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Join us for BookFest @ Bank Street 2016!

April 25, 2016

Pam-Munoz-RyanWe are very pleased to announce that BookFest @ Bank Street will take place on Saturday, October 22nd, 2016 and our keynote speaker this year will be Newbery Honoree and Pura Belpré Award winner Pam Muñoz Ryan!

Also joining us will be Megan Dowd Lambert and Hervé Tullet.

So mark your calendars and join us on October 22nd. Many more details on the day and registration info to come.

Who Are You to Say? Children’s Literature and the Censorship Conversation

April 20, 2016

Bank Street College of Education’s April 16th conference, “Who Are You to Say? Children’s Literature and the Censorship Conversation,” hosted some of the most thoughtful minds in children’s literature. The discussions were fascinating and intellectually stimulating with wonderful audience input. This event is one that students and academicians will be referencing for years to come!

Director of the Center for Children’s Literature and conference organizer, Cynthia Weill, opened with a few remarks.


Children’s book scholar Leonard Marcus gave a brief introduction to the “Historic Roots of Censorship in the United States.”


The first panel, “Developing Challenged Children’s Books: Authors and Their Editors,” was also moderated by Leonard Marcus. He lead authors Robie Harris, It’s Perfectly Normal, Susan Kuklin, Beyond Magenta and their editor from Candlewick, Hilary Van Dusen, along with Pete Parnell and Justin Richardson, authors of And Tango Makes Three and their editor, David Gale of Simon and Schuster in a fascinating discussion on creating books around controversial topics.


Pulitzer Prize winner, David Shipler, The Working Poor: Invisible in America (Vintage Press) led a second panel “Why Are Young Adult Books Challenged?” Panelists emily m. danforth, The Miseducation of Cameron Post (Harper Collins), Shelley Diaz, Young Adult Reviewer at School Library Journal, Coe Booth, Tyrell (Scholastic), and Meg Medina, Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass (Candlewick) talked about their personal experiences of being challenged and banned.


The third panel, “Context and Controversy: Banned, Censored and Contested Books for Young People Today,” was led by author Elizabeth Levy. Panelists included: Allie Jane Bruce, Children’s Librarian, Bank Street College of Education; Fatima Shaik, Children’s/Young Adult Books Committee, PEN American Center; Andy Laties, Manager, Bank Street Book Store; Kiera Parrot, Reviews Director, School Library Journal; and Cheryl Willis Hudson, Editorial Director, Just Us Books, Inc. Each participant offered their differing opinions on recently challenged books.

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Joan Bertin, Director of National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC), gave a brilliant closing keynote speech on children’s book censorship.


At the end of the day, authors signed books and authors, panelists, and participants mingled for more conversation.

Don’t forget to join us for BookFest on Saturday, October 22, 2016!

-Cindy Weill

Photo courtesy Rebecca Migdal

Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely talk with Bank Street 7th Graders about “All American Boys”

April 13, 2016

On April 12, authors Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely talked with Bank Street School for Children 12/13s about All American Boys, which they co-wrote.

Each told a personal story about interacting with the police as a teenager.  Reynolds was a passenger in a car which was pulled over by police for running a yellow light, which is not illegal.  Police drew guns, forced him and his friends out of the car, emptied their backpacks and searched every part of the car.  After finding nothing illegal in the car, the police said “you can go now” and left them to clean up the mess.  All this happened in his own neighborhood.

“The barrel of a gun is tiny, until it’s in your face” said Reynolds.

Kiely’s story presented a stark contrast: He was driving 30 miles over the speed limit when a police car signaled him to stop.  Panicking, he kept going until he found a parking lot, in which he stopped, taking the time to pull into a parking spot.  When questioned by the police officer, Kiely “went into a sob story,” after which the police officer let him off with a warning.

“I broke the law twice: Speeding and reckless driving,” said Kiely.  “The officer told me and my white friends, ‘Go home and be safe.'”

Bank Street students leaped at the chance to ask questions and have a conversation, asking why the book ended as it did and whether the two had any conflicts while writing the story.

“We decided early on there was never going to be some sort of kumbaya moment in the book,” said Reynolds.  “That would not be honest.”

“It was a gift and a privilege for me, as a white person, to work on this book,” said Kiely.  “I don’t take that lightly.”

All American Boys won Bank Street’s 2016 Mock Printz award and also received the inaugural Walter Dean Myers Award from We Need Diverse Books as well as a Coretta Scott King Honor.

Children’s Book Committee – April Pick

April 1, 2016


You Never Heard of Casey Stengel?!
by Jonah Winter, illustrated by Barry Blitt
(Schwartz & Wade Books, 2015)

How did a “goofball” mediocre baseball player become possibly the greatest manager in baseball history? Playful watercolors. (7-9)

Our Young Reviewer says:

This book is great for baseball fans or for those who enjoy a fun biography. It reads almost like a tall tale, but it’s true. It’s funny, but has a message about working hard and believing in yourself. Casey sticks to his guns and is ultimately successful. He can laugh at himself and gets the last laugh too.

– Dante, 12, Amagansett, NY

Want to become a Young Reviewer?  See our past monthly picks.

Submit 2016 Irma Black & Cook Prize Votes

March 22, 2016

Irma Black ballots from Saint Ann’s School 

We are very pleased to announce that votes are now being accepted for the 2016 Irma Black Award and Cook Prize! All votes are due April 17, 2016.

Irma Black Voting Form

Cook Prize Voting Form

Many thanks to Rebecca Johnson, lower school librarian from Saint Ann’s School in Brooklyn, for sharing these great Irma Black ballots from her enthusiastic students:)

Best Children’s Books of the Year, 2016 Edition

March 10, 2016

CBC2016cover-smThe Best Children’s Books of the Year, 2016 Edition includes more than 600 titles chosen by the Children’s Book Committee as the best of the best published in 2015. In choosing books for the annual list, reviewers consider literary quality and excellence of presentation as well as the potential emotional impact of the books on young readers. Other criteria include credibility of characterization and plot, authenticity of time and place, age suitability, positive treatment of ethnic and religious differences, and the absence of stereotypes. Nonfiction titles are further evaluated for accuracy and clarity. Each book accepted for the list is read and reviewed by at least two committee members and then discussed by the committee as a whole.

Under Five | Five to Nine | Nine to Twelve | Twelve to Fourteen | Fourteen and Up

Purchase a print copy of the 2016 Edition for your collection for $10.00 (plus $3.00 shipping). Please contact to place your order.

Who Are You to Say? Children’s Literature and the Censorship Conversation

March 9, 2016


Join us on Saturday, April 16, 2016 for a dialogue on today’s controversial and challenged books for children.

When: Saturday, April 16, 2016, 9:00am – 1:00pm
Where: Tabas Auditorium, Bank Street College of Education
610 West 112th Street
New York, NY, 10025

Tickets: $25






Developing Challenged Children’s Books: Authors and Their Editors
Moderator – Leonard Marcus, Children’s Book Historian
Panelists – Robie H. HarrisIt’s Perfectly Normal, Susan KuklinBeyond Magenta, editor Hilary Van Dusen, Candlewick; Pete Parnell and Justin RichardsonAnd Tango Makes Three, editor David Gale, Simon and Schuster

Why Are Young Adult Books Challenged?
Moderator – David Shipler, Pulitzer Prize Winner and Author of Freedom of Speech: Mightier than the Sword and The Working Poor: Invisible in America, Vintage Press
Panelists –  Meg MedinaYaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass, Candlewick; emily m. danforthThe Miseducation of Cameron Post, Harper Collins; Shelly DiazSchool Library Journal, Young Adult Reviewer; Coe BoothTyrell, Scholastic

Context and Controversy:  Recently Censored and Contested Books for Children
Moderator – Elizabeth Levy, Former Co-Chair of the PEN Children’s Book Committee Panelists – Allie Jane Bruce, Children’s Librarian, Bank Street College of Education; Fatima Shaik, Children’s/Young Adult Books Committee, PEN American Center; Andy Laties, Manager, Bank Street Book Store; Kiera Parrott,  Reviews Director, School Library Journal; Cheryl Willis Hudson, Editorial Director, Just Us Books, Inc.

Closing Keynote Speaker

Joan Bertin, Director, National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC)

Looking for resources? We compiled a bibliography of sources authored by or suggested by our panelists.


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