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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)

Sunday
Nov092008

Sunday Afternoon Visits: November 9

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

© 2008 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson’s Book Page. All rights reserved.
You can also find me on Twitter and at Booklights from PBS Parents.
All Amazon links in this post are affiliate links, and may result in my receiving a small commission (with no additional cost to you).

Sunday
Nov022008

Sunday Afternoon Visits: November 2

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

I don’t have TOO much Kidlitosphere news for you today, because I did a visits post on Wednesday night. But a few things since then have caught my eye.

CybilsLogoSmallThere’s lots going on at the Cybils blog (thanks to fabulous Deputy Editor Sarah Stevenson and the equally fabulous committee organizers). I’m especially enjoying the Meet the Panelists posts. So far we’ve met the YA Fiction nominating panelists, the Fantasy/Science Fiction nominating panelists, and the Middle Grade Fiction nominating panelists.

Cynthia Lord mentioned a neat new literacy program on her blog this week. The New Hampshire Humanities Council is using children’s books in discussion groups with new American citizens. The Connections program “discussions offer adult new readers an opportunity to read interesting, beautifully-illustrated books and discuss them with other adult new readers and a trained facilitator.” Titles mentioned on the Connections website include The Not-So-Star-Spangled Life of Sunita Sen, by our own Mitali Perkins.

OK, still no politics on the blog, but I did appreciate this post by MotherReader about how there were three references to reading in Barack Obama’s infomercial the other night. I’m glad that Pam is on top of this stuff.

Susan has a way fun Children’s Book Pop Quiz at Chicken Spaghetti. How can a pop quiz be fun, you ask? Well, there’s a gorgeous graphic of a pencil… OK, I’m a geek. But I thought it was fun. There are blanks for the answers, and if you click on them, they’re really links.

Maureen from Confessions of a Bibliovore linked to a Chicago Tribune article by Tara Malone about how schools are trying to balance classics with contemporary fiction. What’s a bit sad, though, as Maureen points out, is that the contemporary fiction mentioned is all adult fiction, rather than YA. Like Maureen, I would prefer to see a balance there, too.

From Linda Ernst at the ALSC blog I learned about the Maureen Hayes Author/Illustrator Visit Award. “The award provides up to $4,000 towards the honorarium and travel costs of a writer/illustrator to visit a location where children might otherwise never have this amazing opportunity.”

Newlogorg200I have good news for all the non-MySpace people out there. The Readergirlz Divas are now also blogging at BlogSpot. And they have a new Diva - Melissa Walker of the Violet on the Runway books. The new Readergirlz featured title for November is, appropriately, Long May She Reign, by Ellen Emerson White (about the daughter of the President). It’s a great book (plus Ellen is a die-hard Red Sox fan, so I’m extra happy to see her featured). Finally, congratulations to the newest Postergirl, ShelfElf.

I also have good news for Babymouse fans. I learned from Matt Holm’s blog that the Babymouse series has the number one graphic novel circulation in Metrowest Boston’s library network (according to School Library Journal and Robin Brenner.

BlogTheVote-SmallThe Blog the Vote roundup is now available at Chasing Ray. Tons of bloggers have shared their stories about voting, and their reasons behind and enthusiasm for getting others to vote. I have to admit that I don’t have anything to add to their contributions. But I’m happy to send you to Chasing Ray to read other people’s smart workds on this topic.

And finally, the November Carnival of Children’s Literature will be held at Mommy’s Favorite Children’s Books. The theme is The Gift of Reading (including gift books). Coincidentally, I wrote a post on that very subject yesterday, though it’s a guest post that will be up at Shelf Space, instead of here. Anyway, I’ll be hosting the Carnival in December.  

And that’s all for today. Happy November!

© 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).

Saturday
Oct112008

Saturday Afternoon Visits: October 11

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

CybilslogosmallI’m still distracted by the Cybils and the baseball playoffs (Go Sox!), and my reviews have dropped off a bit, but I have saved up some Kidlitosphere links from this week.

Speaking of the Cybils, TadMack has an excellent graphic at Finding Wonderland. This is a visual, do click through to see it. Also, Sarah Stevenson has put together a gorgeous Cybils double-sided flyer that you can download from the Cybils site and print out. Say, if you were planning on attending a conference, and wanted to be able to tell people about the Cybils. You can find it available for PDF download here.

Lee Wind has a detailed post about the upcoming Blog the Vote event that he’s organizing with Colleen Mondor. This is a nonpartisan event - the idea is to encourage people to vote, whatever their convictions.

At In Search of Giants, Aerin announced the winner of the contest that she did during Book Blogger Appreciation Week, based on my Reviews that Made Me Want the Book feature. Congratulations to Alyce of At Home with Books. Alyce chose Graceling as her prize.

At Guys Lit Wire, a. fortis published a list of “not just gross, but actually scary horror books” of interest to teens. My favorite from the list is The Shining by Stephen King. I also recently enjoyed World War Z (about zombies).

The Forgotten DoorJenny from Jenny’s Wonderland of Books has a fabulous post about Alexander Key, one of my favorite authors. I recently reviewed Key’s The Forgotten Door, and also recently watched the 1975 movie version of Escape to Witch Mountain. Jenny says: “While Key often shows children fleeing villains and in danger, there is always a happy ending with children returning home and winning out over their enemies. He also portrayed children with ESP and from other worlds.” She includes a bio and a detailed list of books written and illustrated by Key (I didn’t even know that he was an illustrator). For Alexander Key fans, this post is a huge treat. And I join Jenny in hoping that the upcoming (2009) Witch Mountain movie will spark a renewed interest in Key’s work.

At I.N.K. (Interesting Nonfiction for Kids), Anna M. Lewis writes about VERY interesting nonfiction for kids: Graphic Novels. Anna notes (relaying feedback from a conference session that she attended) “A fifth- grade, reluctant reader would rather not read than carry a first-grader’s picture book… but, give him a graphic novel at his reading level and he reads… and still looks cool!”. Good stuff. But I didn’t know that graphic novels were classified as nonfiction in libraries.

Also at I.N.K., Jennifer Armstrong writes about the nature deficit: “more and more children staying inside, choosing electronic screens over not only books (our focus here) but over authentic experience of the natural world. It’s a mounting crisis with implications for the environment and for children’s health, for social networks and political movements, among other things.” She’ll be working with the Children and Nature network to help find books to combat this problem.

Betsy Bird v-blogs the Kidlitosphere Conference at A Fuse #8 Production.

The Longstockings have a nice post by Kathryne about getting started for very beginning writers. Kathryne offers several tips and also recommends books for writers. There are additional suggestions in the comments.

Liz Burns responds at Tea Cozy to a New York Times article by Motoko Rich about using videogames as bait to hook readers. The article quotes a reading professor who says that we need to do a better job of teaching kids how to read. Liz says: “My knee-jerk response to this is that it’s not about teaching kids HOW to read; it’s teaching kids to love reading”. I could not agree more! Walter Minkel also responds to the Times article at The Monkey Speaks. Walter’s interpretation is that “that media companies are now headed down that road that leads to a largely bookless future.” This is an idea which I find too depressing to contemplate.

And speaking of the future of books, Audiobooker has a report about a new audiobook download company that sends books to people’s cell phones. British novelist Andy McNab is the co-founder of the company, GoSpoken.

I ran across several responses to the recent Duke University study that found a link between reading a certain Beacon Street Girls book and weight lossMaureen from Confessions of a Bibliovore says “I found it a fundamentally flawed study. Let me say this: it’s one book. I’m the last person to say it’s impossible that a book can change a kid’s life, but this is pushing it.” Carlie Webber from Librarilly Blonde says “I’m intrigued as to what it is about this particular Beacon Street Girls book that encouraged weight loss… at what point does a book make kids change their ways and can other books have similar effects? Where does a book like this become didactic?” Monica Edinger from Educating Alice says “Suffice it to say I’m NOT a fan of “carefully” crafting novels this way. In fact I’m skittish about bibliotheraphy in general.” I actually did read and review the BSG book in question (Lake Rescue) back in 2006. Although I’m generally quite critical of books that are written to promote a particular message (regardless of whether I agree with the message), I gave this one a pass at the time, because I thought that the characters were sufficiently engaging. But I think it’s a very tricky thing.

Newlogorg200Via HipWriterMama comes the news that “In celebration of Young Adult Library Services Association’s (YALSA’s) Teen Reed Week™, readergirlz (rgz) is excited to present Night Bites, a series of online live chats with an epic lineup of published authors.” Vivian has the full schedule at HipWriterMama. The games begin on October 13th.

Laurie Halse Anderson opens up discussion on whether booksellers have a “need to further segment the children’s/YA section of their stores to separate books that appeal to teens that have mature content and those that don’t.” If you have thoughts on this, head on over to Laurie’s to share.

On a lighter note, Alice Pope is taking an informal poll to see who among her Alice’s CWIM Blog readers is left-handed. I am. As will be our next President (either way).

Mary and Robin from Shrinking Violet Promotions are working on an Introvert’s Bill of Rights. I’m kind of fond of “Introverts have the right to leave social events “early” as needed.” You can comment there with your other suggestions. The SVP post also links to an excellent essay on introverts by Hunter Nuttall, whose blog I’m now going to start reading. Nuttall includes pictures of various famous introverts (I’m not sure who classified them as such, but it’s still fun to see). I especially enjoyed a section that he did on “why introversion makes perfect sense to me”, starting with “I don’t see the need for untargeted socialization”. Hmm… I wonder who the famous left-handed introverts are, and how many of them have resisted “untargeted socialization”.

Roger Sutton reports at Read Roger that “The complete Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards ceremony is now up for your viewing and listening pleasure.” This, combined with the baseball playoffs, is almost enough to make me wish I still lived in Boston. But not quite…

Happy weekend, all!

© 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).

Friday
Oct032008

Friday Night Visits: October 3

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

CybilslogosmallIt’s been a tough week for me to keep up with the blogs, between the Cybils and the start of the baseball playoffs (how ‘bout those Red Sox!!). And I never really caught up after being away at the Kidlitosphere conference last weekend. Which means that I have many pieces of news to share with you.

But first, a mildly funny word thing. Earlier I tried to email someone about something “boggling the mind”, but my fingers really wanted to type “bloggling” instead. Shouldn’t& bloggled be a new word? As in, to be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of blog posts in one’s Google Reader. I am bloggled!

IheartyourblogOK, back to the blog news. First up, my thanks to Kristine from Bestbooksihavenotread and Bill and Karen from Literate Lives, both of whom were kind enough to give me the “I (heart) your blog” award. I also got kind of an honorable mention from Esme Raji Codell. I already passed this one along last week (though I neglected to go around and comment, so some people might have missed it), so I’m just going to say THANK YOU! These awards have come at a particularly nice time, when I’ve been struggling to keep up, and I especially appreciated a bit of validation.

Newlogorg200There’s a new issue up at Readergirlz. “In celebration of YALSA’s Teen Read Week™ Books with Bite, readergirlz is excited to present Night Bites, a series of online live chats with an epic lineup of published authors! The five themed chats will take place at the rgz MySpace group forum, October 13-17, 2008, 6:00 pm PST/9:00 pm EST.” This month, Readergirlz will also be featuring Rachel Cohn, co-author (with David Levithan) of Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist. This choice is quite timely. Not only is there a recently released motion picture based on Nick and Norah, but the book also won the first-ever Cybils award for Young Adult Fiction in 2006. You can find more details about this month’s Readergirlz activities at Bildungsroman.

Speaking of Readergirlz, Diva Lorie Ann Grover was featured this week on GalleyCat. She spoke of the passion for reading that she sees within the Readergirlz community. GuysLitWire, focused on teen boys and reading, also got a positive mention. The GalleyCat piece even inspired a followup at the Christian Science Monitor’s Chapter & Verse blog. Thanks to Mitali Perkins for the links. 

Also in time for Teen Read Week, Sheila Ruth shares a couple of very detailed lists of Books with Bite at Wands and Worlds. The lists are based on input from teen members of the Wands and Worlds community. One list is focused on animals, the other is focused on “creepy creatures”. Sheila has generously prepared pdf, text, and widget forms of the lists, so that other people can use them.

Jill will be hosting the October Carnival of Children’s Literature at The Well-Read Child. Jill says: “In my part of the world, we’re finally starting to experience the cool, crisp air of Fall - the kind of weather that makes me want to snuggle up with a good book and read all day. So, this month’s theme is “Snuggle Up With a Good Children’s Book.” Submit your posts here by Friday, the 24th, and I’ll post the Carnival on the 26th. Happy reading and snuggling!”

Jenmheir_4I never got my post up about the Kidlitosphere conference last weekend. Honestly, so many people have written about the conference, that I’m not sure that I’d have anything useful to add. But I did want to share a photo that Laini Taylor took late on Saturday night. I was wiped out from the conference, and Mheir (who kindly accompanied me on the trip) had tired himself out hiking to Multnomah Falls, and we were just beat. Here are a couple of posts about the conference that I particularly enjoyed, by Mark BlevisLee WindGreg Pincus, and Laini Taylor (who had great photos). Also not to be missed are Sarah Stevenson’s live-action sketches from the conference.

Speaking of conferences, Sara Lewis Holmes recaps that National Book Festival. She made me want to attend, one of these years (perhaps next year, when the Kidlitosphere Conference will be held in Washington, DC…).

There’s been quite a lot of discussion on the blogs this week about a piece that Anita Silvey wrote for the October issue of School Library Journal. The article is called “Has the Newbery Lost Its Way?” In light of some critical comments about the Newbery Award, Silvey asks “Are children, librarians, and other book lovers still rushing to read the latest Newbery winners? Or has the most prestigious award in children’s literature lost some of its luster?” She interviewed more than 100 people, and shares statements like “School librarians say they simply don’t have enough money to spend on books that kids won’t find interesting—and in their opinion, that category includes most of this century’s Newbery winners.” Of course, as has been pointed out on many blogs, popularity isn’t a criterion for the Newbery in the first place. I particularly enjoyed Carlie Webber’s post about the article.

Speaking of the Newbery Awards, blogger WendyB recently decided to read all of the Newbery winners that she hadn’t read already. She then prepared a detailed three-part post about her experience. I thought that the most interesting was part 2, in which Wendy shares some statistics about the winners, like the stat that “59%, of the Newbery winners are either historical fiction or plain historical” and three books are about “orphaned or semi-orphaned boys traveling through medieval England and meeting colorful characters typical of the period.” Fun stuff!

Lisa Chellman has a useful post about ways to offer “better library service to GLBTQ youth”. She recaps a conference session “presented by the knowledgeable and dynamic Monica Harris of Oak Park Public Library”, and includes suggestions from the session attendees, too. For example: “Don’t assume that because books aren’t circulating heavily they’re not being used. Books on sensitive topics often see a lot of covert in-library use, even if patrons aren’t comfortable checking them out to take home.”

Colleen Mondor and Lee Wind are organizing a non-partisan effort to encourage people to vote. “The plan is to run a One Shot event on Monday, November 3rd where all participants blog about why they personally think voting matters this year. You can write a post that touches on historical issues or policies of significance today. Anything you want to write about that expresses the idea that voting matters is fair game. The only hard and fast rule - and this is very hard and fast - is that you do not get to bash any of the four candidates for president and vice president.”

TitlesupersistersPBS Parents recently launched a parenting blog called Supersisters, “Three real-life sisters sharing their kids’ antics, milestones and adventures through this crazy journey called motherhood”. Supersister Jen had a post recently that I enjoyed called “seven sensational things to do when you’re not feeling so super”. My personal favorite was “Create your own personal chocolate stash and stock it.” 

Shannon Hale has another installment in her fascinating How To Be A Reader series, this one about morals in stories. Her main question is “Is an author responsible for the morals a reader, especially a young reader, takes from her book? I can say, I never write toward a moral. But then again, some writers do.” She also asks (about morals in books): “Is the book powerful in and of itself, the carrier of a message that can change a reader’s life? Or is it just a story, and the reader is powerful by deciding if and how the book might change her life.” Ultimately, as a writer, Shannon comes down on the side of telling the story.

I’m not a big fan of memes (which are basically the blog equivalent of chain letters). However, I can get on board with this one from Wendy at Blog from the Windowsill. It includes this final step: “Carry the secret of this meme to your grave”. So, that’s all I can say about it, but it’s my favorite meme so far since I started blogging. So go and check it out.

Poster2007And finally, this past week was Banned Book WeekThe ALA website says: “Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read is observed during the last week of September each year. Observed since 1982, this annual ALA event reminds Americans not to take this precious democratic freedom for granted. This year, 2008, marks BBW’s 27th anniversary (September 27 through October 4). BBW celebrates the freedom to choose or the freedom to express one’s opinion even if that opinion might be considered unorthodox or unpopular and stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of those unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints to all who wish to read them. After all, intellectual freedom can exist only where these two essential conditions are met.” I did not, alas, read any banned books this week, but I’ve appreciated the people who did. The poster to the left is from last year, but I like it.

And that is quite enough catching up for one evening. I’ll be back with literacy and reading news 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).

Tuesday
Sep232008

Tuesday Tidbits: September 23

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

I just did a Kidlitosphere round-up post on Sunday. But since then, a bunch of things have come up that I’d like to share with you.

CybilslogosmallFirst up, in Cybils news, the middle grade/YA nonfiction committee has been announced. Also, my official new title within the Cybils organization was announcedLiteracy Evangelist. I’m not sure who thought of it, but I do love it. I might get business cards made up. But seriously, I’ll be working to get the word out about the Cybils, so that more people can participate in nominating titles, and more people will learn about our fabulous winners and short lists. Evangelizing, if you will, for the Cybils and for literacy. And finally, do check out Liz B’s reasons for liking the Cybils, and seeing them as important, at Tea Cozy.

  • At Grow Wings, Laini Taylor shares some reasons for authors to blog. Laini and I will be discussing the bridge between authors and reviewers at the Kidlitosphere Conference in Portland this weekend, and I’m sure that we’ll be talking about author blogs as part of that discussion. Some additional logistical details about the conference from Jone MacCulloch can be found here.
  • Franki shares the first of what promises to be a series of “Books I Could Read A Million Times” at A Year of Reading. She’s learning about these books because she’s working as a librarian, and reading the same book to several different classes. She explains “I got this idea from Bill at Literate Lives. My hope is that by reading the same book to all of the kids in the school, we have anchors to talk about—books that can be talked about at dinner tables at home, books that can be talked about with friends in other classes, etc.”
  • At Kid Lit Kit, Hannah Trierweiler shares some thoughts on boys and reading. While she acknowledges variation in readers, she highlights two titles that she thinks will work particularly well for boys.
  • I almost forgot! Tomorrow is National Punctuation Day. I was reminded by a post at the International Reading Association blog. Here’s the first part of the press release on the topic: “Why is punctuation important Jeff Rubin the Punctuation Man and founder of National Punctuation Day explains that without punctuation you would not be able to express your feelings in writing not to mention know when to pause or stop or ask a question or yell at someone” … and so on.
  • Also via the IRA blog, applicants are being sought for the Teachers in Space program. “The nonprofit Teachers in Space program is seeking two Pathfinder Astronauts who will become the first astronaut teachers to fly in space and return to the classroom.”
  • At TheHappyNappyBookseller, Doret shares some concerns in response to an article by Denene Millner, the author of the new young adult series Hotlanta (and people who dismiss the series as street fiction because of how the cover looks).
  • I don’t like to write about politics on this blog. But I did want to mention a post by TadMack at Finding Wonderland that expresses some concerns about the recent launch of the YA for Obama site. TadMack’s issue (and there is a great discussion going in the comments) is not about the candidates themselves, but about whether or not a group of popular YA authors talking with teens in this way about a particular candidate constitutes “undue influence”. Colleen Mondor summarized the part of this that bothers me: “This is a bunch of YA authors who have joined together to do two things: get under-18s interested in democracy and help Barack Obama get elected. TadMack wonders if you accomplish both those goals while not allowing any room for positive discussion of John McCain (and the folks who support him).”
  • The sad news came out this week that L. M. Montgomery, author of the Anne of Green Gables series (and other beloved books) committed suicide. I first heard about this at Sarah Weinman’s blog, and I’ve also seen reactions at Charlotte’s Library and Bookshelves of Doom. You can find the full story in the Globe and Mail, in which “Kate Macdonald Butler reveals a long-held secret about her grandmother, one of Canada’s most beloved authors.” Butler says “I have come to feel very strongly that the stigma surrounding mental illness will be forever upon us as a society until we sweep away the misconception that depression happens to other people, not us – and most certainly not to our heroes and icons.” I completely respect her decision to share the news, but it is sad to think that someone who brought so much joy to the world was that depressed.
  • On a brighter note, I know that I mentioned it before, but the Just One More Book! interview of Jon Scieszka, our National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, is simply fabulous. Do give it a listen, if you can spare a few minutes.

And that’s all for today. Hope you find some food for thought!

© 2008 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson’s Book Page. All rights reserved.
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