How Franklin Became Peanuts‘ First Black Character, Thanks to a Caring Schoolteacher (1968)

≡ Category: Comics/Cartoons, History, K-12, Life |4 Comments

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Like many children of the 70s, I was wild for Charles Schulz’s Peanuts, and had the merchandise to prove it. I was a Snoopy girl, for the most part, but not averse to receiving items featuring other characters—Linus, Schroeder, the caustic Lucy, PigPen, and, of course, Charlie Brown.

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Neil Gaiman & Famous Friends Read Aloud the Entirety of Coraline (and The Graveyard Book Too)

≡ Category: Audio Books, Books, K-12, Literature |1 Comment

One of the many pleasures of hearing a children’s author reading his or her own work is their overwhelming lack of vocal sentiment. When my children were young, I always opted for the horse’s mouth, over the more histrionic characterizations of a hired narrator, regardless of what sitcom or Broadway play he or she may have starred in.

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Hear Jack Nicholson Read Rudyard Kipling’s “The Elephant’s Child,” With Music by Bobby McFerrin

≡ Category: Audio Books, K-12, Literature |4 Comments

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In the months before my daughter was born, I built up reserves of enthusiasm for her introduction to stories—in book form, movie form, and in the form of famous actors reading them.

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Watch Twin Beaks, Sesame Street’s Parody of David Lynch’s Iconic TV Show (1990)

≡ Category: Comedy, K-12, Television |Leave a Comment

Who killed Laura Palmer?
If the answer comes unbidden to your lips, you’re no doubt old enough to have spent much of 1990 glued to Twin Peaks, cult director David Lynch’s supremely creepy series. (Note: US-based viewers can watch the show for free on Hulu.

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Watch Stars Read Classic Children’s Books: Betty White, James Earl Jones, Rita Moreno & Many More

≡ Category: Books, Education, English Language, K-12 |Leave a Comment

As if we needed the competition—am I right, parents?—of some very excellent children’s books read by some beloved stars of stage and screen, and even a former vice president.

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Langston Hughes Presents the History of Jazz in an Illustrated Children’s Book (1955)

≡ Category: K-12, Music |4 Comments

I can imagine no better guide through the history and variety of jazz than Langston Hughes, voice of the Harlem Renaissance and poetic interpreter of 20th century black American culture. Hughes’ 1955 First Book of Jazz is just that, a short primer with a surprisingly high degree of sophistication for a children’s book.

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Download Images From Rad American Women A-Z: A New Picture Book on the History of Feminism

≡ Category: Art, History, K-12, Life |Leave a Comment

The next time story hour rolls around, you can give a mouse a cookie or you can awaken pre-readers (and yourself) to some key figures in women’s history. 26 of them, to be precise. It’s no accident that that number corresponds to the exact number of letters in the alphabet.

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Watch the “Youngest String Quartet Ever” Perform Vivaldi, Michael Jackson & Katy Perry

≡ Category: K-12, Music |Leave a Comment

They’re billed as “the youngest string quartet ever.” The kids began playing in The Joyous String Quartet when they were four years old. Now, fast forward four more years, and they find themselves performing 20 concerts a year around the globe — in places like South Korea and China, and on the Ellen DeGeneres Show.

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Kids Orchestra Plays Ozzy Osbourne’s “Crazy Train” and Zeppelin’s “Kashmir”

≡ Category: K-12, Music |3 Comments

The Louisville Leopard Percussionists — they’re a performing ensemble made up of 60 students, all between the ages of 7 and 14, from schools around the Louisville, Kentucky area. Each musician plays several instruments, such as the marimbas, xylophone, vibraphone, drum set, timbales, congas, bongos and piano.

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Rolling Stones Drummer Charlie Watts Writes a Children’s Book Celebrating Charlie Parker (1964)

≡ Category: Books, Design, K-12, Music |1 Comment

Charlie Watts’s first love has always been jazz. While his Rolling Stones band mates spent their youth listening to the Blues, Watts listened to Miles Davis and John Coltrane. And something about that seems to have stuck. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards defined what a rock star should look like in the late 60s – disheveled and flamboyant.

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