Hello, Orlando!

ALA HaikuWe’re looking forward to seeing all our library friends later this week at the American Library Association’s Annual Conference, in Orlando. Here’s an overview of what we’ll have to share with you, and an invitation to visit us at Booth 2239, where you know that, no matter who you are, we have smiles and good wishes to share with you.

The exhibits open on Friday, at 5:30. come join the festivities during this ribbon cutting reception! Our booth will be fully staffed all exhibit hours, which are are 9-5 on Saturday and Sunday, and 9-2 on Monday. Ellen, Jackson, and Claire Myrick, Along with Mary Burkey and Sharon Grover,will be on hand, with Francisca tweeting from various corners of the conference and booth events.

Oh, and booth events! We have in-booth signings scheduled throughout the weekend, booksignings adand staff will be participating in other exhibit happenings as well, including the Paizo
program in the Gaming Parlor, Saturday at 10:30, and a program focusing on diversity at 3 that afternoon.

Oh, and the books! We’ll be showing and talking about new titles from AMMO, Two Little Birds, Scotland’s Floris from Steiner, Flying Start, and Free Spirit Press; from Gannon& Wyatt, New Zealand’s Gecko Press, and Karadi Tales, Canada’s Pajama Press, Dutch publisher Lemniscaat; from No Starch Press, Phaidon, Tilbury House, and Tiger Tales. Then there are the audio publishers: L. A. Theatre Works, Live Oak Media, and Brilliance Audio, along with the Sound Learning literacy program from the Audio Publishers Association. Amazon imprints Thomas & Mercer, Lake Union, and Montlake Romance Authors, all for adults, and Two Lions, for kids, will also be at our fingertips–and could be at yours.

Follow us on Twitter @pubspotlight throughout the conference. Our first tip as you pack is to be sure to bring rain gear as showers and thunderstorms are predicted, right now, for every day of the conference.

And bring a smile and a hello! We know Orlando needs both right now and we always enjoy them ourselves and bet you do, too!

 

No Starch Press Bundle Giveaway

Celebrating Digital Learning!

Teaching elementary school-aged children to understand computer code and functions can be challenging, especially when textbooks lack the creativity necessary to hold a child’s attention. No Starch Press offers a solution to all that confusing classroom tech talk! Known for its vast array of creative learning and STEM titles,No Starch Press has six titles that stand out for teaching children how to code, program, and understand computer language engagingly. Now you have a chance to add these titles to you classroom or library!

One first prize winner will be receiving the No Starch Press bundle including all six titles mentioned below for their classroom or library.

Six runners-up will be receiving one randomly selected title from a second bundle of the same No Starch Press books.

Each of these titles would be a wonderful addition to any classroom or school library!scratchjr_cover-front_revised

Scratch Jr teaches children how to understand Scratch, the most popular and FREE language for children. More fun than instructional, this title keeps kids interested and learning for hours as they sort color blocks of code to create their own interactive games!

scratch2_frontcover_web
Super Scratch: Programming Adventure
introduces a newer version of Scratch to students. With this title, kids have countless opportunities to learn new programming concepts by using the software to create interactive games and animations.

PFK_frontcoverPython for Kids is creatively developed to teach children how to use Python easily and without getting bored or discouraged. Puzzles and games are included at the end of each chapter to help students solidify what they’ve just learned as well as reward them for getting through a whole lesson.

jsfk_cover-front_finalJavaScript for Kids is made for computer whiz students who already understand the function of code on standard CPU’s, but are curious about the workings of internet programming and what goes on behind website homepages. With this book, kids will get the chance to create interactive webpages, learning from fun step-by-step examples.

teachKids_front_new-newTeach Your Kids to Code is parent-friendly, written specifically for parents and teachers involved in helping children learn the ins-and-outs of coding. It’s a must-have for any programming instructor whose greatest challenge is teaching grade-level students how to understand programming science.

rubyWiz_frontcoverRuby Wizardry helps students’ grasp the Ruby programming language. Wizards, dragons, and two young heroes guide readers through the book, until the students themselves are able to create their own characters and stories using the Ruby software.

Here’s how you can enter!

  • You must be either a teacher or a librarian located within North America
  • All prizes must be used for school and library use only—they are not intended for personal use
  • You must submit the form by midnight (central time) Wednesday, March 9th
    • Click here (you will be redirected to the form on our Facebook page)

Winners will be announced on Friday, March 11th. Give us a shout-out on your own social media outlets, and tag us to double your chances to win! Good luck everyone!

Welcome to Boston and #alamw16

ALA Jan 2016 20x2 banner

We’re traveling to Boston today and looking forward to seeing all of you attending the American Library Association’s 2016 Midwinter meeting there!  You’ll find us at Booth 1917 in the Exhibits…and why would you want to find us? Because:

We’re bringing cool new picture books, comics, and books for older youth from a variety The_Boy_Who_Drew_Catsof quality publishers, including Pajama Press (Canada), Leminscaat (Netherlands), Gecko (New Zealand), Floris Books (Scotland), Karadi Tales (India), Udon Entertainment (Canada/Hong Kong), and, from the United States, Diamond, Tilbury House, Gannon & Wyatt, Namelos, No Starch, and Two Lions.

We’ve got audiobooks and audiobook programming information from Oasis, AudioFile Magazine, and the Audio Publishers Association’s literacy initiative, Sound Learning APA.

EMMA_SC_FRONT_Fin1We’re hosting signings by Rebecca Emberley, Bill Thomson, Licia Morelli and Jennifer E. Morris, and Susan Schwake.

We have a librarian staff who know books, audiobooks, and kids.

Plus, we are a lot of fun and generous, too…hmm, prizes anyone?

Hello, AASL!

Screen Shot 2015-11-06 at 6.00.17 AMEllen and Mary are in Columbus, Ohio, this weekend, at the annual conference of the American Association of School Librarians. The conference, as AASL ones are, is packed with rich options for continuing development and opportunities for that ever helpful networking need we have to inspire improvements we can make in school libraries, and kids’ lives, locally.

The Publisher Spotlight booth (which is number 441) in the exhibits hall has books from a variety of our publishers, including Gecko, Pajama Press, Karadi Tales, Diamond, No Starch, Udon, Enchanted Lion Books, and Travels with Gannon and Wyatt. We’re also showing more from Workman, Eerdmans, DK, Holiday House, TOON Books, Arte Publico,  and Norton. We’ve got a big prize basket for a raffle and a couple of author signings scheduled, too.

In addition to all these good things, we can talk with you about a couple new services and initiatives related to multi-modal literacy. Mary Burkey is on hand to discuss Sound Learning, the Audio Publishers Association’s literacy project. And we have EPIC! in the booth so we can show you how this new e-reouce for books and audiobooks for kids works.

Have a good conference, tweet often, and we’ll retweet you! #aasl15 @pubspotlight

 

Using picture books with English language learners

Many picture books offer opportunities for children, and even adults, new to English to explore both the written and spoken language they are acquiring. How picture books are put to this purpose requires sensitivity to potential learners and wise choices of books to use.

English language learners represent a wide range of ages, life experiences, literacy levels in their home languages, and–just as important–linguistic and cultural histories. Many speakers of Latin American Spanish dialects, for example, may indeed be learning English as a second language. However, those coming to North American English from the Indian subcontinent and some Northern African cultures probably are conversant in multiple languages already and thus have a different skill set to use when learning yet another–third, fourth, fifth–language.  Screen Shot 2015-06-11 at 10.01.10 AM

Working with English language learners who are present in classes with native speakers also draws attention to the need to be inclusive, rather than focusing attention on the use of specific books as a means of gaining English fluency. With these varying potential student needs in mind, how and why can picture books become part of the learning experience?

A number of the Book-based Activities we develop for this site address the potential uses of titles with English learners. What do these books share?

  • They offer content that makes use of general life experience that is not culturally bound
  • They provide opportunities for relatively sophisticated discussions of the theme, plot technique, character development, or art presented
  • They introduce culturally specific tall tales or geography information that builds out the English language learner’s general acquisition of idiomatic expressions, local history and/or physical environment, and vocabulary used in a contextually engaging manner

One example of how such picture books can expand upon the English language learner’s current strengths is the Neighborhood Map activity described for Detective Gordon: The First Case. This activity works well for the English language learner who is mainstreamed with native speakers and can even allow her to excel in undertaking the exercise, which is based on observation and documentation through drawing.

A group of English language learners, who may within the group share no language other than beginning English, may find that the What If…? activity, suggested for The Incredible Plate Tectonics Comic, provides the opportunity for sharing information about their own experiences with earthquakes, work together to create a model that expresses possibilities, and expand their academic understanding both of STEM-related content and articulating ideas in their new language.

Building empathy into the experience of sharing picture books in a group that includes English language learners and native speakers can also expand everyone’s horizons. Inhabit Media, a wholly owned Inuit publisher, includes titles that are published in Inuit as well as English. The written language is unlikely to be familiar to anyone in the group, giving all a level playing field for understanding how an old language may be new to this reader.

What activities do you find comfortable for new English speakers and readers when you share and expand their reading choices? We’d love to hear from you!