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Announcing the 2018 Dorothy Carter Writer-in-Residence!

December 13, 2017


The Center for Children’s Literature at Bank Street College of Education is thrilled to announce that author Renée Watson will be our 4th annual Dorothy Carter Writer-in-Residence.




Renée will work with the 9/10s classrooms on free verse poetry in April of 2018. She is the author of several novels and picture books for children including Piecing Me Together (Bloomsbury) This Side of Home (Random House) and Harlem’s Little Blackbird: The Story of Florence Mills (Random House). She is the recipient of numerous honors and awards.  Renée’s bio.

Renée has worked as a writer in residence for over two decades teaching creative writing in schools throughout the United States. She is deeply committed to using the arts to discuss social issues as well as helping youth cope with trauma. Her picture book, A Place Where Hurricanes Happen is based on poetry workshops she facilitated with children in New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

Last year, Renée created I, Too, Arts Collective, a nonprofit committed to nurturing underrepresented voices in the creative arts. She launched the #LangstonsLegacy Campaign to raise funds to lease the Harlem brownstone where Langston Hughes lived during the last twenty years of his life. She aims to preserve the legacy of Langston Hughes and build on it by providing programming for emerging writers.

Renée joins a growing list of illustrious writers who have been Dorothy Carter Writer’s-in-Residence at Bank Street.

In 2015 Newbery medalist Kwame Alexander, author of The Crossover inaugurated the program and focused on poetry writing. In 2016 Newbery Honor medalist Adam Gidwitz taught creative writing. Last year, Crystal Kite winner, Kat Yeh , On the Way to BEA focused on short story writing. More information.

The Writer-in-Residence program is named in honor of Dorothy Carter, Bank Street’s first African American faculty member, writer of highly acclaimed children’s books, chair of the Bank Street Writers Lab and Broadway actress. We lost Dorothy in 2012 but continue to celebrate her contributions to children’s literature through the Writer-in-Residence program.




You can make a donation to the Dorothy Carter Writer-in-Residence program here. 


Tags: Renée Watson, Dorothy Carter, Writer-in-Residence

Elementary School Teachers and Librarians, Make Selection of a Prestigious Bank Street Children’s Book Award Part of Your 2017 – 2018 Academic Year Curriculum

December 5, 2017


Want your students to practice their reasoning, persuasive speaking and to sharpen their visual skills while they participate in the selection of Bank Street’s Center for Children’s Literature’s annual best picture and best science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) book?


First and Second grade classes may participate in selection of The Irma Simonton Black and James H. Black Award for Excellence in Children’s Literature (Irma Black Award). The award goes to an outstanding book for young children – a book in which text and illustrations are inseparable, each enhancing and enlarging on the other to produce a singular whole. The Irma Black Award is unusual in that children are the final judges of the winning book.

Follow the links for more information about the Irma Black Award  and to see a list of 2017 winners.  Registration


Third and Fourth grade classes are invited to jury the Cook Prize 2018.  The Cook Prize honors the best STEM book of the year published for children eight to ten. It is the only national children’s choice award honoring a STEM title. Follow the links for more information about the Cook Prize and a list of 2017 winnersRegistration.

Please share this information with your fellow educators and librarians.  Everyone is invited to participate.

New Art Work in the Library!

November 16, 2017


Image by Don Tate


Our October  BookFest 2017  featured some of the most beloved names in American children’s book illustration.  As is our custom, our dear guests  were asked to leave a picture on our library walls.

Below are photos of works in progress and final photos by David Wiesner,  Don Tate, Barbara Lehman, Jerry Pinkney and Eric Velasquez.  Come on by and enjoy our visual feast!

An image from The Red Book by Caldecott Honor Medalist, Barbara Lehman (HMH Books for Young Readers, 2004)



An image by Ezra Jack Keats winner, Don Tate



Six-time Caldecott winner David Wiesner creates an image from Tuesday, (HMH Books for Young Readers 1991)



Caldecott winner, Jerry Pinkney recreates his iconic lion from The Lion and the Mouse (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers 2009)


Jane Addams recipient, Eric Velasquez recreates the bust of Arturo Schomburg from Schomburg:  The Man Who Built a Library (Candlewick 2017)


Photo Credit:  Allie Jane Bruce


November 9, 2017

BookFest @ Bank Street  was celebrated on October 28th for the 8th consecutive year at Bank Street College and the 46th year in its history!

Luminaries of the children’s literature community joined us for an unforgettable day!  The event featured a full day of panel discussions on topics relating to children’s literature and a keynote address from author Carmen Agra Deedy (The Rooster Who Would Not Be Quiet!)

The first panel #NoWords: Picture Books for Children was led by illustrator, Stephen Savage (Where’s Walrus). He moderated a discussion with artists David Wiesner (Flotsam), Jerry Pinkney (The Lion and the Mouse) and Barbara Lehman (The Red Book) about crafting wordless stories.


Legend: Stephen Savage with David Wiesner, Barbara Lehman and Jerry Pinkney


The second panel: It Makes Me Laugh: Humor in Children’s Literature was led by Betsy Bird (Wild Things: Acts of Mischief in Children’s Literature). Contributors to this panel were Carmen Agra Deedy (The Rooster Who Would Not Be Quiet!), Rita Williams-Garcia (Clayton Byrd Goes Underground), and Jon Scieszka (the Guys Read series).


Moderator Betsy Bird with Carmen Agra Deedy, Rita Williams-Garcia and Jon Scieszka


Next, children’s book historian, Leonard Marcus delivered a presentation on the history of Little Golden Books and their connection to Bank Street.


Leonard Marcus with author Jon Scieszka


Afterwards, participants attended break out session discussions  on specific book genres.

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The third panel of the day was led by author Carole Boston Weatherford (Schomburg), The panel was entitled, The New Golden Age of Nonfiction for Young People. Carole led Candace Fleming (Giant Squid) Don Tate (Strong as Sandow) Tonya Bolden (Pathfinders: The Journeys of 16 Extraordinary Black Souls) and Eric Velasquez (Schomburg) in a discussion about their writing and researching processes.



Moderator Carole Boston Weatherford with Eric Velasquez, Tonya Bolden, Candace Fleming and Don Tate


BookFest’s keynote speaker was Carmen Agra Deedy (The Rooster Who Would Not Be Quiet!). Closing out the day’s events, Deedy delivered a high energy and emotional address.

Carmen Agra Deedy giving keynote and with Center for Children’s Literature Director, Cynthia Weill


At the end of the day,  participants bought books, authors signed copies  and socialized with participants.

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If you missed the event you can watch archived portions  at: KidLitTVBookFestLivestream

Articles written about BookFest:

Publishers Weekly


Educating Alice

Thank you to our sponsors who paid travel costs for authors and illustrators, contributed to our fabulous gift bags as well as sponsoring breakfast.

Candlewick Press, Charlesbridge, Cinco Puntos Press, Disney Book Group, Enchanted Lion Books, Epic!, Hardball Press, Harper Collins, Holiday House, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Jimmy Patterson, KidLit TV, Lerner, Little Brown and Company, MacMillan, Peachtree Publishers, Penguin Random House, Phaidon, Rodale Kids, Scholastic, Simon and Schuster, Sleeping Bear Press

Director of Library Services, Kristin Freda with gift bag.  Library staff assembling bags.


A few more photos of the day:

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Photo credits:  Cheryl Simon and Kate Marcus

A special thanks to our wonderful volunteers:

Michie Thomas, Myriam Chapman, Elizabeth Segal, Elizabeth Levy, Morika Tsujimura, Kate Marcus, Gillian Engberg, Todd Zinn, Alex Iwachiw, Peter Hare, Allie Bruce, Susannah Richards and Leslie Wagner

The Bank Street Writers Lab Receives a Carle Honor

October 16, 2017

On Thursday, September 28th the Bank Street Writers Lab (BSWL) received a prestigious award from The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, MA.

Each year, the Carle gives out four awards to individuals “whose creative vision and dedication are an inspiration to everyone who values picture books and their role in arts education and literacy.”

The BSWL received the Carle Honors Mentor Award which recognizes editors, designers, educators, librarians, scholars and others who champion picture books and picture book art.  The BSWL received the award “in recognition of its leadership and support of writers and artists throughout its long history.”

Members of the Bank Street Writers Lab were present at the gala event which took place at Gustavino’s in New York City. Also, present was the legendary author and founder of the museum, Eric Carle. The awards ceremony was moderated by Newbery award winning author, Jack Gantos. Other award recipients included illustrator Ed Young, Dr. John Cole and Anthea Bell.

The Bank Street Writers Lab was started by the founder of Bank Street College, Lucy Sprague Mitchell in 1937. Mitchell a progressive educator, advocated for children’s literature that focused on the world that children knew the “here and now” versus the once upon a time fairy tale fantasies favored then by librarians. To encourage the development of this new material she formed the Writers Lab. Early members of the Lab included Margaret Wise Brown, Maurice Sendak and Mordecai Gerstein.

Over the years, the members of the Lab continued to contribute to the canon of children’s literature through development of Little Golden Books as well as The Bank Street Readers.

Today, professional authors, many who are well known in the field of children’s literature, continue to meet for three hours a month to collaborate, share information and give constructive feedback on each other’s manuscripts. Some of the current members have been with the Lab for as much as 50 years.

Says long time member and author, Doreen Rappaport (Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King) about the Lab.

“The Lab is an oasis for writers, where we get to share works-in-progress with a community with various talents and skills, who value each other, provide insight and critical and emotional support during the difficult creative task of producing a book, and are never, ever competitive.”

Bank Street Writers Lab members are profoundly grateful to Bank Street College of Education for the resources to continue creating great works of literature for children for 80 years!

Some photos from the event:


Bank Street Writers Lab Members from left to right: Caron Levis, Elizabeth Upton, Robin Newman, Selene Castrovilla, Susanna Reich, Cynthia Weill, Julie Gribble. Present but not shown: Myriam Chapman, Barbara Hazen and Caron Lee Cohen



Award recipients and Eric Carle Museum Board Members with the wonderful Eric Carle



CCL Director and BSWL Chair, Cynthia Weill receives the Award for Bank Street



Newbery Award Winning Author, Jack Gantos moderated the evening


The legendary Eric Carle says a few words at the event

Photo Credit:  Johnny Wolf Photography


Publishers Weekly

Independent Publisher

Two New Writing for Children Courses!

September 14, 2017

The Center for Children’s Literature and Continuing Professional Studies are thrilled to announce two new courses to be offered this fall in its very popular Writing for Children series.


Award winning author, Amy Hest will return to Bank Street to teach Part II of Writing for Children.



Award winning author, Amy Hest


Celebrated editor, Sharyn November will teach an on-line course on marketing manuscripts to publishers.



Sharyn November has decades of editorial and marketing experience.


Enrollment is limited for both courses. Do not delay in registering!

To see all of the programs offered in the series go to:



The Center for Children’s Literature at Bank Street College of Education and Peachtree Publishers is Teaming Up on a New Initiative to Promote High Quality Literature for Children in Spanish

August 9, 2017

Bilingual and Spanish Language Teachers 

Send Your Lesson Plan Ideas to Us to Win a First Edition of:

Miguel y su valiente caballero: el joven Cervantes sueña a don Quijote

Miguel y su valiente caballero_jacket


Poems de Margarita Engle; Ilustrado por Raúl Colón

Traducido por Teresa Mlawer y Georgina Lázaro

(Peachtree Publishers 2018)

A poetic, fictionalized account of an iconic author with realistic, pen, ink and water color illustrations

Submit a one-page lesson plan or thematic unit outline you have created for a Spanish language or a bilingual classroom grades K-12 in any discipline using Miguel y su valiente caballero: el joven Cervantes sueña a don Quijote (You can work from this PDF  of the book  Miguel y su valiente caballero to create your plan.) The outline should contain the following information written in English or Spanish.

  • Your name and school
  • Description of Classroom, Grade Level, No. of Students, Discipline
  • Teaching Objective(s)
  • One or two paragraph summary of activities.
  • Materials Needed

Please put your information on this worksheet: Miguel y su valiente caballero hoja de trabajo. 

Bank Street staff and affiliates will review the work and we will post the best lesson plan ideas, crediting you on the Center for Children’s Literature blog. Winners will receive a first edition of the book from Peachtree Publishers soon after its release in March 2018.

For questions and to submit plans contact

Please send your lesson plan no later than January 30, 2018

Note we reserve the right to eliminate incomplete or unprofessionally prepared materials from consideration. Limit of 25 award copies. Submissions accepted from September 1, 2017 – January 30, 2018. Outlines will be reviewed for content, creativity, feasibility of execution, clarity of writing and intellectual quality by Bank Street staff. Submissions should need little or no editing. A sample of student work appreciated with submission but not necessary for application.

The Center for Children’s Literature at Bank Street College of Education seeks to promote the highest quality of literature for children in English and Spanish.

Miguel y su valiente caballero: el joven Cervantes sueña a don Quijote

PDF Miguel y su valiente caballero


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