January 2013

(l. to r.): Mike Wiley, Mary Andrews and Kadir Nelson

“How much fun it is to be a Random House Teacher Award winner?” So begins a recent note from 2012 Random House Teacher Awards for Literacy First-Place winner Mary Andrews. In addition to being flown out to Las Vegas to receive her award and present her work at the 2012 meeting of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) meeting, Ms. Andrews also recently spoke to a packed house at the Flyleaf Bookstore in Chapel Hill, NC. Mary thanked Random House for the award and talked to the community about how she plans to spend the grant. Her presentation was part of an event featuring award-winning artist Kadir Nelson (I Have A Dream) and local actor and storyteller Mike Wiley.

I Have A Dream by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; Illustrated by Kadir Nelson

I HAVE A DREAM by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; Illustrated by Kadir Nelson

Mr. Nelson visited Ms. Andrews’ school the next morning and gave a one-hour talk to 200 4th and 5th graders. She writes: “He kept the children and staff spellbound as he demonstrated the evolution of his art from a young child to now. Following his own dream and replacing negativity with beauty were central themes throughout. We were all honored and delighted to the max to welcome him. The standing ovation was an understatement. Thank you so much for being a part of this experience for us—for making it happen! Sincerely, Mary”

Kadir Nelson speaking to students at Estes Hills Elementary School

Kadir Nelson speaks to students at Estes Hills Elementary School in Chapel Hill, NC

And thank YOU, Mary, for continuing to inspire others with your work in support of literacy.

Taking on Waterby Wendy Pabich, author of Taking on Water: How One Water Expert Challenged Her Inner Hypocrite, Reduced Her Water Footprint (Without Sacrificing a Toasty Shower), and Found Nirvana (Sasquatch Books)

Water is getting scarce. This year has brought extreme drought, low snow packs, and record low stream flows in a number of river systems. We see Las Vegas waging water war with the open ranch lands to the north, Atlanta in protracted battles with downstream states over its primary water supply at Lake Lanier, and water tables beneath the San Joaquin Valley—the source of 40 percent of the nation’s fruits and vegetables—dropping. A recent study by the Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC) suggests that by mid-century, half the counties in the U.S. will be facing water scarcity. (more…)