Postcard from Planet Esme|
News from the world of children's books
by Esmé Codell
Planet Esmé (www.planetesme.com)
Good morning, friends of Planetesme.com!
I hope it is a morning as lovely as it is here in Chicago, with November's bright blue weather making a cheery backdrop for the trees in the park, who look like they're just about ready to change colors. Now is the time for all hard-working ants to start stocking their shelves, harvesting the very best books. Then when winter does come a-knocking, we will be cozy warm with our cocoa and our children, reading aloud the best literature available!
And boy oh boy, is this year's crop bountiful. Wait until you see the fall update of best new books for children at the Don't Miss page: www.planetesme.com/dontmiss.html It may take a moment to load, it's a real bushel-full of picture books, fiction, non-fiction and reissues for all ages, and a special link to Thanksgiving titles and spooky reads as well, to share when those bare branches start scraping against the windowpanes. You'll also see what everyone's getting from me for the holidays this year...can you guess which book it is? As always, the titles recommended are teacher-tested, kid-approved, and I always love love love getting your e-mails about which ones were shared with the children you cherish and what the reactions were!
In putting this page together, I have noticed some exciting trends: there are more and more books coming out that celebrate peace and peacemakers, such as the biographies you'll find about Confucius, Sarah Josepha Hale, Janusz Korczak, Alexis Soyer and sweet little Mannekin Pis. I think it is wonderful that children nowadays can have so many books that offer examples of people around the globe who love their country and show it through conflict resolution and innovation. Having such a body of children's literature available can really revolutionize and globalize the way we teach social studies.
Another trend is great books that integrate the arts: you'll find a book about second-grade storyteller Gooney Bird Greene, the legendary singer Marion Anderson, a great novel by a first-time author about a stonecutter, printmaker Pieter Bruegel's travel journal, a tribute to art teacher Emily Carr, a museum alphabet and the lyrics of Rogers and Hammerstein musicals have been compiled into a picture book that will make everyone burst into song!
The multicultural forecast remains sunny, with a specially strong showing from the Native American literary caucus: Night Dancer, Indian Shoes, Lucy the Giant, The World Before This One, and We are The Many are just a few titles that promise we can incorporate new spirit into the teaching of this rich culture. Visit the website of author Cynthia Leitich Smith at www.cynthialeitichsmith.com for tons of great Native American literature and links to more multicultural reading.
To salute this great land of the free library cards, a special new page will be posted full of flag-waving read-aloud favorites at www.planetesme.com/patriotic.html. To further honor freedom of the press during this month of Thanksgiving, please e-mail me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and share what children's book you are most thankful for. Which single title really makes a difference in the way you teach, the way you look at children, has brought you the most laughter or tears, or has cultivated a love of reading? A few may be posted here in the next letter! Until then, button up that overcoat and...
Happy reading always,
Esme Raji Codell,
Site Director, Planetesme.com
Planetesme.com is a non-sectarian site dedicated to getting great children's literature into the hands of great children. We accept no advertising; links are provided as a service to our guests at the discretion of the site director.
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