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 Literacy (7)

Sunday
Jul052009

Sunday Afternoon Visits: July 5

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

Kidlitosphere_buttonHope that you’ve been enjoying the July 4th weekend (for those in the US).The blogs have been pretty quiet this weekend. However, quite a few posts from around the Kidlitosphere have caught my eye over the past week or so. First up is Tanita Davis‘ public service announcement at Finding Wonderland about Kidlitosphere Central and the upcoming 3rd annual Kidlitosphere Conference. In other news:

Newlogorg200The Readergirlz will be celebrating Cecil Castellucci’s graphic novel The Plain Janes in July. They urge: “Join us all month right here on the blog for discussions and mark your calendars a LIVE chat with Cecil and Jim on Wednesday, July 22nd at 6pm PST/9pm EST.”

Yankee Doodle GalSpeaking of gutsy women, President Obama just signed a bill to recognize female pilots who flew during World War II. The New York Times Caucus blog says: “During World War II, more than 1,000 female pilots became the first women to ever take the controls of American military planes. Now, more than six decades later, members of the Women Airforce Service Pilots will receive the Congressional Gold Medal, one of America’s highest civilian honors.” There’s also an NPR story about it. I found out about this from Amy Nathan, who wrote a children’s book called Yankee Doodle Gals about the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPS) that’s been getting some attention in light of the recent bill, and was on hand during the recent signing. I haven’t read Yankee Doodle Gals, but it might be something that the Readergirlz postergirlz would be interested in, don’t you think? Perhaps to pair with Mare’s War?

Steampunk in young adult fiction also seems to be getting some play in the Kidlitosphere this week. Becky Levine wrote about this last week, quoting a definition by Jeff VanderMeer: “”Mad scientist inventor + [invention (steam x airship or metal man divided by baroque stylings) x (pseudo) Victorian setting] + progressive or reactionary politics x adventure plot = steampunk.”“. Becky also shared a lovely picture of her local bookmobile. Maureen Kearney also picked up on a recent piece about YA steampunk at Confessions of a Bibliovore, and suggests some omissions from a recent i09 story. Maureen also has a great snippet from a recent interview with new UK children’s laureate Anthony Browne about not living pictures behind in appreciating books.

IMGP3383Natasha Maw at Maw Books shared a post asking: why do I own books when I rarely reread? She concludes: “I’ve decided that the reason that I like to keep the books that I’ve read and enjoyed, even though it’s unlikely that I’ll read them again, is because I just like to look at them. I mean, is nothing better then perusing your own shelf and remembering a particular story or characters? I like to reminisce. Plus, this is what people see when they walk into my home”. There are a whole slew of comments - so many that I chose not to comment there. Personally, I do reread books sometimes, but I also keep some books just because they are my friends, and I can’t possibly part with them. That’s one of my bookshelves, to the left.

Another interesting discussion can be found in the comments on a post at Laurel Snyder’s blog about epic vs. episodic fantasy. The post was inspired by a post from Charlotte’s Library, where Charlotte was seeking Edward Eager read-alikes, and mentioned their episodic nature. I’m more of an epic than episodic fan myself at this point, but many of my episodic childhood favorites are mentioned in the comments of Laurel’s post.

Parker Peevyhouse has a post at The Spectacle about “how to get rid of the parents” in children’s literature. She asks: “How is a young reader affected by reading a story in which all of the adults are missing, incompetent, or antagonistic?  It’s a question that’s been brought up before, but the answer still eludes me.”

The BookKids blog (from BookPeople) has a four-part series by Emily Kristin Anderson: “Fab YA Authors on their Favorite Queer-Themed Books”. Here’s part 4. You can find the other links here.

At A Fuse #8 Production, Betsy Bird shares her thoughts on 10-year-olds reading Twilight. She says: “If you are a parent, I fear you are merely delaying the inevitable. Your child, if forbidden Twilight, will desire it all the more. There’s nothing saying you can’t suggest other books as well, though.” And she includes some suggestions.

NonfictionmondayTerry Doherty is ready early with this week’s Nonfiction Monday round-up post at The Reading Tub. Contributors can use Mister Linky to enter their nonfiction posts tomorrow. 

Donalyn Miller (The Book Whisperer) calls upon people to celebrate their reading freedom. She says: “On this Independence Day, I am grateful for my freedom to read what I want. My fundamental right to write or read any book, blog, news article, or Twitter feed—no matter how controversial, thoughtful, or ridiculous—is not commonplace for all citizens around the world. When we choose our own reading material and encourage children to do the same—we exercise our rights as Americans. Celebrate your reading freedom today!” She also shares her recent reading list - she’s trying for a book a day this summer.

Speaking of The Book Whisper, Sarah Mulhern from The Reading Zone shares her experience in implementing a survey recommended by Donalyn in her book. She asked her students which factors from their classroom helped them the most in their development as readers. The result is a list of seven non-negotiables, in order of importance. I think that all teachers looking to inspire a love of reading in their students should check out the results from Sarah’s classroom. You might be surprised!

BooklightsI’ll also be sharing links to a bunch of posts written in defense of fun summer reading at Booklights first thing tomorrow morning. Other recent posts at Booklights have included a post in defense of comic strips by Susan Kusel, and some recommended beach-themed books suggested by Pam Coughlan. 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).

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).

Friday
Feb272009

Friday Night Visits: February 27

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

There’s been lot of activity out and about the Kidlitosphere this week. Here are a few highlights:

First up, breaking news from MotherReader — it looks like we have a definite date for the third annual Kidlitosphere conference, “officially, set for the weekend of October 16th–18th at the Sheraton Crystal City Hotel! … As we’ve done in the past, Friday will feature a dinnertime outing to some local place for whomever can come. Saturday will be the conference and dinner. Sunday will be some Washington, DC adventure”. I’ll let you know when the room block is set up, and you can make plans.

Kid-Lit72Lynn Hazen is hosting the February Carnival of Children’s Literature at Imaginary Blog this week. She asked for posts on the theme of “We Love Kid-Lit!”, and the result is a fabulous tribute to the joy of children’s literature. Like Lynn, I especially “enjoyed Book Aunt Kate Coombs’ view on the Anarchy of the Imagination: Why I Love Children’s Books.” But there is lots of other great stuff, too. Don’t miss it!

CybilsLogoSmallDeputy Editor Sarah Stevenson has a final round-up of reviews, and a bit of author feedback from Nic Bishop, at the Cybils blog. Our co-founder Anne Levy also had a fun post earlier in the week of Cybils by the numbers (number of books read, traffic, etc.)

Lots of other award news out this week, too. Gwenda Bond has the nomination lists for the Nebula and Norton awardsLori Calabrese has the scoop on the 2009 Red House Children’s Book AwardsTasha Saecker has the finalists for the 2009 Children’s Choice Book Awards and the 2009 Agatha Awards.   

SassafAnd of course, there’s been lots of buzz this week about the upcoming Share a Story - Shape a Future Literacy Blog Tour. Terry Doherty shares some additional background about the event here. The very thoughtful Brimful Curiosities made a nice button that people can display on their blogs to show support for the event, and I’m seeing it all over the place. You can also join the Share a Story - Shape a Future Facebook group.

Speaking of sharing stories, the Children’s Book Review has coined a new term. “Bookarazzi: A freelance blogger who pursues celebrities who read books, to create posts that promote children’s literature.” I like it!

Interesting Nonfiction for Kids (I.N.K.) shares children’s nonfiction magazinesGretchen Woelfle says “Children’s science magazines have evolved into well-designed, beautifully illustrated journals meant to entertain as well as inform. Animal-loving kids, especially, can revel in the options available.” 

Laurel Snyder’s had a great reaction to an article that she wrote about children’s books for Jews (“Lamenting the predictability of Jewish kids’ lit, a writer takes matters into her own hands”). Liz Burns supports Laurel’s post, but asks “what about the Catholics?” Both articles have generated lots of great discussion about how often authors completely gloss over any religious background of characters in children’s literature.

Gail Gauthier notes “an indication of YA’s significance now”, reporting that “Condoleeza Rice has signed a contract with Crown Publishers to write three books. Two of them will be memoirs about her family—one written for adults and the other “a young adult edition.”” I agree with Gail that a young adult version of the memoir of someone like Rice is good news all around.

BlogbutterflyawardAnd last, but definitely not least, the wonderful team at PaperTigers was kind enough to award me a Butterfly Award, for having a “cool” blog. This is one of my favorite awards, and it’s an honor to receive it from a blog that I link to so often. Thanks, Marjorie!

Wishing you all a joyful 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).

Wednesday
Feb112009

Quick Hits: February 11

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

I have a few quick news items to share with you this morning.

First up, our own Tanita S. Davis (aka TadMack from Finding Wonderland) is featured today at The Brown Bookshelf. Click through to learn more about Tanita, and her upcoming book. There’s even a rare photo. This interview is part of the Brown Bookshelf’s fabulous 28 Days Later Campaign.

Speaking of campaigns, there are a few new posts out there related to the Campaign for Read-Aloud:

  • The Book Chook interviews The Magnet Lady (aka Jen W). Jen drives around Ann Arbor, MI with a magnet on her car that says “Please read to your kids everyday”. The enthusiasm that both Book Chook and Jen have for reading with kids is inspiring.
  • Reconsidering Read-AloudFranki Sibberson picks up on the reading aloud topic at A Year of Reading, and draws readers’ attention to blog partner Mary Lee Hahn’s book, Reconsidering Read-Aloud (which I agree is an excellent resource). Franki also argues that rather than urging parents simply to read aloud with their kids, “there are LOTS of ways that parents and teachers can support children in becoming lifelong readers (and that) Being part of your child’s reading life is … the critical part.” I agree completely with Franki that read-aloud is only part of the conversation. The real goal is raising kids who enjoy reading, and it makes sense to do whatever it takes to get there. Part of why I like the idea of a campaign for read-aloud is that it’s one concrete thing that people can do to move in that direction.
  • This question was also picked up by Millie Davis at the NCTE Inbox Blog. After discussing her own experience with her daughter, Millie says: “So, would I advocate a national campaign to encourage parents to read aloud to their kids, like Jen Robinson has suggested on her blog? Yes, I think so. Would you?” A number of people discuss this in the comments.

KnuckleheadIn related news, the Providence Journal has an article by Kathleen Odean about National Ambassador Jon Scieszka’s recommendations for encouraging kids to read. The article mentions plenty of specific, kid-friendly titles. Those are fun, but I especially enjoyed this part: “Scieszka was an advocate for reading long before becoming Ambassador and will continue as such after his term ends in December. Meanwhile, he’s enjoying the perks of ambassadorship. “Kids give you things,” he reported, “like royal sashes they’ve decorated with puffy gold paint.”” Fun stuff! Link via Matt Holm.

The previous article mentioned Scieszka’s Guys Read website. Over at The Miss Rumphius Effect, Tricia is fed up with articles that presume that boys don’t like to read (and no, she’s not talking about the Providence Journal article). Citing a Guardian article, she says: “There are some interesting thoughts about “reverse engineering” books to resemble the things readers so love about the web. However, must authors always resort to boy-bashing to do it? Can we please give boys and young men just a bit of credit for their reading habits?” Tricia also linked to a fun Christian Science Monitor article about books for “children of all ages.” It’s also worth clicking through to see Tricia’s lovely new blog format.

Adult fans of children’s books should also check out the February Small Graces auction. Elaine Magliaro has the details at Wild Rose Reader.

In other news, in case you have somehow managed to miss it, Amazon just announced the release of the second edition of the Kindle eBook reader. I first saw the news on The Longstockings, but found a more detailed write-up at Cheryl Rainfield’s. I have to say, as someone who is a huge fan of tradition books, that I am intrigued by this version. It’s so thin! If I was traveling more, I would probably look into it.

Kid-Lit72Last but not least, Lynn Hazen is hosting the February Carnival of Children’s Literature, with a theme of “We Love Children’s (and YA) Books”. She says: “Tell us what you love about reading, reviewing, writing, or illustrating children’s (and YA) books. What do you love about getting good books into the hands of children and youth? What do you love (or even what breaks your heart) about the world of children’s books?” Submissions are due by February 23rd, at the Carnival site.

Wishing everyone a book-filled Valentine’s 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).

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).