Picture books

Nonfiction, Picture books, Teaching Tips

A Poetry & Earth Month Mentor Text Activity

April is poetry month and Earth Day is celebrated every April 22nd. But do you know about the Earth Month Ecochallenge? It runs from April 1 – April 30, 2024. This month, pledge to take action. The more who do, the greater the impact. From their website, “This year’s theme, “Conserving Every Ecosystem, Caring for Every Creature,” highlights the intersection of conservation and behavior change. By focusing on daily actions and continuous learning, we aim to create a sustainable and just world, not just for humans but for all species and ecosystems we rely on.”

Below is an activity for kids using NO WORLD TOO BIG, a perfect fit for April’s Poetry Month, the Earth Month Ecochallenge, and Earth Day on April 22nd. Click here or on the worksheet to download the template.

Every day is Earth Day!

Diverse Books, Louisiana, Picture books

Happy Book Birthday, Yumbo Gumbo!

What a fun book launch! Lots of moms, grandparents and a dad came to the Yumbo Gumbo storytime at Joseph-Beth Cincinnati. A sibling pair totally understood how big and little siblings relationships work and identified with my characters Annabelle and Beau. All the kiddos and their grown-ups were engaged, and they loved the bread basket craft. When a mom asked her son what he planned to put in his basket, he said cars. 🤣

 

[videopack id=”12197″]https://www.keiladawson.com/wp-content/uploads/2024/02/2024-Book-Tour-Video-1.mp4[/videopack]
Diverse Books, Picture books, Teaching Tips

Using Storytelling to Teach Math in the Primary Classroom

Activism, Nonfiction, Picture books

No World Too Big Award News!

NO WORLD TOO BIG is a finalist for the Russell Freedman Award for Nonfiction for a Better World. This award is given by the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Ilustrators (SCBWI) “to a work of nonfiction that contributes to our understanding of how to make our world and society better.”

See the full list of finalists on the @SCBWIIMPACT post on IG. The winner will be announced in March!

Lindsay, Jeanette and I are grateful to the youth who trusted us to tell their stories and the poets inspired to write about them.

NO WORLD TOO BIG POETS

Aka Niviâna

Traci Sorell

Carlon Zachras

Sally J Pla

Vanessa Newton

JaNay Brown-Wood

Dalia Elhassan

David Bowles

Rajani Narasimhan LaRocca

Renée M. LaTulippe

Heidi Stemple

Teresa Robeson

Nonfiction, Picture books

Chicago Public Library Best Books of 2023

Honored to see NO WORLD TOO BIG on Chicago Public Library’s Best Informational Books of 2023 list! And in such great company! Congratulations everyone! Follow this link to see the full list.

And I love to see it in libraries and bookstores, too!

A librarian friend shared this photo from the Wright Library in Dayton, Ohio
Activism, Nonfiction, Picture books

New Book Deal Announcement!

I am so excited to announce there’s a third poetry anthology featuring fourteen incredible young neurodivergent activists in the works! Once again, it is such an honor that these young people have trusted us with their stories. And I am thrilled to teamed up with the uber talented Lindsay H. Metcalf and Jeanette Bradley, too.

NO BRAIN THE SAME: Young Neurodivergent Activists Shaping Our Future will be on bookshelves in 2026!

Louisiana, Picture books, Teaching Tips

What day is it today?

Ki jou çé ojordi? What day is it today? Chicken knows!

It’s National Gumbo Day! In this short video, I use use Kouri-Vini /Krèyòl Lalwizyàn or Louisiana Creole to share a little bit about YUMBO GUMBO, my Storytelling Math Book with Charlesbridge Publishing.

Chicken approves.

Enjoy!

 

 

Diverse Books, Louisiana, Picture books

New book cover reveal coming soon!

I am so excited for you to see the cover of YUMBO GUMBO that will be on shelves February 20, 2024. My friend and fellow author, Vivian Kirkfield, will share it on her blog next week. Stay tuned!

Author visits, Nonfiction, Picture books

Storytime at Cover to Cover Children’s Books

Spending the morning with young readers and book lovers is something authors look forward to. Cover to Cover Children’s Books in Columbus, OH supports readers, writers, and illustrators, which is invaluable to book creatives and their communities.

Thanks to Bryan Loar, I had the pleasure of spending Saturday morning for their weekly storytime reading from NO WORLD TOO BIG. And Shelly from Green Columbus, a nonprofit focusing on the environment, talked about their work. See the video re-cap below.

Making memories!

Activism, Nonfiction, Picture books

Celebrate Poetry Month & Earth Day!

April is Poetry Month and every April 22nd is Earth Day. For all you eco-warriors, this activity calendar using NO WORLD TOO BIG: Young People Fighting Global Climate Change is filled with ideas.

What will you do to help our planet, today?

Thanks to Lindsay for putting this together!

Author visits, Nonfiction, Picture books

No World Too Big Book Tour!

It’s almost tour time! Lindsay H. Metcalf, Jeanette Bradley and I are kicking off our NO WORLD TOO BIG book tour with my regional SCBWI Ohio Central-South chapter tomorrow, Wednesday, Feb. 22, at 7pm/EST. Here’s the link if you’d like to register for this free event.

And we are all off to Washington, DC, where I will meet Lindsay and Jeanette in-person for the very first time after collaborating on two books together! Take that pandemic.

Then each of us will be on the road in different places to promote NO WORLD TOO BIG. Save the date if you’re in one of these cities on our tour. We’d love to meet you!

See my NO WORLD TOO BIG book page for free educational content.

Charlesbridge | ISBN: 978-1-62354-313-6
40 pages | ages 5-9

Bookshop  | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Activism, Nonfiction, Picture books

There Is No Planet B: Ten Books about…

The Nerdy Book Club includes teachers and librarians extraordinaire who care about books, reading, and their students. It was an honor to contribute to their blog, where I shared ten current and forthcoming books about climate change for young readers. Because everyone can do something to fight global warming!

There Is No Planet B: Ten Books about Global Warming for Young Readers

Activism, Nonfiction, Picture books

SNEAK PEEK! A video about No World Too Big

My co-editors, Lindsay H. Metcalf and Jeanette Bradley and I made this video, Discover Composting with NO WORLD TOO BIG!, when our publisher, Charlesbridge, invited us to take part in their Spring Preview ’23 book buzz event.

You can get a sneak peek at NO WORLD TOO BIG: YOUNG PEOPLE FIGHTING GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE and learn how we compost.

NO WORLD TOO BIG is available for pre-order wherever books are sold. It will be on a shelf near you in March, just in time for Earth Day in April!

Louisiana, Media, Picture books

Louisiana Book Award Nomination

I am thrilled to announce that Louisiana readers nominated OPENING THE ROAD for a Louisiana Readers’ Choice Award! This is such an honor, and I am beyond grateful to know this work of nonfiction is resonating with kids. Click here to find a list of other titles nominated for this award.

How exciting to know my book is hanging out with the Newbery Medal winning book by a fellow Kidlit For Growing Minds member, Rajani LaRocca.

Merci beaucoup to my home state!

Picture books, School Visits, Writing Craft

Author Visit: Aga Khan Academy, Kenya

I am thrilled to have had my first in-person school visit since the height of the pandemic at Aga Khan Academy in Mombasa, Kenya, in June. Aga Khan Academy – Mombasa is a primary through secondary dual language, International Baccalaureate World School, with a residential option. Student leadership and community service are important strands within their school programming. The school admin, teachers, and support staff are incredibly dedicated and hardworking. It was a pleasure to spend time with kids at this amazing school. The students made this visit so much fun!

I visited with Year 3, 4, 5 students in the primary school; read The King Cake Baby to the younger class and OPENING THE ROAD to the older classes. And they did some writing too. Students knew about Carnevale and one student even knew about Mardi Gras! They have also learned US history and that people are treated differently in America because of the color of their skin. And now they know more, soaked up that knowledge like little sponges. It was so good to be back among our future leaders. Some things are truly universal because one student asked how old I am! I told her old enough to be her grandmother. LOL!

My last visit was with Year 7 – middle school aged kids. The school asked me to discuss poetry. I promised they will love the poems I’d share from NO VOICE TOO SMALL. Then asked them to “show me” what mood they were in, because poetry is all about emotion and, at their age, they have experienced all kind of moods! HA. At first they were a little reserved, then I struck some poses, some cracked up, and joined in! Middle schoolers! I showed them the video of Charles Waters reading his spoken word poem about DJ Annie Red and they were hooked! They gasped at the story about Noah Barnes and were impressed with how Lindsay H. Metcalf followed rules to write a Tanka sequence about him. And of course I bragged about my friend Marcie Rinka Wessels, who writes beautiful and thoughtful Haiku, then shared my silly version “How to Haiku” when discussing voice. After the presentation, a teacher told me she saw a few boys chatting, walked over wondering what they were up to and they were engaged in a conversation about what is and isn’t poetry while discussing rap music. She was so happy! For the writing part, they started brainstorming and will write bio poems.

What a blast to be with kids again, and to visit with students at Aga Khan Academy – Mombasa.

Picture books, Writing Craft

Reading For Research Author Mentor Text Studies 2020

December – ReFoReMo Best Mentor Texts of 2020

November – Deborah Underwood

October – Margarita Engle

September – Mentor Text Research NO VOICE TOO SMALL Lindsay Metcalf, Keila V. Dawson, Jeanette Bradley

September – Tim McCanna

August – Kevin Henkes

July – Nikki Grimes

June – Kim Norman

April – 2020 ReFoReMo Challenge Reflections

May 2020 – Lesléa Newman

January 2020- Julie Abery

Diverse Books, Picture books

2021 June/July Perfectly Paired PB’s

This month’s reading for research post about picture book pairs on the ReFoReMo blog looks at sports, Pride, and 4th of July.

This new feature, Perfectly Paired Picture Books posts match mentor texts that represent the diverse audience who read the books we write based on similar story elements.

Nonfiction, Picture books

Celebrating Children’s Book Week May -9

Let’s Play! Kidlit For Growing Minds is hosting a 7-DAY 9-BOOK ‘Two Truths and a Lie’ giveaway!

We’re celebrating Children’s Book Week on Twitter, May 3-9. To enter, reply to each author’s original tweet. US educators ONLY. Winner selected every 48 hours!

Check out our Twitter page, @ForGrowingMinds, where we will retweet but don’t forget to reply to the original author’s tweet. Join us!

Diverse Books, Nonfiction, Picture books

OPENING THE ROAD

SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL: 

“Dawson’s text makes a stark, complex topic accessible and comprehensible to younger readers.”

VERDICT A compelling picture book that introduces the history of segregation and its impact in the U. S. to young readers.–Hilary Tufo, Columbus ­Metropolitan Lib., Reynoldsburg, OH

From a presentation on OPENING THE ROAD, students learn:

-the untold story of Victor Hugo Green’s contribution to history, making it a great foray into lessons on equity and social justice for young learners

-how to make historical connections from the past text to today

-the vocabulary needed to understand complex concepts in the long road toward seeking social justice

-to use skills in cause and effect connecting historical events and their impact on Black Americans.

-how research is used to write fiction and nonfiction stories

WHAT I DO AT SCHOOL VISITS:

-Discuss the importance of stories about unsung heroes like Victor Hugo Green.

-Introduce concepts and vocabulary needed to understand the story.

-Read OPENING THE ROAD.

-Discuss research methods, obstacles, and my writing process.

-Share an activity to make a real life connection to the story.

-Leave time for Q&A

ADDITONAL CONTENT:

Educational Guide with standards-aligned  Educational Activity Guide

Flipgrid Discovery LibraryOPENING THE ROAD has topics for students to explore in the Discovery Library. Parents and educators can access videos, and mini lessons specific to the topics, content and vocabulary used in the book. Readers can watch and respond to the videos with their own recordings and writings! For privacy, teachers can copy this module into their own classroom Flipgrid sites. 

ENDORSEMENTS:

“This intricately illustrated and inspiring book reveals the courageous spirit of Victor Hugo Green and reminds us that within us all lies the power to change the world.” —Oge Mora, author and illustrator of Thank You, Omu; Saturday; and The Oldest Student

“Opening the Road is a story of resilience in the Black American tradition of ‘making a way out of no way’–that is, challenging the limits of racism through ingenuity, community, and hope.” —Veronica Miller Jamison, illustrator of A Computer Called Katherine

“In Opening the Road, author Keila Dawson opens children’s eyes to the dangers of segregation and the power of the human spirit to resist and find detours around injustice.” –Nancy Churnin, award-winning author of Manjhi Moves a Mountain and The William Hoy Story

“This road trip into history detailing Victor Green’s efforts to bypass racial discrimination when traveling is a welcome companion to the stories of Rosa Parks and Elizabeth Jennings.” –Beth Anderson, author of Lizzie Demands a Seat and An Inconvenient Alphabet

Author visits, Picture books, School Visits

World Read Aloud Day 2021!

Happy World Read Aloud Day! I had a blast virtually visiting with students from the West Coast to the East Coast today. I enjoy interacting with curious kids.

And they never surprise me with their comments or questions!

These are from today:

“I’m a YouTuber, I know all about editing 24/7.”

“Do you get paid by each book you sell?”

🤣

I admit, I chuckled at the YouTuber but then asked for her name and wrote it down! You never know.

I got a WRAD Challenge from a friend to make a video about what I’m doing today. Here it is. Happy reading!

Activism, Diverse Books, Nonfiction, Picture books

OPENING THE ROAD Educator’s Guide

It’s a long, winding road toward social justice. Keep going!

Click on the cover for a free classroom guide to use with OPENING THE ROAD: VICTOR HUGO GREEN AND HIS GREEN BOOK.

Author visits, Louisiana, Mardi Gras, Picture books, School Visits

Kings’ Day School Visit

It was a pleasure to have Keila V. Dawson speak to my Kindergarten class about her book The King Cake Baby! She really connected with my kids and had them saying words in French by the end of her visit.  She inspired us to write our own class book!” Elizabeth Gates, Kindergarten teacher, Rothenberg Academy, Cincinnati Public Schools.

On January 6th, the first day of Carnival, I had the pleasure of virtually visiting with Kindergarten students at Rothenberg Academy in Cincinnati. We compared Cincinnati to New Orleans and talked about things that are the same and different. Ok, mostly we talked about food!

And I read THE KING CAKE BABY. So happy to have inspired them to write their own stories, and I can’t wait to read them!

Picture books, Writing Craft

Mentor Text Talk: OPENING THE ROAD

Today on the Reading for Research Month (ReFoReMo) blog, I share how I used mentor texts to write OPENING THE ROAD: VICTOR HUGO GREEN AND HIS GREEN BOOK. Coming to a shelf near you this month!

History, Nonfiction, Picture books

Unboxing OPENING THE ROAD!

Unboxing is popular among authors after receiving their author copies. So here’s my unboxing video of my new book releasing January 26, 2021!

OPENING THE ROAD: VICTOR HUGO GREEN AND HIS GREEN BOOK is the untold true story of the mail carrier who wrote the Green Book travel guides published from 1936 to 1966 that African Americans used to plan safe road trips & vacations when they didn’t have the freedom to go anywhere they wanted.

Beaming Books | ISBN: 978-1506467917
40 pages | ages 4-98

January 26, 2021

Pre-order wherever books are sold!

Bookshop | Beaming Books | Amazon | B&N

Diverse Books, Picture books

Multicultural Children’s Book Day

I’m thrilled to support the Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2021 campaign as an Author Sponsor. Read reviews on January 29th!

From the publisher:

“Hungry? Check the Green Book. Tired? Check the Green Book. Sick? Check the Green Book.”

In the late 1930s when segregation was legal and Black Americans couldn’t visit every establishment or travel everywhere they wanted to safely, a New Yorker named Victor Hugo Green decided to do something about it. Green wrote and published a guide that listed places where his fellow Black Americans could be safe in New York City. The guide sold like hotcakes! Soon customers started asking Green to make a guide to help them travel and vacation safely across the nation too. With the help of his mail carrier co-workers and the African American business community, Green’s guide allowed millions of African Americans to travel safely and enjoy traveling across the nation. For grades K-3rd. Available in ebook and hardcover form.

Find more Author Sponsors at the MCBD blog.

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