities for narrative art/text hybrids that haven't been explored yet."

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Summer Slide

I was reading a column (How to Raise a Bookworm by Stephanie Weaver) in the US Weekend (May 11-13, 2012) insert to the Sunday paper recently that stated only one third of of our country's fourth graders read at or above grade level. I have a fourth-grader who until this year was a very reluctant reader, so this figure struck my attention.

The significance of this literacy issue can be further compounded by what educators call the Summer Slide where children who are left to direct their own time over the summer often fall further behind. This has become a hot-button for educators and parents in the years since a Johns Hopkins study comparing economically disadvantaged students with children from wealthier families who received more academic structure over their vacation was popularized in the book Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell several years ago.

Many libraries around the country offer reading programs to encourage kids to keep their mind active during the summer months away from school. Some incorporate educational and entertaining performances along with incentives for reaching reading milestones. Check out your local library and make sure the kids that you work with an care about have plenty to keep them active over the break.

Friday, June 1, 2012

INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR BRUCE COVILLE

FOUNDATIONAL ELEMENTS & STORY-TELLING ENERGY OF THE BOY BOOK

Bruce Coville is the author of numerous children's books including New York Times Best Seller, MY TEACHER IS AN ALIEN. He is known for his books that appeal to elementary age children, especially boys. In this interview, Bruce discusses some of the foundational elements in writing for boys at such a critical age in determining whether they become life-long readers.



BRUCE COVILLE'S TOP 5 BOOKS FOR ELEMENTARY AGE BOYS
1. "Three of my favorite books when I was that age were DAVID AND THE PHOENIX by Edward Ormondroyd (which, happily, I got to record, with Ed narratating, when I was in my early 50's!)
2. CHAMPION DOG PRINCE TOM by Jean Fritz and Tom Clute, which I read over and over again,
3. and THE WONDERFUL FLIGHT TO THE MUSHROOM PLANET by Eleanor Cameron.
4. When I was teaching, I found that HOW TO EAT FRIED WORMS by Thomas Rockwell was a sure fire hit with the boys,
5. and THE BEST CHRISTMAS PAGEANT EVER by Barbara was great for everyone."

FOR GOOD MEASURE, BRUCE GIVES 5 MORE:
"Probably my favorite books ever for that age group - good 4th grade readers, 5th and 6th grade, are the five books of Lloyd Alexanders CHRONICLES OF PRYDAIN."