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    ILA Board Announces New Executive Director; Interim Executive Director Nicola Wedderburn Takes the Helm Permanently

    ILA Staff
     | Feb 01, 2023

    The International Literacy Association (ILA) announced today that, by unanimous decision of the ILA Board of Directors, ILA Interim Executive Director Nicola Wedderburn has assumed the position permanently.

    Traditionally, an Interim Executive Director's role is to steer the organization during the search for and transition to a new permanent leader. In the case of Wedderburn, the ILA Board felt her stellar performance made such a search unnecessary.

    "We are continually inspired and encouraged by Nicola's leadership and the culture of collaboration she has fostered at ILA," said Kenneth Kunz, ILA President of the Board. "We've made amazing strides advancing ILA's mission this past year and are confident in Nicola's ability to continue to lead the important work ahead."

    Prior to taking the helm as Interim Executive Director in February 2022, Wedderburn served as Director of Business Development, during which time she oversaw ILA's marketing program as well as membership, the chapter and affiliate network, customer service and partnership development.

    As Interim Executive Director, Wedderburn spearheaded the creation and implementation of a new strategic plan for ILA that affirms the organization's commitment to improving the quality of literacy learning across the globe and reflects the interests and diversity of all constituents—something that Wedderburn, who hails from Jamaica, has advocated for throughout her 12-year tenure.

    Wedderburn's previous appointment was historic for the nearly 70-year-old organization; she is not only the first Black woman to take the helm of ILA but also the first executive director of ILA born outside of the United States.

    Said Wedderburn, "I believe in ILA's mission and have seen firsthand the difference we can make in the lives of literacy professionals. It's an honor to serve the organization in this role."

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    Crayola Creativity Week: A Seven-Day Celebration of Creativity Starting Jan. 23

    Sponsored Content
     | Jan 13, 2023
    Creativity Week Banner

    Looking for a way to turn the winter blahs into a vibrant celebration of every child’s creativity? Crayola Creativity Week 2023, which starts on January 23, is exactly what you are looking for! But you don’t need to wait until the 23rd to get started. Visit the Crayola Creativity Week website for resources, activities, and giveaways­­––all available with a free registration­­––as well as to see the calendar of events and list of celebrity creators who are part of the 2023 Crayola Creativity Week lineup.

    Crayola Creativity Week is about more than just free stuff to use in your classroom. It’s a seven-day celebration of children’s innate creative mind-sets. With activities and events geared toward a specific daily theme and a livestreamed special assembly on Friday, January 27, Crayola Creativity Week provides everything both educators and children’s families and caregivers need to keep students engaged and innovating all week long! Each day focuses on a creative theme and a special children’s book, and includes unique celebrity-led video activities, curriculum-connected resources, and all kinds of activities to unleash every child’s original ideas.

    Let’s take a look at what’s in store for your students.

    Here’s the lineup!

    • Monday, January 23: Endless Possibilities
      Crayola Creativity Week launches with guest appearances from NASA space explorers, who are part of the team making the Artemis mission possible, and illustrator, Shane Tolentino. NASA astronauts will read the book You Are Going, and Tolentino will lead an art activity. Students will be captivated by the awesome possibilities of a STEAM career at NASA.
    • Tuesday, January 24: Building Dreams and Community
      Actress and singer Ali Stroker––who was the first wheelchair-using actor to appear on Broadway and win a Tony––and illustrator Gillian Reid share they spotlight on Tuesday as the share their  book Ali and the Sea Stars and inspire students to put on a play, illustrate dramatic facial expressions, and reach for stars. Their special message? Go after your dreams with the help of a supportive community.
    • Wednesday, January 25: Dancing with Traditions
      Author Ria Thundercloud and illustrator Kalila Fuller get the day moving with their book Finding My Dance. Thundercloud's story will inspire young creatives to connect culture, identity, and self-expression. Fuller will show learners how to draw and illustrate nature-inspired patterns and dance poses. It’s art. It’s music and dance. It’s creativity in motion.
    • Thursday, January 26: Language and Laughter
      Giggles and guffaws are center stage with comedian and Impractical Jokers star James “Murr” Murray and comedy writer Carsen Smith. Laughter is the main course of the day as these two celebrity creators share their book Area 51 Interns: Alien Summer. Students will get the inside story on creating illustrated idioms and collaborating to create improv art.
    • Friday, January 27: Keys to Kindness
      Cast members from the new movie musical Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile will read the book that inspired the film: The House on East 88th Street by Bernard Waber. Winslow Fegley, the 13-year-old actor and artist who stars as Josh Primm in the film, will make a special appearance to encourage children to embrace change by cooking up creative solutions and illustrating the keys to kindness that can lead us to unexpected and wondrous friendships.
    • Friday, January 27: Crayola Creativity Week Livestreamed Assembly Event
      For kids, teachers, families, and everyone around the world who loves to create, this livestreamed event is headlined by special messages from Olympic Champion and three-time World Champion figure skater Nathan Chen and 13-year-old actress Lyric Hurd who plays Trudy in Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile. And to keep the creative momentum moving, this event includes the premiere of the new dance along from KIDZ BOP.
    • Saturday, January 28: Self-Confidence and Student Voice
      Have fun with the whole family as Darryl “DMC” McDaniels, cofounder of the legendary hip-hop group Run DMC, will inspire kids to use their voices to build confidence and express themselves. Illustrator Tristan Tait will lead a draw-along for kids of all ages, creating doodles to help us learn to express our best selves.
    • Sunday, January 29: Weathering Emotions
      TODAY Show cohost and meteorologist Dylan Dreyer and illustrator Rosie Butcher share their book Misty the Cloud. Kids will learn about words that can describe both the weather and human emotions such as sunny, stormy, turbulent, and calm. Art activities are part of the day’s forecast as the whole family creates cloud characters based on science and use layered art materials to create a weather scene.

    Participation is free, flexible, and filled with fun!

    Teachers, librarians, and families can access complete details and register online at Last year, for the inaugural Creativity Week celebration, more than 12,500 schools, classrooms, libraries, and homes participated in the inaugural 2022 Crayola Creativity Week , reaching more than 2 million students and 115,000 educators in all 50 U.S. states and 26 countries around the world. Educators’ experiences are exemplified by these quotes: “Students enjoyed expressing their ideas through illustration! The power of the imagination is priceless!” and “Wow! My students really understood yesterday’s challenge. It seems we may have some future authors and illustrators in our class!” We hope you will join and enjoy the festive fun in 2023 and make this year even better!

    To help educators plan their own Creativity Week celebration and activities, Crayola has made curriculum-aligned activities, video resources, and standards alignments available on the Creativity Week website. Detailed FAQs can help answer any questions participating educators may have and help secure buy-in from administrators and school or district leaders. Participate every day or just tune in on select days for specific themes––whatever works best for your students and schedules.

    Share your own and your students’ experiences and activities­­––and follow along to see what other classes are doing––by using the hashtag #crayolacreativityweek on social media.  Artwork and projects created by students in grades pre-K–12 and shared along with the #crayolacreativityweek tag might end up on Crayola’s Student Gallery!

    Use Creativity Week to turn the last week of January into a celebration of reading, writing, drawing, dancing, dreaming, singing, and acting. Let students explore new career connections, new ways to innovate, and new ways to express and receive real kindness. It’s a colorful way to encourage every child’s aspirations, curiosity, and ability to solve problems. And that’s how beautiful possibilities begin.

    Let’s get creative!

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    Spotlight on the ILA Network: Children’s Literature and Reading Special Interest Group

    ILA Staff
     | Sep 22, 2022

    CLRSIGhiglight_680This is the first of a new series of posts highlighting ILA’s richly diverse network of state chapters, global affiliates, special interest groups, and Alpha Upsilon Alpha honor societies.

    Children’s Literature and Reading Special Interest Group (CL/R SIG) | Est. 1979

    What they do

    Share resources and current research findings pertaining to books for young people through webinars, a virtual book club, a peer-reviewed journal (The Dragon Lode, available free to members), and the Notable Books for a Global Society (NBGS), an annual list of 25 outstanding books that celebrate diverse human experiences and promote intercultural understanding.

    Why they do it

    To advocate for the inclusion of children’s literature in educational settings.

    Who can join

    ILA members with “an abiding interest in the development of literacy and in promoting high-quality literature,” including school-based educators, teacher candidates, higher ed faculty, authors, and children’s book publishers.

    How to join

    Online or by calling customer service at 800.336.7323 (US/Canada) or +1.302.731.1600 (all other countries).

    Ways to get involved

    Serve on the CL/R SIG’s Board of Directors. Current openings include three member-at-large positions and one president-elect. Board members serve three-year terms; the president-elect serves six: two in this role; two as president; and two as past-president. Responsibilities include overseeing the SIG business, developing events and initiatives, promoting the SIG’s publications and activities, and recruiting new members.  

    Interested candidates should send a statement of interest and brief biography (no more than 200 words each) to Danielle Hartsfield, CL/R SIG President, at by Friday, September 30. Elections will be held in October; terms begin on November 1. All candidates must be members in good standing of both ILA and the CL/R SIG.

    Participate in the Notable Books for a Global Society Committee. During their three-year terms, members of this committee read and evaluate several hundred children’s and young adult books annually. They collaborate with fellow committee members to select the 25 books that most closely align to the NBGS selection criteria. In addition, they participate in webinars and conference sessions to share information about the award.

    dragonlodecoverFor more information about serving on the NBGS Committee, please contact Mary Ellen Oslick, Chair, at Applications are due in January 2023.

    Write and/or review for The Dragon Lode, CL/R SIG’s juried journal. The Dragon Lode provides a forum for exchange of ideas concerning the content and teaching of children’s literature in the development of literacy. For more information about what content they are seeking and guidelines for submitting a manuscript, you can visit the CL/R SIG website or email the editors.


    Want to get your ILA chapter, affiliate, or SIG featured in our next spotlight? Email for more information

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    Explore Resources for Banned Books Week

    By Wes Ford
     | Sep 19, 2022
    Girl reading book


    This week, September 17 through 24, is Banned Book Week, an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. This event calls to light the hundreds of challenges that are made in an effort to remove books from public schools and libraries. A proud member of the Unite Against Book Bans movement, a campaign organized by the American Library Association (ALA), ILA has long stood against censorship and supported children's rights to read.

    Here are some resources to help you stand up against censorship and promote a love of reading in students.

    Children’s Rights to Read

    ILA's Children’s Rights to Read initiative, founded on 10 fundamental rights every child deserves, was developed to ensure that every child, everywhere, has access to the education, opportunities, and resources needed to read. These resources expand on and support the Rights (downloadable in 16 languages), helping you enact them in in your classroom, school, or community: 


    Both of these ILA Digital Events are available on our YouTube channel, along with several other videos in our Free Events playlist.


    Several organizations have created informational guides and resource packets with promotional material and suggestions on how to guide discussion and lead action around fighting book bans.

    Special Interest Groups

    Censorship silences the voices of marginalized populations. Our Children’s Literature and Reading Special Interest Group (CL/R SIG) uplifts diverse voices with their annual Notable Books for a Global Society book list.


    ILA Briefs

    Blog posts

    How are you advocating for a child’s rights to read during Banned Books Week? Let us know by emailing or tagging us on social media. Follow us on Twitter for more resources, articles, and events, and be sure to use the hashtag #BannedBooksWeek and our handle, @ILAToday, when sharing your events.


    Wes Ford is proud to stand with ILA against censorship and banning books.

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    2022 International Literacy Day Welcome

    By Kenneth Kunz & Annette Kiberu
     | Sep 08, 2022

    To our International Literacy Association (ILA) global community, we want to take this opportunity to join all of you in celebrating 2022 International Literacy Day and to call attention to the amazing work taking place across our committed and dedicated worldwide literacy network. This year’s theme is: “Transforming Literacy Learning Spaces.” As so many have embraced ILA’s Children’s Rights to Read, one can draw immediate connections to Right #6: Children have the right to supportive reading environments with knowledgeable literacy partners. As co-chairs of the ILA Global Committee, we are proud you have partnered with ILA to carry out this work. We invite you to share how you are embracing quality, equitable, and inclusive learner-centered learning for all.

    Our work this year began with a focus on joy around literacy, as we were able to meet for the first time face-to-face since the pandemic at the Federation of European Literacy Associations (FELA) Conference hosted in partnership with the Literacy Association of Ireland (LAI) in beautiful Dublin. Like the projects and initiatives presented to ILA’s global community, we were humbled to participate in their celebration of literacy, diversity, and new directions in the aftermath of COVID-19. As a proud supporter of this year’s event, ILA recognizes that there are countless opportunities to join hand in hand with networks advancing literacy across the globe, and our membership is second to none when it comes to research, innovation, practice, and service.

    On this International Literacy Day, our joy around this work continues as we participate in the many events taking place around the world. On this one day alone, the collective efforts of our network impact millions of readers across all of our regions and affiliates. As you celebrate this day with your schools, families, and communities, we invite you to visit to learn more about how the “I” is represented across ILA. Click on “Get Involved” and learn more under “Chapters and Affiliates.” We know you will be inspired by responses to literary needs impacting communities around the globe.

    If reimagining literacy through a global lens is new to the work that you do, or if you are looking to transform literacy in global ways in the aftermath of the pandemic, we share a few tips that have helped to bring our work into perspective:

    • Connect with a colleague from across the globe. Consider attending an international literacy conference (virtually, or in person!). We are looking forward to FELA 2024 in Chania, Greece.
    • Evaluate your local/school/classroom libraries to inventory representation of voices and diverse experiences from around the world.
    • Visit the ILA website to explore possible literacy networking opportunities. Identify a global affiliate participating in initiatives and projects aligned with your core values and interests.
    • Joining ILA is just a click away; membership is open to all of us. By joining or encouraging new members to join, you will learn, enjoy, and grab exposure to the latest research and practices. Join today to add to your knowledge as you promote literacy globally.
    • Enjoy the numerous literacy awards and grants that are open to all members internationally.
    • Write for Literacy Today, ILA's member magazine, or Literacy Now, ILA's blog, and share your International Literacy Day project. Showcase how you are transforming literacy learning.
    • Tag @ILAToday in your Twitter posts so we can connect and share your work! Use the official event hashtag in all of your tweets: #LiteracyDay.

    On this International Literacy Day, we would like to recognize YOU for supporting ILA’s mission and are proud that you are part of our ILA network. We wish you a safe, happy, and healthy International Literacy Day and look forward to hearing the different ways you bring readers together around the globe both today and throughout the year.

    Wishing you all the best,

    Kenneth Kunz        Annette Kiberu
    Co-Chairs, ILA Global Committee

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