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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 Donalyn Miller (3)

Sunday
Jul052009

Sunday Afternoon Visits: July 5

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

© 2009 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson’s Book Page. All rights reserved.
You can also find me on Twitter and at Booklights from PBS Parents.
All Amazon links in this post are affiliate links, and may result in my receiving a small commission (with no additional cost to you).

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).

Thursday
Sep042008

Thursday Afternoon Visits: September 4

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

I would normally wait until Sunday to do my round-up of Kidlitosphere news. But I’ve flagged so many links to highlight that it seems ridiculous to wait.

  • The title of Rick Riordan’s fifth (and final) Percy Jackson book has been announced. The book will be called The Last Olympian and will be published on May 5th, 2009. And if that’s not enough RR news, check out Becky Levine’s post on a writing thought from Rick Riordan. I got a particular kick out of reading this post because I was standing next to Becky when she heard the tip.
  • I also got a kick out of this post by Gail Gauthier about how she made a book recommendation that went viral (from her hairdresser to several others). The book was Twilight, and whether you like the Twilight books or not, it’s still neat to for Gail to be able to trace the path that her recommendation made.
  • Have you been reading YA Fabulous? This is a relatively new blog, but the author’s dedication to young adult literature shines through. A feature that I particularly like is the regular YA Links Posts (most recent one here), in which YA for Great Justice rounds up various links to book reviews (with excerpts) and author interviews. The ones so far have been very comprehensive, and are not to be missed by YA fans.
  • Another new blog that I like is Muddy Puddle Musings, written by a middle school literature teacher named Chris. Chris recently announced “This year I’m going to try to go to the Teachers as Readers Book Club, which is sponsored by the Tucson Reading Association… The reading list for the year has been chosen from the IRA 2008 Young Adult Choices list.” How great is that? A Teachers as Readers Book Club, reading great YA titles!
  • The Book Whisperer is back, after a bit of a summer break, talking about connecting kids with booksDonalyn Miller says: “I realized that I am not engaged in a race with a shaky start in August and a finish line taped across June. I am traveling an endless journey with my students, all of us readers together, with no beginning and no end. There is only the next child, the next book, and the next opportunity to connect the two. Teaching kids to love reading is not about me and what I can (or cannot) do; it is about the children and what they can do.” Do go read the whole post - Donalyn is always inspiring.
  • At Librarilly BlondeCarlie Webber takes on the recent discussion around the blogosphere about an article in Good Magazine: Anne Trubek on Why We Shouldn’t Still be Learning Catcher in the Rye. I especially enjoyed Carlie’s take on people who reject all books sinceCatcher in the Rye as not relevant: “One would never teach history and ignore events that happened after 1955. One would never teach science and stop at discoveries made after 1955. Music history doesn’t stop with John Cage. Film studies classes include Fellini and Hitchcock, but they also include the Coen brothers. Given all this, why do you deem it all right and even a best practice in education, to not teach literature with teen protagonists written after 1955? I have never understood this need to teach classics and only classics and classics all the time.” Me neither.
  • At The Places You Will Go, Daphne Lee takes on the question of whether or not children’s authors are required to be role models. She says: “I don’t see (and fail to see how anyone could see) what a writer’s personal life (although for some, personal and public are one and the same) has to do with the work he/she produces. If a writer is responsible for stories that inspire and excite, intrigue and provoke, touch and move, it can hardly matter what his hobbies are, how many wives he has, or what he likes to stick up his nose (or other body parts, for that matter). Of course I realise that as mere humans its not easy for us to be totally objective… ” I feel the same way that Daphne does on this subject.
  • new issue of The Prairie Wind, the newsletter of the SCBWI-Illinois Chapter, is now available. I especially enjoyed Margo Dill’s interview with our own Betsy Bird from A Fuse #8 Production. The post includes some recommended KidLit blogs and also has advice “on blogging and how it can help a children’s author’s career.”
  • Over at Tea Cozy, Liz B. has a bit of a rant going, inspired by a new children’s book by a celebrity author (well, the author is the wife of a celebrity, anyway). My favorite part: “Just once, I want a celebrity author to say, “you know, as I was reading with my kids, I fell in love with children’s books, and rediscovered just how awesome children’s books are” or something like that, rather than “the books suck, so I was forced to write.”” I think that Liz has a pretty good idea for a consulting service to offer celebrities, though (at the end of the post).
  • Little Willow has the scoop on the Readergirlz plans for September, featuring “Good Enough by Paula Yoo and celebrating the theme of Tolerance.”
  • I’ve seen several blogs address the results of the recent poll that found Enid Blyton the UK’s “most cherished” writer (followed by Roald Dahl and then J. K. Rowling). I especially enjoyed Kelly Gardiner’s post on the topic at Ocean Without End, which includes some lessons learned by the selections. Like “The books we love as children - the books that introduce us to reading as a mania - stay with us forever.” So true. I adored Enid Blyton’s books when I was a kid, even though they were relatively hard to come by in the US. When I traveled to England for work when I was in my mid-20’s, I bought up every book that I could find from certain Blyton series. I also still read Inez Haynes Irwin’s Maida books on a regular basis. I have no idea if they’re any good or not, but I love them anyway.
  • Speaking of classics, Leila from Bookshelves of Doom is hosting the third edition of The Big Read, focusing on A Tale of Two Cities. You can find the details here. I’m not personally up for a re-read right now, but I listened to the book on tape a few years back and enjoyed it quite a bit. If you’ve ever wanted to read A Tale of Two Cities, this would be a good time…
  • I don’t usually highlight book giveaways, but Cheryl Rainfield is giving away three copies of one of my absolute favorite titles from recent memory: The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins. You can find the details here. My review of The Hunger Games is here. All you have to do to enter is comment at Cheryl’s.

And that’s all the news for today. I’ll most likely be back with more over the weekend (though I’m also a bit behind on my recent reviews, so that will take first priority).

© 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).