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National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature: Part 6

“The National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature raises national awareness of the importance of young people’s literature as it relates to lifelong literacy, education and the development and betterment of the lives of young people.”
-from the website

National_Ambassador_for_Young_People's_Literature_-_logo

A few years ago, one of my reading challenges was to read some of the works by the National Ambassadors for Young People’s Literature. I’ve talked about Jon Scieszka, Kate DiCamillo, Walter Dean Myers, Katherine Paterson. and Gene Luen Yang.

The most recent inductee is Jacqueline Woodson.

I was honored to be part of the selection committee who got to choose such an amazing writer! And, I’m excited to see how she carries out her platform “Reading = Hope X Change” inviting people to figure out their equation in the world and deciding which factors they can change to create the world they want to live in.

Read the press release here.

Watch the inauguration ceremony here.

I just love the idea of the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature and will do more posts about it.

One of the things I like to do is read books by the Ambassadors so I’ve added a few titles by Jacqueline Woodson to my Must Read list. I wanted to share my reviews of the ones I’ve already read.

Brown Girl DreamingBrown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

brown girl dreaming is a powerful moving memoir told in verse written by a gifted writer. Jacqueline Woodson gives us glimpses of her childhood in a way that seems rushed but then stops at moments with startling discovery. I loved the relationships- how family can cause us pain and sadness but how they can also make us happier and stronger than anything else in the world. Kids will enjoy- and parents will appreciate- how patience helped Woodson discover what she was good at. Don’t we all want to excel something that’ll set us apart? Aspiring writers will take inspiration and courage from the fact that stories are all around us and within us if we just look.

Another BrooklynAnother Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This novel reads quickly because the words just flow so easily from one to the other creating a nostalgic feel as the main character reminisces about her early teenage years with her friends. The story and circumstances are beautiful and heartbreaking at the same time mixed in with a bit of mystery about her missing mother. The only thing that I didn’t like was that I didn’t feel like there was actual character growth after thinking about her past.

Each KindnessEach Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I picked this up because many educators who come to the bookstore tend to recommend this to me as one of their favorite read-alouds. I can see why. It’s an interesting and introspective look about how actions and inactions affect others. Will resonate with many readers.

What are your favorite Jacqueline Woodson books that I should read?

What are some of your favorite books by previous Ambassadors?

— — — — — — — THANK YOU FOR READING! — — — — — — —

Please like The Chronicles Of A Children's Book Writer Facebook page!

Please like The Chronicles Of A Children’s Book Writer Facebook page!

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My blogging is fueled by YOU taking the time to read my words. It is also fueled by caffeine. If you’re so inclined, my email is EARLDIZON [at] GMAIL.COM if you want to send a Starbucks gift card my way. Thanks!

— — — — — — — HAPPY READING! — — — — — — —

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#CelebrateLU- April 22, 2016 / National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature: Part 5

Thanks to Ruth Ayers of Discover. Play. Build. for creating this meme!

Thanks to Ruth Ayers of Discover. Play. Build. for creating this meme!

This week I’m celebrating Gene Luen Yang.

Last night, Multnomah County Library invite Gene Yang to speak. And it was an great talk, full of inspiration. I was so excited, I can barely recall what was said. But his presentation “Asian American in Comics” was funny and insightful. He also answered lots of questions and I’m glad there were many kids who got to meet him. Gene Yang was definitely encouraging of following one’s passion no matter how old or young!

Some of the highlights for me were seeing so many familiar and excited faces in the audience, learning he has at least two more volumes of The Shadow Hero in mind, and that I got to meet him and get my picture taken with him. I was really starstruck. I’m not even sure I was coherent around him.

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“The National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature raises national awareness of the importance of young people’s literature as it relates to lifelong literacy, education and the development and betterment of the lives of young people.”
-from the website

National_Ambassador_for_Young_People's_Literature_-_logo

Last year, one of my reading challenges was to read some of the works by the National Ambassadors for Young People. I’ve talked about Jon Scieszka, Kate DiCamillo, Walter Dean Myers, and Katherine Paterson.

The most recent inductee is Gene Luen Yang, which I couldn’t be more excite about since he’s my favorite graphic novelist! His platform is Reading Without Walls encouraging and challenging readers to read books “with someone on the cover who doesn’t look like you or live like you,” “about a topic that you find intimidating,” and “in a format that you’ve never tried before.” Check his blog for more details.

American Born ChineseAmerican Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I remember reading this for a friend’s graphic novel book club. I enjoyed the alternating storylines and how they eventually weaved together. The Monkey King folk tale particularly caught my interest. But what made me such a fan of this and Gene Luen Yang in general was I felt I finally found myself in a book. (Admittedly, I’m from the Philippines but close enough!)
View all my reviews

Animal Crackers: A Gene Luen Yang CollectionAnimal Crackers: A Gene Luen Yang Collection by Gene Luen Yang
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Two of Gene Luen Yang’s earliest works are finally available for his newest fans like me. It’s great to see how his works have evolved and which themes (culture, identity- and aliens!) still continue to drive his work.
View all my reviews

Boxers & SaintsBoxers & Saints by Gene Luen Yang
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
My Picks of the Week! Wow! I’m always excited when Gene Luen Yang has a new book out and I was doubly so when I learned of this two-volume set! This didn’t disappoint even though, admittedly, I was worried it was going to be heavy on the history stuff. But he still managed to incorporate his magical realism. Boxers & Saints tells the story of Little Bao and Four-Girl, two young people from opposing sides of China’s Boxer Rebellion. Each volume presents their respective perspective. Original and innovative, Yang has a gift for storytelling!
View all my reviews

The Eternal Smile: Three StoriesThe Eternal Smile: Three Stories by Gene Luen Yang
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
The Eternal Smile is a collection of three stories covering different subjects and even genres. And because each story’s illustration style varies as well, I should give credit to Derek Kirk Kim.

“Duncan’s Kingdom” is fantasy in all its forms and meaning. The twist was kind of too afterschool special for me. “Gran’pa Greenbox and the Eternal Smile” is a take on Saturday morning cartoons/animation. Think Scrooge McDuck. This was actually kind of deep even with its intended over the top quality. The best was truly served for last. “Urgent Request” was my favorite in terms of story and illustrations. I like the very modern topic mixed with the almost retro-style drawings.

View all my reviews

Level UpLevel Up by Gene Luen Yang
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Gene Luen Yang continues to be someone I look forward to reading. Level Up is his latest book and once again tackles the issue of growing up as Asian American- even though I think everyone can relate to it.

There’s a seriousness in his books mixed with off-beat humor that I like. In this instance, he takes on having to live with what you want to do in life as opposed to your parents’ (or society’s) expectations while incorporating gaming and four “guardian angels.”

After finishing this, I immediately set off to find more of his work.

View all my reviews

Prime BabyPrime Baby by Gene Luen Yang
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This was a reread since I couldn’t remember what it was about. But this was so delightful. I loved the humor in this one of an older brother not fond at all of his baby sister. Naturally, he comes to the conclusion she’s an alien. A twisted idea forms in his mind to expose her, to save the world, and to grow some facial hair.
View all my reviews

Secret Coders (Secret Coders, #1)Secret Coders by Gene Luen Yang
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
What a fun new graphic novel series about computer programming! Gene Luen Yang has written a smart adventure mystery series featuring a multicultural cast, a haunted house/school, and turtle robots. I love that readers have opportunities to use what they’ve learned especially on that cliffhanger ending!

Can’t wait for the next book! Check out the website for more information: http://www.secret-coders.com/
View all my reviews

The Shadow HeroThe Shadow Hero by Gene Luen Yang
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
My first book of 2015 is The Shadow Hero by Gene Luen Yang.

Gene Luen Yang is probably my favorite graphic novelist out there. I won a signed copy of The Shadow Hero last year and made it a point to finally read it.

And, it did not disappoint. A part of me is wary about superhero comics and another part tends to avoid stories with any historical context so I was kind of hesitant to read a re-imagining of the first Asian American superhero. But Yang is such a masterful storyteller. I was hooked right from the start and I wanted more by the end!

This origin story finds a nineteen-year-old grocer’s son donning some questionable costumes after his mom wants to turn him into a superhero. What starts of as (not so) fun and (physically painful) games turns into a revenge story against a crime empire in the depths of Chinatown.

I loved the humor which was the biggest surprise- that with all the action, I would be laughing so much!

If the first book I read in 2015 is any indicator of how good my reading year ahead will be, then I say, “Game On!”
View all my reviews

Avatar: The Last Airbender - The PromiseAvatar: The Last Airbender – The Promise by Gene Luen Yang
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I definitely felt like I was going into this in media res. It took me awhile to get into it- who the characters were, where their alliances lay, and even the flow of the story. I’m interested in what happens next so I will definitely read on but it’s not as gripping as I thought it would be.
View all my reviews

Avatar: The Last Airbender - The SearchAvatar: The Last Airbender – The Search by Gene Luen Yang
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This is the series I wanted to get into. The first trilogy I read wasn’t as addicting as I hoped. But, now, knowing the characters, I actually cared about the story. With a mysterious mother’s past playing a huge role and brother and sister relationships taking center stage, I was hooked. Lots of action to keep readers turning the pages.
View all my reviews

Avatar: The Last Airbender - The RiftAvatar: The Last Airbender – The Rift by Gene Luen Yang
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I’m officially hooked on this series! Building on the existing relationships and past storylines, we follow Aang and his friends as they battle outside forces and within their group. Lots of surprises and great messages about preserving past traditions and present day concerns as well as environmental impact without it being too preachy. I’m glad I wait until I have the books all at once because I just end up devouring the whole series. I even want to check out the animated series.
View all my reviews

Avatar: The Last Airbender - Smoke and ShadowAvatar: The Last Airbender – Smoke and Shadow by Gene Luen Yang
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Another riveting installment in the Avatar: The Last Airbender. What’s great after having read the series this far is that you get invested in their stories and their histories. I love how messed up everyone’s family seems to be.

The only downside was that it’s become rather formulaic. I feel like there needs to be a major shake up coming soon.
View all my reviews

Gene Luen Yang also contributed to some recent comic anthologies.

In Nursery Rhyme Comics, he offers an intergalactic take on “Pat a Cake.” In Comics Squad: Recess, kids will enjoy reading shorter adventures of their favorite characters and meeting new ones. My favorite was definitely Gene Luen Yang’s “Super Secret Ninja Club!”

I also decided to read his lesser known contributions to anthologies.

In Open Mic, he shares how he got involved with Avatar: The Last Airbender. In Strange Tales II, he does a goofy send-up to Marvel Comics’ superheroes. In Secret Identities: The Asian American Superhero Anthology, Gene Luen Yang contributes a story in the Sidekicks chapter about race and justice. A companion to Secret Identities, Shattered features The Green Turtle as a series of comic strips. Read more of this hero in The Shadow Hero. Up All Night features The Monkey King. Read more of this character in American Born Chinese.

 

National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature: Part 3

”The National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature raises national awareness of the importance of young people’s literature as it relates to lifelong literacy, education and the development and betterment of the lives of young people.”
-from the website

National_Ambassador_for_Young_People's_Literature_-_logo

I didn’t know there was even this position until a year or so ago. I think it’s great. I wanted to know more about the authors selected as Ambassadors and their respective platforms so I created a Reading Challenge to read at least one of their books.

I’ve talked about Jon Scieszka and Kate DiCamillo before. This time, it’s Walter Dean Myers turn! I think it was during his term that I first realized there was such a thing as a Nation Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. His platform was “Reading is not optional.” I didn’t know he was so prolific, having written over 100 books in his life. And it was a shame I hadn’t read anything until now. I’m glad his legacy lives on.

MonsterMonster by Walter Dean Myers
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wow! What a thought provoking piece of work! Sixteen-year-old Steve is on trial in a murder case which, if convicted, could get him a lifetime in jail. He recounts the court case as a screenplay (complete with stage directions) as he plays it as a film on his mind. He interspersed it with diary entries that gives readers more insight to his character. High tension. Even after the verdict is announced, one can’t think some more about the rightness or wrongness of it.

View all my reviews

 

Kate DiCamillo: An Evening of Hope

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Last night, my work Green Bean Books held a very special event at the Alberta Rose Theatre with beloved and bestselling author Kate DiCamillo billed as “An Evening of Hope.” She was there to promote her latest picture book La La La, illustrated by Jaime Kim.

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The event was great- and, really how could it not be? It definitely attracted Book Lovers and Readers. I was so happy not only to see some of my favorite customers but also so many kidlit folks as well. I felt these kinds of events need a kidlit after party!

I loved hearing from people how much Kate’s books meant to them, with kids and adults alike clutching copies of their favorites to their chests. And it always brings a smile to my face hearing how much people love Green Bean Books. To be able to be part of people’s literary experiences- whether introducing them to books or helping them meet their favorite authors and illustrators- is one of the reasons I love being a bookseller.

Kate’s talk was amazing. I enjoyed listening to the inspirations behind her stories and how they were basically all about finding that “radiant connections.” I was surprised when she got off the stage and wandered around the floor during the Q & A. I don’t think I’ve seen an author do that before! One of my favorite responses was when she talked about how her hundreds of rejections taught her to be relentless. It couldn’t have come at a better time since it was just earlier that day I was hesitant to apply for a writing scholarship because I was afraid of getting rejected.

I was nervous to talk to her because I’m sure she had had a long day and also because she was Kate DiCamillo. But she couldn’t be nicer. We chitchatted about certain things including the role of National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature and I joked about how it was my new goal to have my pictures taken with each of them.

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And, why not? During “an evening of hope,” anything is possible!

Related posts:
National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature: Kate DiCamillo
Meeting Gene Luen Yang

 

February’s Picture Book of the Month- World Read Aloud Day

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As part of my Commitment to Literacy: Picture Book It challenge, I wanted to spotlight one book that I’m completely in love with. Throughout the month, I’ll do multiple posts based on the book. I hope you will end up picking up the book and joining in on the conversation.

Previous posts:
Commitment to Literacy: Picture Book It
January’s Picture Book of the Month Announcement
Videos
Articles & Audio File
Matt de la Peña and Loren Long Book Reviews

First of all, I’ll have another post next week about February’s Picture Book of the Month selection. Until then, let’s celebrate World Read Aloud Day!

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Here is Matt de la Peña reading Love.

Here is current National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature Jacqueline Woodson reading Each Kindness.

Do share some videos you’ve enjoyed of authors and illustrators reading their books! Or, if you have a video of yourself reading your favorite picture book, share that as well!

And, if the Llama Llama books have been favorite read-alouds in your life, you’d love the way Every Child a Reader is honoring its author Anna Dewdney- with an award that encourages reading as a bonding experience.

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Click on the image above for more information regarding the Anna Dewdney Read-Together Award.

You can nominate up to 5 picture books released in the past 5 years which are “a superb read aloud and also sparks compassion, empathy, and connection.” Nominations run through Valentine’s Day and the winner announced during Children’s Book Week!

— — — — — — — THANK YOU FOR READING! — — — — — — —

Please like The Chronicles Of A Children's Book Writer Facebook page!

Please like The Chronicles Of A Children’s Book Writer Facebook page!

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My blogging is fueled by YOU taking the time to read my words. It is also fueled by caffeine. If you’re so inclined, my email is EARLDIZON [at] GMAIL.COM if you want to send a Starbucks gift card my way. Thanks!

— — — — — — — HAPPY READING! — — — — — — —

 

Must Read in 2018 #MustReadin2018

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Click image to visit There is a Book for That!

[Agatha Christie]
-Come, Tell Me How You Live
-The Hollow
-The Labors of Hercules
-Taken at the Flood
-The Witness for the Prosecution and Other Stories
-Crooked House
-Three Blind Mice and Other Stories
-A Murder is Announced
-The Came to Baghdad
-The Under Dog and Other Stories
-Mrs. McGinty’s Dead
-They Do It With Mirrors
-The Mousetrap and Other Plays
-A Pocket Full of Rye

[Everybody Reads]
-Exit West by Moshin Hamid

[National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature]
-Show Way by Jacqueline Woodson, Hudson Talbott
-Feathers by Jacqueline Woodson
-After Tupac and D Foster by Jacqueline Woodson
-Miracle’s Boys by Jacqueline Woodson
-The Dream of America by Jacqueline Woodson (8/28)
-The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson (8/28)

[CYBILS]
What makes a monster by Jess Keating
-Dazzle ships by Chris Barton
-Hatching chicks in room 6 by Caroline Arnold
Shark lady by Jess Keating
-Adrift at sea by Marsha Skrypuch
-Once upon a jungle by Laura Knowles
Danza by Duncan Toniatuah
-Pathfinders by Tanya Bolden
-Two truths and a lie by Laurie Ann Thompson
-Fred Korematsu speaks up by Laura Atkins
-Lost in outer space by Todd Olson
-Beauty and the beak by Deborah Lee Rose
-Red Cloud by S. D. Nelson
-Zoo Scientists by Patricia Newman

[Gene Luen Yang]
-Secret Coders: Potions and Parameters(3/27)
-New Super-Man Vol. 3: Equilibrium (6/19)
-Secret Coders: Monsters and Modules (10/2)

[off the Shelf]
-The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
-Oregon Reads Aloud by SMART
-The War I Finally Won by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
-Digging for Trouble by Linda Fairstein

-Walden by Henry David Thoreau
-Geek Love by Katherine Dunn
-Mink River by Brian Doyle
-The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin

[Books on Books]
-Writing Picture Book by Ann Whitford Paul
-Wild Things! Acts of Mischief in Children’s Literature by Betsy Bird and Julie Danielson
-Wild Things: The Joy of Reading Children’s Literature as an Adult by Bruce Handy

[Christmas Reading]
-Nutcracker and Mouse King and The Tale of the Nutcracker by E. T. A. Hoffmann and Alexandre Dumas
-Letters From Father Christmas by J.R.R. Tolkien
-The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry

[Sequels & Follow Ups]
-The Terrible Two Go Wild by Mac Barnett and Jory John (1/9)
-Hilo: Waking the Monsters by Judd Winick (1/16)
-The Problim Children by Natalie Lloyd (2/6)
Head in the Clouds by Abby Hanlon(3/6)
-The Wild Robot Escapes by Peter Brown (3/13)
-The Purloined Puzzle by Parnell Hall (3/13)
-Rebound by Kwame Alexander (4/3)
-Sunny by Jason Reynolds (4/10)
For Everyone by Jason Reynolds (4/10)
-The Case of the Perilous Palace by Jordan Stratford(4/17)
-Book Scavenger 3: The Alcatraz Escape by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman (5/1)
-SMASH 2: Fearless by Chris A. Bolton,‎ Kyle Bolton (5/8)
-Nate Expectations by Tim Federle (5/18)
-Amulet 8: Supernova (9/25)