7th Annual Popcorn n’ Picture Books Celebrates El día de los niños/El día de los libros

Picture books exert a unique influence on their audience for a variety of reasons. Most significantly, the audience receives the messages in the text at a point in their lives when they are expecially impressionable and when they first begin to formulate ideas about culture, society, and values. ~ Joy Worland

This year’s annual ‘Popcorn n’ Picture Books” event focused on multicultural children’s picture books.  El día de los niños/El día de los libros, Children’s Day/Book Day, a  Latino celebration of multicultural children’s books and reading,  served as the perfect theme for our event. This special day, established by children’s author, Pat Mora, is celebrated in libraries throughout the United States on April 30th.

We started off the party with a “bilingual orchestra” to the words of Pat Mora’s Book Fiesta, a book specifically about El día de los niños/El día de los libros, illustrated by Rafael López’. Book Fiesta won the 2010 Pura Belpré medal award for illustration.

During the presentation, we discussed the development and history of multicultural picture books, the importance of these books, collection development and selection issues, as well as activities to promote them. A “Journey through Cultures” included discussions about history, selection issues, literary pioneers, and readings from new award-winning books pertinent to specific ethnic groups in the United States, religious minorities, disabilities/ challenges, family compositions, same-sex parent families, sexual orientation, global awareness & peacemaking, and the universal nature of folklore.

The event was a success thanks to several guest speakers/ readers. Sterling Friering and Temperance Pearson Storm did a special presentation on children’s picture books depicting same-sex parent families and sexual orientation which opened up a lively debate among the teachers in the crowd.  HCL’s Linda was an excellent guest reader.

From "The Rope Sandal: A Peace-Loving, Tree Hugging, Hippie Cinderella Story"

The event ended with a special reading from a local storyteller (yea right!), Jacksonville’s own “Lookout” Mountain Girl. Adding her own unique version to over 5,000 Cinderella stories which have been documented worldwide, Lookout amused, bored, or tortured the audience with “Sugar Magnolia and the Rope Sandal: a  Peace Loving, Tree Hugging, Hippie Cinderella Story.”

I created the following resource guide on multicultural children’s literature which includes specialized bibliographies, multicultural award Web sites, journal articles and books on multiculturalism, tools for selection criteria, and more! Let me know if you know of other great resources to add to this list.  Equally ever Afteresources2

A special thanks to Dr. Engley, Dr. Hilber, and Dr. Staubs for their support and interest.

Books featured during this year’s program:

Book Fiesta by Pat Mora, Illustrated by Rafael Lopez
This bilingual picture book is a celebration, in beautifully illustrated vibrant colors, of El Día de los niños/El Día de los libros, Children’s Day/Book Day held on April 30th. Notes by the author, at the end of the book, suggest ways families, librarians, and schools can celebrate this day of “book joy.” For our program, we put on a “bilingual orchestra” of the book. See Pat Mora’s Web site for more information on El Día de los niños/El Día de los libros, Children’s Day/Book Day. This book won a Pura Belpre Medal for its illustrations.

Ashley Bryan: Words to My Life’s Song by Ashley Bryan, Photographs by Bill McGuinness
Award-winning children’s author and illustrator Ashley Byran is an amazing artist. His joy for telling stories and getting young children interested in art is what really stands out in this book. Listen to Ashley Bryan talk about the inspiration for the book in the this video.

Bad News for Outlaws: The Remarkable Life of Bass Reeves: Deputy US Marshall by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson, Illustrated by R. Gregory Christie
Vaunda Micheaux was always interested in the wild, wild, west when she was young. However, African Americans never starred in western movies. To her delight, the author discovered the true story of Bass Reeves, a black man, who was elected Deputy U.S. Marshall.  Born into slavery, Reeves was a remarkable marksman. He was so remarkable that the slave master would take him hunting. After a fight with the slave master, Reeves ran away and escaped slavery. He lived with an Indian tribe in Arkansas, moved out west, and became a  highly-feared and respected marshall, bringing justice to the wild west. This book won a Coretta Scott King Medal.

The Negro Speaks of Rivers by Langston Hughes (Author), Illustrated by E. B. Lewis
Langston Hughes, literary talent of the Harlem Renaissance, was also an essential pioneer in the shaping of children’s literature for African Americans. In the 1920s he contributed poems and essays to W.E.B. DuBois’ The Brownies Book, one of the first magazines written specifically for African American Children. It is appropriate that two adaptations of Langston Hughes poems, “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” and “My People” for children both won Coretta Scott King Awards this year. E.B. Lewis interprets this famous Langston Hughes poem with breathtaking watercolor illustrations. In this video, listen to Langston Hughes discuss the origin of this poem and read it, in his own voice, while you turn the pages of this beautiful book.

My People by Langston Hughes, Photographs by Charles R. Smith Jr. Winner of a 2010 Coretta Scott King honor award, My People, is another artistic adaptation of a Langston Hughes poem. Charles R. Smith Jr. uses photography to capture the images of “My People.”  Through photography, Smith sought to depict the wide range of images that depict the African American race; women and men, young and old, dark-skinned and fairer-skinned and all colors in between. This is a beautiful book that brings to real life the spirit of this beloved Langston Hughes poem.

Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice by Phillip M Hoose
Have you heard of Claudette Colvin? I had never heard of this almost-forgotten Civil Rights leader until I read this book. Thankfully, Phillip Hoose heard her about her, did some research, and brought this remarkable story to light. Before Rosa Parks refused to give up her bus seat, Claudette Colvin, a teenager from Montgomery,  had the courage to do it first. She was arrested and later testified in Browder vs. Gayle (1956) with Rosa Parks and several other women. Amid violent threats, hatred, and hostility, Colvin bravely testified in this case which ruled that segregation on public buses was unconstitutional. During that course of time, Ms. Colvin became a single mother. The Civil Rights leaders did not seem to think she would make a good spokesperson given the hostile environment of the time and, although she had risked her life and was the first to take a stand in the Montgomery Bus Boycotts, she was not well- known. This is an amazing book filled with primary documents, interviews with Claudette Colvin, photographs, and illustrations. In this video, listen to Claudette Colvin talk about the book and her life. This book is a winner of the National Book Award.

The Lion and the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney
Pinkney’s rendition of this famous Aesop’s Fable  is beautifully illustrated and inspired by the wilderness of  Africa’s Serengeti and Tanzania. Except for animal sounds, such as a screech owl, a mouse, a lion’s mighty roar, the book is, otherwise, wordless. The talent of Pinkney is that he is able to fully convey the lesson of, not only the meek overcoming the mighty, but the mutual respect that can be shared by both powers, through his sweet and moving illustrations alone. Who needs text to win a Caldecott Medal (the highest honor for children’s book illustration) anyway?

Other books featured in the program, include the following (click on the titles to view book covers and information about the titles):

My Diary from Here to There /Mi diario de aqui hasta allá by Amada Irma Perez , Illustrated by Maya Christina Gonzalez
Pura Belpré Honor Award Winner

Diego: Bigger than Life by Carmen T. Bernier-Grand, Illustrated by David Diaz
Pura Belpré Honor Award Winner
Explore Diego’s “big” art at CCSF’s Diego Rivera Mural Project

The Storyteller’s Candle/ La velita de los cuentos by Lucia Gonzalez & Lulu Delacre
Pura Belpré Honor Award Winner

Crossing Bok Chitto: A Choctaw Tale of Friendship & Freedom by Tim Tingle, Illustrated by Jeanne Rorex Bridges
American Indian Youth Literature Award Winner

The Littlest Sled Dog by Michael Kusugak, Illustrated by Vladyana Krykorka
Listen to Inuit children’s storyteller, Kusugak, discuss the inspiration for his work.

Meet Christopher: an Osage Indian Boy from Oklahoma by Genevieve Simermeyer
American Indian Youth Literature Award Winner

A Coyote Solstice Tale by Thomas King, Illustrated by Gary Clement
American Indian Youth Literature Award Winner

Alego by Ningeokuluk Teevee
View an exhibit of Inuit artist, Ningeokuluk Teevee’s work at the Spirit Wrestler Gallery in Vancouver, Canada.

The Wakame Gatherers by Holly Thompson, Illustrated by Kazumi Wilds
Notable Social Studies Trade Book

What Shall I Make? by Nandini Nayar, Illustrated by Proiti Roy

Cora Cooks Pancit by Dorina K. Lazo Gilmore, Illustrated by Kristi Valiant
American Pacific Librarians Association Picture Book Winner

Monsoon Afternoon by Kashmira Sheth, Illustrated by Yoshiko Jaeggi
Notable Social Studies Trade Book

As Good as Anybody: Martin Luther King Jr. and Abraham Joshua Heschel by Richard Michelson, Illustrated  Raul Colon
Sydney Taylor Book Award Winner (Association of Jewish Libraries)
Watch a short video of Heschel’s daughter discussing her father’s relationship with Martin Luther King Jr.

The Grand Mosque of Paris: A Story of How Muslims Rescued Jews During the Holocaust by Karen Gray Ruelle , Illustrated by Deborah Durland Desaix
Middle East Book Award Winner

The Librarian of Basra: a True Story from Iraq by Jeanette Winter

Anh’s Anger by Gail Silver, Illustrated by Christiane Kromer
Watch a video on mindfulness in education.

Understanding Sam and Asperger Syndrome by Clarabelle van Niekerk & Liezl Venter, MA CCC-SLP
Dolly Gray Children’s Literature Award Winner

Django: World’s Greatest Jazz Guitarist by Bonnie Christensen
Schneider Family Book Award Winner
Listen to 5 Django Reinhardt Solo’s. Fun fact: Did you know that Jimi Hendrix named his “Band of Gypsys” after Gypsy jazz guitarist, Django Reinhardt?

All Families are Special by Norma Simon & Teresa Flavin

King & King by Linda de Haan & Stern Nijland
LAMBDA Literary Award Winner

In Our Mothers’ House by Patricia Polacco

Daddy, Papa, and Me by Lesléa Newman , Illustrated by Carol Thompson

Wangari’s Trees of Peace: a True Story from Africa by Jeanette Winter
Notable Social Studies Trade Book
Watch the PBS trailer “Taking Root: The Vision of Wangari Maathai”

Listen to the Wind: the Story of Dr. Greg & Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson, Illustrated by Susan Roth

On a Road in Africa by Kim Doner
Notable Social Studie Trade Book

Two Bobbies: A True Story of Hurricane Katrina, Friendship, and Survival by Kirby Larson & Mary Nethery, Illustrated byJean Cassels
Henry Bergh Children’s Book Award Winner (ASPCA)
Watch a short trailer on this book.

Grandfather’s Story Cloth by Linda Gerdner & Sarah Langford, Edited by Emily Jiang, Illustrated by Stuart Loughridge
Notable Social Studies Trade Book

All the World by Liz Garton Scanlon, Illustrated by Marla Frazee
Click on this video to view the book trailer.
ALA Notable Children’s Book
I practiced singing this book’s verse to the tune of The Beatle’s “Across the Universe” which seems to flow really well with the words.



And the next stop on the mystery tour is…

brace yourself folks…the Houston Cole Library!

The Houston Cole Library was honored to be the latest stop on Anniston’s South Highland Community Center’s “mystery tour.” For some of the members, this was a trip down memory lane. Mr. Joe Hoffman, Director of the tours, and Ms. Lanier were former JSU Students. Ms. Lanier was a nursing student and Mr. Hoffman majored in physical education and recreation. Ms. Betty Hawkins enjoyed visiting JSU because her niece is currently enrolled as a freshman. In the Alabama Gallery, we were able to find the yearbook picture of one of Ms. Mason’s daughters (see photo). Two of her daughters formerly attended JSU.

Dean Graham welcomed the group and reminded them that this is their library, as well, and invited them to come back and enjoy the library’s coffee shop, resources, and events. One upcoming Friends of the Library event, he mentioned, is “Alabama’s Nat King Cole,” a presentation by Daphne Simpkins,  writer and instructor at Auburn University at Montgomery. Ms. Simkins will discuss the life and times of Nat King Cole who was born in Montgomery, Alabama. This event is free and open to the public. Visit the Friends of the Houston Cole Library Web site  for more information about this special presentation.

The group spent time looking through Mimosa & Teacola Yearbooks, as well as historical pictures of Jacksonville State University in the Alabama Gallery. When I showed the group an old cataloging book for keeping records for library books purchased, one of the group members recalled cataloging books in a similar method when she worked at one of the high schools in Calhoun County. I also told the group about our digital collection of freely acccessible resources online from the Library Web site. These resources include access to JSU’s student newspaper, The Chanticleer; The Jacksonville Republican (issues from 1837-1895); full text access to Effie White Sawyer’s The First Hundred Years: The History of Jacksonville State University, 1883-1983; the Harry Strange Collection; The Life and Times of Houston Cole; and an oral history collection.

The highlight of the library tour, naturally, was our spectacular panoramic view from the 12th floor balcony. Mr. Hoffman kind of took over as tour guide as he pointed out all the buildings and facilities on campus to group members. In his reminiscing, he told us that guys used to watch the girls sunbathing on the top of their dorms from the 12th floor back in the eighties. Those crazy eighties!

I thoroughly enjoyed meeting members of the Highlands Community Center group today and hope they come back and visit often.


Weaver’s First Baptist Church Members Visit the Houston Cole Library

weaver1Members of Weaver’s First Baptist Church came to the Houston Cole Library with Dr. Jordan Barkley today for a field trip. For many of the members, JSU is their Alma Mater and they enjoyed reminiscing about their good ole’ college days. weaver8

One member told us how, as a freshman, she was forced to wear a red hat and pajamas and run down to the  Jacksonville Square. Incoming students- you better feel lucky that times have changed! Another alumna complained that JSU didn’t gain university status until the year AFTER she graduated. I discovered that  JSU’s status changed from “college” to “university” when we started offering our first master’s degree in elementary education. Mrs. Easterwood (I hope I got that right) was delighted to find her son in a copy of the Mimosa Yearbook. weaver20

Other members remembered going to drive-in movie theaters (there were at least two nearby) and eating at the Rocket, Cecils, and a hot dog place of some sort. One of the members remembers using the library at Ramona Woods. I really enjoyed showing the group around and they were very gracious as I am an awful tour guide. weaver7

The group had several good questions for Library Dean John Graham. One member asked him why he didn’t have grey hair since most Dean’s tend to look…well…you know. The Dean seemed flattered but assured the group that he did have at least one grey hair. The Dean also wanted the members to know that the library is also a part of their community and that they are welcome to use our resources and encouraged them to become “Friends of the Library,” which, among other privileges, allows one who joins to check out books. Mrs. Renea Chapman, we are proud to announce, became a Friends of the Houston Cole Library Member right on the spot! weaver13

Although a little rowdy at first, they behaved well out on the 12th floor balcony. We hope the members of Weaver’s First Baptist Church will bless us with their presence again soon, especially when we get our coffee shop up and running!weaver3weaver4weaver2weaver17weaver14


6th Annual Popcorn n’ Picture Books

Popcorn!On May 19th, I put on my 6th Annual Popcorn n’ Picture Books presentation. The purpose of this event is to celebrate recently published children’s and young adult books. I have been putting on this presentation since 2004 when Dr. Engley, Professor of Early Childhood Education, brought her children’s literature class over to look at newly aquired books for the juvenile section.

The presentation has been such a success and is so much fun that I wrote an article with my colleague, Ms. Carley Suther, on the program. The article,  Popcorn n’ Picture Books: Promoting Children’s Books in Academic Libraries, was published in the Fall of 2007 issue of The Southeastern Librarian accessible to students, staff, and facutly of JSU through Wilson’s Library Literature Database at  http://vnweb.hwwilsonweb.com/hww/Journals/getIssues.jhtml?sid=HWW:LIB&id=00600

Last night’s prestentation focused on the gothic in children’s literature, talking animals in children’s books, and the rising popularity of comic books and graphic novels.  A great book which discusses the history of the “gothic” in children’s and young adult books is The Gothic in Children’s Literature: Haunting the Borders edited by Anna Jackson, Karen Koats, and Roderick McGillis. This book traces the reoccuring themes of ghosts, witches, hobgoblins, and the such from the eighteenth-century nursery to a chapter on Newbery Medal Winner, Neil Gaiman.

2008 Popcorn n' Picture Books

Here are some photos from last night’s and past presentations:Librarian from the Black LagoonSDC11949SDC11946

This book is located in the circulatin collection on the 7th floor. The call number is PR 830 .C513 G67 2008
This book is located in the circulating collection on the 7th floor. The call number is PR 830 .C513 G67 2008

An excellent book on the evolution of talking animals in children’s literature is Talking Animals in British Children’s Fiction 1786-1914 by Tess Cosslett. According to Cosslet, there was a vicious debate during the late eighteenth century and during the nineteenth century on what was considered proper reading for children. Talking animals were preferred to the gothic stories, wicked fairy tales, and frightening nursery rhymes being passed down by the nannies. During the Age of Enlightenment, animals were connected with nature and reason (as they were real) and ghosts, fairies, and hobgoblins were mere superstition. Even John Locke argued against reading or telling fairy tales and frightful tales to children as their developing minds were a tabula rasa not to be filled with that which was not rational. John Locke even published his own version of Aesop’s Fables in Latin and English.

Talking animals were more likely to be used to teach children lessons. The argument over what constitutes proper literature for children continues today, particularly with the rising popularity of the Gothic in such series as Twilight, Harry Potter, and Gaiman’s  The Graveyard Book, which was awarded the 2009 Newbery Medal Winner. The Graveyard Book

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post on recent children’s and young adult books in the Houston Cole Library.