By Karen Williams We’re witnessing a worldwide movement against police brutality, systemic racism, and oppression against black people in the United States. The protests, inspired by the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery (to name a few), quickly went global, causing a renewed interest in books, art, and other creative works by and about black people in America. Many are seeking to educate themselves about black history and racism in the United States, and black . . .
By Kelsey Nickerson Bookends are among our favorite DIY book crafts. Not only are they a must-have for any book-loving household—they’re also an awesome secret weapon for getting kids to read. Just bookend a selection of tempting titles on a table or anywhere kids will come across them, then let their curiosity do the rest. We also love bookends for breaking up a book collection into reading levels and subject areas, like fiction genres or nonfiction topics. And when your library . . .
By Kelsey Nickerson Why not bring a touch of spring into your home, with some reading-themed floral decor? These DIY book-page hydrangeas offer a literary twist on classic paper flowers. Display them around the house or feature them as centerpieces at a festive meal. You can even mix them with real flowers to create a distinctive bouquet. Tip: These delicate blooms can make unique decorations for a child’s birthday, spotlighting literacy and nature in one pretty package. (Complete the . . .
I read Destination Simple: Everyday Rituals for a Slower Life by Brooke McAlaray for a new year’s reset. The tiny book can be read in one sitting, but it’s also great to dip in and out of as you let the ideas marinate. Unlike more rigorous guides, such as David Allen’s Getting Things Done (which I also love), Destination Simple is one to reach for when you’re feeling overwhelmed—when you want to sink into your day versus power through it. Broken into three parts, it first presents . . .
I know my opinions make an impression—among people inclined to agree with me, anyway. My confidence in influencing those with divergent views, however, is so low that I generally avoid addressing controversial issues with them at all. I wouldn’t talk guns or race with a Republican, for example. I’ve read one too many reports on partisan polarization to go there. To be fair, I’ve offered similar silence to some on my side of the aisle, too, especially the “colorblind” and others who may be . . .
Culture Queen Discusses Top Kwanzaa Misconceptions Got questions about Kwanzaa? You’re not alone. Here’s Kwanzaa educator Jessica “Culture Queen” Hebron’s rundown of the top five misconceptions about Kwanzaa. Misconception 1: Kwanzaa is a Religion Kwanzaa is a celebration of Pan-African family and community, not a religious ritual. “People think that if you start celebrating Kwanzaa, you're devil worshiping or you're worshiping principles instead of God. That's not true. The principles . . .
Jessica “Culture Queen” Hebron is on a mission to make Kwanzaa fun, enticing, and effortless for families to celebrate. “We have several different black people holidays, but this is the big one,” she explains. “I think it's really cool that black people have something just for them that lasts seven days, helps you to align yourself culturally, and gives you like a cultural sense of self.” She believes that the keys to bolstering participation in the holiday she loves are to start slow and . . .
I marvel at book talk attendees. People trek from great distances, clutching worn copies of favorite reads. They stand in long lines for a brief word with (or autograph from) a favorite writer. The brave ones step to the podium to share stories or ask questions. Their remarks bring more voices and perspectives into conversation. Their contributions add welcome depth and texture to the occasion. At a Jacqueline Woodson BookPeople talk that I moderated in October, an educator in the audience . . .
When people ask what my favorite book is, I always respond with Jacqueline Woodson’s 2012 picture book Each Kindness. But truth be told, everything she writes, from picture book to poetry to novel, is wonderful. Each new work prompts me to consider central questions of who we are, why we are, and how we can grow for the better. And, because I adore her writing and her advocacy for reading, I interview her every chance I get. Here’s an excerpt from our October conversation about her novel Red . . .
Can you spell sesquipedalian? Well, the children featured in anthropologist Shalini Shankar’s Beeline: What Spelling Bees Reveal About Generation Z’s New Path to Success can. The elite competitors in the Scripps National Spelling Bee are largely of South Asian descent and, though born after 1996, exhibit intensity, skill, and poise rare in people twice their age. On stage, they spell obscure words with ease, backed by supportive parents and thousands of hours of practice. And these feats . . .