IN THIS ISSUE
From Desk till Dawn
On p. 24 of this issue of Book Links, you’ll find a two-page photo spread of the work desk of acclaimed author and illustrator Don Brown. Don’t mind the clutter—captions will guide you
to various points of interest, from the Ratatouille sketches Brown
keeps pinned up for inspiration to the crusty old watercolor pots that
are long overdue being replaced.
This is just one example of a new feature we hope to bring to readers in the coming year. In a way, doesn’t Brown’s desk encapsulate so
much of this magazine’s purpose? Books Links strives to look at the
books that fill your shelves, no matter how meager or abounding, and
explain both the whys and the hows. Why did this illustrator choose
that method? And how can you use the results to better instill within
your students a love of literature?
(Also, under Brown’s desk is a “box of unused extension cords and
computer wires.” And don’t we all have one of those?)
Another thing you will begin to see in Book Links is a renewed focus on STEM learning. If you’re reading this, you probably know that
standards come and standards go, but STEM is one acronym that has
shown a little staying power. To that end, you’re going to start noticing an increase in STEM coverage. We’ll also be calling such content
out wherever it appears, so if you’re a teacher who focuses on STEM
topics, you can flip directly to the relevant articles.
This is important. Reader feedback has told us that you don’t always
have the time to luxuriate though every single page of our gorgeous
issues, drinking in each stunning illustration and savoring each wise
word. (I’m trying to get you to read every page anyway. How am
I doing?) We’re going to do our best to make things more quickly
accessible. Look for changes coming to our front covers and tables
of contents—subtle changes, yes, but ones we hope will make your
experience more efficient and enjoyable.
But enough teasing: let’s talk about the issue you’re holding. In
addition to Brown’s desk (and his fascinating interview, p. 19), we
exchange words with Newbery Honor winner Gennifer Choldenko
(p. 5), who hails from what she calls the “skinned-knee school” of
research, and S. D. Nelson (p. 32), who describes how his Standing
Rock Sioux Tribe heritage informs his work, particularly his recent
Sitting Bull: Lakota Warrior and Defender of His People (Nelson is a
“direct descendant of Sitting Bull’s people”).
And those are just the interviews! We have extended bibliographies
focusing on America in the 1920s (a renaissance of both art and technology, p. 13), Global Activism (Malala and beyond, p. 4), and Indian
and Pakistani culture (no pigeonholing allowed, p. 26). Maybe your
desk isn’t quite as bedecked as Don Brown’s, but see if you can’t find a
few minutes to sit down at it anyway, boot that box of old computer
wires aside, and have some fun learning something new.
On the Job