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INBOX Ideas - Previous Revision

Teaching with Award-Winning Literature
from NCTE INBOX 1-23-13

The NCTE Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children (G) and the American Library Association Youth Media Awards (G) have just been announced! The following resources from and NCTE give ideas for teaching with award-winning literature.

The  Orbis Pictus Award was established by the NCTE Elementary Section in 1989 to honor nonfiction for children. "The Significance of Topics of Orbis Pictus Award-Winning Books," a chapter from NCTE's The Best in Children's Nonfiction (E-M), explores the elements that come into play as the committee chooses the winner. The book offers readers a fascinating glimpse into the world of children's nonfiction, as well as practical tips on teaching these texts. This year's Orbis Pictus-winning book, Monsieur Marceau: Actor without Words, is a picture book biography about Marcel Marceau -- the world's most famous mime.

This Language Arts article (E-M) highlights the one award-winning book, five honor books, and eight recommended books from among more than 300 titles of nonfiction for children submitted last year for the 2012 awards. These books explored a variety of topics, including history, art, nature, biography, and science.

Each year, the American Library Association (ALA) recognizes a multitude of books and authors for their quality and impact. Ranging from awards for young children's books such as the Caldecott and Newbery Medals, to the Belpré award for books celebrating Latino culture, to the Coretta Scott King Author and Illustrator Awards, the ALA recognizes a wide range of outstanding material for children, young adults, and adults.

NCTE's A Master Class in Children's Literature: Trends and Issues in an Evolving Field (E-M) discusses contemporary issues in children's literature and offers suggestions, strategies, and resources for teacher educators, teachers, and librarians. Read more in this sample chapter. This calendar entry (G) provides links to and ideas on teaching with winning titles. Tune in next month for the Text Messages podcast which will highlight this year's winning texts or listen to past episodes.

Walter Dean Myers has won many awards for his books -- Newbery Honors, the Caldecott Honor Award, the Inaugural Michael L. Printz Award, and the Coretta Scott King Award, just to name a few. In 2012, Myers was named the Library of Congress's National Ambassador for Young People's Literature. In "A Labor of Love: Walter Dean Myers Writes to Encourage Young Adults" he talks more about his writing process and his hope for his readers.

This study presented in Voices from the Middle focuses on ways that sixth graders reacted to the question of book awards and awards in general, positioning themselves as reflective inquirers as they engaged in the regular sixth-grade beginning-of-the-year curriculum—reading books that have been nominated for the state book award.

The English Journal article "What's Good about the Best?" (M-S) discusses three award-winning novels for young adults that are very popular with school teachers: The Giver by Lois Lowry, Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse, and Holes by Louis Sachar. The article examines the quality of plots, characters, and themes, but also considers the artistry in details and emotional impact. There are also suggestions offered for teaching these novels in the classroom.

In "Relationships with Literature" (TE) in English Education, the author recounts an activity in which he had his preservice teachers discuss and write about their relationships with literature -- both positive and negative.

For additional book suggestions, check out the 2012 Notable Children's Books in the English Language Arts from the Children's Literature Assembly of NCTE.

Looking for more things to celebrate? Visit the Children's Authors and Illustrators Week calendar entry (G) at for details on the event that takes place the first week of February.

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