Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Helping Kids in Haiti

Here's a notice by Emily Claire Afan of KidScreen about one way to assist Haitian children. Read the original here.

Searching for ways to contribute to the Haiti relief efforts? Nonprofit Kids In Distressed Situations (K.I.D.S.) is looking for donations to help out the younger set.

The New York-based charity has already secured US$2 million worth of new products with large donations being made by Jockey, Haddad Brands, Gerber Childrenswear, Kahn Lucas, World Team Tennis and LT Apparel, UGG Australia, Vitamin Shoppe; and Toys 'R' Us.

K.I.D.S. is continuing to work with retailers and manufacturers to obtain donations of new products. The public donate cash at or by calling 1-800-266-3314, and the organization is looking for new clothes, socks, underwear and blankets to provide immediate relief to earthquake victims, and any type of new product donations will also be welcome for the coming weeks and months.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Katherine Paterson Named the National Ambassador for Young People's Literature

Here's some news from the world of youth literature: the Library of Congress recently named Katherine Paterson, author of Bridge to Terabithia, Jacob Have I Loved, and numerous other books, the new National Ambassador for Young People's Literature. Here's a little news brief:

A two-time winner of the National Book Award and Newbery Medal, Paterson will serve in this role for 2010-2011, and has selected Read for Your Life as the theme for her platform. She succeeds author Jon Scieszka, who was the first to hold this title (2008-2009). The National Ambassador for Young People's Literature was created to focus on the importance of young people's literature and lifelong literacy, education and development and improving the lives of kids/young adults. The Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, the Children's Book Council (CBC), and Every Child a Reader, the CBC foundation, are the sponsors of the National Ambassador for Young People's Literature initiative (

Congratulations to Paterson and good luck during her term. For her own work you can check out her website or read a bio and watch a video interview at Reading Rockets, which also has links to other sites about the announcement.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Everyone Loves to Dance

A happy Hanukah, Christmas, and new year to everyone! I'm back from an Internet-less trip to Idaho (even my Blackberry died!) and am ready to catch up on what's been happening over the past couple weeks. I've been writing a fair amount about music lately, and it looks like 2010 will be an even busier year than 2009, at least if the number of announcements and press releases I receive is any indicator (and of course my own email must be a good barometer of the state of the industry!). Unfortunately my own professional obligations have picked up lately and won't allow me to write in as much detail as I'd like about each of these (i.e. full reviews), but here's at least one new album that folks should be aware of.

It's "Everyone Loves to Dance," the sophomore album by L.A.-based musician and educator Aaron Nigel Smith, who you may have seen featured on several episodes of the last season of Between the Lions. It will be officially released in just a few days (Amazon UK says it's today in that area) and adds another flavor to the group of discs I've mentioned lately, this time of the Caribbean variety. The music that I've heard online has a good mix of rock and other genres, but the guest artists are probably a good indicator of what all's in store on the final album, and they include Ziggy Marley, Kevin Ricardson, DJ Drez, and Junior Rhythm from Rhythm Child. Anyone who can get Ziggy Marley to play along making music for kids is definitely worth listening to, and you can do that by giving his album a preview at his Jango music channel here. And of course the best resource on his work in general is his own website.

Also be aware that the live Between the Lions show is touring around to different markets and that Smith is currently a part of that, coming to New York the end of this month and thus getting his year off to a busy start (again, other performances are noted on his site). I look forward to hearing more from him and all the other musicians busy getting their work out this year. Best of luck!