Read-Alikes for Kwame Alexander’s “The Crossover

crossoverRead-alikes for the 2015 Newbery Medal winner The Crossover by Kwame Alexander, (HMH, 2014)

Abdul-Jabbar, Kareen. Sasquatch in the Paint.

Abdul-Jabbar, Kareem. Stealing the Game. 

Baskin, Nora Raleigh. Basketball (or Something Like It).

Coates, Jan. Rocket Man.

Feinstein, John. Last Shot: A Final Four Mystery. 

Gourlay, Candy. Tall Story. 

Grimes, Nikki. Planet Middle School.

Harkrader, Lisa. Airball: My Life in Briefs.

Lupica, Mike. Miracle on 49th Street.

Lupica, Mike. Travel Team. 

Mack, W.C. Athlete vs. Mathlete.

Myers, Walter Dean. The Dream Bearer. 

Myers, Walter Dean. Street Love. 

Patneaude, David. Thin Wood Walls. 

Richardson, Charisse. The Real Lucky Charm. 

Robinson, Sharon. Slam Dunk!

Scieszka, Jon. Guys Read: The Sports Pages. 

Smith, Hope Anita. Keeping the Night Watch. 

Soto, Gary. Taking Sides. 

Stoudemire, Amar’e. Home Court.

Volponi, Paul. Black and White.

Woodson, Jacqueline. Hush.

Penny Peck,  SJSU iSchool

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Chris Raschka Event, Review of the Week

RaschkaChris Raschka To Speak at San Francisco Main Library: Two-time Caldecott Award winner Chris Raschka will give the 19th annual Effie Lee Morris Lecture at the San Francisco Main Library on Wednesday, April 8, 2015, at 6pm. This free event will be held at SFPL’s Koret Auditorium, 100 Larkin St., San Francisco. Raschka has written and illustrated several picture books, including A Ball for Daisy (2012) and The Hello, Goodbye Window (2006). .

Review of the Week:  Schatz, Kate. Rad American Women A-Z: Rebels, Trailblazers, and Visionaries Who Shaped Our History…and Our Future. Non-fiction.  Miriam Stahl Klein, Illus. City Lights, 2015. 64p. $14.95. 978-0-8728-6683-6. OUTSTANDING. GRADES 3-7Rad American Women

In her first book for children, Bay Area author Schatz introduces readers to 25 women, both well- and lesser known, who made an impact on the world. Each two-page spread features a stylized b&w illustration on a brightly colored background, and on the facing page are four or five paragraphs that discuss each woman’s life and contribution to society. While the A-Z format is not unique, Schatz makes it work well by having the difficult-to-fill “X” spot represent “the women whose names we don’t know”—women whose names have been lost to history, and those who have not yet made their mark on the world. The tone is conversational, the vocabulary is accessible for the intended audience, and Schatz includes both an extensive additional reading list and an A-Z list of ways the reader can be rad. This
book should be a first purchase for most library collections.

Melissa Morwood, Palo Alto Public Library

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ACL Institute Scholarships, Free Webinar on New Children’s Books, New ACL BayNews Posted

WoodsonACL Institute Scholarships: ACL has access to a small number of scholarships from generous ACL members to cover registrations to ACL Institute 2015. They can be partial scholarships or full scholarships, depending on the need. Please contact Meredith Steiner ( directly if you would like to request a scholarship. Please know that scholarship requests will be handled confidentially, they will only be seen by those who need to see them in order to administer the program. In order to ensure registration space, please submit scholarship requests as soon as possible, but no later than 5pm Friday, March 27th. Please spread the word about this scholarship opportunity. We do not want the registration fees to be a barrier for people to attend ACL Institute 2015 (

New Free Webinar: What’s New in Children’s Literature: 2015 Update

Presenter: Penny Peck   Wolfie the bunny

Format: Webinar

Date: Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Start Time: 12 Noon Pacific

Do you freeze when a child requests a “good book new to read?” Do you feel like you always recommend the same old books? Would you like to learn more about children’s books reflecting our multicultural communities? Discover the new books that you can offer to children who use your library! Hear about books published in late 2014 and Spring 2015 that will be popular with children ages 0-12.
This webinar will be of interest to all library staff and volunteers who serve children ages 0-12, in public or school libraries. For more information and to participate in the April 14, 2015 free webinar, go to .

crossoverNew ACL BayNews Posted: The March 2015 BayNews (the newsletter for the Association of Children’s Librarians of Northern California) is now available on our website: . You will find ideas for Do-It-Yourself programming, an author interview with Mike Graf, reviews of special reissues and anniversary editions, Readalikes for Kwame Alexander’s The Crossover, new storytime themes relating to the Summer Reading Program, and much more.

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Meet Local Author Mike Graf

Meet a Local Author Mike Graf

“Where we can get to know California authors and illustrators of books for children and teens.”  This issue, author Mike Graf was kind enough to do an interview by email.

Mike Graf
Q. Congratulations on recent series on National Parks from Falcon Guides. You have written more than 70 books, mostly nonfiction for kids. How did you get your foot in the door of the publishing industry?

My first published book is called The Weather Report and is an activity-based teacher’s guide to everything you want to present to students about weather. I was teaching in San Luis Obispo when I came up with a weather unit that kept growing and eventually I sent it off to a publisher. They took the book which was later picked up by The Weather Channel! That is what got me started. But most of my books now are outdoor adventure fiction for children ages 8-12.

Q. You have a series called “Adventures with the Parkers” that blends factual information with a story. Tell us about that.

These are 12 national park adventure novels in our best national parks (Yellowstone, Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Zion/Bryce, Great Smoky Mountains, Glacier …). The series is based on a made up family’s vacation in each of these parks. While there are things that could happen to them in real-life at the park, or has happened, I just fictionalize the events through the characters. While researching each of these books I visit the park and look for events that are educational, dangerous, exciting and unusual to incorporate into the story. Each of these books is also vetted by the park service to make sure all activities, information, and events portrayed in each of the books are accurate. Also the books contain factual sidebars and travel tips as well.

I am particularly excited about these books right now as present Obama just announced that all families with 4th graders will have a free pass next year to all national parks!! .

Q. What were some of your favorite books as a child?

Easy answer for that. My all-time favorite children’s book is Phantom Tollbooth. I was also quite addicted to many Roald Dahl classics! I loved the Ramona books by Beverly Cleary as well. I also love Island of the Blue Dolphins.

Q. Do you visit schools and public libraries to talk to kids about your books? Tell us about some of your presentations for libraries and schools.

I am constantly on the road visiting schools and libraries. Here are my most requested presentations:

Falcon Guides
• National Park Adventures and Realistic Fiction: Schools get a combination of national park drama and storytelling, national park background information from key parks, and realistic fiction writing tips and techniques. This also fits well with my Adventures with the Parkers series of books.
• All About Weather: This one hour presentation teaches all about severe weather, storm chasing, weather safety, and basic meteorology.
• A Tour of the National Parks: A grand tour of many of our most famous national parks. While giving a slideshow of my journeys in the 12 national parks in the Adventures with the Parkers series, I will share some of the details and accounts I have experienced while researching each of these parks
• Writing Workshop: This 60-75 minute workshop is for smaller groups and follows my National Park Adventures and Realistic Fiction presentation. During this workshop I give further advice on writing and promote and guide students to begin writing their own stories by giving feedback along the way.
• Weather Workshop: Following my weather assembly, students will make cloud charts illustrating the four basic types of clouds and the weather each brings. Students will also learn about other cloud types and gets some basic tips on a weather broadcast.
• Mini Tour of the National Parks: (for K-1st grade classes only). In this presentation I will take younger students on a mini tour of some of our best national parks. With a slideshow presentation, I will share pictures and teach what makes the parks unique and awesome to visit.
• Author-In Residence Writing Seminar: For 5th grade and up, these seminars can be one to two weeks in length. Please inquire for details.
• SKYPE Presentations: Topics and time vary. Please ask for details.

Q. If so, how do librarians contact you for visits?
Facebook@ “Adventures with the Parkers”

Q. Do you have any upcoming appearances for teachers or librarians?

Yes—many—and my schedule is constantly being added on to. I live in Chico and have Bay Area trips and California school trips scheduled all the time. I have a few openings left this school year and am scheduling for next year now as well!

Q. Do you have any new books coming out soon you can mention?

A Non-Fiction book for kids on the Everglades. I am also currently working on two California based hiking and camping guides and will soon have another book contracted (subject is a secret for the moment!)

Q. Anything else you would like our readers to know?

I am a former 4th/5th grade and GATE teacher and I LOVE visiting schools—it is one of my favorite things about being an author!!! My Parker series also has teacher’s activities that go along with it. I can email those out to anyone for free.

Special thanks to Mike Graf for this thoughtful interview! Penny Peck

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Review of the Week: “Book the Library”

Booking the LibraryBrawner, Jessica. Booking the Library: A Guide for Entertainers, Musicians, Speakers & Authors. Story of the Month Club, 2015. $9.99 (paperback), ISBN 9780692350188.

What do you wish library performers knew before they arrived at your library? No, there is no separate dressing room for performers … yes, libraries often attract a wide age span of audiences to one program – and yes, the check will be in the mail – but not until after the actual performance… no, urban libraries don’t always have the authority to set aside a designated performer’s parking space. Fortunately for performers and librarians, there is now a guide that helps both parties understand each other’s needs: Jessica Brawner’s Booking the Library; A Guide for Entertainers, Musicians, Speakers and Authors, ( 2015, Story of the Month Club, Denver, CO).

Brawner’s experience as employee, and sometime owner, of a booking agency that focused on bringing “small, quality acts to public venues like libraries, schools and community spaces” forms the basis of this practical guide for performers wishing to get public library gigs. Librarians who regularly book and work with performers will appreciate the understanding of library audiences, logistics, and payment schedules that is evident throughout.

The first chapter, “Library Basics”, helps performers consider the most important issue, “Are you and libraries right for each other?”, and the rest of the book covers the nitty-gritty of good library/performer relationships. Promoting the programs, working out pricing, (including when to use a sliding scale and when not), drawing up a contract, being specific about logistical needs, the importance of arriving early, and the importance of professionalism and flexibility on both sides are thoroughly covered. Online resources for managing schedules, providing requested information while on the road, and useful smartphone apps are suggested.

A brief chapter entitled “Performer Showcases” tells performers exactly what to expect (limited time slot, advance registration, multiple copies of flyers and business cards to be mailed ahead of time), and lists showcases in 11 states, including ACL’s Showcase. Sample phone scripts, program descriptions, follow-up emails and contracts are useful for both performer and librarian. If every performer were to own a copy of this book, library staff and audiences would be well-served!

Elizabeth Overmyer, Independent

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Storytelling Festival, ACL Institute – still time to register!

Bay Area Storytelling FestivalBay Area Storytelling Festival: The west coast’s oldest storytelling festival (since 1982!) has a new location – the Orinda Community Center- and a new date – April 24,25, 26, 2015! Featured tellers include Tim Tingle, an Oklahoma Choctaw teller and author of several children’s books, including Crossing Bok Chitto and When Turtle Grew Feathers, Dublin-born Clare Murphy, Nashville singer/songwriter Kate Campbell, and special guest Hawaiian performance poet Kealoha, founder of Youth Speaks Hawaii.
Woven in with the storytelling concerts, (including one for kids on Sunday), are workshops, music, storyswaps, and the chance to win a handmade quilt and other prizes in a grand raffle. The Orinda Community Center is easily walkable from BART, and located just off Highway 24. You may come for one program, several, or the whole weekend! The Bay Area Storytelling Festival is a project of the Storytelling Association of Alta California and complete information is available at their website:

The Association of Children’s Librarians of Northern California Proudly Presents
ALL DUE RESPECT.  A Dialoge about Diversity, Equity, and Creating Safe Spaces for all Youth.
April 10, 2015, 8:30am – 4:30pm, at the San Francisco Main Library, 100 Larkin Street, San Francisco, CA 94102
WoodsonWith Keynote Speaker:  Jacqueline Woodson, winner of the National Book Award, Coretta Scott King Award, Newbery Honor, and Sibert Honor for her memoir Brown Girl Dreaming, among numerous other awards and honors for her many beautiful and profound contributions to literature for young people.
And Featured Speaker:  Maya Gonzalez, award-winning author and artist of books for young people, co-founder of  Kid Lit Equality, and all-around activist for the right of all of young people to be celebrated and accepted for exactly who they are.
And numerous other important voices from the front lines of children’s literature and youth librarianship.  We Gonzalezlook forward to an interactive day of discussion, information, and hands-on activities, and we want attendees to leave with some concrete ideas about how to put their thoughts into action.
People can register online or via mail and we expect space to sell out, so please register early!
Go to our website,, for more information and to register.
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Obituaries: Terry Pratchett, Margery Facklam

PratchettSir Terry Pratchett died at age 66 from Alzheimer’s disease. Best know for the “Discworld” series of fantasy novels, Pratchett wrote for both adults and children. His first book for children, The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents won Great Britain’s Carnegie Medal. His latest book is Dragons at Crumbling Castle and Other Tales, a book for 14 funny short stories illustrated by Mark Beech (Clarion, 2015). .

Author Margery Facklam died at age 87 on Feb. 21, 2015. Her first book was published in Facklam1962, and she published more than 30 books, mainly science nonfiction for children. Two of her books, Do Not Disturb and Partners for Life were named Outstanding Science Trade Books by the Children’s Book Council and the National Science Teachers Association. .

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