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
Tuesday
Dec022008

Quick Hits: December 2

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

I have to get to work, but I do have a few quick things to share this morning:

Judy Blume started a blog tour yesterday at Big A little a. I don’t see how my stop on the tour (Thursday) can possibly measure up to Kelly’s post. Or Little Willow’s interview today, for that matter. But I hope that you’ll tune in on Thursday anyway. As I commented at Kelly’s, it’s a bit surreal to be interviewing someone who seemed mythic and unreachable when I was a child. But very cool.

I was honored to be included again in Jon Bard’s Children’s Literature Blog Posts of the day video at Children’s Writing Web Journal (for yesterday’s children’s literacy round-up). Also, for those who subscribe to Children’s Book Insider, don’t miss the guest article from Pam Coughlan (MotherReader). It’s content that Pam has presented at the Kidlitosphere Conferences, about taking your blog to the next level, but it’s always worth another look.

Newlogorg200Big news from Readergirlz. First, they’ll be featuring Meg Cabot this month, and discussing her novel How To Be Popular. [One of the recommended companion reads by the Postergirlz is A la Carte, the lovely first novel by our own Tanita Davis (TadMack from Finding Wonderland). I was also pleased to see Jennifer Ziegler’s How NOT to be Popular as a companion read, because it’s selection pleases my sense of symmetry.]

The other news from Readergirlz is the launch of Readertotz. The email announcement explains: “Co-founded by readergirlz diva and author/illustrator Lorie Ann Grover and author/illustrator Joan Holub, the blog site aims to raise the awareness and esteem of infant-toddler books. Visit the site for a monthly community service, a playlist, a recommended read for the older sibling, and weekly recommends for baby readers.” Very nice!

And finally, don’t forget to submit your favorite/best post of the year (related to children’s literacy or literature) to the December Carnival of Children’s Literature. You can submit by emailing me, or (ideally) use the form at the Carnival website. Please note that posts that have some overt agenda (e.g. religious or commercial), or seem unrelated to the carnival, may be excluded. The deadline to submit is the end of the day on December 15th. So, think about your best or favorite post of the year, or just a post that you would like to see given another look, and send it in. Thanks!

© 2008 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
Nov282008

Friday Afternoon Visits: Thankgiving Weekend Edition

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

Greetings! I hope that you all had a lovely Thanksgiving. I’m dreadfully out of the loop on the doings of the Kidlitosphere, but here are a few things that I came across to share with you:

Lisa Chellman has the Thanksgiving Weekend edition of Poetry Friday, complete with an original Thanksgiving Rondeau.  

Newlogorg200The Readergirlz Divas are hosting a blog scavenger hunt in honor of Native American Heritage MonthCynthia Leitich Smith contributed several questions, and HipWriterMama has the details.

Trevor Cairney continues his series on key themes children’s literature at Literacy, families, and learning, writing this week about a sense of place. He notes that “in some writing place has a special central role, almost as strong as the very characters that are interwoven in the plot. In some narratives, a sense of place is on centre stage, almost shaping the narrative and its characters.” He also gives several examples of books that express, in different ways, a strong sense of place. A sense of place is part of my 6 P’s of Book Appreciation.

I’m not sure how I missed this article myself, but Libby from Lessons from the Tortoise linked to, and commented on, a recent School Library Journal blog article about recent young adult books that are good for adults, too. The original article, by Angelina Benedetti, is called 35 Going on 13. I especially liked Benedetti’s note that “The books being published for this market (YA) stand toe to toe with this year’s best adult reads—David Wroblewski’s The Story of Edgar Sawtelle or Marilynne Robinson’s Home being but two. The only difference is that books for teens generally feature teens and themes that resonate with them.”

Inspired by her niece, Emily, Sara Lewis Holmes is “starting a library of camp and horse related books for Flying Horse Farms. Flying Horse Farms is a magical, transforming and fun camp for children with serious illnesses and their families.” She has suggestions on her blog for people who would like to help.

Anastasia Suen is hosting an early 12 days of Christmas. Starting today, she’ll be giving away a book a day for 12 days, on her various blogs. You can find more details here.

Speaking of giving books, Liz B. from Tea Cozy has a specific idea for holiday book-giving. She suggests “Give something not published in 2008. Give something that you loved, loved, loved, yet, somehow, was overlooked; something that did not get on any of the awards lists, but, in your humble opinion, should have been on those lists.” She is also looking for suggestions.

And if you’re buying books this Thanksgiving weekend, you can print out a voucher at the NCFL Literacy Now blog, with which Barnes and Noble donates a portion of sales this Saturday and Sunday to the NCFL.

And if you’re looking for ideas of what books to buy, Doret, TheHappyNappyBookseller, has put together a fabulous, detailed list of African American children’s books, including both African-American authors and illustrators, and titles featuring African-American characters. And Mitali Perkins shares several recent YA novels with Muslim characters.

That’s all for today. I’ll be back on Sunday with the Children’s Literacy Round-Up, with literacy and reading-focused news. Wishing everyone a peaceful and book-filled weekend.

© 2008 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
Nov162008

Sunday Afternoon Visits: Summer's Day Edition

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

It’s a beautiful day here in San Jose. So beautiful that I’m sitting out in my backyard this afternoon, with the computer on my lap, because I just can’t bear to be inside. It’s a bit hard to read the screen, though, so I’m not sure how long I’ll last. But it’s about 75 degrees, with blue skies, there are occasional prop planes flying by and late roses blooming, and if I lean forward a tiny bit, I can see cows out grazing. Yeah, it would be hard to leave California.

Anyway, there has been a lot going on in the Kidlitosphere this week:

The Comment Challenge is still going strong. MotherReader has the full list of participants here. If you’re new to the Kidlitosphere, and looking for a list of active bloggers, this is a great place to start.

Via Rick Riordan’s blog, I learned that registration opens for Camp Half-Blood in Austin tomorrow (Monday). You can find more details in the Austin-American Statesman, or at the BookPeople website.

Imbuyingbooks_buttonThere have been lots of great posts at or around the Books for the Holidays blog. If you’re looking for motivation or ideas related to giving people books as gifts this season, do head on over to check it out. I especially liked this post by Becky Laney, with mini-reviews of children’s and YA titles, from bargains to books to get kids hooked on a series. See also Tricia’s post at The Miss Rumphius Effect about gift books for kids who love animals, and Elaine Magliaro’s post at Wild Rose Reader with links to various book lists.

Speaking of the gift of books, Tanita from Finding Wonderland shares a lovely Emily Dickinson poem about “precious words”. She’s also giving some thought to the idea that we can work together to create a culture of reading, and says “anyone can become a reader.” I agree 100%. You can find a full Poetry Friday round-up at Yat-Yee Chong’s blog.

I already posted the schedule for the Winter Blog Blast Tour (which launches tomorrow). As if that weren’t enough organizing for anyone, Colleen Mondor just announced another cross-blog event, in which everyone is welcome to participate. It’s called the 2008 Holiday Season Book Recommendation Event. Colleen explains: “If you want to join in then you send me the exact url of your first Holiday Book Recs post. I’ll link to that on a master list and then from there, if you want to keep posting for however many days of the 12 (all or part or whatever), then you need to update your own first day post to reflect that.”

CybilsLogoSmallOver at The Well-Read Child, Jill shares her Cybils nonfiction evaluation criteria. She includes age-appropriateness, layout, writing style/tone, appealing story, visual elements, and (with a nod to Tricia from The Miss Rumphius Effect) references. This is a post that I think would benefit anyone analyzing nonfiction titles for kids.

Speaking of judging books, Carlie Webber from Librarilly Blonde identified a cringe-worthy sentence in a review of John Green’s Paper Towns by Monica Watson from the Ithacan. Watson says: “The young-adult genre has been riddled with uninspiring novels that lack any kind of creativity or originality. Shuffling through the mundane “Gossip Girl” spin-offs and “Twilight” rip-offs has made finding a substantive novel as easy as finding a needle in a haystack.” How sad is that? See Carlie’s rebuttal.

On a lighter note, Kim and Jason over at the Escape Adulthood website are running a tournament to decide the all-time greatest childhood food. They started with 16 options, from mac and cheese to chocolate chip cookies, and voters select the winners in a series of rounds. You can find more details here.

I saw this link first at Guys Lit Wire. Publisher’s Weekly shares an opinion piece by 13-year-old Max Leone about what kinds of books teenage boys would like to see published. Here’s a brief taste, but you really should click through and read the article, especially if you are an author or a publisher: “The selection of teen literature is even more barren now that the two great dynasties, Harry Potter and Artemis Fowl, have released their final installments. Those two massive successes blended great characters, humor and action in a way that few other books manage. When they went for laughs, they were genuinely funny, and their dramatic scenes were still heart-poundingly tense, even after I’d read them dozens of times.” Other parts of the article are hilarious. And probably true.

Shannon Hale shares the latest installment of her books and readers series, discussing “good book vs. bad book”. She says “It would be so convenient if we could classify books as either good or bad, as vegetables or candy, as Literature or Dross. Sometimes I really want to… I think it’s good to question the merit of what we’re putting into our minds. But I also think it’s wise to challenge how we determine the value and quality of a book.” As usual, she says smart things, and generates tons of interesting comments. I especially liked this part: “But something happens, some profound chemical reaction, when a reader is introduced. The reader takes the text and changes it just by reading it. The reader tells herself a story from the words on the page. It is a unique story only for her.”

Over at A Year of Reading, Franki Sibberson shares the second installment of her “books I could read a million times” feature. Think about the power of a person who does read the same book aloud multiple times a day, to different classes, identifying books that she still enjoys, reading after reading. Those are books that parents should buy.

And while we’re on the subject of reading in the classroom, Bestbooksihavenotread shares an idea, originally suggested by Beth Newingham, about bringing a mystery reader into the classroom. She explains: “Parents sign-up for a slot (about 20 minutes) to come in and share a favorite book with the class. The week leading up to their visit, the teacher reads one clue that points to the reader’s identity.” The idea is to use the mystery to get kids extra-excited about the read-aloud.

And that’s all for this week in general Kidlitosphere news. I’ll be back today or tomorrow with the children’s literacy and reading news round-up. But now, the cows have gone in for the day, and I believe that I will, too.

© 2008 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
Nov092008

Sunday Afternoon Visits: November 9

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

I had a bit of trouble keeping up with the blogs this week. This was partly because I had a three-day business trip to Colorado Springs (though it is lovely there). But mostly it’s Pam Coughlan and Lee Wind’s fault. You see, they started this blogger comment challenge. The idea is to increase community within the Kidlitosphere, by encouraging participants to comment more on one another’s blogs. Pam says:

“Since it is said that it takes twenty-one days to form a new habit, we’re going to run the Comment Challenge for the next three weeks — from today, Thursday, November 6, through Wednesday, November 26, 2008. The goal is to comment on at least five kidlitosphere blogs a day. Keep track of your numbers, and report in on Wednesdays with me or Lee.”

I’ve been participating, and it’s been a lot of fun. And since I tend to jump in with both feet to things like this, I’m averaging more like 10+ comments a day. But stopping to click through and comment is wreaking havoc on my ability to skim through lots of blog posts, quickly, in my Google Reader. Ah well. It’s still fun. And not too late to join in, if you’re interested. Read more here. On to other news.

XmasSwap1Dewey just announced the second annual Book Bloggers’ Christmas Swap at The Hidden Side of a Leaf. It’s kind of a Secret Santa thing between bloggers. If you’d like to participate, check out the details at Dewey’s.

This week’s well-organized Poetry Friday round-up is at Check It Out, Jone MacCulloch’s blog.

The International Reading Association blog links to an article about the 10 coolest public libraries in the United States. Is your library on the list?

A Visitor for BearIt’s only November, but the “best of 2008” lists are already coming out. I guess this isn’t so premature when the people making the lists have access to advanced copies of books anyway. Becky from Becky’s Book Reviews shares and discusses Publisher’s Weekly’s Best of Children’s Fiction 2008. It seems like a pretty good list to me. Just about every book is one I’ve either read and recommended, or have on my radar to read. Amazon has also been coming out with “Best of” lists. I was especially happy to see, on OmnivoraciousBonny Becker’s A Visitor for Bear topping the list of Best Children’s Picture Books of 2008. It was certainly one of my favorites of the year.

Of potential interest to mystery fans, Kyle Minor has a guest essay at Sarah Weinman’s blog, Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind. It’s about whether or not mysteries count as literature. He says “If forced to trade, I’ll take one Dennis Lehane, one Richard Price, one George Pelecanos, one James M. Cain, one Big Jim Thompson or Raymond Chandler or Dashiell Hammett—any one of them, any day—over any ten “literary” writers.” I agree.

Rose’s Reading Round-Up at the First Book Blog links to a National Post article by Misty Harris about how teen books are being read by people of all ages. It’s a little bit condescending of a step backwards from what we who read YA all the time might think (“Like many addicts, Paige Ferrari hides her compulsion behind a carefully chosen facade. The 26-year-old has been known to wrap teen novels - her guiltiest literary indulgence - inside an issue of The Economist while reading in public.”), but I’ve seen much worse. (ETA per comments below: And I do get that it probably is news for the mainstream public that adults are reading YA.) I did like this quote: “most of the adults who are reading these books likely already have them in their homes. They’re reading what their kids are reading.”

At Lessons from the Tortoise, Libby asks readers for help in differentiating young adult literature from children’s literature and from adult literature. Both MotherReader and I commented that we thought that the age of the protagonist had a lot to do with it. Pam also remarked on the wide age range of YA books today. Libby wrote a followup post with some other input from her students, but she’s still struggling a bit with a formal distinction between YA and adult fiction (beyond “I know it when I see it). Feel free to head on over there and share, if you have input on this.

In related news, The Brown Bookshelf lauds the recent decision by independent bookstore Politics and Prose to configure a separate section of the store for books for older teens. The author (I’m not sure whose post it is) says: “Yay!!!!!! Whenever anyone focuses on teen readers and thus YA literature, I feel like I’ve won a lottery…except without that whole winning a lot of money thing.” I feel the same way (except for me it’s books for kids of all ages).

November is National Adoption MonthTerry Doherty offers up some resources and personal experience at the Reading Tub’s blog. Don’t miss the comments, either. At the ESSL Children’s Literature Blog, Nancy O’Brien suggests books about adoption, categorized by age range.

Julia's KitchenBrenda Ferber has a lovely post about the inspiration for her book, Julia’s Kitchen, and the way that online connectedness helped her to get in contact with one of the boys whose story inspired her.

At the PBS Media Fusion blog, Gina Montefusco has a detailed article about the ways that the new PBS KIDS Island will help to promote early reading skills. Gina, who was instrumental in the development of PBS KIDS Island, says “reading doesn’t – and shouldn’t – have to be an intimidating process that turns off all but the most gifted students. With online games, kids are introduced to new skills in a light-hearted, silly way, allowing them to learn at their own speed and stay engaged. Everything from the alphabet to phonemes can be fun. Really. We promise.” I look forward to working more with Gina in the near future.

Trevor Cairney continues his series on key themes in children’s books at Literacy, Families, and Learning, discussing the theme of “being different.” He notes that “the struggle the be different is a common theme in children’s books from early picture books right through to adolescent novels”, and discusses how books can help “parents and teachers to sensitively and naturally raise some of these issues.”

Book Scoops is a new blog run by two grown-up sisters, Cari and Holly, who love books. Their about page says: “Our blog focuses on children and adolescent literature (even though we do read a broad range of books) because we are still young at heart.” You can see why I added them to my reading list. I especially enjoyed this recent post: Ode to Reading Grandparents. Cari explains: “Part of why we love reading so much also has to do with our grandparents reading to our parents and taking them to the library. So we thought we’d give a thank you to our grandparents (who also let us eat lots of ice-cream).”

CybilsLogoSmallReviews of Cybils nominees are starting to crop up all around the Kidlitosphere. There are far too many to link to here, but one post that especially stood out for me was this one at Readerbuzz, featuring short reviews of a plethora of nonfiction nominees.

The ALSC blog has a nice post by Ann Crewdson about how “our fondest wish is for our patrons to read together, aloud and often with their children. And don’t forget to suggest that they point out words when they read, put on a play with puppets, and sing the ABC. Here are some tried and true companion books you can recommend without going wrong.” There are recommendations by age range.

And finally, if you haven’t had your fill yet of children’s book information, today’s New York Times Book Review has a children’s books special issue. I especially liked John Green’s article about two of my favorite dystopian novels from this year: The Dead and the Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer and The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.

That’s all for today. Happy blog-reading. And don’t forget to comment as you’re out and about on the blogs. As Mary Lee pointed out, “The world gets changed by doing something small over and over again.” Like telling someone that you paid attention to what they had to say.

© 2008 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
Nov022008

Sunday Afternoon Visits: November 2

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

I don’t have TOO much Kidlitosphere news for you today, because I did a visits post on Wednesday night. But a few things since then have caught my eye.

CybilsLogoSmallThere’s lots going on at the Cybils blog (thanks to fabulous Deputy Editor Sarah Stevenson and the equally fabulous committee organizers). I’m especially enjoying the Meet the Panelists posts. So far we’ve met the YA Fiction nominating panelists, the Fantasy/Science Fiction nominating panelists, and the Middle Grade Fiction nominating panelists.

Cynthia Lord mentioned a neat new literacy program on her blog this week. The New Hampshire Humanities Council is using children’s books in discussion groups with new American citizens. The Connections program “discussions offer adult new readers an opportunity to read interesting, beautifully-illustrated books and discuss them with other adult new readers and a trained facilitator.” Titles mentioned on the Connections website include The Not-So-Star-Spangled Life of Sunita Sen, by our own Mitali Perkins.

OK, still no politics on the blog, but I did appreciate this post by MotherReader about how there were three references to reading in Barack Obama’s infomercial the other night. I’m glad that Pam is on top of this stuff.

Susan has a way fun Children’s Book Pop Quiz at Chicken Spaghetti. How can a pop quiz be fun, you ask? Well, there’s a gorgeous graphic of a pencil… OK, I’m a geek. But I thought it was fun. There are blanks for the answers, and if you click on them, they’re really links.

Maureen from Confessions of a Bibliovore linked to a Chicago Tribune article by Tara Malone about how schools are trying to balance classics with contemporary fiction. What’s a bit sad, though, as Maureen points out, is that the contemporary fiction mentioned is all adult fiction, rather than YA. Like Maureen, I would prefer to see a balance there, too.

From Linda Ernst at the ALSC blog I learned about the Maureen Hayes Author/Illustrator Visit Award. “The award provides up to $4,000 towards the honorarium and travel costs of a writer/illustrator to visit a location where children might otherwise never have this amazing opportunity.”

Newlogorg200I have good news for all the non-MySpace people out there. The Readergirlz Divas are now also blogging at BlogSpot. And they have a new Diva - Melissa Walker of the Violet on the Runway books. The new Readergirlz featured title for November is, appropriately, Long May She Reign, by Ellen Emerson White (about the daughter of the President). It’s a great book (plus Ellen is a die-hard Red Sox fan, so I’m extra happy to see her featured). Finally, congratulations to the newest Postergirl, ShelfElf.

I also have good news for Babymouse fans. I learned from Matt Holm’s blog that the Babymouse series has the number one graphic novel circulation in Metrowest Boston’s library network (according to School Library Journal and Robin Brenner.

BlogTheVote-SmallThe Blog the Vote roundup is now available at Chasing Ray. Tons of bloggers have shared their stories about voting, and their reasons behind and enthusiasm for getting others to vote. I have to admit that I don’t have anything to add to their contributions. But I’m happy to send you to Chasing Ray to read other people’s smart workds on this topic.

And finally, the November Carnival of Children’s Literature will be held at Mommy’s Favorite Children’s Books. The theme is The Gift of Reading (including gift books). Coincidentally, I wrote a post on that very subject yesterday, though it’s a guest post that will be up at Shelf Space, instead of here. Anyway, I’ll be hosting the Carnival in December.  

And that’s all for today. Happy November!

© 2008 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).