Karla Schmit

I’m proud to announce that this year’s Great Reads from Great Places title is “Feed Your Mind: A Story of August Wilson” written by Jen Bryant and illustrated by Cannaday Chapman. The picture book biography is a perfect selection to represent Pennsylvania. Bryant is a Chester County resident. Her subject, August Wilson, grew up in Pittsburgh, which is the setting for many of his plays.

It’s that time of the year when the Pennsylvania Center for the Book celebrates the winner of its Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award for Children.

This year’s winner is “How to Read a Book” by Kwame Alexander with art by Melissa Sweet. Alexander also won a Hopkins Poetry Award and a Newberry Medal for “The Crossover” in 2015. Sweet is a Caldecott Honoree.

Karla Schmit reviews "A Crossing of Zebras."

I work at the Pennsylvania Center for the Book and a new book of poetry by local author Marjorie Maddox came across my desk recently. The title immediately caught my attention: “A Crossing of Zebras: Animal Packs in Poetry.” I thought, collective nouns and poetry? What a great idea!

As the director of the Pennsylvania Center for the Book, one of my favorite tasks is choosing a children’s or young adult title to represent Pennsylvania at the National Book Festival in Washington, D.C. It’s a responsibility I take very seriously. I consult with colleagues and search for information about children’s and young adult books by Pennsylvania authors or illustrators. I look for titles with topics that have some connection to the Commonwealth. 

The book of poetry “Martin Rising: Requiem for a King” beautifully illustrates events in the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. It’s written with a middle school audience in mind, but this collection can be enjoyed by everyone. Each of poet Andrea Davis Pinkney’s poems is accompanied by a beautiful watercolor, gouache, and india ink illustration by Brian Pinkney. 

The poems about King’s life are labeled with the date of each event’s occurrence and in some cases the time. The book is divided into three sections: Daylight, Darkness and Dawn. 

BookMark: A 'Baker's Dozen' Of Children's Books

Nov 29, 2018


Since 2004, the Pennsylvania Center for the Book has named a Baker’s Dozen of books each year that support family literacy.

The books chosen for the Baker’s Dozen list aim to turn preschool children into lifelong readers and lovers of books. Among the thirteen books chosen this year are “Bulldozer Helps Out” by Candace Fleming and Eric Rohmann, “I Want That Nut!” by Madeline Valentine and “Who Am I? An Animal Guessing Game” by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page.