Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Greet the Dawn: The Lakota Way, by S.D. Nelson (ages 5-12)

There is something very special about watching dawn break over the sky. At this time of year, as our world is transitioning into winter, I want to take a moment to celebrate a beautiful book: Greet the Dawn--The Lakota Way, by S.D. Nelson. My students loved the way Nelson blends modern and traditional imagery in this beautiful celebration of the circle of life.

Greet the Dawn:
The Lakota Way
by S.D. Nelson
South Dakota State Historical Society, 2012
your local library
Modern Lakota kids board a yellow school bus, with traditional images floating in the dawn sky above them. "Father Sun gives warmth to Mother Earth" as the day unfolds in this poetic tribute to the natural cycle of life.
My students marveled at Nelson's use of color, repeated imagery and combination of modern and traditional symbols. They noticed the geometric patterns repeated throughout and wondered about why he painted people in so many different colors. Some students speculated that it might symbolize many different tribes or races living peacefully together. Others thought maybe the different colors represented human forms of Mother Earth and Father Sun.
S.D. Nelson is member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in the Dakotas. He weaves into this picture book songs in the Lakota language, placed alongside English translations. I have loved browsing through the gallery he shares on his website, and his biography Buffalo Bird Girl is one of my favorites to share with older children.

For more resources and children's books that share the Native American experience, definitely check out Debbie Reese's article in School Library Journal. Debbie writes the invaluable blog: American Indians in Children's Literature.
I have also found PBS Learning Media's resources for Native American Heritage full of fascinating video clips. It would be great to share Nelson's book along with the watching the video about Truman Lowe, a contemporary Native American artist.

The review copy came from our home library collection, purchased on Debbie Reese's advice. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books (at no cost to you!). Thank you for your support.

©2013 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

#AASL13 Wrap Up: Still Buzzing with Ideas!

The American Association of School Librarians had their national conference last weekend, and it was fantastic. Rocco Staino and I were the author event co-chairs -- we had over 50 authors talking with school librarians about their work. Here's just a smattering of the amazing folks we hosted:

a few of the amazing authors at #AASL13

I am so grateful for everyone's contributions. I'm still buzzing with the energy I get from connecting with passionate librarians and authors about how we inspire kids. Our work matters deeply, and we bring so much to our communities. We help them think more about the books we read. Connecting with authors and illustrators gives us a glimpse into their creative process, peeling back some of the layers. 

Meeting fellow librarians was a huge highlight for me. I especially loved connecting with my Twitter pals -- these face-to-face connections cements our friendship. These are folks I turn to all year long to help me develop my craft. Here are two librarians I really enjoyed sharing this conference with: Donna Macdonald and Susan Polos.

I found that posting quick Tweets was easier for me than taking notes. I know it isn't quite as good of a record, but it was a way for me to share the joy in the moment.

I also liked using the hashtag #aasl13 to follow other librarians at the conference, sharing their excitement and take-away nuggets.

Thank you so much to all the authors and publishers for sharing their enthusiasm hooking kids with books, history and science. Thank you to my fellow librarians for your laughter, friendship and passion. And thank you to my family for helping me pursue my dreams.

©2013 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Biographies through Picture Books: #AASL13

Reading aloud picture book biographies is sharing a slice of personal history with children. They draw young readers in so much more effectively than dry text books. Even older children still find themselves absorbed by them.

We are hearing lots about the Common Core these days, especially the mandate for children to read more nonfiction. Teachers are also being told that students need to examine primary source documents. But how many nine year olds can really read the Declaration of Independence and make sense of it?! 

At the American Association of School Librarian's conference this week, I've spearheaded a concurrent session called: Biographies Through Picture Books. We've invited five authors and illustrators to speak about how they draw on primary source documents and give children a real sense of history by showing them these primary sources. I hope you can join us!

Feel free to share this poster:

Biographies through Picture Books
2013 AASL National Conference
Saturday, Nov. 16th
10:15 am - 11:30 am
Hartford, CT

©2013 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Exploring Scientists at Work: #AASL13

I have been fascinated reading nonfiction books that delve into scientists' work in the field. When I was in junior high and high school, I never really saw how the science we were learning connected to unsolved mysteries. Today's kids have a wealth of interesting books that help bridge this gap -- a great alternative to deathly dry textbooks.

Come hear a conversation with some of the top science writers, editors and teachers at the AASL 2013 National Conference:
Exploring Scientists at Work
Concurrent session at #AASL13
Friday, November 15th
1:00 - 2:15 pm
Join authors, a science teacher, and an editor to discuss how stories about scientists at work can meet the needs of children, librarians, and teachers, with a special emphasis on meeting the new Common Core standards. Come prepared to share your own ideas too!

Learn how kids can explore real scientists at work. Just take a look at this fantastic line up:
©2013 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Guess Who?? They're out of this world at #aasl13

Can you guess who these guys are? Here's a hint: they will all be at AASL's 2013 National Conference -- presenting an OUT OF THIS WORLD concurrent session next Friday, at 3pm

A. The Pirate

B. The Professor

C. The Mad Scientist

D. The Magician

E. The Beast

F. The Guy in Charge

Their session is going to be fantastic! Check below for an easy hint, and find out the details! Photo IDs will be revealed on Monday!
AASL National Conference
Friday, Nov. 15th
3:15 - 4:30 pm
 Leave your guesses in the comments or on Twitter #aasl13 @MaryAnnScheuer. Right answers will get a special treat -- a picture of me, ready to join this crowd!

Many thanks to the great publishers at Harper Collins, Walden Pond Press, Simon & Schuster, Scholastic and Abrams.

©2013 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Authors Who Skype -- concurrent session at #AASL13

With rising travel costs and shrinking budgets, schools are experimenting with ways to connect students with authors through Skype and other video conferencing. At AASL's 2013 National Conference next week, there will be a fantastic panel of authors sharing their experience Skyping with classrooms.

I'm excited to listen to this panel of authors talk about their experiences Skyping with elementary, middle and high schools. I'm curious to see how they establish a rapport with kids, even when the video gets blurry. Do kids feel like they're really connecting the with author? How do they show visuals?

I'm sure librarians will be interested in whether authors charge, how they go about setting up video conferences, and what type of technology authors have preferred.

Come listen to this great group of authors, as they share their experiences and learn from one another:
Here are the details:
Authors Who Skype
AASL National Conference
Friday, 8:00 am - 9:15 am
room F1-MC
Follow along the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #aasl13 on Friday morning!

©2013 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Sunday Comic Book Brunch at #AASL13 -- lots of fun in store!!!

School librarians are in for a treat! We're turning the traditional author brunch into a celebration of the Sunday Comics -- so break out your favorite pajamas and join the crowd! Here are the details:
AASL Author Brunch
Sunday Comic Book Celebration
Sunday, November 17, 2013
9:00 - 11:00 am
2013 AASL National Conference
Hartford, CT
tickets required

We have a stellar line-up of comic book creators for all ages:

Jarrett Krosoczka will moderate the panel with Jennifer and Matt Holm, Raina Telgemeier, and Faith Erin Hicks. We’ll hear their thoughts on
  • why graphic novels and comic books draw kids to them again and again, 
  • how we can incorporate kids’ passion for reading comic books in our lessons on the Common Core, and 
  • how they use their experiences growing up to create stories that stay with us long after reading. 
You’ll see these artists draw, talk and laugh with one another in this lively brunch.

Are you too far to come? Join us at the Twitter hashtag #aasl13 on Sunday morning, November 17th. Jarrett will be taking questions from the audience here and at home through live tweets!

Hope the see you there!

©2013 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Getting excited for AASL 2013 National Conference! Author events galore

Librarians Gone Wild -- that's the term my family has for my trips to library conferences. They energize me, giving me a chance to meet authors, visit with other librarians, and learn so much.

In just two weeks, I'm heading to Hartford, CT for the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) 2013 National Conference. This week I'd like to preview some of the fantastic author events that will be happening at the conference. Rocco Staino & I are the author events co-chairs, and we've been working hard to plan some fantastic events!

Friday night, November 15th, is the Author Banquet with Libba Bray and Shane Evans. This promises to be a real highlight of the weekend. I hope my librarian friends have bought tickets!
Libba Bray definitely knows how to travel - at least in her books. Whether she’s on a deserted island with a gaggle of Beauty Queens, on a cross-country road trip Going Bovine with a dying teenage boy, or solving murder mysteries with The Diviners in 1920s New York City, this girl knows how to have a good time.

Libba’s newest book, The Diviners, is a mix of crime thriller, paranormal fantasy and historical drama set in the 1920s, mixing the occult, the uppercrust and the underworld. It follows young Evie who comes to New York to live with her uncle, and finds herself investigating a rash of occult-based murders. I love this trailer for The Diviners. If teens are looking for a creepy, fun, smart mystery, I definitely recommend this.

Libba is in the midst of wrestling with the sequel to The Diviners, and I'm curious how she's developing Evie's character, as well as some of the terrific supporting characters.

Shane Evans won the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award in 2012 for his stirring picture book Underground. His illustrations effectively weave together dark and light, representing both the fear and hope that escaping slaves felt on their journeys to the North. As his friend and collaborator Taye Diggs wrote in the Horn Book,
Shane is a “renaissance man. A true artist, in every sense of the word. Illustrator, painter, sculptor, photographer, singer, songwriter, musician, composer…the list goes on. He’s the type of cat who just randomly picks up a guitar, and next thing you know, he’s teaching you how to play.” 
Shane will bring his guitar, sing for us and share his dreams. Come and be inspired by Shane’s spirit and art, as he reflects on how we can all be true to ourselves.

Every day I try to connect children with books that inspire them, that make them want to reach out and connect to other people. These two artists fill me with those same feelings. I can't wait for a chance to hear their presentations.

Check in later this week for other highlights from what's promising to be a fantastic conference.

If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books (at no cost to you!). Thank you for your support.

©2013 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books