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Friday Afternoon Tea at Bank Street College

May 26, 2015

Join us for the first Bank Street Library Salon!

Friday, June 5, 2015
5:00 to 6:30 p.m.


Mix with members of the Bank Street Children’s Book Committee, the Graduate Faculty,
Librarians, and School for Children teachers as we offer highlights from the
2015 Best Children’s Books of the Year and invite you to peruse them.

Refreshments will be served.


The 2015 Irma Black Award & Cook Prize Celebration – The Video

May 20, 2015


Many thanks to Julie Gribble and KidLit TV!

Celebrate the Irma Black Award & Cook Prize!

May 7, 2015

Irma Black Program_2015Join us at Bank Street on Thursday, May 14 to celebrate the 2015 Irma Black Award and Cook Prize winners and honor books!

Fiona Robinson, winner of the 2012 Irma Black Award for What Animals Really Like, is this year’s keynote speaker. Cheryl Bardoe, Mac Barnett, Sarah Campbell, Brian Floca, Twig George, Wendell Minor, and John Rocco will all be on hand to celebrate. We are looking forward to a fantastic morning!

Register here to join us or watch the fun live at KidLitTV beginning at 9:30am.

For more on this year’s awards, check out ‘The 2015 Irma Black Award & Cook Prize Winners Announced‘ in School Library Journal.

Congratulations to our winners and honor books and many thanks to School Library Journal and KidLitTV for their support.






Children’s Book Committee – May Pick

May 1, 2015


A Bird is a Bird
by Lizzy Rockwell
(Holiday House)

What makes a bird a bird? It takes special common attributes–all rendered with watercolors and colored pencils.
Our Young Reviewer Says:
The amount of information in this book is amazing. The text was simple enough for a younger reader, but varieties of birds were included which was great for additional learning.  The illustrations were so detailed and exact–very realistic. We loved them!
– Stefano (and his mom), 3, East Hampton, New York
Want to become a Young Reviewer?
See our past monthly picks.

Children’s Book Committee – April Pick

April 20, 2015


The Children’s Book Committee celebrates National Poetry Month with the winner of the 2015 Claudia Lewis Award for Younger Readers. You may view the award ceremony online, including Jacqueline’s remarks delivered by her editor Nancy Paulsen.


Brown Girl Dreaming
by Jacqueline Woodson
(Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin)
Through a series of poems, the author Jacqueline Woodson tells the story of growing up in Ohio, South Carolina, and New York during the turbulent Civil Rights era, and of becoming a writer. (10-14)

Our Young Reviewer says:

I found this book beautiful. I loved the way that one character connects the Midwest, the South, and the Northeast so smoothly. Jacqueline–both the author and the narrator–explains the differences in living in each place in the U.S. I absolutely fell in love with Jacqueline’s family. I was moved by her mother’s determination, her grandmother’s quiet strength, her brother’s singing, and her littlest brother’s innocence. However, her relationship with her grandfather is enough to recommend the book.
– Julie, 15, Highland Park, New Jersey

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

The 2015 Children’s Book Committee Awards

April 16, 2015

Rocco Staino of KidLit TV interviews Susan Kuklin, winner of the 2015 Flora Stieglitz Straus Award for Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out.

Susan Kuklin

and Ann M. Martin for her book Rain Reign, winner of the 2015 Josette Frank Award for Younger Readers.

Ann M. Martin

In addition to seeing these interviews, you may view the entire ceremony with all of the Bank Street Children’s Book Committee Children’s Book Awards, with acceptance speeches and remarks from all of the winners.

Congratulations to these wonderfully talented book creators!

Many thanks to Julie Gribble and KidLit TV for the wonderful video coverage!

Kwame Alexander: Poetry and the Common Humanity

April 10, 2015

by Rachel Reda

As a child, Kwame Alexander might have been the only young boy to get excited when his father told him to clean out the garage. For Kwame, the garage was a world of discovery. This particular space in their Virginia home was cluttered with milk crates stacked high, containing books of all sorts. They ranged from first editions of poetry to books on precolonial black Africa to books on methodology. The garage was his library, and his parents, both writers and educators, were his librarians.

Kwame Alexander
Kwame Alexander

Now a published author, poet and playwright, Kwame has written 18 books, two of which were NAACP Image Award Nominees. He received the 2015 Newbery Medal for The Crossover, a powerful novel written entirely in verse that follows a 12-year-old boy, his twin brother and their love for basketball. The narrative paints an authentic portrait of a close-knit family.

Kwame has a passion for poetry and a commitment to exposing young people to cultures and experiences beyond their own. His values support Bank Street’s mission of achieving social justice through education, which is why the College named Kwame its inaugural Dorothy A. Carter Writer-in-Residence. He will spend six weeks working with nine- and 10-year-olds in the School for Children on their poetry.

On April 6, Kwame joined his father, Bank Street alumnus Dr. E. Curtis Alexander, in an event titled Doing the Write Thing, 1969-2015: A Literary Legacy Conversation. In the discussion, moderated by author and historian Leonard S. Marcus, Kwame and his father reflected on their past experiences and expressed their ideals while demonstrating a close-knit relationship.

Jennifer Brown, Director of the Center for Children’s Literature, and Allie Bruce, Bank Street’s children’s librarian, knew they had found Bank Street’s Writer-in-Residence after a panel discussion that Bruce moderated at the School Library Journal Day of Dialog last May. Kwame, who participated in the panel, struck a chord in Brown when he said, “We all love, smile, cry. If we can get past the labels, we can become more diverse people, as opposed to trying to find diverse books.”

Introduced to poetry at an early age, Kwame listened as his mother read Nikki Giovanni’s Spin a Soft Black Song: Poems for Children. Later, he would take an advanced poetry class with the gifted poet herself, who helped him find his “groove.” Her improvisation method is what will inspire Kwame as he helps Bank Street students take a creative leap.

“You didn’t know what was going to happen each day in class,” said Kwame at one point during the conversation with his father. “That’s how I was taught. But you were going to take that risk. You were going to have a clearer understanding of how to make words dance on a page.”

Kwame recalled finding two items in his attic: his father’s jazz records, and a scrapbook containing photos and front-page news features of his father playing basketball. When he sat down to write The Crossover, basketball and jazz became sources of inspiration. They were hooks, and they were metaphors. As the Dorothy A. Carter Writer-in-Residence, Kwame hopes to help Bank Street students translate their own diverse experiences into poetry by adopting their individual “swag,” as he put it.

The Alexanders have a long history with Bank Street. Dr. Alexander, Kwame’s father, graduated from Bank Street Graduate School of Education in 1970 and, serendipitously, studied with Dorothy Carter. “Bank Street taught us about the common humanity,” he said. “All children are learners.” He encouraged his son, when working with School for Children students, to “let them flow, let them soar. It doesn’t have to conform to your lesson plan.”

“Writing is more than pen and paper,” said Kwame. “This is the part of the writing life that I love. It’s about being able to live this authentic life, to have something to write about.”

Pictured, left to right: Bank Street President Shael Polakow-Suransky, Writer-in-Residence Kwame Alexander, moderator Leonard Marcus, and Dr. E. Curtis Alexander.

Bank Street College has established an endowment for the Dorothy A. Carter Writer-in-Residency to make this an annual event. If you would like to make a gift, please do so here.

Did you miss the conversation? You may view it here.

Reprinted from Bank Street News.



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