News

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
Jan222010

Friday Afternoon Visits: January 22

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

The Kidlitosphere has been largely dominated by news about the ALA awards and a couple of book cover controversies this week. Still, I did manage to find a few other links, too. Hope that you find some tidbits of interest.

After a brief absence, the monthly Carnival of Children’s Literature is back. Anastasia Suen has taken over organizing the carnivals from founder Melissa Wiley. The Carnival is a monthly celebration of children’s literature. A different person hosts each month. Participants submit either their best post from the current month, or (in some cases) posts according to a particular theme. For January, Jenny Schwartzberg will be hosting the carnival. The theme is Winter Wonderland (fitting, since the carnival will be held at Jenny’s Wonderland of Books). Submissions are due by midnight January 29th, at the Carnival submission page. I’ll let you know when the Carnival is available for viewing.

51Q+0MmPZfL._SL500_AA240_I mentioned briefly in my last roundup that a new tempest had blown up around the Kidlitosphere. I wasn’t even sure how to write about it, because I was running across posts everywhere. Fortunately, MotherReader is on the job. She has a summary of the most important links regarding the issue with the cover of Magic Under Glass by Jaclyn Dolamore, another Bloomsbury title featuring a protagonist of color, and a whitewashed cover.

In related news, and I’m blatantly lifting this blurb from Betsy Bird’s latest FuseNews, “Little, Brown & Co? You got some ‘splaining to do. Both 100 Scope Notes and bookshelves of doom bring up a bit of whitewashing that I was assured at the time was a one time printing mischief on the first cover … unaware that it happened again on the second. And the third. You know what I’m talking about, Mysterious Benedict Society.”

Yalsanew2YALSA has come up with their Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers and Best Books for Young Adult lists. These lists are amazing resources (the links go to more detailed posts at Kids Lit). Speaking of recommendations for young adult literature, at YAnnabe, Kelly is collecting recommendations from different blogs for unsung young adult novels. She has links to 47 lists from across the blogosphere so far. She invites people to post their own lists through Sunday. And at Interactive Reader, Postergirl Jackie Parker shares her 2009 Top 10 (or so) for Readergirlz.

Also via Kids Lit, the 2010 Edgar Nominees were awarded this week by the Mystery Writers of America (for kids, young adults, and adults). There were quite a few strong nominations for children and young adults this year - I agree with Betsy Bird’s assessment that 2009 was an excellent year for mysteries.

At The Reading TubTerry Doherty has a heart-felt plea for authors and publishers to make sure that early readers are actually welcoming to new readers. She illustrates visually how hard it is to read text that’s too small, and doesn’t have illustrations, and suggests that “Although the content of easy readers spans myriad subjects and might even have chapters, there are definite differences between an easy reader and a book for independent readers, even newly minted ones. The two easiest criteria to remember are big margins and illustrations.”

Cybils2009-150pxAt the Cybils website, a lovely printable flyer about the contest, complete with the 2009 finalists, is now available. Also, thanks to Danielle Dreger-Babbitt for writing a lovely introduction to the Cybils for the Seattle Book Examiner.

Quick hits:

  • I was sad to hear about the sudden death of author Robert Parker this week. Though better known for his adult mysteries (most notably the extensive and entertaining Spenser series), Parker did publish a few books for kids, too. Omnivoracious has the details.
  • Kim has a nice post about life balance, using a grocery shopping analogy, at Escape Adulthood.
  • Poetry Friday is at Liz in Ink today, a delightful meal-by-meal collection of blog visits. This week’s Nonfiction Monday roundup was at Wendie’s Wanderings.
  • Marge Loch-Wouters has a mini-rant at Tiny Tips for Library Fun that resonated with me. She laments the “pervasive “You’re-Not-the-Boss-of-Me” attitude” that she sees in library patrons, by which people are completely unwilling to accept any limitations on their behavior. I think, sadly, that this behavior is everywhere these days.
  • For more Kidlitosphere news, check out Abby (the) Librarian’s latest Around the Interwebs: Shiny awards edition.

Wishing you all a relaxing and book-filled weekend!

© 2010 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson’s Book Page. All rights reserved.
You can also find me on Twitter and at Booklights from PBS Parents.
All Amazon links in this post are affiliate links, and may result in my receiving a small commission (with no additional cost to you).

Wednesday
Jan132010

Wednesday Afternoon Visits: January 13

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

There is a lot going on around the Kidlitosphere this week. Here are a few highlights:

AlienMotherReader reports that this is National Delurking Week (the graphic is one that she downloaded from Paper Napkin in 2007). The idea is to encourage people to take a few extra minutes to leave a comment on blogs that they visit regularly (instead of just lurking silently in the background). Fits in well with the 2010 Comment Challenge, doesn’t it? (I’m continuing to enjoy the Comment Challenge, by the way. I find that once I start leaving comments as I go through my reader, it’s impossible to stop at just five. And I love receiving comments on my reviews. Kind of motivates me to publish some more.)

In the End-o-the-Week Kid-Lit Roundup, Paul from Omnivoracious links to an interesting Economist article about the global economic impact of the Harry Potter series. Most of the article is about the market side of things. But I liked this part: “even at their clumsiest the books are well-plotted and full of invention. They also avoid the temptation to sneak ideology into children’s heads by wrapping it in fantasy. C.S. Lewis’s children’s books, to which Ms Rowling’s are often compared, are spoiled by creeping piety. Philip Pullman’s suffer from strident anticlericalism. Although the Harry Potter series endorses traits such as bravery and loyalty, it is intended above all to entertain. It has, hundreds of millions of times.”

ShareAStoryLogo2Terry Doherty is looking for suggestions and ideas for the upcoming 2010 Share a Story - Shape a Future literacy blog tour (March 8-13). I’m hosting Friday, Reading for the Next Generation. Terry explains: “Jen has invited guests to answer some of the things parents wrestle with, like being the opposite reading personality of their child, or feeling pressured to create a reading superstar, among others.” I this description inspires you to want to write something, please do drop me a line. [Logo by Susan StephensonThe Book Chook.]

James Kennedy emailed me about a gallery show that he’s organizing in Chicago for fan art for his novel The Order of Odd-Fish. You can find the call for submissions here. He says: “It’ll be not only an art show, but also a costumed dance party and theatrical hoo-hah. I’m working with the Chicago theater group Collaboraction to decorate their cavernous space to portray scenes from the book (the fantastical tropical metropolis of Eldritch City, the digestive system of the All-Devouring Mother goddess, the Dome of Doom where knights fight duels on flying armored ostriches, etc.).” Doesn’t sound like quite my sort of thing, but it definitely seemed like something that readers would be interested in.

CSK_LogoAnother email request came to me this week from Nick Glass of TeachingBooks.net. Nick wanted me to mention “the Coretta Scott King Book Award Online Curriculum Resource Center—a free, multimedia, online database for educators and families featuring more than 250 original recordings with award-winning authors and illustrators and hundreds of lesson plans.” He says “It is a great reading resource as teachers, librarians, and families plan for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and Black History Month. The resource center includes more than nine hours of originally produced audio with Coretta Scott King Book Award (CSK) authors and illustrators talking about their books in two- to three-minute clips.” And speaking of Black History Month, at Wild Rose Reader Elaine Magliaro shares her list of resources for Black History Month.

I-can-read-memeAt the Reading Tub, Terry just announced the January I Can Read Carnival. She explains: “The first carnival (or MEME if you prefer) for celebrating Easy Readers and Short Chapter books is here at the Reading Tub. I am really excited about the chance to regularly collect books that will engage and excite new and developing readers. I Can Read! is a three-day, mid-month carnival whose host rotates each month. To see the list of hosts, check out the list on the right sidebar… If you have a post that reviews an easy reader or short chapter book or offers ideas for helping new readers, we’d love for you to participate in the carnival. Your post can be up to one year old, so posts back to January 2009 can be included in this inaugural event.” 

Congratulations to Mitali Perkins and Melissa Wiley, each asked to write the foreword of a reissue of a favorite childhood book (both books part of the Betsy-Tacy series). Melissa says: “Can you hear me smile? I am so honored. I’m pretty much over the moon!” I especially identified with Mitali’s response: “Anyone have a time machine? I want to find nine-year-old Mitali scouring the NYPL shelves for anything Maud Hart Lovelace and tell her the news.” That’s how I’ve felt (on a smaller scale) with merely emailing with favorite authors from my childhood. My heartfelt congratulations to nine-year-old Melissa and Mitali, and their successors.

BookBlogCon-2010-smallerAt GalleysmithMichelle has the scoop about an upcoming conference for book bloggers. This is not to be confused with KidLitCon (now in planning for the 4th annual conference), but is a broader conference for all sorts of book bloggers. Michelle says: “the first annual Book Blogger Convention is open for business! Being held on Friday, May 28th, 2010 participants are welcome to join us in New York City for a great day of food, fun and education.”

At Presenting Lenore, Lenore recently announced: “I would like to continue supporting international book bloggers and have decided to start the International Book Blogger Mentor Program. Any book blogger who blogs in English about books and lives outside the US and Canada can apply. Each month I will pick one blogger to send 2-3 of my most recent review copies to. Upon request, I will also look over the reviews you write for the books and suggest improvements. Once you post your first review, I will feature you and your blog on Presenting Lenore.” Nice display of community spirit, I think.

And in another display of community spirit, Sherry Early shares 12 Tips for New Bloggers at Semicolon. Seems to me that Sherry’s tips will be useful to all bloggers, not just new ones. For example: “Title your book reviews with the title of the book and the author. This tip may seem self-evident, but it’s tempting to try to come up with catchy titles for books reviews. However, when someone searches for a review of X book on Google, they won’t be as likely to hit your blog if you called your review “A Look at the Newest Great American Novel” instead of X book by Z author.” It’s all good stuff!

At Chasing RayColleen Mondor questions a Heavy Medal blog discussion by Jonathan Hunt about Rebecca Stead’s When You Reach Me, a discussion criticizing Stead’s decision to include a non-white character without identifying the specifics of the character’s racial background. Colleen says: “What bothers me about this is the double standard at play here. A Caucasian character can be described as white with no one blinking an eye but Julia must be more than her skin color because it is not specific enough.”

Quick hits:

Hope that gives you some food for thought. Happy reading!

© 2010 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson’s Book Page. All rights reserved.
You can also find me on Twitter and at Booklights from PBS Parents.
All Amazon links in this post are affiliate links, and may result in my receiving a small commission (with no additional cost to you).

Thursday
Jan072010

Thursday Afternoon Visits: January 7

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

I’ll tell you - leave the computer behind for a few days, and hundreds of posts pile up in the reader. But I found digging out to be a good excuse to also spend some time weeding out inactive feeds. Anyway, here are a few highlights from the Kidlitosphere of late:

JkrROUNDUPTerry Doherty just published this month’s roundup of new resources for literacy and reading at The Reading Tub. This monthly series is an offshoot of the weekly Children’s Literacy Roundups that Terry and I do together, one that Terry has largely taken responsibility for. This month, she focuses on several resources related to literacy and reading, including a new service for recording books for your kids.

MotherReader has provided a FAQ for the upcoming 2010 Comment Challenge (co-hosted with Lee Wind, and which I previously described here). You can sign up tomorrow (Friday) with either MotherReader or Lee Wind.

BlogiestaThis weekend is also Bloggiesta, hosted by Natasha from Maw Books. As MotherReader put it, “It’s a chance to spend some time improving your blog, catching up on your reviews, and taming your Google Reader.” I don’t know that I’ll be formally participating in this one, since I’ve been catching up on my blog quite a bit this week already (and because I really MUST do some reading this weekend). But I’ll be there in spirit.

Foreword125x125The deadline is approaching to submit titles for the ForeWord Magazine’s Book of the Year Awards. You can find more information at the ForeWord website. “ForeWord Magazine’s Book of the Year Awards were established to bring increased attention to librarians and booksellers of the literary and graphic achievements of independent publishers and their authors.”

It’s also time to submit titles for Betsy Bird’s Top 100 Children’s Fiction Chapter Books poll at A Fuse #8 Production. This is a follow-on to the previous Top 100 Picture Books list that Betsy compiled. Readers have until January 31st, 2010 to submit their top 10 middle grade fiction titles of all time (NOT just 2009 titles). No early readers, no young adult books. This poll is focused squarely on middle grade fiction. You can find more details here. There’s also a young adult poll brewing at Diane Chen’s School Library Journal blog, Practically Paradise. Diane says “These are the titles that appeal to teens including young adult novels, nonfiction, and picture books for teens (ages 13-19)”.

John Green has an interesting article in School Library Journal about the future of reading. It’s quite long, but well worth the time to read. For instance, in regards to the future of book distribution, he says: “Just this: if, in the future, most books are sold either online or in big box stores like Costco and Wal-Mart, you (librarians) will become even more important to American literature. How you choose to build your collection, whom you buy from, and how you discover the works you want to share with your patrons will shape what Americans—whether or not they ever visit libraries—will read and how they will read it.” And “There’s no question … that librarians are to thank for the astonishing growth of YA fiction over the last decade.“ Oh, just read the whole thing. I found this link at The Miss Rumphius Effect.

Cybils2009-150pxAs previously mentioned, the Cybils shortlists are now available, and the Cybils judges (myself included) are reading away. For those in need of more reading suggestions, however, Cybils Deputy Editor Sarah Stevenson has a compilation of recommended reading lists from Cybils panelists. She notes that they are “not predictions, DEFINITELY not hints, and probably not prophecies, but certainly a great source of reading material if your TBR pile is getting low.” Now, this is not a problem I ever expect to have again in my life. But still, they’re nice lists. Elaine Magliaro also has a roundup of some more “official” best-of lists at Wild Rose Reader. And Sherry Early has a roundup of reader-submitted year-end booklists at Semicolon, 138 and counting. And last, but definitely not least, Betsy Bird has a scaled back version of her must-read Golden Fuse Awards (including such helpful categories as Best Swag of the Year).

Speaking of the Cybils, in response to the previously mentioned discussions about lack of diversity in the Cybils shortlists (more a symptom of a larger issue than any criticism of the panelists themselves), Colleen Mondor calls upon readers to demand diversity in publishing. She says: “We have to make this a big deal. No more holding a diversity challenge and thinking that is enough. No more having an event where we look at books by POC or with diverse protagonists. No more making diversity something we look at on special days or for special reasons.” See also Doret’s take at TheHappyNappyBookseller. What do you all think?

On a lighter note, Laini Taylor today described a Reader’s Retreat in New Hampshire, organized by Elizabeth MacCrellish, that sounds (and looks - she has photos) wonderful. Here’s the gist: “Reading reading reading, a juicy stack of wonderful books, and taking breaks for yummy meals prepared for you, in the company of other lovely kindred spirits who have also been living inside books all day?” This event, a Squam Arts Workshops (SAW) session scheduled for September 1-5, sounds amazing to me. Perhaps someday…

Quick hits:

© 2010 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson’s Book Page. All rights reserved.
You can also find me on Twitter and at Booklights from PBS Parents.
All Amazon links in this post are affiliate links, and may result in my receiving a small commission (with no additional cost to you).

Wednesday
Dec232009

Wednesday Afternoon Visits: December 23

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

Things have quieted down on the blogs this week as Christmas approaches. But me, I’ve finished my shopping and my wrapping. Work has quieted down. And I find myself with a bit of time to catch up on the blog posts from the past few days. Here are some things that caught my eye. Consider this an early Christmas present for those of you still online…

ChristmasOne of my favorite posts of the season is the Shrinking Violet Promotions Holiday Survival Guide for Introverts. Here’s a snippet: “A plea on behalf of all the introverted children out there in the world—for introverted children, having to get up in Santa’s lap and TALK to this perfect stranger, usually IN FRONT OF other perfect strangers can be the 6 year old equivalent of public speaking.” Robin and Mary understand, from deep down, what it means to be an introvert. [Image credit: Microsoft ClipArt Gallery]

Margo Rabb has an interesting essay in the New York Times about people who steal books from bookstores. Who would have thought that a certain demographic would consider stealing books cool? And you’ll never believe which book is the most frequently stolen. See also Liz B’s commentary on the piece at Tea Cozy. Liz talks about how stealing from the library is even worse than stealing from bookstores, because this keeps other people from being able to access books.  

At Book Moot, Camille talks about the advantages of board books, complete with some recommended new titles. She also discusses how essential she considers a bookshelf in every nursery (I certainly agree with that!). On a related theme, Lori Calabrese lists several of her favorite Christmas-themed board books. And, though not board book-focused, see also Esme Raji Codell’s Christmas Book Picks.

Colleen Mondor has a lovely post about remembering where we came from at the holidays. Here’s a snippet: “when I look at this picture (from 1972) all I know is that in every way that mattered, it was. I have always been, and still remain, the lucky daughter of wonderful parents and the little sister of the best brother in the world.” Sniff!

For those feeling a bit grouchier around the holidays, MotherReader has her annual Festivus post, for the airing of grievances. You can click through to see mine. Speaking of MotherReader, she’s selling Snowpocalypse shirts in her Cafe Press store, in honor of the recent East Coast storm.

Cybils2009-150pxVarious people and institutions have been coming up with their “best of” lists for 2009. Sarah Stevenson is going to round some of those up on the Cybils blog soon. But there are a couple that I couldn’t resist sharing here.

  • At 100 Scope Notes, Travis offers a toast to 2009 Children’s Lit: The Year in Miscellanea. He has topics like “most uncontroversial children’s lit controversy” and “YA cover trend that was too popular to mention.” Fun stuff!
  • At A Fuse #8 Production, Betsy Bird shares her Best of the Decade: A Look Back at Children’s Literature from 2000-2009. She discusses the rise of the children’s book “phenomenon”, the rise of YA fiction, and the rise of blogging and online media, among other relevant topics. This is a don’t miss it post. See also Monica Edinger’s response to Betsy’s post at Educating Alice. Monica responds to most of Betsy’s main points, and adds a few observations of her own about self-publishing, and the evolution of quality nonfiction.

You can also share your “best of” lists in a special January 2nd edition of Semicolon’s Saturday Review of BooksIn this post, Sherry explains how the Review of Books works in general, and invites people to participate in the regular and special editions.

The_Giver_CoverLois Lowry has been sharing some recent insulting reader feedback on The Giver (here and here). She notes that the vast majority of the emails that she receives aren’t like these, but I think it’s brave of her to shine a light on these negative ones. I think that these messages say something about the decline of politeness in our culture.

Quick hits:

And that’s all I have for you today. I’m off to watch It’s a Wonderful Life in front of the fire with Mheir. Wishing all of you who celebrate it a Merry Christmas!!

© 2009 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson’s Book Page. All rights reserved.
You can also find me on Twitter and at Booklights from PBS Parents.
All Amazon links in this post are affiliate links, and may result in my receiving a small commission (with no additional cost to you).

Monday
Dec142009

Quick Hits: December 14

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

I’d like to share a couple of tidbits with you all this morning:

BooklightsFirst up, I have a new post at Booklights today. It’s the fifth entry in my Tips for Growing Bookworms series. This week’s tip is about taking children to libraries and bookstores. Timely for the holiday season, but a good practice year-round. I hope that you’ll check it out.

Next, many congratulations to Betsy Bird from A Fuse #8 ProductionJules Danielson from Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast and Peter D. Sieruta from Collecting Children’s Books on their new book contract. You can find their write-ups herehere, and here. This must-read title, due out from Candlewick in September of 2012, is tentatively titled Wild Things! : The True, Untold Stories Behind the Most Beloved Children’s Books and Their Creators. Very cool!

Third, Meghan Newton from Goodman Media shared a link with me today that I had somehow missed. It’s an article by Jon Scieszka from the Huffington Post, musing on the close of his tenure as National Ambassador of Children’s Literature. It’s classic Scieszka - breezy and fun, but full of concrete tips for helping reluctant readers. This is must-read stuff.

And:

Wishing you all a wonderful week!

© 2009 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson’s Book Page. All rights reserved.
You can also find me on Twitter and at Booklights from PBS Parents.
All Amazon links in this post are affiliate links, and may result in my receiving a small commission (with no additional cost to you).