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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)

Friday
Sep112009

Friday Afternoon Visits: September 11

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

September 11th will never again be just another day. One can’t even think about the date without remembering the events that occurred 8 years ago. My heart goes out to the friends and family members who are still grieving. The people lost on 9/11/01 will never be forgotten.

But I think that remembering terrible things only makes it that much important to take positive actions when we can. In doing so, even when the actions are small, we send out a tiny light into the darkness. And so, this Friday, September 11th, I bring you the news from the largely joyful place that is the Kidlitosphere. First, some September 11th-related remembrances and reviews:

RIFF_logoAt Rasco from RIFCarol Rasco shares RIF’s plans for the first official September 11 Day of Service and Remembrance. She says: “The tragic events of September 11, 2001 unified us as a nation. The memory of that day continues to inspire us to serve our neighbors, our communities, and our country. We are pleased to join this national effort and thank the President for making this call to service.” 

14_cowsAt The Reading TubTerry Doherty shares her personal response to the book 14 Cows for America, saying: “Although September 11, 2001 is the backdrop for the story, Deedy is offering us a timeless, universal story of empathy, compassion, and shared dreams of hope. Sharing this book with a child will open their minds to other cultures, traditions, and belief systems.”

Levithan_loveAnd at Finding WonderlandTanita Davis intermingles her memories of 9/11 with a review of David Levithan’s Love is the Higher Law. She says: “David Levithan is a New Yorker whose own impressions of that bewildering, horrifying, terrifying day are reflected in these pages. Few readers, teens and adults alike, will be able to experience this novel without remembering their own story — where they were that day, what they did.” Jackie Parker reviews the book, too, at InteractiveReader. She says: “I read it because it was David Levithan writing about 9/11. I know that Levithan is a New Yorker. And I trusted him as an author to deal with this subject with barefaced honesty, never pandering, never with any sense of self-importance or false heroism, or anything else that sullies that day.” 

At The Simple and the Ordinary, Christine M. shares her fragmented but crystal clear 9/11 memoriesSarah shares hers at The Reading Zone, and Susan hers at Chicken Spaghetti.  Me, I was in Austin, Texas on a business trip, and I heard about the events in New York on the car radio, on my way to work. During the course of that half hour drive, the first tower fell. And things were different. We all remember.

But, now, because life does go on, I’ll go on to the regular blogosphere news:

Book-blogger-appreciation-weekSherry Early has been running a great feature at Semicolon. She’s going through the shortlists for Book Blogger Appreciation Week, checking out each blog, writing a short blurb about the blog, and identifying her pick in each category. For example, here’s her assessment of the Best Thriller/Mystery/Suspense Blog category. I’ve flagged several of her posts to go back to, as I seek out new blogs to follow myself. (In the interest of full disclosure, I should admit that Sherry has some nice things to say about my own blog, shortlisted in the Best KidLit Blog category. But I would think it was a neat feature in any case, I’m sure.) See also a thoughtful post at Chasing Ray, in which Colleen Mondor shares her opinion about shortlisting blogs, in general. Incidentally, voting for BBAW closes at midnight Saturday night. I hope that if you have opinions about any of the categories, you’ll take a few minutes to vote. And stay tuned for lots more BBAW activity next week.  

Cybils2009-Web-SmallThanks to the talented and hard-working Sarah Stevenson, new Cybils Bling is now available for purchase at Cafe Press. All of the new merchandise (t-shirt, mugs, buttons, tote bag, etc.) features the snazzy new Cybils 2009 logo. You can find details at the Cybils blog. Personally, I have my eye on a new mug, to go with my assorted Kidlitosphere Conference mugs from years past.

BooklightsPam and Susan have both hit it out of the park at Booklights this week, in my opinion. On Wednesday, Susan wrote about the ups and downs of reading aloud. She offers practical advice for parents who might be disappointed by their young kids’ unwillingness to sit still for read-aloud. Her conclusion: “Go easy on yourself and your children when it comes to reading aloud. And enjoy the wonderful moments when they happen.” Then yesterday, Pam used her Thursday Three feature to offer reading help for “the three people involved in your child’s reading development - the teacher, the child, and yourself.” I especially liked her strong suggestion that parents try to avoid The Reading Game (parental competition over kids’ reading levels and books). Both of these posts have the same general message for parents: raising readers works best if you keep it fun, and keep from being too hard on yourself or the kids. And that, my friends, is why I’m so happy to be working with Pam and Susan (and Gina, who guides us all, and Ann, who reinforces what we’re doing) at Booklights.

Terry Doherty wrote a guest article for this month’s Children’s Book Insider (subscription required) that some of you may find of interest. It’s about generating cyberbuzz (or, how to get your book reviewed online). Terry offers tips based on her experience in moderating book review requests at The Reading Tub. She also makes an interesting distinction between “stories written for kids, titles adults like for their kids; and books meant for adults.” There’s also a followup interview between Terry and CBI’s Laura Backes here. Terry also has a guest piece in the Examiner, as part of Jennifer Finke’s series on Toys with Imagination. Terry talks about engaging toddlers and kids with interactive books (no batteries required!).

Nathan Bransford, the literary agent, started an interesting discussion on his blog this week about whether or not children’s books should be “content-rated” like movies and video games. As I write there are some 250+ comments - clearly this is a topic that people feel strongly about. I found this post via Dawn Morris from Moms Inspire Learning (who found it via Jon Bard from Children’s Book Insider). Dawn says (on her own blog): “I wish the YA section of the library could be split in two, with books that address serious issues being put into a separate section for high school students. Why can’t there be a “safe” section just for children between the ages of 10 and 14? Parents can’t always read every book, after all.” Me, I think it’s a complicated question, because content ratings for books are such a subjective and variable thing. What’s “safe” for one kid might seem edgy for the next. It’s not easy. On a related note, Robin LaFevers writes about “some of the delineations in writing YA versus MG versus adult books”.

Another controversy has spun up around the lit blogosphere this week. The latest Notes from the Horn Book (a monthly email newsletter from Horn Book Magazine) included an interview with author Richard Peck. Mr. Peck apparently criticized teachers for reading books aloud. The interview has evoked some dissenting opinions from teachers, of course, particularly from Sarah at The Reading Zone and Monica Edinger at Educating Alice. See also Horn Book editor Roger Sutton’s take at Read Roger (he says “I think Peck was complaining about classrooms where kids’ only exposure to trade books was hearing them read aloud”). But still… it’s always something! 

Gail Gauthier linked to an interesting piece in the Denver Post by David Milofsky. The author posits that, as Google and Yahoo start paying publishers to link to news stories, the same might be expected of literary bloggers. A number of prominent bloggers are quoted in the article. I would tend to agree with Gail that if your blog doesn’t make money, fair use would probably apply in linking to a news story. Personally, it’s not like my blog is a big profit center for me. If I had to pay to link to news stories, well, I just wouldn’t link to news stories. Or I’d find some other way to do it, anyway. But it’s something to watch.

Quick Hits:

  • This week’s Poetry Friday roundup is at Wild Rose Reader. The last Nonfiction Monday roundup was at The Miss Rumphius Effect.
  • Greg Pincus has an inspirational post about community and the power of #kidlitchat (a weekly Twitter chat about children’s books and publishing). I’ll tell you, he made me want to participate, and I’m so not a “chat” person (the introvert in me can’t cope with the swirl of conversation, even when it’s online).
  • At Angieville, Angie has a fun post about the appeal of “bad boys” in literature, inspired by a post from Adele at Persnickety Snark. Reading both posts, it’s clear to me that in literature and TV, I’m generally in favor of Bad Boys, too (I pick Pacey over Dawson any day, and I am Team Gale all the way).
  • At Bookshelves of DoomLeila is in a bit of a reading slump, and looking for “something that I’ll be able to fall into, that has writing that at the very least won’t make me roll my eyes, that has characters I can believe in, a story that I haven’t read a million times before (unless the writing and the characters make it work), something that I’ll remember for more than an hour after reading.” Lots of promising suggestions in the comments.
  • At Parents and Kids Reading Together, Cathy Puett Miller says that “picture books are for everyone”.
  • Cheryl Rainfield has pictures of a house and furniture made out of books (well, not really, but they’re made to look like they’re made out of books, which works, too). Very fun!
  • At the Miss Rumphius EffectTricia links to a Fledgling post by Zetta Elliott about authors of color. Tricia says: “In addition to being a mighty strong argument for the recognition of works by authors of color, she includes links to some astounding and disheartening statistics.” See also Roger Sutton’s response.
  • Speaking of the need for diversity in publishing, Susan has a great quote at Chicken Spaghetti from Amy Bowllan’s School Library Journal blog, in a recent column about writers against racism: “Literature helps us understand who we are and to find our place in the world.” 
  • Responding to the recent trend of adding horror elements to classic romances (e.g. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies), Becky from Becky’s Book Reviews suggests adding romance to some of the classic horror stories (e.g. a love interest for Frankenstein). I like it!
  • At A Year of Reading, Mary Lee and Franki are commemorating the start of the new school year with a series of posts celebrating teachers. I especially liked Day 4, in which Franki reminds people about Mary Lee and Franki’s list of Cool Teachers in Children’s Literature.
  • Liz Burns from Tea Cozy is one of the winners of the Color Me Brown challenge at Color Online. She links to other winners here
  • Susan Beth Pfeffer unveils the cover of the third Life As We Knew It book, The World We Live In. This is one book for which I don’t need to see any reviews. I already want it.  
  • Colleen Mondor wrote a short history of Guys Lit Wire for Crossed Genres magazine.
  • Mary Pearson guest blogged at Tor the other day about everyone’s obsession with the future (and specifically talked about how thinking about the future led her to the ideas in The Adoration of Jenna Fox). She also has a smart post at Tor about what YA lit is and isn’t (I found that one via Liz B.).
  • Sarah Stevenson chimed in on MotherReader’s Kidlitosphere Conference meme at Finding Wonderland. Updated to add that Betsy Bird chimed in from Fuse #8, too (and she hardly ever does memes). And Colleen makes a particularly strong case for writers to attend, at Chasing Ray. Oh, I wish that EVERYONE could come this year. At least Liz B. will be there again this year (here’s her meme).
  • And if this isn’t enough news for you, Abby (the) Librarian has some other links today.

Wishing you all a weekend of peace. Me, I just got some good news from my brother, which definitely makes the day a lot brighter.

© 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
Aug282009

Friday Afternoon Visits: August 28

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

Kidlitosphere_buttonMy blogging time has been limited for the past couple of weeks, due to a combination of guests, travel, and Internet access woes. Fortunately, I had a few reviews stored up, which kept the blog from going dark. But I’ve missed out on a lot of activities going on around the Kidlitosphere. Today, I’ve managed to catch up on the past couple of weeks of kidlit blog news.

Cybils2009-Web-SmallThe call for judges for this year’s Cybils Award process went out earlier this week. Here’s the scoop: “If you:

  • blog about some aspect of children’s or teen books on at least a somewhat consistent basis;
  • or contribute regularly to a group blog about same;
  • know a thing or two about what kids/teens are reading these days;
  • are planning to be reading obsessively over the next few months anyway

…we may have a spot for you. You start by emailing us at cybils09 (at) gmail (dot) com. It’s a group email so that our organizers can get excited when they see the names coming in from prospective volunteers.” (Do click through to read the full announcement first.) I’ll be continuing as Literacy Evangelist for this year’s Cybils, and I know for certain that a result of the process is going to be fabulous lists of books. I hope that many of your will participate. Also, have you seen our gorgeous new logo? It’s the work of the multi-talented Sarah Stevenson (aka aquafortis). I love it!

Two of the savviest bloggers I know, Mark Blevis from Just One More Book!! and Greg Pincus from Gotta Book and The Happy Accident, are teaming up on a new project. According to the Just One More Book!! newsletter, they’re going to “deliver a series of free webcasts that will give book publishers, publicists, authors, illustrators and enthusiasts social media savvy for outreach and promotion.” You can find more information here. Congratulations to Andrea and Mark of JOMB on their third blogging anniversary, too.

Mary Lee and Franki from A Year of Reading have started a new “lifetime of reading gallery”. Here’s the scoop: “Members of the Kidlitosphere are invited to submit stories from their reading lives. Your submission can be an anecdote from childhood, a recent experience around books or reading, a memory from school (good or bad), a vignette about learning to read, the impact of a particular book—anything about your life as a reader. We are looking for a variety of short pieces (think blog post length) from anyone in the Kidlitosphere, including bloggers, authors, illustrators, readers of blogs, etc. Our gallery is open to everyone who is a blogger, blog reader, author, illustrator, blog reader, blog commenter, etc.” [And while you’re thinking about reading memories, Charles from online children’s bookstore Through the Magic Door is also looking for submissions in that area.]

Pam Coughlan (MotherReader) is guest blogging at ForeWord Magazine’s Shelf Space this month. This week she has a new post “about saving time, money, and energy at your library during this difficult economic climate.” Dedicated community builder that she is, Pam also wrote a must-read post at MotherReader recently reminding people not to let an addiction to Twitter keep them from taking time to comment on blog posts. She says: I don’t want to come off as angry or peevish, and I hope that those of you who follow me understand that. I do think commenting is important and is something that we are losing in our community to the detriment of all.” And she discusses the benefits to the person commenting, in terms of exposure. There is, appropriately, an interesting discussion in the comments, some of which points out ways that Twitter and blog comments can complement each other. Personally, I like Twitter for broadcasting news tidbits, but I find that I prefer my blog or Facebook for back and forth discussion in the comments. It’s easier to see the whole thread. But I’ve found new friends on Twitter, too. It’s an interesting balance. But do check out Pam’s post, and the comments. See also a getting started guide for Twitter, prepared by Mitali Perkins.

Speaking of people who inspire lots of comments, My Friend Amy has taken on a couple of interesting topics this week. Yesterday, she asked: “what themes draw you in when reading?” Today, she asks “how important are likeable characters?” Both posts have tons of comments. I was particularly interested in the themes question. Here’s an abridged version of my response: “My favorite sub-genre is dystopian fiction. I think as a theme I’m drawn to a larger question of identity (as mentioned be Lenore and Alexa). I’m curious about what happens when the traditional constraints of society are removed. How to individuals rise to the challenge? How does society reform? Which values are internal, and which are imposed by society? I’m also drawn to tween books where the characters are just starting to think about growing up, dating, etc. Perhaps this is identity, as framed by separation from the family (just as the dystopia books are identity as framed by separation from society… interesting parallel).”

And still speaking of people who inspire many comments, Shannon Hale published a new installment in her fabulous “How to be a reader” series last week. This one is about book evaluation vs. self-evaluation. Shannon talks specifically about star ratings on reader reviews, and calls the practice into question, saying (among other excellent points) “In my opinion, there are more interesting questions to ask myself after reading a book than what I would rate it… I wonder if book evaluation is trumping self-evaluation. I wonder if we get so caught up in gushing or bashing, shining up those stars or taking them away, that the reading experience is weighed too heavily on the side of the book itself and not enough on the reader.” She also includes a quiz for people who review books. Tanita Davis responds at Finding Wonderland. Liz B responds at Tea Cozy, here and here. Like Liz and Tanita, I don’t include ratings in my reviews. It just seems arbitrary. I’d rather talk about the book, and what I liked or didn’t like, or what I thought was particularly well done. Most of the time, any review from me is an implied “thumbs up” anyway, because I don’t tend to spend my time reviewing books that I don’t think are worth my reviewing time. Still, there’s a lot of great food for thought in Shannon’s post, the comments, and Liz and Tanita’s responses.

Quick hits:

  • Also from Liz B, a survey about time spent blogging. For me, today, it’s going to be something like 8 hours. But that’s not typical. Really.
  • Today’s Poetry Friday roundup is at Kate Coombs’ blog, Book Aunt.
  • Kirby Larson has been hosting a discussion panel on the topic of gender in reading and writing. Here are Part 1 (about the reading histories of the 10 panelists), Part 2 (about “girl books” vs. “boy books”), and Part 3 (books that appeal regardless of gender). (updated to add Part 4)
  • Elaine Magliaro shares an excellent list of links to back to school booklists and other resources at Wild Rose Reader.
  • At Literate Lives, Karen writes about a first day of school author visit from Margaret Peterson Haddix. How great is that for getting kids excited about being back at school?
  • Franki Sibberson shares her reflections, pros and cons, on reading via Kindle. Overall, she sees the Kindle as her primary reading source for the future.
  • Charlotte from Charlotte’s Library (with help from various commenters) muses on fantasy books that include girls who like to read.
  • At Confessions of a BibliovoreMaureen takes on Susan’s recent Booklights question about books that you’d like to read again for the first time. Maureen talks about books that she’s re-read, and found more the second (or third or tenth) time.
  • Kelly at YAnnabe shares 7 ways to revive your love of reading. She even suggests having a friend or partner read aloud to you, if you need to bring back the fun of reading.
  • Tif from Tif Talks Books writes about books as bridges, saying “I have discovered that books can truly be a bridge … a connection … something that can help many of us relate despite our differences.” 
  • Abby (the) Librarian has more Kidlitosphere links, if you’re still hungry for news. So does MotherReader.
  • Last, but not least, don’t forget to register for KidLitCon 2009.

I hope to be back this weekend with an installment of my “reviews that made me want the book” feature. That would let me finish cleaning up my Google Reader in quite a satisfactory fashion. And it’s an excellent baseball task. Happy reading, 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).

Thursday
Jun252009

Thursday Afternoon Visits: June 25

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

Kidlitosphere_buttonHere are a few things from around the Kidlitosphere that caught my eye this week.

BooklightsWe have a new regular blogger over at BooklightsAnn will be posting once a month, offering “an end-of-the-month summary, reaction, and (sharing of) the ideas” that Pam, Susan, and I have raised. You can find Ann’s first post here. She has her top 10 picture books list, and responses to some of the ongoing discussion at Booklights about social reading, summer reading, and the importance of picture books. It’s an honor to have her participation!

Also at Booklights this week: Susan has an informative post about how to find information on series books and sequels, while Pam highlights three extra-cute picture books. And speaking of cute picture books (though not at Booklights, Abby (the) Librarian shares titles from a chicken storytime.

Elaine Magliaro shares Book Lists for Summer Reading 2009 at Wild Rose Reader. In addition to links to various book lists, she also links to two articles from Reading Rockets about getting the most out of summer reading. And for some summer reading suggestions directly from sixth graders, check out “You HAVE to Read This” from Sarah Mulhern’s students at the Reading Zone. “Each student chose one book that they feel all 6th graders must read.” One thing that I love about the list is the range of reading levels of the books included.

Brbc+buttonBook Dads hosts the 20th Edition of the Book Review Blog Carnival (and the first time I’ve run across this carnival, I think). There are quite a few reviews in honor of Father’s Day.

Colleen Mondor has a new installment of her fabulous What a Girl Wants series. This week, she talks with a variety of authors about the allure of the “girl detective” in literature. She asks: “does the girl detective genre matter to teen readers today? Do we need her around and if so, what does she bring to the table? Are we missing out on a chance of future female justices by not having mysteries with teen girl protagonists? In a nutshell, should we care at all about the girl detective?” In addition to the contributions by various authors in the body of the post, there’s a great discussion in the comments, too.

Colleen also links to a post that I neglected to mention before from TheHappyNappyBookseller, about the treatment of an African-American character in the final Percy Jackson book. Doret says: “this final book left a bad taste in my mouth”, and explains why. Jennie from Biblio File expands on the topic of race in the Percy Jackson books with a complaint about the narrator’s treatment of Asian-American characters in the audiobooks.  

CybilsLogoSmallAt the Cybils blog, Sarah Stevenson links to several upcoming and recently released titles written by Cybils panelists. She includes two titles that I recently reviewed (Mare’s War by Tanita Davis and Silksinger by Laini Taylor). Click through to see the others.

At Charlotte’s Library, Charlotte shares a list of fantasy titles compiled for a nine-year-old girl who likes “a bit of scary stuff”. This post is part one of the list, featuring older titles that Charlotte loved at that age. A followup post with more current titles will be forthcoming. There are a bunch of other suggestions from the 1970’s in the comments.

MotherReader shares some suggestions for preventing, and recovering from, the current round of blog angst flu. Here’s a snippet: “Look to the things that make you feel good, or at least feel better. Tap into strong relationships. Find things that make you smile. A sense of humor can be a saving grace. A well-developed sense of irony is better than a good night’s sleep.” She is very wise, that MotherReader.

LemonadestandawardLast, but not least, I received two lovely blog awards this week. First Tif from Tif Talks Books gave me a Lemonade Award, for “blogs that show great attitude or gratitude.” I certainly am grateful to be a member of the Kidlitosphere, so this award means a lot. Thanks, Tif! Susan Stephenson, who was also on Tif’s list, named me a June 2009 Book Chook Hero, with Terry Doherty, for our efforts in putting together the weekly children’s literacy round-ups. We do spend quite a lot of time on those, and it’s extra-nice to have that recognized. A great week all around! Susan also has a lovely post about books and food (reading and eating at the same time) at the Book Chook.

And now, my reader is nearly free of starred items (with the exception of a couple of reviews that I’m saving). It’s time to set aside the computer in favor of dinner. Happy reading, 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).

Saturday
May302009

Saturday Night Visits: May 30

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

I fell quite behind on my blog reading while I was on vacation last week. I spent some time catching up this weekend (though I was by no means able to actually read all of the posts that I missed), and I do have a few Kidlitosphere highlights for you today. I’ll be back Monday with some more literacy-focused news, both here and at Booklights.

Catching FirePeople have started receiving ARCs of the Hunger Games sequelCatching Fire (talk about an accurate title - this book is catching fire in the market already). PW has an article about it here. The first review that I saw (a positive one!) was from Tasha Saecker at Kids Lit. Sadly, I have not been among the lucky ARC recipients. But I am glad to hear that the book is being well-received. Really. And perhaps my copy is just slow making it out to California, don’t you think? Or, I should have gone to BEA.

Great news! Kelly Herold, of Big A little a and Cybils fame (and one of my very first blog friends), is back after a bit of a blogging hiatus. She’s started a new blog called Crossover. She explains: “This blog, Crossover, focuses on a rare breed of book—the adult book teens love, the teen book adults appreciate, and (very, very occasionally) that Middle Grade book adults read. I’m interested in reviewing books that transcend these age boundaries and understanding why these books are different.” I love Crossover books, and I’m certain to enjoy this new blot.

The Kidlitosphere’s own Greg Pincus from GottaBook has a new blog, too. It’s called The Happy Accident, and it’s about using social media to help create happy accidents. [If you need proof that Greg understands how to use blogs and other social media tools well, The Happy Accident already shows up as the #3 entry when I Google search.] Although this new blog is not about children’s literature, I’m introducing it here because I think that it will have value to anyone who has goals that in some way include using social media (Twitter, Facebook, blogs, etc.). I’ll certainly be following Greg’s progress.

And speaking of people from the Kidlitosphere doing great things, Betsy Bird and Liz Burns were both featured in a panel at BEA last week (with Libba Bray, Cheryl Klein, and Laura Lutz). School Library Journal has a mini recap of the session, written by Debra Lau Whelan. Debra begins: “When Betsy Bird and Liz Burns speak, people listen.” Certainly I always do. BEA also featured a blogger signing booth this year. Pam Coughlan and Sheila Ruth are scheduled to be there tomorrow, and Lenore was there earlier in the weekend. (And perhaps others - I’m too demoralized from not having been at BEA to read any more coverage.)

Betsy also recently received her first author copies of her upcoming book: Children’s Literature Gems, Choosing and Using Them in Your Library CareerShe has pictures here. And she was recently interviewed by James Preller.

CybilsLogoSmallAnd still speaking of Kidlitosphere members doing great things, the Cybils were included in a recent list of the Top 100 Poetry Blogs (along with several of our other friends). Sarah Stevenson has the full scoop, with links, at the Cybils blog.

The Book WhispererEsme Raji Codell recently reviewed Donalyn Miller’s The Book Whisperer last week at PlanetEsme. She begins with: “I don’t usually stray from reviews and recommendations of books for kids, but in the interest of children’s literacy I need to shout out about a title that might do for independent reading what Jim Trelease’s READ-ALOUD HANDBOOK did for read-aloud.” She moves on from there to compare and contrast Donalyn’s results with her own teaching experience, concluding on a positive note with “Oh, Donalyn Miller. You go, girl.”

At Jenny’s Wonderland of BooksJenny Schwartzberg traces a history of ghosts in children’s literature, from the 1600s through the 1960s (I remember Ghosts Who Went to School, too) right up to 2008 Newbery winner The Graveyard Book. She concludes: “Over the last two hundred years children’s books have shifted from showing ghosts as frightening images used to teach morals to ghosts as a common theme in all kinds of books for children, whether they be scary or friendly.” Like many of Jenny’s posts, this one is well-researched, and well worth checking out.

I recently discovered the blog YAnnabeKelly has a fun post called 5 Ways You Can Convert YA Scoffers, about methods for getting other adults to start reading young adult books. She begins: “We all know adults who read YA have nothing to be ashamed of. But I’m not content to read YA just for my happy little self. You see, I’m a pusher.” In addition to Kelly’s five tips, there are other reader-suggested ideas in the comments.

At the Reading Rockets Sound It Out blogJoanne Meier shares several “relatively painless ways for teachers to stay in touch with teaching and learning this summer, besides of course browsing Reading Rockets!” I was honored to be included (along with Anastasia Suen) on Joanne’s recommended resource list.

One_lovely_blog_awardSpeaking on honors, Mrs. V awarded me a One Lovely Blog award at Mrs. V’s Reviews, for new blogs and blogging friends. She agrees with my mission statement, about how “helping establish life long readers has the power to change the world.” It’s always a joy to find a new kindred spirit.

And that’s it! After resorting eventually to “mark all as read” in my reader, I’m declaring myself caught up. Happy weekend to 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).

Friday
May012009

Friday Afternoon Visits: May 1

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

Kidlitosphere_buttonIt’s been another hectic week around the Kidlitosphere. The number of starred items in my Google Reader keeps growing by leaps and bounds. Here are a few highlights (with more literacy and reading focused news to come on Monday):

The Edgar Award winners (from the Mystery Writers of America) were announced this week, as reported by Omnivoracious. They include: Best Young Adult Mystery: Paper Towns by John Green, and Best Juvenile MysteryThe Postcard by Tony Abbott.  

Jacba_bookseal-150x150In other award news, the 2009 Jane Addams Children’s Book Awards were announced. I found the news at PaperTigers. From the press release: “Books commended by the Award address themes or topics that engage children in thinking about peace, justice, world community, and/or equality of the sexes and all races. The books also must meet conventional standards of literary and artistic excellence. Planting the Trees of Kenya: The Story of Wangari Maathai… is the winner in the “Books for Younger Children” category. The Surrender Tree: Poems of Cuba’s Struggle for Freedom… is the winner in the “Books for Older Children” category.”

The five British Children’s Laureates recently each selected their seven favorite children’s booksTasha Saecker has the lists at Kids Lit, saying “Great reads are timeless as this list shows. Just reading the list brings back flashes of memories. Lovely.” I agree. I especially liked Jacqueline Wilson’s list, with favorites like Little WomenA Little Princess, The Railway Children, and Ballet Shoes

Newlogorg200The Readergirlz will be focusing on Red Glass by Laura Resau this month. Little Willow has all the details at Bildungsroman. Red Glass was also a Cybils short list title for young adult fiction in 2007. 

IblogoMary Hershey and Robin LaFevers have launched their third annual National Independent Booksellers Appreciation Month at Shrinking Violet Promotions. They’ve also just started a Shrinking Violet’s Yahoo Group, “the brainstorming, buddying-up, and support arm of the Shrinking Violet Promotions blog. It’s a place where introverted authors can discuss (and commiserate with!) the ins and outs of marketing and promoting their books.” 

May is also National Asian Pacific American Heritage month. Tanita Davis is participating at Finding Wonderland, responding to an interactive poll with questions like “Favorite Asian, South Asian or Asian American writers and their works”.

School Library Journal’s Battle of the (Kids) Books continued this week, with the semifinal winners identified. Melissa has a nice little recap at Book Nut. Like Melissa, what I’m curious about is: “will final judge Lois Lowry go for a huge, sprawling work of genius or a hip, intense dystopian novel? ” Me, I’m a huge fan of The Hunger Games (which won the Cybils award this year for YA fantasy/science fiction), so I know what I’m pulling for… 

The Last OlympianI’m guessing that a potential Cybils and SLJBoB candidate for next year will be the final book in the Percy Jackson seriesThe Last OlympianRick Riordan links to a feature article about Percy Jackson in the Wall Street Journal. Pretty impressive for a kid with ADHD who keeps getting kicked out of schools. Seriously, though, Mheir and I are planning to attend Rick’s upcoming signing at Kepler’s in Menlo Park, and will hope to see some of you there. 

The online auction to benefit fellow kidlit blogger Bridget Zinn (who is battling cancer) has begun. Matt Holm has the full details of the call for action. The auction site is here (a blog, appropriately enough), and there are lots of great items up for bid already. Please do consider participating - you can get great, one-of-a-kind items, and help one of our own at the same time. I’ve already put in a bid for an item that I want… But more items will be added in the next few days.

The Book Chook has a fun post about places that people read. She notes: “I love that reading is so portable. … When I go on holiday, my packing order is books: first; clothes: if I remember. That portability has enabled me to read in planes, trains and automobiles, on the Great Wall of China, and once while resisting anaesthetic before an operation.” I commented there and shared some of the notable places that I enjoyed reading as a child. Click through to see.

I also enjoyed this post at Ink Splot 26, about the five best sidekicks from books. Some of my favorite characters are the sidekicks, especially Bean from Ender’s Game and Sam from The Lord of the Rings.  

NationalPoetryMonthLogoIn round-up news, Elaine Magliaro rounds up week 4 of National Poetry Month in the Kidlitosphere at Wild Rose Reader. See also individual NPM round-ups at Susan Taylor Brown’s blogGotta Book (Gregory K’s blog), and Kelly Fineman’s blog. Also Chronicle of an Infant Bibliophile rounds up a host of children’s books about animals, with links to full reviews.

NORTHlogo[1]And finally, congratulations to Miss Erin, winner of Justina Chen Headley’s North of Beautiful Find Beauty Challenge. (My review of North of Beautiful is here.)

Wishing you all a peaceful 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).

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