Children

Sierra Leone Deputy Librarian in Corruption Scam

There are so few corrupt librarians, but every so often, you do hear about one...or two. Here's a story from Sierra Leone:

Leaked information connecting the Deputy Chief of Sierra Leone Library said 46,650 books donated to Sierra Leone by Children International was diverted and sold to Guinea.

Investigation by this press exposed Sallieu Turay (in middle of photo above) and people unknown’s sad over-indulgences in the misappropriation of containers of books presented to school going children by ‘Children International’ in the United States. Sources say four containers of books were shipped into Sierra Leone for distributions to 300 schools in Sierra Leone.

The Deputy Chief Librarian, Sallieu Turay, was in charge of the distribution of the books, but unreasonably converted 70% of total number of books to his use or benefit. It could be recalled that Sallieu has a post graduate diploma in library studies and a master’s degree in education and administration. Findings say he was refused pursuing his master’s in library studies because of poor performance after completion of the forenamed diploma.

Two versions of the story from Sierra Express Media, here and here.

Was it the librarian? Was it the education minister?? The plot thickens.

Picture Books No Longer a Staple for Children

Picture books are so unpopular these days at the Children’s Book Shop in Brookline, Mass., that employees there are used to placing new copies on the shelves, watching them languish and then returning them to the publisher.

“So many of them just die a sad little death, and we never see them again,” said Terri Schmitz, the owner.

The shop has plenty of company. The picture book, a mainstay of children’s literature with its lavish illustrations, cheerful colors and large print wrapped in a glossy jacket, has been fading. It is not going away — perennials like the Sendaks and Seusses still sell well — but publishers have scaled back the number of titles they have released in the last several years, and booksellers across the country say sales have been suffering.

Full story

In Study, Children Cite Appeal of Digital Reading

Many children want to read books on digital devices and would read for fun more frequently if they could obtain e-books. But even if they had that access, two-thirds of them would not want to give up their traditional print books, this according to an article today in the New York Times.

These are a few of the findings in a study being released on Wednesday by Scholastic (as in Bookfairs), the American publisher of the Harry Potter books and the “Hunger Games” trilogy.

The report set out to explore the attitudes and behaviors of parents and children toward reading books for fun in a digital age. Scholastic surveyed more than 2,000 children ages 6 to 17, and their parents, in the spring.

Parents and educators have long worried that digital diversions like video games and cellphones cut into time that children spend reading. However, they see the potential for using technology to their advantage, introducing books to digitally savvy children through e-readers, computers and mobile devices.

About 25 percent of the children surveyed said they had already read a book on a digital device, including computers and e-readers. Fifty-seven percent between ages 9 and 17 said they were interested in doing so.

Lauren Myracle Reads (and Writes) Banned Books, Do You?

Lauren Myracle, author of ttyl and Luv Ya Bunches, two frequently challenged books, writes about the phenomenon of Banned Books. She says that parents anger springs from fear. Grown-ups who care about what kids read aren't the enemy.

From Shelf Awareness: As 2009's number one most frequently challenged author in the country (Mom, cover your ears), I often catch flack for writing about topics that certain parents, teachers and librarians would prefer I didn't. Like what? Like a teenager kissing her female best friend, or high school kids drinking too much and doing really stupid things, or a discussion of the pros and cons of thongs.

I've also come under fire for writing (lovingly) about a fifth-grader who has two moms, as well as a boy who won't join the Boy Scouts because of the Boy Scouts' discriminatory policies. Biology gets me in trouble, too. For example, parents get all kinds of upset about a scene in one of my novels in which a 12-year-old girl sits down with a box of tampons and attempts to make heads and tails of the dense instruction pamphlet.

In grappling with issues surrounding censorship, I've come to the conclusion that the enemy--at least in part--is the inevitable us/them dichotomy that arises in discussions of intellectual freedom.

Opinion: There is a time to ban books from school libraries

"Banned books are a sign of an oppressive regime. That said, forcing age-inappropriate reading materials on youngsters not ready to deal with the material -- and doing so just for the sake of a bigger principle -- is just as oppressive..." Read more at Yahoo News

One Man's Opinion: How to Raise Boys Who Read

WSJ.com - Opinion: How to Raise Boys Who Read. The authors hint: Not with gross-out books and video-game bribes.

Can Censoring a Children's Book Remove Its Prejudices?

Interesting analysis from Philip Nel's blog Nine Kinds of Pie:

When I posted news of my “Censoring Children’s Literature” course last month, several people (well, OK, one person …maybe two) expressed an interest in hearing more about the course. So, given that Banned Books Week is coming up next week, here’s an update. Having lately been examining two versions of Hugh Lofting’s Doctor Dolittle (1920, 1988) and three versions of Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (1964, 1973, 1998), we’ve been addressing this question: Do Bowdlerized texts alter the ideological assumptions of the original? The answer is more complicated than you might think.

Blog entry here.

How to Save School Libraries and Indie Bookstores and Prepare Our Kids for Standardized Tests

Melissa Stewart, award-winning author of over 100 non-fiction books for children writes in Celebrate Science:

Sound too good to be true? It’s not.

Let’s start with some background. About 80 percent of all children's nonfiction titles are sold to schools and libraries. This was great in the 1980s and 1990s when teachers were able to find lots of creative ways to integrate children’s literature into their lesson plans.

But then 2001 rolled around. That’s the year the No Child Left Behind Act was passed. And everything changed.

Suddenly educators had to teach to the test. They no longer had much time for creative teaching strategies, and they had to greatly reduce their use of trade books in the classroom.

The result is no surprise. Sales of nonfiction books have fallen significantly over the last decade. And in response, trade publishing houses have reduced their nonfiction lists on average 25 percent (and in some cases as much as 50 percent).

That’s a shame because trade nonfiction titles are meticulously researched and expertly crafted to delight as well as inform. They engage young readers in a way that text books and other standard teaching materials can’t.

Teachers know it.

Librarians know it.

We all know it.

Author Proclaims "I Would Be Dead Without Libraries"

From Telegraph Herald OnLine: A librarian saved Gary Paulsen's life. More than 100 people listened with amazement Sunday as the self-proclaimed street kid who became an award-winning author shared his life story at the Carnegie-Stout Public Library in Dubuque IA.

"I would be dead without libraries," said Paulsen, 71.

Dressed in a black turtleneck sweater and blue jeans, the author of three Newbery Honor Books -- "Hatchet," "Dogsong" and "The Winter Room" -- held nothing back.

Paulsen described how he sold newspapers as a teenager at bars. One cold night, he walked into a library to keep warm until the drunks got so sloshed that he could easily swipe extra change.

Once inside, something amazing happened. A librarian asked Paulsen if he would like a library card.

"Nobody gave me anything," Paulsen said. He was shocked when the librarian gave him his very own card with his name correctly spelled. She encouraged Paulsen to read more and more books over the next few years.

Although he failed in almost everything at school, Paulsen continued to read. "Everything that I am or ever will be in writing is because
of (that librarian)," he said.

Internet Can Be a Dangerous Place for Unsupervised Children

Internet predators are using more sophisticated means to lure children into dangerous situations says The News Chief of Winter Haven, FL.

In July, the Federal Trade Commission released a report concerning child safety on the Internet. The report stated that in 2004, 45 percent of American children had a personal cellular phone, while in 2009, the number of children with a phone grew to 75 percent.

Cellular phones have become more sophisticated, allowing the user to access the Internet, chat, text, e-mail, photograph and play games - all on one device. The report raises concerns about the amount of personal information teens and older children inadvertently may share by making online purchases and browsing the Web. In response, the FTC has concentrated its efforts in combating Internet predators by expanding its Internet lab and developing tools to assist in mobile-related investigations.

This is something Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd has been focusing on for much of his career. "There is no fail-safe protection from these predators," said Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Donna Wood. "This is a new frontier for crime.

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