Spotlight


2022 National Book Festival

The Library of Congress held its National Book Festival in person this year on Saturday September 3, 2022 in Washington DC for the first time since 2019. This year’s Festival features more than 120 authors, poets and writers to celebrate the festival theme, “Books Bring Us Together.”

Every year each of the Affiliate Centers for the Book chooses a children’s book that in some way represents its state’s literary heritage as a “Great Read from Great Places.” The author may have been born or lives in that state, or the book is set in that state, or there is some other connection. This year the Affiliates chose an adult book as well.

The New Jersey Center for the Book selected The Singer and the Scientist by Lisa Rose, illustrated by Isabel Muñoz (Kar-Ben Publishing, an imprint of Lerner Publishing Group) as their children’s book pick. This picture book, a National Jewish Book Award finalist, details the enduring friendship that developed between Albert Einstein and singer Marion Anderson. Due to her race, Anderson was refused lodging after performing in Princeton in 1937, so Einstein, a big fan, invited her to stay with him. They found they had a lot in common based on their shared experiences of racial discrimination.  Read more:

https://www.njcenterforthebook.org/2022-national-book-festival

 

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Miss Rumphius Award Winner Announced

The NJ Center for the Book presented its Miss Rumphius Award for 2022 to Kate Davis, Youth Services Librarian at the Jersey City Free Public Library for her program “Fun Fridays." The award was presented at a reception during the NJ Library Association’s annual spring conference.

“Fun Fridays” focused on how the JCFP library could support student learning during the Covid pandemic when students were at home primarily.  Working with their colleagues on the Jersey City Office of Special Education's Team, Davis created a zoom program that encompassed a variety of content, such as virtual field trips, story times, reading, art, exercising/dancing, etc.  The program was publicized broadly with posters, flyers, and on internet platforms, such as YouTube. The program was so popular and had such a wide reach that it required increased the zoom capacity for more than 3,000 attendees. About 1 in 8 Jersey City Public School children attend this program.  Especially noteworthy is that the collaborative outreach for programing on this project was broad and creative.  A collaboration with the Liberty Science Center resulted in a virtual field trip.  Twenty outside performers  were engaged and performed, such as Mario the Magician, and the children’s TV stars Carly Ciarrocci and Emily Borrameo.

Ms. Davis suggests that this program can be replicated by any librarian partnering with their local schools to create programming that meets their community needs, and then connecting them to fun, high energy and educational performers, interesting places, or interested individuals and groups.The program started in the 2020-2021 academic year (and the 2021 summer session). Once students returned to classrooms, the program was reduced to once a month.

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A New Episode in the Jersey Trackers Series Has Arrived!

The New Jersey Center for the Book is proud to announce that a new installment in its E-Book series about the Jersey Trackers was released to the public on this website on May 18th, The Jersey Trackers and the Missin’ Mathematician. A world famous mathematician visits Rutgers University to lecture at the dedication of a new Applied Mathematics Building and he disappears.  Will the Jersey Trackers be able to find him?

This book will join two other e-books in the Trackers series, The Imagination Tree Mystery released in March 2016, and The Greatest  Mystery in All of History, released in November 2018.  Written for New Jersey readers of all ages, the mystery series follows a children’s librarian and his book club, consisting of six curious, inventive and adventurous young readers – the "Jersey Trackers.”  Each book focuses on New Jersey with a theme intended to support the curriculum. All chapters are written by New Jersey authors and the illustrations are by New Jersey artists.

Audio versions of the first two Tracker stories are now available on the website! Click here.

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Celebrating Two Decades of the New Jersey Center for the Book

In celebration of its two decades of promoting literacy across the state, the Center has published a new brochure highlighting its major programs and events. The publication was first released to the public at the Literary Landmark event at the Two River Theater in mid-November. The full text of the brochure with accompanying photos can be viewed on our website: click here

Literary Landmark Award 2021 to Two River Theater

Marking the anniversary of its 20 year history as a dynamic force celebrating the diverse cultural contributions made by distinguished state organizations and institutions, the New Jersey Center for the Book, an affiliate of the Library of Congress, presented its coveted Literary Landmark Award to The Two River Theater in Red Bank on November 14, 2021 at the Theater. A reception followed the performance of Radio Gulf.

Cited by USA TODAY as one of the 10 great regional programs in the nation, Two River has contributed substantially to the  artistic landscape of our state and beyond since its founding in 1994 by remaining dedicated to its mission of producing American and world masterpieces as well as new works, including plays, musicals, and festivals. Two River also cultivates a new generation of theater goers through its innovative art education programs that introduce youth to the theater and create opportunities for them to engage with famed theater artists. For more information about the Two River Theater visit:   https://tworivertheater.org/

In accepting this eighth Literary Landmark from the New Jersey Center for the Book, the Two River Theater joins other earlier recipients such as the Newark Public Library, the Walt Whitman House, and the Rutgers Institute of Jazz Studies.

Featured during the event Radio Golf  is one of ten creations by the renowned Black playwright August Wilson, winner of the Tony and Pulitzer Prizes, and a member of the American Theater Hall of Fame. Two Rivers has previously staged six other Wilson works including Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, made into a film and winner of Oscar awards. Radio Golf was the final installment in Wilson’s ten part Century Cycle, which chronicles decade by decade his series of 10 plays penned before his early death at age 60.

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2021 National Book Festival

The Library of Congress will hold its National Book Festival virtually from September 17th-26th. It's theme "Open a Book, Open the World" will include live conversations with authors every day, and much more. For the Great Reads portion of the event the NJ Center for the Book has chosen as its state's representation The Chance to Fly by Ali Stroker and Stacy Davidowitz, an inspiring story of a NJ theater-loving girl who uses a wheelchair for mobility who's determined to get a role in her town's production of Wicked. Read more about the Festival here...

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Wil Mara 2020 New Jersey Author of the Year

The NJ Center for the Book is thrilled to announce that our Board Member, Wil Mara, has been chosen by the New Jersey Association of School Librarians as the 2020 New Jersey Author of the Year! Wil is a veteran of the publishing industry with more than 300 books to his credit. He has penned both fiction and nonfiction for all ages, written over a span of more than thirty years and released through some of the biggest houses in the world, including Rosen, Macmillan, Dorling Kindersley, Scholastic, St. Martin’s Press, Tor, and others. Most recently, his ‘Twisted’ series has become a hit with parents, teachers, librarians, and middle-grade students, including those in the challenging reluctant and hi-lo categories.

Wil also served inside the industry as an editor, production manager, and executive for twenty years, with tenures at Prentice Hall, McGraw-Hill, and Harcourt Brace. He has since entered the realm of Hollywood, now developing his ‘Twisted’ series for television with one of the leading LA-based production companies, as well as three other projects based on his published works. Peripherally, he does numerous appearances to teach writing skills for schools and other institutions, is an executive committee member on the board of directors for the New Jersey Center for the Book, the host of the ‘Voice of American Libraries’ podcast, and was the 2019 recipient of the Literary Lion of New Jersey Award, whose past winners include Gus Friedrich, Dean Emeritus of Rutgers University, and Joyce Carol Oates, National Book Award winner and Pulitzer Prize finalist.

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So, what's the deal with the Jersey Devil?

Is it myth or real?  Is it on the level?

Is it scary and mean?  Is it big, bad, and evil?

Has it ever been seen, our New Jersey Devil?

Quoted from The New Jersey Reader                               by Trinka Hakes Noble

Have you ever wondered about the Jersey Devil?  Now's your chance to find out.

Join the Jersey Trackers and Mr. C as they track the Jersey Devil, searching for clues all around New Jersey in this exciting mystery series, The Jersey Trackers and the Imagination Tree Mystery!  Click here

And if you love that, check out our second e-book, The Greatest Mystery in all of History!  Click here

Every story in the series features some of New Jersey finest publishing talents, with a general rule of one author and one illustrator per chapter. As such, Jill Mills, of the New Jersey Association of School Librarians, had this to say—

“New Jersey is rich with history and mystery, and amazing authors and illustrators who weave tales of each. The New Jersey Center for the Book brought together some of the state’s best writers for children to create two exciting stories that first take us all over the state and then throughout history to preserve the power of ideas and imagination. My students have loved hearing these stories as much as I have loved sharing them.”

To learn more about the Jersey Tracker series, Click here

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Congratulations to Renee Becker Swartz, Board Chair of the New Jersey Center for the Book

At its 50th celebration, the Monmouth County Library Commission honored its longstanding chair, Renee Becker Swartz, by naming the Children’s Library of the Eastern Branch of the Monmouth County Library in her honor and in recognition of the many contributions she has made to the library, state and nationally. Swartz was honored by the commission, Congressman Chris Smith, local civic leaders and family and friends at the Eastern Branch Library celebration.

Swartz has been a dedicated proponent of libraries as the heart of the community and books as agents of change, encouragement, entertainment, and education.  She has worked tirelessly to keep the Monmouth Library system as one of the leading libraries in the state, as well as supporting numerous programs throughout the state of New Jersey and nationally promoting education, books and libraries. At the national level  she has been appointed to several significant organizations to promote literacy and libraries throughout the country. Renee was a presidential appointee to the national Institute of Museum and Library Services Board, and a founding member of the Library of Congress Directors for the Center for the Book. At the state level she has served on the NJ Library Advisory Council from 1976 through 2011, as Chair of the Monmouth County Library Commission since 1975, and was the founding member and chair of the New Jersey Center for the Book.

Photo left to right:   Freeholder Lillian G. Burry, Swartz, Congressman Chris Smith, Library Director Judith Tolchin

Jacqueline Woodson, Library of Congress Ambassador for Youth Literature, Headlines Program

The New Jersey Center for the Book, the founder of  the Literacy Alliance of New Jersey, sponsored a statewide celebration of the renowned young people’s author Jacqueline Woodson, at The College of New Jersey campus, on October 16, 2019.  Ms. Woodson, the Library of Congress Ambassador for Youth Literature, 2018-19, met with 200 students in grades five through eight from Fisher Middle School, Ewing Township; Grace A. Dunn Middle School, Trenton; Luis Munoz-Rivera Middle School, Trenton; and Hedgepeth-Williams Middle School, Trenton.  Click here to read more.

           

NJ Center for the Book

Statewide Literary Celebration 350th Anniversary

The family morning session programs and activities offered a variety of activities for children. “The Mythmakers,” Richard Stillmand and Gerald Fierst, performed a fun-filled journey of stories and songs that captured the highlights of New Jersey’s history.
The New Jersey Center for the Book and The Newark Public Library presented a program in celebration of New Jersey’s 350th Anniversary on Saturday, January 18, 2014 from 11am to 4pm at The Newark Public Library.