Books in Books

I have always loved how books have the power to transport you to a different world and allow you to experience things you never would otherwise: new countries, different time periods, and people who live in a world that is so unlike your own.

As I thought about what novels have taught me, I realized that novels in books teach the characters as well. The characters change and mature. For both the characters and the readers, books provide a way to escape or an outlet for creativity. They provide comfort and hold secrets. They imprint qualities as they teach us about life, adventure, creativity, love, compassion, and bravery.

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All aboard the Toyland Express! (and a giveaway!)

Admittedly, I give a lot of advice every day.  The words “You should read this…” comes to mind.  But allow me to give you another piece of advice:  If anyone ever offers you the opportunity to visit the Walter Wick studios, GO!  Don’t even think about it.  Just go!  You won’t regret it.

I was lucky enough to be invited one Wednesday afternoon to the studio with other bloggers to talk about Water Wick’s new book Toyland Express, the latest in the Can You See What I See? series.  I was one of the coolest places I have ever been.  It is a place where you can see magic happening…and it does on a regular basis while creating books of art and imagination. Continue reading All aboard the Toyland Express! (and a giveaway!)

Topic of the day: Single-sex schooling

I’m a graduate of public schools, from my pre-K days to my college years, where girls and boys burned things in chemistry labs and ran laps in gym classes, together. So maybe it’s because I didn’t have the option, or maybe it’s thanks to my love of any book set in a boarding school, but I’ve always been intrigued by the concept of single-sex schooling.

A few weeks ago, results from a new study were released, and the headlines contradicted all the good things I’d so often heard (or perhaps assumed) about single-sex schooling. (Note: the creators of the study are also the founders of the American Council for CoEducational Schooling.) Their research asserts that “sex-segregated education is deeply misguided and often justified by weak, cherry-picked or misconstrued scientific claims rather than by valid scientific evidence,” and that it reduces boys’ and girls’ opportunities to work together and reinforces sex stereotypes.

But on the other hand, there is also plenty of research (mostly from the National Association for Single Sex Public Schooling) that says single-sex schooling can break down gender stereotypes, and has particular benefits for girls: they participate more when boys aren’t in the room, and the curriculum changes to include more female historical figures. And studies also suggest that, in particular, boys in younger grades improve their academics when in an all-boys classroom. Another interesting tidbit? A quarter of the female members of Congress and one-third of all female members of Fortune 100 boards graduated from all-women’s colleges. (Source.)

So, with all this in mind, I have always assumed my admiration of single-sex schooling was shared by many others. When the subject came up at a recent OOM meeting, though, reactions were not what I expected.

Continue reading Topic of the day: Single-sex schooling

Why afterschool programs are critically important… And a giveaway!

Every Monday until December 5th, we’ll be posting our thoughts on one of the five key areas Scholastic’s new “Family and Community Engagement” (FACE) team is focusing on to help raise reading achievement: early literacy, family involvement, access to books, expanded learning, and mentoring. And each week we’re giving away books and resources to one winner’s school or charity of choice. Stop by each Monday to enter!

On any given day 33% of children aged 5-13 return to an empty home after school. That’s more than 12 million kids who have to fend for themselves when the school day ends.

For sure what happens between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. can have a profound impact on a child’s chances at success as a student.

1.      Teens who do not participate in afterschool programs are nearly three times more likely to skip classes than teens who do participate.

2.      After school programs reduce juvenile crime by keeping kids safe and occupied between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m.

3.      Afterschool programs are an important resource for families especially the working parent. Afterschool programs provide parents assurance that their children are being supervised and are in an educational environment.

Continue reading Why afterschool programs are critically important… And a giveaway!

What — or who — inspires you to choose your next book?

Over the weekend, news broke that President Obama was spotted at a local bookstore in Washington, D.C., along with his daughters, Sasha and Malia. He was there to support “small business Saturday,” but we’re more interested in which titles they all chose: The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick (now a 3D film from director Martin Scorsese!) and Zen Shorts by Jon J Muth, among others!

I started thinking about the power of influence, especially when it comes to arts and entertainment. If someone you admire — whether it’s the President of the United States, the president of your sorority, or the president of your PTA — seeks out a book, are you more or less likely to also seek it out?

For me, when it comes to books, I rely pretty heavily on word-of-mouth recommendations, reviews, and my favorite book bloggers. But I can’t deny I got a little shiver of excitement when I saw the titles the Obamas had selected. It’s pretty neat knowing the First Family reads some of the same books I do! (And by the way, if you’re curious about whether other “names you know” like the same books you do, check out You Are What You Read, where you can connect to others through a shared love of books.)

I’d love to hear from you about the power of influence when it comes to picking out which books to read. Who do you listen to? What inspires your selections? Leave your comments below.

 

Black Friday and Cyber Monday Savings

Thanksgiving has always been a big holiday in my family. When I began working in retail, it became all the more important. It’s a day of rest before the hectic holiday season begins.

As it is now what is traditionally called ‘Black Friday,’ I’m happy to say…we’re rested! And that’s a good thing because The Scholastic Store in SoHo opens at 8am today with some fantastic discounts (including 25% Off every book in the store from 8am-12noon.)

Not to be outdone, my colleagues in the Scholastic Store Online have deals running now through Cyber Monday including an extra 20% Off if you enter the code HOLIDAY. That means you can save up to 73% on the site!

Also happening Cyber Monday is a special offer for educators over at the Teacher Store at Scholastic.com.  They are offering FREE SHIPPING on 11/28.

And since books make such great gifts, we hope these extra savings will help you to cross a few lines on your holiday list! If you are in NYC, feel free to stop by! My staff and I would love to say HI!!

Happy Thanksgiving from the OOM team!

Most days, we write for you but today, we are writing TO YOU, our readers. Thank you for not only reading but engaging with us each day! We may not be able to share Kristin‘s macaroons Morgan‘s Mac & Cheese but we thought we’d share a Thanksgiving feast of another sort, one entirely made out of books!

Jessica and I spent some time in our kitchens of choice…The Scholastic Store and Scholastic Library…and we’ve come up with a banquet of books! So wash your hands, grab a napkin, knife, fork and A BOOKMARK!

This may only happen in my house but Thanksgiving always involved my Mom putting out a tray of olives before anything else was ready (which my sister and I finished a few minutes after she went back into the kitchen. Also keeping in mind we might need some music, I am starting our feast with Elvis and Olive.  Also for starters, we’ll have some crudites from the pages of How Are You Peeling?

But that’s only the beginning, once you sit down to the table, you’ll find more savory goodness:

  • I’m not sure how they compare to my mashed potatoes but Math Potatoes will surely require the addition of some  salt and pepper.
  • I’m not sure about the rhino part but Jess dug up a book called Rhino, Rhino Sweet Potato by Francine Prose that we both now feel the need to sample.
  • Luckily, we also planted The Carrot Seed a few months ago so we can have candy carrots!
  • Also on the books to sample list, Exploding Gravy!

And for the main course, 10 Fat Turkeys!

But my favorite part is still to come…DESSERT! We’ll start with Pie. I think we should have a few options, though. Maybe some Runaway Pumpkin pudding? And we’ll of course top everything off with Ice Cream Cones for Sale!

We hope you enjoy your Thanksgiving and as always, feel free to add your own suggestions to our feast!