A Big Week for Awards

I have to laugh when I read the newspaper articles about the Writer’s Guild strike and it’s impact on the “big” media awards. The show can’t go on, so to speak, because there is no one to write cue cards so someone can READ about what we watch (vs. read).

Why not just read some award-winners instead? This week the American Library Association presented its slate of award-winning books for the year. These are the most recognized awards in kid lit circles, but they aren’t the only awards.

In the Tub, our goal is to encourage reading. For kid lit fans (parents, librarians, teachers) the Caldecott or Newberry or Prinze winners are likely books we’ve already read! But what about families where reading isn’t a recreational activity?

There are plenty of parents who don’t like to read, but who want their kids to read well. They want to find great books, but since they aren’t big book fans, where should they look?

Start with the state book awards. In every state (except Mississippi) you will find at least one kids’ choice award program. Who better than their child’s peers to recommend a book they’ll want to read? Here’s The Reading Tub’s Directory of state and regional awards programs in North America. All you need to do is “find” your state. All of the awards are listed in one place to make it easy.

Odds are, though, that folks don’t know much about the awards because … they aren’t big readers. I’m not sure what the answer is when it comes to getting the word out, but all of us who are passionate about helping kids read … not to mention those in the kid lit business ought to be able to come up with something.

A New Year Begins!

It’s January, and it seems like the word “resolution” is everywhere. Here in the tub, we tend to frame our resolutions in terms of what we want to do: Give parents, teachers, librarians, tutors, grandparents, et al, the tools they need to “grow a reader.”

Still, January is as good a time as any to grab a cup of cocoa and think about where we’ve been and what lies ahead. When I started the Reading Tub, I focused on the “learning” aspect of literacy. That’s where “Turning a page … Opening the World”® comes from. My thought was, get a child to love (or even just like) reading and you will expand his natural curiosity and imagination … and along the way engender a love of learning.

But as I sit here today (having read a little more myself), I realize our goal really is bigger than just learning. It’s simply this: bring reading home to families. I have adopted this as the Reading Tub® my mantra because it captures the various facets of children’s literacy and what we are trying to do. So here is what we’re resolve to keep doing this year.

Encourage parents/grandparents/aunts/uncles to read with the children in their lives … even kids who can read independently can benefit from time shared reading aloud with Mom or Dad.

Help the adults find great books that match their kids’ interests and reading levels and skip the over-hyped stuff!

Provide information that explains why reading with a child at home is so important.

Post articles and provide links to resources that help parents/grandparents/teachers teach their children to read.

Here’s to keeping those resolutions for 2008!


Write On! is the brainchild of Dallas Woodburn, a junior at USC. Every year, Write On! sponsors a holiday book drive to collect books for kids who would not otherwise have something to read!

The Write On Holiday Book Drive is in full swing. Here is the note I received from Dallas yesterday …

Writer Andrea Accinelli is starting a book drive in her town of Unionville, Canada. Mike George in Oxnard has placed a change jar in his office to start collecting money to purchase books when December rolls around. And Cynthia Brian, radio host and founder of the nonprofit organization “Be The Star You Are” has already donated $600 worth of new books! Books and monetary donations can be mailed to me at:

400 Roosevelt Ct.
Ventura, CA 93003

Dallas will deliver books on Christmas Eve, so there is still one week to get them to her. If you prefer, you can drop the books off with a local charity and send her the count of the donated books. You can email her at woodburnwriteon [at] gmail.com or stop by her blog: dallaswoodburn.blogspot.com

Remember: These aren’t toys, books are precious gifts that have lifelong benefits for a child.

Happy Holidays!