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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Saturday
Jun142008

Saturday Afternoon Visits: Father’s Day Edition

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

Happy Father’s Day weekend to all of the dads out there, especially to my Dad and Mheir’s Dad. Thanks for all that you do for your kids every day. And extra special, super-duper thanks to the dad who read to to their kids (mine did, and look at how I love books!). The kidlit blogs have been pretty quiet this weekend, hopefully because people are out spending time with family. But here is some news for those who are interested:

  • If you’re in need of some reading that will make you appreciate what you have, check out Kelly’s poem at Big A little a about the recent tragedies in Iowa. Beware, though, it’s quite a tear-jerker. My heart goes out to the affected families.
  • I didn’t win it, but Kim and Jason at Escape Adulthood gave away a very cool book-themed clock this week. Click through to see it. Also, to enter the contest, Jason asked visitors to comment on “When you were a kid, what was your favorite time of day, and why?”. The result is a treasure trove of memories that I thought might be of interest to children’s book authors.
  • Lectitans has a nice summer reading round-up here. She links to lots of great resources.
  • The debate over age-banding of children’s books continues to rage. Tricia links to some new discussion on the matter at The Miss Rumphius Effect.
  • The recent flap over the new KidzBookBuzz blog tour site has prompted several bloggers to take a look at how and why they write reviews. Check out posts at Chasing RayThe Miss Rumpius Effect, and Becky’s Book Reviews, as well as a plethora of comments on these posts (especially on Tricia’s post). I shared my opinons hereGail Gauthier also offers an author’s perspective on the idea of whirlwind, three-day blog tours at Original Content (and I shared some opinions there, too, now that I think about it).
  • Kris B. at Paradise Found linked to an interesting site this week: BookTour (unrelated to the blog tours discussed above). You can enter your zip code, and the site shows you all of the authors who have upcoming events in your area. You can filter the list for, say, authors who write for kids. If you sign up, you can get a weekly email listing book tours in your area. I’m going to give it a try.
  • Speaking of events, I’ll be attending both the upcoming ALA Annual Conference in Anaheim and the BlogHer conference in San Francisco (the latter I’m currently planning to attend for Saturday only). This will be my first time attending ALA, and I’m looking forward to meeting up with some KidLit bloggers, meeting some authors, talking with some of the publishers’ PR people, and attending some of the events (like the Newbery banquet and the Edwards lunch). And, of course, I’m looking forward to scooping up a few, or more than a few, ARCs. I attended the first BlogHer conference in San Jose two years ago, and will be interested to see how that has evolved as a conference. If any of you are attending either event, and would like to meet up, just let me know.
  • Congratulations to Laurie Halse Anderson for winning the 2008 ALAN Award (from the Assembly on Literature for Adolescents). I first read about it here, at the CMIS Evaluation Fiction Focus blog. The full announcement is here, and you can read Laurie’s reaction here. Laurie rocks! She so deserves this award (and the dozens of congratulatory comments that she received are a strong indicator of this). She’s also organized a Hot Summer Twisted/Speak Book Trailer contest, with details here. This contest would be a great addition to anyone’s summer reading program for teens. 
  • And last, but definitely not least, don’t miss Jules’ post about early readers (and the other names that people use for this category of books) at 7-Imp. She’s got tons of great recommendations for parents in this hard-to-define category. Jules is one of my few “go-to” reviewers for books in this age range, and I’m bookmarking this one for future reference.

And that’s all for today. It’s a hot day here (as it is many places), and Mheir and I are planning to make margaritas, and watch the Red Sox on TV.

© 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).

Monday
Jun092008

Bonny Becker, Contest Winners, and Blog Tour Controversy

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

I was off in my own little world over the weekend, doing the 48 Hour Book Challenge. But now that I’ve had some time to catch up, I have a couple of links for you.

  • First up, congratulations to Bonny Becker. Her wonderful picture book, A Visitor for Bear, was featured by Daniel Pinkwater and Scott Simon on NPR this weekend. Bonny told me that it was coming up, and then I got the direct link from Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect. This is one of my favorite books so far this year, and I’m thrilled to see it getting such positive attention.
  • The winners have been announced for MotherReader’s 48 Hour Book Challenge. A couple of these people spent astonishing amounts of time, and/or read astonishing numbers of books. It’s very impressive. I’m also intrigued by the suggestion that a couple of people have made, about somehow using this to raise money for charity next year.
  • On a lighter note, 100 Scope Notes has an entertaining little tongue-in-cheek piece about movie adaptations of children’s books. It’s very fun - you should read it.
  • On Thursday I mentioned the new blog tour site KidzBookBuzz. I’ve since learned a bit more about it. I didn’t realize that the authors were paying for the blog tours, above and beyond providing books, which makes me a bit more skeptical about this endeavor than when I mentioned it before. The whole thing has generated a fair bit of controversy among the children’s book blogs. I suspect that there would be even more controversy, but for the distraction of the 48 Hour Book Challenge. Anyway, you can see critical posts at Chasing Ray (and also here), Big A little a, and Kelly FinemanBecky’s Book Reviews, on the other hand, takes a more positive view. I’ve already decided not to participate in this - organized blog tours are not really my thing. Also, for me, the idea of getting free books and making some sort of promise that you’ll blog about the book unless you really hate it, well, that doesn’t work for me. But I wouldn’t rule out it working for other people. I would just recommend that if you’re thinking of participating in this, you read the above posts, and weight the pros and cons for yourself. And if you’re an author thinking of using this service, you should read the above posts, too.

And that’s it for today. I also have a few more titles for my “want to read list” that came out of this weekend, but I’ll save those for a post later in the week. I think that everyone has plenty of ideas for their reading lists right now.

© 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).

Thursday
Jun052008

Thursday Afternoon Visits: June 5

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

I’m getting ready to participate in MotherReader’s 48 Hour Book Challenge this weekend, which means that I won’t have a lot of time for round-up type blog posts. But I will be blogging about the books. For those not participating in the book challenge, I leave you now with a few quick links:

  • The next Carnival of Children’s Literature, to be hosted by Susan Taylor Brown, will focus on fathers in children’s literature. Submit your posts here. This is fitting both because of Father’s Day, and because Susan wrote about a wonderful father in her novel Hugging the Rock. Links for the Carnival are due Saturday, June 21st.
  • Speaking of Father’s Day, see this post at the FirstBook Blog by guest blogger Tina Chovanec about the importance of fathers in getting kids reading. Tina reports, for example, that “studies show that when fathers participate in learning, their children receive higher marks, enjoy school more, and are less likely to repeat a grade.”
  • Sally Apokedak’s blog All About Children’s Books was one of the first blogs that I read when I discovered the Kidlitosphere. Sally signed off a year or two ago for various reasons, but recently brought her blog back online. She’s also started a new project called KidzBookBuzz.com. Through the site, she’ll be coordinating various blog tours, during which a collection of people all blog about the same book over a two- to three-day period, to raise the buzz level for those books. The posts can be reviews or other mentions of the book - they don’t have to be interviews (though interviews are typically what I think of when I think of a blog tour). Publishers will be asked to provide review copies (and apparently will be paying the organizers for the service). If you’re interested, check out the requirements for participating, here. I’ve decided to sit this one out, because I find that organized blog activities, where other people set the date, turn out to be stressful for me [updated to admit, after reading more about it, that something didn’t feel quite right about it], but Sally already has a number of bloggers and authors lined up. [Updated to add: if you’re going to consider this, please do see Colleen Mondor’s post about it first. She raises some serious concerns.]
  • The ESSL Children’s Literature Blog has a great list of baseball books and related links, posted by Nancy O’Brien.
  • The Horn Book’s Web Watching with Rachel column, a companion to the new print issue of The Horn Book, is now available.
  • Guys Lit Wire has been off to a strong start, with tons of interesting post (and I’ve heard positive feedback from several people outside of the target teenage guy audience). I was especially intrigued by this post from Mr. Chompchomp about speculative nonfiction, which “addresses “what if” questions, but instead of turning to wacky stories about aliens and dragons, answers them with research and facts and just a little bit of educated surmising.”
  • Melissa from Book Nut is looking for book suggestions for her bibliovore daughter, who reads so rapidly that they’re having trouble keeping her in books. It is, as she says, a good problem to have. But if you have any book suggestions for “a precocious reader, reading at a 10th grade level (who is) not quite 12” do share. Or, if you need book suggestions, check out the already-extensive comments, which include titles old and new.
  • I learned from A Fuse #8 Production today about a new blog by NYPL librarian Kiera Manikoff called Library Voice. I love it already, especially this post about The (Reluctant) Reader’s Bill of Rights. Kiera includes things like “The right to choose whatever book you want,” and asks for other suggestions.
  • And speaking of librarian blogs that I like (of which there are many), check out this post by Abby (the) Librarian, about attending a local elementary school’s family reading night. Abby includes observations like this: “The evening started off with 15 minutes of silent reading in the school’s gym. Families were asked to bring books, and books were provided for those who forgot. I think this is a simple activity that says a lot. It’s important for kids to view reading as a pleasurable activity. Kids look up to their parents and caregivers and if they see grownups who love to read, they’ll want to join in the fun.”
  • Another blog that I’ve recently discovered is debrennersmith: Writing and Reading Lessons. Deb is a literacy consultant. She had a post the other day called: Any Place a Child is Reading, about her joy in the fact that her children love books: “I am thankful that my two children never had to be coaxed to read! Read. Read. Read. Read. They read over the 2 million words by reading over 41 minutes a day so they developed a life long habit. The kids are reading for the joy of being lost in a book.” I’m happy for Deb, but I wish that every kid could have the chance to feel this way about books…
  • Just in time for summer reading, Cheryl Rainfield has a round-up of various contests for free books. Personally, I’m feeling pretty well set for books at the moment, but perhaps I’ll check the list out again after I finish the 48 Hour Book Challenge.
  • Stephanie Ford from The Children’s Literature Book Club is working on a very cool project: a Children’s Literature Alphabet (E is for Eloise, etc.). She’s looking for suggestions for some of the less common letters (like Q and X). But it’s worth visiting just to see all the great pictures she’s already included (not sure what she can actually do with this, given copyright issues, but the idea is just for flashcards to use at home).
  • I’m not sure when I’ll get my next Children’s Literacy Round-Up ready, but in the meantime, do check out Terry’s latest Reading Round-Up at the Reading Tub blog. She’s got all the top literacy and reading news stories from the past few days. 
  • Over at Tea Cozy, Liz B. has the scoop on a reading news controversy - the plan to label children’s books by age range in the UK. Actually, Liz summarizes the controversy, and shares the relevant links, and then goes into detail about the more general need for readers advisory and book matching. She argues “We (librarians) — not an age on a book — are the best help to someone who is looking for the right book for a child. And we need to let more people know that.” But even among the comments on Liz’s post, it’s clear that age-banding of books is not a clear-cut issue.

That should give anyone who needs it some reading material to tide you over this weekend. Or, you could always watch the NBA playoffs instead. (How ’bout those Celtics?)

© 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
Jun012008

Sunday Afternoon Visits: June 1

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

Here are few links for your Sunday afternoon/evening enjoyment:

  • Newlogorg800The new issue is up at Readergirlz. This month, the Readergirlz will be featuring the book Prom, by Laurie Halse Anderson. The issue features things to know about Laurie Halse Anderson, the GoodSearch program, a while you read playlist, book discussion questions and party suggestions, and suggested companion reads from the Postergirlz. You can read also Laurie’s response to be chosen by Readergirlz here. Next month, the Readergirlz will be discussing Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why (reviewed here). 
  • Via In Need of Chocolate I found a great post at Parent Hacks about the joys of reading aloud as a familyAsha Dornfest says “Once your child begins reading on her own, it’s easy to let the read-aloud habit fall by the wayside. But I encourage you to carry on as long as you can.” There are lots of suggestions for family read-alouds in the comments.
  • The new edition of The Prairie Wind, the online newsletter of the SCBWI-Illinois Chapter, is now available, with plenty of interesting articles for children’s book writers and illustrators.
  • Over at There’s Always Time for a BookEmma describes a recent visit to the house that Lucy Boston’s Green Knowe series was based on. As Emma explains, “The Green Knowe books are children’s fantasies written between the 1950s and 1970s by Lucy M Boston. The six books centre around the house of Green Knowe, where times are fluid – the spirits of children who used to live in the house play with the children of the present.” I enjoyed the Green Knowe books immensely, and I also enjoyed Emma’s description of the house.
  • At Charlotte’s LibraryCharlotte shares a link to a website that organizes the places a reader might go in search of long-lost childhood book titles. She also discusses her quest to replace lost childhood editions of Enid Blyton’s books. Let’s just say that I can relate.
  • PJ Hoover writes about a syndrome that she’s noticed in her own reading of audiobooks at Roots in Myth. This post has sparked a host of discussion regarding audiobooks in the comments. So, if you’re a fan of audiobooks, and/or you’re looking for some recommended audio titles, this is a must-read post.
  • Tricia shares some of the reasons that she loves the Kidlitosphere at The Miss Rumphius Effect, and her commenters share some of their reasons, too. My own reasons are too many to name, but I’m aware of them every day.
  • In a similar vein, Liz Garton Scanlon shares the central reason why she writes for kids, and presents a photo essay of a recent Literacy Parade at her daughter’s school. Inspiring stuff!
  • Jenny continues to share her early teaching experiences at an inner city school at Read. Imagine. Talk. She was not impressed by the principal (“At this school, the principal used a lot of words to say very little that was true.”) or the policies at the school (“Kids learned that only certain things were valued.  Obedience was valued.  Silence was valued.  Independence at the expense of community was valued.”), but she persevered.
  • For another teaching perspective, Sarah from the Reading Zone shares her positive experience reading the first Percy Jackson book (review here) aloud with her two classes. She says: “In no way was I prepared for complete and utter obsession that would result! My students are BEGGING to have more read-aloud time everyday.  We stop and talk about the myths that Riordan alludes to and they are quickly becoming experts on Greek mythology.  It is a perfect example of using a read-aloud to teach the content areas.” How cool is that?
  • Dewey’s Weekly Geeks theme of the week at The Hidden Side of a Leaf is Catch Up On Reviews. Now there’s one that I really need to participate in. We’ll see what the schedule allows.

And that’s it for today - a relatively short round-up, because I shared some other links on Wednesday this week.

© 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).

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