Multicultural Children's Book Day

by Michelle Cooper, Digital Learning Specialist, Region 7 ESC

Multicultural Children's Book Day (MCBD) was established in 2012 to celebrate diversity in children’s books. Co-founders, Valarie Budayr and Mia Wenjen, share a mission to not only raise awareness for children’s books that celebrate diversity but to get more of these books into classrooms and libraries. The celebration this year will be held on January 31st, and the MCBD is providing a wealth of FREE resources for educators, parents, and librarians. All the resources can be accessed on the MCBD website.
Classroom Physical and Developmental Challenges Kit:
  • book recommendations that will help Readers Understand Physical and Developmental Challenges for ages 4 -12.
  • Classroom or Home Activities
  • “Physical and Developmental Challenges” Classroom Poster thanks to the talents of award-winning illustrator, SKlakina
  • HelpfulPhysical and Developmental Challenge Talking Points for Teachers
  • Links, resources and services that are available to families facing the challenges of coping with Physical and Developmental Challenges in the U.S.A.

Check out the highly talented list of children’s book advocates, writers, and bloggers who were chosen to serve as co-hosts and global co-hosts for this event because of their dedication to supporting diversity in children’s literature. These CoHosts and Global CoHost’s sites will also host the wildly-popular book review/blog post-link-up that occurs during the last week in January.

It’s a Twitter party, and you are invited! Join in the fun Friday, January 31st by using the hashtag #ReadYourWorld. MCBD will have tons of multicultural children’s books and swag to give away.

Maya Angelou once shared, “It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength.”  Take some time on January 31st to #ReadYourWorld!

Texas Library Association's 2020 Reading Lists

by Kristi Starr, librarian at Coronado High School in Lubbock ISD, TxASL Chair-Elect

With new calendar years come new book lists. Though the announcement of many national awards is a couple of weeks away at ALA Midwinter, you can find many of the likely honorees on the reading lists developed by Texas librarians. Let’s take a brief look at the Texas Library Association 2020 reading lists, all available on the TxLA website.

The Little Maverick Graphic Novel Reading List is a recommended reading list designed for children in grades K-5. The purpose of the list is to encourage students to explore a variety of current graphic novels. The list is subdivided with titles appropriate for students in grades K-2, 3-5, and K-5.

Next comes the Texas Bluebonnet Award master list. These 20 titles are suitable for students in grades 3-6. Students vote for their favorite title. The author of the book receiving the most votes is presented the Texas Bluebonnet Award during the annual Texas Bluebonnet Award Luncheon at the TxLA Annual Conference. Programming resources are available for the 2018-2019 list and pending for 2019-2020.

The Lone Star reading list is developed to encourage students in grades 6, 7, or 8 to explore a variety of books. This year’s list is composed of 20 titles.

The Maverick Graphic Novel Reading List is selected for students in grades 6-12. The list contains titles for students in grades 6-8, 6-12, 9-12, and Adult for YA.

Spirit of Texas books represent “literary works of and about Texas and Texans.” Whether set in Texas or the author has Texas ties, these books do Texas proud. The list contains titles for both middle and high school students and includes programming for the selected books and authors.

Tayshas Reading List titles include nonfiction and fiction from a variety of genres and formats. These books are selected with students from grades 9-12 in mind.

Books on the Texas Topaz reading list are all nonfiction but may include picture books, novels in verse, and graphic novels. The Topaz list is comprised of an adult sublist and a sublist for students in grades K-12.

For Spanish speakers, the Tejas Star list is comprised of books which “encourage children ages 5-12 to explore multicultural books and to discover the cognitive and economic benefits of bilingualism and multilingualism.”

Lariat Reading List books target adult fiction. 25 titles are selected simply as “a pleasure to read.”

The 2x2 reading list has not been updated to reflect the 2020 selections, but these books are selected for children ages 2 - 2nd grade.

All lists are intended for recreational reading, not to support specific curriculum. Each list is created by a committee of Texas librarians with a knowledge of and passion for reading books that fit the prescribed age range, format, or genre.

These lists also promote reading broadly. Books on the Topaz list, for instance, include picture books, graphic novels, narrative nonfiction, memoirs, and more. Graphic novel lists contain fiction and nonfiction, as does the Texas Bluebonnet list. Lone Star and Tayshas lists are comprised of a variety of genres and formats, both fiction and nonfiction. You can even find pairings like Mindy McGinnis’s Heroine and Dreamland: The True Tale of America's Opiate Epidemic, by Sam Quinones and adapted for young adults. Or Hephaistos: God of Fire, George O’Connor’s graphic novel on the Maverick list, could complement Julie Berry’s Lovely War from the Tayshas list.

There’s something for everyone in the TLA reading lists. And if you aren’t sure where to start, maybe a reading challenge is just your style. Check out this master list of reading challenges for 2020.

What are you waiting for?

AASL 2019 National Conference Highlights: Thinking, Creating, Sharing, and Growing

by Daniella Smith, Associate Professor, Department of Information Science, University of North Texas

I attended the 2019 AASL National Conference in November, and it was amazing! As you can see from my picture, Texas librarians were well represented. If you have not gone to the AASL National Conference yet, I recommend that you add it to your agenda for 2021. Every time I attend, I learn something new. Many of the sessions were standing room only. Here are the highlights from some of the presentations that I attended.

The “Do the Bot: Librarians Using Robots to Impact Learning” session gave me several ideas for integrating robots into the curriculum. Three school librarians from Texas presented it. Their names were Archon Auzenne, Gloria Miller, and Lee Glover. They demonstrated how robots are used to teach subjects such as social studies, reading, and math multiple grade levels.

When I walked into the session, I was surprised to see the interactive displays for the Edison, Sphero, and Bee-Bot robots. I also liked that they had a display that incorporated a drone. I find drones interesting because there are trained drone pilots. Drone piloting is a STEM career that can impact space travel. The presenters shared a link for their presentation. I highly recommend viewing the presentation slides if you need ideas for incorporating robots into your curriculum:

Another engaging session was, “Let This “Dynamic Duo” Answer Your Graphic Novel Questions.” Mitch Greenwell (literacy coach) and Tim Jones (school librarian) presented the session. Some of the key points were:
  • Graphic novels teach empathy by showing the diverse viewpoints of characters involved in adverse situations
  • Helping students to create their graphic novels can help them to express their feelings. While students may not want to write an essay, they might enjoy telling their stories with artwork accompanied by text
  • Graphic novels share the stories of diverse characters and can help students to understand complex social justice issues.
I also presented at AASL. One of my presentations was for the Educators of School Librarians Special Interest Group research symposium. My co-presenters were Drs. Maria Cahill and Judi Moreillon. When I am working, I try to blend research, theory, and professional practice. I was pleased that school librarians, school librarianship researchers, and school librarian educators participated in the session. Here are the slides from my presentation: Dr. Moreillon shared her slides too: You can read more about the symposium here:

In conclusion, there was so much to explore. I never get­ to all of the sessions that are interesting to me. There is still an opportunity to learn, although the conference is over. You can read more about the conference happenings by visiting the Attendee Information link and clicking on the AASL Digest for each day. You will find blog posts and other social media conversations reflecting various sessions. Also, full registration conference attendees can watch the presentations that were recorded until January 31, 2020. This link has the directions for accessing the archives: