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Sydney Taylor Awards Blog Tour Right Here, Next Week

If you've been reading Chicken Spaghetti lately, you know how much I enjoy a good book award. I even made a list. A really big list.

One recent addition to that list,  "The Best of the Best: Kids' Books '08," was the Sydney Taylor Book Award, which honors Jewish children's and teen literature. I'm so pleased to be part of a blog tour next week when author Jacqueline Jules will stop by. Here is the entire schedule:

Sunday, January 18, 2009
Karen Hesse, author of Brooklyn Bridge
Sydney Taylor Book Award winner in the Older Readers Category
at Jewish Books for Children

Sunday, January 18, 2009
Aranka Siegal, author of Memories of Babi
Sydney Taylor Honor Book in the Older Readers Category
at The Book of Life

Monday, January 19, 2009
Richard Michelson
Author of As Good As Anybody, Sydney Taylor Book Award winner in the Younger Readers Category
Author of A is for Abraham, Sydney Taylor Honor Book in the Younger Readers Category
at The Well-Read Child

Monday, January 19, 2009
Ron Mazellan, illustrator of A is for Abraham
Sydney Taylor Honor Book in the Younger Readers Category
at Tales from the Rushmore Kid

Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Valerie Zenatti, author of A Bottle in the Gaza Sea
Sydney Taylor Book Award winner in the Teen Readers Category
at Lori Calabrese Writes

Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Jane Yolen, author of Naming Liberty
Sydney Taylor Honor Book in the Younger Readers Category
at The Boston Bibliophile

Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Anna Levine
Author of Freefall, Sydney Taylor Honor Book in the Teen Readers Category
Author of Jodie's Hanukkah Dig, Notable Book in the Younger Readers Category
at Abby (the) Librarian

Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Jim Burke, illustrator of Naming Liberty
Sydney Taylor Honor Book in the Younger Readers Category
at The Page Flipper

Thursday, January 22, 2009
Jacqueline Jules, author of Sarah Laughs
Sydney Taylor Honor Book in the Younger Readers Category
at Chicken Spaghetti

Thursday, January 22, 2009
Natascia Ugliano, illustrator of Sarah Laughs
Sydney Taylor Honor Book in the Younger Readers Category
at Write for a Reader

Friday, January 23, 2009
Deborah Bodin Cohen, author of Engineer Ari and the Rosh Hashanah Ride
Sydney Taylor Honor Book in the Younger Readers Category
at Becky's Book Reviews

Friday, January 23, 2009
Shahar Kober, illustrator of Engineer Ari and the Rosh Hashanah Ride
Sydney Taylor Honor Book in the Younger Readers Category
at Into the Wardrobe

August 28, 1963, in Washington, D.C.: Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

MarchimageDB.cgi  "On that day, my brother and all those who marched in Washington taught us all about the power of words, and how important it is to work together and raise our voices, to speak up. It is a day that will last in the hearts and memories of all Americans—that beautiful quilt of people, standing tall, taking a stand, and making a difference. For you. For me. For us all."

from the picture book March On! The Day My Brother Martin Changed the World, written by Christine King Farris and illustrated by London Ladd. Highly recommended—a great selection to read in advance of next Monday's holiday.

How many times can you use the word "text" in one sentence?

According to the Performance Level Descriptors for Grade 4 Reading, Connecticut Mastery Test (PDF file, Connecticut State Department of Education), the following is a characteristic of advanced 4th grade readers:

  • Consistently discuss and respond to texts by making text-to-self, text-to-text and text-to-world connections that are supported by relevant information from the text

Beep, beep, beep. Text to self, text to self: incoming word, incoming word.

As far as text to world, isn't that Twitter?


Coffee Talk, 1.8.09

Seussimg98l The Seuss heirs must have hooked up with Pottery Barn Kids, but I have to say: I want that shower curtain!

Onto more serious matters:

Winners of the Sydney Taylor Book Awards for Jewish children's literature were announced yesterday. You know Sydney Taylor. She wrote All-of-a-Kind Family.

Other prizes in the news: the Costa category winners, in the UK.

Author Esme Raji Codell, guru of reading recommendations, waxes poetic about a number of new picture book biographies.

One of the more interesting year-end "best of" lists: Smithsonian Magazine's Notable Children's Books 2008.

More Newbery controversy: Liz B. at the blog A Chair, A Fireplace, and A Tea Cozy sums it up.

As President of the Pocket Protector Society of Geeky Bloggers , I would like to shout out announce that NPR's "Science Friday" has a blog, and a Twitter account:

Book Links, an American Library Association magazine, cited thirty 2008 picture books in its "Lasting Connections" list.

Poetry for grown-ups department: Mark Doty on "the reader you don't want."

"Scissors and Glue and Glitter, Oh No!" at (via the Carnival of Education). Resources for children's projects in the classroom. (Many would work fine at home, too.)

This just in: the 2009 Charlotte Zolotow Award (for outstanding picture-book writing) goes to Bob Graham for How to Heal a Broken Wing. More books snagged honors, too. See the Cooperative Children's Book Center's Charlotte Zolotow Award web site. News via The Joy of Children's Literature blog.

LA Times "Word Play" columnist Sonja Bolle muscles into familiar territory when she considers picture books about chickens. She wonders if chickens follow a person around. They do, they do—especially when you're going to get their food.

Mr. Hooper & Sesame Street

Listening to NPR this morning, I heard Michael Davis, the author of Street Gang: The Complete History of "Sesame Street," talking to Diane Rehm on her show. Rehm asked the author to read the script from the "Sesame Street" episode in which the grown-ups explain Mr. Hooper's death to Big Bird. (Will Lee, the actor who played Mr. Hooper the storekeeper, had passed away in real life.) The script is a moving piece of writing, and Davis read it well.  He mentioned that the segment, which originally aired on Thanksgiving Day 1983, is on YouTube.

Easy Reading: Houndsley and Catina and the Quiet Time

HounsleyimageDB.cgi  A small gem of a book that celebrates winter, friendship, and being in the moment. In James Howe's beginning reader, two chums—a dog and a cat—are practicing at Houndsley's house for an upcoming concert when a snowstorm begins. Catina is antsy.

"It is too quiet," she said.

"Oh," said Houndsley. "But that is why this is my favorite time of year. In the quiet time, everything stops. I think we may be snowed in."

Houndsley's example helps Catina learn to enjoy the change of pace as they bake cookies, play music, and read. (Young readers will glean many ways to avoid cabin fever on a day when they're confined.) The animal pals generously include a third friend, Bert the goose, in their cozy good time. Marie-Louise Gay's watercolor/pencil/collage illustrations depict the action with gentle humor and a soul-warming palette of wintertime colors; even the endpapers are lovely.

Not too long at three chapters and 48 pages, Houndsley and Catina and the Quiet Time, the third in the Houndsley & Catina series, makes a good choice for first and second graders as well as the read-aloud crowd. All classroom libraries in the snowy states ought to have a copy! The book is a finalist in the Easy Reader category of the Children's and Young Adult Bloggers' Literary Awards (the Cybils).

Coretta Scott King Award Thoughts

Sponsored by the American Library Association, the Coretta Scott King awards are given annually to "African American authors and illustrator [sic] for outstanding inspirational and educational contributions..."

Kyra E. Hicks, an author who blogs at Black Threads in Kid's Lit, noticed all the Internet discussions speculating about other upcoming ALA medals like the Newbery, Caldecott, and Geisel (for beginning readers). This year's winners in all categories are announced on January 26th at a meeting of the American Library Association. Many libraries hold "mock" award contests and discussions beforehand.

Hicks didn't see any mock-award talk about the 2009 Coretta Scott King prizes, so she did something about that. She started a conversation at her blog about which books readers think may win the CSK prize. Which books do you think will grab the CSK honors this year? Go visit Black Threads in Kid's Lit and chat away.

Welcome, Choice Literacy Readers

A big hello and happy new year to all the Choice Literacy members and readers who have stopped by to peruse "The Best of the Best: Kids' Books '08," which rounds up the "best of" lists from many sources, including newspapers, magazines, web sites, and award-winners.

A bit about the blog: I started Chicken Spaghetti back in 2005, and at first I really did consider devoting the bandwidth to pictures of various incarnations of chicken-spaghetti casserole. I grew up in the South, and chicken spaghetti was a favorite meal, as well as a staple of ladies' lunches at church. (Serve it with a spinach salad with mandarin oranges, of course.) Anyway, better sense took hold. How many people are calling out for multiple photos of casseroles? Yeah, very few. I was enjoying reading with my son, then in kindergarten, so I cooked up this blog about children's books.

My professional background is in casserole-concocting print and online magazines, and I did write a teeny-tiny gift book about Elvis. "Your book is in the Smithsonian!" said my cousin ten years ago or so. He had visited on a class trip. What? The curators of that vaunted institution wanted my book in the shape of a record for their collections of Americana? Er, no. The Smithsonian gift shop.

Enough about that.

Everyone should be sure to check out Franki Sibberson's article at Choice Literacy; it's a roundup of great '08 read-alouds for the middle-grade and middle-school crowd. As its web site says, "Choice Literacy is dedicated to providing innovative, high-quality resources for K-12 literacy leaders. Founded in 2006, the website has grown to include over 700 professionally produced and edited video and print features from top educators in the field, as well as promising new voices."

Yay for teachers and librarians reading aloud to older kids at school! My son's teacher's read-alouds to her 4th grade class have had an enormous impact on what my boy chooses to read these days. He has added books like City of Ember and Fig Pudding to his own list of favorites.

I hope you'll stay a while and read around. Lately I've been posting about books for beginning readers. I volunteer as a first-grade reading buddy, and my visits at their school are highlights of my week.

Thank you for visiting. If you're on Twitter, look for me; I'm C_Spaghetti there.