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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Entries in Black History Month (3)

Tuesday
Mar162010

Sunday Afternoon Visits: February 28

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

I’ve been spending some time weeding through my ridiculously large to be read pile this weekend, after a relatively hectic work-week, so I haven’t had much time for reading blogs. But I managed to do a bit of catch-up today. Here are some links that I thought people might be interested in.

Cybils2009-150px This year, for the first time, you can purchase stickers to place on your Cybils finalist and winning titles. All of the information, and samples of the stickers, is available at the Cybils blog.

Speaking of book-related contests, School Library Journal’s annual Battle of the Kids’ Books starts tomorrow. This contest pits book against book, until a field of 16 is narrowed down to one by an illustrious panel of judges. Betsy Bird has the details at A Fuse #8 Production. You can also follow the action on Twitter at @SLJsBoB or at the Battle of the Kids’ Books blog.

At The Reading Tub, Terry Doherty has an interview with Liz Burns from A Chair, A Fireplace and A Tea Cozy. Terry says: “We *know* a lot about Elizabeth Burns’ book, TV and movie interests from A Chair, A Fireplace and a Tea Cozy, but she doesn’t talk much about her job as the Youth Services Consultant at the New Jersey State Library Talking Books and Braille Center. In fact, she makes it clear on the blog that what she says there is her opinion and not her employer’s. Last fall, after reading several articles about Braille literacy, I asked Liz if we could do an interview.”

Speaking of Tea Cozy, Liz has sparked a discussion about the difference between “lit blogs” and “book blogs”. All of the discussion is in the comments, so do go beyond the main post if you’re interested in this. Personally, right at the moment, I don’t have the energy for any clique-ish behavior or finger-pointing. But I’m glad that Liz is sorting things out. [See also Liz’s thoughts on the new CommonSense Media ratings at Barnes & Noble’s website.]

Colleen Mondor has the 12th edition of her What a Girl Wants series at Chasing Ray, with musings and book recommendations from authors about “Bad Girls” in literature. She says: “This month the panel discusses just what good and bad have to do with sex and the teenage girl, why we persist in labeling girls so much more harshly than boys and books that help readers navigate these ever present and always turbulent teen waters.”

Amy has an interesting post at Literacy Launchpad about watching movies made from books, and why it’s important to use them as an addition to, rather than a substitute for, reading the book.

Percy_Jackson_poster And speaking of movies made from books, check out the new Percy Jackson Reads! poster from the ALA store. There are also bookmarks available. I think this poster would be a great classroom addition - let’s by all means jump on the coattails of the popularity of the book and the movie and use them to encourage reading. I’m sure that Rick Riordan agrees.

David Elzey continues his great series about building better boy books. Part 7 is about keeping things short. He says: “There are readers, many of them boys, who will pick up that book and judge it by its girth, by its font size, by the amount of white on the page. As a former bookseller, if I had a dollar for every boy I ever witnessed fan a book’s pages as a method for deciding whether or not to read it, I’d have enough money today to buy a small publishing house.”

Happy-accident-31-300x296 Greg Pincus is offering a free consultation from his blog, The Happy Accident. He says: “At conferences recently, besides doing my main presentations, I’ve also been giving individual, shorter social media consultations (see below for the details of how they work). Because they’ve proven to be so popular, I’ve decided to start offering that same service here through The Happy Accident. To kick this new offering off  (and to help celebrate my fourth anniversary of blogging over at GottaBook), I’m going to give one of these consultations out for freeeeeee.” Comment by midnight tonight with a recommended blog or blogs to enter. You’ll already find a great list of recommended blogs in the comments.

Today is the last day of The Brown Bookshelf’s 28 Days Later celebration of African American authors and illustrators, featuring Charles R. Smith, Jr. Of course, one of the great things about blogs is that it’s easy to go back and look over the posts from the entire month, if you’ve missed them.  

Quick hits:

And now it’s back to my towering stacks of books. Eventually, my creating order from the books will translate into more reviews for you. In the meantime, Terry will have this week’s Literacy and Reading News round-Up tomorrow at The Reading Tub.

© 2010 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
Jan132010

Wednesday Afternoon Visits: January 13

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

There is a lot going on around the Kidlitosphere this week. Here are a few highlights:

AlienMotherReader reports that this is National Delurking Week (the graphic is one that she downloaded from Paper Napkin in 2007). The idea is to encourage people to take a few extra minutes to leave a comment on blogs that they visit regularly (instead of just lurking silently in the background). Fits in well with the 2010 Comment Challenge, doesn’t it? (I’m continuing to enjoy the Comment Challenge, by the way. I find that once I start leaving comments as I go through my reader, it’s impossible to stop at just five. And I love receiving comments on my reviews. Kind of motivates me to publish some more.)

In the End-o-the-Week Kid-Lit Roundup, Paul from Omnivoracious links to an interesting Economist article about the global economic impact of the Harry Potter series. Most of the article is about the market side of things. But I liked this part: “even at their clumsiest the books are well-plotted and full of invention. They also avoid the temptation to sneak ideology into children’s heads by wrapping it in fantasy. C.S. Lewis’s children’s books, to which Ms Rowling’s are often compared, are spoiled by creeping piety. Philip Pullman’s suffer from strident anticlericalism. Although the Harry Potter series endorses traits such as bravery and loyalty, it is intended above all to entertain. It has, hundreds of millions of times.”

ShareAStoryLogo2Terry Doherty is looking for suggestions and ideas for the upcoming 2010 Share a Story - Shape a Future literacy blog tour (March 8-13). I’m hosting Friday, Reading for the Next Generation. Terry explains: “Jen has invited guests to answer some of the things parents wrestle with, like being the opposite reading personality of their child, or feeling pressured to create a reading superstar, among others.” I this description inspires you to want to write something, please do drop me a line. [Logo by Susan StephensonThe Book Chook.]

James Kennedy emailed me about a gallery show that he’s organizing in Chicago for fan art for his novel The Order of Odd-Fish. You can find the call for submissions here. He says: “It’ll be not only an art show, but also a costumed dance party and theatrical hoo-hah. I’m working with the Chicago theater group Collaboraction to decorate their cavernous space to portray scenes from the book (the fantastical tropical metropolis of Eldritch City, the digestive system of the All-Devouring Mother goddess, the Dome of Doom where knights fight duels on flying armored ostriches, etc.).” Doesn’t sound like quite my sort of thing, but it definitely seemed like something that readers would be interested in.

CSK_LogoAnother email request came to me this week from Nick Glass of TeachingBooks.net. Nick wanted me to mention “the Coretta Scott King Book Award Online Curriculum Resource Center—a free, multimedia, online database for educators and families featuring more than 250 original recordings with award-winning authors and illustrators and hundreds of lesson plans.” He says “It is a great reading resource as teachers, librarians, and families plan for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and Black History Month. The resource center includes more than nine hours of originally produced audio with Coretta Scott King Book Award (CSK) authors and illustrators talking about their books in two- to three-minute clips.” And speaking of Black History Month, at Wild Rose Reader Elaine Magliaro shares her list of resources for Black History Month.

I-can-read-memeAt the Reading Tub, Terry just announced the January I Can Read Carnival. She explains: “The first carnival (or MEME if you prefer) for celebrating Easy Readers and Short Chapter books is here at the Reading Tub. I am really excited about the chance to regularly collect books that will engage and excite new and developing readers. I Can Read! is a three-day, mid-month carnival whose host rotates each month. To see the list of hosts, check out the list on the right sidebar… If you have a post that reviews an easy reader or short chapter book or offers ideas for helping new readers, we’d love for you to participate in the carnival. Your post can be up to one year old, so posts back to January 2009 can be included in this inaugural event.” 

Congratulations to Mitali Perkins and Melissa Wiley, each asked to write the foreword of a reissue of a favorite childhood book (both books part of the Betsy-Tacy series). Melissa says: “Can you hear me smile? I am so honored. I’m pretty much over the moon!” I especially identified with Mitali’s response: “Anyone have a time machine? I want to find nine-year-old Mitali scouring the NYPL shelves for anything Maud Hart Lovelace and tell her the news.” That’s how I’ve felt (on a smaller scale) with merely emailing with favorite authors from my childhood. My heartfelt congratulations to nine-year-old Melissa and Mitali, and their successors.

BookBlogCon-2010-smallerAt GalleysmithMichelle has the scoop about an upcoming conference for book bloggers. This is not to be confused with KidLitCon (now in planning for the 4th annual conference), but is a broader conference for all sorts of book bloggers. Michelle says: “the first annual Book Blogger Convention is open for business! Being held on Friday, May 28th, 2010 participants are welcome to join us in New York City for a great day of food, fun and education.”

At Presenting Lenore, Lenore recently announced: “I would like to continue supporting international book bloggers and have decided to start the International Book Blogger Mentor Program. Any book blogger who blogs in English about books and lives outside the US and Canada can apply. Each month I will pick one blogger to send 2-3 of my most recent review copies to. Upon request, I will also look over the reviews you write for the books and suggest improvements. Once you post your first review, I will feature you and your blog on Presenting Lenore.” Nice display of community spirit, I think.

And in another display of community spirit, Sherry Early shares 12 Tips for New Bloggers at Semicolon. Seems to me that Sherry’s tips will be useful to all bloggers, not just new ones. For example: “Title your book reviews with the title of the book and the author. This tip may seem self-evident, but it’s tempting to try to come up with catchy titles for books reviews. However, when someone searches for a review of X book on Google, they won’t be as likely to hit your blog if you called your review “A Look at the Newest Great American Novel” instead of X book by Z author.” It’s all good stuff!

At Chasing RayColleen Mondor questions a Heavy Medal blog discussion by Jonathan Hunt about Rebecca Stead’s When You Reach Me, a discussion criticizing Stead’s decision to include a non-white character without identifying the specifics of the character’s racial background. Colleen says: “What bothers me about this is the double standard at play here. A Caucasian character can be described as white with no one blinking an eye but Julia must be more than her skin color because it is not specific enough.”

Quick hits:

Hope that gives you some food for thought. Happy reading!

© 2010 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
Feb082009

Sunday Afternoon Visits: February 8

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

My blog has been lamentably quiet this week. I was in Fort Collins, CO for work, and couldn’t even keep up with email, let alone with blogging. Now I find myself with a free Sunday, and a Google Reader filled with posts. Here are some highlights of the doings of the Kidlitosphere. The Literacy and Reading News Round-Up will follow tomorrow.

I’m pleased to report that I was a winner in HipWriterMama’s 2009 New Year 30 Day Challenge. As the other winners have commented, the real prize was successfully participating (my challenge goal had to do with riding my exercise bike every day, and I did pretty well with it, despite guests and travel). Thanks, Vivian!

PaperTigers has a new February issue about “the growing global awareness of the power of children to change the world.” I especially enjoyed Mitali Perkins’ article about how books can shape a child’s heart. Although I don’t have quite so specific an example as Mitali’s description of reading A Little Princess, I have always felt that the books that I read as a child influenced my moral compass. For more on how children are changing the world, see my post from last week about Free the Children.

KidsheartauthorlogoSpeaking of PaperTigers, Janet has a nice write-up about the upcoming Kids Heart Authors Day, explaining how “from New England to the Pacific Northwest, independent bookstores, children’s authors, illustrators, and the young readers who love them are coming together on February 14 in a grand celebration.” It’s not quite enough to make me wish, in February, that I still lived in New England, but it comes close.

With her usual thoroughness, Elaine Magliaro has compiled book lists, book reviews, and other resources for Black History Month at Wild Rose Reader. This is an excellent starting point for anyone looking for resources on this topic. Friday’s Poetry Friday round-up is also available at Wild Rose Reader.

ReadkiddoreadWendie Old has a very positive write-up about James Patterson’s new ReadKiddoRead site.

In other encouraging news, Cheryl Rainfield shares a tidbit about a child who saved herself from a fire, after learning how to do so from a children’s book.

PJ Hoover brought to my attention a new blog that’s right up my alley. In The Spectacle, “Authors talk about writing speculative fiction for teens and pre-teens.” I especially enjoyed PJ’s post The Cool Thing About Post-Apocalyptic. Speaking as a series fan of the genre myself, I have to agree with her conclusion. See also this post at Presenting Lenore about dystopias. And speaking of speculative and post-apocalyptic fiction, Bookshelves of Doom reports that John Christopher’s Tripods trilogy is being adapted for the big screen. Very cool!

NORTHlogo[1]In celebration of the launch of her new book, North of BeautifulJustina Chen Headley is launching a Find Beauty Challenge. Justina says: “Tell the world what you find to be Truly Beautiful! Just upload a 90-second video describing what real beauty means to you…and you could win yourself an iTouch! PLUS, for every uploaded video, I’ll donate $10 (up to $1,000) to Global Surgical Outreach, an amazing group that helps kids with cleft lips and palates in the third world.” North of Beautiful is on my short list, but I haven’t gotten to it yet. Anyone else find it ironic that I’m spending so much time reading and writing about encouraging readers that I don’t have time to read myself? Ah, well!

Amy from Literacy Launchpad has a fun post about the importance of building home libraries for children, and the dilemma that she faces in deciding which of her precious books to actually share with her book-eating young son. And speaking of home libraries, Susan Thomsen shares resources for inexpensive children’s books at Chicken Spaghetti, with additional resources suggested in the comments.

Facing another literacy dilemma, Tricia from The Miss Rumphius Effect mulls over the idea of a canon of children’s literature, asking: “Are there books and stories that every child should/must know?” There’s a good discussion going on in the comments about it - my own views are pretty much identical to what Chris Barton said. Maureen Kearney also weighs in at Confessions of a Bibliovore.

Reminding us that not all kids learn to read in the same wayKris Bordessa from Paradise Found links to an interesting post by Miranda at Nurtured by Love. Comparing her own children’s experience to those of a friend, Miranda notes: “So not only did I not do very much to nurture my kids’ early achievement of literacy, but what I did do was probably almost beside the point. It’s mostly in the wiring, modulated by issues of temperament. Sure, an impoverished learning environment can cause delays in literacy learning. But a reasonably supportive nurturing environment? It’s in the wiring. The ages when perfectly bright non-learning-disabled unschooled kids will learn to read is all over the map.”

Natasha Worswick reports that BBC Four will be showing a documentary tonight about Why Reading Matters. Doesn’t seem to be on here in CA, but I’ll stay tuned at Children’s Books for Grown-Ups, to see if Natasha has any feedback after watching it.

And for all of you bloggers out there, especially blogging authors, Pam Coughlan has a great two-part piece at MotherReader with blogging tips. Here’s Part 1 and Part 2 (which incorporates reader comments from Part 1, and has concrete examples of people she thinks are doing things right). I think she’s convinced me to a) prune my blog sidebars and b) be more careful about the use of acronyms.

And finally, our own Greg Pincus from Gotta Book was mentioned in an article in the Guardian this week, about the relationship between math and poetry. Remember the Fib? The article certainly wouldn’t have been complete without this art form that bridges math and poetry so perfectly.

Now my Google Reader is empty of unread items, for the first time in a week or so, and I’m off to ride my exercise bike for a while. Happy Sunday 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).