Wednesday, October 23, 2013

What Publishers Are Doing

I’ve never studied educational theory, and only visit schools as “queen/author for a day.” So I was rather nonplussed when we agreed to write about Common Core Standards this month. I figured other bloggers would say lots of great things before my late-in-the-month turn – and I could copy off their paper.  Well, they did, and I really don’t have anything to add.

Except that Cheryl Harness’s “shame-faced cinders” (in her recent post) reminded me of the cinders still lurking in my hiking boots from my recent tortuous climb up Stromboli…..

….and Mount Etna.

Then Caroline Arnold, a good friend and good writer (like Charlotte), described a recent talk she gave on the subject wherein she discussed what her publishers are doing about the standards. So I’m copying off her paper instead. Here are what a few of my editors say about Common Core Standards and nonfiction books.

Lerner and Carolrhoda Books

Editor Andrew Karre’s responses were swift, short, and sweet. 

1. Have the Common Core Standards brought any change to the number or type of books you are acquiring?

Yes, to a certain extent.
2. Are you making any changes to the back matter to relate more directly to the standards?

 Not many. Our back matter was already pretty robust. In that case CC confirmed our approach.
3.  Have you changed your marketing strategy to accommodate the standards?

Yes, definitely.
4.  Any other comments about the standards and what they might mean to your list?

I think it means great things for creative, thoughtful, author-led nonfiction—which is to say I’ll be able to continue doing it and maybe do more of it. I think it’s a huge boon for poets.
Katie O’Neel, publicist at Lerner and Carolrhoda, elaborated.
We have started to include the Common Core correlations of each title in our catalog front list. We have also created Common Core libraries, which provide curated bundles of books, in library-bound or multi-user ebook formats, that have particularly strong correlations to the Common Core. We have also created hundreds of Common Core teaching guides that are available for free download on our website.

It’s all very user-friendly at

Holiday House

Editor Julie Amper weighed in.

“Holiday House has always published books with the school curriculum in mind. New we are adding information on how the book fits the Standards and how it could be used. In both our catalog and on our website we have annotated how books fit the Standards and how they might be used.

We do not see the Common Core Standards as a departure from what good teachers having been doing for a long time. The Standards aren’t teaching new or different information, but are rather a checklist of skills teachers have worked on with their students for years.  We see great opportunities for creative teaching by adoption of the Common Core Standards and use of trade books and other materials in the classroom.”

The Holiday House website’s home page has a link to Common Core State Standards which links to Teaching Ideas, Titles by Subject, and teachers’ materials.

Boyds Mills/Calkins Creek

Boyds Mills Press, with their well-respected Calkins Creek American history imprint, and Word Song, a poetry imprint, are poised to take advantage of Common Core Standards. Kerry McManus, publicist for Boyds Mills and Calkins Creek, reports that the spring 2014 catalog will link the new titles to various standards, and Educators’ Guides will do the same.

Chicago Review Press

With a large back and front list of middle grade activity books to draw on, Mary Kravenas, Marketing Manager, writes,

There hasn’t been a huge sea change in how we look at acquiring books. If anything, the CC standards have confirmed what we had already established with our list -- the strength and importance of non-fiction books for K-12 students. We do look a little deeper now when we’re positioning a title, discussing what standards a title addresses, and it reaffirms our commitment to quality non-fiction.”

So teachers and writers, just....


April Pulley Sayre said...

It's nice to hear what publishers have to say about Common Core Standards. Thanks for gathering the info!

Anna M. Lewis said...

Fabulous post, Gretchen!

Great to see Mary from CRP in the mix!

(Written while she scratches her head trying to come up with something relevant, profound, and entertaining for Friday's post.)