Friday, January 30, 2009

Monday, January 12, 2009

What do librarians do in their free time?

Read, read, and read! And, if they're lucky, talk about books.

That's what Ms. Claire did this weekend at a Mock Newbery discussion hosted by two wonderful librarians from the Oakland Public Library. What's a Mock Newbery, you ask? Good question.

When we talk about finding a great book in the library, one of the things older Emerson students sometimes look for is a fancy foil circle that shows a book has won a big award. You may remember that students vote for our own award each year, the California Young Reader Medal. But the biggest awards we look for are given by librarians and others who read children's books for a living, like:
  • the Newbery Medal for excellence in American children's literature
  • the Coretta Scott King Award, which " is given to an African American author and an African American illustrator for an outstandingly inspirational and educational contribution. The books promote understanding and appreciation of the culture of all peoples and their contribution to the realization of the American dream."
  • and the Pura Belpre Medal, which "is presented to a Latino/Latina writer and illustrator whose work best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in an outstanding work of literature for children and youth."
In just two weeks, a committee will announce the winners of these awards for 2009. But sometimes librarians and other eager readers just wish they could make the decisions themselves. So they get together to have a "Mock," or pretend, Newbery.

This year, a group of thirteen readers gathered at the Oakland Public Library to talk about some of the most distinguished books of the year. We started with five hours, eight very different books to choose from, and a whole lot of coffee. We ended with a clear winner and two wonderful Honor books.

And the winner is...
The Porcupine Year, by Louise Erdrich!

Our two Honor Books were:

After Tupac and D. Foster, by Jacqueline Woodson (an Emerson favorite author!)


Alvin Ho: allergic to girls, school, and other scary things, by Lenore Look and illustrated by LeUyen Pham

I'm looking forward to writing more about these great titles later - for now, I'll let you know that I'm pleased and proud that the "Mock" committee came up with such great choices. Keep an eye out for all three books, coming soon to our Emerson library!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Sometimes a book comes along that is short, sweet, and still packs a real punch. My Name Is Maria Isabel by Alma Flor Ada is a book like this. It's the story of a little girl who finds her voice by standing up and saying her name, proudly and bravely.

Click on the player below to hear Ahmirah's great booktalk about this beautiful little book! If you like realistic fiction and stories about kids standing up for themselves, this may be the book for you!

Elijah of Buxton

One of my favorite books of 2008 was Elijah of Buxton by Christopher Paul Curtis, the story of the first child born in a community of freed and escaped slaves in Canada. But as one of my favorite readers says: you don't have to take my word for it!

Listen to Nazeeza's fabulous booktalk by clicking on the player below.