By Gwen Vanderhage, MLIS
Noun: A digital audio file made available on the Internet for downloading to a computer or mobile device, typically available as a series, new installments of which can be received by subscribers automatically.
Verb: To make (a digital audio file) available as a podcast.
I am an avid podcast listener, yet until last year, when I explored the topic of library podcasts for this blog, I had not thought to seek out podcasts about literature or the business of librarianship. That previous post has been popular with our readers, so maybe you had not taken much time to seek out librarian shows, either. Tell me, have these podcasts inspired you? Have you found new library podcasts you love?
Since I spend my time reading and working with books for kids and teens, this year I have been listening to podcasts that feature topics, trends, and authors in young people’s literature. I don’t think I’m alone. There are some great ones out there for librarians, families, authors, and readers who appreciate the art and craft of writing for young people. At the ALA Annual Conference this past June, in Washington, D.C., the Pop-Top Stage in the exhibit hall featured live recordings of two different podcasts, both featuring BIG NAME authors for kids.
The first live podcast recording I attended was for a Dewey Decibel podcast from the ALA’s American Libraries magazine. The host, Phil Morehart, Senior Editor at American Libraries, led a panel discussion about the history, influence, and resonance of the Coretta Scott King book awards, as this award celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. The panel featured past King winners and prominent African American authors and illustrators Jacqueline Woodson, Jason Reynolds, Angie Thomas, Christopher Myers, and Ekua Holmes.
While the Dewey Decibel podcast normally features topics from across the world of libraries, it was relevant to me to sit in on a discussion on the influence of children’s literature in the lives of young people, the importance for children to see themselves in books and pictures, and to experience the warmth and sense of family a community of book makers have when they sit down together. It was a wonderful experience that I think translates across the airwaves. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
The second podcast recorded at ALA Annual was The Children’s Book Podcast, hosted by Matthew C. Winner, a school librarian in Maryland. He was joined by a panel of popular children’s book authors: Kate DiCamillo, Shannon Hale, and Cece Bell. These authors discussed humor in their books, relating to a child audience, and how their books provide a sense of “home” to young readers. The Children’s Book Podcast regularly hosts children’s book authors reading from and talking about their work. Host Winner is a fan of graphic novels and regularly includes graphic novel creators discussing their work, along with authors and illustrators of traditional formats.
Matthew Winner, host of The Children’s Book Podcast, is also the co-host of a new podcast, along with author Karina Yan Glaser (The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street, also a contributing editor to Book Riot), called Kidlit These Days, from Book Riot. Their podcast focuses on current topics in publishing, the news, and how authors and librarians can help children respond to them through literature. Each podcast pairs books with the show’s respective topic. The first episode featured the response from Latinx authors to teachers in Idaho who dressed up as the Border Wall for Halloween. Other episodes have included a children’s author who talks with kids about her hijab, problems around soft censorship, and how to use historic artifacts with kids. One thing I like about this podcast is that it highlights older books that work well in discussion with children and families, as well as new books. This aspect would also help librarians with lists and displays. The co-host format with one of my favorite authors is especially engaging.
Other terrific podcasts I have been listening to include:
kidlit women* podcast — hosted by acclaimed author/illustrator Grace Lin, who pulls together interviews with female children’s book authors talking about their careers and experiences
Read-Aloud Revival Podcast — celebrates the connections reading together can build in families; features topical book lists and is popular with homeschooling families
Dream Gardens — features authors talking about the books they love and loved as kids
Picturebooking — showcases the authors and illustrators of current picture books
The Yarn — delves deep into the process of book creation with bloggers Travis Jonker and Colby Sharp
Books Between — features book reviews and author interviews with a focus on the 8-12 age group, or “middle grade” readers
Hey, YA — Young Adult podcast from Book Riot featuring banter and insider buzz, as well as book reviews and lists of forthcoming Young Adult books
If you would like to sample any of the podcasts I have featured, they should be available to stream or download through the search feature in your favorite podcasting app (Stitcher, Downcast, Overcast, etc.), or iTunes. You can also click through the links here and listen online.
What youth literature podcasts or library podcasts do you enjoy? Are there others I should check out?
After spending many years as a children’s librarian and collection development specialist at Denver Public Library, Gwen joined Brodart to share her passion for children’s literature with as many different libraries as possible. Click here for more.