Tag: children’s literature

Celebrate Shel Silverstein’s Birthday!

Shel Silverstein is possibly one of the most famous children’s authors in literature, famed thanks to being the author of the world renowned The Giving Tree and Where the Sidewalk Ends.

 

 

A musician and poet in addition to being a children’s author, Silverstein established himself as a composer in Chicago where he was born. He wrote some notable songs you may have heard of, including A Boy Named Sue (which was popularized by Johnny Cash) and One’s on the Way for Loretta Lynn. Silverstein began his career by enlisting in the army in 1950 and served in both Korea and Japan. He became a cartoonist for the Stars & Stripes, learning to draw for the magazine.

 

Image via Encyclopedia Britannica

 

Afterwards, he continued his work as an illustrator and found acclaim when he began drawing for Playboy magazine. He doodled short cartoons for the magazine, his work appearing in every issue from 1957 to the mid 70s, where he found great popularity with the readership. While working for Playboy, he began exploring other areas of his imagination, writing songs, poems, along with self-publishing his own original cartoons. He also recorded his first album during this period, in 1959, which was entitled Hairy Jazz.

 

Image via Wikipedia

 

In 1963, Shel Silverstein was approached by Ursula Nordstrom, who convinced him to try and write material for children. He did so on short notice, producing The Lion Who Shot Back, A Giraffe and a Halfand The Giving Tree in rapid succession. The third title became Silverstein’s most popular work, as its themes were ambiguous in intent and left an open question of what it meant, which made publishers initially balk. Although criticized by some for a bleak or hash worldview, The Giving Tree was nonetheless translated into 30 languages and has been a mainstay of the best children’s books of all time.

 

Image via Wikipedia

 

Shel Silverstein went onto write two more children’s books in the 1970s, Where the Sidewalk Ends and A Light in the AtticHe passed in 1999, right at the turn of the millennium. His legacy will live on for producing some of the most thoughtful children’s books of all time and showcasing that children’s literature can be truly thought provoking while also being fun to read.

Go on and introduce your own kids to his work to celebrate his birthday!

 

 

 

Featured Image Via Scholastic

“Wheelchairs aren’t scary,” NJ Resident Writes in New Book

A resident of Wayne, New Jersey, is doing his part to help children with the power of reading. According to Norfolk Daily News, the man is Zach Jorgensen, a 22 year old resident of Wayne who is a graphic designer, author, motivational speaker, vlogger, and hip hop artist. Zach has published a picture book, intending to show kids that wheelchairs aren’t scary.

The subject is important to Jorgensen, who has Duchenne muscular dystrophy, which is a genetic mutation that prevents the body from producing a specific protein muscles need to work properly. He requires a wheelchair for obvious reasons but is often upset at how children view his disability, saying:

“Throughout my whole life of being in a wheelchair, I have noticed that children are scared of my wheelchair. Some would even cry and try to hide from me.”

 

Zach

Image via Northfolk Daily news

 

His new book, Wheelchairs Aren’t Scaryis intended to help inform kids that, well, wheelchairs aren’t something to be afraid of. The book will showcase to kids that people with wheelchairs are just like you and me, they just move a little differently.

Jorgensen did research to see what publishing entailed before he wrote the book, which he intends to self-publish through Kindle Direct Publishing on Amazon. The book is to be targeted towards 3-8 year olds, who are often the most uneasy around wheelchairs or other handicapped people. For his part, Jorgensen hopes the book is a fun learning experience and gets kids to be much more comfortable around wheelchairs.

The book will release on Amazon on August 12th. Go and pick yourself up a copy! This should surely be a fun education opportunity, for kids and maybe even some adults.

 

 

Featured Image Via Amazon 

Children’s Books Need More Black Representation

Children’s books are powerful tools that help instill a sense of empathy in young readers. They are testing grounds for new ideas and exercises in ethics. Reading, at any age, teaches us that the experiences of other people are not only valid, but influential to our own lives. It’s for this reason that representation in children’s books matters.

According to reporting from Cooperative Children’s Book Center of Education, in a study of 2,500 titles, less than 1 percent of books for children and teens had Black authors or illustrators in 1985. Although that number has improved more than 30 years later, only 10 percent of children’s books featured black characters in 2018, while 27 percent of them featured animals or other characters who aren’t human.

Image result for black children book

Image via pintrest

America’s school’s are heavily segregated, and to under-represent a specific group of people is to feed into an already divided educational system. Black children need to see themselves expressed in children’s lit, and white children need to see their peers in equal measures. As racial tensions increase in America, it will be imperative for young readers to empathize with people who have different backgrounds and skin color.

Mary Taris

Image via Atlanta black star

Mary Taris, the CEO for Strive Publishing and an advocate for black YA, told the Atlanta Black Star: “All in all, I’d say it’s not enough for a book to just be about African American characters. They also have to have an authentic portrayal of African American characters in order for them to truly be a mirror for Black children and teens.”

There is an increasing demand for black representation in children’s literature, and people like Mary Taris are leading the fight.

 

Featured Image Via: Daily Express

 

Image via Bradenton Herald

This New Children’s Book Celebrates Muslim Women

From posting her artwork on Tumblr and DeviantArt to illustrating a published children’s book, Aaliya Jaleel is starting her illustration career off with a bang.

 

Cheryl Klein, editorial director for the New York-based Lee & Low Books, was searching high and low, for an artist to illustrate for the upcoming children’s book Under my Hijab. The book highlights and focuses on the different ways that hijabs are worn, informing its audience of the cultural significance throughout each story it tells throughout the book. Before being approached to work on Under the Hijab, written by Hena Khan, the only publishing experienced that Aaliya Jaleel had was a small book that she had illustrated and published for an English teacher back when she was at Brighter Horizons Academy in Garland.

 

 

Image via Bradenton Herald

Image via Bradenton Herald

 

 

Despite the daunting nature of illustrating something this big, Jaleel pushed through, hoping she could portray the different reasons and ways that people wear hijabs through her illustrations. Finding different ways to tackle the project, she took on a child’s perspective to accurately depict the characters and their stories within the book. Meeting deadline after deadline, Jaleel and the author work together to edit drafts and sketches. Utilizing different art programs, she used both Procreate and Photoshop to illustrate the book.

 

After finishing Under My Hijab, satisfied and proud of her work, Jaleel is pursuing other projects and has started to work on Muslim Girls Rise, a compilation of the small biographies focusing on progressive Muslim women. The number of Muslim-inspired children’s books is steadily increasing, creating a more diversified selection for children of all backgrounds.

 

Check out some of Aaliya Jaleel’s work and follow her to keep up with her upcoming works!

 

 

Under my Hijab will be available for purchase on January 22, 2019.

 

 

Featured Image Via Bradenton Herald

Image via The New York Times

‘Where the Wild Things Are’ Author Maurice Sendak Lives on with New Children’s Book

Whether he was bringing us along through the jungle with Max and the monsters in Where the Wild Things Are or swimming through giant vats of batter and milk in In the Night Kitchen, beloved children’s author Maurice Sendak always managed to capture the attention and minds of children through his captivating literature and illustrations. During his time on this Earth, he created numerous works for children’s literature.  Though Sendak has passed on, he is lives on with his newly published book entitled Presto & Zesto in Limboland.

 

 

Via Harper Collins

Image via HarperCollins

 

 

Longtime friends, Arthur Yorinks and Maurice Sendak collaborated to create a book from old drawings by Sendak, based on Czech nonsense rhymes which he was commissioned to do in 1990 for a performance of Leos Janacek’s Rikalda, a musical based on Czech nursery rhymes. The book, completed before his death, focuses on the story of two friends in search of a wedding present and cake. The book takes on the two author’s nicknames for one another, Presto and Zesto, the two characters are thrown into a world of complete fantasy. The two witness a sugar beet wedding, meet goats, befriend fire-loving monsters and bagpipes. Arthur Yorinks hopes that the book will showcase how “Friendship makes the oddities of life bearable, and sometimes fun.”

 

 

Via Publisher's Weekly

Image via Publisher’s Weekly

 

 

Featured Image Via The New York Times