This week the ALA Youth Media Awards were announced, about-to-change-careers musician Thad Cockrell got featured on The Tonight Show, and I finally cleared the cat toys from under the couch. These things have nothing in common, but they are forever tied together by the vagaries of history. So there’s some existential philosophy to start your day.
Around the Web
A friend of mine shared this on Facebook a few months ago, but I just now got around to playing with it and spent about 20 minutes making new songs. You and your family may find it as delightful as I do.
- Create your own opera inspired song with Blob Opera – no music skills required ! A machine learning experiment by David Li in collaboration with Google Arts & Culture
The 2021 ALA Youth Media Awards–How Did We Do?
Janie at Redeemed Reader takes a look at the ALA Youth Media book award winners—and whether they covered the books that won.
- After an hour of listening and scribbling madly as announcements were read, I can now pass on what we learned from this year’s ALA Youth Media Awards (including Newbery & Caldecott). The reason we pay so much attention to this is not that we’re simpatico with the American Library Association. But the ALA exerts tremendous influence on children’s literature.
3 Truths to Remember When Your Kids Embarrass You
Emily Jensen keeps our eyes fixed on what is true.
- For every mom, there comes a moment where your child embarrasses you. Big or small, in public or in the company of close friends, in an epic fall-out or in a private “we need to talk about your child” meeting—it’s bound to happen. Your cheeks flush, beads of sweat drip down your back, your throat clenches. Perhaps you laugh when you should be serious or you’re stern while everyone else laughs. Whatever your reaction, the pit-in-your-stomach screams that people are watching, judging you and your child—finding you lacking.
New Book of Poetry by Malcolm Guite: David’s Crown
If you don’t know of Malcolm Guite, here’s what I know: his poetry is amazing and his person is delightful (he’s been hosting YouTube videos throughout the pandemic that he calls “Spells in the Library”—that is, he invites you to come in and sit a spell with him in his library. HA!).
- The Rabbit Room’s beloved poet and honorary hobbit, Malcolm Guite, has just released a new book of poetry called David’s Crown, composed of 150 poems written in response to all 150 Psalms. We are huge fans of Malcolm and want to give you a few ways to connect with him and his work.
Around the Warren
What Winter Trees Know About Singing
Kelli Owens reflects on the song of the trees.
- The snow crunches under our feet as we traipse out to the van. I tell him it’s slickery and he should watch his step. He laughs his response, “Mom, that’s not even a word!” Then his nimble fingers slip lightly into my own. Just in case.
I snap carseat buckles and crank the heat up high. They settle in for the ride, hands full of matchbox cars and still sticky from peanut butter sandwiches. I can barely feel mine on the steering wheel. Numb.
A Contentious, Incontestible Boy
Loren Eaton reviews an previous Newbery winner.
- The Newbery Medal is a less-than-constant cultural barometer. The highest honor for children’s literature has gone to works entirely wholesome (such as Kate DiCamillo’s pint-sized saga The Tale of Despereaux in 2004) and surprisingly gruesome (see Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book, which won in 2009 by melding Rudyard Kipling with graveside grue and serial killers). The powers that be behind the award obviously have expansive standards when it comes to child appropriateness, but I suspect that many forward-thinking readers might cringe at some its prior recipients.
Something to Do with Your Kids
You know I love a good “fun things to do in February” list, and this one is no exception! Here are some activities to try out with your family this coming month.
Something to Watch
I had a history teacher in high school who brought in his antique cannon and shot them out into the empty field behind our portable as we studied the Civil War. He’d been told by the principal a few years earlier that he had to stop, but that principal had retired, and Mr. DuBois figured the new principal didn’t know about the ban, so he’d try it again.
Thanks for reading. We’re on your side.
–The Story Warren Team