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
Sep112009

Friday Afternoon Visits: September 11

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

September 11th will never again be just another day. One can’t even think about the date without remembering the events that occurred 8 years ago. My heart goes out to the friends and family members who are still grieving. The people lost on 9/11/01 will never be forgotten.

But I think that remembering terrible things only makes it that much important to take positive actions when we can. In doing so, even when the actions are small, we send out a tiny light into the darkness. And so, this Friday, September 11th, I bring you the news from the largely joyful place that is the Kidlitosphere. First, some September 11th-related remembrances and reviews:

RIFF_logoAt Rasco from RIFCarol Rasco shares RIF’s plans for the first official September 11 Day of Service and Remembrance. She says: “The tragic events of September 11, 2001 unified us as a nation. The memory of that day continues to inspire us to serve our neighbors, our communities, and our country. We are pleased to join this national effort and thank the President for making this call to service.” 

14_cowsAt The Reading TubTerry Doherty shares her personal response to the book 14 Cows for America, saying: “Although September 11, 2001 is the backdrop for the story, Deedy is offering us a timeless, universal story of empathy, compassion, and shared dreams of hope. Sharing this book with a child will open their minds to other cultures, traditions, and belief systems.”

Levithan_loveAnd at Finding WonderlandTanita Davis intermingles her memories of 9/11 with a review of David Levithan’s Love is the Higher Law. She says: “David Levithan is a New Yorker whose own impressions of that bewildering, horrifying, terrifying day are reflected in these pages. Few readers, teens and adults alike, will be able to experience this novel without remembering their own story — where they were that day, what they did.” Jackie Parker reviews the book, too, at InteractiveReader. She says: “I read it because it was David Levithan writing about 9/11. I know that Levithan is a New Yorker. And I trusted him as an author to deal with this subject with barefaced honesty, never pandering, never with any sense of self-importance or false heroism, or anything else that sullies that day.” 

At The Simple and the Ordinary, Christine M. shares her fragmented but crystal clear 9/11 memoriesSarah shares hers at The Reading Zone, and Susan hers at Chicken Spaghetti.  Me, I was in Austin, Texas on a business trip, and I heard about the events in New York on the car radio, on my way to work. During the course of that half hour drive, the first tower fell. And things were different. We all remember.

But, now, because life does go on, I’ll go on to the regular blogosphere news:

Book-blogger-appreciation-weekSherry Early has been running a great feature at Semicolon. She’s going through the shortlists for Book Blogger Appreciation Week, checking out each blog, writing a short blurb about the blog, and identifying her pick in each category. For example, here’s her assessment of the Best Thriller/Mystery/Suspense Blog category. I’ve flagged several of her posts to go back to, as I seek out new blogs to follow myself. (In the interest of full disclosure, I should admit that Sherry has some nice things to say about my own blog, shortlisted in the Best KidLit Blog category. But I would think it was a neat feature in any case, I’m sure.) See also a thoughtful post at Chasing Ray, in which Colleen Mondor shares her opinion about shortlisting blogs, in general. Incidentally, voting for BBAW closes at midnight Saturday night. I hope that if you have opinions about any of the categories, you’ll take a few minutes to vote. And stay tuned for lots more BBAW activity next week.  

Cybils2009-Web-SmallThanks to the talented and hard-working Sarah Stevenson, new Cybils Bling is now available for purchase at Cafe Press. All of the new merchandise (t-shirt, mugs, buttons, tote bag, etc.) features the snazzy new Cybils 2009 logo. You can find details at the Cybils blog. Personally, I have my eye on a new mug, to go with my assorted Kidlitosphere Conference mugs from years past.

BooklightsPam and Susan have both hit it out of the park at Booklights this week, in my opinion. On Wednesday, Susan wrote about the ups and downs of reading aloud. She offers practical advice for parents who might be disappointed by their young kids’ unwillingness to sit still for read-aloud. Her conclusion: “Go easy on yourself and your children when it comes to reading aloud. And enjoy the wonderful moments when they happen.” Then yesterday, Pam used her Thursday Three feature to offer reading help for “the three people involved in your child’s reading development - the teacher, the child, and yourself.” I especially liked her strong suggestion that parents try to avoid The Reading Game (parental competition over kids’ reading levels and books). Both of these posts have the same general message for parents: raising readers works best if you keep it fun, and keep from being too hard on yourself or the kids. And that, my friends, is why I’m so happy to be working with Pam and Susan (and Gina, who guides us all, and Ann, who reinforces what we’re doing) at Booklights.

Terry Doherty wrote a guest article for this month’s Children’s Book Insider (subscription required) that some of you may find of interest. It’s about generating cyberbuzz (or, how to get your book reviewed online). Terry offers tips based on her experience in moderating book review requests at The Reading Tub. She also makes an interesting distinction between “stories written for kids, titles adults like for their kids; and books meant for adults.” There’s also a followup interview between Terry and CBI’s Laura Backes here. Terry also has a guest piece in the Examiner, as part of Jennifer Finke’s series on Toys with Imagination. Terry talks about engaging toddlers and kids with interactive books (no batteries required!).

Nathan Bransford, the literary agent, started an interesting discussion on his blog this week about whether or not children’s books should be “content-rated” like movies and video games. As I write there are some 250+ comments - clearly this is a topic that people feel strongly about. I found this post via Dawn Morris from Moms Inspire Learning (who found it via Jon Bard from Children’s Book Insider). Dawn says (on her own blog): “I wish the YA section of the library could be split in two, with books that address serious issues being put into a separate section for high school students. Why can’t there be a “safe” section just for children between the ages of 10 and 14? Parents can’t always read every book, after all.” Me, I think it’s a complicated question, because content ratings for books are such a subjective and variable thing. What’s “safe” for one kid might seem edgy for the next. It’s not easy. On a related note, Robin LaFevers writes about “some of the delineations in writing YA versus MG versus adult books”.

Another controversy has spun up around the lit blogosphere this week. The latest Notes from the Horn Book (a monthly email newsletter from Horn Book Magazine) included an interview with author Richard Peck. Mr. Peck apparently criticized teachers for reading books aloud. The interview has evoked some dissenting opinions from teachers, of course, particularly from Sarah at The Reading Zone and Monica Edinger at Educating Alice. See also Horn Book editor Roger Sutton’s take at Read Roger (he says “I think Peck was complaining about classrooms where kids’ only exposure to trade books was hearing them read aloud”). But still… it’s always something! 

Gail Gauthier linked to an interesting piece in the Denver Post by David Milofsky. The author posits that, as Google and Yahoo start paying publishers to link to news stories, the same might be expected of literary bloggers. A number of prominent bloggers are quoted in the article. I would tend to agree with Gail that if your blog doesn’t make money, fair use would probably apply in linking to a news story. Personally, it’s not like my blog is a big profit center for me. If I had to pay to link to news stories, well, I just wouldn’t link to news stories. Or I’d find some other way to do it, anyway. But it’s something to watch.

Quick Hits:

  • This week’s Poetry Friday roundup is at Wild Rose Reader. The last Nonfiction Monday roundup was at The Miss Rumphius Effect.
  • Greg Pincus has an inspirational post about community and the power of #kidlitchat (a weekly Twitter chat about children’s books and publishing). I’ll tell you, he made me want to participate, and I’m so not a “chat” person (the introvert in me can’t cope with the swirl of conversation, even when it’s online).
  • At Angieville, Angie has a fun post about the appeal of “bad boys” in literature, inspired by a post from Adele at Persnickety Snark. Reading both posts, it’s clear to me that in literature and TV, I’m generally in favor of Bad Boys, too (I pick Pacey over Dawson any day, and I am Team Gale all the way).
  • At Bookshelves of DoomLeila is in a bit of a reading slump, and looking for “something that I’ll be able to fall into, that has writing that at the very least won’t make me roll my eyes, that has characters I can believe in, a story that I haven’t read a million times before (unless the writing and the characters make it work), something that I’ll remember for more than an hour after reading.” Lots of promising suggestions in the comments.
  • At Parents and Kids Reading Together, Cathy Puett Miller says that “picture books are for everyone”.
  • Cheryl Rainfield has pictures of a house and furniture made out of books (well, not really, but they’re made to look like they’re made out of books, which works, too). Very fun!
  • At the Miss Rumphius EffectTricia links to a Fledgling post by Zetta Elliott about authors of color. Tricia says: “In addition to being a mighty strong argument for the recognition of works by authors of color, she includes links to some astounding and disheartening statistics.” See also Roger Sutton’s response.
  • Speaking of the need for diversity in publishing, Susan has a great quote at Chicken Spaghetti from Amy Bowllan’s School Library Journal blog, in a recent column about writers against racism: “Literature helps us understand who we are and to find our place in the world.” 
  • Responding to the recent trend of adding horror elements to classic romances (e.g. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies), Becky from Becky’s Book Reviews suggests adding romance to some of the classic horror stories (e.g. a love interest for Frankenstein). I like it!
  • At A Year of Reading, Mary Lee and Franki are commemorating the start of the new school year with a series of posts celebrating teachers. I especially liked Day 4, in which Franki reminds people about Mary Lee and Franki’s list of Cool Teachers in Children’s Literature.
  • Liz Burns from Tea Cozy is one of the winners of the Color Me Brown challenge at Color Online. She links to other winners here
  • Susan Beth Pfeffer unveils the cover of the third Life As We Knew It book, The World We Live In. This is one book for which I don’t need to see any reviews. I already want it.  
  • Colleen Mondor wrote a short history of Guys Lit Wire for Crossed Genres magazine.
  • Mary Pearson guest blogged at Tor the other day about everyone’s obsession with the future (and specifically talked about how thinking about the future led her to the ideas in The Adoration of Jenna Fox). She also has a smart post at Tor about what YA lit is and isn’t (I found that one via Liz B.).
  • Sarah Stevenson chimed in on MotherReader’s Kidlitosphere Conference meme at Finding Wonderland. Updated to add that Betsy Bird chimed in from Fuse #8, too (and she hardly ever does memes). And Colleen makes a particularly strong case for writers to attend, at Chasing Ray. Oh, I wish that EVERYONE could come this year. At least Liz B. will be there again this year (here’s her meme).
  • And if this isn’t enough news for you, Abby (the) Librarian has some other links today.

Wishing you all a weekend of peace. Me, I just got some good news from my brother, which definitely makes the day a lot brighter.

© 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).

Wednesday
Sep022009

Wednesday Afternoon Visits: September 2

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

Kidlitosphere_buttonI did a pretty comprehensive Kidlitosphere round-up on Friday. Since then, however, there have been a slew of interesting posts. Here are a few that I couldn’t resist sharing.

Newlogorg200As the month changes, the Readergirlz divas say goodby to Coe Booth (roundup of August posts here). For September, they will be hosting Kristin Cashore (author of Graceling and Fire, both of which I adored). The theme of the month is Triumph! They’ll also have Beth Kephart as author-in-residence this month. You can read more details on the Readergirlz blog. Postergirl Little Willow has just posted a Graceling Roundtable.

I’ve only recently discovered Ellen Hopkins’ blog. She has two recent post of particular interest. She shared a post about “writing on the edge” in young adult fiction, saying “don’t dare think most of today’s YA readers aren’t equipped to deal with books like TRICKS (about teen prostitution). They aren’t just reading about these issues. They’re living them. Knowing they’re not alone is valuable. Knowing there’s a way out is invaluable.” She continued by writing about “the YA renaissance”, and how it did not start with Twilight. She says: “I don’t want to sound snippy or envious. I think it’s great that a YA author can find the kind of following and crossover appeal that Stephenie Meyer has. But it bothers me that other (and in my opinion, better) YA authors aren’t more justly rewarded.” She includes good examples.

At The Brown BookshelfVarian Johnson links to an Examiner article by Paula Chase-Hyman about “why YA is the new hotness”. I agree with Varian’s positive take on “Reason #5. YA novels enable their young readers to process problems and situations from a safe distance.”

Tricia muses on “half-read books” at The Miss Rumphius Effect, influenced by an essay by Suzanne Munshower in today’s Guardian books blog. Someone who normally feels compelled to finish every book, Tricia has had a revelation: “Time is too precious and there many books out there waiting to be read. If a book doesn’t work for me (or you) why stick with it?” That’s certainly how I feel - if a book puts me to sleep for more than a couple of nights in a row, or if clunkiness in the writing makes me cringe, I will quietly set the book aside, and find something else. How about you all?

Yesterday there was an interesting discussion on a discussion group for KidLit bloggers. Today, Pam Coughlan shares some highlights at ForeWord Magazine’s Shelf Space blog. After quoting Laurel Snyder (who started the whole discussion), Pam defines three different types of book buzz. She says: “Our first line of attack is knowing what kind of buzz we’re seeing. Some book coverage is justified, some… not so much. Knowing the difference can allow us to enjoy the ride of literary excitement without being taken for a ride by literary publicists.” It’s interesting stuff - head on over and comment with your take. And definitely don’t miss the last sentence of the post.

Speaking of Pam, at MotherReader she has another reminder about registration fo the Third Annual Kidlitosphere conference. This time, she includes a list of bloggers and authors who will be attending. I challenge you to read the list and NOT want to attend. I’m so looking forward to meeting the people I haven’t met before, and seeing friends from the past couple of years. It’s going to be great!

Quick hits:

  • Here’s more on the new web series on social media and the book industry by Mark Blevis and Greg Pincus (which I mentioned last week).
  • At Misrule, Judith Ridge shares a bit of a rant on expectations of virtue (or not) among children’s authors.
  • At Roots in Myth, PJ Hoover writes about what makes for a good audiobook. She has a ton of comments on the post, with pros and cons and specific recommendations for audiobooks.
  • Little Willow has an interesting post at Guys Lit Wire about literary initials. She asks a variety of questions on the subject, and shares responses from a number of kidlitosphere friends.  
  • At Book AuntKate Coombs muses on “the eight deadly words” that turn off readers “I don’t care what happens to these people”. So true! (And one of those things that will make me give up on a book.)
  • Travis shares breaking sock news at 100 Scope Notes (with an illustration of some of the many sock-dedecked book covers in MG fiction these days).
  • Susan Kusel writes at Booklights in praise of that essential back to school supply: the library card.
  • Roger Sutton has an interesting analysis on the changes in book length for middle grade fiction over the past 30 years.
  • At Reading RocketsJoanne Meier for first classroom readaloud for the new school year.

I’m going to take a little blog-break over Labor Day weekend. I won’t be commenting or twittering much. However, I’ve left some book reviews scheduled to post. Hope you all have a lovely holiday!

© 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).

Friday
Aug282009

Friday Afternoon Visits: August 28

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

Kidlitosphere_buttonMy blogging time has been limited for the past couple of weeks, due to a combination of guests, travel, and Internet access woes. Fortunately, I had a few reviews stored up, which kept the blog from going dark. But I’ve missed out on a lot of activities going on around the Kidlitosphere. Today, I’ve managed to catch up on the past couple of weeks of kidlit blog news.

Cybils2009-Web-SmallThe call for judges for this year’s Cybils Award process went out earlier this week. Here’s the scoop: “If you:

  • blog about some aspect of children’s or teen books on at least a somewhat consistent basis;
  • or contribute regularly to a group blog about same;
  • know a thing or two about what kids/teens are reading these days;
  • are planning to be reading obsessively over the next few months anyway

…we may have a spot for you. You start by emailing us at cybils09 (at) gmail (dot) com. It’s a group email so that our organizers can get excited when they see the names coming in from prospective volunteers.” (Do click through to read the full announcement first.) I’ll be continuing as Literacy Evangelist for this year’s Cybils, and I know for certain that a result of the process is going to be fabulous lists of books. I hope that many of your will participate. Also, have you seen our gorgeous new logo? It’s the work of the multi-talented Sarah Stevenson (aka aquafortis). I love it!

Two of the savviest bloggers I know, Mark Blevis from Just One More Book!! and Greg Pincus from Gotta Book and The Happy Accident, are teaming up on a new project. According to the Just One More Book!! newsletter, they’re going to “deliver a series of free webcasts that will give book publishers, publicists, authors, illustrators and enthusiasts social media savvy for outreach and promotion.” You can find more information here. Congratulations to Andrea and Mark of JOMB on their third blogging anniversary, too.

Mary Lee and Franki from A Year of Reading have started a new “lifetime of reading gallery”. Here’s the scoop: “Members of the Kidlitosphere are invited to submit stories from their reading lives. Your submission can be an anecdote from childhood, a recent experience around books or reading, a memory from school (good or bad), a vignette about learning to read, the impact of a particular book—anything about your life as a reader. We are looking for a variety of short pieces (think blog post length) from anyone in the Kidlitosphere, including bloggers, authors, illustrators, readers of blogs, etc. Our gallery is open to everyone who is a blogger, blog reader, author, illustrator, blog reader, blog commenter, etc.” [And while you’re thinking about reading memories, Charles from online children’s bookstore Through the Magic Door is also looking for submissions in that area.]

Pam Coughlan (MotherReader) is guest blogging at ForeWord Magazine’s Shelf Space this month. This week she has a new post “about saving time, money, and energy at your library during this difficult economic climate.” Dedicated community builder that she is, Pam also wrote a must-read post at MotherReader recently reminding people not to let an addiction to Twitter keep them from taking time to comment on blog posts. She says: I don’t want to come off as angry or peevish, and I hope that those of you who follow me understand that. I do think commenting is important and is something that we are losing in our community to the detriment of all.” And she discusses the benefits to the person commenting, in terms of exposure. There is, appropriately, an interesting discussion in the comments, some of which points out ways that Twitter and blog comments can complement each other. Personally, I like Twitter for broadcasting news tidbits, but I find that I prefer my blog or Facebook for back and forth discussion in the comments. It’s easier to see the whole thread. But I’ve found new friends on Twitter, too. It’s an interesting balance. But do check out Pam’s post, and the comments. See also a getting started guide for Twitter, prepared by Mitali Perkins.

Speaking of people who inspire lots of comments, My Friend Amy has taken on a couple of interesting topics this week. Yesterday, she asked: “what themes draw you in when reading?” Today, she asks “how important are likeable characters?” Both posts have tons of comments. I was particularly interested in the themes question. Here’s an abridged version of my response: “My favorite sub-genre is dystopian fiction. I think as a theme I’m drawn to a larger question of identity (as mentioned be Lenore and Alexa). I’m curious about what happens when the traditional constraints of society are removed. How to individuals rise to the challenge? How does society reform? Which values are internal, and which are imposed by society? I’m also drawn to tween books where the characters are just starting to think about growing up, dating, etc. Perhaps this is identity, as framed by separation from the family (just as the dystopia books are identity as framed by separation from society… interesting parallel).”

And still speaking of people who inspire many comments, Shannon Hale published a new installment in her fabulous “How to be a reader” series last week. This one is about book evaluation vs. self-evaluation. Shannon talks specifically about star ratings on reader reviews, and calls the practice into question, saying (among other excellent points) “In my opinion, there are more interesting questions to ask myself after reading a book than what I would rate it… I wonder if book evaluation is trumping self-evaluation. I wonder if we get so caught up in gushing or bashing, shining up those stars or taking them away, that the reading experience is weighed too heavily on the side of the book itself and not enough on the reader.” She also includes a quiz for people who review books. Tanita Davis responds at Finding Wonderland. Liz B responds at Tea Cozy, here and here. Like Liz and Tanita, I don’t include ratings in my reviews. It just seems arbitrary. I’d rather talk about the book, and what I liked or didn’t like, or what I thought was particularly well done. Most of the time, any review from me is an implied “thumbs up” anyway, because I don’t tend to spend my time reviewing books that I don’t think are worth my reviewing time. Still, there’s a lot of great food for thought in Shannon’s post, the comments, and Liz and Tanita’s responses.

Quick hits:

  • Also from Liz B, a survey about time spent blogging. For me, today, it’s going to be something like 8 hours. But that’s not typical. Really.
  • Today’s Poetry Friday roundup is at Kate Coombs’ blog, Book Aunt.
  • Kirby Larson has been hosting a discussion panel on the topic of gender in reading and writing. Here are Part 1 (about the reading histories of the 10 panelists), Part 2 (about “girl books” vs. “boy books”), and Part 3 (books that appeal regardless of gender). (updated to add Part 4)
  • Elaine Magliaro shares an excellent list of links to back to school booklists and other resources at Wild Rose Reader.
  • At Literate Lives, Karen writes about a first day of school author visit from Margaret Peterson Haddix. How great is that for getting kids excited about being back at school?
  • Franki Sibberson shares her reflections, pros and cons, on reading via Kindle. Overall, she sees the Kindle as her primary reading source for the future.
  • Charlotte from Charlotte’s Library (with help from various commenters) muses on fantasy books that include girls who like to read.
  • At Confessions of a BibliovoreMaureen takes on Susan’s recent Booklights question about books that you’d like to read again for the first time. Maureen talks about books that she’s re-read, and found more the second (or third or tenth) time.
  • Kelly at YAnnabe shares 7 ways to revive your love of reading. She even suggests having a friend or partner read aloud to you, if you need to bring back the fun of reading.
  • Tif from Tif Talks Books writes about books as bridges, saying “I have discovered that books can truly be a bridge … a connection … something that can help many of us relate despite our differences.” 
  • Abby (the) Librarian has more Kidlitosphere links, if you’re still hungry for news. So does MotherReader.
  • Last, but not least, don’t forget to register for KidLitCon 2009.

I hope to be back this weekend with an installment of my “reviews that made me want the book” feature. That would let me finish cleaning up my Google Reader in quite a satisfactory fashion. And it’s an excellent baseball task. Happy reading, all!

© 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).

Wednesday
Aug122009

Wednesday Afternoon Visits: August 12

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

This week’s posts around the Kidlitosphere have been filled with reminders about why I love this community so much. I’ll probably be back with more over the weekend, but wanted to share these links with you all now.

Mitali Perkins shares photos from her recent visit to Prince Edward Island, home of Green Gables. She says: “As an oft-displaced child, I borrowed roots from my favorite authors. L.M. Montgomery’s novels made Prince Edward Island one of my many homes.”

Speaking of lovely places to spend a summer day, check out this post at Cynthia Lord’s blog. Her husband John is the  most amazing photographer. I always enjoy his photos, but this one, of two Adirondack chairs facing sunset over a lake … truly gorgeous. Click through. However your day is going, it will make you feel better. [And to my friend summering in Truro, this one made me think of you.]

If those first two links didn’t offer enough travel for you, Colleen Mondor’s One Shot Southeast Asia round-up post is now available at Chasing Ray. There are tons of great entries, too many for me to mention here. But I did especially like seeing Liz B feature PaperTigers at Tea Cozy.  

At Wild Rose Reader, Elaine Magliaro announces the August Small Graces auction from Grace Lin. Elaine says: “All the proceeds from the Small Graces auctions will benefit The Foundation for Children’s Books, a small non-profit organization in Boston that is making a big difference in the lives of young readers by bringing children’s book authors and illustrators into under-served schools in the Greater Boston area for visits and residencies.” This month’s painting is beautiful and sunny.

Jennie has a new project at Biblio File, a Reading Challenges Clearinghouse. She says: “This blog will post (and link) to all the reading challenges out there for all types of book blogs. The long ones, the short ones, the serious, and the silly.” So, if you are hosting or participating in a reading challenge, do let Jennie know. (I personally have enough trouble keeping up with my reading, without adding challenges to the mix, but I know that a lot of people love them).

Angiegirl at Angieville writes about stubborn girls (in literature) and why she likes them. She highlights three of her favorites, and concludes: “In the end, I guess I’m just a ridiculously firm believer in the kind of heroines Robin McKinley (an excellently stubborn girl herself) refers to as “girls who do things.”“

Newlogorg200Someone else who I suspect appreciates stubborn girls (in life and literature) is Tanita Davis (have you read Mare’s War?). Tanita has a wonderful guest post at the Readergirlz blog about mothers and daughters. She shares some family memories, and photos, too. Go, read. It’s lovely.

Tanita also shares, at Finding Wonderland, an announcement about a call for young adult writing submissions for e-Publishing company Verb Noire. They’re looking for: “original works of genre fiction (science fiction/fantasy/mystery/romance) that feature a person of color and/or LGBT as the central character.”

Kidlitosphere_buttonAnd finally, another must-read post from Pam Coughlan at MotherReader. Pam summarizes her position of several topics currently in discussion around the Kidlitosphere, from review copy envy to the idea of making money from blogs. Not surprisingly, I thought that she was dead on. There’s some good discussion in the comments, too. Pam suggests (not for the first time) that we as a community: “spend some time educating ourselves about the issues, discussing the possible implications, and drafting our personal policies.” She asks: “What does it mean to you to Blog with Integrity?”

See what I mean? This is such a great community. Hope you found some food for thought, or just some news to make you smile.

© 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).

Sunday
Aug092009

Sunday Afternoon Visits: August 9

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

I’ve been a bit out of the blogging loop this week, due to the presence of houseguests. But I’m slowly getting myself back to normal, and have some news to share with you from around the Kidlitosphere.

Kidlitosphere_buttonFirst and foremost in Kidlitosphere news, Pam Coughlan (MotherReader and Kidlitosphere Central founder) has announced the preliminary agenda for the Third Annual Kidlitosphere Conference (aka KidLitCon). A registration form is now available with full details. If you blog about children’s or young adult books, or you’re thinking of blogging about children’s or young adult books, you should come. If you write or edit children’s or young adult books, or you are a teacher, librarian, or literacy advocate, and you are thinking about dipping a toe into the Kidlitosphere, you should come, too. The conference will be held at the Sheraton Crystal City Hotel in Virginia on October 17th. I attended the conference the past two years, and I simply can’t recommend it highly enough. It’s going to be great!!

LiarThe other big news in the Kidlitosphere this week is that Bloomsbury responded to the huge outcry about the cover of Justine Larbalestier’s upcoming young adult novel Liar. The publisher maintains that their original choice to put a white teen on the cover of a book about an African-American teen was “symbolic” (reflecting the character’s nature as a liar), rather than a response to perceptions about the market for book covers showing people of color. Regardless, they have decided to change the cover to one more representative of the book, and I think that’s great news (in no small part because people will no longer have to conflicted over whether to buy the book or not). I also find the whole thing to be an excellent demonstration of the power of the literary blogosphere. The new cover was first reported in Publisher’s Weekly’s Children’s Bookshelf, and has since been commented upon pretty much everywhere. (See Justine’s response here).

Also, if you’re thinking of starting a blog (and especially if you are thinking of ways to make money from book blogging), I recommend checking out Liz B’s recent piece at A Chair, A Fireplace and A Tea Cozy about the business of publishing and blogs. Specifically, Liz discusses the question of whether or not bloggers could accept advertising from authors or publishers without the integrity (and/or perceived integrity) of their reviews being compromised. Liz’s own view on this is pretty clear: “I do not believe that basically becoming an employee/independent contractor of a publisher/publicist (let’s be realistic, authors don’t have that kind of money) would ultimately allow for a website/blog, in its entirely, to remain objective, critical, and uninfluenced by the publisher.” I agree with her.   

Speaking of Liz, kudos to her for having a recent School Library Journal cover story with Carlie Webberas announced here. It’s called When Harry Met Bella: Fanfiction is all the rage. But is it plagiarism? Or the perfect thing to encourage young writers?

In excellent kidlit news, Camille reports at BookMoot that the young adult novel Airborn, by Kenneth Oppel, is currently in orbit around the International Space Station. According to a press release: “astronaut Robert Thirsk, currently aboard the International Space Station with fellow Canadian Julie Payette, has brought with him two books by Canadian authors – Airborn by Kenneth Oppel and Deux pas vers les étoiles by Jean-Rock Gaudreault.” Having been saying for years that I think that adults should read children’s books, I am thrilled by this high-profile example.

Last week’s Poetry Friday roundup was at The Miss Rumphius Effect. Tomorrow’s Nonfiction Monday roundup will be at MotherReader (updated to add direct link to the post here).

Also this week, Colleen Mondor is hosting a One-Shot blogging event in celebration of Southeast Asia. She says: “the basic rules are simple - you post at your site on a book either set in SE Asia or written by a SE Asian author and send me the url. I’ll post a master list with links and quotes here on Wednesday.”

I don’t normally highlight blog birthdays in these roundup posts (because I read so many blogs - there are blog anniversaries happening all the time). But I did want to extend special congratulations to Tasha Saecker, who has now been blogging at Kids Lit for SIX YEARS. As Pam said in the comments, that’s like being 40 in blog years. Tasha has demonstrated style, integrity, and a passion for children’s literature all along the way. If you’re thinking of starting a children’s book blog, I encourage you to make a study of Kids Lit - Tasha will steer you right. Happy Birthday to Kids Lit.

I’ll be back tomorrow with this week’s Literacy and Reading News roundup. I’ll also have a new post up tomorrow at Booklights.

© 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.
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