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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 Books for Boys (5)

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).

Sunday
Nov222009

Sunday Visits: November 22

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

Happy Sunday, all! Sorry I’ve been so absent from the blog lately. I’ve had a tough time recovering from my recent travels, and I’ve been a bit under the weather to boot. This weekend, I did finally manage to make it through all of the blog posts in my reader (though some amount of skimming was required). Here are a few (mostly from this past week - everything older than that started to feel like old news):

There are too many wonderful interviews from this week’s Winter Blog Blast Tour for me to highlight them all. But I did especially enjoy Shelf Elf’s interview of Laini Taylor, as well as 7-Imps’ interview of Laini’s husband, Jim Di Bartolo. Their daughter Clementine Pie is adorable. You can find the complete set of links to the WBBT interviews at Chasing Ray (home of WBBT organizer Colleen Mondor). See also Liz B’s background piece on the WBBT at Tea Cozy. I also enjoyed Mary Ann Scheuer’s interview with Annie Barrows, which included tidbits about Annie’s reading with her own kids.

Speaking of Laini and Jim, they did not, alas, win the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature (for which Lips Touch was shortlisted). Kudos to the winner, Phillip Hoose, for Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice, a true-life account of the 15-year-old African-American girl who refused to give up her seat on a segregated bus in March 1955.

Cybils2009-150pxThe Cybils nominating committee panelists are reading away. And Cybils tech guru Sheila Ruth reports at Wands and Worlds that “Tracy Grand of Jacketflap has once again created this terrific Cybils nominee widget. It rotates through the Cybils nominees and displays a different one each time the page is loaded. You can get the widget for your own blog here.” See also Sheila’s post at the Cybils blog about publisher love for the Cybils, and our thanks to the many publishers and authors providing review copies for the Cybils process. Sheila has been doing an amazing job as this year’s Publisher Liaison.

Betsy Bird also links to various write-ups about the recent Children’s Literary Cafe at the New York Public Library (focused on the Cybils).

Posts about holiday gift-giving are already proliferating. I especially liked this Semicolon post with book ideas for eight and twelve-year-old girls, and this post at The Miss Rumphius Effect with gifts for readers and writersElaine Magliaro also has a fabulous list of Thanksgiving-related resources at Wild Rose Reader.

Kidlitosphere_buttonPam shares the results of the KidLitCon09 charity raffle at MotherReader. She says: “With more than five hundred dollars raised with the charity raffle at KidlitCon, we gave two projects at Donors Choose a huge boost. Now with additional contributors, both DC school literacy projects have been fully funded!” She shares teachers’ notes from both programs.

I’ve seen a couple of responses to Betsy Bird’s article about Amazon’s Vine program. Maureen has some excellent thoughts at Confessions of a Bibliovore on what it means to review in a professional manner, whether on a blog or not. Roger Sutton from Read Roger, on the other hand, just thinks that blog reviews are too long.

Kate Coombs has a very detailed post at Book Aunt about books that are currently popular with kids. After discussing many of the usual suspects, she says: “I’ll conclude my report on the coolest of the cool. It’s kind of like watching the popular kids at school. Sometimes you wonder why they’re popular when they seem so ordinary, or even, in some cases, so unappealing. On the other hand, there are times it makes sense. Some of the popular kids are truly extraordinary, and their singular status seems completely deserved.”

Quick hits:

That’s all for today. It’s nice to be feeling a bit more caught up on my reader, I’ll tell you that. More soon…

© 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).

Tuesday
Jul072009

Tuesday Afternoon Visits: July 7

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

I know that I just published a Kidlitosphere news round-up on Sunday. But I have a few additional links to share with you today:

First up, congratulations to Guys Lit Wire. Their Book Fair for Boys was a huge success. Colleen Mondor reports: “I am thrilled to announce that to date we received 600 books for the boys in the LA County juvenile justice system. The response to the original Book Fair for Boys post has been huge - far greater than we anticipated - and will make a big difference in a lot of lives. So many books were sent to LA that InsideOut Writers is able to spread them over all three facilities where the boys are held, providing much greater access to the books.” Very cool!

Also at Guys Lit Wire, an excellent post from Mr. Chompchomp suggesting some guy-friendly books that feature female protagonists. He says: “Fortunately, the world of literature is more varied than the world of Disney movies, and gives us many books with girls as the main characters, girls who are neither princesses nor fairies, nor, for that matter, the tormented little playthings of boy vampires. Here are some of those books, mostly fantasy and sci-fi, because that’s what I know, but some non-fiction too, for good measure”. There are some great suggestions, including Garth Nix’s fabulous Sabriel (and sequels).

Mitali Perkins just published a great list of Take Me Away Fiction (books with a strong sense of place). She says: “f you can’t afford a lavish vacation this summer, here’s a list of books that make you forget where you are by creating a great sense of place. I haven’t read all of these, so don’t quote me as your travel agent — they came in response to my call for YA/Kid novels that turn us into armchair travelers with their mastery of setting.” The first three books I thought of were Sara Zarr’s Story of a GirlMary Pearson’s A Room on Lorelei Street, and Laini Taylor’s Blackbringer. And of course there is Mitali’s own Monsoon Summer. Do you have any other titles to suggest for Mitali’s list?

In light of the many responses to the recent NY Times column by Nicholas Kristof’s list of “the best kids’ books ever” (one person’s opinion, and not at all a diverse list, but at least he’s got lots of people talking about children’s books), Laurel Snyder has re-posted her own essay on “the very worst books for kids”.

There seems to be a minor bout of blog reviewer burnout going around. This is different from blog focus angst, and tends to be caused by either writing many reviews in a short time, or by having a big stack of books that have been read, and not yet reviewed. Amy from My Friend Amy is the latest victim of this malaise (though she clearly has an excellent support network). In any event, for anyone suffering from this, I prescribe 7 Tips for Quitting a Book, from Kelly at YAnnabee. That and a big stack of books that you don’t feel like you’ll need to review - things outside of your usual focus, old favorites, etc.

OK, that’s all for now. Back to our regularly scheduled programming.

© 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
May152009

Friday Afternoon Visits: May 15

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

It’s been another week of newsworthy events around the Kidlitosphere.

GLWHeader3First up, Guys Lit Wire has an amazing initiative going on. They are running a Book Fair for BoysColleen Mondor first announced the event on Wednesday, saying: “We are moving today into the second phase of GLW, where we put our money where our mouth is and physically act on getting books into the hands of boys that otherwise have none. Today we start the first two week Guys Lit Wire Book Fair for Boys to help the teens incarcerated in the LA County Juvenile Justice System. They have no books - at all - and they need them; they need them desperately.” Essentially, the Guys Lit Wire team, together with the InsideOut Writers Program, put together a list of 125 books of interest to teen boys, and asked people to help by purchasing one or more titles. Word spread fast, and I’m delighted to report that within 48 hours, more than 100 books had already been purchased. (See a lovely post about Colleen’s joy here). Here are more details about the response to this event.

Of course the other ongoing event in the Kidlitosphere is the auction to benefit Bridget ZinnBridget is one of our own. She was recently diagnosed with stage four colon cancer. And although she is blessed with many things (a new husband, an agent for her YA novel, and many friends), she is not blessed with sufficient health insurance to weather this battle. So some of her friends from the Portland branch of the Kidlitosphere (especially Jone MacCulloch) decided to host an auction to help. It’s a blog auction, and you can bid by commenting. There are tons of amazing, one-of-a-kind prizes, far too many to list here. But I did want to draw special attention to Vivian’s post at HipWriterMama. Not only is Vivian donating a signed copy of the last Percy Jackson book, she is also having a contest for another copy, which you can enter by bidding in the auction. All I can say is, I feel privileged every day that I can be part of this community, I really do. The auction closes the morning of May 30th. You may be sure that I’ll be bidding on more items between now and then.

48hbcLooking forward to future Kidlitosphere events, MotherReader has posted a prize update and minor rules change for the upcoming 48 Hour Book Challenge. Pam also announced her plan to donate a dollar for every hour that she spends reading to the Bridget Zinn fund. See also MotherReader’s post about her participation in the 48 Hour Film Project, with a link to the resulting film, “Please Forward”.

Also, if you’re in the San Francisco area tomorrow (Saturday), do consider attending the launch party for Lynn Hazen’s new book: The Amazing Trail of Seymour Snail. I had hoped to attend myself, but we have out of town guests arriving during the event, and I’m not going to be able to swing it.

I don’t normally highlight individual Poetry Friday entries (Kelly Polark has this week’s roundup), but I really liked this original poem by Gregory K. at Gotta Book: A Perfect Game - A Baseball Poem. Also, Cari and Holly published this week’s Nonfiction Monday round-up at Book Scoops.

Updating on Saturday to add one more event: The Summer Blog Blast Tour starts Monday. You can find the whole schedule at Chasing Ray (and that post will be updated as direct links are available). The SBBT is a series of author interviews, carefully organized across a group of blogs to ensure diversity and avoid redundancy. The SBBT and corresponding Winter Blog Blast Tours are the brainchild of Colleen Mondor.

Moving on from events, Parker Peevyhouse has an interesting post at The Spectacle about the traits valued in girl vs. boy heroes in books. She says: “It seems to me that girl heroes tend to be valued for their smarts and their compassion, while boys are held up as daring (even reckless)–but it could just be that my presuppositions color my perspective. What do you think–are there general differences between boy and girl heroes?” Be sure to read the comments, too.

Solvang Sherrie has a thought-provoking post at Write About Now about the aspects of a book that make her fall “truly, madly, deeply” in love with the book. She says: “For me it comes down to characters. I want to care about the people I’m reading about. I want them to be like me, but better than me.” There’s some good discussion in the comments, too. I wrote about my thoughts on this issue in detail a while back in my 6 P’s of Book Appreciation.

At Literacy, families, and learning, Trevor Cairney has a new post in his key themes in children’s literature series: Problem Solving. He explains: “Many children love to solve problems. Children’s authors are smart enough to work this out and tap into this interest as one of many ways to engage children with books. There are many forms of problem solving that authors have used. In this post I’ll outline a few examples.”

2009-CBW-PosterAs part of Children’s Book Week, the Children’s Choice Book Awards were announced. Tasha Saecker has the winners at Kids Lit. In other Children’s Book Week news, see Lori Calabrese’s blog to find 10 activities for children’s book week. In other award news, at Fuse #8, Betsy Bird announced the number one entry in her Top 100 Picture Books poll: Where the Wild Things Are. No surprise, really, but still good to see. Here’s the complete top 100 list, all in one place, with links back to the more detailed posts.

And that’s alll for today. Happy weekend, all! I’ll be back Monday with the Children’s Literacy Round-Up.

© 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
Jun182008

Wednesday Afternoon Visits: June 18

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

There is so much going on around the Kidlitosphere this week that I hardly know where to begin. But here you go:

  • The 2008 Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards were just announced. You can find the details here, at Read Roger. Also, the Association of Jewish Libraries has just named the 2008 Sydney Taylor Manuscript Award winner. The press release is here. And, for a different type of award, the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in in England includes people who received honors for services to Children’s Literature and Children’s Literacy. The Old Coot has the details.
  • Never one to shy away from expressing opinions, Betsy has posted her early 2009 Newbery and Caldecott predictions at A Fuse #8 Production. There is much discussion in the comments.
  • Colleen Mondor has a must-read post over at Guys Lit Wire in response to a discussion between Ted Bell and Glenn Beck about whether or not books that feature strong female protagonists are emasculating for boys. Colleen says things like this (in response to the notion that the boy needs to save the girl in fiction): “I’m sure the sociologists would have a field day over all this but I can’t believe that anyone in the 21st century would believe that such antiquated notions of what it means to be a hero have any place in a worthwhile discussion. Save the world - yes! Save the animals, save the environment, save whatever needs saving in your books. But the girl MUST be saved by the boy for the boy to feel powerful? How do these gentlemen think it makes the girl feel to have to wait to be saved? Have they ever thought about that at all?” Click through for more details. It’s well worth your time.
  • Did you notice how I just quoted Colleen above? If Colleen wrote for the AP, however, I could have been in big trouble for quoting her so entensively. It seems that the AP is going to try to start charging bloggers if they quote more than four words, and possibly even if they link to AP articles. I first heard about this from Kelly Herold at Big A little A, where Kelly linked to the story at Boing BoingMelissa Wiley then linked to Michael Arrington’s response at the Washington Post’s TechCrunch blog. It seems pretty clear to me that they’re trying to overstep the bounds of Fair Use, but the whole thing is pretty scary.
  • Another controversy around the blogs was started by Frank Cottrell Boyce, who recently made some very negative comments about YA as a genre. He said (as quoted on Tea Cozy): “We have already ghettoised teenagers’ tastes in music, in clothes and - God forgive us - in food. Can’t we at least let them share our reading? Is there anything more depressing than the sight of a “young adult” bookshelf in the corner of the shop. It’s the literary equivalent of the “kids’ menu” - something that says “please don’t bother the grown-ups”. If To Kill a Mockingbird were published today, that’s where it would be placed, among the chicken nuggets.” Needless to stay, this has stirred up a host of responses, at Read Alert and Bookwitch, for example. But start with Liz B’s remarks in defense of YA reading. I’m with her. 
  • A Year of Reading has a nice interview by Franki of Shelley Harwayne, author of the upcoming professional book Look Who’s Learning to Read. I don’t normally highlight reviews, but this was has lots of great information about raising readers, including suggestions like: “Children need choice. They love to be part of making decisions” and “Children deserve the finest literature. We need to be fussy about the books we borrow or buy for them.”
  • And at Lessons from the TortoiseLibby links to another interview that talks about raising readers. She says “In Literary Mama this monthLisa Harper interviews Lewis Buzbee about his writing and his parenting. It’s a fabulous interview.” I agree with Libby. It’s a great interview. Buzbee (a middle grade author) says things like “What I enjoy so much about middle readers is not merely the complexity of vocabulary or complexity of ideas, but also the complexity of emotions.” He talks about why he writes for this age range, and the importance of letting kids read the books that they’re interested in.
  • Over at Bookshelves of Doom, Leila is collecting suggestions of classics that are likely to please a voracious teen reader. There are tons of suggestions in the comments.
  • The First Book Blog has a guest post by Dale Brown from LDOnline about “encouraging reading this summer with some particular emphasis on supporting children who have a hard time in the classroom during the school year” (e.g. kids with dyslexia and other learning disabilities).
  • Also along the lines of summer reading, Anna M. Lewis at I.N.K. recommends some of her favorite nonfiction titles “to help keep kids happy this summer”.
  • In the interest of “practicing what (they) publish”, staff members from Charlesbridge spent Friday picking up trash along the Charles River.
  • Over at the Tiger’s Bookshelf at PaperTigers, Janet shares book recommendations from two British boys (aged nine and a half and seven and a half).
  • And speaking of books that boys like, Charlotte shares some thoughts at Charlotte’s Library about boys and reading. Specifically, she talks about the difficulty that she sometimes has as a parent purchasing books for her sons that aren’t the sort of thing that she would ever want to read, saying “it is hard, sometimes, for me to put the books my boys want into their outstretched and eager hands. It is much easier to buy books that appeal to me, than books that really truly don’t.” I actually think this dilemma is a major issue for a lot of people in getting boys reading - often the books that boys want to read just aren’t the ones that inspire the people who are guiding their reading choices.
  • There’s a bit of a mixer going on right now between Readergirlz and Guys Lit WireVia Guys Lit Wire, I learned that Readergirlz Diva Justina Chen Headley has invited “the readergirlz to list YA novels they wish all guys would read to understand girls”. Little Willowhas asked on GLW for readers to head over to the Readergirlz MySpace forum and make the discussion a two-way street. She says: “Tell us what YA novels you wish girls would read to understand guys, and vice-versa! Also tell us what YA novels “get” BOTH sides of the story.
  • At Pixie Stix Kids Pix, Kristen McLean has a series of tips for success in the children’s book industry. She has links to tons of great resources about writing and publishing children’s books.
  • And finally, sadly, I learned via Sharon Levin thatauthor/illustrator Tasha Tudor passed away today. I’ll never forget her for as long as I have the editions of The Secret Garden and A Little Princess that she illustrated (well, that copy of The Secret Garden was lost, but I just ordered another one). She leaves a truly magical legacy.

That’s all for today. I think I’m going to go look through my copy of A Little Princess now.

© 2008 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson’s Book Page. All rights reserved.
You can also find me on Twitter and at Booklights from PBS Parents.
All Amazon links in this post are affiliate links, and may result in my receiving a small commission (with no additional cost to you).