Even as the country begins to open up after weeks of shelter-in-place orders, children and teens remain strongly affected by the closings of schools, camps and group activities. Beyond the large number of virtual graduation ceremonies, people in a variety of fields are also producing content for youth.
Filmmaker Taika Waititi will retell James and the Giant Peach in 10 episodes on the Roald Dahl YouTube channel. Celebrities such as Lupita Nyong'o, Meryl Streep, Ryan Reynolds, Cate Blanchett and Chris and Liam Hemsworth will all read portions of the novel from their homes. New episodes will post every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Mondays with Michelle Obama, the new "story-time initiative for kids and families" from Penguin Young Readers, Random House Children's Books and PBS KIDS featuring the former First Lady of the United States, is being posted weekly. Former President Barack Obama joined her on Monday, May 18, to read The Bear Ate Your Sandwich by Julia Sarcone-Roach, and the family's Portuguese water dogs Sunny and Bo will join her on Monday, May 25, to read Can I Be Your Dog? by Troy Cummings. Activities, tips and resources are available at readtogetherbetogether.com, while companion literacy resources can be found on pbskidsforparents.org.
Jason Reynolds, in his role as National Ambassador for Young Peoples Literature, is connecting with youth through his GRAB THE MIC: Tell Your Story platform. He is also using his Instagram to engage with readers, inviting them to do "brain yoga" along with him. Mac Barnett's "Mac's Book Club" is going strong, with nearly 50 episodes available on his Instagram. He has also created "Mac's Book Club Show" hats, with all sales going to benefit the Book Industry Charitable Foundation (Binc). Palmer Public Library Youth Services in Palmer, Mass., is continuing its series of videos with author/illustrator David Hyde Costello that invite child participation.
Tuttle has been working closely with the Asia Society and many of its children's authors to celebrate Asian and Pacific Islander American Heritage Month. This includes author Katie Chin's Cooped Up Cooking with Katie shows and an upcoming story time with author Phuoc Tran. --Siân Gaetano, children's and YA editor, Shelf Awareness