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.

We welcome your feedback!

Search
Social Networking
Powered by Squarespace

Entries in Cybils (39)

Saturday
Nov282009

Saturday Afternoon Visits: November 28

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

I hope that you all had a lovely Thanksgiving. The Kidlitosphere has been relatively quiet of late, but I do have a few links to share with you all this weekend.

Abby (the) Librarian has launched her annual Twelve Days of Giving series, where she “post(s) for twelve days and recommend books for your holiday giving!”. She started on Friday with suggestions for buying books and making the world a better place, and added suggestions for a two-year old today.

BooklightsSee also a fun post from Terry Doherty at Booklights with “ideas for ways to give the gift of reading that don’t require batteries, computers, flashcards, or workbooks.” I especially liked the section on ways to “promote your little detective”. Also at Booklights, Pam Coughlan discusses ways to give a book (a continuing theme that’s she’s presented at MotherReader over the past few years). In the Booklights post, she shares some common themes, such as “giving the book along with a handmade gift certificate for a movie date for a rental or a theater release.” 

Liz Burns shares a post about giving books for the holidays at Tea Cozy. The post is a republication of something she wrote for Foreword Magazine a couple of years ago, but it remains timely today. Rather than a list of book suggestions, Liz includes tips for both giving and receiving books (like “Be Obvious About What You Want”). This is a post that many of us will want to quietly share with our friends and relatives.

Cybils2009-150pxSpeaking of giving books, Anne Levy has gritted her teeth and written her annual Cybils fundraising post. She shares ways that you can, in conjunction with your holiday shopping, send a bit of financial cheer in the direction of the Cybils organization. I also talked about this idea a bit in my post about choosing Cybils books for holiday gifts.

Leila from Bookshelves of Doom is accepting orders for TBR Tallboy #2, a short story magazine featuring stories by a variety of talented writers (including Tanita Davis and Sarah Stevenson from Finding Wonderland). I’m kind of curious about the story on “a pizza delivery guy who has an experience straight out of a pulp-horror magazine”.

Speaking of talented writers, Colleen Mondor has an introspective piece at Chasing Ray about how she does (and does not) talk about being a writer when she’s at holiday parties. Here’s a snippet: “They just shake their heads when you say you are a writer and they laugh a little bit inside. And they look down on you as foolish or flighty or deluded. That doesn’t happen though when you say you own airplanes; in fact when you say that they don’t have any damn thing to say back at all.”

At Maw Books, Natasha has an interesting guest post from author Bonny Becker. Bonny says: “Bad things happen. As a child, I found it scary, intriguing—and encouraging—when bad things happened in books… Now, as a grown-up writer of picture books, I wonder if we’ve gone too far in stripping “bad things” from our mainstream picture books?” She gives some great examples.

At Confessions of a BibliovoreMaureen muses on series books, and the way that some series (“especially the ones that get up to about four or five books with no end in sight”) lose their pull after a few books, while others don’t. She asks: “At what point does a series lose the pull, that Oooh, What’s S/He Going to Do Now and become More of the Same? What has an author done that has pulled it out for you?”. I shared what I think in the comments at Maureen’s.

Quick hits:

That’s all for today. I’ll be back Monday with this week’s Children’s Literacy and Reading News Round-Up (prepared with Terry Doherty) and a new post at Booklights. Hope you’re all enjoying a restful 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).

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).

Friday
Oct302009

Friday Afternoon Visits: Halloween Eve

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

Kidlitosphere_buttonThere’s been nonstop action around the Kidlitosphere this week. Here are a few highlights.

Halloween-themed posts abound this week. I, of course, liked this one from Joyce Grant at Getting Kids ReadingHallowe’en Literacy: Some ideas for working literacy into your Hallowe’en festivities. Like “Do a Hallowe’en recipe together. A perfect combination of math, reading and - yum!” Also, via a link from Katie B’s First Book’s Odds and Bookends column, bookish Halloween costume ideas from Laura Nathan. And Roberta Gibson at Wrapped in Foil is mulling giving out books for Halloween, inspired by a Books for Treats promotion in the comic strip Luann. And Pam Coughlan profiles three books about monsters at Booklights.

I found an interesting article about adults reading young adult fiction via @DonalynBooks and @TheReadingZone on Twitter. The Courier-Journal.com article by Erin Keane says “Young adult fiction’s appeal has grown way beyond the school library. What was once considered entertainment for kids has become big business for adults, who are increasingly turning to the children’s section for their own reading pleasure, according to publishing experts.”

As for what teens themselves enjoy reading, Publisher’s Weekly recently published the results of a TeenReads.com survey about teens’ reading habits. See Carol Fitzgerald’s article for details. Roger Sutton comments at Read Roger that “The most interesting statistic of this teen reading survey concerns who responded to it: “while we purposely marketed the survey to attract male readers, females are the vast majority (96%) of responders.”“

In other news about teen readers, Becky Levine shares a lovely story about boys excited for a book signing by Eoin Colfer. She says: “I hear SO much about boys not liking books, about losing boys from reading as they get into their teens. I watch my son and, too often, see him as the exception–myself as the lucky parent who gets to keep sharing this with her son. Last night, I realized he’s not the exception and neither am I. Write for the boys, folks. They’re here, and they’re starving for more books to read, more books that show them why theywant to write, too.”

My blog was included in recent lists of 101 Book Blogs You Need to Read and 100 Best Book Blogs for Kids, Tweens, and Teens by Online Universities. I especially liked the second list, because lots of my blogging friends are on it, too. Both lists are diverse, classified, and annotated. Although, as you know, I’m not a huge fan of “bests” in reference to blogs, I am happy to be in such good company.

Speaking of bests, Susan Thomsen has started her annual list of lists of best children’s books of 2009 at Chicken Spaghetti. She explains: “Last year I started compiling all the year-end “best of” lists in newspapers, magazines, and other sources. I added in many of the various children’s literature prizes throughout the year, too. (You can peruse “The Best of the Best: Kids’ Books ‘08” right here.) A person who chooses titles from these lists will read—and give and recommend to children—many good books.”

Still speaking of bests, Amazon is counting down their 100 best books of the year at Omnivoracious. You can find books 20 to 11 here, with links to the previous lists. I’ve been particularly happy to see The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate (#83), Shiver (#62), Catching Fire (#42), The Last Olympian (#29), and When You Reach Me (#21). That’s some representation for children’s and young adult literature in the overall list. I mean, I’d like to see more, but I agree with the titles that they did include.

Cybils2009-150pxIf you’re going to be around New York City next Saturday, November 7th, there’s an excellent Cybils-themed Literary Cafe being hosted by Betsy Bird at the new Children’s Center at 42nd St. You can find details in this post/news release at A Fuse #8 Production. Panelists will include Pam CoughlanElizabeth BurnsSusan Thomsen, and Anne Boles Levy. I’ll tell you - this is one of those rare occasions when I wish I still lived in the Northeast.

Speaking of Betsy Bird and of Amazon, Betsy provoked quite a controversy recently when she asked some pointed questions about Amazon’s Vine reviewer program. She said things like “the Vine reviewers are sometimes not the best representative readers for books that are a little different” and “The difference being that you can rely on a professional reviewer to give insightful commentary and acknowledge a book’s intended audience, and you can determine whether or not a blog reviewer is the kind of person you want looking over your product. And you don’t even have to pay us. The Vine folks, by contrast, are not professional reviewers and yet they enjoy a newfound #1 status of sorts.” The comments about “professional reviewers” vs. not seem to have caused the most sting for people. Me, I tried the Vine program very briefly, and didn’t like it. I didn’t like the idea of having to review books I was lukewarm about in order to receive more books (though I can see that requiring a certain number of reviews is necessary for this type of program). But I think that Betsy raises some issues worth thinking about. See also Kate Messner’s take.

Colleen Mondor took on this Vine controversy at Chasing Ray, tied it in with two other recent conflicts, and noted one alarming overall issue that connects the three. She says: “I wanted to point this all out to emphasize the many small ways in which book choice is constantly under attack. It’s not just banning that is a problem, in some ways that is the least of our problems because at least it is obvious. We know who to fight and when. The removal of choice in places big and small is insidious however and it’s easy to lose sight of but we need to be thinking about it and doing what we can to combat it all the time.” The comments there, though not as extensive as the ones at Betsy’s, are similarly mixed.

Liz B points out at Tea Cozy one more must-read article about the FTC Guidelines for BloggersOlgy Gary typed up a detailed transcript of Mary Engle’s session at KidLitCon, and then sent it to Mary for editing/approval. The result is an sanctioned transcript of the discussion - well worth your time. You can find it at Olgy’s Children Come First website. Olgy, a first-time attendee to KidLitCon, is clearly going to be an asset to the Kidlitosphere. Also at Tea Cozy, Liz highlights Cynthia Leitich Smith’s blogCynsations, in the latest of her Kidlitosphere profile features.

I’d like to offer a fond blogging farewell to Eisha from Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast. After co-founding 7-Imp with Jules (who will still be blogging there), Eisha has decided to move on to pursue other interests. I’m glad that she’s found other things to interest her, but she’ll certainly be missed in the Kidlitosphere. See also Tanita Davis’ farewell to Eisha at Finding Wonderland.

Quick hits:

And that’s all for today. I’ll be catching up on some literacy news this weekend for Monday’s roundup. Wishing you all a festive and freakish Halloween.

© 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).

Saturday
Oct242009

Sunday Afternoon Visits: October 25

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

It took a bit of doing, after traveling for five days last week, but I am finally caught up again with the blogs in my reader. Here are some highlights.

KidLitCon-badgePam is rounding up KidLitCon writeups at MotherReader. If you have a post about the conference that’s not included, leave the link in the comments at MotherReader, and Pam or Bill will get it added to the list. I’ve been hearing feedback on my conference post that people who didn’t attend are finding the various writeups useful, which is good to hear.

Cybils2009-150pxCybils nominations are now closed, and nominating committee panelists are reading and reviewing away. Approximately 950 titles were nominated across the nine categories. Sheila Ruth is contacting publishers about review copies, and shares details at the Cybils blog.

Tuesday was the National Day of Writing. I was digging out of email after last weekend’s trip, and pretty much missed the festivities. But I did manage to submit an entry to Mary Lee and Franki’s Gallery of Writing: A Lifetime of Reading. You can even see me on a short video that Mary Lee made about the gallery at A Year of Reading (at least, I think you can - I never have the nerve to actually watch myself on video). I especially loved Melissa’s submission, childhood and a love of reading, which you can find at Book Nut. Melissa describes how she rediscovered the power of children’s literature as an adult, and never looked back. Of course I agree with her completely that “some of the best stories out there are being written for children and young adults”.

Deweys-readathonbuttonThis weekend many book bloggers are participating in Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon. Here’s a brief description from the Readathon website: “For 24 hours, we read books, post to our blogs about our reading, and visit other readers’ blogs. We also participate in mini-challenges throughout the day. It happens twice a year, in April and in October.” There are about 140 bloggers participating (some from the Kidlitosphere, others from the broader book blogging community).

CrocusThe blog Saffron Tree is hosting a “book festival called CROCUS, for a week, starting yesterday, Oct 23rd, 2009. The theme is “Around the world in 7 days” and true to this, there will be an avalanche of reviews of wonderful books focusing on folktales, immigrant tales, modern tales, a crossword contest, and some interesting author interviews. This is all in the spirit of the blog to promote reading to children, and more so, of culturally diverse books.” (Text from an email that I received about the event.)

Quick hits:

  • At Kiddosphere, Jennifer Schultz has a feature in honor of Children’s Magazine Month. Jennifer also shares her thoughts on children’s books that would make great movies.
  • Episode 3 of The Exquisite Corpse Adventure is now available. This installment was contributed by Kate DiCamillo and illustrated by Calef Brown.
  • The most recent Poetry Friday roundup is at Big A little a. The most recent Nonfiction Monday roundup is at Lori Calabrese Writes!.  
  • Cheryl Rainfield shares part 6 of her occasional series on gift ideas for book loves, writers, and editors.
  • Lee Wind suggests that anonymity regarding book covers is a plus of eBook readers for boys reading books that might be considered “girly”, and for boys and girls reading GLBTQ titles.
  • At Educating AliceMonica Edinger discusses the question of whether or not a picture book could receive the Newbery Award (inspired by a post at Heavy Medal).
  • Tristan Bancks has a nice little post about the power of time off. He notes: “Creative work starts to feel samey when you work too hard for too long. You forget why you love it”, and recommends getting away from time to time.
  • James Preller (author of Six Innings) has a powerful memorial post about a boy named Ben.
  • Angie has a thoughtful post at Angieville about “those unexpected moments that give you pause, the passages, the words, the emotions they evoke. These are the passages that become favorites, that you go back and re-read to savor.”
  • Also, following up on her bad boys piece from last month, Angie has a post about nice guys from stories. She starts with the prototypical nice guy from literature, Gilbert Blythe (noting “capable of a little wickedness” as a requirement for the list).
  • GreenBeanTeenQueen shares her favorite sick day books and movies. Anne Shirley features prominently. Some of my favorite comfort reads are by Frances Hodgson Burnett, Georgette Heyer, Jane Austen, and D. E. Stevenson. What about you?
  • At Tea Cozy, Liz B profiles Semicolon’s Saturday Review of Books feature.
  • Travis has an entertaining, tongue-in-cheek post at 100 Scope Notes about “things librarians fancy”.
  • And, for a final fun post, the NCBLA blog links to an online contest at the New Yorker by which people can submit photos of their pets dressed up as literary characters (for instance, long-suffering dog Poppy dressed as The Velveteen Rabbit).

That’s all for today. Wishing you all a peaceful 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
Oct142009

Wednesday Afternoon Visits: October 14

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

First up, congratulations to the Kidlitosphere’s own Laini Taylor, shortlisted for the 2009 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature (for Lips Touch, which was already on my “must read soon” stack). I have raved about Laini’s other two books, Blackbringer and Silksinger, and heard great things about Lips Touch, too. Laini is a fabulous writer, and this is much deserved. Not to mention that Laini was a Cybils panelist last year, and co-organizer of the second Kidlitosphere Conference in Portland (with Jone MacCulloch). And she’s growing a young bookworm, even as we speak. Oh, I am just so happy for Laini!! {Edited to add: here’s Laini’s response.} Congratulations to the other nominees, too. Especially Deborah Heiligman (author of Charles and Emma), who I haven’t met, but who is my Facebook friend. See the full young people’s list at the Cybils blog.

Cybils2009-150pxCybils nominations close at midnight tomorrow night (10/15). You can access the nomination form, and lists of all of the nominated titles in each category, here. So, if you have a title that you LOVE, that you think is well-written and kid-friendly, the kind of book that you want to shout from the rooftops about, and it hasn’t been nominated yet, don’t miss your chance to see it considered for the Cybils. You can also read a bio/manifesto for Cybils co-founder Anne Boles Levy here.

KidLitCon-badgeKidLitCon is also fast approaching. Sara Lewis Holmes and her blogging author co-panelists are looking for your input. Sara asks: “What would you like to know about blogging as an author? Do you have questions about how we decide what to blog about/how we got started/why we continue/what benefits we see/what the pitfalls are? Or any other question?” See also Pam’s most recent post, encouraging locals who haven’t signed up yet to give the conference a look.

Susanna Reich wrote to me from I.N.K., saying: “Twenty-two award-winning authors who’ve been blogging at INK: Interesting Nonfiction for Kids, have created a searchable  database, INK Think Tank: Nonfiction In Your Classroom, at www.inkthinktank.com. Visitors will be able to search by keyword, subject, author, title, grade level, and most significantly, by national curriculum standards. Our goal is to get trade books into the classroom, and initial response from teachers and librarians has been enthusiastic.”

Becky Levine has an inspirational post about re-opening doors that you might have closed earlier in your life. She says: “I’m finding a big plus to being a person “of a certain age.” And that is that I believe in more possibilities than I did when I was younger… Possibilities. What doors have you closed and either forgotten about or too stubbornly ignored? Is it time, perhaps, to go oil the lock and hunt out the key?”

I ran across two additional responses to the FTC Guidelines for Bloggers:

Quick hits:

  • Kate Coombs shares five great out of print read-alouds at Book Aunt.
  • At Tea CozyLiz B shares information about the ALA’s Great Stories Club: “The Great Stories Club reaches underserved, troubled teen populations through books that are relevant to their lives. Libraries located within or working in partnership with facilities serving troubled teens (including juvenile justice facilities, alternative high schools, drug rehabilitation centers and nonprofits serving teen parents) are eligible to apply.”
  • Liz is also continuing her series of informational posts. This week she talks about children’s and young adult literature listservs.
  • Pam Coughlan has a repeat of an excellent article that she wrote about being a mother and a reader (they don’t call her MotherReader for nothing).
  • The Shrinking Violets have an interview with Laurie Helgoe, author of Introvert Power (which I reviewed here). This is an interview that particularly resonated with me (as did the book).
  • Terry Doherty has a great post at Booklights about Easy Readers (starting with The Cat in the Hat, of course, and including the Geisel and Cybils awards). This week’s Show and Tale at Booklights is Eloise.
  • Angie from Angieville has good news for fans of Dennis Lehane’s Patrick Kenzie/Angela Gennaro mystery series (like me).
  • Don’t forget that next week is Teen Read Week. See more details about the Readergirlz plans at Miss Erin.
  • A new issue of Notes from the Horn Book is now available, featuring an interview with Kristin Cashore.
  • The authors at The Spectacle are discussing Suzanne Collins’ Catching Fire (with spoilers).
  • Monica Edinger links to a New Yorker article by Daniel Zalewski about how strongly kids seem to be in charge in today’s picture books. He criticizes a number of modern books for their portrayal of browbeaten parents and rampaging kids (citing Kevin Henkes as an exception).
  • See more news at Terry’s Tuesday Blurbs post at the Reading Tub. She is highly recommending “the pictures from the Read for the Record event at Nationals Park”, and I agree with her.

That’s all I have for news for this week. I’ll be taking a few days off from the blog to attend KidLitCon. Ironic, I know, that I won’t be blogging because of a blogging conference. But there you have it. I have left a review or two queued up for delayed posting. Wishing you all a lovely 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).