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CCB Newsletter
October 2014


In this Newsletter…

News and Updates

CCB at the Youth Literature Festival

The Center for Education in Small Urban Communities in the College of Education at UIUC is organizing their biannual Youth Literature Festival, culminating in a Community Day on Saturday, October 18 at the iHotel and Conference Center in Champaign. Well-known children’s authors and illustrators will be making presentations and signing books, and there will be musical performances and shows throughout the day. Come to the activity room and try out tons of fun crafts and activities. Stop by the CCB activity table and help us create a community tree by adding a leaf with your favorite story, and then make a bookmark to take home! Next time you visit, take a look at our new bibliography and display featuring books by the authors who will be at the festival. For more information about the festival and to see a list of authors and activities, visit

CCB Suggestion Box

Do you have any ideas about how we can do things better? We would love to know! While we are a research collection, we strive to be a useful resource for the whole GSLIS community. Do you have an idea for an event at the CCB? Some of our most popular events were the result of your suggestions! We would also appreciate your thoughts about volunteering, Brown Bags and other programs, new activities, or even our space itself. Our friendly, colorful suggestion box can be found on the table just to the right of the entrance. We look forward to hearing from you!


GSLIS and the CCB will be well represented at the Illinois School Library Media Association Conference (ISLMA), held from November 6 - 8 at the Tinley Park Convention Center in Tinley Park, IL. Deborah Stevenson, director of the Center for Children's Books and editor of the Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, and Kate Quealy-Gainer, assistant editor of the Bulletin, will be discussing the various resources the CCB and BCCB have to offer, along with the CCB's recent research projects. Adjunct youth services professor Betty Bush and K-12 program coordinator Georgeann Burch will be co-presenting a two-part session entitled “Beyond Lexiles.” Georgeann Burch will also be leading a session entitled “A Course, An Endorsement or a Degree: The GSLIS LEEP (Online Education) Program and You.” Details about these events are in the Our Affiliates Out and About section of this newsletter. The GSLIS Alumni reception for ISLMA will take place on Friday, November 7 from 5:30 - 6:30 pm at the Tinley Park Convention Center. Keep an eye out for the many GSLIS alums who should be there! Visit for more information about the conference.

October Calendar

  • Monday, October 10: CCB Showing of The Learning, 5-7 pm
    Pizza will be provided. Please email if you plan to attend.

  • Wednesday, October 15: Youth Lit Book Club, 5-6 pm
    Reading Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein

  • Saturday, October 18: Youth Literature Festival Community Day, 10 am-3 pm
    This event will be held at the iHotel and Conference Center.

Events take place at the CCB unless otherwise noted. For complete descriptions of events, visit the calendar on our website.

New Bibliographies on the CCB Website

Boarding School Rules! Drools!
Created by Alice Mitchell, CCB GA

Youth Literature Festival 2014
Created by Anna Shustitzky, CCB Outreach and Communications Coordinator

Storytelling Bibliography: Trickster Tales
Created by Caitlin Stamm, CCB Volunteer

Our Affiliates Out and About

Georgeann Burch, K-12 program coordinator, is attending the AASL Fall Forum in St. Louis, October 17-18.  The theme of the conference is: School Librarians in the Anytime, Anywhere Learning Landscape.

Kate McDowell, associate professor and Assistant Dean for Student Affairs, will be supporting recruiting efforts at the Illinois Library Association Conference, October 14-16, at the Prairie Capital Center in Springfield, Illinois. She will also be leading a workshop entitled “Using Storytelling to Persuade and Lead” for the Municipal Clerks training program in Springfield, Illinois on Friday, October 17.

The CCB will be presenting a poster about the Closing the App Gap grant at the Library Research Seminar VI in Champaign, October 7 - 9, and at ASIS&T in Seattle, October 31 - Nov 5.  Additionally, CCB Director Deborah Stevenson will be presenting on the topic on October 24 at the 2014 Iowa Library Association Annual Conference, October 22-24, 2014, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Kate Quealy-Gainer, assistant editor of the Bulletin, will be presenting a session, “Reader's Advisory Outside the Box,” with Anna Hartmann, teen services manager at the Council Bluffs Library, at the Iowa Library Association Annual Conference. The presentation will look at both direct and indirect RA services when it comes to teens and use a three-pronged approach to more efficiently get "the right books to the right readers."

Several CCB staff and affiliates will be presenting at the 2014 Illinois School Library Media Association (ISLMA) annual conference.  The conference theme is year is “Leading Change” and it is being held November 6-8, 2014 at the Tinley Park Convention Center. Deborah Stevenson, director of the Center for Children's Books and editor of the Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, and Kate Quealy-Gainer, assistant editor of the Bulletin, will be discussing the various resources the CCB and BCCB have to offer, along with the CCB's recent research projects. Betty Bush, associate professor, and K-12 program coordinator Georgeann Burch are co-presenting two sessions on Friday, November 7:

Beyond Lexiles, Part 1: The Other 2/3 of Reading Complexity
A Lexile number plus a child’s reading range do not always add up to reading success!  Explore the 3-part model for measuring text complexity and discover how “qualitative” and “reader + task” can help librarians and teachers balance the equation.

Beyond Lexiles, Part 2: Bringing Theory Down to Earth
Building on “Beyond Lexiles, Part 1,” apply measurements of text complexity to Jason Chin’s versatile title, “Gravity.”  Brainstorm how to use a book across reading levels and curricular areas.

Finally, Georgeann Burch will be leading a session on Saturday, November 8:

A Course, An Endorsement or a Degree: The GSLIS LEEP (Online Education) Program and You
School librarians are lifelong learners. Learn how the U of Illinois Graduate School of LIS can satisfy your hunger for further knowledge, skills, endorsements and recertification through the GSLIS LEEP (online) education program.  Choose from over 30 online GSLIS courses per semester as a community credit, endorsement, MS, or CAS student.

Feature: Interview with Liz Hoiem, Assistant Professor and CCB Affiliate

The CCB is thrilled to welcome Assistant Professor Liz Hoiem to the GSLIS youth services faculty this semester. Her research is on the history of children’s literature, with a focus on the development of British children’s literature during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. We were excited to sit down with Professor Hoiem and learn more about her unique research interests.

Hoiem admits that she initially had little interest in studying children’s literature, but it became a way to answer the questions she had about theories of mind during this time period. “Many of the people writing children’s literature,” she says, “were connected with a lot of the prominent scientists,” who studied how the brain learns. From that question, her research evolved to examine the contributions of working-class readers and writers during the industrial revolution, when literacy became widespread. She investigated whether the education theories developed for affluent children trickled down to working-class practices, but in fact she found the opposite: trendy theories touted by wealthy parents were informed by existing working-class practices because people thought, condescendingly, that children and working-class adults both experienced the world through tactile, physical sensation and had a strong relationship with the “world of things.” This belief is evident in pedagogical texts from this period: stories depict child protagonists who learn from manipulable objects how to make judgments based on tactile and sensory information.

But what about working-class children? “A lot of the education theories of the time only work if you have property, time, parents who are looking after you and have a great deal of leisure.” An important element of Hoiem’s work is recognizing children’s literature even when it looks nothing like what we have today. It’s crucial to remember the context in which working-class children were learning to read: large families lived in small cottages, and children worked through the daylight hours and couldn’t afford candles at night. The conditions were busy, dark, and distracting, but some children read anyway. “If you think of that as the condition of the average reader, I’m just so inspired…. I want to give a second chance to the texts that they loved.” Books for the working class were usually written for whole families, sometimes condensed chapbook versions of stories that we know today: Cinderella, for example, or Robinson Crusoe, but also political newspapers, ballads, and broadsides. It’s easy to dismiss these texts because modern readers may not find the stories as engaging, and we are less intrigued by nonfiction. Instead, Hoiem suggests that they have something else to offer: “[Try] to puzzle out what was going on, how people think and thought about children, what kinds of texts people encountered in their daily lives.”

Although her research centers on a particular time in history, it can also inform us about present-day concerns regarding technology in children’s literature. Hoiem argues that today’s polarized response to new pedagogical techniques or technologies can actually be linked to experiences in the era of the French and American Revolutions. “In fact, I think that those [polarized] responses come from the era that I look at, when people were extremely enamored of these political, revolutionary utopian philosophies.” Developments in education were often included in these grand utopian plans—and that idealistic connection has become entrenched in the American education system. Her response is more measured. While enthusiastic about digital reading practices, she expresses some hesitation about whether certain skills are transferable to digital formats. “We have to figure out some way to maintain skills and critical investigation… that are very much aided by the ability to physically interact with the text.” The ability to investigate history’s intersections with current trends is exactly what makes Liz enthusiastic about GSLIS.

As a convert to the field of library science, she has some final advice for a different set of students: the ones who aren’t here yet. Coming from a background spanning literature, teaching, and the humanities, Hoiem notes that many in those fields would actually be quite at home in library science, and that volunteering can be a great way to test the waters. “[Librarianship] gives people with different strengths and personality types the opportunity to reach out and work with people who love books or working with kids. So… go try it!”

Visit Interview with Liz Hoiem in the research section of the CCB website to read extended highlights from this interview. You’ll also find a bibliography of reference books on the evolution of children’s literature, examples of literature during that time, and even a few contemporary suggestions. Hoiem’s favorite book as a kid? Harry the Dirty Dog.

New Books We Just Had to Read

Every month, the CCB Graduate Assistants highlight books reviewed in the most recent issue of the Bulletin that we were excited to read.  These decisions are based on personal preference, but all books listed are Recommended by the Bulletin. For complete reviews, visit the Bulletin website ( to learn how to subscribe.

Alice’s Choice: Druthers by Matt Phelan
Reading Level: 3-5 yrs.
Pages: 32
Publisher and Year: Candlewick, 2014
ISBN: 978-0-7636-5955-4
Price: $15.99

It has been raining all day, keeping Penelope cooped up inside—and boy, is she bored.  When Penelope complains to her daddy, he asks her what she would do if she had her druthers, telling her “druthers are what you would rather do if you could do anything at all.”  Penelope ponders this, and comes to the conclusion that if she had her druthers she would go to the zoo, and be a cowgirl, and then a pirate captain journeying to the island of dinosaurs, then the moon!  As she and her dad play everything she dreams up, Penelope then decides that if she really had her druthers she would want it to keep raining, hugging her worn-out daddy.  Phelan has constructed a playful story starring an imaginative, adventurous little girl and her creative daddy.  The ink and watercolor illustrations enhance the fantastical feel of the scenarios Penelope designs, adeptly portraying what Penelope sees in her minds’ eye on one page, and on the next showing readers what is really going on.  When Penelope declares she would go to the zoo and visit a gorilla, for example, the illustration shows Penelope imitating a gorilla, while on the next page, readers see Penelope’s dad dancing behind their stair railing with toy giraffes looking on.  Penelope and her dad can easily be paired with books like Mitchell’s License (BCCB 4/11) for a fun storytime about parents creating fun solutions to tough parenting problems.

Michelle’s Choice: Firebug by Lish McBride
Reading Level: Gr. 9-12
Pages: 336
Publisher and Year: Macmillan, 2014
ISBN: 978-0805098624
Price: $17.99
Ava is a teenage assassin, but not by choice. Ava is a firebug, a magical being with the power to start a fire with only her thoughts, and she knows these abilities make her an immensely valuable asset to the Coterie, her employer and a supernatural clandestine organization led by the sadistic Venus. Ava is also painfully aware that following Venus’ orders is the only way to ensure the safety of the few family and friends she has left. When Venus orders Ava to kill a family friend, Ava finally decides to fight back against the woman who destroyed her family and controls her life. Now on the run from the entire Coterie, Ava finds help from other supernatural creatures evading Venus’ wrath as they prepare for a climactic showdown. McBride’s first installment in a planned series may be set in present day Maine, but it features an enjoyable mythology complete with were-hares, tree creatures and firebugs alike. And while the protagonists might be supernatural beings, Ava’s realistic and relatable first person-narration is chock-full of pop culture references, sarcasm, wit, and anger. The many secondary characters are all fun, quirky, and memorable, much like the novel from which they come. Readers will not find themselves surprised by the fairly predictable plot, but fantasy fans who value great dialogue and characterization will become entranced by this novel and join me in the hopefully short wait for the sequel.

Anna’s Choice: Winterfrost by Michelle Houts
Reading Level: Gr. 4-6
Pages: 259
Publisher and Year: Candlewick, 2014
ISBN: 978-0-7636-6565-4
Price: $16.99

Twelve-year-old Bettina is unexpectedly charged with looking after her baby sister, Pia, when both of their parents must suddenly leave on a trip. In the confusion surrounding their departure, the family forgets to set out the customary Christmas pudding for Klakke, the gnome-like nisse who watches over their home. In a fit of mischief and curiosity, he snatches baby Pia from Bettina’s care and sets off a chain of events that sends Bettina into the forest and straight into the fantastical, miniature world of the nisse. In the course of their quest, Bettina and her allies take the opportunity to right past wrongs and ultimately bring their two worlds closer than ever. Parents may be surprised or concerned about Bettina’s independence, but those closer to her own age will easily identify with her spirit and drive. Our heroine is refreshingly capable and kind compared with others that today’s reader might encounter, and her magical nisse friends are sure to charm young readers. The lovely holiday setting brings traditional Danish folklore to the present day, and the blend of magical mischief and modern problem solving makes for a truly satisfying adventure.

Highlighted Book from Our Wish List

Fox, Mem. The Magic Hat, illus. by Tricia Tusa. San Diego: Harcourt, 2002. ISBN 978-1865044620.

For more book selections or to order this one, visit the CCB’s Amazon Wish List.

CCB Fall Hours and General Information

Fall Hours

  • Monday: 10am-5pm
  • Tuesday: 10am-7pm
  • Wednesday: 4pm-7pm
  • Thursday: 10am-7pm
  • Friday: 10am-5pm

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