30 Mar

Living symbols of the spread of freedom — and its opposite

Share Button

Black Congressional representation from South

This graphic is from an upcoming presentation that I’ll be giving about The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch, and I thought a wider audience might appreciate it.

For context, here’s an excerpt from my Historical Note in the book:

During Reconstruction, approximately two thousand African American men served as local, state, or national officials. Some of them were freemen before the war, and others – including John Roy Lynch – were freed only as a result of the conflict. Those who held office in the South were living symbols of the spread of freedom. Most notably, between 1870 and 1877, there were 16 African Americans who served in the US Congress from former Confederate states.

But there were only six more who served between 1878 and 1901. And between 1902 and 1972, there were zero.

What happened?

In The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch, illustrator Don Tate and I have done our best to explain while telling the inspiring story of this one young man.

Share Button
29 Mar

Eric Foner on Reconstruction and The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch

Share Button

“Citizenship, rights, democracy — as long as these remain contested, so will the necessity of an accurate understanding of Reconstruction.”

That quote comes from “Why Reconstruction Matters,” a new, short essay by Eric Foner, author of Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution 1863-1877 and the Pulitzer-prize-winning DeWitt Clinton Professor of History at Columbia University. I can’t recommend enough taking a few minutes to read it.

While Don Tate was working on the illustrations for The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch, our publisher asked Professor Foner to have a look at the text. Here’s what he had to say about our picture book biography of this young man who went from teenage slave to U.S. congressman in ten years:

Like adults, young readers should know about the era of Reconstruction and the remarkable individuals who struggled to give real meaning to the freedoms blacks achieved during the Civil War. John Roy Lynch was one of them and he is brought vividly to life in this book.

I’m thankful to Foner not only for those kind words about our book, but especially for all the work he’s done to shape our modern understanding of the Reconstruction era.

“Preoccupied with the challenges of our own time,” he writes in this New York Times essay, “Americans will probably devote little attention to the sesquicentennial of Reconstruction, the turbulent era that followed the conflict.”

Not if I can help it.

Share Button
26 Mar

Bartography Express for March 2015, featuring The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch

Share Button

This month, at least one subscriber to my Bartography Express newsletter — maybe more! — will win a copy of my new brand-new book.

To celebrate next week’s publication of The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch (illustrated by Don Tate, and published by Eerdmans Books for Young Readers), the children’s department staffers at Austin’s BookPeople came up with several questions for me to answer. I hope you enjoy my answers as much as I appreciate their questions.

If you’re not already receiving Bartography Express, click the image below for a look. If you like what you see, click “Join” in the bottom right corner, and you’ll be in the running for the giveaway next week. Good luck!

20150326 Bartography Express

Share Button
15 Mar

What we do for fun around here

Share Button

Three of us, anyway — my 11-year-old human boy, our terrier-dachshund mix, Ernie, and yours truly.

We’ve been attending agility classes every week or two for the past year. Some days are more agile than others, though. The above video was from two weeks ago. The photo below is from this morning, when Ernie misjudged the dimensions of the pottery he was gratuitously leaping over.

Not so agile after all

Share Button
09 Mar

All the college kidlit conferences (as of March 2015)

Share Button

Or, more formally, “A Comprehensive List of U.S. College- and University-Sponsored or -Hosted Children’s and Young Adult Literature Conferences, Festivals, and Symposia.” (All of them that I could find, anyway).

A few years ago, I was looking for such a list, wondered why I couldn’t find one, and decided to just go ahead and make one myself.

Since then, I’ve periodically updated and reposted it, and I plan to continue doing so. If I’ve missed any, or included some that no longer exist, won’t you please let me know in the comments section?

Arizona
University of Arizona Tucson Festival of Books

California
University of Redlands Charlotte S. Huck Children’s Literature Festival

Connecticut
University of Connecticut Connecticut Children’s Book Fair

Georgia
Kennesaw State University Conference on Literature for Children and Young Adults
The University of Georgia Children’s Literature Conference

Illinois
Northern Illinois University Children’s Literature Conference

Indiana/Kentucky/Ohio
Northern Kentucky University, Thomas More College, University of Cincinnati, and Xavier University Ohio Kentucky Indiana Children’s Literature Conference

Kentucky
University of Kentucky McConnell Conference

Maryland
Frostburg State University Spring Festival of Children’s Literature
Salisbury University Read Green Festival

Massachusetts
Framingham State University Children’s Literature Festival
Simmons College Children’s Literature Summer Institute

Minnesota
St. Cloud State University Children’s Literature Workshop
University of Minnesota Kerlan Award Ceremony
University of St. Thomas Hubbs Children’s Literature Conference

Missouri
University of Central Missouri Children’s Literature Festival

Mississippi
The University of Southern Mississippi Fay B. Kaigler Children’s Book Festival

Nebraska
Concordia University Plum Creek Children’s Literacy Festival

New Hampshire
Keene State College Children’s Literature Festival

New Jersey
Montclair State University New Jersey Council of Teachers of English Spring Conference
Rutgers University One-on-One Plus Conference

New York
Manhattan College 21st Century Children’s Nonfiction Conference
Stony Brook University – Southampton Southampton Children’s Literature Conference

Ohio
Bowling Green State University Literacy in the Park
Kent State University Virginia Hamilton Conference
Ohio State University 2016 Children’s Literature Association Conference (ChLA 2016)
The University of Findlay Mazza Museum Summer Conference and Weekend Conference
Youngstown State University English Festival

Pennsylvania
Kutztown University Children’s Literature Conference

Texas
Sam Houston State University Jan Paris Bookfest: Children’s & YA Conference
Texas A&M University – Commerce Bill Martin Jr Memorial Symposium

Utah
Brigham Young University Symposium on Books for Young Readers
Utah Valley University Forum on Engaged Reading

Virginia
The College of William and Mary Joy of Children’s Literature Conference
Longwood University Summer Literacy Institute and Virginia Children’s Book Festival
Shenandoah University Children’s Literature Conference

Washington
Western Washington University Children’s Literature Conference

Share Button
02 Mar

“Why Study Reconstruction?”

Share Button

It’s still a month away from the publication date of my book with Don Tate​, The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch, the true story of a young man who rose from slavery to the U.S. Congress during the Civil War and Reconstruction.

About that latter, terribly overlooked period, I could not ask for a better summation of why it’s such an important era in U.S. history than this three-minute video published today by Facing History and Ourselves​. I hope you’ll watch it and be inspired to learn more.

Share Button
26 Feb

Bartography Express for February 2015, featuring Lynda Mullaly Hunt’s Fish in a Tree

Share Button

This month, one subscriber to my Bartography Express newsletter will win a copy of Fish in a Tree (Penguin) by Lynda Mullaly Hunt.

If you’re not already receiving Bartography Express, click the image below for a look. If you like what you see, click “Join” in the bottom right corner, and you’ll be in the running for the giveaway at the end of this week.

20150224 Bartography Express

Share Button
23 Feb

A big giveaway by Two Writing Teachers

Share Button

Two Writing Teachers giveaway

The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch is just one of ten titles (all shown above) that will be given away later this week at the Two Writing Teachers blog.

In addition to the giveaway, Stacey Shubitz provides a lot of thoughtful commentary on how each of these ten titles can be used to help young writers improve their skills. For example, here’s some of what Stacey says about The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch:

Like Seeds of Freedom, this book is also crafted with strong voice, which makes it worthy of studying. Sometimes the voice is created with variations in the print (e.g., italics). While many sentences tend to be longer, there are some places with short sentences which cause readers to pause. Often punctuation is used to create voice. For instance, Barton often uses dashes, instead of commas, emphasize, interrupt, or change thoughts in the middle of sentences. Barton also used dashes to create longer or more dramatic pauses in sentences. This picture book is 50 pages long, which means there are LOTS of things you can study alongside students in order to figure out what makes this text work well.

Thank you, Stacey — and good luck to all you Bartography readers who enter the giveaway!

Share Button
22 Feb

“5, 4, 3, 2, 1″ with Nerdy Book Club co-founder Colby Sharp

Share Button

54321-InterviewMichigan teacher, Nerdy Book Club co-founder, and Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! enthusiast Colby Sharp has a nifty series on his sharpread blog called the 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 Interview. Last week, I had the opportunity to answer his five questions with ever-briefer answers — though, to be honest, I sort of gamed the system with lots of long, dash-enhanced sentences. Have a look!

Share Button
16 Feb

A starred review from Publishers Weekly for The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch!

Share Button

John Roy Lynch final cover

You know, when you spend the better part of a decade working on a 50-page picture book, I suppose it’s OK to get a little excited when Publishers Weekly both gets and appreciates what you were going for all those years:

The whole thing is available here, but this is my favorite part:

Barton offers an immersive, engaging, and unflinching portrait of the difficulties of the Reconstruction era, while Tate’s cartoonlike artwork softens moments of cruelty and prejudice without diminishing them.

Share Button