The Things You Learn Visiting Good Libraries
I gave a talk yesterday at the splendid Ocean County Library in Toms River, New Jersey. The large, airy, sunlit building gave me a big case of library-envy. I was there to speak at a conference on teenagers and reading, and I met the county reading supervior. She told me that New Jersey has joined nine other states (details at tinyurl.com/onjcuo) in commiting itself to a focus on " as critical thinking, collaboration and creating innovative solutions to complex problems.” The 21st Century initiative is significantly international in its approach, and, as far as I can tell, gives rea; weight to content training — which is to say nonfiction — in its professional development.
All of this sounds wonderful: critical thinking, international approach, content, nonfiction. But so many educational initiatives sound great. The question is what they really mean for schools, teachers, students. So I was pleased to learn that, starting June 1, there will be a national cybersummit that any of us can join to learn more: preview.tinyurl.com/qa5aab Clearly if this initiative is the real deal, we who create engaging nonfiction books for young readers need to be part of it. Books that challenge readers to think, books that engage readers in the world around them, seem like the ideal tools — if schools can find ways to use them.
It will take some time and some listening to see if this summit is the best place for us to join in. I’ll report back. And if any of you participate, please post and tell us about it.