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 Book Reviews (9)

Sunday
Sep202009

Sunday Afternoon Visits: September 20

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

Last week kind of got away from me, blog-wise. Which is a shame, because there’s been a lot of great stuff going on in the Kidlitosphere. This is my attempt to catch you all up.

Via lots of people, yesterday was Talk Like a Pirate Day. Me, I’ve been wanting to watch the Pirates of the Caribbean movies all weekend. Or at least Goonies… I recommend, for those of you interested in a different perspective on pirates, a reading of The Dust of 100 Dogs, by A. S. King.

Cybils2009-150pxLiz Burns has a post about the Cybils up today at A Chair, A Fireplace, and A Tea Cozy. She discusses the origins of the Cybils, as well as the transparency of the Cybils award process. If you’ve seen the term “Cybils Awards” floating around, and you’re not sure what that means, do check out Liz’s post. And if you’re already a fan of the Cybils, I’m happy to report that you can now buy Cybils-themed items (mugs, etc.) at CafePress. I just got two gorgeous Cybils mugs in the mail this week. See also the introduction post for Liz Jones, this year’s Graphic Novel Category Organizer. And did you hear that the Cybils Award now has a Wikipedia page?

Despite general excitement about the Cybils, another round of Blog Angst Flu (loosely defined as a periodic phase of questioning the purpose of and time required by a blog) is going around. Andrea and Mark from Just One More Book!! and Lenore from Presenting Lenore have both written recently about their struggles. Outside of the Kidlitosphere, Megan from Velveteen Mind has a post about the phenomenon in general (thanks to Liz B. from Tea Cozy for the link), reporting on blog closures after big conferences. Blog Angst Flu is surprisingly contagious (considering how rarely we’re all in the same room). What I find helps fight it off is focusing on my larger goals for the blog (to help people who are growing bookworms, in whatever small ways I can). My stack of unread review titles taunts me sometimes, but I try to think of every review that I DO have time for as a little candle that I’m lighting in the darkness. It works for me, anyway.

Speaking of reviews, in this weekend’s Around the Interwebs postAbby (the) Librarian pointed me to an excellent post by author Jackson Pearce about the different types of reviews. Pearce offers an ode to bloggers who write “thoughtful, meaningful reviews” (she calls us rock stars!). She also discusses the problems with reviews that offer just a ranking, with no explanation, and other equally unsatisfactory types of reviews. Everyone who blogs about books should read and think about this post.

Speaking of authors and bloggers, Colleen Mondor has a post at Chasing Ray directed at authors with suggestions for ways to interact with the literary blogosphere. She’s not talking about authors like Jackson Pearce, of course, but to those who send blog reviewers mass, impersonal emails about participating in blog tours, and the like. The conversation in the comments is well worth reading, for authors and bloggers. Colleen also has another new post, one that I’m going to talk about at length separately.

Getting back to review books, Greg Pincus has been collecting photos of people’s to be read stacks (or, in some cases, bookshelves and closets). He’s posted a compilation of photos at The Happy Accident. Some of these have to be seen to be believed. I didn’t get around to sending mine in (I have a six-shelf bookcase, double-stacked, plus a growing pile of picture books on a nearby table), but seeing everyone else’s made me feel a bit better about my own.

Another post with great pictures is from What Adrienne Thinks About That. Librarian Adrienne shares photos of her library’s welcoming new Tween Center. I LOVED her opening paragraph: “Lately, I’ve been thinking that my philosophy of librarianship could best be summed up, “Embrace your inner nerd.” I want every child who walks in the doors to find something of interest in the Children’s Room, but, what’s more, I want children to know that this is the place where we love books and thinking and art and creativity and logic and problem-solving. This is the place where you can go to figure out the world or get a little respite when figuring out the world is wearing you out.”

KidLitCon-badgeOne conference that I vow will NOT lead to anyone feeling discouraged about their blogging is the Third Annual Kidlitosphere Conference (now affectionately known as KidLitCon09). Pam has come up with a handy conference badge, which I’m proud to display. I’ll be working on my panel session this week, about “Coming Together and Reaching Out: Building Community, Literacy and the Reading Message”.

BooklightsThe PBS Parents Booklights blog is pleased to welcome two new guest contributors. Terry Doherty from The Reading Tub and Susan Thomsen from Chicken Spaghetti will be alternating weekly guest posts for a bit, while Susan Kusel takes a temporary break from posting. You can read Susan and Terry’s welcome posts here and here. Pam, Gina, Ann, and I are thrilled to have them both on the team! Of course the real question is, will Susan be able to get Elmo’s autograph?

Mitali Perkins has an interesting theory, after much discussion on her blog, about whether kids look for themselves in what they read, or not. She says: “Elementary-aged kids and upper high-schoolers are more open to fiction with protagonists who are markedly different than they are when it comes to race, class, or nationality. During early adolescence, fifth through ninth grade, most young readers buzz about and share books featuring protagonists they hope to resemble. Also, if everybody’s reading it, or watching it, or playing it, odds are they’ll want to, also.” Sounds reasonable to me. Read more at Mitali’s Fire Escape.

Quick Hits:

  • Color Online shares a recommended reading list for Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 - October 15). There are some additional suggestions in the comments, too.
  • Bill from Literate Lives has a fun post (with pictures) about how NOT to treat a library book.
  • Sherrie from Write About Now has a lovely little post about her second grade daughter looking around the house for “secret portals”, after reading The Doll People. This is what it’s all about, people! Kids finding magic in what they read.
  • This weekend’s Poetry Friday roundup was at Becky’s Book Reviews.
  • Jill T. from The Well-Read Child recently put out a call for guest hosts for her weekly “what my children are reading” roundups. Quite a few people have already volunteered, but there are still slots available. I think that including other hosts is a great idea to strengthen this event.
  • Congratulations to the Kidlitosphere’s own Monica Edinger from Educating Alice, who just sold her book Africa Is My Home (a book 10 years in the making) to Candlewick Press. Details here.
  • Inspired by a recent experience with having an author visit canceled because of censorship, Author Ellen Hopkins offers a stirring defense of the First Amendment (and a criticism of banning books). She says things like this: “NO ONE PERSON should be able to tell other people what their children can or can’t read… Why not instead, parents, read the books with your kids, open the lines of communication, and TALK TO THEM!”
  • Middle school librarian Ms. Yingling (a frequent source of book suggestions for me) asks a philosophical question about what books she should be providing for middle school readers. In a depressing kind of reverse censorship, she gets pressured to push middle school kids to read YA, in many cases reading above their interest levels. See also Robin La Fevers’ thoughts about older middle grade fiction.
  • Kelly from YAnnabe has a post about how to ban books the right way. OK, that’s a provocative title. What she really talks about is banning oneself from buying more books, before they take over one’s life. It’s pretty entertaining.
  • At The SpectacleParker Peevyhouse asks whether authors should try to create more female secondary characters.
  • Charlotte from Charlotte’s Library made me laugh out loud with this post.
  • Another fun post comes from Bri Meets Books, about “Top Five Kidlit Characters Who Were Infinitely Cooler Than Me When I Was Younger”. She mentions one of my favorite characters, Sara Crewe from A Little Princes. Bri also had a nice post about last weekend’s Roald Dahl Day.
  • Becky from Becky’s Book Reviews recently read Tarzan for the first time. Check out her fun interview about the book, here.
  • The deadline to submit articles for TBR Tallboy (which Tanita Davis says is “a hip, low-tech, chapbook style fiction ’zine, successful after only one issue, filled with stories from atrociously talented writers, if I do say so myself”) is September 30th.
  • Maureen from Confessions of a Bibliovore reports that the next big thing in young adult fiction is going to be angels. I say, sure, why not?
  • Did you hear about the Harry Potter Theme Park being built in Orlando? I heard about it from Educating Alice.

Five hours after starting this post (I kid you not, though I’ve also been working in parallel on tomorrow’s Children’s Literacy Roundup and watching the Red Sox), I am thrilled to report that all that’s left starred in my Google Reader are an assortment of book reviews. (I’m saving those for the next “Reviews that Made Me Want the Book” column, of course.) Maybe you guys could all take next week off from writing interesting things, as a little favor to me? Kidding … kidding! Thanks for tuning in!

© 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
Sep162009

Wednesday Afternoon Visits: September 16

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

This is one of those weeks in which it’s nearly impossible to keep up with all of the interesting things going on around the Kidlitosphere. I’ll be back with more over the weekend. But here are a few things that I wanted to share with you now.

BBAW_Celebrate_BooksMany children’s and young adult book bloggers are participating in Book Blogger Appreciation Week. Yesterday a host of book blogs participated in randomly assigned interview swaps. The results are, I think, quite successful. It’s nice to read about why people blog, how they blog, etc. (as a chance from the more customary author interviews.) You can find links to all of the interviews here, and links some of the participating children’s and young adult at MotherReader. Today’s theme is a Reading Habits Meme, which I’m going to try to get to later in the day. The winners in the various blog award categories have also been trickling in. There was much rejoicing in KidLitLand yesterday for Lee Wind, who won for Best GLBT Review blog. Kudos also to BBAW creator Amy, who won for Best Community Builder, and Natasha Maw, who won for Best Challenge Host and Best KidLit Blog.

A while back I posted about a reading teacher, Sandra Stiles, who was frustrated by being asked to follow a very structured reading program in her classroom (with students expected to choose between a proscribed set of 8 books). Today that link was included in an Examiner.com article by Cheryl Vanatti (aka Tasses from Reading Rumpus!) about why the recent New York Times article about reading workshops (and ensuing dust-up) missed the point. Cheryl says: “The real reason the New York Times article is important was lost in the scuffle. As standardized testing and accountability are the current driving forces in education, teachers like Sandra Stiles, who are forced to choose from eight district-approved titles, have lost the ability to do what is best for their students. Now, that’s an article we all should be reading.” I agree! But do read Cheryl’s whole article.

Cybils2009-Web-SmallNominations for the 2009 Cybils open October 1st. The Cybils organizers are working behind the scenes to put together judging panels in various categories, and get the new nominating form (created by Sheila Ruth) ready. In the meantime, you can learn more about the Cybils organizers at the Cybils blog (with two profiles posted so far, mine included). You can also show your support for the Cybils, if you are so inclined, by downloading and posting the snazzy new Cybils logo (created by Sarah Stevenson. You can find downloadable logos (aka bling for your blog) here. We hope that you’ll all start thinking about your favorite books published since last year’s contest and now, and be ready for nominations to open October 1st. 

Kidlitosphere_buttonTime is running out to register for the Third Annual Kidlitosphere Conference (aka KidLitCon ‘09). The deadline has, however, been extended into next week, so there’s still time to register, and get the truly excellent hotel rate. The conference will be held October 17th in Arlington, VA. Here’s a quick blurb about the conference from organizer Pam Coughlan (who has the extremely tough job of asking people to travel for a conference in a down economy):

For authors, illustrators, editors, and publishers in the area of children’s and Young Adult literature, the October 17th Kidlitosphere Conference in Arlington, VA offers an incredible opportunity to learn more about online reviewers, blog book tours, blog writing, and social media. Participants will also talk to forty book reviewing bloggers one-on-one about their books in a Meet the Author session. The dinner gives everyone has a chance to socialize, talk, network, and collaborate. And all for a low $100 registration fee that includes breakfast and dinner.

Featured sessions for authors/illustrators include:

  • It’s Not All About Your Book: Writing Ideas for Author Blogs
  • Social Networking for Fun (and Profit?).
  • Building a Better Online Presence
And several more sessions in the 8:00-5:00 p.m day. Attending authors will have the opportunity to set up a table and show their books to bloggers. This is a great opportunity to connect with the blogging community and promote fall titles.

 

It’s not too late to participate!! I hope to see you all there. Everyone is welcome.

Online College recently posted a list of 100 Best Blogs for Book Reviews. Of course “best” is a highly subjective thing, but I think that the list is a nice resource for people looking to dip a toe into the book blogosphere. The list includes categories from general fiction reviews to mysteries to graphic novels and comic books to children’s and young adult literature (where I was happy to be listed among several friends). The authors of the list took the time to include short blurbs about each blog. One thing that I thought was interesting (in light of some discussions that we’ve had in the Kidlitosphere) is that they specifically mention that several of the blogs “include sources of the books”. I’ve always thought that listing the sources of the books enhances a blog’s credibility - this list seems to support that. But I’d say, if you’re looking for new review blogs in a particular genre, this list could be a good place to start.

And finally, speaking of sources for books, Colleen Mondor has a thought-provoking post at Chasing Ray asking publishers: “are you looking for publicity or critical reviewing from the lit blogosphere?” Here’s a quote from Colleen: “I get a book, I read the book, fit it into a column’s theme down the line, review the heck out of it … and generally put some serious time into doing a good job of lit crit. Then I look online and see someone else who pasted the same book’s catalog copy into a post, wrote three sentences about how much they LOVE it (for no reason I or anyone else can discern) and announce a giveaway of one or three or five copies of the book. Which means the publisher has happily sent them not only the exact same book but multiple copies of it and only wanted this nice little PR post in return. So why do I even spend more than five minutes at a single review EVER?” There is an excellent discussion going on in the comments. You can find my thoughts on this there.

And that’s it for today. I have other starred items in my reader, and hope to get another post out soon. 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).

Friday
Sep112009

Friday Afternoon Visits: September 11

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

September 11th will never again be just another day. One can’t even think about the date without remembering the events that occurred 8 years ago. My heart goes out to the friends and family members who are still grieving. The people lost on 9/11/01 will never be forgotten.

But I think that remembering terrible things only makes it that much important to take positive actions when we can. In doing so, even when the actions are small, we send out a tiny light into the darkness. And so, this Friday, September 11th, I bring you the news from the largely joyful place that is the Kidlitosphere. First, some September 11th-related remembrances and reviews:

RIFF_logoAt Rasco from RIFCarol Rasco shares RIF’s plans for the first official September 11 Day of Service and Remembrance. She says: “The tragic events of September 11, 2001 unified us as a nation. The memory of that day continues to inspire us to serve our neighbors, our communities, and our country. We are pleased to join this national effort and thank the President for making this call to service.” 

14_cowsAt The Reading TubTerry Doherty shares her personal response to the book 14 Cows for America, saying: “Although September 11, 2001 is the backdrop for the story, Deedy is offering us a timeless, universal story of empathy, compassion, and shared dreams of hope. Sharing this book with a child will open their minds to other cultures, traditions, and belief systems.”

Levithan_loveAnd at Finding WonderlandTanita Davis intermingles her memories of 9/11 with a review of David Levithan’s Love is the Higher Law. She says: “David Levithan is a New Yorker whose own impressions of that bewildering, horrifying, terrifying day are reflected in these pages. Few readers, teens and adults alike, will be able to experience this novel without remembering their own story — where they were that day, what they did.” Jackie Parker reviews the book, too, at InteractiveReader. She says: “I read it because it was David Levithan writing about 9/11. I know that Levithan is a New Yorker. And I trusted him as an author to deal with this subject with barefaced honesty, never pandering, never with any sense of self-importance or false heroism, or anything else that sullies that day.” 

At The Simple and the Ordinary, Christine M. shares her fragmented but crystal clear 9/11 memoriesSarah shares hers at The Reading Zone, and Susan hers at Chicken Spaghetti.  Me, I was in Austin, Texas on a business trip, and I heard about the events in New York on the car radio, on my way to work. During the course of that half hour drive, the first tower fell. And things were different. We all remember.

But, now, because life does go on, I’ll go on to the regular blogosphere news:

Book-blogger-appreciation-weekSherry Early has been running a great feature at Semicolon. She’s going through the shortlists for Book Blogger Appreciation Week, checking out each blog, writing a short blurb about the blog, and identifying her pick in each category. For example, here’s her assessment of the Best Thriller/Mystery/Suspense Blog category. I’ve flagged several of her posts to go back to, as I seek out new blogs to follow myself. (In the interest of full disclosure, I should admit that Sherry has some nice things to say about my own blog, shortlisted in the Best KidLit Blog category. But I would think it was a neat feature in any case, I’m sure.) See also a thoughtful post at Chasing Ray, in which Colleen Mondor shares her opinion about shortlisting blogs, in general. Incidentally, voting for BBAW closes at midnight Saturday night. I hope that if you have opinions about any of the categories, you’ll take a few minutes to vote. And stay tuned for lots more BBAW activity next week.  

Cybils2009-Web-SmallThanks to the talented and hard-working Sarah Stevenson, new Cybils Bling is now available for purchase at Cafe Press. All of the new merchandise (t-shirt, mugs, buttons, tote bag, etc.) features the snazzy new Cybils 2009 logo. You can find details at the Cybils blog. Personally, I have my eye on a new mug, to go with my assorted Kidlitosphere Conference mugs from years past.

BooklightsPam and Susan have both hit it out of the park at Booklights this week, in my opinion. On Wednesday, Susan wrote about the ups and downs of reading aloud. She offers practical advice for parents who might be disappointed by their young kids’ unwillingness to sit still for read-aloud. Her conclusion: “Go easy on yourself and your children when it comes to reading aloud. And enjoy the wonderful moments when they happen.” Then yesterday, Pam used her Thursday Three feature to offer reading help for “the three people involved in your child’s reading development - the teacher, the child, and yourself.” I especially liked her strong suggestion that parents try to avoid The Reading Game (parental competition over kids’ reading levels and books). Both of these posts have the same general message for parents: raising readers works best if you keep it fun, and keep from being too hard on yourself or the kids. And that, my friends, is why I’m so happy to be working with Pam and Susan (and Gina, who guides us all, and Ann, who reinforces what we’re doing) at Booklights.

Terry Doherty wrote a guest article for this month’s Children’s Book Insider (subscription required) that some of you may find of interest. It’s about generating cyberbuzz (or, how to get your book reviewed online). Terry offers tips based on her experience in moderating book review requests at The Reading Tub. She also makes an interesting distinction between “stories written for kids, titles adults like for their kids; and books meant for adults.” There’s also a followup interview between Terry and CBI’s Laura Backes here. Terry also has a guest piece in the Examiner, as part of Jennifer Finke’s series on Toys with Imagination. Terry talks about engaging toddlers and kids with interactive books (no batteries required!).

Nathan Bransford, the literary agent, started an interesting discussion on his blog this week about whether or not children’s books should be “content-rated” like movies and video games. As I write there are some 250+ comments - clearly this is a topic that people feel strongly about. I found this post via Dawn Morris from Moms Inspire Learning (who found it via Jon Bard from Children’s Book Insider). Dawn says (on her own blog): “I wish the YA section of the library could be split in two, with books that address serious issues being put into a separate section for high school students. Why can’t there be a “safe” section just for children between the ages of 10 and 14? Parents can’t always read every book, after all.” Me, I think it’s a complicated question, because content ratings for books are such a subjective and variable thing. What’s “safe” for one kid might seem edgy for the next. It’s not easy. On a related note, Robin LaFevers writes about “some of the delineations in writing YA versus MG versus adult books”.

Another controversy has spun up around the lit blogosphere this week. The latest Notes from the Horn Book (a monthly email newsletter from Horn Book Magazine) included an interview with author Richard Peck. Mr. Peck apparently criticized teachers for reading books aloud. The interview has evoked some dissenting opinions from teachers, of course, particularly from Sarah at The Reading Zone and Monica Edinger at Educating Alice. See also Horn Book editor Roger Sutton’s take at Read Roger (he says “I think Peck was complaining about classrooms where kids’ only exposure to trade books was hearing them read aloud”). But still… it’s always something! 

Gail Gauthier linked to an interesting piece in the Denver Post by David Milofsky. The author posits that, as Google and Yahoo start paying publishers to link to news stories, the same might be expected of literary bloggers. A number of prominent bloggers are quoted in the article. I would tend to agree with Gail that if your blog doesn’t make money, fair use would probably apply in linking to a news story. Personally, it’s not like my blog is a big profit center for me. If I had to pay to link to news stories, well, I just wouldn’t link to news stories. Or I’d find some other way to do it, anyway. But it’s something to watch.

Quick Hits:

  • This week’s Poetry Friday roundup is at Wild Rose Reader. The last Nonfiction Monday roundup was at The Miss Rumphius Effect.
  • Greg Pincus has an inspirational post about community and the power of #kidlitchat (a weekly Twitter chat about children’s books and publishing). I’ll tell you, he made me want to participate, and I’m so not a “chat” person (the introvert in me can’t cope with the swirl of conversation, even when it’s online).
  • At Angieville, Angie has a fun post about the appeal of “bad boys” in literature, inspired by a post from Adele at Persnickety Snark. Reading both posts, it’s clear to me that in literature and TV, I’m generally in favor of Bad Boys, too (I pick Pacey over Dawson any day, and I am Team Gale all the way).
  • At Bookshelves of DoomLeila is in a bit of a reading slump, and looking for “something that I’ll be able to fall into, that has writing that at the very least won’t make me roll my eyes, that has characters I can believe in, a story that I haven’t read a million times before (unless the writing and the characters make it work), something that I’ll remember for more than an hour after reading.” Lots of promising suggestions in the comments.
  • At Parents and Kids Reading Together, Cathy Puett Miller says that “picture books are for everyone”.
  • Cheryl Rainfield has pictures of a house and furniture made out of books (well, not really, but they’re made to look like they’re made out of books, which works, too). Very fun!
  • At the Miss Rumphius EffectTricia links to a Fledgling post by Zetta Elliott about authors of color. Tricia says: “In addition to being a mighty strong argument for the recognition of works by authors of color, she includes links to some astounding and disheartening statistics.” See also Roger Sutton’s response.
  • Speaking of the need for diversity in publishing, Susan has a great quote at Chicken Spaghetti from Amy Bowllan’s School Library Journal blog, in a recent column about writers against racism: “Literature helps us understand who we are and to find our place in the world.” 
  • Responding to the recent trend of adding horror elements to classic romances (e.g. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies), Becky from Becky’s Book Reviews suggests adding romance to some of the classic horror stories (e.g. a love interest for Frankenstein). I like it!
  • At A Year of Reading, Mary Lee and Franki are commemorating the start of the new school year with a series of posts celebrating teachers. I especially liked Day 4, in which Franki reminds people about Mary Lee and Franki’s list of Cool Teachers in Children’s Literature.
  • Liz Burns from Tea Cozy is one of the winners of the Color Me Brown challenge at Color Online. She links to other winners here
  • Susan Beth Pfeffer unveils the cover of the third Life As We Knew It book, The World We Live In. This is one book for which I don’t need to see any reviews. I already want it.  
  • Colleen Mondor wrote a short history of Guys Lit Wire for Crossed Genres magazine.
  • Mary Pearson guest blogged at Tor the other day about everyone’s obsession with the future (and specifically talked about how thinking about the future led her to the ideas in The Adoration of Jenna Fox). She also has a smart post at Tor about what YA lit is and isn’t (I found that one via Liz B.).
  • Sarah Stevenson chimed in on MotherReader’s Kidlitosphere Conference meme at Finding Wonderland. Updated to add that Betsy Bird chimed in from Fuse #8, too (and she hardly ever does memes). And Colleen makes a particularly strong case for writers to attend, at Chasing Ray. Oh, I wish that EVERYONE could come this year. At least Liz B. will be there again this year (here’s her meme).
  • And if this isn’t enough news for you, Abby (the) Librarian has some other links today.

Wishing you all a weekend of peace. Me, I just got some good news from my brother, which definitely makes the day a lot brighter.

© 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).

Wednesday
Feb182009

Wednesday Afternoon Visits: February 18

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

The blogs were relatively quiet over the holiday weekend, and I was in Lake Tahoe with friends myself. But now that I’m catching back up, I have a few things to share with you:

The Last OlympianI know I already shared the recently released cover of the last Percy Jackson book. But I also just ran across this fun interview between Percy and Blackjack the Pegasus (who are both pictured on the cover). It’s on Rick Riordan’s blog.

Mary Lee has a lovely little post at A Year of Reading about the top five expectations that her students have when they read fiction. For any adult in the business of evaluating fiction for kids, this is a useful post. I, of course, like the emphasis on story. See also this recent post by Donalyn Miller, the Book Whisperer, about students looking for expert opinions about books that they value. She says: “I know from your posts that you are readers, too. Why not join the conversation? Submit a quote about a book or two you would like to recommend. Celebrate your reading expertise and share it with us all!”

Carlie Webber from Librarilly Blonde has a new article in Publisher’s Weekly, What they don’t know won’t hurt them: Persuading adults to read YA literature. Carlie says: “My advice is simple: lie and cheat. To get more adults to read and enjoy YA literature, the lie of omission often works.” And she gives some concrete examples of books that will work perfectly well for many adults, if the books aren’t pre-judges as “for kids”. She also suggests that “Teen books must make an appearance outside the teen section. Staff picks and themed book displays should include teen books.” I certainly agree!

MotherReader has started planning for “the Annual KidLitosphere Conference — or if you’d prefer, The Society of Bloggers in Children’s and Young Adult Literature Annual Conference.” Nothing firm yet, but the weekend of October 16th in Arlington, VA is starting to look promising. I’m hoping that having the conference in DC, and not in conflict with any other major conferences, will result in the highest attendance yet. Stay tuned for more details!

The London Eye MysteryBookwitch has a new resource that I think a lot of people are going to find useful: the Aspie Books Page (“any fiction which I feel is the slightest bit Asperger/Autism/ ADHD related can be listed here for reference”). Bookwitch writes from the UK, so it’s possible that some books will be unfamiliar to US audiences, but I found several favorites there (including recent Cybils winner for middle grade fiction: The London Eye MysteryRULES, and the aforementioned Percy Jackson books).

The Book Chook has a new two-part feature: the Read Aloud Roundup (part 1 and part 2) in which she asks “some people who love books to choose their favourite book to read aloud.” She also shares “great tips to add extra value”. Don’t miss this fun new feature, focused on the joys of reading aloud with kids.

Becky Laney from Becky’s Book Reviews is doing quite a bit of thinking about the rights and wrongs of copying (after her blog content was shamefully stolen by another site). She discusses links vs. quotes vs. memes, etc., and seeks reader feedback. All I have to say is that I own a software company, and this has made me very very respectful of other people’s intellectual property. (I should also mention that some of my “afternoon visits” posts are being reposted on the Kidlitosphere Central news blog, but that’s happening with my full knowledge and consent. I’m on the board there. What Becky’s talking about is copying without permission. And that’s nothing short of theft.)

Speaking of theft, Guys Lit Wire has a post by Kristopher about writing-related scams.

And speaking of the potential co-opting of other people’s intellectual property, there’s been quite a bit of conflict lately around Facebook’s Terms of Service. They seem to have backed down a little bit on some recent changes that they made, in response to a storm of controversy, but I think that people are now being extra-careful about what they put on Facebook.

And that’s all for today! 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).