RIF, FORGE & me in DC

Here is a great video of me on book tour courtesy of RIF (Reading is Fundamental). This was shot at one of the KIPP Academies I visited in Washington, DC (You saw one their cool murals in Tuesday’s blog post).


Another highlight of the day for me was the chance to get to know Carol Rasco, RIF’s director, and learn more about the incredibly wonderful job they do getting books into the hands of young American readers. Thanks, Carol!!

(Be sure to check out Carol’s wonderful blog about literacy and learning.)



Writing about race for kids

Back in January, bookseller Elizabeth Bluemle and I had a conversation about white privelege and issues of race in children’s publishing and children’s literature, two topics that had been much on our minds.

Elizabeth kept pondering and talking to people in the industry and has now published a post called "The Elephant in the Room," complete with illustrations by a bunch of artists.

I hope you all read the article and check out the links.

After you do, come back here so we can continue the discussion. What do you think of what she said?

In a similar vein, a children’s literature scholar recently reviewed CHAINS. In the review (which was positive) she said she found some anachronisms, which made my heart stop. I wrote and asked her what they were. She graciously responded; she had not found true anachronisms, but was unsure about the historical validity of some of the choices I made. I wrote back and explained my sources.

The original review and short discussion thread are a great example of how authors, reviewers, and readers can connect to discuss story in a constructive way. I was honored to see that Debbie Reese was following the discussion. (Be sure to check out her blog if you haven’t yet.) If you have any thoughts on that, I’d love them, too!

And on a more positive note

Taking deep yoga breaths all night calmed me down. A little.

Today is Make A Difference Day. Make It Better Day.


(photo from The NOLA Tree)

The NOLA Tree is a project run by some friends of mine. They take groups of teen volunteers to New Orleans to help families rebuild their homes after the Katrina disaster. Check out the photos! In addition, these teens do community service in their own neighborhoods. I am a huge supporter of this project. Ellen Hopkins is, too.

Pepsi has put The NOLA Tree in the running for $50,000 in grant money. The people running the project can squeeze more money out of a dollar than anyone I’ve ever seen, so that $50,000 will make a huge difference, if they win.

Please go to Pepsi Refresh Everything/ The NOLA Tree and vote for the project. Then tell your friends to do it, too. A few clicks and you can make the lives of Americans better.


Write to your local school board today. The AASL website has lots of statistics that prove that full-time, certified librarians make an enormous impact on the literacy rates and educational standards of their schools. Use the data. Be polite and firm. If a school can afford to run the lights at night football and soccer games, then they can afford school librarians.

(I’d love it if you would post the text of your school board letters in the comments below!)

There! Wasn’t that easy? Don’t you feel better? I do!