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CCB Newsletter
March 2013

In this Newsletter…


News and Updates

2014 Gryphon Lecturer: Michelle H. Martin

From February 28 to March 3, the CCB was honored to have as our guest Dr. Michelle H. Martin, the inaugural Augusta Baker Endowed Chair of Child Literacy at the University of South Carolina and GSLIS research fellow. During her visit, Martin both gave the Gryphon Lecture, “August Baker and the Art of Storytelling: Gateway to Children’s Literacy and Literature,” and presented an informal brown bag on her research. Her talk integrated professional texts such as “Once Upon a Time” in librarianship, “Storytelling: Art and Technique” in storytelling and “The Black Experience in Children’s Books” (1971) in children’s literature penned by Baker as well as evidence from the Augusta Baker Collection initially gifted to the University of South Carolina’s Library in June 1997 to illustrate how her commitment to storytelling advanced her advocacy for children’s literacy and literature and how her storytelling methods and strategies reflected her tireless fight for diversifying children’s literature nationally. Audio from the 2014 Gryphon Lecture is available on the Gryphon Lecture webpage.

Martin is the founder and director of Camp Read-a-Rama, a day camp for children ages 4-11, going into its sixth summer that uses children’s books as a springboard for all other camp activities. She published Brown Gold: Milestones of African-American Children’s Picture Books, 1845-2002 with Routledge in 2004 and co-edited (with Claudia Nelson) Sexual Pedagogies: Sex Education in Britain, Australia, and America, 1879-2000 (Palgrave, 2003).


March Calendar

  • Monday, March 3: CCB Closed: LEEP Weekend
    We will remain closed for use as a classroom space on March 3. We apologize for any inconveniences.

  • Monday, March 3: CCB Brown Bag: Michelle Martin on August Baker and Storytelling, 12 noon
    Gryphon Lecturer Michelle Martin will speak informally about her research on the work and legacy of August Baker. Available for virtual participation via the GSLIS meeting room.

  • Wednesday, March 12: Youth Lit Book Club, 5-6 pm
    Reading Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodges

  • Friday, March 14: GSLIS Research Showcase, 12 noon-5 pm, GSLIS East Foyer and Rooms 126 and 131
    CCB Director Deborah Stevenson, GSLIS Interim Assistant Dean for Student Affairs Kate McDowell, and GSLIS PhD student Cass Mabbott will present “Closing the App Gap I: Tablets in Summer Reading for Youth”

  • Sunday, March 16: Deadline for applications to CCB Graduate/Research Assistant and Outreach and Communications Coordinator positions

Events take place at the CCB unless otherwise noted. For complete descriptions of events, visit the calendar on our website.


New Bibliographies on the CCB Website

Angels, Ghosts, and Otherworldly Beings: Supernatural Tales of Love and Intrigue
Created by Gina Tangorra, CCB Volunteer

Religion, Questioning, and Difference: Books Where Faith Matters
Created by Casey McCoy, CCB Volunteer

Storytelling Bibliography: In Like a Lion and Out Like a Lamb: Tales Featuring Lions or Lambs
Created by Emily Bayci, CCB Volunteer


Our Affiliates Out and About

CCB Affiliate and GSLIS Assistant Professor Carol Tilley was interviewed a feature called “An Uncensored Look at Banned Comics” that appeared in the February 2014 issue of Print Magazine. She also presented a talk, “Comics: A Love/Mystery/Adventure Story” for Chicago-based tech company BrightTag’s Hack Week event.


Feature: Meet GSLIS Youth Services Adjuncts, an Interview with Georgeann Burch and Betty Bush

Part of what makes the youth services program at GSLIS so stellar is the talented group of knowledgeable instructors. The CCB was excited to have the opportunity sit down with two on-campus youth services adjunct instructors, Georgeann Burch and Betty Bush, in order to shine a light on some of their work. They both have lots of experience—Burch as a school librarian and instructional TV specialist and Bush as a school librarian in the archdiocese of Chicago—and are eager to share it with their students.

Bush says that it’s critical for instructors to remain current. “For me, it’s all about staying on at the Bulletin [as a reviewer]…the reviewing and the teaching go hand-in-hand. Of course, I continued to work as a school librarian.” Bush says that the practitioner’s perspective has been valuable for her students. Burch echoes that sentiment: “I volunteer at a local school one day a week, and that’s helpful for me. I get to see real kids; it’s good to be in the schools…The two of us have seen some examples of instructors relying on old information, and that really does their library students a disservice.”

In keeping current, the dynamic duo emphasizes changes that have happened in the field of youth services. Bush celebrates the expanding role of nonfiction, saying that “Nonfiction has gotten a jolt of importance that it should have gotten a long time ago…I think that the amount of information delivered in nontraditional formats is going way up, as well.” Burch, on the other hand, discusses the importance of school library media specialists in educational technology. “School librarians often become the default tech person, and I think librarians should really embrace that leadership role…A lot of educators think technology is great, but they often don’t understand how kids actually use it. Librarians have the opportunity to help people understand: ‘This is how kids learn to use technology.’”

Bush closed the interview by reminding students that flexibility is required in any kind of youth services librarianship. “It takes some investigating to figure out which route will work for people. It’s about asking, ‘Is this going to suit me?’ I was planning on a public librarianship route, and I ended up in a school library. So, I guess the advice we’d have is that opportunities come up that you don’t expect. Take them.” The CCB thanks Burch and Bush for their willingness to speak with us; for more of their thoughts, check out the full interview with Burch and Bush on the CCB website.


New Books We Just Had to Read

Every month, the CCB Graduate Assistants highlight books reviewed in the most recent issue of the Bulletin that we were excited to read.  These decisions are based on personal preference, but all books listed are Recommended by the Bulletin. For complete reviews, visit the Bulletin website (http://bccb.lis.illinois.edu/) to learn how to subscribe.

Katie’s Choice: The Riverman by Aaron Starmer
Reading Level: Gr. 7-10
Pages: 307
Publisher and Year: Farrar Straus Giroux, 2014
ISBN: 978-0-374-36309-3
Price: $15.99

Quiet, reserved, and painfully polite, twelve-year-old Alistair goes about his daily life mostly overlooked by people who aren’t his family or aloof best friend Charlie. So when the strange Fiona Loomis takes notice of Alistair’s writing ability and asks him to “pen” her biography (“when you pen something it means . . . well, it means you do it like an artist”), he is taken aback to say the least. Alistair reservedly agrees to the task, but soon finds Fiona’s life story much too bizarre to be believed. Telling tales of a dreamlike place called Aquavania where one can create landscapes, objects, and even other beings with thought alone, Fiona claims she has her own world there, and since time passes in Aquavania differently than it does in the “Solid World,” she is actually much older than she looks. Fiona also insists that a malevolent, shadowy creature known as the Riverman has been terrorizing the worlds of other kids in Aquavania, leading to very real cases of missing children. Alistair decides that Fiona must be experiencing serious abuse at the hands of a family member and is using her fanciful accounts of Aquavania to convey a very real need to be rescued, but he can’t shake the feeling that she may be telling the truth and that he may be even more familiar with Aquavania than his memory would like to admit. Starmer’s ability to seamlessly employ elements of fantasy, mystery, and the awkward trappings of adolescence make for a uniquely haunting story readers are not likely soon to forget.

Tad’s Choice: Kung Pow Chicken: Let’s Get Cracking by Cyndi Marko
Reading Level: Gr. 2-3
Pages: 72
Publisher and Year: Scholastic, 2014
ISBN: 978-0-545-61062-9
Price: $15.99

An accident involving toxic sludge in Uncle Quack’s laboratory gives mild-mannered Gordon Blue and his little brother Benny superpowers, making them the toughest chickens around as Kung Pow Chicken and his sidekick Egg Drop. When many of the chickens at the Fowl Fall Festival spontaneously lose all of their feathers, forcing them to buy Granny Goosebump’s hand-knit sweaters to stay warm, the newly hatched superhero team suspects fowl—er, foul—play. Kung Pow and Egg Drop must spring into feathery action to stop Granny and her Naughty Knitting Needles and restore the glorious plumage of the citizens of Fowladelphia. Marko’s graphic novel-inspired chapter book hits all of the right notes of elementary humor (“My shell is harder than cafeteria cookies!”) and groan-inducing puns in a positively poutltry-rific series introduction. The pencil-y illustrations match the breezy tone perfectly with expressively eccentric chickens in a brightly colored cartoonish world; Gordon’s square wire rims and striped tie contrast nicely with his Incredibles-reminiscent leotard, while Benny’s half-hatched athleticism (he’s mostly an eggshell with only his feet and eyes protruding) is a hoot. Silly superheroes are a kids’ mainstay, and Kung Pow and Eggdrop are a welcome addition to the earliest ranks of bad-guy-vanquishing hijinks.

Alice’s Choice: Faking Normal by Courtney C. Stevens
Reading Level: Gr. 9-12
Pages: 336
Publisher and Year: HarperTeen, 2014
ISBN: 978-0-06-224538-0
Price: $17.99

Lex would love to be a carefree high-schooler, hanging out with her two best friends and focusing on the mysterious person she has been sharing song lyrics with on her desk all year, known only as “Captain Lyric,” but she can’t: Lex still hasn’t been able to tell her friends about what happened to her over the summer. She knows a guy raped her, but finds it difficult to blame him and refuses to tell anyone about what happened. Lex copes by hiding in her closet and scratching her neck—compulsive, self-harming behaviors that no one notices. No one, that is, except her quiet neighbor, Bodee, who moves in with Lex and her family after his abusive father murders his mother. After years of living in a destructive household, Bodee demonstrates immense concern for the pain of others, offering Lex comfort and protection in a way that Lex hasn’t felt since before her assault. Bodee helps Lex adjust her unhealthy coping mechanisms and admit to herself what happened in order to atone for not being able to rescue his mother, and Lex helps Bodee understand he is not a monster like his father. Lex’s situation demonstrates the complex reality of acquaintance rape, offering her rapist a complex portrayal without forgiving him, and her heartbreakingly honest journey as a survivor of sexual assault realistically demonstrates a variety of issues that victims may go through. Lex and Bodee provide nuanced representations of teenagers who often slip through the cracks and do not receive the support that they need, finding peace instead in each other.


Highlighted Book from Our Wish List

Igus, Toyomi. I See the Rhythm; illus. by Michelle Wood. New York: Children’s Book Press, 1998. ISBN 978-0892391516.

For more book selections or to order this one, visit the CCB’s Amazon Wish List.


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