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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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Entries in Audiobooks (5)

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).

Wednesday
Mar112009

Wednesday Afternoon Visits: March 11

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

Kidlitosphere_button_170I know that I’ve been posting a lot about the Share a Story - Shape a Future literacy blog tour this week. But there have been lots of other things going on around the Kidlitosphere, too. Here are a few highlights:

The latest issue of Notes from the Horn Book (a free email newsletter from the Horn Book Magazine team) is now available. Read Roger has the details.

Mary Lee Hahn has posted the lists of 2009 Notable Children’s Books in the Language Arts from the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) at A Year of Reading. Mary Lee was actually on the committee, and it looks like they did a great job.

Gail Gauthier is doing a series at Original Content this week about adult books for young adult readers. I may be biased, because she’s been focusing on a book that I recommended (The Beekeeper’s Apprentice by Laurie R. King), but I’ve found it fascinating. You can find the relevant posts herehere, and here (and here). And can you believe that Gail has been blogging at Original Content for seven years!? 

Laini Taylor has a heartening post about how the Twilight movie transformed her thirteen-year-old niece into a reader. She also discusses a downside of the hyper-popularity of books like Twilight (anecdotal evidence suggesting that this is making it hard for other types of books to be published). But me, I’d rather focus on the upside - the Twilight books, like the Harry Potter books before them, like the Wimpy Kid books and the Percy Jackson books, are getting kids reading. I wish these authors all success, because they are making a difference.

And speaking of authors who make a difference, our own Jay Asher (former Disco Mermaid) was featured in the New York Times this week. It seems that his amazing book, 13 Reasons Why, has been ever so slowly climbing the best-seller lists. The quotes from teens in the article are a lot of fun. 13 Reasons Why is a book that’s helping teens every day (by addressing the sometimes small-seeming events that can drive a teen towards suicide).

Another movie that I think would inspire kids to read books is the movie version of The Hunger Games. I just heard from The Longstockings that “According to HollywoodReporter.com Nina Jacobson and Color Force have recently acquired the movie rights to a futuristic young adult novel, Hunger Games, written by Suzanne Collins!” Now that’s a movie that I’d like to see.

At 4IQREAD, Kbookwoman speaks up for “a public relations campaign that raises the importance of universal literacy to a human right”. She suggests one specific program: “I would like to see every child own a CD player so they can listen to stories read aloud even if they do not have adults in their lives that can read to them.”

Speaking of literacy, Carol Rasco announced this week that RIF’s FY10 Dear Colleague Campaign has begun. The campaign: “includes a bi-partisan letter co-sponsored by members of Congress. The letter asks their colleagues to sign on in support of RIF funding.” RIF’s team is “asking that you take 10 minutes to visit RIF’s Advocacy Center and send e-mails to your members of Congress asking them to sign on in support of RIF’s funding for fiscal year 2010.” Carol also highlighted another Cybils title (poetry winner Honeybee) this week in her Cover Story feature.

SmallGracesMarchElaine Magliaro announced that the March Small Graces art auction has begun. She says: “Maybe you’ll be the lucky person to win this lovely original painting by popular children’s author and illustrator Grace Lin. Remember…all auction proceeds will be donated to The Foundation for Children’s Books to help underwrite school visitations by children’s authors and illustrators in underserved schools in the Greater Boston area.”

Trevor Cairney from Literacy, families and learning writes about “the 4th ‘R’: Rest!” He says (emphasis mine): “Allowing time for play inside and outside of school is important, and I have written extensively about its importance for children’s learning, development, creativity and well being”.

Els Kushner has a delightful post at Librarian Mom about how her first “professional reading” took place when she was in second and third grade, “and sat in the Reading Corner for hours at a time reading one children’s novel after another.” She shares some of her childhood favorites, and concludes: “for practical job preparation—who would have known it?—nothing in my formal pre-library-school education beats those two years I spent hunched in the reading corner. I hope, for my profession’s sake, that even though open classrooms have largely fallen out of fashion, there are still kids out there reading with such indiscriminate freedom as I had.” 

Endoftheworld2009MarchOctoberthisBecky is hosting a second End of the World Challenge at Becky’s Book Reviews. She says: “Read (over the next 7 months) at least four books about “the end of the world.” This includes both apocalyptic fiction and post-apocalyptic fiction. There is quite a bit of overlap with dystopic fiction as well. The point being something—be it coming from within or without, natural or unnatural—has changed civilization, society, humanity to such a degree that it radically differs from “life as we now know it.” Now, I think it’s very safe to say that I’ll be reading at least four “end of the world (as we know it)” books in the next seven months. However, I find that formal challenges, where you have to keep track, and check in, are a bit too much for me. But I’ll be following Becky’s progress!

Susan Taylor Brown is compiling lists of memorable mothers, fathers, and grandparents from children’s literature at Susan Writes. Check out the lists so far, and share your suggestions.

And that’s all for today. I’ll continue to update you on the Share a Story - Shape a Future literacy blog tour for the rest of this week, and I’ll be back with reviews and literacy news this weekend. Happy reading! 

© 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
Mar052009

Thursday Afternoon Visits: March 5

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

It’s been a busy week in the Kidlitosphere. Here are a few of the many posts that caught my eye:

Carol Rasco put up a nice post at RIF in response to my article about encouraging read-aloud. She links to some resources available from RIF to help parents with this, and particularly highlights RIF’s Read Along Stories and Songs. Carol says: “We actually get calls from parents—particularly dads it seems—who say this method really allows them to feel participatory and “comfortable” with reading aloud.” The Book Chook, in turn, has a response to Carol’s post, saying: “I like these stories as yet another method for parents to add to their literacy bag of tricks… I loved RIF, and hope you will too.” The Book Chook also has a lovely post about a 10-year-old girl who started her own literacy program.

There’s another response to the campaign for read-aloud idea at Turtle Tales and Tips for Teachers, a blog that I discovered recently. Sandra Rands says that not having been read to may well be a reason “why some students continue into high school without learning to read”. She also recaps some local projects from her school.

For a success story on the benefits of reading in the classroom (silent reading, in this case), check out this post from Borderland, by Doug Noon. After introducing 30-40 minutes of free reading in his classroom, Doug reports that the kids “make book recommendations to each other. They read at home and before school without being told to, and they tell me they love to read. I even saw one of my students reading a book walking down the hall the other day. It’s going viral.” Isn’t that cool? Link via Teacherninja.

Charlotte shares a fun literacy promotion activity at Charlotte’s Library: wall demolition. During a household construction project, she had the children write letters to put in the walls, for future people to find. I remember something similar from my childhood, writing and drawing on the walls before new wallpaper went up.

Suffering from a bit of review-writing burn-out, Amy from My Friend Amy asks readers: “Do you ever get tired of reviewing books? Do you get more comments on book reviews or other posts?” She’s received quite a few comments on this post, that’s for sure.

And speaking of book reviews, Liz Burns has a great two-part piece (part 1part 2) at ForeWord Magazine’s Shelf Space about what advance reading copies (ARCs) are, and how they should, and should not, be used. Part 2, in particular, is must read stuff for anyone wondering whether or not it’s ok to sell an ARC, or put it into a library collection (no, it’s not).

Displaying her usual thoroughness, Carlie Webber takes on an opinion piece from the Tufts University Observer about Falling for Young Adult Literature. She says that the biggest problem with the piece is that “YA literature is held to a different standard than adult literature”, adding: “Truth is, there is no wrong way to read. Books mean different things to everyone and everyone reads for a different reason.”

And speaking of people’s rights to read what they want, Laini Taylor talks about her own relationship with romantic storylines in books. This has generated quite a bit of discussion in the comments, including some recommendations for books that include romantic themes. Also, not sure if I mentioned this before, but Laini recently revealed the cover of the upcoming Blackbringer sequel, Silksinger. I’m a little hesitant to include cover images on my blog when they aren’t on Amazon yet, and haven’t been sent to me, but you can see it in Laini’s blog header. In other cover news, Kristin Cashore has the cover of the ARC of Fire (Graceling prequel) on her blog. Both of these covers are gorgeous.

Alvina takes on the topic of child friendliness in books at Blue Rose Girls. After some discussion, she closes with a question: “have you ever been surprised by a book, either one that you thought would be a no-brainer in terms of kids liking it, but they turned out to not be interested, or vice versa—a book you were pretty sure they would hate, that it turned out that they loved?”

Over at The Spectacle, Parker Peevyhouse asks what will happen to audiobooks in the future, as automatic text to speech functionality in devices like the Kindle 2 improves. I agree with her that while this is a ways off (narrated audiobooks are MUCH more pleasant now), it’s something to think about.

Rick Riordan reports (though I heard it first via email from Little Willow), that Percy Jackson and Grover Underwood have both been cast for The Lightning Thief movie. The young man playing Percy looks very much like I would have expected Percy to look (and Rick says so, too), suggesting that it’s a good choice.

Finally, some brief highlights about book lists and awards:

ShareAStoryLogo-colorAnd that’s all for today. Don’t forget to stay tuned for the Share a Story - Shape a Future literacy blog tour, starting Monday.

 

 

 

© 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
Oct112008

Saturday Afternoon Visits: October 11

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

CybilslogosmallI’m still distracted by the Cybils and the baseball playoffs (Go Sox!), and my reviews have dropped off a bit, but I have saved up some Kidlitosphere links from this week.

Speaking of the Cybils, TadMack has an excellent graphic at Finding Wonderland. This is a visual, do click through to see it. Also, Sarah Stevenson has put together a gorgeous Cybils double-sided flyer that you can download from the Cybils site and print out. Say, if you were planning on attending a conference, and wanted to be able to tell people about the Cybils. You can find it available for PDF download here.

Lee Wind has a detailed post about the upcoming Blog the Vote event that he’s organizing with Colleen Mondor. This is a nonpartisan event - the idea is to encourage people to vote, whatever their convictions.

At In Search of Giants, Aerin announced the winner of the contest that she did during Book Blogger Appreciation Week, based on my Reviews that Made Me Want the Book feature. Congratulations to Alyce of At Home with Books. Alyce chose Graceling as her prize.

At Guys Lit Wire, a. fortis published a list of “not just gross, but actually scary horror books” of interest to teens. My favorite from the list is The Shining by Stephen King. I also recently enjoyed World War Z (about zombies).

The Forgotten DoorJenny from Jenny’s Wonderland of Books has a fabulous post about Alexander Key, one of my favorite authors. I recently reviewed Key’s The Forgotten Door, and also recently watched the 1975 movie version of Escape to Witch Mountain. Jenny says: “While Key often shows children fleeing villains and in danger, there is always a happy ending with children returning home and winning out over their enemies. He also portrayed children with ESP and from other worlds.” She includes a bio and a detailed list of books written and illustrated by Key (I didn’t even know that he was an illustrator). For Alexander Key fans, this post is a huge treat. And I join Jenny in hoping that the upcoming (2009) Witch Mountain movie will spark a renewed interest in Key’s work.

At I.N.K. (Interesting Nonfiction for Kids), Anna M. Lewis writes about VERY interesting nonfiction for kids: Graphic Novels. Anna notes (relaying feedback from a conference session that she attended) “A fifth- grade, reluctant reader would rather not read than carry a first-grader’s picture book… but, give him a graphic novel at his reading level and he reads… and still looks cool!”. Good stuff. But I didn’t know that graphic novels were classified as nonfiction in libraries.

Also at I.N.K., Jennifer Armstrong writes about the nature deficit: “more and more children staying inside, choosing electronic screens over not only books (our focus here) but over authentic experience of the natural world. It’s a mounting crisis with implications for the environment and for children’s health, for social networks and political movements, among other things.” She’ll be working with the Children and Nature network to help find books to combat this problem.

Betsy Bird v-blogs the Kidlitosphere Conference at A Fuse #8 Production.

The Longstockings have a nice post by Kathryne about getting started for very beginning writers. Kathryne offers several tips and also recommends books for writers. There are additional suggestions in the comments.

Liz Burns responds at Tea Cozy to a New York Times article by Motoko Rich about using videogames as bait to hook readers. The article quotes a reading professor who says that we need to do a better job of teaching kids how to read. Liz says: “My knee-jerk response to this is that it’s not about teaching kids HOW to read; it’s teaching kids to love reading”. I could not agree more! Walter Minkel also responds to the Times article at The Monkey Speaks. Walter’s interpretation is that “that media companies are now headed down that road that leads to a largely bookless future.” This is an idea which I find too depressing to contemplate.

And speaking of the future of books, Audiobooker has a report about a new audiobook download company that sends books to people’s cell phones. British novelist Andy McNab is the co-founder of the company, GoSpoken.

I ran across several responses to the recent Duke University study that found a link between reading a certain Beacon Street Girls book and weight lossMaureen from Confessions of a Bibliovore says “I found it a fundamentally flawed study. Let me say this: it’s one book. I’m the last person to say it’s impossible that a book can change a kid’s life, but this is pushing it.” Carlie Webber from Librarilly Blonde says “I’m intrigued as to what it is about this particular Beacon Street Girls book that encouraged weight loss… at what point does a book make kids change their ways and can other books have similar effects? Where does a book like this become didactic?” Monica Edinger from Educating Alice says “Suffice it to say I’m NOT a fan of “carefully” crafting novels this way. In fact I’m skittish about bibliotheraphy in general.” I actually did read and review the BSG book in question (Lake Rescue) back in 2006. Although I’m generally quite critical of books that are written to promote a particular message (regardless of whether I agree with the message), I gave this one a pass at the time, because I thought that the characters were sufficiently engaging. But I think it’s a very tricky thing.

Newlogorg200Via HipWriterMama comes the news that “In celebration of Young Adult Library Services Association’s (YALSA’s) Teen Reed Week™, readergirlz (rgz) is excited to present Night Bites, a series of online live chats with an epic lineup of published authors.” Vivian has the full schedule at HipWriterMama. The games begin on October 13th.

Laurie Halse Anderson opens up discussion on whether booksellers have a “need to further segment the children’s/YA section of their stores to separate books that appeal to teens that have mature content and those that don’t.” If you have thoughts on this, head on over to Laurie’s to share.

On a lighter note, Alice Pope is taking an informal poll to see who among her Alice’s CWIM Blog readers is left-handed. I am. As will be our next President (either way).

Mary and Robin from Shrinking Violet Promotions are working on an Introvert’s Bill of Rights. I’m kind of fond of “Introverts have the right to leave social events “early” as needed.” You can comment there with your other suggestions. The SVP post also links to an excellent essay on introverts by Hunter Nuttall, whose blog I’m now going to start reading. Nuttall includes pictures of various famous introverts (I’m not sure who classified them as such, but it’s still fun to see). I especially enjoyed a section that he did on “why introversion makes perfect sense to me”, starting with “I don’t see the need for untargeted socialization”. Hmm… I wonder who the famous left-handed introverts are, and how many of them have resisted “untargeted socialization”.

Roger Sutton reports at Read Roger that “The complete Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards ceremony is now up for your viewing and listening pleasure.” This, combined with the baseball playoffs, is almost enough to make me wish I still lived in Boston. But not quite…

Happy weekend, all!

© 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).