Augusta Scattergood on Spinning Yarns and Freedom Summer

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Augusta Scattergood is the author of Glory Be, a National Public Radio Backseat Book Club selection, Texas Bluebonnet Award nominee, and a novel hailed by Newbery medalist Richard Peck as the story of a bygone era “beautifully recalled.” A children’s book reviewer and former librarian, Augusta has devoted her life and career to getting books into the hands of young readers. Her reviews and articles have appeared in The Christian Science Monitor, Delta Magazine, and other publications. She is also an avid blogger. Augusta lives in St. Petersburg, Florida and Madison, New Jersey. Her new book, The Way to Stay in Destiny, comes out in January 2015.

 

Please share about your experience of connecting with books as a child. What positive memories do you have? 



I was read to all the time by my grandmothers, my mother, my teachers. My father was quite a storyteller. He never needed a book—he could spin a yarn a mile long!

One of my grandmothers taught 4th grade, moving from Mississippi to Florida to Texas as she aged out of each state. Each year she’d give me books on all occasions. Not just the Nancy Drew and Cherry Ames I loved, but the award winners and the classics. My childhood was rich with literature and stories.

What are your favorite aspects of sharing good books with kids?



Having spent 25 years as a librarian, I’m not sure where to begin! I loved reading picture books—to pre-schoolers as well as fifth graders—and all the Newbery winners, chapter by chapter, to classes. Poetry, folktales—all genres are ripe for reading aloud. But I think the ones that stuck with me were the middle-grade novels, and that’s what I felt closest to when I began to write. From Sharon Creech to Katherine Paterson, Kevin Henkes to Lois Lowry, I loved sharing these books with kids. 



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Some of my favorite middle-grade readalouds!

Please share your thoughts on and tips for sharing good books with children.



Choosing just the right book is crucial. Teachers know to read a book before they share it aloud with their classes! When parents and grandparents pick a book, it’s always nice if it’s a book they love.

As a librarian, I well recall trying to read aloud a certain, not-to-be-named Newbery winner that just didn’t fly! The kids were bored, and nothing I could do enlivened that one as a read-aloud. It wasn’t meant to be. After that experience, I learned that every book isn’t meant to be read aloud. Some are quiet books, best read and appreciated in a cozy chair. I also learned that if you get bogged down reading a book aloud, admit it and move to another, more perfect story to share with young readers.

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I love this picture created by a student at one of the schools I visited. This could well be me as a young librarian!

My novel, Glory Be, takes place during Freedom Summer, 1964. Since this is the 50th anniversary of that summer’s civil rights events, I’ve had some terrific opportunities to share my book. A really remarkable event just happened in the small town of Como, Mississippi, and I was honored to be there.

The very energetic public librarian had planned a week of programming, including a panel of former freedom workers returning to talk about their summer in Panola County, a Readers Theater presentation based on music and letters from that summer, and a city-wide read of Glory Be

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Augusta Scattergood signing books with two readers who were also part of the NPR Back Seat Bookclub interview at the Como Library.

All the 8th graders in one school had read my book, and other classes had had it read aloud to them. The enthusiasm and the questions from these kids was remarkable.  I was truly moved by the thought that one book, read by many, can lead to such thoughtful discussion.

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Glory Be

What a wonderful story about sharing a truly good book! Thank you, Augusta. Don’t miss reading Augusta’s inspiring, entertaining story, Glory Be

Connect with Augusta:

Blog: http://ascattergood.blogspot.com/
Twitter: ARScattergood

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Urve Tamberg On Libraries and Long Storytimes

GBTS-Urve1Urve Tamberg didn’t realize that she wanted to be a writer until a few years ago. She was side-tracked for a couple of decades to pursue a career in marketing and business development in the health care sector. But the stories she had heard from her immigrant parents about the history, people, and culture of Estonia stayed with her. She was inspired by those little-known tales of stubbornness, ingenuity, and bravery, so a few years ago she began to write historical fiction for teens. Urve lives in Oakville, Ontario with her husband, three children, and a little black dog named Shimmer.

Her first book, The Darkest Corner of the World, is inspired by true stories of the Estonian people and their struggle to survive during the Soviet and Nazi occupations during World War II.

Welcome, Urve. Please share your experience of connecting with books as a child. What positive memories do you have?

Growing up as an only child, I loved books and stories. I won’t be cliche and say that books were my only friends; they weren’t. But I was the child who went to the library on a sunny summer day.  My mother constantly told me to go outside and play. I had a plan to read all the books in the library, starting with the authors whose last name started with “A.” I’m still working on that.

I’m the child of immigrant parents, and they did not read to me (shocking, I know, but I think they were too busy earning a living). Before I could read, I remember making up my own story to go along with the illustrations in the picture books and then telling that story to my mother. Looking back, it was an interesting role reversal and one that captures the universal appeal of picture books. The illustrations are integral to the story.

One of my favorite picture books was Katy Did. (This dates me, doesn’t it?)

Katy did

What are your favorite aspects of sharing good books with kids?

I have three children (teenagers now), and one of my favorite activities (and theirs) was to read to them at night. There is nothing better than curling up in bed with three freshly bathed toddlers in clean jammies, having them each choose a book, and reading the books to them. Our night-time reading session always went on for quite a while. They always wanted “one more,” and that request was almost impossible to refuse.

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With my oldest, when she was just a baby, I would leave a couple of board books in the crib with her, and she would “read” by the light of the night light. She never had any trouble falling asleep. Of course, once she’d fallen asleep, I’d take the books out of the crib.

That is when my love of picture books really solidified. Each picture book was a marriage between words and art. And shhhh—don’t tell anyone yet, but I do have a couple of picture books that I am working on.  

Please share your thoughts on and tips for sharing good books with children.

Reading to and with children is important, especially in this age of technology and quick reading (excuse me—just have to go check my Twitter feed). We all love stories, and I think children need (and want) to be exposed to different types of stories, different styles of writing, and different characters. It helps them start to make sense of the world and exposes them to the “what ifs” in life. And you never know what topic or story will pique their curiosity. Discovering new interests is the fun part!

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Thanks, Urve! 

Check out Urve’s book, The Darkest Corner of the World. 

Connect with Urve:
Website: www.utamberg.com
Twitter: @utamberg
Facebook: Urve Tamberg – Author

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First Book Canada Gives Good Books to Kids

I recently met the team at First Book Canada, and I’m thrilled to feature a post from this wonderful organization. First Book Canada and First Book (in the U.S.) truly live out the mission of sharing good books with children. Through innovative corporate and publishing partnerships, they provide free new books to programs that serve in low-income settings.

Here are some of the facts:

–reading interest tripled among children who received new books from First Book

expanded literacy efforts in 99.2 percent of programs that receive books

–increased reading in the homes of 70% of the children who receive books

–growing impact with more than 25, 000 programs registered and hundreds joining each week 

efficient, mission-driven service to communities and children with 97 cents of every dollar donated supporting First Book’s efforts to provide new books to children in need

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Let’s hear about this remarkable organization from the First Book Canada team itself. How did First Book Canada come to be?

In 1992, Kyle Zimmer, then a corporate attorney, was volunteering regularly at a soup kitchen in Washington DC. When staff at the soup kitchen asked kids to bring in books to share, some of them brought in phone books because they were the only books in their homes.

Realizing that the kids she was working with had no books to call their own, she set out with some friends to remedy the situation. First Book began operations in the United States in 1992 and First Book Canada launched operations in 2009. Since then, First Book Canada has distributed over 2 million brand-new books to kids from low-income families all across the country.

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What difference has sharing books made in the lives of the First Book Canada team members? 

Sharing brand-new books with teachers and kids has shown us how magical books are. When we see the joy and excitement in a teacher’s face as she’s picking up books for her students, we know that these kids are experiencing something special at school and at home. We can only imagine how delighted their parents must be that their kids are bringing home backpacks full of books to call their own! We know these quality books are strengthening curriculum and that each book will help a child become a stronger reader.

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What is a memorable experience you’ve had in your work at First Book Canada?

One memorabe moment from working at First Book Canada was when we held a Reading Party at Brampton Public Library with author Kevin Sylvester. For these kids, it was the first time they had an author visit ad speak to them about his book. It was too fun getting to see kids interact with Kevin and have them share their opinions about his book.

The great thing about First Book Canada Reading Parties is that our authors are always engaging and want to share how fun books are with everyone around them. We also had volunteers from Target come in and read with the kids afterwards, and I think sharing that experience was memorable for both the students and volunteers. We got to see their imaginations light up and really saw a love of reading start to develop in these kids.GBTS FBC North Kipling_HiRes_136

If you were to share one dream you have for your organization, what would it be?

One of our dreams is that each child in Canada grows up with many books to call their own. We want to see each child grow up a strong reader and to end illiteracy in Canada.

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Ending illiteracy! Now that’s a dream we can all support. Thank you to First Book Canada for your inspiring work.

If you know of an organization that may fit First Book Canada’s mandate, don’t delay! Get in touch with First Book Canada today. Register here: http://www.firstbookcanada.org/receive-books

Please check out this wonderful organization:

Website: http://www.firstbookcanada.org/ Watch the video spotlight on the home page to hear the story of First Book told by some wonderful children’s authors. 

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/pages/First-Book-Canada/160799554011287?ref=ts

Twitter: @FirstBookCanada

Don’t miss out! For upcoming news about First Book Canada events, sign up for Aimee’s newsletter below. You’ll also hear from authors and illustrators first hand about their meaningful experiences of sharing good books with children.   

Launch Party for Mama’s Day with Little Gray

I’m excited to invite friends new and old to the launch party for my brand new book, Mama’s Day with Little Gray.

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Date: Saturday, March 22, 2014

Place: Hamilton Public Library, Central Branch, 55 York Blvd., Hamilton, Ontario

Time: 2:00 p.m.

Special Features: Martha Krueger, a wonderful recording artist and music instructor, will be singing. Her joyful, participatory concerts are enjoyed by children of all ages. There will be elephant crafts, elephant tattoos, and elephant-sized fun. All is free, and all are welcome.

Giveaway: Enter to win prizes, including a one-day family pass (two adults and two children) to the African Lion Safari, where you can see real elephants! * Watching the elephant swim at the African Lion Safari inspired part of my book.

Autographs: You will be able to buy your own copy of Mama’s Day with Little Gray, and I will be happy to sign it for you.

Note: If you are planning to purchase Mama’s Day with Little Gray at the launch and you’d like to be sure that a book is reserved for you, please email areid@www.aimeereidbooks.com and place the words “Save Me a Book” in the subject line. We’ll be sure to set a copy aside just for you.

Please come out and join in the fun. I hope to see you there!

* If you can’t come to the launch party, you can still enter two giveaways.

African Lion Safari Giveaway: To enter the draw for tickets to the African Lion Safari, email areid@aimeereid.books.com and write “Lion Safari” in the subject line. The winners will be able to use their passes any one day of the 2014 season (May 3 to October 13, 2014). Thanks to the African Lion Safari for this generous donation.

Time Together Giveaway: If you’d like to be eligible for more kid-friendly gifts, such as books and CDs, go to my Time Together blog post and choose one of three easy ways to enter.

Additional details: One entry per draw per person. Both contests close at midnight (EST) on Mother’s Day, May 11th, 2014. The draws will take place on May 12th. Winners will be contacted by email.