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This page features news in the area of children’s literature, events from around the blogging community, and announcements about KidLitosphere happenings. Primarily focused on literary news, special events, useful articles, and interesting posts from other blogs, it does not include reviews, interviews, or opinions.

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Monday
Aug282017

Announcing the Program for #KidLitCon 2017!

KIDLITCON 2017—Opening Books, Opening Doors

Hershey, PA November 3-4

Friday November 3
7:00 - 9:00am
Setup and registration

9:00

Welcoming remarks from this year’s KidLitCon organizer Pam Margolis (An Unconventional Librarian

9:15 - 10:10
 

Keynote 1

Rachel Renée Russell is the author of the #1 New York Times Best Selling book series, Dork Diaries. She also writes the spin-off series The Misadventures of Max Crumbly. According to her website she’s “an attorney who prefers writing tween books to legal briefs. Mainly because books are a lot more fun and pajamas and bunny slippers aren’t allowed in court.” She has said that her daughters Erin and Nikki are the inspiration for the Dork Diaries books.  

Concurrent sessions 10:30 - 11:20

Building relationships with authors and publishers through blogging

Marissa Nicole (Marissa Nicole Reads)
Rosemary Kilidates (Mom Read It)
April D. Crews (Book Buzz 4 Kids)

It’s possible to be a blogger in isolation, but it is much more rewarding to be a blogger connected to the world of authors and publishing!  Join three experienced bloggers in a discussion of how to make and maintain those connections, and how to use those relationships to keep your blog energized and rewarding to both you and your readers.

Historical Fiction

Alex Baugh (The Children’s War)
Jen Naughton (Geek Reads Kids)
Alexandria LaFaye (author—Walking Home to Rosie Lee, Worth, and more)
Celeste Lim (author-The Crystal Ribbon) Thanks Scholastic!
Michael Spradlin (author- Prisoner of War, Young Templar series, and more) Thanks Scholastic! 

In this panel, 3 authors and 2 reviewers/readers discuss what makes a work of historical fiction “good.”  Questions of authenticity, the balance between “historical” detail and the demands of the narrative, and the balance between the different social norms and conventions of the past, and what we cannot or will not tolerate in the present, will be addressed alongside consideration of the tensions that might exist between “kid-appeal” and the didactic delivery of information. And finally, there will be discussion of what makes a work of historical fiction relevant to readers today. 

Concurrent sessions 11:30 - 12:20

Drawing the Lines between Readerships (Chapter books/MG/YA/Adult)

Jon McGoran (author-Spliced, and more)
Holly M. McGhee (Matylda, Bright & Tender, and more) Thanks, Candlewick!
Liz Burns (A Chair, a Fireplace, and a Tea Cozy

It seems a simple truism to say that not all books are age-appropriate, or interest appropriate, for all readers. But drawing lines based on reader age is not a simple matter, and this session unpacks and confronts the challenges and assumptions of drawing lines between age-based categories. How do writers figure out who they are writing for, and how does that affect the process, the content, and the marketing, of their books?  How do gatekeepers (parents, teachers, librarians, reviewers) balance accepting the face-value age assignment of particular books, with the individual needs of readers?

STEM and the Natural World

Rebecca Hirsch (author-De-Extinction, Thousand-Mile Flyers, and more)  Thanks, Lerner!
Linda Stanek (author—Once Upon an Elephant)
Jennie Rothschild (Biblio File

Join two authors of non-fiction books on topics of conservation and the natural world for a discussion of STEM books for young environmentalists. What makes a “good” non-fiction story?  What attracts young readers to these books, and what keeps them interested? How are facts and feelings balanced in creating a compelling narrative? The authors will be joined by a librarian with experience in choosing the best of children’s non-fiction for several lists and awards.

12:30 - 2:00

Lunch (included in registration)  

Concurrent Sessions 1:30-2

Podcasting support group

Led by Pam Margolis (An Unconventional Librarian)

Multicultural Children’s Book Day

Mia Wenjen (Pragmatic Mom)

The fifth celebration of Multicultural Children’s Book Day (hashtag #ReadYourWorld) is coming up Jan 27th, 2018. This event includes free diversity books for reviewers, and also for teachers through the event’s partnership with Junior Library Guild. For those who want a reading list with related book extension activities, we have two Classroom Kits—a Classroom Kindness Kit, and a Classroom Empathy Kit that contains a book list with picture books through middle grade on immigration and refugees, book extension activities, and two free printable posters. Multicultural Children’s Book Day offers sponsorship opportunities for authors, and a blog post series Read Your World Book Jam 2018 with Children’s Book Council that’s a showcase for diversity authors and illustrators. Come hear from one of MCBD’s founders and learn more about how to get involved.

2:00 – 2:50

Keynote 2

Floyd Cooper is an award-winning illustrator who has been honored four times by the Coretta Scott King Award. He has over 96 published children’s books, many of which have won numerous awards. His unique method of “erasing” rather than drawing allowed Cooper to realize his dream of becoming an artist even though he could not draw. This personal trek has been an inspiration to many students as they set out on their own journey to follow their dreams.

Concurrent sessions 3:00 - 3:50

Big Issues in YA

Pam Margolis (An Unconventional Librarian)
Donna Gaffney (Project Rebirth

Many young readers are looking for mirrors that will help them make sense of their own lives. How do we serve as effective gatekeepers for kids dealing with the heavy issues of mental illness, depression, drug use, suicide, and sexual assault?  And how can YA books be used to best effect? Join Pam Margolis, librarian and blogger, and Donna Gaffney, a child/family psychologist with a long history of using YA and children’s literature in her work, and working with other professionals on how they can use YA. The audience will be welcome to contribute to the conversation!

“Go sports! Do the Thing! Win the Points!”  Sports Books for the Unathletic

Karen Yingling (Ms. Yingling Reads, librarian and cross-country coach)
Phil Bildner (author- Rip and Red, Martina & Chrissie, and more) Thanks, Candlewick!
David Kelly (author- Ballpark Mystery series and more)
Eucabeth Odhiambo (author- Auma’s Long Run) Thanks, Lerner!
Sue Macy (author- Motor Girls, Trudy’s Big Swim, and more)
Rich Wallace (author- Southside Sports, War and Watermelon and more)
Sandra Neil Wallace (author- Muckers, Babe Conquers the World, and more) 

Sports books are a slam dunk for middle grade readers, but many teachers and librarians need help keeping their eye on the ball when it comes to recommending titles, so here-catch! Join Coach Yingling and her team of sports writers as they give the blow-by-blow of why readers request sports books, what they want to see in the books, and how sports books go the distance when it comes to teaching life lessons. We’ll lead with our chins and take off the gloves in this discussion to make sure you are never on the ropes for great sports titles. From picture books to young adult titles, we’ll offer a book blitz that will push your library collection over the goal line. 

4:00 – 6:00 Reception (included in registration) with author mix & mingle (books will be available for purchase and signing) 

Saturday, November 4

7:00 - 9:00am
Setup and registration 

9:00 – 9:50

Keynote 3

Pamela Tuck is the winner of the 2007 New Voices Award from LEE & LOW BOOKS. Established in 2000, the award recognizes the talent of new authors of color. Tuck’s picture book As Fast As Words Could Fly was released Spring 2013. Pamela is a native of Greenville, NC. You can read about her writing journey on her website, where she hopes that her “writing journey inspires you to never sit down on your dreams.” 

Concurrent sessions 10:00 - 10:50

Seriously Funny—books that take on “serious” topics with humor

Jen Swann Downey (author- Ninja Librarians series),
Dana Alison Levy (author- Family Fletcher series, This Would Make a Good Story Someday) Thanks, Random House Children’s Books!
Jordan Sonnenblick (author- The Secret Sheriff of Sixth Grade, and more) Thanks, Scholastic! 

Middle Grade fiction (and for some kids, real life middle grade) often delves into challenging and difficult territory, from illness to social injustice. But not all of these stories take themselves seriously! These three authors tackle serious issues with humor, and their books manage to be funny while packing emotional heft. They will discuss how humor can crack open the door for important conversations, and forge connections among readers who don’t think they have anything in common.

From Classroom to Print: thinking about children’s books for reading development Sara Beth Videtto (teacher/author-illustrator-Turtle’s First Winter)

The session will cover tenants of reading development and instruction as they apply to children’s books—how do books best serve the needs of educators and young learners? What should teachers, librarians, and reviewers look for in evaluating children’s books for educational purposes?

Concurrent sessions 11:00 - 11:50

Views on Reviews—a look at book reviews from the perspectives of authors, bloggers, and librarians.

Cathleen Davitt Bell (author- WereGirl-Chimera, and I Remember You) 
Marcia Lerner (The Diamond in the Window)
Jen Nails (librarian and author- One Hundred Spaghetti Strings) 

Are you a blogger/author? Or a teacher/blogger? A librarian/author/blogger? Three YA authors who also wear different hats - parents, bloggers, librarians, and teachers - get together to talk reviews. Join us! Bring whatever multiple hats you may wear as we tackle questions like, Why review? Who are these reviews for? What should they say? How should they handle diversity? How descriptive versus critical should they be? How do we all spread the word about our great reviews on social media? We share your commitment to connecting every child with that one (at least) magical title that will turn any reader into a reading superstar. 

Children’s Books in the Fight for a Better World

Sheila Ruth (Wands and Worlds)
Pam Margolis (An Unconventional Librarian)
Laura Atkins (via Skype, author - Fred Korematsu Speaks Up)
Sandra Uwiringiyimana (author - How Dare the Sun Rise: Memoirs of a War Child.) Thanks, HarperCollins! 

The Millennial generation is the most liberal, engaged, and activist generation in recent history. Indications so far are that Generation Z may be even more so. Although there is a complex stew of factors behind that, the increasing diversity of books available for youth, from picture books to young adult, has certainly played a role. This session will look at the intersection of children’s books and activism, and how children’s books, authors, and bloggers can play a role in helping the fight for a better world. 

11:50 - 1:00
Lunch (included in registration)

Concurrent Sessions 1:00 - 1:50

Refugees and Immigrants in Children’s and YA Books

Lyn Miller-Lachmann (author- Gringolandia, translator-Three Balls of Wool, and more)
Eva Thomas (teacher/librarian) 

Join an author and teacher/librarian in a discussion of representation and authenticity in books about immigrants and refugees. Lyn Miller-Lachmann is the author of the award-winning YA historical novel, Gringolandia, that portrays a refugee family from the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile, and the translator of Three Balls of Wool, a picture book from Portugal of a family fleeing that country’s dictatorship in the 1960s.  Lyn will focus on writing about refugee experiences in the past, the research process and why it’s important to show historical perspective. Eva Thomas is an elementary school teacher/librarian, interested in giving her students a wide range of authentic, diverse voices.

Boy Book/Girl Book— constructing and deconstructing the gender divide

Moderated by Charlotte Taylor (Charlotte’s Library)
Caroline Carlson (author- The World’s Greatest Detective and more)
Sylvie Juliet Shaffer (librarian)
Melissa Fox (Book Nut, and bookseller) 

Concurrent sessions 2:00 - 2:50 

YA books in the Classroom

Steve Bickmore (Dr. Bickmore’s YA Wednesday, University of Nevada, Las Vegas)
Cindy Minnich—(Nerdy Book Club, YA English teacher)
Leigh Woznick, (Media Specialist, Bridgewater-Raritan Middle School, NJ)

Here at KidLitCon, we’re thinking about how to evaluate books, and how to use our extensive knowledge both of the books themselves, and the needs and wants of the books’ audiences, to meet those needs. How do teachers and librarians pick which books to offer students? From a teacher’s perspective, what books work best in the classroom, and how can they be used most effectively? How can (or should) the non-educator decide if a book is one to recommend for a YA classroom experience?  

Middle Grade: who are the villains? 

Moderated by Cheryl Dishon (Librarian, Baltimore County Public Libraries)
Laurie McKay (author- Villain Keeper series)
Tracey Baptiste (author- Rise of the Jumbies) Thank you, Algonquin Young Readers!
Alison Morris (Senior Director of Collection Development & Merchandising for First Book)
Mike Rubens (author- Emily and the Spellstone and more) 
David Neilsen (author - Dr. Fell and the Playground of Doom, and Beyond the Doors, both Crown Books)

Since January, there has been an abundance of articles and booklists compiling books about kindness, activism, and other positive topics that are supposed to help parents and kids counteract the public bile-spewing that has overtaken politics and public affairs. But alongside the positive reinforcement, books with bad guys, villains, and threats give kids valuable context for the public behavior that they are seeing in the news. Authors and librarians will discuss today’s villains in this context, asking what good are the bad guys, and how (or if) this is changing.

3-3:50

Re-energize your blog with psychological insights (and laughs)

Charlotte Taylor (Charlotte’s Library)

Examine your blog through the lenses of the Myers-Briggs Blog Personality test, designed exclusively for KidLitCon 2017! A special adaptation of the Myers-Personality test for blogs will help you determine your blog’s strengths and weaknesses, and as well as being for fun, this might actually inspire you to use what your blog does best to keep your content interesting to yourself and your readers. The test will be available in advance, so we can get right to the discussion. Then we’ll move on to your blog’s sign of the Zodiac (just for fun!).

Illustration in conversation:  looking at art from start to finish 

Moderated by Paula Wiley (Unadulterated)
Claudia Zoe Bedrick (Enchanted Lion Books)
Susan Kusel (Librarian, Temple Rodef Shalom)
Eric Wight (Frankie Pickle series and more) 

This panel discusses the decision making that happens at the editorial and at the creator level in the creation of an illustrated book, introducing terminology along the way. Librarians and reviews must then make their own decisions about whether or not these choices make sense. If you’re reluctant to say anything about the art in books because you think you might “get it wrong,” this is the panel for you!

4-6 Author meet and mingle (books will be available for purchase and signing)

Authors and Illustrators at Kidlitcon 

(nb: we’re requesting that our bookselling partner bring the books listed here to the author meet and mingles, but please be aware that this isn’t a hard and fast final list, and also please be aware that not every author will be there for both evenings.  Thanks.)

Laura Atkins Fred Korematsu Speaks Up (Heyday 2017)

Tracey Baptiste The Jumbies (Algonquin Young Readers, 2015) and Rise of the Jumbies (2017)

Cathleen Davitt Bell  WereGirl - Chimera (Chooseco 2017) and I Remember You (Knopf 2015)

Phil Bildner  Martina & Chrissie (Candlewick 2017), Rip and Red series (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Caroline Carlson The World’s Greatest Detective (2017 HarperCollins),  The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates (HarperCollins)

Floyd Cooper (illustrator) Frederick Douglass: The Lion Who Wrote History, by Walter Dean Myers (Harper 2017), Ira’s Shakespeare Dream (Lee and Low 2015)

Jen Swann Downey Ninja Librarians series (Sourcebooks Jabberwocky)

Rebecca E. Hirsch De-Extinction (Twenty-First Century Books 2017), Thousand-Mile Flyers and Other Amazing Migrators (Lerner 2017)

David Kelly Ballpark Mystery series (Random House)

Alexandria LaFaye Walking Home to Rosie Lee (Cinco Puntos 2011), Worth (Simon and Schuster 2004)

Dana Alison Levy Family Fletcher series, This Would Make a Good Story Someday (2017 Random House Children’s Books)

Celeste Lim The Crystal Ribbon (Scholastic, 2017)

Holly M. McGhee Matylda, Bright & Tender (Candlewick 2017) Come with Me (Putnam 2017)

Jon McGoran Spliced (Holiday House 2017)

Laurie McKay Villain Keeper series (HarperCollins)

Sue Macy Motor Girls (National Geographic Society, 2017), Trudy’s Big Swim (Holiday House 2017)

Lyn Miller-Lachmann Gringolandia (Curbstone 2009), translator-Three Balls of Wool, by Henriqueta Cristina (Enchanted Lion 2017)

Jen Nails One Hundred Spaghetti Strings (HarperCollins 2017)

David Neilsen Dr. Fell and the Playground of Doom (Crown Books 2016) and Beyond the Doors (Crown Books 2017)

Eucabeth Odhiambo Auma’s Long Run (Lerner 2017)

Mike Rubens Emily and the Spellstone (Clarion 2017) and The Bad Decisions Playlist (Clarion 2016)

Rachel Renée Russell Dork Diaries series, and The Misadventures of Max Crumbly series (Simon and Schuster)

Jordan Sonnenblick The Secret Sheriff of Sixth Grade (Scholastic 2017), Falling Over Sideways (Scholastic 2017)

Michael Spradlin Prisoner of War (Scholastic 2017), Young Templar series (Putnam)

Linda Stanek Once Upon an Elephant (Arbordale 2016)

Pamela Tuck As Fast As Words Could Fly (Lee and Low 2003)

Sandra Uwiringiyimana How Dare the Sun Rise: Memoirs of a War Child (Katherine Tegen Books 2017)

Sara Beth Videtto Turtle’s First Winter (Hill House Press 2017)

Rich Wallace Kickers series (Knopf), Bound by Ice, with Sandra Neill Wallace (Calkins Creek Books 2017)

Sandra Neil Wallace Muckers (Knopf 2013), Babe Conquers the World, with Rich Wallace (Calkins Creek 2014)

Eric Wight Frankie Pickle series (Simon and Schuster)

Tuesday
Jul182017

The Society of Bloggers of Children’s and Young Adult Literature Announces Keynote Speakers

July 18, 2017 — The Society of Bloggers of Children’s and Young Adult Literature, known as the Kidlitosphere, announced its keynote speakers for the 2017 KidLitCon, to be held November 3rd & 4th in Hershey PA. KidLitCon is an annual conference of people who write about and talk about children’s and teen literature, including librarians, authors, teachers, parents, publishers, and readers. Attendees share a love of children’s books, as well as a determination to get the right books into young readers’ hands. People attend KidLitCon to learn about best practices in evaluating and reviewing books, how and why to become award committee judges, and how to defend and promote the books that kids need and want.

Keynotes will feature three diverse authors: Rachel Renee Russell, Pamela Tuck, and Floyd Cooper.

Rachel Renée Russell is the author of the #1 New York Times Best Selling book series, Dork Diaries. She also writes the spin-off series The Misadventures of Max Crumbly. According to her website she’s “an attorney who prefers writing tween books to legal briefs. Mainly because books are a lot more fun and pajamas and bunny slippers aren’t allowed in court.” She has said that her daughters Erin and Nikki are the inspiration for the Dork Diaries books. 

Pamela Tuck is the winner of the 2007 New Voices Award from LEE & LOW BOOKS. Established in 2000, the award recognizes the talent of new authors of color. Tuck’s picture book As Fast As Words Could Fly was released Spring 2013. Pamela is a native of Greenville, NC. You can read about her writing journey on her website, where she hopes that her “writing journey inspires you to never sit down on your dreams.”

Floyd Cooper is an award-winning illustrator who has been honored four times by the Coretta Scott King Award. He has over 96 published children’s books, many of which have won numerous awards. His unique method of “erasing” rather than drawing allowed Cooper to realize his dream of becoming an artist even though he could not draw. This personal trek has been an inspiration to many students as they set out on their own journey to follow their dreams.

Call for session proposals:
http://kidlitosphere.org/news/2017/6/26/call-for-presenters-for-kidlitcon-2017.html.

Details about the conference: http://kidlitosphere.org/kidlitcon/.

Conference Registration: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/kidlitcon-2017-hershey-tickets-36030057873Early-bird registration ends 9/1/2017.

Hotel booking: https://aws.passkey.com/go/Kidlitcon2017

Monday
Jul172017

Register for the 2017 #KidLitCon Now!

Hey there, children’s and YA literature bloggers and fans. The time has come to register for the 2017 Kidlitosphere Conference. All of the relevant details and links are below 

KidLitCon 2017 

  • November 3-4, 2017
  • Hershey Lodge, 325 University Drive, Hershey, PA 17033
  • Full registration (early bird rate): $125
  • One-day registration: $70
  • Register on EventBrite 

Your registration includes Friday and Saturday lunch, Saturday breakfast, and Friday reception. 

Book your room at the Hershey Lodge at our special KidLitCon rate of $189. 

KidLitCon is an annual conference of people who write about and talk about children’s and teen literature, including librarians, authors, teachers, parents, publishers, and readers. Attendees share a love of children’s books, as well as a determination to get the right books into young readers’ hands. People attend KidLitCon to learn about best practices in evaluating and reviewing books, how and why to become award committee judges, and how to defend and promote the books that kids need and want. 

People also attend KidLitCon for the chance to spend time face to face with kindred spirits, other adults who enjoy and care about children’s and YA literature. Attendees come away energized, bursting with ideas for programming and projects.

This year’s keynote speakers are Rachel Renee Russell, author of the best-selling Dork Diaries series; Pamela Tuck, author of As Fast As Words Could Fly; and author/illustrator Floyd Cooper, whose dozens of books depicting African American children and families have won multiple awards and honors.

Here is all of the information that you need:

We hope to see you at KidLitCon in November!

Monday
Jun262017

Call for Presenters for KidLitCon 2017

The annual Kidlitosphere Conference, AKA KidLitCon 2017, will be held November 3rd and 4th in Hershey, PA. KidLitCon is an annual gathering of people who care about children’s and young adult books and sharing that passion with others, either in real life or online. We are looking for panelists for this fall’s conference. Panels can range from formal presentations to conversations with lots of audience input. Potential topics can be anything relating to young adult and children’s literature.


This year, instead of the structured application form we’ve used in the past, we’re simply asking anyone who’d be interested in participating to contact me, the program organizer, Charlotte Taylor. If you’d like to submit an idea for a complete panel, with multiple participants all lined up, that’s great. If you’re just thinking “I’d like to talk about what makes a good early chapter book” or whatever subject you are passionate about, that’s welcome too!  You won’t be made to hold the stage alone (unless you specifically want to…).

Sessions run about 45 minutes. Past conference topics have included big issues in YA, conquering the blogging blahs, learning to podcast, and ways to support diverse books. Here are links to the three most recent programs, so you can see what we’ve previously discussed.

Repeat visits to past topics are welcome alongside new ideas. A few thoughts—we’ve never talked specifically about historical fiction (is there such a thing as “getting it right?”) or religion (books written for a specific audience, books specifically addressing social and cultural topics related to religion). There’s always room for conversations about class, race, disability, sex. gender, politics, and pictures!

Unfortunately, we don’t have the funds to waive registration for participants, but we can promise a great time. If you are a writer and would like to come, consider asking your publisher to cover the registration cost; if you are a publisher, please contact me if you’d like to steer any of your authors our way! 

If you are interested, please email me at charlotteslibrary@gmail.com by August 1.

More about KidLitCon:

KidLitCon started as a blogging conference, and though it still focuses on critical evaluation of books and book reviewing, the participants include librarians, teachers, authors, illustrators, parents, and publishers, as well as book reviewers. It’s a small, friendly conference, perfect for (often) introverted book lovers. Attending is a great way to turn virtual friends into real world friends, and it’s a great way to re-energize your reading and book-sharing! More details about the logistics of this year’s gathering in Hershey soon to come.

Friday
Mar032017

Save the Date! KidLitCon 2017 in Hershey, PA

We are thrilled to announce that the annual Kidlitosphere Conference, AKA KidLitCon, will be held November 3rd and 4th in Hershey, PA. Please save the date! This year’s primary organizer will be Pam Margolis.

KidLitCon is an annual gathering of people who care about, and blog about, children’s and young adult books, including librarians, teachers, authors, illustrators, parents, and book reviewers. KidLitCon is a small, friendly conference, perfect for (often) introverted book lovers. Attending is a great way to turn virtual blogging friends into real world friends. Past conference topics have ranged from conquering the blogging blahs to learning to podcast to ways to support diverse books. We hope that you’ll join us in 2017!

KidLitCon was due to visit the West Coast this year. However, we were unable to find a local primary organizer. When Pam stepped up ready to organize in Pennsylvania, the rest of the KidLitCon team gratefully accepted. We do hope to return to the West Coast in the future. Other members of the long-term organizing team include Charlotte Taylor (Program Chair), Sarah Stevenson and Tanita Davis, Sheila Ruth, Melissa Fox, Paula Willey, and Jen Robinson

Please help by spreading the word! You can also be a fan on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, subscribe to our KidLitCon email list, and/or follow the KidLitCon Tumblr. If you would like to get involved with KidLitCon as a potential speaker or local organizer, please contact KidLitCon@gmail.com.