penguin young readers group

Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden Visits Penguin Random House to Talk Books, Diversity and Inclusion

It was an honor to welcome Dr. Carla Hayden, Librarian of Congress, to Penguin Random House for a special event presented by the Penguin Young Readers Marketing & Publicity Diversity Committee, with Penguin Young Readers Brand Coordinator Chloe Goodhart producing, at 345 Hudson Street on

Tuesday, November 1. Penguin Young Readers President Jen Loja introduced Dr. Hayden, nominated by President Barack Obama in February 2016, confirmed by the U.S. Senate five months later, and appointed the 14th Librarian of Congress in September 2016, becoming the first African American and the first woman to lead the world’s largest library.    At outset of her talk, Dr. Hayden admitted she was a “fan girl” of National Book Award-winning Penguin Random House author Jacqueline Woodson, who was among the fully engaged colleagues and guests that filled the room to capacity. [caption id="attachment_8689" align="alignright" width="300"] Dr. Carla Hayden and Jacqueline Woodson[/caption] Growing up on the South Side of Chicago, Dr. Hayden said she was raised to be “socially conscious.” Recalling when she was an 8-year-old young reader, she pointed to Marguerite De Angeli’s BRIGHT APRIL (initially published by Doubleday in 1946) as “the first book I loved … because I saw myself.  It’s first time I saw a sympathetic portrayal of girls that looked like me.” Dr. Hayden discussed her beginnings as a librarian in the Chicago Public Library system, eventually rising to the post of deputy commissioner and chief librarian. In Chicago, she was keenly aware of the absence of characters of color in children’s books and was determined to “right every wrong.” She also taught Library & Information Science at the University of Pittsburgh. She became head of the Baltimore Library system in 1993, earning praise for her work to ensure that the city’s library system offered a broad array of services to assist citizens from all walks of life.  She received Library Journal’s Librarian of the Year Award in 1995. Amidst the unrest that occurred in Baltimore in 2015 following the arrest of Freddie Gray and his subsequent death, Dr. Hayden said, “Our branch libraries were right at the epicenter on Pennsylvania Avenue.  We offered safe havens. We helped raise money. And a 2-story high mural of an African American girl reading – called ‘Penny’ after a naming contest – was protected and never defaced.” Since shifting from the Baltimore library system to the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, she keeps asking herself, “What can I do to make a difference?” She is determined “to open up the Library of Congress’s treasure chest to all, particularly young people.” She shared a story about 8-year-old Adam Coffey who penned a hand-written note to her requesting a Library of Congress “readers card,” which can only be issued to individuals aged 16 and older.  He wrote, “I don’t want to wait eight years.”  So with his parents’ permission, she arranged a visit and a tour. In an effort to further attract interest in the Library of Congress among young readers, Dr. Hayden has been working to expand the new Youth Center – a space dedicated to such areas as comic books, graphic novels and “forensic studies” of original historical manuscripts. “The goal,” she said, “is to create space that will used and inspire a series of ‘pinch me’ moments for visitors to the center.” Before the conclusion of the event, Ms. Goodhart shared a number of questions PRH colleagues had submitted in advance.  Among them: “How is digital technology used in the Library of Congress?” Dr. Hayden responded, “We have respect for young peoples’ intellect, curiosity and digital preferences. There could be a YouTube channel where stories can be shared.  We have a lot of social media content, and traveling exhibits are being planned.  We’re always open to trying something new.” Dr. Hayden reminded everyone, “Books that mirror who we are in real life mean so much. Young people need to see themselves in what they are reading. They need to be able to say, ‘OK. I’m cool, too.’ Diversity and personal identity in what we read is now more important than ever.”

THE SNOWY DAY Forever Stamps to be Issued on October 4

The United States Postal Service is featuring scenes from the beloved classic children’s book, THE SNOWY DAY, on their “forever” stamps. The stamps depict Peter, the main character of Ezra Jack Keats’ famous, award-winning Viking Books for Young Readers title, and will be dedicated at a free ceremony open to the public on October 4 at the Brooklyn Public Library in New York. 

THE SNOWY DAY was one of the first prominent 20th-century picture books centered on an African-American child, and went on to win the Caldecott Medal in 1963. There will be four stamps based on the book, and each will feature Peter in his red snowsuit. Antonio Alcala was the art director for the project, and designed the stamps with Keat’s iconic illustrations in mind, including images of Peter forming a snowball, Peter sliding down a mountain of snow, Peter making a snow angel, and Peter leaving footprints in the snow.
[caption id="attachment_7942" align="alignright" width="235"] Credit: United States Postal Service[/caption] Originally published by Viking Books for Young Readers in 1962,  THE SNOWY DAY is about a young boy who wakes up one morning and looks out his window to see everything covered in snow. An adventure-filled snow day ensues! There are currently more than 6 million copies of THE SNOWY DAY in print in North America. The “Snowy Day” stamps are being pre-sold at the USPS website.  Please feel free to attend the Snowy Day Forever Stamps First Day of Issue Dedication Ceremony at the BPL’s Central Library in the Dweck Auditorium on October 4, from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p. m.  For more information,  click here.

Reshma Saujani Brings “Girls Who Code” to Young Readers

Computing skills are the most sought-after realm in the U.S. job market, yet research shows that the share of women in the computing workforce has declined from 37% in 1995 to 24% today. In 2012, Reshma Saujani recognized this growing gender disparity and founded the national non-profit organization Girls Who Code to inspire, educate, and equip girls with the computing skills to pursue 21st century opportunities.

On Tuesday, August 22, Penguin Young Readers will join forces with Reshma and Girls Who Code to launch a new, multi-format, cross-imprint publishing program with the publication of GIRLS WHO CODE: Learn to Code and Change the World (Viking Books for Young Readers, for ages 10 & up) and THE FRIENDSHIP CODE (Penguin Workshop, for ages 8-12). These books teach girls the fundamental principles of coding and allow budding female coders to see themselves reflected in our cultural narrative. “When I first started Girls Who Code, I realized that there was a need for books that described what it’s like to actually be a girl who codes,” says Reshma Saujani. “I always say, ‘You can’t be what you can’t see.’ And that’s true for books, too. We need to read stories about girls who look like us in order to be inspired to try something new.” Reshma kicks off her national, 8-city book tour on August 22 at 5:00 p.m. with a Women in Tech rally at Union Square, followed by a book launch at 7:00 pm at Barnes & Noble, Union Square, with Reshma and editor Cristina Arreola in conversation. Major national media for the book launch includes interviews with Good Morning America,, The New York Times, TIME for Kids, The Chicago Tribune and CNN, as well as review coverage in Family Circle and Scholastic Teacher.