Obama's haircut


Children's books represent, but so do people, and this photo captures an amazing moment when a young boy asked President Obama "if the President's haircut felt like his own."  Obama responded by letting the boy feel his head for himself.

reading becomes us

In what Geoff Kaufman and Lisa Libby term "experience-taking," it turns out that reading about characters can actually influence us to become more like them.  The effects actually seem to persist and even influence some real-world behavior.  There are as many questions raised as answered by these findings, but it's intriguing to consider.


So we become what we read.  Sounds an awful lot like the old adage "you are what you eat." (If so, I am comprised of much more kale than you might suspect just looking at me.)

More fun links on this phenomenon:



summer reading plans

Summer reading plans fall into two categories:  

1) children's literature and resources, in preparation for teaching LIS403 in the fall

2) media studies history:  sources that tie together communications and children's reading, in the present and historically

The rest of this post will be lists of texts, so perhaps less interesting than book reviews.

Media Studies/History:
possible journals...

Skim current media studies by MacArthur and Kaiser:



Best Apps for Kids: thinking about aesthetic comparisons and connections to children's literature

Children's Literature (this is most of the required texts list, with resources to come):


Selznick, Brian.  The Invention of Hugo Cabret.  Scholastic, 2007.  Paperback.  ISBN 978-1602521124.
Raschka, Chris. A Ball for Daisy. Schwartz & Wade, 2011. Hardcover. ISBN 978-0375858611.

Stead, Philip C. A Sick Day for Amos McGee; illus. by Erin Stead. Roaring Brook, 2010. Hardcover. ISBN 978-1596434028.
Harrington, Janice N. The Chicken-Chasing Queen of Lamar County; illus. by Shelley Jackson. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007. Hardcover. ISBN 978-0374312510.

Bunting, Eve. Smoky Night; illus. by David Diaz. Sandpiper, 1999. Paperback. ISBN 978-0152018849.

Cowley, Joy. Chameleon, Chameleon; illus. by Nic Bishop. Scholastic, 2005. Hardcover. ISBN 978-0439666534.

Wiesner, David. Tuesday. Sandpiper, 1997. Paperback. ISBN 978-0395870822.
Willems, Mo.  Knuffle Bunny.  Walker Books, 2005.  Paperback.  ISBN 978-1844280599.

Sendak, Maurice.  Where the Wild Things Are; written and illus. by Maurice Sendak.  HarperCollins, 1988.  Paperback. ISBN 978-0064431781.
Dr.Seuss (Theodor Seuss Geisel)The Cat in the Hat.  Random House, 1957.  Hardcover.  ISBN 978-0545014571.
Milne, A.A. Winnie the Pooh; illus. by Ernest H. Shepard.  Puffin, 1992.  Paperback.  ISBN 978-0140361216.
White, E. B. Charlotte’s Web; illus. by Garth WilliamsHarperCollins, 2004. Paperback. ISBN 978-0064400558.

Sierra, Judy.  Silly and Sillier: Read-Aloud Tales from Around the World; illus. by Valeri Gorbachev. Knopf, 2002.  Hardcover. ISBN 978-0375806094. 
Townsend, Michael. Amazing Greek Myths of Wonder and Blunders.  Dial, 2010.  Hardcover. ISBN 978-0803733084.
Riordan, Rick. The Red Pyramid. Hyperion, 2011.  Paperback. ISBN 978-1423113454.

Pilkey, Dav.  Captain Underpants and the Attack of the Talking Toilets; written and illus. by Dav Pilkey. Scholastic, 1999.  Paperback.  ISBN 978-0590634274.
Venezia, Mike.  Andy Warhol; written and illus. by Mike Venezia.  Children’s Press, 1997.  Paperback.  ISBN 978-0516260754. 
English, Karen. Nikki and Deja: Birthday Blues; illus. by Laura Freeman.  Sandpiper, 2010.  Paperback. ISBN 978-0547248936.
Cole, Joanna. The Magic School Bus Inside a Hurricane; illus. by Bruce Degen. Scholastic, 1996. Paperback. ISBN 978-0590446877.

Keene, Carolyn. The Secret of the Old Clock. Grosset & Dunlap, 1987. Hardcover. ISBN 978-0448095707.

Dowell, Frances O’Roark. The Kind of Friends We Used to Be.  Atheneum, 2010. Paperback.  978-1416997795.
Woodson, Jacqueline.  After Tupac and D Foster.  Speak, 2010.  Paperback.  ISBN 978-0142413999. 
Gantos, Jack.  Dead End in Norvelt.  Yearling, 2012.  Paperback. ISBN 978-0440870043.

Hardinge, Frances.  The Lost Conspiracy.  HarperCollins, 2009.  Hardcover. ISBN 978-0060880415.

Okorafor, Nnedi.  Akata Witch. Viking, 2011. Hardcover. ISBN 978-0670011964.

Tan, Shaun.  The Arrival.  Arthur A. Levine, 2007. Hardcover. ISBN 978-0439895293.

Garza, Xavier.  Maximilian & the Mystery of the Guardian Angel: A Bilingual Lucha Libre Thriller.  Cinco Puntos, 2011. Paperback. ISBN  978-1933693989.
Hiaasen, Carl. Flush. Yearling, 2010. Paperback. ISBN 978-0375861253.

Gaiman, Neil.  Coraline; illus. by Dave McKean. HarperFestival, 2008.  Paperback. ISBN 978-0061649691.
Horowitz, Anthony. Stormbreaker (Alex Rider). Puffin, 2006.  Paperback.  ISBN 978-0142406113.
Rex, Adam. True Meaning of Smek Day. Hyperion, 2009. Paperback. ISBN 978-0786849017.
Naylor, Phyllis Reynolds. Roxie and the Hooligans; illus. by Alexandra Boiger. Atheneum, 2007. Paperback. ISBN 978-1416902447.


Smith, Jeff.  Bone. V. 1.: Out from Boneville.  Scholastic, 2005.  Paperback.  ISBN 978-0439706407.

Holm, Jennifer & Holm, Matthew. Babymouse: Queen of the World.  Random House, 2005.  Paperback. ISBN 978-0375832291.

Varon, Sara. Robot Dreams. First Second, 2007.  Paperback. ISBN 978-1596431089.


Hoberman, Mary Ann.  You Read to Me, I'll Read to You: Very Short Fairy Tales to Read Together; illus. by Michael Emberley. Little, Brown, 2004. Hardcover. ISBN 978-0316146111.

Janeczko, Paul B & Lewis, J. Patrick.  Wing Nuts: Screwy Haiku; illus. by Tricia Tusa. Little, Brown, 2006.  Hardcover. ISBN 978-0316607315.

Sidman, Joyce. Song of the Water Boatman and Other Pond Poems; illus. by Beckie Prange. Houghton Mifflin, 2005. Hardcover. ISBN 978-0618135479.

Prelutsky, Jack. I’ve Lost My Hippopotamus; illus. by Jackie Urbanovic. Greenwillow, 2012. Hardcover. ISBN  978-0062014573.

Curtis, Christopher Paul.  The Watsons Go to Birmingham, 1963. Yearling, 1997. Paperback.  ISBN 978-0440414124.

Lai, Thanhha.  Inside Out and Back Again. HaperCollins, 2011. Hardcover. ISBN 978-0061962783.

Yelchin, Eugene. Breaking Stalin’s Nose. Henry Holt, 2011.  Hardcover. ISBN 978-0805092165.


O’Connell, Caitlin & Jackson, Donna M.  The Elephant Scientist; illus. by Timothy Rodwell.  Houghton Mifflin, 2011.  Hardcover. ISBN 978-0547053448.

Murphy, Jim. The Great Fire. Scholastic Paperback, 2006.  Paperback.  ISBN 978-0439203074.

Nelson, Kadir.  Heart and Soul:  The Story of America and African Americans.  Balzer + Bray, 2011.  Hardcover.  ISBN 978-0061730740


Sternberg, Julie.  Like Pickle Juice on a Cookie; illus. by Matthew Cordell. Amulet, 2011. Hardcover. ISBN 978-0810984240.

Greene, Stephanie. Princess Posey and the First Grade Parade; illus. by Stephanie Sisson.  Puffin, 2011. Paperback. ISBN 978-0142418277.
Willems, Mo.  We Are in a Book.  Hyperion, 2010.  Hardcover. ISBN 978-1423133087.
Sturm, James, Arnold Andrew & Frederick-Frost Alexis.  Adventures in Cartooning.  First Second, 2009.  Paperback. ISBN 978-1596433694.

Lin, Grace.  Ling & Ting: Not Exactly the Same!  LB Kids, 2011.  Paperback.  ISBN 978-0316024532.

Lobel, Arnold.  Frog and Toad Are Friends. HarperCollins, 1979.  Paperback.  ISBN 978-0064440202.


Richardson, Justin & Parnell, Peter.  And Tango Makes Three.  Simon & Schuster, 2005.  Hardcover. ISBN 978-0689878459.

Harrison, Lisi.  The CliqueLittle Brown, 2004.  Paperback.  ISBN 978-0316701297.

Madaras, Lynda et al.  What’s Happening to My Body? Book for Boys: Revised Edition. William Morrow Paperbacks, 2007.  Paperback.  ISBN 978-1557047656


McCloud, Scott.  Understanding Comics.  Harper, 1994.  Paperback.  ISBN 978-0060976255.

Bang, Molly.  Picture This.  Chronicle, 2000.  Paperback.  ISBN 978-1587170300.


Presence, as opposed to distance.  This time of year, even presence of mind is scarce.

In the Presence of Each Other:  A Pedagogy of Storytelling by Johanna Kuyvenhoven
presents a study of a classroom with a storytelling teacher.  The definition of "presence" shows up late in the book, but offers much to think about:

"The pedagogy of storytelling entails its medium of presence.  The medium is the sounds of words, the faces and gestures of one another, and the warm contact of each other's bodies in physical place." (187)

Which leads me to wonder about what removing one element might mean.  When does presence become distance?  What about time, being simultaneous, but at a distance?  What about removing the sounds of words?  What about telling stories back-to-back?

There's an interesting diagram that illustrates Kuyvenhoven's model:

memories of dissertation writing

Looking back to my notes on the dissertation process, I stumbled across this little gem to describe how the experience felt:

"like trying to get my arms around an elephant made of jello."

Back in 2005, that was indeed how it felt, on a daily basis.  Changing research directions and embracing new ideas doesn't feel quite the same, but a real commitment to learning probably always leads to, at some point, encountering a jello elephant.