New award for Cowboy Up! Ride the Navajo Rodeo

Cowboy Up! Ride the Navajo Rodeo by Nancy Bo Flood, published by Wordsong has been named to the 2014 Notable Books for a Global Society (NBGS) award list.

This award is sponsored by the International Reading Association (IRA) Children’s Literature and Reading Special Interest Group. Each year a panel of judges selects 25 books published in the preceding year to represent the interests of students in grades K-12 on the many issues of diversity, social justice, and multicultural literature.

More information can be found at the NBGS website. Also, their journal, The Dragon Lode, will include an annotation of each book, teaching ideas, and similar books for teachers to consider using as mentor text and/or thematic groups.

USBBY Conference Report

USBBY Conference imageAt this amazing gathering of authors, educators, librarians, editors and publishers, we celebrated the Joy of Children’s Books. Mem Fox, Peter Sis and Katherine Paterson were three of the many guest speakers. Linda Boyden, author and storyteller, and myself shared a panel presentation: Celebrating Contemporary Native Americans in Children’s Books. www.ibby.org.

Here is my presentation outline – brief with readings from several children’s books, mostly by Native Authors: How I Became A Ghost  by Tim Tingle; The Absolutely True Diary Of A Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie; Looks Like Daylight  by Deborah Ellis; and Buffalo Bird Girl by S.D. Nelson.

Five Main Points

  1. We need more books about/ by Native Americans
  2. We need books with contemporary Native kids in today’s settings
  3. We need stories about individuals, free from generalizations and stereotypes
  4. We need to hear Native voices in books – all genres, anthologies, etc.
  5. We need books, nonfiction and fiction, told from Native perspective, especially about historical events that have been told inaccurately or not at all [Read more...]

Good New Books About Today’s Native Americans – Part 1

looks like daylightVery few books have been written about or by Native Americans, less than 1% of all books published for children! Most “Indian” books are about people from the past – not the present – about chiefs and princesses or re-told legends. But like all children, Native children want to see- and need to see – their own stories in books. They want to read about kids like themselves.

Books about contemporary Natives are needed. Stop the stereotypes! American Indians do not walk around wearing skins and feathers and waving tomahawks. They don’t live in teepees just as today’s suburbanites don’t live in log cabins. Native Americans are not past tense. Native people participate in all professions. Native children compete in basketball and soccer, chat on Facebook and text on cell phones. They go to school and complain about homework.

Recently several amazing Native books about contemporary kids have been published. I want to talk about several in this and later posts. First, Looks Like Daylight  by Deborah Ellis, with a foreword by Loriene Roy. [Read more...]

World Tour Blog part 2

Nancy Bo Flood writes and teaches on the Navajo Reservation where she hikes, rides her bike and attends local rodeos. She is the author of several award-winning books including Navajo Year, Walk Through Many Seasons (Arizona Book of the Year) and Warriors in the Crossfire (Colorado Book of the Year). Recent titles include No-Name Baby (namelos, Top 100 Books of the Year, Bank Street) and her newest, already a Junior Library Guild Selection, Cowboy Up, Ride the Navajo Rodeo.

The one thing I have consistently done my whole life is read books. I wasn’t always going to rodeos and writing about them. In college I wanted to learn about the brain. How do we remember, why do we forget, why we want to try new things? Just how does our brain work? So I became a research psychologist and studied brain development, also brain disorders, at the University of Minnesota and also as a post-doctoral scientist at London University. That might seem like a long way from writing books for kids, but it’s not.

Navajo Rodeo Boy by Jan SonnenmairThe story I’ve recently written is Cowboy Up, Ride the Navajo Rodeo. It’s not just about rodeo, but about the Navajo kids and families that participate and compete. This was described best by a recent review in School Library Journal:

The history and tradition of the Navajo rodeo are made lively and accessible in this “day-in-the-life” account. Short narrative poems accompany each spread, recounting the anticipation, determination, danger, and excitement of the day… Warm and inviting, the book gives a real sense of what it’s like to be a part of the Navajo rodeo.

A top-notch introduction to a unique event. [Read more...]

World Tour Blog

SJL awardThank you, Karen Lynn Williams, author of many award winning picture books that gently encourage compassion. Karen’s books offer a child’s perspective about what it means to be lose one’s home and as a refugee, live in a strange land and experience rejection and prejudice rather than kindness.

Karen and I share a love of children’s books – writing them and reading them. At different times we spent time living in Malawi, Africa; Hospital Albert Schweitzer in Haiti; and currently, Chinle, Arizona on the Navajo Nation. For more about Karen, take a look at her blog site – I guarantee it will be interesting:

My first World Tour post will talk about a new award that recognizes children’s books that show compassion in action. Second I will describe the first picture book winner – The House On Dirty-Third Street by Jo Kittinger. [Read more...]

The Hogan that Great-Grandfather Built

The Hogan That Great-Grandfather BuiltSalina Bookshelf · ISBN #1893354970

The Hogan That Great-Grandfather Built by Nancy Bo Flood is scheduled to be released in 2014.

This children’s picture book tells the story of one multigenerational Navajo family that works, plays, eats, sleeps and shares their lives together in around their family hogan.

[Read more...]

Kona Stories and Cowboy Up!

Nancy Bo Flood Cowboy UpI am in Kona, Hawaii (Big Island) at my mom’s and last week enjoyed a delightful morning of “kids and books” sponsored by the local bookstore: Kona Stories. A posse of AAUW volunteers had an amazing variety of activities for children – we read together and then lassoed “folding chair bulls,” threw plastic horseshoes, made sparkly sheriff badges, rode bucking broncos made from the long “swimming noodles,” and then gathered around the campfire for more poems while chowing down hot dogs, beans and s’mores.

A good time was had by all. Thank you AAUW (American Association of University Women) and Kona Stories for making this wrangler event full of cowboy and cowgirl fun. Keep our children reading and riding!

Kona Stories is an independent bookstore located on the Big Island of Hawaii. Established in 2006 by Brenda Eng and Joy Vogelgesang – check out their website to read about their many book events: konastories.com

Good Night Sea

kona sunset by Nancy Bo FloodHawaii, Big Island · 2013 August

Four swimmers (including me) in black-skinned, neck to toe suits slipped into the inky rolling water. Eight pm. Time to turn on headlights and swim into the sea channel toward the hotel’s ocean lights. The only sounds were the roll of surf, the splash of waves, and the slap of water against volcanic boulders. Our lights shinned like swirling light tunnels, searching for what might be ahead of us but frequently we swept the beam across the darkness all around and behind. Was that a rock, a sunken tree or the horizontal lines of a reef shark? The ever-moving water played tricks on our peering eyes. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see a black or white-tip swim by? Wouldn’t it be terrifying? Don’t even think about tiger or… [Read more...]

Heart in Nonfiction Books

Guest Post by Nancy Bo Flood on Janet Fox’s Through the Wardrobe blog, April 18, 2013

Nancy Bo Flood, a good friend and talented fellow Vermont College of Fine Arts grad, has a new non-fiction picture book out, Cowboy Up! Ride The Navajo Rodeo, with photographs by Jan Sonnenmair. I invited her to come by and talk about non-fiction picture books, because they have become an important part of the young child’s reading experience. Here’s Nancy:

Informational picture books for children keep getting better with engaging stories and images. Regardless of the picture book topic, we see innovative designs, creative presentations, plus captivating images that often mix photographs and historical papers with colorful art. [Read more...]

Cheryl Carpinello: Meet Author Nancy Bo Flood

by Cheryl Carpinello, originally published at Carpinello’s Writing Pages · March 19, 2013

Today I humbly welcome prolific writer Nancy Bo Flood to Carpinello’s Writing Pages. I say prolific because Nancy is a writer who creates her stories from her life. Her knowledge of different cultures combined with her story telling opens up the world for her readers. Nancy’s stories have earned numerous awards including Booklist Top Ten Historical Fiction Title, Bank Street College Best Children’s Book of the Year, Junior Library Guild selection, and a host of other awards. [Read more...]

Tuscon

Tucson CactusTucson was a warm, sunshine filled time of crazy Tucson Book Festival and then quiet being with Bill. We slept a lot, ate amazing foods spiced with a variety of chilies, drifted in the hotel pool like a couple of old lizards. We did a bit of exploring too. We drove up to Kitts Peak Observatory about an hour’s drive outside of Tucson. First we drove through a forest of saguaro. Rocky steep slopes of foothills are covered with these spiky giant green fingers that stick straight up, many with odd -shaped bent arms. Just can’t help think about Peanuts and Lucy and smile. The road made a straight line through the beginning of the Todohodam Reservation and I shook my head thinking, how could anyone live, thrive or survive in this dry dusty land? Harsh hot sun, spiny spiky varieties of cactus, barren rock. What did they eat? Where was water? [Read more...]

Nancy Bo Flood’s Story

By Stephanie Greene, published in ReaderKidz, March 3, 2013

This month, ReaderKidZ is proud to welcome, Nancy Bo Flood. She’s the author of many books including Sand to Stone, The Navajo Year, Warriors in the Crossfire, No-Name Baby, and most recently, COWBOY UP! Ride the Navajo Rodeo, (WordSong 2013).

This exciting collection of vivid, energy-packed poems about one day in the lives of Navajo children saddling up to ride the rodeo, accompanied by beautiful photographs by Jan Sonnenmair and short descriptions of how the rodeo works, also includes facts about the various competitions, and a list of resources for further exploration. Ready to rodeo? Cowboy up!

Nancy writes:

I was the oldest girl of eight kids – two sisters and five brothers. Sometimes my challenge was surviving. For example, when I was little I wanted to be a mermaid. I tried lots of spells and magic tricks but nothing worked. One day when I was with my five brothers at the lake, I decided that if I stayed under water long enough I’d learn how to breathe like a fish. How hard could it be? Two of my brothers offered to help. They would hold me under until I started breathing, which would be evident when they saw bubbles breaking the surface. [Read more...]

Writing Friends: Nancy Bo Flood

by Karen Williams in her blog, Williams Writes · January 24, 2013

The internet was new (to me anyway). It was 1993…or 4. We had just returned from Haiti. I was working on a quilt to auction off to raise money for Hospital Albert Schweitzer where we had lived and worked for 2 years. I sent out a letter to the hospital email list asking for quilters to design a square for the quilt.

One of the responses came from Nancy Bo Flood. Turns out she is a quilter …and she lived for while in Haiti at HAS. She writes children’s books. Like me! She has four children and her husband is a doctor.

We emailed back and forth. They lived in Malawi. One of their sons was born there…a lot like me. Is this internet connection thing getting creepy yet? I had shivers.

At the time Nancy and her husband and some of her children were in American Samoa…I told my husband I knew where we would be going next.

Turns out we went back to Haiti for a year instead of American Samoa. And Nancy and I lost touch. Fast forward to 2009. We applied to work with the Indian Health Service. I heard Steve on the phone talking to a recruiter. It was evident from the one sided conversation that I has listening too that there was a children’s book author living in the Navajo community, at the very site where we would visit and apply to work.

More shivers…”Steve I know who it is,” I said. And it was. Nancy Bo Flood lives around the corner from me. We critiques each other’s work and it turns out we have a lot more in common. But she is not me and I am not her…quite.

You’ve Got To Have Heart, and a Good Story

Part I    Nonfiction for Children

Nonfiction – the Latest and Greatest –
Orbis Pictus Awards

Bravo to the winning book, author and illustrator –

Monsieur Marceau: Actor Without Words by Leda Schubert and illustrated by Gerard DuBois, published by Roaring Brook Press.

Informational books for children keep getting better – innovative designs, creative presentations, plus captivating images that often mix photographs, historical papers with colorful art.

I think the most striking quality of current nonfiction books for children is that each book is a story – a story with setting, characters, plot or “through line,” and most important “heart.”  What I mean by heart is that the passion of the author for the subject shines right through the words and captures the heart of the reader.  When children read that last page, they not only know new information, but just as important,  the reader cares. Wow! I want to read more. Where’s another book?

Leda Schubert’s picture book biography of Marcel Marceau does just that. [Read more...]