By Lauren Liang & Xenia Hadjioannou
Welcome back to the start of school and the fall semester! Whether it is your first year of teaching or your 30th, the first day of school is always an exciting event. We hope that you were able to celebrate with your new learners and mark the day with hope and joy as you look forward to adventuring together into new inquiries and understandings.
As you take these first steps on the 2023-24 school year journey, we want to remind you of the CLA resources here for your support and growth. Below we list some of the many CLA offerings that we hope you will utilize this year for your classrooms.
The CLA Blog
CLA Blog posts, published on Tuesdays every other week from September through May, are designed for educators and librarians who read with children and bring books to them to support their learning, feed their curiosity, give flight to their imagination, and kindle in them a love for literature and reading. Within our blog you will find posts written by CLA members, offering ideas, tips, and recommendations for sharing books with young people in pursuit of diverse goals and objectives. You will also find posts foregrounding upcoming CLA events, announcing award application opportunities, and celebrating the work of our CLA committees.
CLA Notables Award Lists
The CLA Notables are announced annually in March. Throughout the year, members of the CLA Notables Committee read, review, discuss, and debate the merits of over 400 books written for children (K-8th grade) published in the previous year. They then create a final list of 30 books they mark as being the best of the best for use in English Language Arts classrooms and school libraries.
Note: If you attend the annual NCTE Convention, you will not want to miss the Notables session, during which you will hear all about the books that made the Notables list that year. And, if you win our raffle at the CLA Breakfast, you may find yourself leaving the session with a full set of the books on that list.
Journal of Children’s Literature
CLA’s semi-annual academic journal, The Journal of Children’s Literature, highlights scholarship in the field and contributes to vital conversations about children’s books and literacy education. The journal offers scholarly, peer reviewed feature articles and columns related to children’s literature. It also offers articles contributed by CLA’s committees, including an exploration of the years Notables books, an interview with the keynote speaker of the CLA Breakfast, a comprehensive report of our annual Expent Class, and contributions from the recipients of CLA awards.
CLA Breakfast at NCTE
Every year, on Sunday morning of the NCTE annual convention, CLA hosts one of our most beloved events: the CLA Breakfast. Beyond celebrating the recipients of CLA’s Grants and Awards and featuring our popular Art Auction, the CLA Breakfast features renowned authors and illustrators as keynote speakers. Over the past few years, breakfast attendees were fortunate to hear Jerry Craft (2022); Cynthia Leitich-Smith , Traci Sorell, Michaela Goade, Carole Lindstrom, and Kevin Maillard (2021), Jason Reynolds (2020), Yuyi Morales (2019), and Candace Fleming and Erik Rohmann (2018).
In 2023, we are delighted to feature Traci Sorell as our keynote Breakfast speaker. When registering for the NCTE Conference, purchase your breakfast ticket and join us on Sunday, November 19th at 7:00 am!
CLA Expert Class at NCTE
Another annual event CLA sponsors at the NCTE Convention is the CLA Expert Class, which was formerly known as the CLA Master Class. The session is structured as a professional development opportunity for teachers of children’s literature, and typically involves book creators and children’s literature scholars in conversations about vital and timely issues in the field.
Student Special Events
CLA’s student members are actively involved in the work of the Assembly. The CLA Student Committee organizes several events throughout the year, including the Annual Student Committee Webinar, and a CLA Student Social at the NCTE conference. In addition, student members have opportunities to serve on other CLA committees and apply for the Vivian Yenika Agbaw Student Conference Grant, which helps defray costs for the NCTE Conference.
Lauren Aimonette Liang is Associate Professor at the Deparment of Educational Psychology of the University of Utah. She is a past president of CLA and co-editor of the CLA Blog.
Xenia Hadjioannou is Associate Professor of Language and Literacy Education at the Berks Campus of Penn State. She is President of CLA and co-editor of the CLA Blog.