Black History Month Authors and Illustrators

Posted February 17, 2012 by cathyso3
Categories: Writers and Illustrators

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Black History Month is ticking away, and my library students are busy celebrating the African American experience with books. They have discovered a wide variety of genres written and illustrated by some awesome African American writers and artists.

Picture books, poetry, folktales, historical fiction, biographies, and nonfiction have been discussed, passed around, checked out, and enjoyed. It’s heartwarming to see students get excited about books they wouldn’t ordinarily choose. They’re learning to step outside of the box for a new literary experience.

What we’ve come to know during our author/illustrator study is that being exposed to different cultures and ethnic backgrounds enhances our knowledge of the world around us.

We grooved to the rhythmic words in Jazz written by Walter Dean Myers and illustrated by Christopher Myers. We tapped our toes to Leo & Diane Dillon’s Rap A Tap Tap Here’s Bojangles – Think Of That! We learned what it’s like if you have a passion to succeed in For the Love of the Game written by Eloise Greenfield and illustrated by Jan Spivey Gilchrist. Lessons of love and acceptance came our way in The Other Side written by Jacqueline Woodson and illustrated by E.B. Lewis and Show Way also by Woodson and illustrated by Hudson Talbott. Richard Wright and the Library Card written by William Miller and illustrated by Gregory Christie and SitIn How Four Friend Stood Up by Sitting Down written by Andrea Davis Pinkney and illustrated by Brian Pinkney demonstrated the hardships black Americans were up against in their struggle for equal rights.

We’ve looked at works by Jerry Pinkney, Virginia Hamilton, Nikki Giovanni, Bryan Collier, Patricia and Fredrick McKissack, Floyd Cooper, and Rita Williams-Garcia. We’ve been wowed by their talent and impressed by their numerous literary awards.

Celebrate Black History Month. Read. Learn. Enjoy.

“We should emphasize not Negro History, but the Negro in history. What we need is not a history of selected races or nations, but the history of the world void of national bias, race hate, and religious prejudice.” ~Carter Woodson, 1926

Celebrate Black History Month with Ashley Bryan’s Work

Posted February 14, 2012 by cathyso3
Categories: Uncategorized

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Ashley Bryan is a remarkable author, artist, and storyteller. His body of work is impressive as can be seen by the numerous awards that have been bestowed upon him. He has won the Coretta Scott King Book Award for his illustrations and six Honor Awards. He delivered the May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture in 1990. Other awards and honors include the Coretta Scott King – Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement, the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, and the Regina Medal.

Ashley Bryan began drawing, painting, and creating books when he was very young. His use of vibrant colors in his work is both eye-catching and enticing. He has continued to create magic in books throughout his lifetime, using poetry, folktales, Negro Spirituals, and African Proverbs.


He is passionate about books and reading and encourages young readers to spend time with a book to become a reader. He tells children to listen to the book and let the book and art speak to them.

From Ashley Bryan's LET IT SHINE

Ashley Bryan is an intelligent, charismatic speaker, who is an inspiration to children. Here is a man whose work should be celebrated and shared not only during Black History Month, but every month.

Here are just a few of his many books.

Illustrations by Kadir Nelson

Posted February 10, 2012 by cathyso3
Categories: Writers and Illustrators

Tags: , , , , , ,

Whenever I see a book written or illustrated by Kadir Nelson, it immediately goes on my wish list for our library collection. I am captivated by his talent as an artist. Kadir Nelson’s illustrations are so life-like you want to reach out and touch them. His ability to reveal the joy, pain, and sadness in the faces of his subjects is uncanny.


Kadir Nelson celebrates his heritage in art and words. His work has been acclaimed by many. In the children’s publishing industry he has been honored with the Coretta Scott King Author and Illustrator Awards, the Robert F. Sibert Award, the Caldecott Honor Award, and the NAACP Image Award to name a few.


In January, Nelson’s Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans won the Coretta Scott King Author Award and was the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Book. He is a talent not to be overlooked.

February is Black History Month. Kadir Nelson and his illustrated books are two perfect ways to commemorate this event. Get one from your library today!

Card to Success

Posted February 7, 2012 by cathyso3
Categories: Libraries

Tags: , , , ,

What’s the best card to bring you success and riches beyond your wildest dreams? It’s not a gift card, or an ATM card, or even a Honus Wagner baseball card. The card you’re looking for is a library card!

February is Library Lovers’ Month. If you don’t have a library card, get one today!

My Hometown Library

Your local library is a magical place where you can browse through a treasure trove of information. It’s a place where you can touch, smell, and taste the joy and knowledge found in volumes of books. Your library card is a key to success.

“The richest person in the world – in fact all the riches in the world – couldn’t provide you with anything like the endless, incredible loot available at your local library.” ~Malcolm Forbes

Love your library. Support it. Become a Friend of the Library. Volunteer. Sing its praises. And then curl up with a good book.

Check It Out!

“When I got my library card, that’s when my life began.” ~Rita Mae Brown

Pecking Out a Picture Book

Posted February 3, 2012 by cathyso3
Categories: Writing

Tags: , , , , , ,

If you want to get your book published, you can’t be a chicken. So it says in The Plot Chickens written and illustrated by Mary Jane and Herm Auch. This humorous picture book cracks me up! It has great wordplay and colorful illustrations. More importantly, this book, published by Holiday House, Inc., is a wonderful motivational tool to use when teaching the elements of writing to young children. It’s eggs-actly what you need!

The basic rules of writing are introduced by would-be author, Henrietta, in her manuscript, “The Perils of Maxine.” This chick writes about what she knows, has a main character, a problem, a plot, plot development, suspense, and uses the five senses to make her story come alive. Following the rules should make Henrietta’s book a winner, but, alas, she finds that the publishing industry is a hard egg to crack. Henrietta doesn’t brood long over her rejection. She decides to make her own book. Even though her book receives a bad review, she discovers that the children at the library are scrambling to listen to it, and that makes Henrietta a very happy chicken. Buk! Buk!

This book is a good learning lesson for all writers. It reminds us we must work hard to perfect our craft before we find success. As they say in the industry, “Break an egg!”

Recipe for a Picture Book

Posted January 31, 2012 by cathyso3
Categories: Writing

Tags: , ,

Imagine the delicious smell of homemade brownies wafting through the house. Your senses are piqued. A well-written picture book should do the same. If all the ingredients meld together perfectly, you’ll be dying for more of the same.

A picture book recipe.

Preheat your brain to 350 degrees


1 cup originality

2 cups imagination

½ cup rhythm and rhyme (rhyme optional)

½ cup creative wordplay

2 tsp.humor

1 T. Grab-Your-Heart Seasoning

Combine all ingredients. Mix well. Arrange mixture on paper. Bake until it springs to life.

Note:  There are some foods that taste much better the next day, and then there are foods that have lost all their appeal the day after. Manuscripts are a bit like this. Before sending your work to an agent or editor, a good rule of thumb is to let it rest. In a few weeks, you may find it hasn’t lost its appeal and still shines like the top of the Chrysler Building, or you may find it stinks! Let it season.

Check out these posts:

9 Factors that Make a Picture Book Successful

Writing Tips for Children’s Writers   

6 Small Changes to Help You Reach Your Writing Goals 

A Little Sick Humor

Posted January 27, 2012 by cathyso3
Categories: Life

Tags: , , , ,

One of my students decided to sick-it-to-me! I guess that’s one of the disadvantages of being in close contact with kids. They ever so nicely cough and sneeze in your face and feel no guilt about spreading their germs.

My eyes are watering. My nose is red. I can’t breathe. I have a cold. In five minutes my first class will arrive in the library. I will entertain them with a fabulous story and share some of the germs they so generously gifted to me.

Book ready. Tissue ready. It’s library time!

One of these books might be the best medicine of all.

Llama Llama Home with Mama by Anna Dewdney (Viking Juvenile, 2011)

The Sniffles for Bear written by Bonny Becker and illustrated by Kady MacDonald Denton (Candlewick, 2011)

A Sick Day for Amos McGee written by Philip C. Stead and illustrated by Erin Stead (Roaring Brook Press, 2010)

Mother, Mother, I Feel Sick; Send for the Doctor Quick, Quick Quick by Remy Charlip and Burton Supree and illustrated by Remy Charlip (Tricycle Press, 2001)

Bear Feels Sick written by Karma Wilson and illustrated by Jane Chapman (Margaret K. McElderry, 2007)



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 905 other followers

%d bloggers like this: