Monday, October 29, 2012

Bankstreet Book Fest

Saturday was the the Backstreet Book Fest.
It was a wonderful day.  I got to talk to many people who share my day-to-day experiences. The whole group presentations were wonderful.  When there is video I promise to put a link here - I learned a lot about Laura Ingalls Wilder and her Little House books.  Mary Pope Osborne deserves a big thank you for her generous offer!

The best part of my day was the mock Geisel  award workshop. This was led by Caroline Ward who literally "wrote the book" for the Geisel award criteria. The Geisel award is for "a book for beginning readers who, through their literary and artistic achievements, demonstrate creativity and imagination to engage children in reading." We examined and discussed some of the contenders for this year's Geisel award.  Talking about literary excellence and the needs of beginning readers is something I don't often get a chance to do at a professional level.  Many fine librarians are hesitant to explore what beginning readers need.  It seems to smack a little to much of censorship to say that a reader needs books at a particular level or written in a particular way. But, realistically, what beginning readers really want are books that will support them as they learn to read. 

The verdict was unanimous.  Kevin Henkes Penny and her Doll is the best book for beginning reader that we looked at.  However it is very pink... For boys, Elephant and Piggy is still the best of the best.  We showed the most recent entry Let's Go For a Drive a lot of love. 

The problem is that writing really good books in a way that supports children who are learning how to read is really, really, hard.  We need more excellent authors to take up this gauntlet.  Thank you Kate Dicamillo for doing something that is hard, when you could just keep writing great books for older readers.  If you haven't read Bink and Golly, buy one for yourself and one for a friend. 

No comments:

Post a Comment