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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 Book Awards (6)

Monday
Aug252014

Apply to be a Cybils Judge for 2014!

It is application time to be a Cybils judge for 2014. If you blog about children’s and/or young adult books, either on your own or as part of a group blog, you are eligible to apply to be a Cybils judge. Judges are needed for Round 1 (sifting through perhaps hundreds of nominated titles to produce a shortlist of 5-7 well-written, kid-friendly titles) and for Round 2 (selecting a winner from the shortlist), in 11 categories (some with sub-categories), ranging from Book Apps to Poetry to Young Adult Fiction.

You can apply now through September 5th, from this Call for Judges post. You can find lots of additional information about being a Cybils judge here.

Being a Cybils judge can be a fair bit of work (especially in Round 1), but it is incredibly fun and rewarding. You can expand your knowledge of a particular category of books. You get to work with great people. You get to help select amazing books. The Cybils shortlists are used by parents and teachers all over the English-speaking world, to find high quality, entertaining books and apps for kids. 

Now is your chance to participate! Please do consider applying. For more reasons to apply, and various blog posts, you can follow the Cybils team on Twitter @Cybls, or on the Cybils Awards Facebook Page. And please do check out the new Cybils website, created by Sheila Ruth, Sarah Stevenson, and Anne Levy (with a tiny bit of input from me, Jen Robinson). 

Friday
Oct082010

The Cybils Are Coming!

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

Cybils2010small Read any good children’s or young adult books this year? Now is the time to start thinking about which ones you think are the best of the best. Because nominations for the 2010 Cybils open October 1st. The Cybils, of course, are the Children’s and Young Adult Bloggers’ Literary Awards, given each year to books (in a range of categories) that demonstrate both kid-appeal and literary merit.

This is the fifth year of the Cybils awards. I’ve been involved since year one, sometimes as a category organizer (for young adult fiction and for middle grade/young adult nonfiction), generally as a round 2 judge in one category or another, and currently as Literacy Evangelist (cheerleader/promoter/person who has been an organizer since the beginning and has some context to offer). Although I have very limited time for my blog this year (hello Baby Bookworm), I chose to stay involved with the Cybils because I believe strongly in what the Cybils awards stand for.

First of all, the Cybils are about winnowing through the many books published each year to find a few in each category that are especially well-written and kid-friendly. I’ve said many times that I believe that one of the most important things that comes out of the Cybils process is the shortlists that are published at the end of round one. The shortlists are lists of five to seven top titles in each category (a couple of the categories are further split by age range, for a total of about a dozen short lists). The shortlists are tremendously valuable, for parents, teachers, librarians, and children’s literature fans of all ages.

The other thing that is wonderful about the Cybils is that there are ways for lots of people to contribute. Anyone can nominate titles (one book per category). The people who make the shortlists, and pick the winners in each category, are bloggers who have demonstrated expertise in that area. I think it’s a nice mix. And because there are so many categories, lots of people are able to be involved in the process.

What’s going on with the Cybils right now is that judging panels are being formed. What I can tell you from my behind-the-scenes viewpoint is that the organizers in the nine categories (ranging from picture books to young adult titles) are making a tremendous effort to assemble well-balanced panels. They are striving for a mix of new and returning panelists, and a range of perspectives and job experiences on each panel. Unfortunately, not everyone who volunteers can get a spot on a panel - one price of success of the awards is that we have more volunteers than we have room for. But I promise you that the organizers are doing their best to include as many people as they can, while making the strongest panels that they can. Panels will be announced starting Monday.

For more about the Cybils, check out:

  • Gina Ruiz’s post at AmoXcalli about the Cybils: Year 5, the reflections of a first-year panelist and current organizer. And while you’re there, stop and leave a comment to welcome Gina back to blogging at AmoXcalli, after a year-long absence. Gina is the Social Media Guru for the Cybils. She urges: “Follow us on Twitter, fan us on Facebook, support us by buying Cybils swag and sport our bling on your blogs and websites. Most of all get those nominations in and keep reading!”
  • Sherry Early’s post about the “unexpected treasure” that she’s found through the Cybils at Semicolon, a post that she wrote as part of Book Blogger Appreciation Week. Sherry was also a first-year panelist for the Cybils. She says: “I don’t know if I’ll be judging for the Cybils this year or not, but I’m so hooked that I’ll be there on October 1 to nominate my favorites, and I’ll be reading as many of the nominated titles as I can find whether I’m judging or not. Cybils is great place to dig for unexpected treasure.
  • For further reading, bios of all of the Cybils organizers are now available on the Cybils blog.

Stay tuned! It’s just starting to get interesting.

© 2010 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson’s Book Page. All rights reserved.
You can also find me on Twitter.
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
Jan222010

Friday Afternoon Visits: January 22

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

The Kidlitosphere has been largely dominated by news about the ALA awards and a couple of book cover controversies this week. Still, I did manage to find a few other links, too. Hope that you find some tidbits of interest.

After a brief absence, the monthly Carnival of Children’s Literature is back. Anastasia Suen has taken over organizing the carnivals from founder Melissa Wiley. The Carnival is a monthly celebration of children’s literature. A different person hosts each month. Participants submit either their best post from the current month, or (in some cases) posts according to a particular theme. For January, Jenny Schwartzberg will be hosting the carnival. The theme is Winter Wonderland (fitting, since the carnival will be held at Jenny’s Wonderland of Books). Submissions are due by midnight January 29th, at the Carnival submission page. I’ll let you know when the Carnival is available for viewing.

51Q+0MmPZfL._SL500_AA240_I mentioned briefly in my last roundup that a new tempest had blown up around the Kidlitosphere. I wasn’t even sure how to write about it, because I was running across posts everywhere. Fortunately, MotherReader is on the job. She has a summary of the most important links regarding the issue with the cover of Magic Under Glass by Jaclyn Dolamore, another Bloomsbury title featuring a protagonist of color, and a whitewashed cover.

In related news, and I’m blatantly lifting this blurb from Betsy Bird’s latest FuseNews, “Little, Brown & Co? You got some ‘splaining to do. Both 100 Scope Notes and bookshelves of doom bring up a bit of whitewashing that I was assured at the time was a one time printing mischief on the first cover … unaware that it happened again on the second. And the third. You know what I’m talking about, Mysterious Benedict Society.”

Yalsanew2YALSA has come up with their Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers and Best Books for Young Adult lists. These lists are amazing resources (the links go to more detailed posts at Kids Lit). Speaking of recommendations for young adult literature, at YAnnabe, Kelly is collecting recommendations from different blogs for unsung young adult novels. She has links to 47 lists from across the blogosphere so far. She invites people to post their own lists through Sunday. And at Interactive Reader, Postergirl Jackie Parker shares her 2009 Top 10 (or so) for Readergirlz.

Also via Kids Lit, the 2010 Edgar Nominees were awarded this week by the Mystery Writers of America (for kids, young adults, and adults). There were quite a few strong nominations for children and young adults this year - I agree with Betsy Bird’s assessment that 2009 was an excellent year for mysteries.

At The Reading TubTerry Doherty has a heart-felt plea for authors and publishers to make sure that early readers are actually welcoming to new readers. She illustrates visually how hard it is to read text that’s too small, and doesn’t have illustrations, and suggests that “Although the content of easy readers spans myriad subjects and might even have chapters, there are definite differences between an easy reader and a book for independent readers, even newly minted ones. The two easiest criteria to remember are big margins and illustrations.”

Cybils2009-150pxAt the Cybils website, a lovely printable flyer about the contest, complete with the 2009 finalists, is now available. Also, thanks to Danielle Dreger-Babbitt for writing a lovely introduction to the Cybils for the Seattle Book Examiner.

Quick hits:

  • I was sad to hear about the sudden death of author Robert Parker this week. Though better known for his adult mysteries (most notably the extensive and entertaining Spenser series), Parker did publish a few books for kids, too. Omnivoracious has the details.
  • Kim has a nice post about life balance, using a grocery shopping analogy, at Escape Adulthood.
  • Poetry Friday is at Liz in Ink today, a delightful meal-by-meal collection of blog visits. This week’s Nonfiction Monday roundup was at Wendie’s Wanderings.
  • Marge Loch-Wouters has a mini-rant at Tiny Tips for Library Fun that resonated with me. She laments the “pervasive “You’re-Not-the-Boss-of-Me” attitude” that she sees in library patrons, by which people are completely unwilling to accept any limitations on their behavior. I think, sadly, that this behavior is everywhere these days.
  • For more Kidlitosphere news, check out Abby (the) Librarian’s latest Around the Interwebs: Shiny awards edition.

Wishing you all a relaxing and book-filled weekend!

© 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).

Saturday
Jan102009

Saturday Afternoon Visits: January 10

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

The Kidlitosphere has been energized by the holidays and the start of a New Year, and there are many items worthy of your attention. Thus, I bring you my Sunday afternoon visits post one day early, before it takes over my blog completely.

Tarie has the preliminary schedule for the Sydney Taylor Award Blog Tour (in which she’ll be participating) at Into the Wardrobe. It promises to be an excellent tour.

The new issue of Through the Looking Glass Book Review is now available, thanks to Marya Jansen-Gruber.

The Saturday Review of Books is up at Semicolon, featuring one my favorite quotes (from my favorite bookD. E. Stevenson’s Listening Valley).

Congratulations to our own Miss Erin, who will have a six-word memoir included in a published book. Published before she’s 18. Pretty impressive stuff!

Congratulations also to Mitali Perkins, who will be writing about children’s literature for her local newspaper for the next few months. She shares the first post here, about all of the ways that her town (Newton, MA) champions children’s books. I especially enjoyed this article, because some of my favorite people in the world live in Newton. Also, Mitali’s new novel, Secret Keeper, is coming out next week. As previously mentioned, I’ll be at the book launch party at Not Your Mother’s Book Club on January 15th, and hope to see some of you there (Hi, Becky!).

Geek3A special thank you to Melissa at Book Nut for including my blog as one of her favorites for the latest Weekly Geeks. It’s especially nice to be included in this edition, because this is (I believe) the first Weekly Geeks event since Dewey (the founder) passed away last month. I’m in great company on Melissa’s list, too.

Thanks also to Lenore from Presenting Lenore, for including my blog in her recent Awards post. She gave me the “Most consistently amazing book reviews award”, and while this might be more a reflection on the similarity in our tastes than the true quality of the reviews, I was still quite pleased. The other awards in the post are fun and creative, well worth a look.

Another fun set of awards is Darla D’s Golden Hammock Awards at Books & other thoughts, with categories like “best alternate history” and “best boarding school story”.

I’ve seen several mentions of Grace Lin’s new Small Graces initiative to help fund author visits to underserved schools. I think that Elaine Magliaro has the most comprehensive scoop at Wild Rose Reader, though you can also find details in the sidebar of the Small Graces blog. Small Graces offers people a chance to support a great cause, and acquire a one-of-a-kind piece of art each month.

AlienMotherReader reports that this is National Delurking Week. I’m catching the announcement a bit late in the game, but I did try to make a few extra comments to say hello. If you’re a typically quiet visitor to this blog, and you feel inclined to comment, I’d love to hear from you. You can name a favorite book from your childhood, or something.

Maureen links to and discusses an interesting article at Confessions of a Bibliovore. The article in question is by Michelle Slatalla in the New York Times, and is about how the author wishes she could “read like a girl.” After watching her daughters immersed in books, Slatalla says: “I miss the days when I felt that way, curled up in a corner and able to get lost in pretty much any plot. I loved stories indiscriminately, because each revealed the world in a way I had never considered before.” Like Maureen, I could quibble over some of the details in the article - I don’t think that one must outgrow the ability to suspend disbelief and enjoy books - but I do see what the author is driving at. While I’m overwhelmingly glad to be reviewing books, I do find sometimes that I stop and think about what I’ll say about a book, instead of remaining immersed in the story. And I’m nostalgic for the Jen who didn’t do that.

Denise Johnson posted an article from The Chronicle Review at The Joy of Children’s Literature. The article, by literature professor Andrew Martino, is about wonder rediscovered in children’s books. There’s a funny bit about the author skulking around the children’s section, afraid that people will suspect that he is “a potential threat”. Martino speaks about how children’s books are “every bit as complicated and thought-provoking as the texts I included on my syllabi”, and “he texts I was reading told their stories in an economical and exact style, without the unnecessary burden of digression or overexplication”. It’s worth a read.

On the topic of people discovering children’s literature, the ESSL Children’s Literature blog has a fun list of children’s books written by authors famous for writing adult fiction

BestBooksIHaveNotRead announced a fun new featureMystery Authors. She says: “Starting this upcoming week I am going to begin posting one clue each day (four total) about an upcoming KidLit author who has agreed to a “blog interview”. The clues will start general and get more specific with each day. If you can guess the identity of the author in a posted comment before the day of the “reveal” you will be entered into a drawing to receive a new book by that author.”

Speaking of fun, Betsy Bird met some actual Sesame Street performers. She even got to see Oscar, in the … fur? You can read the whole scoop at Fuse #8. But the highlight for me was: “Oscar is larger in real life than you might expect. He is also incredibly well articulated. His eyebrows move almost fluidly. It’s eerie.” With pictures. And, if you’re looking for book suggestions, look no further than the whole slew of bite-sized book reviews that Betsy recently posted at Fuse #8.

Librarian Nan Hoekstra recently announced the 2009 Anokaberries: “Our selections for the best books of 2008 for middle-grade readers, ages 8 to 14.” It looks to me like a solid, diverse list, though I haven’t had the opportunity to read all of the titles. A number of the authors included have left lovely comments, too.

CybilsLogoSmallSpeaking of author appreciation for awards, do check out my recent post at the Cybils blog, with quotes from various authors about their joy in being Cybils finalists. For me, reactions like this make being involved with the Cybils all the more rewarding. We should have printable versions of the Cybils shortlists available soon.  

Jill has the results of her first Reading Roundtable at The Well-Read Child, with several contributions from readers about their family reading routines. Personally, I like the fact that so many people were interested in sharing. This is a heartening post, for those of us who want to see all children have the chance to grow up as bookworms. 

And that’s all for today, if I’m ever to find time to meet my goal of exercising this afternoon. Hope that you’re all having a peaceful and book-filled weekend!

© 2009 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson’s Book Page. All rights reserved.
You can also find me on Twitter and at Booklights from PBS Parents.
All Amazon links in this post are affiliate links, and may result in my receiving a small commission (with no additional cost to you).

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).