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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 Cybils (39)

Saturday
Feb202010

Thursday Afternoon Visits: February 18

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

So I’ve been struggling through a bout of laryngitis this week. It’s made me a bit cranky (or perhaps general malaise has made me cranky - whichever). But the nice thing about the whole online world is that I can still interact with people, without needing to talk. And so, here are a few tidbits from the Kidlitosphere and twitterverse.

First up, the Kidlitosphere’s own Betsy Bird was profiled in Forbes today (online anyway)! Author Dirk Smillie calls her “the most powerful blogger in kids’ books”. And really, who could dispute that? I think she uses her power for good, though, don’t you? I especially liked this part, a quote from Dan Blank: “She channels her oddness into this niche blog, which then extends beyond its niche. Why was she born to do this? Who knows?” But do read the whole article. It’s great stuff!

Speaking of Betsy, she’s at the halfway point in revealing the results of the top 100 children’s books poll, with today’s reveal of titles 51 to 55. The list of titles is a wonderful resource in and of itself. And what Betsy’s doing with the posts, profiling each book, including cover images and quotes from contributors - it’s truly a labor of love. She’s made me want to go and read, or re-read, every single one of these titles. See also an interesting analysis of titles 100-71 by Eric Carpenter at What We Read and What We Think. Eric looks at things like distribution of votes, distribution of titles by decade, etc. His post is well worth a look.

Mockingjay While I love many of the titles on Betsy’s list, the genre that catches my attention most reliably is dystopian and post-apocalyptic fiction, especially when published for young adults. There’s been plenty of activity within my pet genre this week:

Cybils2009-150px My fellow Cybils panelist, Sam from Parenthetical.net, has posted mini-reviews of all of the non-winning finalists in our category, middle grade fantasy and science fiction. I’m not sure if or when I’ll get to this myself, so I refer you to Sam’s comments. They line up pretty well with what I would say, anyway. I’ll also note that Joni Sensel’s The Farwalker’s Quest is a post-apocalyptic title, and thus had my automatic attention. Melissa also has a Farwalker’s Quest review at One Librarian’s Book Reviews.

Speaking of the Cybils, special thanks to Rocco Staino for a lovely writeup about the Cybils winners at School Library Journal.  

I-can-read-meme The February I Can Read Carnival (an idea launched by Terry Doherty, now in its second moth) is running right now at Anastasia Suen’s 5 Great Books blog. Fittingly enough, Anastasia was the category organizer for the 2009 Easy Reader and Short Chapter Book committee of the Cybils. She has lots of excellent links for new readers.

Quick hits:

  • David Elzey continues his series on the aspects of books that appeal to boy readers. He talks about violence/conflict, action, and emotion in parts 3 through 5.  
  • At the Spectacle, KA Holt expresses her concern about lexile ratings being used to steer kids away from books that they want to read.
  • Travis has a very fun post at 100 Scope Notes predicting what books will be like in 3001. He is ridiculously creative, isn’t he?
  • The Texas Sweethearts have named their newest Featured Sweetheart: Mitali Perkins. Great choice, wouldn’t you say? You can read the interview here.
  • Liz B writes again, at Tea Cozy, about why it’s wrong to sell advance reading copies, or place them in library collections. If she keeps saying it often enough, perhaps the message will get across. There’s an extensive discussion going on in the comments.

And that’s all for today. Hope you all found some news of interest.

© 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).

Thursday
Feb112010

Wednesday Afternoon Visits: February 10

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

There has been a lot going on around the Kidlitosphere this past week. Here are some links for your perusal:

The biggest news is that Betsy Bird has started reporting the results of her Top 100 Children’s Books Poll at A Fuse #8 Production. Betsy asked readers to share their list of top 100 children’s books of all time. She’s compiled the results, and is reporting the list in small chunks, complete with commentary and assorted covers for each book. These posts (see 100-91, 90-86, 85-81) are truly an amazing resource, filled with quotes and memories about beloved books, new and old. Even though we’re only 20 titles in, I would venture to suggest that the completed list is going to make an excellent recommended reading list. In fact, I actually dreamed about reading these posts last night. Stay tuned to A Fuse #8 Production for the rest of the Top 100.

For anyone who might be snowed in this week, Joan S. at the First Book blog suggests: “Settling in to enjoy a GOOD BOOK doesn’t require electricity or a wireless connection. Satellite dishes may be covered with snow, wires may be down, but READING A BOOK just takes a quiet nook and a willingness to enjoy the moment.”

I noticed two posts today about creative classroom activities dedicated to popular books. At Educating Alice, Monica Edinger shares a mural that her students created after reading When You Reach Me together as a class. And at Learn Me Sumthin’, Tony’s class is tracking Percy Jackson’s adventures using Google Maps. Here’s a snippet from Tony’s post: “Some very unexpected and wonderful things started to happen. The classroom conversations about writing became stronger, because I think the kids really started to see the connection that fiction, even fantasy like The Lightning Thief, is more ‘real’ when the author can layer in events, details that are real. Also the importance of setting, which can get lost of 4th grade writers is now more apparent.”

Speaking of classrooms, Everybody Wins! reports: “MrsP.com has created some beautiful literary-inspired valentines — that you can download for free at www.MrsP.com. They are perfect for teachers or mentors to use in the classroom this week. They are created for readers of all-ages and perfect to give to the book lovers in your life.” Here’s the direct link. They are very cute! 

And in other Percy Jackson news, Amanda from A Patchwork of Books reports: “The Guardian has an awesome interview with author Rick Riordan (of Percy Jackson fame) about his son’s dyslexia and ADHD preventing him from enjoying reading. Well Mr. Percy Jackson’s story helped fix that!”. Of course, the Lightning Thief movie comes out on Friday, too, so we’ll be hearing lots more about Percy in the coming weeks.

David Elzey is writing a series (based on work that he did as part of a graduate residency) on building better boy books. You can find part 1 here and part 2 here. Part 1 is introductory, while Part 2 is about grabbing the attention of boys by using humor. David says: “there are subtleties to some forms of humor that boys respond to above others that can be incorporated into fiction. Knowing these elements might help explain what makes many boys – both readers and characters – tick.”

Charlotte's web At Booklights, Susan Kusel discusses reading Charlotte’s Web aloud to young children (who might not cope well with Charlotte’s death). Susan notes: “As a librarian, I frequently get asked what age the book is appropriate for. My answer is always that it depends on your child. Will they be able to handle it?” Commenters seem to agree.

Also at Booklights, Terry Doherty has launched a new monthly column called A Prompt Idea. She says: “Each month, I’ll talk about writing and suggest ways to add writing to children’s literacy diet. Even if your child isn’t ready to put pen to paper, prompts can open the doors to building vocabulary, honing communication skills, and being creative. Varying the outlets for writing and communicating is as important as offering different types of reading materials.”

Abby (the) Librarian and Kelly of Stacked are starting a new monthly roundup of posts about audiobooks. Abby says: “We want to encourage people to listen to audiobooks and to post about them. We want to provide a place for people to find out about great audiobooks.”

Cybils2009-150px The Cybils winners will be announced this Sunday (Valentine’s Day). In the meantime, the Cybils blog has been running a fun series about the inside scoop on the nominees in various categories. Here’s Part I, Part II, and Part III. I continue to be wowed that Deputy Editor Sarah Stevenson manages to keep up her own blog, and keep coming up with creative content for the Cybils blog, too.

Quick hits:

And that’s it for today. I’m feeling much better having the starred items in my reader cleaned up, and I’m off to watch the Duke/UNC game with a friend. Happy reading, all!

© 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).

Friday
Jan222010

Friday Afternoon Visits: January 22

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Quick hits:

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

Wishing you all a relaxing and book-filled weekend!

© 2010 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson’s Book Page. All rights reserved.
You can also find me on Twitter and at Booklights from PBS Parents.
All Amazon links in this post are affiliate links, and may result in my receiving a small commission (with no additional cost to you).

Thursday
Jan072010

Thursday Afternoon Visits: January 7

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

I’ll tell you - leave the computer behind for a few days, and hundreds of posts pile up in the reader. But I found digging out to be a good excuse to also spend some time weeding out inactive feeds. Anyway, here are a few highlights from the Kidlitosphere of late:

JkrROUNDUPTerry Doherty just published this month’s roundup of new resources for literacy and reading at The Reading Tub. This monthly series is an offshoot of the weekly Children’s Literacy Roundups that Terry and I do together, one that Terry has largely taken responsibility for. This month, she focuses on several resources related to literacy and reading, including a new service for recording books for your kids.

MotherReader has provided a FAQ for the upcoming 2010 Comment Challenge (co-hosted with Lee Wind, and which I previously described here). You can sign up tomorrow (Friday) with either MotherReader or Lee Wind.

BlogiestaThis weekend is also Bloggiesta, hosted by Natasha from Maw Books. As MotherReader put it, “It’s a chance to spend some time improving your blog, catching up on your reviews, and taming your Google Reader.” I don’t know that I’ll be formally participating in this one, since I’ve been catching up on my blog quite a bit this week already (and because I really MUST do some reading this weekend). But I’ll be there in spirit.

Foreword125x125The deadline is approaching to submit titles for the ForeWord Magazine’s Book of the Year Awards. You can find more information at the ForeWord website. “ForeWord Magazine’s Book of the Year Awards were established to bring increased attention to librarians and booksellers of the literary and graphic achievements of independent publishers and their authors.”

It’s also time to submit titles for Betsy Bird’s Top 100 Children’s Fiction Chapter Books poll at A Fuse #8 Production. This is a follow-on to the previous Top 100 Picture Books list that Betsy compiled. Readers have until January 31st, 2010 to submit their top 10 middle grade fiction titles of all time (NOT just 2009 titles). No early readers, no young adult books. This poll is focused squarely on middle grade fiction. You can find more details here. There’s also a young adult poll brewing at Diane Chen’s School Library Journal blog, Practically Paradise. Diane says “These are the titles that appeal to teens including young adult novels, nonfiction, and picture books for teens (ages 13-19)”.

John Green has an interesting article in School Library Journal about the future of reading. It’s quite long, but well worth the time to read. For instance, in regards to the future of book distribution, he says: “Just this: if, in the future, most books are sold either online or in big box stores like Costco and Wal-Mart, you (librarians) will become even more important to American literature. How you choose to build your collection, whom you buy from, and how you discover the works you want to share with your patrons will shape what Americans—whether or not they ever visit libraries—will read and how they will read it.” And “There’s no question … that librarians are to thank for the astonishing growth of YA fiction over the last decade.“ Oh, just read the whole thing. I found this link at The Miss Rumphius Effect.

Cybils2009-150pxAs previously mentioned, the Cybils shortlists are now available, and the Cybils judges (myself included) are reading away. For those in need of more reading suggestions, however, Cybils Deputy Editor Sarah Stevenson has a compilation of recommended reading lists from Cybils panelists. She notes that they are “not predictions, DEFINITELY not hints, and probably not prophecies, but certainly a great source of reading material if your TBR pile is getting low.” Now, this is not a problem I ever expect to have again in my life. But still, they’re nice lists. Elaine Magliaro also has a roundup of some more “official” best-of lists at Wild Rose Reader. And Sherry Early has a roundup of reader-submitted year-end booklists at Semicolon, 138 and counting. And last, but definitely not least, Betsy Bird has a scaled back version of her must-read Golden Fuse Awards (including such helpful categories as Best Swag of the Year).

Speaking of the Cybils, in response to the previously mentioned discussions about lack of diversity in the Cybils shortlists (more a symptom of a larger issue than any criticism of the panelists themselves), Colleen Mondor calls upon readers to demand diversity in publishing. She says: “We have to make this a big deal. No more holding a diversity challenge and thinking that is enough. No more having an event where we look at books by POC or with diverse protagonists. No more making diversity something we look at on special days or for special reasons.” See also Doret’s take at TheHappyNappyBookseller. What do you all think?

On a lighter note, Laini Taylor today described a Reader’s Retreat in New Hampshire, organized by Elizabeth MacCrellish, that sounds (and looks - she has photos) wonderful. Here’s the gist: “Reading reading reading, a juicy stack of wonderful books, and taking breaks for yummy meals prepared for you, in the company of other lovely kindred spirits who have also been living inside books all day?” This event, a Squam Arts Workshops (SAW) session scheduled for September 1-5, sounds amazing to me. Perhaps someday…

Quick hits:

© 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).

Friday
Dec112009

Friday Visits: December 11

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

Given the bustle of the holiday season, I’ve had trouble keeping up with Kidlitosphere news lately. But here are some highlights from the past couple of weeks (at least those that I think are still timely).

Cybils2009-150pxMichelle is running a Cybils Award Challenge at Galleysmith. She says: “The Cybils Award Challenge is where participants are encouraged to read from The Cybils Award nominees for the given year.” The challenge runs through the end of 2010, so you have plenty of time to participate.

Speaking of the Cybils, several Cybils bloggers were nominated for this year’s EduBlog awards. You can find the list at the Cybils blog. And, of course, it’s not too late to use the Cybils nomination lists (and past short lists) to help with your holiday shopping!

Speaking of holidays, in honor of Hanukkah, I’d like to bring to your attention a podcast at The Book of Life, in which Heidi EstrinEsme Raji CodellMark Blevis, and Richard Michelson discuss a variety of topics, including their predicted winners for the 2010 Sydney Taylor Book Award. For my Jewish readers, I wish you all a Happy Hanukkah!

Book lists abound this time of year. I mentioned several in Monday’s post at Booklights, but have a few new ones to share here. Lee Wind offers a list of GLBTQ books for middle schoolers. Another list I like a lot is Kate Messner’s list of her favorite 2009 titles, broken into creative categories (starting with my favorite, dystopias). Colleen Mondor has an excellent three-part piece with book recommendations for girls from several authors (the regular participants in Colleen’s What a Girl Wants series). And, Library Lady from Read it Again, Mom! shares her lists of Best Picture Books of the Decade and Best Chapter Books of the Decade. Finally, for a fun list of movies, Susan Taylor Brown shares over 200 movies about the literary life.

Newlogorg200This is very late news, but the Readergirlz author of the month is Tamora PierceLittle Willow has all the details at Bildungsroman.

Liz B. at Tea Cozy was inspired by the recent School Library Journal cover controversy to start a list of “books where an alcoholic (including recovering alcoholic) is portrayed as something other than the evil, abusive person”. (Have I shared that? People were offended because the librarians mentioned in Betsy Bird’s SLJ article on blogging were shown on the cover having drinks in a bar.). Also from Liz, see the William C. Morris YA Debut Award shortlist.

Speaking of recent controversies, Steph Su has a thoughtful post on the recent situation by which certain young adult titles were removed from a Kentucky classroom in Montgomery County (see details here). What I especially like about Steph’s post is that she links to comments from a blogger who she doesn’t agree with, so that she can understand both sides of the debate. My personal take is that the county superintendent is using a specious argument about academic rigor to remove books that he finds personally offensive from the classroom. See also commentary on this incident from Laurie Halse AndersonColleen Mondor, and Liz Burns.

Quick hits:

And that’s all I have for you today. I hope that you find some tidbits worth reading, and that I can do better at keeping up with the Kidlitosphere news in the future. Happy weekend, all!

© 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).