Children’s Literature — Meet David Adler

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Speaking at the Shenandoah Children’s Literature Festival, Adler said that he expected to be a writer. In fact, he math for nine years and his MBA in marketing while teaching. The of his first book is the actually the of his entry into the publishing

Coming from a large he spent a lot of time with and nephews, one of whom asked a lot of Adler began to think a book featuring a young boy for a walk to a museum and asking of the … with him. The to how did you learn all these answers? was a little at a time, which the title and the refrain for his first

His research for finding a publisher was to go to a and browse. He discovered that House had the most books in the so he figured that he would his little story to them. his large family was prone to jokes, he thought it was a prank he received a call from RH that they wanted to his book. And, that was the of his relationship with editors and the industry.

He acknowledged that he was lucky to have a book from his very first into publishing.

When his child was born, he received leave from Queens, NY and a house father. During time he made a personal to write for five hours day. He said that he be euphoric from the sale of his book and then would hit the with fear that it be his last sale. He wrote math books for Crowell and to branch out into other of writing.

He (very cleverly) that the way to make money in the world was to have a book would engender sequels to sales going. He told that he needed a strong character to be able to tell of stories about the same Basing characters on real gave him the ability to know the character would do in any given

For example, the Eric Shelton in the Cam Jansen books is based on best friend so of course I can say would never do that’ or Adler did actually know a boy a photographic memory but his character a girl and as readers readily with her she became a staple in the chapter books genre. Her mystery was based on an experience had with his own son Michael, so in the book Cam is a boy the same age as Michael.

This of using real life as the for a story gave Adler’s a sense of realism that to readers.

In the 1970s, transitional were new to the publishing industry. Cam and the Polk Street School were the first series to be to readers transitioning from readers to chapter books. The of writing a good book people need came out of my MBA training.

Adler wrote the Cam series with the idea one cannot rush transitional but that you can rush the plot and out the long descriptive paragraphs and in character development. Keep the moving and the plot progressing bogging the reader down. recipe hit the spot and Cam Jansen into the lives of millions of readers.

Her mysteries captured imaginations because Adler on the clue as the main thing everything else wrapped He said that he liked for the to be hidden in the ordinary and not noticed by the which is a lot harder to do when for children because they are so The main job of writing for transitional is to keep the plot strong puzzling out word by word not mean that the child is and the predicted comprehension high.

Adler began to write it as if the ideas would not stop. life was chock full of and he began to capture lots of When his son lost Scaley in own home, the idea of having a loose in the house (which seem terrible) was thrilling to because it meant a whole new so the Andy Russell series was

He would write a few chapters and them to his editor. He did not write because his theory was why write if the beginning is not good. Andy’s included six books and ended as a series.

But Adler had many avenues to explore including and biography.

The Picture Book of . is well known by librarians and as one of the best resources for young This series covers notables in history and is readily for young researchers. Adler to have a deft hand at vast amounts of research informative but readable books students love.

His goal is to so that he can make a person alive to the reader. His own curiosity and with original documents through as he often includes writings in his works. It is great for to make their own inferences reading original documents.

And he said, There are great starters from hearing the own voices.

As Adler continues to he has taken on the biographies of George Sitting Bull Gertrude Dummy Hoy, Benjamin and others. These books are for readers and are the result of dedicated and intensive effort. Writing for has restraints that ebb and flow cultural trends. For example, said that he was not allowed to use the Indian in his book about Bull.

Editors may have to many aspects of marketing as as trends in history; but, attention to detail makes it for them to whole-heartedly embrace his

David Adler’s energetic and devotion to getting it right came through as he spoke to the of librarians and educators. He conveyed the to reach youngsters and the methods he has employed to grab their while encouraging teachers to the appetites of students with and stories that reflect own experiences.

The generosity he showed in handouts and behind-the-scenes anecdotes his presentation with the real quality he captures in all of his writing. The acknowledged their gratitude for his to the world of education with a round of applause. There smiles all around!

Contributor: Egan

Find out more David Adler and his books at .

Andy and Tamika

David A.

Illustrations by Will Hillenbrand

is fraught with complications for the protagonist in Andy and Tamika. Russell is so busy trying to on the perfect name for his soon-to-arrive brother or sister that he always pay attention in class. He that his numerous pet gerbils may not good homes through the carnival.

He yearns to find the way to comfort his friend Tamika, who say good-bye to her foster parents. readers are sure to empathize warm-hearted Andy, who wrestles issues similar to their 1999, Harcourt Brace, and $4.95.

Ages 7 to 10. Reviewer: Quattlebaum (Children’s Literature).

anticipates the arrival of a new sibling and to guess its …, awaits his old Tamika’s moving in with (since her parents are both from an accident), befriends a cat, and participates in a school carnival in support of a food Hillenbrand’s line illustrations, one per chapter with a quarter-page opener, add to the reader’s ability to the characters and create some

While the characters are nice the story suffers from and too many subplots. A slapstick escapes at the carnival and sacrifices the character, but reveals to Andy the smug Stacey Ann may be all right all because she is not afraid of gerbils as are the class members. Fans of the two books in the Andy Russell will appreciate this entertaining entry and look to the next volume set up by this end.

1999, Gulliver Brace, $14.00 and $4.95. 7 to 10. Reviewer: Susan Hepler, (Children’s Literature).

The main in The Andy Russell series has a lot on in his life. Andy’s mother is a baby, his best friend is about to move in with the family, his fourth grade is planning a carnival and he has about gerbils too many. In addition, he has feeding and caring for a stray cat in the trying to avoid his annoying Stacy Ann Jackson and spending too time daydreaming during

Andy is often thinking a name for the new baby. He and his older are quite involved with the birth of their sibling. aspect of the plot rings since today’s young talk about sonograms and to Mommy’s tummy and are quite and concerned about childbirth.

The has some exciting moments, but may not be as captivated by Andy’s escapades as been by the adventures of Cam Jansen, the of Mr. Adler’s mysteries for young There are not many of the black and illustrations, but they are appealing. Gulliver Books/Harcourt Brace,

Ages 7 to 10. Reviewer: Carolyn Ford (Children’s Literature).


The Best Children’s of the Year, 2000; Bank College of Education; United

Awards, Honors, Prizes:

of School Librarians International Awards Honor 1999 Arts — K-6 Novels States

ISBN: 0-15-201735-6


Andy Russell, NOT by the Police

David A. Adler

by Leanne Franson

The Perlmans, next-door neighbors, have him and his friend Tamika to keep an eye on while they are away. and Tamika don’t expect any but strange things start to Lights turn on and off in the Perlmans’ and garbage appears in their The problem is, no one believes Andy and and the police are getting annoyed. up to the young detectives to find out is going on next door.

In this fifth Andy book, David A. Adler a fast-paced, light-hearted mystery readers are sure to enjoy. Gulliver/Harcourt, $14.00. Ages 7 to 11.

Heidi Hauser Green Literature).

State and Provincial Lists:

Cochecho Readers’ 2003-2004; Nominee; Dover, New

ISBN: 0-15-216474-X


B. Franklin, Printer

David A.

A great man’s life not necessarily portend a great Thankfully, this middle reader lives up to the reputation of the Benjamin Franklin. Over his life, Benjamin Franklin many coats—printer, inventor, scientist and statesman. He was arguably as to a true Renaissance man as this has ever produced.

After fame for the wit and wisdom of his Poor Almanac, Franklin went on to advances in science, including his with electricity, inventing and the Franklin stove. As a leader in he was instrumental in organizing America’s public library, police and departments, and forming one of the first for the abolition of slavery. He was also the most responsible for getting backing for the American Revolution.

The wisely uses frequent from Franklin himself. included are many illustrations, web sites, a chronology and a bibliography. And miss the source notes, include information edited the text but that the author so) felt too juicy to leave out 2001, Holiday House, Ages 10 up.

Reviewer: Christopher (Children’s Literature).


The Best Children’s Books of the 2002; Bank Street of Education; United States

Book Review Stars, 1, 2002; United States

Catalog, Eighteenth Edition, 2003; H.W. Wilson; States

Children’s Catalog, Edition, 2006; H.W. United States

Los Angeles’ 100 Books, 2001; IRA Children’s and Reading SIG and the Los Angeles Unified District; United States

and Junior High School Catalog, Ninth Edition, H.W. Wilson; United

Middle and Junior High Library Catalog, Supplement to the Edition, 2002; H.W. United States

Notable Studies Trade Books for People, 2002; National for the Social Studies NCSS; States

School Library Book Review Stars, 2002; Cahners; United

Awards, Honors, Prizes:

of Freedom Award Nominee United States

Orbis Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Recommended Title 2002 States

Society of School International Book Awards Book 2002 Social 7-12 United States


ISBN: 978-0-8234-1675-2

The I

David A. Adler

Illustrated by Widener

Upon discovering his father is out of work and selling on the street corner, the young joins his friend Jacob in newspapers. After picking up papers, Jacob takes him to Stadium where they their papers by giving about Babe Ruth. one day, while selling the a tall man buys a paper and him to keep the change from the bill. Jacob informs him it was Babe Ruth himself who that paper.

There was to buy two tickets to the game and still add to the jar, so that is what he He continued to keep his father’s a secret from his mother, and it was okay because, I knew Dad and I also a team. Love, and responsibility (and the excitement of Ruth) are interwoven in this book. The expressive illustrations the Bronx in the 1930s.

The first narrative works well in story of the strong bond a father and his son. 1999, Books/Harcourt Brace Company, Ages 6 to 10.

Reviewer: Sharon (Children’s Literature).

The young is angry when he receives a rather than a new bike for his This is the Great Depression, and he that his father has lost his He is selling apples on a corner and the fact from the family.

The friend, Jacob, is a newsie. He him the secret of success which is baseball sells more than tragedy. Emotions run in this story. It shows an era a boy could earn more his father and how shame makes for Baseball and Babe Ruth a magic that helps young boy, like others in the 1930’s, transcend and realize that teamwork can any difficulty.

1999, Harcourt $16.00. Ages 8 to 10. Reviewer: Wilde (Children’s Literature).


The Best Children’s of the Year, 2000; Bank College of Education; United

Booklist Book Review March 15, 1999; United

Children’s Catalog, Eighteenth 2001; H.W. Wilson; States

Children’s Catalog, Edition, 2006; H.W. United States

The Children’s Choice List, 2000; Literature; United States

Social Studies Trade for Young People, 2000; Council for the Social Studies United States

Smithsonian Notable Books for Children, Smithsonian; United States

Honors, Prizes:

California Reader Medal Winner Picture Book California

The Kite Award Honor 1999 Picture Book United States

Jefferson Cup Worthy of Special Note United States

Kentucky Award Winner 2001 Gr. 3-5

Rhode Island Children’s Award Winner 2002 Island

State and Provincial Lists:

Black-Eyed Susan Award, 2000-2001; Nominee; Books; Maryland

Rhode Children’s Book Award, Nominee; Rhode Island

Children’s Choice Picture Award, 2001; Nominee;

West Virginia Children’s Award, 2001-2002; Nominee; Virginia

Young Hoosier Award, 2001-2002; Nominee; K-3; Indiana


Cam Jansen and the Birthday Mystery


Illustrated by Susanna

Cam and her friend Eric, with from Eric’s parents, planned a surprise birthday for Cam’s parents who are both forty. Just as the festivities are exciting, there is a call Cam’s grandparents at the local saying that they been robbed. As Mr. and Mrs. hurry off to help, Cam and Eric hop in the of the car because they want to solve the mystery.

Once at the Cam (whose real name is but has earned the nickname because of her memory) begins to click pictures of the many people she Because of Cam’s special the thief is quickly caught. Cam and her and friends happily resume the celebration.

This little is a perfect addition to a collection of books for primary readers. It is 20 in the Cam Jansen Series. 2000, $3.99. Ages 7 to 10.

Reviewer: DeLong (Children’s Literature).

and Provincial Reading Lists:

A. Adler

Illustrated by Colin

Designated a Level 2 book in the House Readers series, entry emphasizes Martin King’s strong character, was partially instilled in him by a strong father who believed in the rights of all Adler enlivens the early with a few well-chosen anecdotes and readers through King’s and marriage to his involvement in civil the Montgomery Bus Boycott, his speech at the on Washington, and what he earned as a Nobel Peace Prize, the Rights Act and the Voting Rights

His untimely … and the national in his honor conclude the book. is arranged on the page to look and Bootman’s dark watercolor lend a solemn dignity to the Important dates arranged but not in a timeline and a list of four end the book. There is no index.

is a useful addition to school 2001, Holiday House, Ages 6 to 8. Reviewer: Susan Ph.D. (Children’s Literature).


Children’s Catalog, Edition, Supplement, 2002; Wilson; United States


ISBN: 978-0-8234-1572-4

Washington: An Illustrated Biography

A. Adler

It will take an student or an ardent student of Washington to pick up this tome of our first president. titled a biography, this is a history book of colonial and wars, and the inception of American At a considerable 274 pages, many will shy away from book.

That is unfortunate, as are some unique glimpses Washington’s public and not-so-public as well as snippets of colonial and a generous helping of illustrations throughout—including several appealing of Washington’s residences, America the Revolutionary War, and the farms at Vernon. Prominently missing this work is the famous of Washington by Gilbert Stuart, there is a brief mention of sitting.

Other artists’ are spread throughout the book, in defiance of the famous portrait. the lengthy text are helpful including Generals under Members of the first Cabinet and a few websites for George Washington and Vernon. Primary source will delight in the many from local gazettes, and facsimiles of Washington’s papers—even of handwriting by him from ages 13 to 67. Holiday House, $24.95.

9 to 12. Reviewer: Elizabeth Young Literature).

Best Books:

Children’s Books of the Year, Bank Street College of United States

Children’s Eighteenth Edition, Supplement, H. W. Wilson; United States

Catalog, Nineteenth Edition, H.W. Wilson; United

Middle and Junior High Library Catalog, Ninth 2005; H.W. Wilson; States

Notable Social Trade Books for Young 2005; National Council for the Studies; United States

ISBN: 0-8234-1838-3


Heroes of the Revolution

David A.

Illustrated by Don A. Smith

A dozen men and whose courage and determination to freedom changed history are in this quick overview. has condensed information, salient and memorable quotes in a three-to-five pocket biography of well-known like George Washington, Jefferson, Thomas Paine, Revere, Ethan Allan, Hale, Molly Pitcher, Paul Jones, and Crispus

He also includes Haym a noted financier who bailed out the revolution by loaning money to pay Deborah Sampson who, as a man, fought in the war until and Lydia Darragh, a servant who for the patriots. Each person’s of birth and … are given with the paragraphs. Smith’s and wooden depictions of these get the job done, in the manner of textbook but add little interest.

Endnotes a fascinating fact or two about hero which children enjoy adding to their Important dates from to 1783 give an overview of the and source notes are included. Adler includes scholarly notes, he had to feature these in his selected bibliography, sources of to adults only.

But he thus a chance to guide his readers to reading, such as books by Jim Jean Fritz, or even previous Picture Book series. And Adler’s tantalizing of these heroes will many to search out further 2003, Holiday House, Ages 6 to 10.

Reviewer: Susan Ph.D. (Children’s Literature).


ISBN: 978-0-8234-1471-0

How How Short, How Far Away

David A.

Illustrated by Nancy Tobin

with a brief historical about Egyptian and Roman Adler then move on to modern means of measuring, customary units (inches and and the metric system. Also in this educational and engaging are several activities which measuring different items different methods. It makes concepts and measuring more and appealing.

In addition, there are of colorful and detailed illustrations make learning even fun. 1999, Holiday $15.95. Ages 7 up. Reviewer: Bruneau (Children’s Literature).


Children’s Catalog, Edition, 2001; H.W. United States

Children’s Nineteenth Edition, 2006; Wilson; United States

The Literature Choice List, Children’s Literature; United

Outstanding Science Trade for Children, 2000; National Teachers Association; United

ISBN: 0-8234-1375-6


Joe Louis: America’s fighter

A. Adler

Illustrated by Terry

Adler succinctly summarizes the of the boxing champion who became a not only for African-Americans but, to all Americans. After a hard-working Louis found satisfaction and eventual success as a boxer. the Brown Bomber, Louis hope to African-Americans with his during the Depression years.

At white fans were not a black fighter. Louis had to Max Schmeling of Nazi Germany in but he was cheered by white as well as Americans when he finally Schmeling out in 1938. After the army, he boxed again the war and retired as world champion in An attempt at a comeback was not a success, but he an American hero until his in 1981.

Widener uses to produce naturalistic scenes stylistically suggest sculptured There is a strong sense of in both the city and the boxing The picture of a referee calling out, standing over the with wide-spread arms and stirs emotion very

It contrasts with a later where Louis is on his knees as the referee raises his arm. The of the images parallels that of the There is a timeline and added by the author.

2005, Gulliver $16.00. Ages 6 to 9. Reviewers: Ken and Sylvia Marantz (Children’s

Writer David Adler and Terry Widener collaborate for the time in this title. early years of poverty him to fight for what he wants in When he discovers boxing at he feels power pumping him and he knows he has found his way. goes on to become the punching called the Brown Bomber who African Americans during the until his retirement in 1949, as a world champion.

Emotions are described and the book’s setting defined by both illustration and giving both a sense of era and the 2005, Harcourt, $16.00. 7 to 10.

Reviewer: Susie Wilde Literature).

Best Books:

Children’s Books of the Year, Bank Street College of United States

Children’s 2005: One Hundred Titles for and Sharing, 2005; New York Library; United States

Catalog, Nineteenth Edition, H.W. Wilson; United

Kirkus Book Review October 15, 2005; United

Awards, Honors, Prizes:

World Awards Honor Stories for Adolescent Listeners States

State and Provincial Reading

Emphasis on Reading, 2006-2007; List; Grades 2-3;

ISBN: 0-15-216480-4


Mama Played Baseball

A. Adler

Illustrated by Chris

Spring leads our thoughts to and this is a picture book the All-American Girls Professional League (AAGPBL). The story is a little girl and her mother WWII. Dad is off at war, mom needs a job so she playing baseball in order to try out for the

We get to see what it is like to be in this home while mom plays and everyone worries and thinks dad. This is really a story about family the AAGPBL as a plot device. is a half page of author’s explaining a bit of the history of the league and the of hanging ‘welcome home’ the war) signs inside the in order to not hurt neighbors loved ones have or haven’t yet returned.

A wonderful book in a genuine historical 2003, Gulliver Books/Harcourt $16.00. Ages 4 to 8. Reviewer: Levin (Children’s Literature).

Amy played catch with her which was most days her dad went away to fight in the she had no idea she was helping her get ready for a new Amy’s dad had been a milk driver, which seemed a real job. Playing in the women’s league seemed a game, but if mama could get doing something she liked it be great. Grandma and Grandpa with Amy and her mama to the tryouts.

a missed catch or a bad at bat, of the women were dismissed. Mama was good! She made the and Amy had helped her practice! It was so much fun the games. When Mama’s traveled, Amy worked on a special she was saving for her dad, when he came home.

As a reader, how Amy’s story ends, getting a child-sized look at an time in history, and how it impacts one The soothing, warm, oil painted enhance this engaging 2003, Gulliver Books/Harcourt,

Ages 5 to 8. Reviewer: Barbara (Children’s Literature).

World War II is and Amy understands that her Dad has to go away He’s in the Army, wears a and has to put this new job above even his What she does not understand is why her wants to play baseball and that a job, too. It is not after Amy helps her mother throwing and catching enough Mama is chosen to be on the women’s called it girls’ then) and get a snappy short-skirted uniform to that Amy pulls it all together.

of working in a factory, Mama play baseball for her job, and will help the war effort, Adler creates a warm between mother and daughter in book, which keeps the memory of the All-American Girls’ Baseball League that fans with their sport while so many of the players were serving in the forces. With such as Chicks, Lassies, and Daisies, teams lasted until the Author’s Note tells us.

certainly dates the story, as do the era oil paintings that wash its with browns, taupes and drab colors. A good for youngsters whose parents are again serving their and leaving their families to cope. 2003, Harcourt,

Ages 5 to 8. Reviewer: Judy (Children’s Literature).

Young Amy the story of her mama’s baseball in David Adler’s Mama Baseball. During WW II, Amy’s needs a job and decides to try out for the first women’s league. It is hard for Amy to how playing baseball can possibly be a but soon she pitches in by helping her train. The story’s situation has strength than its characters and the images, like the Jack show, will mean to children.

The story does the wartime phenomena of women at and at play on baseball diamonds. artist Chris O’Leary a home run with his oils are pleasantly reminiscent of the Depression-era and an energy that the text lacks. 2003, Harcourt,

Ages 6 to 9. Reviewer: Susie (Children’s Literature).


Best Children’s Books of the 2004; Bank Street of Education; United States

2004; Cooperative Children’s Center; United States

Honors, Prizes:

Children’s Award Winner 2006 K-2 United States

State and Reading Lists:

Children’s Gallery Award, 2005-2006; United States


ISBN: 978-0-15-202196-2

A Picture of Lewis and Clark

David A.

Illustrated by Ronald Himler

How do we say to ourselves Imagine if he hadn’t met so and so. or if such and such hadn’t We can say this about the young Lewis having the great of being taken into the of his neighbor, a certain gentleman Thomas Jefferson. If this had not taken place, one of the greatest in American history probably would have happened.

Jefferson was itching to find out lay beyond what was then the border of the United States. He wanted to find a water across the country to the Pacific By the time the trip was organized and to go, Jefferson had concluded what was to be the Louisiana Purchase, and the lands the expedition were to travel belonged to the United States.

Lewis and an officer whom he met in the called Captain William set off to fulfill Thomas Jefferson’s and they had one of the greatest adventures of all David Adler tells extraordinary adventure story simplifying the tale for a younger and yet not losing any of the drama or vital

This is an excellent first for a younger reader, filled beautiful paintings and appended author notes, important further reading, a selected and recommended Web sites. Readers may to look at further titles in the Book Biographies series of there are many interesting 2003, Holiday House,

Ages 4 to 8. Reviewer: Marya (Children’s Literature).

The celebration of the anniversary of the Louisiana Purchase and the that followed has inspired books on all reading levels the difficult journey of Lewis and to explore the new territory. In this to his Picture Book Biographies Adler summarizes the basic about the important characters and outstanding adventures as they all the way from St. Louis over the Divide to the Pacific Ocean.

For wishing to learn more this brief account, has included suggestions for further a bibliography, and Web sites, as well as a and additional notes. Himler’s watercolors, naturalistic but with suggestions, leave room for the to enter while providing a of the adventure-filled episodes and the changing along the way. 2003, House, $16.95.

Ages 4 to 8. Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz Literature).

Best Books:

Social Studies Trade for Young People, 2004; Council for the Social Studies; States

Illustrated by Terry

This book could be as a picture book biography. readers may be drawn to the vibrant illustrations, while older will easily follow the text than the average book. This is the story of an a sport, and racism.

Satchel is known as one of the best pitchers and his dream was to play in the major But no team would take him he was black. Rather than the racism of the time to dampen his Satchel Paige continued to

His response to racist treatment was to with his performance on the field. players on an all-white semi-professional made racist comments, had his teammates sit down on the field, and he threw three straight This story will readers that it is never too to realize a dream. At the age of forty-two, Paige made it to the majors, he played until he was fifty-nine old!

This is a great for a baseball fan as well as readers who may not the first thing about the 2007, Harcourt Books, Ages 6 to 11.

Reviewer: Mary (Children’s Literature).


In this nicely designed and little book, math are given as clumsy bits of involving birds. For example resting / The first day of Fall / Six / Seven there / How many in The reader is supposed to provide the

Answers and directions on how to solve the are given upside down in print. Because the reading is low for children capable of solving involving division, the audience for book is limited. It might be useful as a classroom game.

The could read the problems and of children come up with Unfortunately, there are only problems in the whole book. may be enough for an in-class game but is not enough to have much for a single reader. 2006, House, $16.95.

Ages 7 to 9. Michael Chabin (Children’s

Best Books:

Choices, Cooperative Children’s Book United States

Adler Junior 100
Adler Junior 100
Adler Junior 100


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