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 Children's Books for Adults (4)

Thursday
Mar192009

Thursday Afternoon Visits: NCAA Tournament Edition

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

Kidlitosphere_buttonI’m watching a bit of college basketball in the background, while catching up on Kidlitosphere news today. (You just have to listen for when the crowd gets loud to know when something exciting is going on.) Here are a few highlights from the children’s and young adult book blogosphere.

At The Miss Rumphius EffectTricia begs to differ with a Guardian article that says: “The larger-than-life, black-and-white morality of children’s books is a relief for adult readers tired of ambiguity.” I agree with Tricia that this is not a particularly nuanced representation of the moral complexity often found in children’s books. But I’d be happy to see more adults take time to check out children’s and young adult literature either way.

Tbd2009Little Willow has the official press release for the Readergirlz, Guys Lit Wire, YALSA 2009 Operation Teen Book Drop, a “reading stimulus plan for hospitalized teen patients… Teen patients in pediatric hospitals across the United States will receive 8,000 young-adult novels, audiobooks, and graphic novels.” In preparation for the April 16th event, the Readergirlz Divas are hosting a series of weekly contests. You can find more details here.  

Laini Taylor has the scoop on an upcoming Phoenix event called Project Book Babe, a fundraiser for bookseller Faith Hochhalter, who is going through chemotherapy right now for breast cancer. Laini also has news about her own expected and sure to be a book-lover baby.

ShareAStoryLogo-colorTerry Doherty has a wrap-up post for the Share a Story - Shape a Future literacy blog tour at The Reading Tub. Please join me in thanking Terry for this amazing event. Although the initial event is finished, Terry promises “Share a Story-Shape a Future will be back. For the near term, the blog will remain our bulletin board and archive. If/When we pull together the links and bloglists into a single spot, that’s where you’ll find it. When we’re ready to start thinking about themes and start planning our lineups, that’s where we’ll make the announcement.” [Image credit: Author/illustrator Elizabeth Dulemba created the Share a Story - Shape a Future logo.]

Speaking of raising kids who love books, Jenny from Read. Imagine. Talk shares a lovely anecdote in which her very young son, Ethan, demanded to go to the bookstore right away “because there was a new book out that he “really very needed to get right now.””  He was following her example, and gives us all a real-life demonstration of the way that modeling book-loving behavior rubs off on kids.

I’ve been enjoying Sarah Mulhern’s “Slice of Life” posts at The Reading Zone. Yesterday, she related some snippets of discussion from her 6th grade girls about the best literary boyfriends. Sarah concluded: ” I couldn’t help but smile- they weren’t arguing over boy bands, or movie stars, or athletes- it was literary characters. This language arts teacher couldn’t be prouder.” As she should be. Sarah also shares her accelerated reader frustration, and a more positive follow-up.

Tamara Fisher has a great post at Unwrapping the Gifted about using bibliotherapy with gifted kids. She explains: “Essentially, by having gifted students read literature and/or biographies featuring gifted children or adults, the students can gain insights into their own giftedness.” She also provides a list of sample questions to ask kids about their reading, and an extensive reading list.

Last OlympianDates are now available for Rick Riordan’s author tour for The Last Olympian. He’ll be here in the Bay Area on May 9th, just a few days after the official release date. Safe to say that these events will be very, very popular! Perhaps I’ll see some of you there.

Kate Coombs has a fun post about picture books with bite at Book Aunt. She says: “it is with some gusto that I give you a handful of books that aren’t sweet. In fact, they are tart and funny, and above all, toothy.”

Witch MountainI also enjoyed this post at Ink Splot 26, about the movie Race to Witch Mountain. I know that a lot of people think it was corny, but I love the 1975 Disney movie version ofEscape to Witch Mountain. I will have to have the new special edition DVD, even though my brother Steve, the king of gift-giving, already bought me the regular DVD. So I was pleased to learn from Nancy T’s interview with the stars of the new movie that the actors who played the original Tony and Tia will have cameos in the new movie. Fun stuff!

And finally, I wanted to say thank you to Travis from 100 Scope Notes, who recently included my blog in his “blogs that clog my reader (in a good way)” list. I’m in excellent company. And his is a blog I never miss, either.

© 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).

Sunday
Nov092008

Sunday Afternoon Visits: November 9

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

I had a bit of trouble keeping up with the blogs this week. This was partly because I had a three-day business trip to Colorado Springs (though it is lovely there). But mostly it’s Pam Coughlan and Lee Wind’s fault. You see, they started this blogger comment challenge. The idea is to increase community within the Kidlitosphere, by encouraging participants to comment more on one another’s blogs. Pam says:

“Since it is said that it takes twenty-one days to form a new habit, we’re going to run the Comment Challenge for the next three weeks — from today, Thursday, November 6, through Wednesday, November 26, 2008. The goal is to comment on at least five kidlitosphere blogs a day. Keep track of your numbers, and report in on Wednesdays with me or Lee.”

I’ve been participating, and it’s been a lot of fun. And since I tend to jump in with both feet to things like this, I’m averaging more like 10+ comments a day. But stopping to click through and comment is wreaking havoc on my ability to skim through lots of blog posts, quickly, in my Google Reader. Ah well. It’s still fun. And not too late to join in, if you’re interested. Read more here. On to other news.

XmasSwap1Dewey just announced the second annual Book Bloggers’ Christmas Swap at The Hidden Side of a Leaf. It’s kind of a Secret Santa thing between bloggers. If you’d like to participate, check out the details at Dewey’s.

This week’s well-organized Poetry Friday round-up is at Check It Out, Jone MacCulloch’s blog.

The International Reading Association blog links to an article about the 10 coolest public libraries in the United States. Is your library on the list?

A Visitor for BearIt’s only November, but the “best of 2008” lists are already coming out. I guess this isn’t so premature when the people making the lists have access to advanced copies of books anyway. Becky from Becky’s Book Reviews shares and discusses Publisher’s Weekly’s Best of Children’s Fiction 2008. It seems like a pretty good list to me. Just about every book is one I’ve either read and recommended, or have on my radar to read. Amazon has also been coming out with “Best of” lists. I was especially happy to see, on OmnivoraciousBonny Becker’s A Visitor for Bear topping the list of Best Children’s Picture Books of 2008. It was certainly one of my favorites of the year.

Of potential interest to mystery fans, Kyle Minor has a guest essay at Sarah Weinman’s blog, Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind. It’s about whether or not mysteries count as literature. He says “If forced to trade, I’ll take one Dennis Lehane, one Richard Price, one George Pelecanos, one James M. Cain, one Big Jim Thompson or Raymond Chandler or Dashiell Hammett—any one of them, any day—over any ten “literary” writers.” I agree.

Rose’s Reading Round-Up at the First Book Blog links to a National Post article by Misty Harris about how teen books are being read by people of all ages. It’s a little bit condescending of a step backwards from what we who read YA all the time might think (“Like many addicts, Paige Ferrari hides her compulsion behind a carefully chosen facade. The 26-year-old has been known to wrap teen novels - her guiltiest literary indulgence - inside an issue of The Economist while reading in public.”), but I’ve seen much worse. (ETA per comments below: And I do get that it probably is news for the mainstream public that adults are reading YA.) I did like this quote: “most of the adults who are reading these books likely already have them in their homes. They’re reading what their kids are reading.”

At Lessons from the Tortoise, Libby asks readers for help in differentiating young adult literature from children’s literature and from adult literature. Both MotherReader and I commented that we thought that the age of the protagonist had a lot to do with it. Pam also remarked on the wide age range of YA books today. Libby wrote a followup post with some other input from her students, but she’s still struggling a bit with a formal distinction between YA and adult fiction (beyond “I know it when I see it). Feel free to head on over there and share, if you have input on this.

In related news, The Brown Bookshelf lauds the recent decision by independent bookstore Politics and Prose to configure a separate section of the store for books for older teens. The author (I’m not sure whose post it is) says: “Yay!!!!!! Whenever anyone focuses on teen readers and thus YA literature, I feel like I’ve won a lottery…except without that whole winning a lot of money thing.” I feel the same way (except for me it’s books for kids of all ages).

November is National Adoption MonthTerry Doherty offers up some resources and personal experience at the Reading Tub’s blog. Don’t miss the comments, either. At the ESSL Children’s Literature Blog, Nancy O’Brien suggests books about adoption, categorized by age range.

Julia's KitchenBrenda Ferber has a lovely post about the inspiration for her book, Julia’s Kitchen, and the way that online connectedness helped her to get in contact with one of the boys whose story inspired her.

At the PBS Media Fusion blog, Gina Montefusco has a detailed article about the ways that the new PBS KIDS Island will help to promote early reading skills. Gina, who was instrumental in the development of PBS KIDS Island, says “reading doesn’t – and shouldn’t – have to be an intimidating process that turns off all but the most gifted students. With online games, kids are introduced to new skills in a light-hearted, silly way, allowing them to learn at their own speed and stay engaged. Everything from the alphabet to phonemes can be fun. Really. We promise.” I look forward to working more with Gina in the near future.

Trevor Cairney continues his series on key themes in children’s books at Literacy, Families, and Learning, discussing the theme of “being different.” He notes that “the struggle the be different is a common theme in children’s books from early picture books right through to adolescent novels”, and discusses how books can help “parents and teachers to sensitively and naturally raise some of these issues.”

Book Scoops is a new blog run by two grown-up sisters, Cari and Holly, who love books. Their about page says: “Our blog focuses on children and adolescent literature (even though we do read a broad range of books) because we are still young at heart.” You can see why I added them to my reading list. I especially enjoyed this recent post: Ode to Reading Grandparents. Cari explains: “Part of why we love reading so much also has to do with our grandparents reading to our parents and taking them to the library. So we thought we’d give a thank you to our grandparents (who also let us eat lots of ice-cream).”

CybilsLogoSmallReviews of Cybils nominees are starting to crop up all around the Kidlitosphere. There are far too many to link to here, but one post that especially stood out for me was this one at Readerbuzz, featuring short reviews of a plethora of nonfiction nominees.

The ALSC blog has a nice post by Ann Crewdson about how “our fondest wish is for our patrons to read together, aloud and often with their children. And don’t forget to suggest that they point out words when they read, put on a play with puppets, and sing the ABC. Here are some tried and true companion books you can recommend without going wrong.” There are recommendations by age range.

And finally, if you haven’t had your fill yet of children’s book information, today’s New York Times Book Review has a children’s books special issue. I especially liked John Green’s article about two of my favorite dystopian novels from this year: The Dead and the Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer and The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.

That’s all for today. Happy blog-reading. And don’t forget to comment as you’re out and about on the blogs. As Mary Lee pointed out, “The world gets changed by doing something small over and over again.” Like telling someone that you paid attention to what they had to say.

© 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).

Wednesday
Oct292008

Wednesday Afternoon Visits: October 29

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

I was away this weekend, attending a lovely wedding down in Los Angeles, and I’m still catching back up (I think it’s a sign of being over-committed when taking a couple of days away from the computer completely throws things completely out of kilter). But there has been plenty going on around the Kidlitosphere.

Jill posted the October Carnival of Children’s Literature at The Well-Read Child, suggesting that readers “grab a cup of hot apple cider, a warm blanket, and join me in a look at some great snuggle-worthy children’s literature from around the blogosphere.” She has tons of well-organized and interesting posts for your reading pleasure.

Charlotte from Charlotte’s Library just announced a lovely tribute that she’s organizing in honor of Amanda Snow’s son Jacob, who died much, much too young. The talented Katie Davis has designed a downloadable bookplate. If you would like to honor Jacob’s life, you can download the bookplate here, print out copies, and put them in books that you donate. Amanda suggests in particular that people donate books to Ronald McDonald House. As Charlotte explains “the children’s book blogging community has come together to give books away to places where they will bring happiness to other children and their parents.” But anyone is welcome to participate. You can find more details here. I’m planning to take some books up to the Ronald McDonald House in Palo Alto.

Terry Doherty has a comprehensive October 27th reading round-up at the Reading Tub’s blog, filled with children’s literacy and reading news. I found this tidbit especially interesting: “The National Literacy trust just issued Literacy Changes Lives: An Advocacy Resource, a report about the relationship between a child’s literacy ability and their success later in life.” I haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but Terry promises “Lots of great snippets to reinforce the need to read.” I also really liked this: “Randy Astle, who is not associated with PBS Kids, wrote a very detailed post about how PBS Kids is raising readers.” It’s a great post.

BlogTheVote-SmallLots of bloggers from around the Kidlitosphere are banding together to encourage readers to vote next week. Even the organization is a group effort. Lee Wind and Gregory K both have the scoop. The master list of participants will be maintained by Colleen Mondor at Chasing RaySarah Stevenson developed the neat graphic. Personally, I voted late last week (I’m a permanent vote by mail person in California). I don’t like to talk politics on my blog, but I will say that I wanted to get my vote in before heading out to the lovely wedding that I mentioned, the wedding of two dear friends who both happen to be male. I would not have missed it for anything.

5 Minutes for Books recently had their Kids’ Picks Carnival for October. Seventeen participants chimed in with posts about what books their kids have enjoyed. I love this idea by site editor Jennifer Donovan, and enjoy checking out the posts each month.

In author news, Cynthia Lord shares some tips for librarians about “Including and Serving Patrons with Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome at Your Library.” There’s also a nice interview with Rick Riordan in Texas Monthly. And via Bookshelves of Doom, I learned that Holly Black has the coolest hidden library ever. Yes, the door is a bookshelf. Someday…

On a non-book-related note, I enjoyed this post by Robin from The Disco Mermaids about finding your special “spot”, someplace outdoors where you can go and think and clear your head. I have had spots like that in my life, though I don’t have one now that’s near to where I live. But what I LOVED about the post are Robin’s pictures of her son enjoying nature. There’s one of him skipping down a path in the woods that is positively magical. Seriously, if you could use a little pick-me-up, just click through to the post, and scroll down.

And last, but definitely not least, Deanna H, on a new blog called Once Upon A Time, writes about reasons for adults to read children’s literature. She dug up quotes from David Almond and Jonathan Stroud about the power of the narrative in children’s books - and I do think this is a big part of why I’ve always enjoyed kids’ books so much.

That’s all for today - I expect to be back with more news and reviews over the weekend.

© 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).