You may have heard the term "growth mindset" recently. It mostly means having the belief that you can learn something, even if it's hard--maybe especially if it's hard. Getting better at things and overcoming challenges is exciting. If you'd like to see some examples of this, check out the We Are Teacher's post "12 Perfect Read-Alouds for Teaching Growth Mindset." They provide a list of picture books with a range of subjects, fiction and nonfiction, with characters who persevere, learning from their failures. Whistle for Willie is a favorite of mine, and though I haven't yet read Drum Dream Girl, I know it's by a local author - hurray for California Writers this week!
You've heard of William Saroyan (we have a theater named after him here in downtown), and probably Gary Soto, and maybe even Juan Felipe Herrera (he's our national poet laureate). Did you know they're all Fresno folks? Yes, they are also all prolific writers - hurray for Califoria Writers Week!
You may also have heard of Doris Gates - the Central location of the Fresno County Public Library has a children's room named after her. She used to work there, and write on her days off - she was a librarian AND a local writer! Her most lasting work is Blue Willow, set during the Dust Bowl migration into California, but she wrote many more titles. Most of them are sadly out of print.
A local writer whose work is not out of print is Chris Colfer. You may know him better as the author of the Land of Stories Series - the fourth book, Beyond the Kingdoms, just came out. He's young, so we can hope for lots more from him.
Margarita Engle is an award-winning local writer with beautiful fiction and nonfiction, poetry and prose. Her Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings: a Memoir makes me feel like I've lived (for a few moments) as a beloved child in Cuba as well as in California.
Of course, our own Dorina Lazo Gilmore, mother of two Kepler kids, is a writer as well, with Cora Cooks Pancit as her most recent work. Sarah Torna Roberts, mother of four Kepler kids, is also a writer. She has had a blog for some time, and recently began writing for the Washington Post. Her most recent article tackles having uncomfortable but important conversations with your kids.
These are only a handful of the great writers working in and around Fresno - California Writers Week should have one day just for the Central Valley!
Full disclosure: None of these authors (except the Kepler folk) know me, and none of them are in any way influencing me to talk about their writing, nor does anyone know me at Booksource or Amazon, the vendors whose links are in this post. Buy these books or others (or borrow them while you're deciding whether you like them enough to buy them) from anyone you like.
The third week of every October is officially California Writers Week. You may not know the sheer volume of great writers we have (or have had) in our fair state - it's pretty amazing. This poster's list is not comprehensive - there are still more! See this link for a larger version. Stay tuned for a focus on Valley writers.
Earlier this year students offered recommendations for titles they'd like to see on the new library shelves. Some students had specific requests, like White Fang, Fly Guy, Serafina and the Black Cloak, My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish, Percy Jackson series, Smile, Harry Potter series, Wonder, and many more. Some students suggested categories, such as graphic novels, nonfiction, audio books, books that became movies, and magazines.
Would you agree with any of these suggestions? Do you have other suggestions to make?
Thanks to those of you who bought used books to support our library, and thanks to those of you who ran the table! The library made $85 dollars!
I was "next door" at the California Writer's table - there are so many great local writers, and last night I got to learn about more! Three different people told me about authors who live in Fresno or Clovis. If you like picture books, you might want to check out Amy Dixon's Marathon Mouse or Sophy's Animal Parade. If you like cooking or Fresno history, Janice Stevens has Cooking With Saroyan with is filled with recipes, watercolors, and stories.
A few folks were surprised to know that one of our authors is really local. Dorina Lazo Gilmore, author of Cora Cooks Pancit, has children who attend Kepler.
Thanks for talking to me about local authors! We'll look at California Writers again in a couple of weeks, when it's officially time to celebrate. In the meantime, if you think of someone I might have missed, I'd love to hear about it!
Want some new-to-you books? Want to help Kepler's Library? Come out Neighborhood Night tonight from 5:30 to 7:00 and stop by our book sale table. We'll have paperbacks for fifty cents and hardbacks for a dollar. Help us buy new books for the library, and get something new-to-you for your own shelf!
Always up for book chats, reading, library memes - proud to be Kepler's first librarian