Growing up as a bookworm: A My Bookprint guest post

Each Thursday, we post personal accounts from people around Scholastic about the five books they chose for their own Bookprints, and the reasons why. Today, check out MATH Magazine’s Assistant Editor Linda Buchwald’s Bookprint, and then, don’t forget to go create your own and let us know what you chose!

When I was growing up, I was what you would call a bookworm. One of my favorite parts of the summer was our local library’s reading program. In college, I naturally majored in English and though these days I am more often found in front of a computer screen than a book, I still try to pick up a novel whenever I can. Continue reading Growing up as a bookworm: A My Bookprint guest post

A moment in time for historical fiction

Photograph by Douglas Fernandes , of map by Carl Christian Franz Radefield (1844)

Today’s post (from Lauren Felsenstein in Trade) highlights a line-up of historical fiction books that can take you to the front lines of war or to the bank of the Nile. Take a trip back in time through a book – it’s much more economical and safer than a time machine!

The 100th anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire was this past Friday, March 25th. New York City in the 1900s has always fascinated me, and my favorite way to learn about times like the roaring twenties, prohibition, the Jewish immigrant experience, and the women’s suffrage movement in NYC has been through historical fiction. While I enjoy my share of non-fiction, I love nothing more than taking a tour of some bygone time with a character tour guide I can connect with—someone who not only presents the facts, but really helps clearly imagine what life would have been like in the past. Continue reading A moment in time for historical fiction

Ruth Culham talks about ‘mentor texts’ and her upcoming webcast with The 39 Clues authors

We have a guest with us on OOM today! Ruth Culham is an incredible teacher (and advisor to Scholastic) and creator of the Traits of Writing framework of instruction. She’s joining several authors from the wildly-popular The 39 Clues series on Tuesday, April 5th, for a free video webcast for classrooms designed to model and inspire good writing in kids across the country. Called Decoding Writing with The 39 Clues, the webcast will connect kids with “mentor texts” and “mentor writers” to help energize student writers. An educator guide is available for use during the webcast.

The webcast will be broadcast live on the Web at 1 p.m. (EST) on April 5th, and you can sign up online for that. The webcast will also be made available for video replay later in the day at Scholastic.com/decodingwriting.

Ruth was kind enough to answer a few of our questions in anticipation of the big event next week. Hello, Ruth!

OOM: Tell us about the concept of mentor texts. How do they help students become better writers?

RUTH: We study the work of artists to become better artists ourselves.  We watch NBA basketball players to see how they move, handle the ball, and shoot so we can improve our own game.  Why not study great writing to learn how to write?  After you read a piece for the enjoyment of it or for the information it contains, a second or third pass through can be for you, the writer.  How did the author capture my interest so easily?  How was the piece structured so was easy to follow?  Were there words and phrases I noticed in particular?  Questions that writers ask themselves as they draft and revise can be answered as they read and study the work of writers they admire.  It’s a natural process and the good news is there’s a never-ending supply of great texts to explore as readers and writers.

Continue reading Ruth Culham talks about ‘mentor texts’ and her upcoming webcast with The 39 Clues authors

Need a good meal to go with that book?

Image via Zitona

Yesterday Flavorwire had an inspiring list of 10 food and literature pairings, where they chose which foods readers should snack on as they devour certain titles. We love a good top 10 list here at OOM, and while the pairings Flavorwire chose are pretty amazing, there was something missing: children’s books!

Children’s books and food go together like Clifford and Emily Elizabeth. Like Harry and Dumbledore. Like the Frizz and the Magic School Bus! So we created our own list of the Top 5 Food and Kid Lit pairings.

Grab some napkins and read on!


Continue reading Need a good meal to go with that book?

Browsing your nonfiction

Talking to other librarians, especially school librarians, people often ask about nonfiction books for elementary and middle school students.  It can be a challenge to find nonfiction books on grade level.  Not only do they have to be informative and age appropriate, but they also have to be interesting! Often kids who aren’t interested in fiction may read a nonfiction book, which just adds to the pressure to have interesting books in your stacks.

The challenge is what to pick to put on the shelves.  Yes, the internet and other online reference sources such as Grolier Online can be great sources of information for papers assigned in class.  Admittedly, not so great for carrying home on the bus or reading under the covers.  Younger kids are still exploring their world and learning new things every day.  Series such as Scholastic News Nonfiction Readers and later the True Book series will introduce kids to interesting new facts to pepper their parents with in the car.  I’ll admit it: I often learn things as I am cataloguing them.  For example, did you know that it took 116 years for Congress to officially make “The Star-Spangled Banner” our national anthem? It was in The National Anthem by Elaine Landau. Continue reading Browsing your nonfiction

More kids reading, and kids reading more

The books Alan read from September to December!

Who out there reads 19,000 pages of books each year? Here at Scholastic, we can name hundreds of people! We truly embrace a culture of reading, which is evident in the day-to-day activities of people like Alan Boyko, the president of Scholastic Book Fairs. He talks about that culture in today’s guest post. Thanks, Alan!

A good book should leave you… slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading it. – William Styron

Every year at Scholastic Book Fairs, we spend countless hours bringing our books to millions of children so they can experience the joy of reading.

But bringing great books to schools is only part of what we do. Our “calling” is to share our reading experiences with others — our families, our co-workers and, especially, the millions of students for whom a Book Fair is an important part of a fulfilling, life-long love of the written word. More than a job, it’s our responsibility as book lovers to convey the enjoyment of reading to kids, to share our enthusiasm, so they’ll want to read too…and experience all of the benefits that reading brings.

To nurture our culture of reading, we begin every meeting at our offices with a Booktalk, a short, engaging, and enthusiastic presentation designed to inspire others to read the same book. These daily Booktalks not only help us become better acquainted with the books we offer, they give all of us an opportunity to “live several lives,” even for just a little while every day.

Continue reading More kids reading, and kids reading more

In Our Feeds: Gender stereotypes in math, new AP spelling guidelines, and a self-publishing success story

Every Friday, we share a handful of links we found interesting, provocative, funny — or just plain cool. We call it In Our Feeds. Have a good weekend!

News for word nerds — the AP officially changed their style guidelines to get rid of the hyphen in the word “email”. Other changes include making “cellphone” and “smartphone” compound words, and changing the spelling of the Indian city Calcutta to Kolkata (Mediabistro).

A new study found that children absorb gender stereotypes about math earlier than expected. The study found that girls’ lack of interest in math may come from culturally communicated messages that math is for boys (Futurity.org).

From self-published to traditionally published, here’s a story that perhaps best encapsulates the crazy world of book publishing these days (NY Times Media Decoder).

According to legend, anyone who folds a thousand paper cranes will be granted a wish by a crane (a sacred creature in Japanese culture).  Kids all over the world are taking part in “Paper Cranes for Japan,” a global campaign to help support the country after the tsunami and hurricane (USA Today).

Imagine being a part of one of the most top-secret literary projects ever! That’s what Susan Jeffers, a copy editor on the last three books in the Harry Potter series, talks about in this article (The State-Journal Register).

After being asked recently whether he believes that we are in a “tech bubble,” one author decides that we’re not because of product innovation. Especially now that so many companies are chasing to compete with Apple products, all the products that we see are just going to get better with time (Read Write Web).
A story to put all photographers in a cold sweat: a lost flash card holding an entire assignment turns up in the street looking “like it had been run over a couple of times” (NY Times Lens Blog).