As I’m sure most of you know, October is National Book Month – a blissful, 31-day period dedicated to America’s favorite pastime (#sorrynotsorry, baseball fans). Since 2003, the National Book Foundation has spent the greater part of October hyping its finalists for the National Book Award, one of the highest honors awarded in American literature. Continue reading “Link of the Week | National Book Foundation”
Barbershop Books “is a community-based program that creates child-friendly reading spaces in barbershops across America.”
Barbershop Books is the first program from the Reading Holiday Project, a nonprofit literacy organization that aims to transform the reading experience for young boys. Barbershop Books pairs the natural and significant culture of a barbershop in black communities with culturally relevant and age appropriate literature to increase out-of-school reading time among young black boys.
According to the statistics from the Department of Education found by Barbershop Books, “more than 85% of America’s black male 4th grade students are not proficient in reading.” Barbershop Books heeds this challenge by providing reading material for young black boys outside of the classroom.
During its 2nd annual Why Reading Matters conference on June 15, the National Book Foundation awarded its annual $10,000 Innovations in Reading Prize to Alvin Irby, the founder of Barbershop Books. Irby, during a breakout session at the conference, “offered a combination of formal educational pedagogy and personal anecdotes in a very funny presentation that encourages teachers and parents to think about how they present books to kids.”
This week’s link takes a look at how the National Book Foundation (NBF) has announced that they will be honoring Cave Canem with Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community at this year’s National Book Award Ceremony.
Cave Canem is a non-profit center located in Brooklyn, NY that commits itself to supporting and encouraging black poets and literary writers. According to NBF’s website, the Literarian Award is given to “an individual for outstanding service to the American literary community, whose life and work exemplify the goals of the National Book Foundation to expand the audience for literature and to enhance the cultural value of literature in America.” This will be the first time this award was given to an organization and not an individual person.
The NBF is a non-profit organization that made it their mission to bring more attention and appreciation to great literary writers, poets, and works in America. The National Book Award Ceremony is something the NBF describes as being for books what the Oscars are for movies. The ceremony will be held on November 16 in New York, New York.
As a writer of science fiction and fantasy novels, Ursula Le Guin has a mind capable of imagining entire societies that do not exist outside of the covers of her books. Her novels have had a heavy influence on conversations about gender and have opened conversations about the alternative points of view that surround us on a daily basis. How different could society be if taking on the alternative view was practiced, if it was the status quo when it comes to handling problematic situations? These are the kind of conversations that Le Guin has made possible through her fantastical narratives, and for such contributions, she was awarded with the National Book Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters at the 2014 National Book Awards, which took place on November 19th.
Not only has she been a very visible person in the scifi/fantasty genre, she has also been verbal about the situation with Amazon, authors, and the problem of publishing these days. In an interview with Salon , Le Guin speaks about writing outside the “good vs. evil” plot in fantasy, and her thoughts on the hold that Amazon has on the publishing industry.
Discovering a love for reading is one of the most memorable experiences about growing up. Learning all about the adventures of Clifford the Big Red Dog, Curious George, and the Hungry Catepillar, is something that brings a smile to my face to this day.
With the increasing popularity of digital devices and platforms, it is more important than ever that we help to ensure that children of all ages continue to uncover their own love for reading. Whether with a physical book or an e-book, reading is something that can only enhance a person’s life. Once a child reaches middle school, it is sometimes difficult to continue that love of reading, especially with all the homework, chores, and friend-time a thirteen-year-old has! When school is out for the summer, homework is often replaced with video games. I know I was guilty.
Thankfully, BookUp, an after school reading program sponsored by the National Book Foundation, has introduced a summer reading program for middle school students. The summer program is part of a partnership with the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development.
Created in 2007, BookUp is a series of extracurricular reading groups led by published authors who also have teaching experience. Instructors have included Elisha Miranda, John Murillo, and Elsa Ulen.
Leslie Shipman, assistant director of the National Book Foundation, said, “At the end of the summer, each BookUp participant will have their own free personal library of 10 age-appropriate books. Our students will cherish and benefit from that resource and their summer BookUp experience for years to come.”
In conjunction with the Department of Youth and Community Development, BookUp is currently running ten summer programs that serve over 200 students throughout New York City. Ultimately, BookUp hopes “to create new approaches to developing life-long readers that can be adapted in after school programs across the country.”
Learn more about the BookUp summer reading program on Publishers Weekly.