Boyds Mills Press Luncheon

I was invited to a lunch given by Boyds Mills Press. They gave us yummy food and talked about their Spring titles and gave us a bag of books to bring home. Two authors spoke about their new books.

Here is what they talked about:

Boyds Mills Press Luncheon

Big Tractor (not much need to say more! Looks great!)

No No Kitten – about imagination

Space Boy and his [Sister] Dog – also about where your imagination can take you

Book by Jane Yolen, Heidi Semple & Melissa Sweet – You Nest Here With Me
Bedtime book with science facts

“The great Rebecca Kai Dotlich” – 11 very very very short stories. One Day The End.
Illustrator put in a story on every spread.
Ends with: “One day I wanted to write a book. So I did.” September 2015.

With Calkins Creek, they’re trying to bring history to engage kids and make it come alike.

Gail Jarrow – writes thrillers — If you can make science and history thrilling for kids, you have done a great thing!
Fatal Fever — Typhoid Mary as you’ve never seen her before. She was a cook, and that’s how she infected so many people.
A turning point time in human health 1930s. Woman born in 1900 lived only 48 years. In 1950, 72 years. Now, we’re only up to 81.
These diseases were brought under control in this time.
35,000 people in the US died of typhoid fever in 1900.
Cornell University had 29 students die, so they worked on eradicating Typhoid Fever.
The age group hit the hardest by typhoid fever were young adults. She put in individual stories of people who had Typhoid.

Kathy Cannon Wiechman – Like a River
Captures the soul of the Civil War. A story first, populated by beautiful characters, with a strong voice.
She didn’t like history as it was introduced to her — dates and facts.
As story, she loves history — people and stories.
Inspiration – The Sultana Disaster – 3 weeks after end of Civil War
Took Union prisoners and sent them north on steamboats. Owners got paid for the number on the boats. Sultana built for 300, carried 2500 people. Boilers exploded, and killed more people than died on the Titanic. Mostly returning prisoners of war.
The more she found out, the more she had to tell the story.
Told in two parts, from two points of view — a boy and a girl. The girl is dressed as a boy, and a soldier, too.

LeVar Burton!


I was a little late today, but I got to hear LeVar Burton speak at ALA Midwinter Meeting in Chicago, while a blizzard raged outside.

Here are my notes. The ending part seems a little disjointed, because those were his remarks responding to audience questions.

LeVar Burton

His new book was inspired by Fred Rogers. He wants it to be a resource to talk with kids about tough times.

The Rhino Who Swallowed a Storm

He comes from a collaborative creative background — movies are very collaborative, so his writing was not a solitary journey.
The Rhino is one of the strongest in the animal kingdom. If a rhino can be brought down by depression, than all of us are susceptible.

He doesn’t understand the stigma of depression. It happens to us all.

Irma Jean Christian — His mother. Made him who he is.

She is the first of his storytelling mentors. A voracious reader.

“She read not only to me, but in front of me.”

A very important example to sell.

How often do your kids see you reading?

Do you know what your child is passionate about?

It is our passions that drive the self-selected activity of reading.

“If your child is passionate about superheroes, then, dammit, buy your kid comic books.”

Another storytelling mentor: Alex Haley.

When LeVar reads Alex’s writings, he hears Alex’s voice.

When you were in his presence, you were the person he was most interested in.
Alex was laser-locked on you when you were speaking with him.
Supremely interested in who you are in that Now moment.

In the act of telling his own personal narrative, he changed the way our nation looked at itself.
There’s a throughline in history from slavery through Roots through Barack Obama’s presidency.

Another storytelling mentor: Gene Roddenberry.

The value of remembering that our heroes are you.
Seeing Nichelle Nichols on the bridge of the Enterprise that meant more than the world to him. Made him know there’s a place for him.
It was confusing that this great visionary was Neanderthal in his views toward women.
Our heroes are human — It’s important for us to remember this.
We must separate the man or woman from the myth.

Another storytelling mentor: Fred Rogers

Thanks that a book recommended on Reading Rainbow was first book he checked out from the library — and now he’s a librarian.

Surprise from Rhino — Finished product is vastly different than what he planned. Didn’t expect it to be rhyming.

What piece of literature would you adapt? He’d turn something of Octavia Butler’s into a miniseries. She talks about what it means to be human and what it means to be humane.

Favorite Children’s Books: Amazing Grace, by Mary Hoffman
He relates to Grace’s journey. He was often told there were things beyond his reach. His mother told him no limits were imposed on him. He got the best education available so he could compete with anyone.
Enemy Pie, by Derek Munson
Protagonist has a problem – an enemy who’s moved into his neighborhood. Father helps him solve that problem. At the end of the day, it is our own prejudice that gets in the way of us being open to some of the most wonderful experiences in life.

Favorite Reading Rainbow moments: Hot air ballooning, diving in the Coral Reef, every book carries a specific and indelible memory.

What are you most excited about for the future? Reading Rainbow was most backed Kickstarter or crowd-funded campaign in history. Every Child, Everywhere
Beginning in the US releasing the web product of the app. Reading Rainbow the app is a brilliant translation of the tv show to an app. Content is original digital books with a video — 2 new released every Friday.
In discussion to go to Latin America.

Why Bookmobiles? Because connection with the written word on printed paper is an essential aspect of what it means to be a reader.
There’s nothing like flipping open the pages of a book.

A thank you from a Mom who learned English along with her kids watching Reading Rainbow.

Look at Youtube the Reading Rainbow channel.

What would you say about the value of libraries?
Even in this age of technology, Libraries do one thing that no other institution in America does, and that is provide access to ALL. Everyone has access to the information that defines the quality of our lives. Period.

When Reading Rainbow started, people were asking if TV was the death knell of education of our kids. It has demonstrated that the content is what is important.

LeVar is Awesome!