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.

We welcome your feedback!

Search
Social Networking
Powered by Squarespace
Thursday
Jun252009

Thursday Afternoon Visits: June 25

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

Kidlitosphere_buttonHere are a few things from around the Kidlitosphere that caught my eye this week.

BooklightsWe have a new regular blogger over at BooklightsAnn will be posting once a month, offering “an end-of-the-month summary, reaction, and (sharing of) the ideas” that Pam, Susan, and I have raised. You can find Ann’s first post here. She has her top 10 picture books list, and responses to some of the ongoing discussion at Booklights about social reading, summer reading, and the importance of picture books. It’s an honor to have her participation!

Also at Booklights this week: Susan has an informative post about how to find information on series books and sequels, while Pam highlights three extra-cute picture books. And speaking of cute picture books (though not at Booklights, Abby (the) Librarian shares titles from a chicken storytime.

Elaine Magliaro shares Book Lists for Summer Reading 2009 at Wild Rose Reader. In addition to links to various book lists, she also links to two articles from Reading Rockets about getting the most out of summer reading. And for some summer reading suggestions directly from sixth graders, check out “You HAVE to Read This” from Sarah Mulhern’s students at the Reading Zone. “Each student chose one book that they feel all 6th graders must read.” One thing that I love about the list is the range of reading levels of the books included.

Brbc+buttonBook Dads hosts the 20th Edition of the Book Review Blog Carnival (and the first time I’ve run across this carnival, I think). There are quite a few reviews in honor of Father’s Day.

Colleen Mondor has a new installment of her fabulous What a Girl Wants series. This week, she talks with a variety of authors about the allure of the “girl detective” in literature. She asks: “does the girl detective genre matter to teen readers today? Do we need her around and if so, what does she bring to the table? Are we missing out on a chance of future female justices by not having mysteries with teen girl protagonists? In a nutshell, should we care at all about the girl detective?” In addition to the contributions by various authors in the body of the post, there’s a great discussion in the comments, too.

Colleen also links to a post that I neglected to mention before from TheHappyNappyBookseller, about the treatment of an African-American character in the final Percy Jackson book. Doret says: “this final book left a bad taste in my mouth”, and explains why. Jennie from Biblio File expands on the topic of race in the Percy Jackson books with a complaint about the narrator’s treatment of Asian-American characters in the audiobooks.  

CybilsLogoSmallAt the Cybils blog, Sarah Stevenson links to several upcoming and recently released titles written by Cybils panelists. She includes two titles that I recently reviewed (Mare’s War by Tanita Davis and Silksinger by Laini Taylor). Click through to see the others.

At Charlotte’s Library, Charlotte shares a list of fantasy titles compiled for a nine-year-old girl who likes “a bit of scary stuff”. This post is part one of the list, featuring older titles that Charlotte loved at that age. A followup post with more current titles will be forthcoming. There are a bunch of other suggestions from the 1970’s in the comments.

MotherReader shares some suggestions for preventing, and recovering from, the current round of blog angst flu. Here’s a snippet: “Look to the things that make you feel good, or at least feel better. Tap into strong relationships. Find things that make you smile. A sense of humor can be a saving grace. A well-developed sense of irony is better than a good night’s sleep.” She is very wise, that MotherReader.

LemonadestandawardLast, but not least, I received two lovely blog awards this week. First Tif from Tif Talks Books gave me a Lemonade Award, for “blogs that show great attitude or gratitude.” I certainly am grateful to be a member of the Kidlitosphere, so this award means a lot. Thanks, Tif! Susan Stephenson, who was also on Tif’s list, named me a June 2009 Book Chook Hero, with Terry Doherty, for our efforts in putting together the weekly children’s literacy round-ups. We do spend quite a lot of time on those, and it’s extra-nice to have that recognized. A great week all around! Susan also has a lovely post about books and food (reading and eating at the same time) at the Book Chook.

And now, my reader is nearly free of starred items (with the exception of a couple of reviews that I’m saving). It’s time to set aside the computer in favor of dinner. 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).

Thursday
Jun182009

Thursday Afternoon Visits: June 18

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

Kidlitosphere_buttonAll of this blogging and social networking is a lot of fun. But now, when I see an interesting blog post, I have really to stop to think about where to put it. Do I put it in the draft for the next children’s literacy round-up (alternating between my blog and The Reading Tub)? Do I share it immediately at Twitter or Facebook or my own blog? Or do I save it for a Kidlitosphere visits post? Or for my weekly post at Booklights? So many platforms, each with overlapping, but distinct, audiences. What is a blogger to do? Ah well, I’ll figure it out. Meanwhile, here is some news from around the Kidlitosphere that I’ve been saving up for the past week.

I’ve seen a couple of other new posts continuing the discussion about kids and reading levels. Carlie Webber at Librarilly Blonde calls the problem “Trickle-Down Readonomics”, by which “Popular books trickle down in age.” GreenBeanTeenQueen writes, “Honestly I hate it when parents come into the library and brag about how their 3rd or 4th grader is reading at a higher reading level, and they want to read YA and adult books… but not with any YA or adult themes”. And Christine M from The Simple and the Ordinary draws a parallel between the problem of kids being pushed to read grown-up books too soon and pressure that kids have to stop playing with particular toys. Clearly, this whole topic has resonated with people. There are also lots of insightful comments from parents and librarians on my other posts here and here, and especially on the post at Booklights.

There’s been a lot of interesting discussion at Read Roger about bloggers and publishers, and buzz vs. recommendations vs. reviews. Today’s post, for example, has an extensive discussion about what publishers expect from bloggers and the presence or absence of negative reviews. Earlier posts in the discussion chain are here and here. I especially liked Maggie Stiefvater’s comments in today’s post (hat-tip to @TrishHeyLady for sending me back to look for this). Maggie said: “A negative review is as good as a positive review for business… The posts that weren’t useful? The ones that just said, in two lines: “OMG I LOVED THIS BOOK SO BAD EVERYONE GO BUY IT.”” But really, there are tons of other interesting comments, too. Do check it out.

I also liked the discussion on a recent post by Daphne Grab at The Longstockings about the popularity of sequels. Daphne asks: “are you a fan of more than one novel in the same world? If not, why, if so, why and what are your favorites?” For me, the answer is yes, yes, yes if it’s a world that I want to spend more time in, but no otherwise. And yes, I’m looking forward to the upcoming third book about DJ (Front and Center) by Catherine Gilbert Murdock. And the second book in Kristin Cashore’s world from Graceling. And … you get the idea. 

There’s a fun discussion going on at Angieville about the joys of rereadingAngie says, of the collection of books that she re-reads regularly, “They’re not what I should read, necessarily, but what I have to read. They’re the books that last, that remind me everything’s going to be okay, that there are entire worlds on the other side of a wardrobe door, that Lizzie and Darcy will forgive each other, that Huw’s valley was once so very green.” Poetic and true, wouldn’t you say? I have books that call to me from the shelf sometimes (including Pride and Prejudice), and I’m pretty much compelled to obey their summons.

Kate Coombs has a fabulous Scary YA Book Extravaganza at Book Aunt. She explains: ” I’ve saved up the most recent batch of teen paranormal books I’ve read in an attempt to look at some of the kinds of things people are doing. Happily, writers are branching out: only two of these books contain vampires, and they’re barely mentioned in one of the two.” She talks about many current titles.

Mrs. V from Mrs. V’s Reviews announced last week that she’s “out about reading YA”. She says: “I do not feel like I ever did an official announcement about being a YA reader, other than this blog and that my family members and students frequently see me reading YA. Either way, I am proud to say that I love YA and I would gladly announce to my peers that I frequently read it and support the merits of YA.” I can only offer my support and encouragement.

Abby (the) Librarian wrapped up her Help Me Help You series, in which she discussed ways that librarians can help people to get the most out of the library. These are great, nuts and bolts posts, worth a read from everyone. The final post has links to the previous four, so start there.

At the Escape Adulthood blog, Kim Kotecki shares 17 simple & free ways to have fun today. Like “Carry an umbrella even though it’s not raining.” and “serve a purple dinner.”

NerdsheartyaSpeaking of fun, I learned from Natasha’s Maw Books Blog about the ongoing Nerds Heart YA book tournament, “that highlights sixteen young adult books published in 2008 that might not have garnered the attention of their counterparts.” It’s the brainchild of Renay from YA Fabulous. I was pleased with the outcome of Round 1, judged by Valentina from Valentina’sRoom, in which one of my favorite 2008 titles was selected.

BlogiestaAnd speaking of Natasha, she’s organizing a new blogging event called Bloggiesta, taking place this weekend. Don’t you just love the logo? Natasha explains: “The Bloggiesta will focus on blog content, improving/cleaning up your blog or working on your social network profiles. I’m pretty open on what you can do during the bloggiesta but reading actually won’t count!  I know, I know. The point is to catch up instead of adding another book to the “to be reviewed” pile. Actual blog content is what I’m really aiming for with some technical/housekeeping bloggy stuff mixed in for good measure.” The idea is to spend as much time as you can out of a 48-hour time period this weekend. As someone (I’m sorry, I forget who it was) wrote on her blog, this pretty much describes all of my weekends anyway. I’m going to sit this one out, though, because I’m feeling spread a bit thin at the moment, and even tracking my time feels like an extrathing. But I’m pleased to report that there are already some 75 participants signed up. I think it’s going to be great!

Map_southeast_asiaIn other event news, Colleen Mondor recently announced another One Shot World Tour, this one focusing on Southeast Asia. The event will be held August 12th. Colleen explains “For those of you not familiar with the One Shot idea, a group of bloggers (and its open to everybody with a blog) all agree to read a book by an author from a certain region or a book set in that region and then blog about it on a specified day. You can also interview an author from there if you prefer.” You can find more details at Chasing Ray.

And now, I’m pleased to report that my Google Reader is, for the moment, empty of starred items. I do believe it’s time to go read an actual book. Here’s an early wish to you all for a relaxing weekend.

© 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
Jun102009

Wednesday Afternoon Visits: June 10

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

Here are some items worth mentioning from around the Kidlitosphere:

Colleen Mondor has started a new feature at Chasing Ray called What a Girl Wants. She’ll be showcasing writers whose young adult novels have strong female characters. In the first installment of the series, Colleen asks her participants to share memories of books that they read as teens, books that made a lasting impact. Colleen’s own thoughts on A Wrinkle in Time particularly caught my attention, but all of the mini-essays are worth reading.

Newlogorg200And speaking of authors who write about strong female characters, Readergirlz is featuring Sara Zarr’s Sweethearts this month. You can find details here.

The UK has a new children’s laureate. Anthony Browne will be replacing Michael Rosen in this position. Do you think he’ll have tea with Jon Scieszka? I first saw the news at Children’s Books for Grown-Ups, where Natasha Worswick reports: “Anthony’s agenda as next Childrens Laureate is to  stimulate and encourage a lifelong love of reading.”

Betsy Bird has made her mid-year predictions for the Newbery and Caldecott awards at A Fuse #8 Production. She mentions one of the books that I read last weekend, The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate 

BooklightsSusan Kusel has a brilliant analysis of the design of Where the Wild Things Are at Booklights. She looks at how the ratio of white space to text and illustration change throughout the book, and how it affects the reader’s experience. Jules from 7-Imp also pointed out that today is Maurice Sendak’s birthday, so this is an extra-fitting post.

Mitali Perkins is running a poll on her site about whether or not it’s ok for publishers to “edit beloved children’s books like LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE or THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA to eliminate racial or ethnic stereotyping?” I’m kind of on the fence about this. I don’t like the idea of making changes like this. I think it’s better to leave the classics as-is, and use the racial or ethnic stereotyping as a jumping off place for discussion. However, if an author wants to make such changes herself, I hesitate to say that we shouldn’t let her. If you all have thoughts on this, please share them at Mitali’s.

J. L. Bell has a post at Oz and Ends about “representation of racial and ethnic minorities in American children’s books” and the realities of today’s publishing industry. He thinks that: “The challenge isn’t convincing individual gatekeepers. The challenge is convincing those editors’ corporate employers—and the corporations they work closely with, such as the chain booksellers—that there’s enough money to be made from those families to justify publishing more books than they already are.” Which sounds realistic to me.

I’ve mentioned Greg Pincus’ new blog, The Happy Accident, before. I especially liked this recent post, in which Greg introduces a social media “rule of three” for producing good content. The idea is that you should think about why you’re using the tool in the first place, whether you’re serving that purpose with individual updates, and whether you’re getting the results that you want. Which seems like good advice to me.

These are both a bit off topic, but Lois Lowry had two posts at her blog that I particularly enjoyed. Last week she had a post documenting an encounter (while on a trip to Africa) with elephants. Big ones protecting a little one. Gorgeous! (My grandfather used to collect elephant figurines, and elephants still catch my eye). Then, returning home, she shared a lovely post highlighting the upside of living in a rural place. Since she had missed her tulips blooming while she was away, her letter carrier took a picture of them for her. Kind of made me want to live in a small town, you know?

LiteraryBloggerAnd last, but not least, thank you to Melissa from Book Nut for giving me a Literary Blogger Award. She said that “promote and inspire people of all ages to read”, which is a lovely compliment. I’m great company, too!

That’s all for today.

© 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).

Saturday
May302009

Saturday Night Visits: May 30

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

I fell quite behind on my blog reading while I was on vacation last week. I spent some time catching up this weekend (though I was by no means able to actually read all of the posts that I missed), and I do have a few Kidlitosphere highlights for you today. I’ll be back Monday with some more literacy-focused news, both here and at Booklights.

Catching FirePeople have started receiving ARCs of the Hunger Games sequelCatching Fire (talk about an accurate title - this book is catching fire in the market already). PW has an article about it here. The first review that I saw (a positive one!) was from Tasha Saecker at Kids Lit. Sadly, I have not been among the lucky ARC recipients. But I am glad to hear that the book is being well-received. Really. And perhaps my copy is just slow making it out to California, don’t you think? Or, I should have gone to BEA.

Great news! Kelly Herold, of Big A little a and Cybils fame (and one of my very first blog friends), is back after a bit of a blogging hiatus. She’s started a new blog called Crossover. She explains: “This blog, Crossover, focuses on a rare breed of book—the adult book teens love, the teen book adults appreciate, and (very, very occasionally) that Middle Grade book adults read. I’m interested in reviewing books that transcend these age boundaries and understanding why these books are different.” I love Crossover books, and I’m certain to enjoy this new blot.

The Kidlitosphere’s own Greg Pincus from GottaBook has a new blog, too. It’s called The Happy Accident, and it’s about using social media to help create happy accidents. [If you need proof that Greg understands how to use blogs and other social media tools well, The Happy Accident already shows up as the #3 entry when I Google search.] Although this new blog is not about children’s literature, I’m introducing it here because I think that it will have value to anyone who has goals that in some way include using social media (Twitter, Facebook, blogs, etc.). I’ll certainly be following Greg’s progress.

And speaking of people from the Kidlitosphere doing great things, Betsy Bird and Liz Burns were both featured in a panel at BEA last week (with Libba Bray, Cheryl Klein, and Laura Lutz). School Library Journal has a mini recap of the session, written by Debra Lau Whelan. Debra begins: “When Betsy Bird and Liz Burns speak, people listen.” Certainly I always do. BEA also featured a blogger signing booth this year. Pam Coughlan and Sheila Ruth are scheduled to be there tomorrow, and Lenore was there earlier in the weekend. (And perhaps others - I’m too demoralized from not having been at BEA to read any more coverage.)

Betsy also recently received her first author copies of her upcoming book: Children’s Literature Gems, Choosing and Using Them in Your Library CareerShe has pictures here. And she was recently interviewed by James Preller.

CybilsLogoSmallAnd still speaking of Kidlitosphere members doing great things, the Cybils were included in a recent list of the Top 100 Poetry Blogs (along with several of our other friends). Sarah Stevenson has the full scoop, with links, at the Cybils blog.

The Book WhispererEsme Raji Codell recently reviewed Donalyn Miller’s The Book Whisperer last week at PlanetEsme. She begins with: “I don’t usually stray from reviews and recommendations of books for kids, but in the interest of children’s literacy I need to shout out about a title that might do for independent reading what Jim Trelease’s READ-ALOUD HANDBOOK did for read-aloud.” She moves on from there to compare and contrast Donalyn’s results with her own teaching experience, concluding on a positive note with “Oh, Donalyn Miller. You go, girl.”

At Jenny’s Wonderland of BooksJenny Schwartzberg traces a history of ghosts in children’s literature, from the 1600s through the 1960s (I remember Ghosts Who Went to School, too) right up to 2008 Newbery winner The Graveyard Book. She concludes: “Over the last two hundred years children’s books have shifted from showing ghosts as frightening images used to teach morals to ghosts as a common theme in all kinds of books for children, whether they be scary or friendly.” Like many of Jenny’s posts, this one is well-researched, and well worth checking out.

I recently discovered the blog YAnnabeKelly has a fun post called 5 Ways You Can Convert YA Scoffers, about methods for getting other adults to start reading young adult books. She begins: “We all know adults who read YA have nothing to be ashamed of. But I’m not content to read YA just for my happy little self. You see, I’m a pusher.” In addition to Kelly’s five tips, there are other reader-suggested ideas in the comments.

At the Reading Rockets Sound It Out blogJoanne Meier shares several “relatively painless ways for teachers to stay in touch with teaching and learning this summer, besides of course browsing Reading Rockets!” I was honored to be included (along with Anastasia Suen) on Joanne’s recommended resource list.

One_lovely_blog_awardSpeaking on honors, Mrs. V awarded me a One Lovely Blog award at Mrs. V’s Reviews, for new blogs and blogging friends. She agrees with my mission statement, about how “helping establish life long readers has the power to change the world.” It’s always a joy to find a new kindred spirit.

And that’s it! After resorting eventually to “mark all as read” in my reader, I’m declaring myself caught up. Happy weekend to 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).

Friday
May152009

Friday Afternoon Visits: May 15

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

It’s been another week of newsworthy events around the Kidlitosphere.

GLWHeader3First up, Guys Lit Wire has an amazing initiative going on. They are running a Book Fair for BoysColleen Mondor first announced the event on Wednesday, saying: “We are moving today into the second phase of GLW, where we put our money where our mouth is and physically act on getting books into the hands of boys that otherwise have none. Today we start the first two week Guys Lit Wire Book Fair for Boys to help the teens incarcerated in the LA County Juvenile Justice System. They have no books - at all - and they need them; they need them desperately.” Essentially, the Guys Lit Wire team, together with the InsideOut Writers Program, put together a list of 125 books of interest to teen boys, and asked people to help by purchasing one or more titles. Word spread fast, and I’m delighted to report that within 48 hours, more than 100 books had already been purchased. (See a lovely post about Colleen’s joy here). Here are more details about the response to this event.

Of course the other ongoing event in the Kidlitosphere is the auction to benefit Bridget ZinnBridget is one of our own. She was recently diagnosed with stage four colon cancer. And although she is blessed with many things (a new husband, an agent for her YA novel, and many friends), she is not blessed with sufficient health insurance to weather this battle. So some of her friends from the Portland branch of the Kidlitosphere (especially Jone MacCulloch) decided to host an auction to help. It’s a blog auction, and you can bid by commenting. There are tons of amazing, one-of-a-kind prizes, far too many to list here. But I did want to draw special attention to Vivian’s post at HipWriterMama. Not only is Vivian donating a signed copy of the last Percy Jackson book, she is also having a contest for another copy, which you can enter by bidding in the auction. All I can say is, I feel privileged every day that I can be part of this community, I really do. The auction closes the morning of May 30th. You may be sure that I’ll be bidding on more items between now and then.

48hbcLooking forward to future Kidlitosphere events, MotherReader has posted a prize update and minor rules change for the upcoming 48 Hour Book Challenge. Pam also announced her plan to donate a dollar for every hour that she spends reading to the Bridget Zinn fund. See also MotherReader’s post about her participation in the 48 Hour Film Project, with a link to the resulting film, “Please Forward”.

Also, if you’re in the San Francisco area tomorrow (Saturday), do consider attending the launch party for Lynn Hazen’s new book: The Amazing Trail of Seymour Snail. I had hoped to attend myself, but we have out of town guests arriving during the event, and I’m not going to be able to swing it.

I don’t normally highlight individual Poetry Friday entries (Kelly Polark has this week’s roundup), but I really liked this original poem by Gregory K. at Gotta Book: A Perfect Game - A Baseball Poem. Also, Cari and Holly published this week’s Nonfiction Monday round-up at Book Scoops.

Updating on Saturday to add one more event: The Summer Blog Blast Tour starts Monday. You can find the whole schedule at Chasing Ray (and that post will be updated as direct links are available). The SBBT is a series of author interviews, carefully organized across a group of blogs to ensure diversity and avoid redundancy. The SBBT and corresponding Winter Blog Blast Tours are the brainchild of Colleen Mondor.

Moving on from events, Parker Peevyhouse has an interesting post at The Spectacle about the traits valued in girl vs. boy heroes in books. She says: “It seems to me that girl heroes tend to be valued for their smarts and their compassion, while boys are held up as daring (even reckless)–but it could just be that my presuppositions color my perspective. What do you think–are there general differences between boy and girl heroes?” Be sure to read the comments, too.

Solvang Sherrie has a thought-provoking post at Write About Now about the aspects of a book that make her fall “truly, madly, deeply” in love with the book. She says: “For me it comes down to characters. I want to care about the people I’m reading about. I want them to be like me, but better than me.” There’s some good discussion in the comments, too. I wrote about my thoughts on this issue in detail a while back in my 6 P’s of Book Appreciation.

At Literacy, families, and learning, Trevor Cairney has a new post in his key themes in children’s literature series: Problem Solving. He explains: “Many children love to solve problems. Children’s authors are smart enough to work this out and tap into this interest as one of many ways to engage children with books. There are many forms of problem solving that authors have used. In this post I’ll outline a few examples.”

2009-CBW-PosterAs part of Children’s Book Week, the Children’s Choice Book Awards were announced. Tasha Saecker has the winners at Kids Lit. In other Children’s Book Week news, see Lori Calabrese’s blog to find 10 activities for children’s book week. In other award news, at Fuse #8, Betsy Bird announced the number one entry in her Top 100 Picture Books poll: Where the Wild Things Are. No surprise, really, but still good to see. Here’s the complete top 100 list, all in one place, with links back to the more detailed posts.

And that’s alll for today. Happy weekend, all! I’ll be back Monday with the Children’s Literacy Round-Up.

© 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).