I would like to play a game of pretend. Let’s pretend that you are one of the most in-demand actors of your time and your contract with the studio says you have to perform in any film they choose. The studio you are working for takes an unknown, unproduced and previously refused play and begins adapting the play for the screen. They are in such a rush to start production and don’t wait for the first draft of the screenplay to be finished before they begin filming. At one point the director calls you on the set and tells you to just stand still and give a short nod of your head towards the camera. You don’t know why you are nodding or where the nod will occur in the movie, you are just told to nod. Every day the script changes. Not just the little daily changes common to movies, but massive story changes take place. No one at the start of filming, not even the director, knows exactly how the movie is going to end. The film is half-way through production before the ending is finally settled upon. Can you imagine how unhappy you would be and how horrible you believe the final product would turn out? This is what happened to actors Humphry Bogart and Actress Ingrid Bergman when they starred in a film that when finished won the Best Picture, Best Screen Play, Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor Academy Awards. Since its production in 1942, it has continued to win honors and awards. The play was called “Everyone Comes to Ricks”, the movie, Casablanca.Read more about Casablanca
Civil War Colonel Robert Gould Shaw of the Union Army is not a man most of us would think of as having an important role in the history of African Americans in the United States, but he did. Col. Shaw was chosen to lead the Massachusetts 54th Regiment of the Union Army. With the exception of himself and his second in command this regiment was made up entirely of African Americans and was one of the first to actually be allowed to carry arms into battle. Read more about Glory
Mister Roberts (1955), starring Henry Fonda, is based on the stage play by Frank Nugent. Fonda, who starred in the Broadway play, reprised his role as Lieutenant Douglas Roberts for this film, with an A-list of players supporting him. Jack Lemmon also stars as Ensign Pulver, a role which won him an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor; James Cagney as Captain Morton and William Powell as "Doc" round out the cast. Sadly, the film also ended the longtime friendship and working relationship between Henry Fonda and director John Ford who, in a fit of anger, reportedly sucker punched Fonda in the mouth.Read more about Mister Roberts (1955)
The Loners is the story of a group of teens in an extraordinary situation, "When a virus deadly to adults infects their high school, brothers David and Will and the other students soon break into gangs that fight each other for survival and the hope of escaping their quarantine." Check it out if you like dystopias, adventures, or stories of survival!
The list of nominees for the 2016 Eliot Rosewater award are also available. Start reading now and then vote for your favorite! You could help decide next year's winner!
Imagine if you will traveling across the country with your best friend and stopping for snacks at a small town gas station. Shortly after you leave you, glance in the mirror to see and hear the flashing lights and the siren of a police car. You are about to be charged with the cold blooded murder and robbery of the proprietor of the gas station you just left. Your only hope for freedom is your eccentric cousin Vinny, a New York lawyer who has yet to win a case. Read more about My Cousin Vinny
2015 Coretta Scott King (Author) Book Award Winner
2015 Newbery Honor Book Award Winner
Jacqueline Woodson's recollection of discovering the picture book Stevie by John Steptoe at her local public library when she was a young girl encapsulates one of the motivations for the We Need Diverse Books campaign: increasing the possibility for young people to find a book/read a story about "someone who looked like me."
The campaign was launched in April 2014 by several authors to address the lack of diverse, non-majority narratives in children’s literature. The website for the campaign states: "We Need Diverse Books is committed to the ideal that embracing diversity will lead to acceptance, empathy, and ultimately equality. Our mission is to promote or amplify diversification efforts and increase visibility for diverse books and authors, with a goal of empowering a wide range of readers in the process."
Empowering a wide range of readers... because the flip side of discovering that someone who looks like me has a story, is learning that someone who doesn't look like me has a story. Or as one supporter of the "We Need Diverse Books" initiative notes: "We need to meet our familiar selves in stories, and we need to meet our unfamiliar selves."
Over the years, the American Library Association has established a number of awards to help promote awareness of stories written and illustrated from the "non-majority" perspective.
The Coretta Scott King Book Award, founded in 1969, is presented annually to outstanding African American authors and illustrators of books for children and young adults that demonstrate an appreciation of African American culture and universal human values.
The Pura Belpré Award was established in 1996 to recognize a Latino/Latina writer and illustrator whose work best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in an outstanding work of literature for children and youth.
The Schneider Family Book Award was first presented in 2004 to honor an author or illustrator for a book that embodies an artistic expression of the disability experience for child and adolescent audiences.
This year, the major awards for Children's Literature - the Newbery and Caldecott Awards - made a point to honor stories from a variety of races and cultures. The Crossover, by Kwame Alexander, received the Newbery Award for most outstanding contribution to children's literature. This story about African American brothers also was named as a Coretta Scott King Honor Book. Viva Frida, the Belpré Illustrator Award winner, also earned recognition as a Caldecott Honor Book for the most distinguished American picture book for children. El Deafo, which describes in graphic novel format the author's experience with hearing loss as a young child, was named as a Newbery Honor Book, along with Brown Girl Dreaming.