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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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Friday
Aug262016

2016 #KidLitCon Program Released

With many thanks to Program Coordinator Charlotte Taylor, here is the program for the 2016 Kidlitosphere Conference (KidLitCon), to be held in Wichita, KS on October 14-15.

KIDLITCON 2016

Friday October 14
7:00 - 9:00am
Setup and registration

9:00
Welcoming remarks from this year’s KidLitCon organizer Melissa Fox 

9:15 - 10:10
Whole Room Session 

The Honorable Gatekeeper

Jen Swann Downey (author of the Ninja Lybrarians series)

The word “censorship” often conjures up images of flaming books, or thickly blacked-out lines of type in a government communique. However, the availability (or lack thereof) of a rich variety of perspectives often depends upon a much less dramatic, but perhaps in the end, more powerful act: Gate-keeping. Whether in media outlets, school history curriculum authors, or on our own book blogs, gatekeepers have a profound effect on which perspectives and viewpoints/stories make it out into the marketplace of ideas. We accept, reject, and amend perspectives as we navigate our reading and reviewing lives.   

So what does it mean to gate-keep “well” and with honor? Understanding that “With great power, comes great responsibility.”, what principles might be helpful for the pursuit of honorable gate-keeping? What are the forces that can keep people silent, and what strategies might we use to engage with those forces? And how can we give young readers tools to help them move beyond the gatekeepers to shape their own reading destinies?

The lybrarians with a “y” have a few ideas to share…

10:30 - 11:20
Concurrent Sessions: 

Book Talks for and by Kids

Kari Riedel Mayor of Bookopolis

I can’t find a good book” is the #1 reason kids give for NOT reading (according to a 2105 Scholastic Kids & Family Reading report) and Kid Choice is critical in the book discovery process. This session will discuss resources that are created by and for kids (not just those created for teachers and parents.) I will share tools that I have created at Bookopolis.com, other tools that students in my book clubs use, and gather input from session participants. Participants are encouraged to share ways they help kids find books they’re exited to read—what works, and what doesn’t? Participants will leave with a list of tools and practice using them.

What is YA?

Rachel Neumeir (author—The Mountain of Kept Memory and more), Debra Dockter (author—Deadly Design), Sarah Stevenson (Finding Wonderland; author-The Truth Against the World )

This panel talks all things YA. What makes a book “YA”? What makes a book “good” YA? Do we judge YA books by a distinct set of standards because of the age of its readers? Teens are becoming their own gatekeepers, especially at the top of the YA age limit, so what role(s) should us “grown-ups” play in being gatekeepers?

11:30 - 12:20
Concurrent Sessions: 

Successful Author Visits: The Direct Connection between Authors, Gatekeepers, and Kids

Beverley Olson Buller (A Prarie Peter Pan and more) and Lisa Harkrader (The Adventures of Beanboy)

School visits create an opportunity for authors and gatekeepers—teachers, librarians, and often parents—to join forces to promote literacy. We will discuss ways school visits can get kids excited about books and reading, support the instruction teachers and librarians provide for their students, and engage the entire school, and what authors can do to make these things happen. Teachers, librarians, and parent groups often invite authors whose books appear on their state’s children’s choice award lists, and we’ll talk about how those lists can be a part of promoting literacy and celebrating literature. 

Kidlit Blogging Salon, Part 1

Hosted by Charlotte Taylor (Charlotte’s Library)

Talking to other bloggers is the best part of Kidlitcon, and talking about blogging is what we are here for!  This year we’re trying out an informal salon, where we can share questions we have about the particulars of our own blogs, share cool tips and tricks, and ask for (constructive) criticism about our own blogs! It’s a chance to let the ideas inspired by our panelists spark discussion!

12:30 - 2:00
Lunch (included in registration) 

2:00 - 3:00

Keynote 1

Amy King  (author of seven young adult novels and myriad short stories for adults; PLEASE IGNORE VERA DIETZ was named a 2011 Michael L. Printz Honor book, and ASK THE PASSENGERS won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for young adult literature in 2012. 

3:00 - 3:50
Whole Room Session

The Disinvitation Epidemic

Paula Willey (Unadulterated), Amy King, and Phil Bildner (author—Rookie of the Year and many more)

Censorship has many forms, and one that we’re seeing with seemingly greater and greater frequency is happening now in schools. Authors who have been invited for school visits are either “disinvited” by teachers or administration, or asked to modify their planned presentation to not include books or material that the school finds objectionable. We’ll talk to author Phil Bildner about his experience with this phenomenon, the consequences of limiting children’s exposure to authors for perceived reasons of controversy, and discuss what we as critics and reviewers can do to raise consciousness of those repercussions. Educators and authors might be the best hope for insuring that the increasingly polarized political atmosphere does not continue into the next generation.

4:00 – 6:00 Author mix & mingle (books will be available for purchase and signing)

6:00 - 12:00

Dinner at Monarch (pay for your own)

Saturday, October 15

7:00 - 9:00am
Setup and registration 

9:00 - 10:00

Keynote 2

Clare Vanderpool (Her first novel, MOON OVER MANIFEST, won the 2011 Newbery Medal. She was the first debut author to win the Newbery Medal in thirty years. NAVIGATING EARLY was named a 2014 Michael L. Printz Honor book) 

10:00 - 10:50

Blogging the Middle Grade

Charlotte Taylor (Charlotte’s Library), Casie Hermansson (author-Parental Guidance Ratings  and numerous books for educational publisher Heinemann) and Katy Kramp (alibrarymama)

Being a gatekeeper for Middle Grade books is especially challenging—there’s a big difference between a 9 year old and a 12 year old. How do you identify the audience for a particular MG book? How do you subvert the dominant paradigms of book marketing? How do you go beyond boy book/girl book? How do you evaluate illustrations in MG books? What tips and takeaways are there from the Middle Grade education market? And more. 

Big Issues in YA books

Pam Margolis (An Unconventional Librarian) and Rita Arens (Surrender, Dorothy; author—The Obvious Game)

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?

11:00 - 11:50

Promoting Diversity in Literature

Kristi Bernard (Kristi’s Book Nook)

Blogging diversity in literature is important to the growth of any child. My program will discuss how to promote diversity in literature and discuss what events are happening online to perpetuate this movement.

After Kristi’s talk, the floor will be turned over to participants for a lively discussion.

Writing about Art for Non-Artists

Paula Willey (Unadulterated)

Even people who are experienced in analyzing plot, character and theme can find themselves at sea when it comes to describing and evaluating illustrated work. This session offers a crash course in looking at the elements of book illustration, using examples from well-known (and well-illustrated) picture books. We’ll talk about style, technique, color, and composition, and give examples of how to use language to describe image. 

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

1:00 - 1:50
Concurrent Sessions 

Beyond 140 Characters: Leveraging Social Media to Support Your Blog

Sarah Stevenson (Finding Wonderland; author-The Truth Against the World ) and Sheila Ruth (Wands and Words)

Social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ can be used not only to simply drive blog traffic, but to start an engaged and deeper discussion that reaches a wide-ranging audience. “Blowing up the Internet”might create a short blast of attention when it comes to kidlit issues such as diversity or the writing craft—and the jury’s still out on what, if anything, can truly be resolved in the midst of the chaos. But while a Twitterstorm isn’t a substitute for a real, productive back-and-forth, it CAN be used for good, not evil. You can use those instances of talkback to bring new voices to the conversation, attract a wider subset of blog
readers, and encourage everyone to think more deeply and read more broadly. Discussion and comments from the audience will be encouraged!

Caretakers of Creativity, Champions of Literacy: Bringing Books to Life with the 90-Second Newbery Film Festival

James Kennedy (author-The Order of Odd-Fish), Eti Berland (librarian and social media coordinator for the film festival)

90-Second Newbery Film Festival programs provide opportunities to develop and showcase young people’s creativity, teamwork, perseverance, and innovation, to act as facilitators and empower young readers to explore their own passions. Join our session to watch exceptional 90-Second Newbery films and learn techniques, strategies, and best practices to create your own successful 90-Second Newbery or filmmaking program. Festival creator and curator James Kennedy will also share his experiences sharing and blogging about notable films, providing an authentic platform for student films to be shared with the wider world. We will also discuss how to leverage the power of social media to make connections between filmmakers, creators, and bloggers. 

2:00 - 2:50
Concurrent Sessions 

Down the Rabbit Hole, the World’s First Explorastorium

Pete Cowdin 

The Rabbit Hole is building the world’s first Explorastorium. Co-Founder Pete Cowdin will talk about its mission and how it might position itself within the publishing industry as a 501(c)3. Being a bookseller and proto-blogger from way back in the 20th century, he’ll also share his perspective from the 90’s, when marketing started eclipsing the editorial side of publishing and how the resulting feedback loop began homogenizing children’s literature, and how Gatekeepers (and people with Explorastoriums) might start reshaping that trend.

Kidlit Blogging Salon, Part 2

Hosted by Pam Margolis (An Unconventional Librarian) and Sarah Stevenson (Finding Wonderland

Talking to other bloggers is the best part of Kidlitcon, and talking about blogging is what we are here for!  This year we’re trying out an informal salon, where we can share questions we have about the particulars of our own blogs, share cool tips and tricks, and ask for (constructive) criticism about our own blogs! It’s a chance to let the ideas inspired by our panelists spark discussion.

3:30 - 4:30

Bloggers as Gatekeepers—a group discussion led by Charlotte Taylor (Charlotte’s Library)

As bloggers, we are gatekeepers. Even though it might at times feel that we are speaking inside an echo chamber, that chamber includes plenty of folks who are directly responsible for getting books into the hands of kids. Our recommendations matter. At this closing session of Kidlitcon 2016, we’ll discusses ways to be the best gatekeepers possible, including gate checking our own assumptions and privileges, reviewing critically, and seeking out under the radar books. We’ll share ideas sparked by the two days of Kidlitcon, and leave with renewed enthusiasm for our important work as advocates for books and reading.

4:30 
Close of cCnference 

Wednesday
Aug032016

Call for Proposals for #KidLitCon Extended to August 7th

The Call for Proposals for KidLitCon 2016 (to be held October 14th and 15th in Wichita, KS) is being extended to August 7th, with a few slots still available. 

This year’s theme is Gatekeepers and Keymasters: Connecting bloggers, librarians, teachers, authors, and parents to promote literacy.

 

Here’s where this theme came from:

At every KidLitCon, some of the most lively discussions involve the idea of “gatekeepers”—the grown ups who write, review, sell, and buy children’s books for kids and teens. How do we, the grown ups (mostly) writing our on-line reviews and promoting books in the field, assess what books are good fits for which kids? And how do we contribute to the process of getting those books to the kids? We hope to discuss the whole idea of “gatekeeping” itself as a role, with those involved not authoritarian abstractions but book-moving engineers—road pavers and bridge builders. How does an individual (reviewer, agent, editor, translator, teacher, parent, librarian bookseller), or group within the industry shape the world of kid’s books, and how can opening this circle to new cultures and voices potentially reshape it?

Topics we want to talk more about include gender (such as the idea that there are girl books vs boy books), diverse books (identifying, evaluating and promoting), the concept of “age-appropriateness” and the perennial question of connecting with audiences so that the words we put on-line are useful!

Sessions covering other topics such as the nuts and bolts of blogging, reviewing critically, trends, social media, marketing, technology, and industry relationships are welcome as well. Proposals for panels designed for all levels of blogging experience, from the newcomer to the seasoned veteran, are encouraged!

If you have something you’d like to talk about, but are uncertain about organizing a whole panel on your own, please contact Program Organizer Charlotte Taylor (charlotteslibrary@gmail.com) and let her know what you want to talk about! There might well be a place for you.

Authors, publishers, booksellers and librarians (if even if you aren’t bloggers)—you are welcome to be panelists/and or share your ideas for panels too! 

But you’ll need to act quickly. Please get your proposals in by Sunday evening, August 7th. Attending KidLitCon is a fabulous and rewarding experience. Presenting at KidLitCon is even better! And please don’t be intimidated - KidLitCon is a small conference, populated by a friendly audience of book-lovers. It’s a great place to lead a discussion, or to share your ideas with a group of kindred spirits. Submit now! You’ll be glad you did! 

Wednesday
Jun082016

KidLitCon 2016 Keynote Speakers Announced!

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

June 8, 2016 — The Society of Bloggers of Children’s and Young Adult Literature, known as the Kidlitosphere, announced its keynote speakers for the 2016 KidLitCon, to be held October 14 & 15 in Wichita, Kansas. Sponsored in part by longtime supporters First Second Books, an imprint of Macmillan Publishers, the annual conference is open to all those who support and champion literature for children and young adults.

Keynotes on the theme of “Gatekeepers & Keymasters” will feature two dynamic authors, Amy Sarig King, and Wichita native Clare Vanderpool.

A.S. King (shown below) is author of seven young adult novels and myriad short stories for adults; PLEASE IGNORE VERA DIETZ was named a 2011 Michael L. Printz Honor book, and ASK THE PASSENGERS won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for young adult literature in 2012.


Clare Vanderpool is shown below. Her first novel, MOON OVER MANIFEST, won the 2011 Newbery Medal. She was the first debut author to win the Newbery Medal in thirty years. NAVIGATING EARLY was named a 2014 Michael L. Printz Honor book.

More information, including a proposal submission form, registration, and hotel information can be found at http://kidlitosphere.org/kidlitcon. The last day to submit a proposal for a conference panel is August 1st. Early bird registration for the hotel ends September 18th, 2016.

CONTACTS:

Melissa Fox
@book_nut

Pam Margolis
@pamlovesbooks

 

Friday
Apr292016

KidLitCon 2016 Registration and Call for Proposals

We are pleased to announce that registration for the 10th Annual Kidlitosphere Conference (aka KidLitCon 2016) is now open. The Call for Proposals is also now live! 

KidLitCon 2016 will be held October 14th and 15th in Wichita, KS. This year’s theme is Gatekeepers and Keymasters: Connecting bloggers, librarians, teachers, authors, and parents to promote literacy.

 

At every KidLitCon, some of the most lively discussions involve the idea of “gatekeepers”—the grown ups who write, review, sell, and buy children’s books for kids and teens. How do we, the grown ups (mostly) writing our on-line reviews and promoting books in the field, assess what books are good fits for which kids? And how do we contribute to the process of getting those books to the kids? We hope to discuss the whole idea of “gatekeeping” itself as a role, with those involved not authoritarian abstractions but book-moving engineers—road pavers and bridge builders. How does an individual (reviewer, agent, editor, translator, teacher, parent, librarian bookseller), or group within the industry shape the world of kid’s books, and how can opening this circle to new cultures and voices potentially reshape it?

Topics we want to talk more about include gender (such as the idea that there are girl books vs boy books), diverse books (identifying, evaluating and promoting), the concept of “age-appropriateness” and the perennial question of connecting with audiences so that the words we put on-line are useful!

Sessions covering other topics such as the nuts and bolts of blogging, reviewing critically, trends, social media, marketing, technology, and industry relationships are welcome as well. Proposals for panels designed for all levels of blogging experience, from the newcomer to the seasoned veteran, are encouraged!

If you have something you’d like to talk about, but are uncertain about organizing a whole panel on your own, please contact Program Organizer Charlotte Taylor (charlotteslibrary@gmail.com) and let her know what you want to talk about! There might well be a place for you.

Authors, publishers, booksellers and librarians (if even if you aren’t bloggers)—you are welcome to be panelists/and or share your ideas for panels too! (For authors interested in coming—Kidlitcon 2016 will include a signing event at Watermark Books on Saturday, October 15th. 

The last day for proposal submissions is August 1st. We look forward to seeing your submissions! Click here for the Proposal Submission Form. If you need a better idea of what KidLitCon is like, click through to see last year’s conference program.

And even if you are not interested in submitting a proposal at this time, it’s not too soon to REGISTER for KidLitCon 2016 and make your travel plans. Early Bird registration for both days is very reasonable $80, rising to $95 on September 18th. Single day registration is $50. Lunch is included.

The hotel for KidLitCon will be the Drury Inn Broadview in Wichita, Kansas. Follow this link to reserve rooms at the KidLitCon rate ($119 - $129/night, including complimentary breakfast and wifi). Book your rooms now! 

KidLitCon offers a fabulous opportunity to spend time with like-minded individuals. KidLitCon is a small, friendly conference, perfect for (often) introverted book lovers. We hope that you’ll join us there!

Monday
Mar142016

Announcing the #KidLitCon 2016 Theme, Logo, and Hotel

 


Kidlitcon 2016 will be held October 14th and 15th in Wichita, KS. This year’s theme is Gatekeepers and Keymasters: Connecting bloggers, librarians, teachers, authors, and parents to promote literacy.

As you probably know if you are reading this, 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 2016!

This year’s primary organizer is Melissa Fox from Book Nut, aided by a team of past organizers and new assistants. The KidLitCon logo, updated for this year, was designed by Sarah Jamila Stevenson

A note on the image in this year’s logo: It’s called Keeper of the Plains. The city of Wichita commissioned it from artist and sculptor Blackbear Bosin, a Kiowa-Comanche, in 1974 as part of a Wichita Bicentennial celebration. The sculpture sits at the confluence of the Arkansas and the Little Arkansas rivers, a place that was considered a sacred site by Native Americans and home to the Ouachita tribe. Since that time, the statue has become a one of the most recognizable and iconic images of the city.

The hotel for KidLitCon will be the Drury Inn Broadview in Wichita, Kansas.Follow this link to reserve rooms at the KidLitCon rate ($119 - $129/night, including complimentary breakfast and wifi). Book your rooms now!   

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. The call for papers for KidLitCon will be announced soon.