News

This page features news in the area of children’s literature, events from around the blogging community, and announcements about KidLitosphere happenings. Primarily focused on literary news, special events, useful articles, and interesting posts from other blogs, it does not include reviews, interviews, or opinions.

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Entries in Easy Readers (3)

Saturday
Feb202010

Thursday Afternoon Visits: February 18

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Quick hits:

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

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

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

Wednesday
Jan132010

Wednesday Afternoon Visits: January 13

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

There is a lot going on around the Kidlitosphere this week. Here are a few highlights:

AlienMotherReader reports that this is National Delurking Week (the graphic is one that she downloaded from Paper Napkin in 2007). The idea is to encourage people to take a few extra minutes to leave a comment on blogs that they visit regularly (instead of just lurking silently in the background). Fits in well with the 2010 Comment Challenge, doesn’t it? (I’m continuing to enjoy the Comment Challenge, by the way. I find that once I start leaving comments as I go through my reader, it’s impossible to stop at just five. And I love receiving comments on my reviews. Kind of motivates me to publish some more.)

In the End-o-the-Week Kid-Lit Roundup, Paul from Omnivoracious links to an interesting Economist article about the global economic impact of the Harry Potter series. Most of the article is about the market side of things. But I liked this part: “even at their clumsiest the books are well-plotted and full of invention. They also avoid the temptation to sneak ideology into children’s heads by wrapping it in fantasy. C.S. Lewis’s children’s books, to which Ms Rowling’s are often compared, are spoiled by creeping piety. Philip Pullman’s suffer from strident anticlericalism. Although the Harry Potter series endorses traits such as bravery and loyalty, it is intended above all to entertain. It has, hundreds of millions of times.”

ShareAStoryLogo2Terry Doherty is looking for suggestions and ideas for the upcoming 2010 Share a Story - Shape a Future literacy blog tour (March 8-13). I’m hosting Friday, Reading for the Next Generation. Terry explains: “Jen has invited guests to answer some of the things parents wrestle with, like being the opposite reading personality of their child, or feeling pressured to create a reading superstar, among others.” I this description inspires you to want to write something, please do drop me a line. [Logo by Susan StephensonThe Book Chook.]

James Kennedy emailed me about a gallery show that he’s organizing in Chicago for fan art for his novel The Order of Odd-Fish. You can find the call for submissions here. He says: “It’ll be not only an art show, but also a costumed dance party and theatrical hoo-hah. I’m working with the Chicago theater group Collaboraction to decorate their cavernous space to portray scenes from the book (the fantastical tropical metropolis of Eldritch City, the digestive system of the All-Devouring Mother goddess, the Dome of Doom where knights fight duels on flying armored ostriches, etc.).” Doesn’t sound like quite my sort of thing, but it definitely seemed like something that readers would be interested in.

CSK_LogoAnother email request came to me this week from Nick Glass of TeachingBooks.net. Nick wanted me to mention “the Coretta Scott King Book Award Online Curriculum Resource Center—a free, multimedia, online database for educators and families featuring more than 250 original recordings with award-winning authors and illustrators and hundreds of lesson plans.” He says “It is a great reading resource as teachers, librarians, and families plan for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and Black History Month. The resource center includes more than nine hours of originally produced audio with Coretta Scott King Book Award (CSK) authors and illustrators talking about their books in two- to three-minute clips.” And speaking of Black History Month, at Wild Rose Reader Elaine Magliaro shares her list of resources for Black History Month.

I-can-read-memeAt the Reading Tub, Terry just announced the January I Can Read Carnival. She explains: “The first carnival (or MEME if you prefer) for celebrating Easy Readers and Short Chapter books is here at the Reading Tub. I am really excited about the chance to regularly collect books that will engage and excite new and developing readers. I Can Read! is a three-day, mid-month carnival whose host rotates each month. To see the list of hosts, check out the list on the right sidebar… If you have a post that reviews an easy reader or short chapter book or offers ideas for helping new readers, we’d love for you to participate in the carnival. Your post can be up to one year old, so posts back to January 2009 can be included in this inaugural event.” 

Congratulations to Mitali Perkins and Melissa Wiley, each asked to write the foreword of a reissue of a favorite childhood book (both books part of the Betsy-Tacy series). Melissa says: “Can you hear me smile? I am so honored. I’m pretty much over the moon!” I especially identified with Mitali’s response: “Anyone have a time machine? I want to find nine-year-old Mitali scouring the NYPL shelves for anything Maud Hart Lovelace and tell her the news.” That’s how I’ve felt (on a smaller scale) with merely emailing with favorite authors from my childhood. My heartfelt congratulations to nine-year-old Melissa and Mitali, and their successors.

BookBlogCon-2010-smallerAt GalleysmithMichelle has the scoop about an upcoming conference for book bloggers. This is not to be confused with KidLitCon (now in planning for the 4th annual conference), but is a broader conference for all sorts of book bloggers. Michelle says: “the first annual Book Blogger Convention is open for business! Being held on Friday, May 28th, 2010 participants are welcome to join us in New York City for a great day of food, fun and education.”

At Presenting Lenore, Lenore recently announced: “I would like to continue supporting international book bloggers and have decided to start the International Book Blogger Mentor Program. Any book blogger who blogs in English about books and lives outside the US and Canada can apply. Each month I will pick one blogger to send 2-3 of my most recent review copies to. Upon request, I will also look over the reviews you write for the books and suggest improvements. Once you post your first review, I will feature you and your blog on Presenting Lenore.” Nice display of community spirit, I think.

And in another display of community spirit, Sherry Early shares 12 Tips for New Bloggers at Semicolon. Seems to me that Sherry’s tips will be useful to all bloggers, not just new ones. For example: “Title your book reviews with the title of the book and the author. This tip may seem self-evident, but it’s tempting to try to come up with catchy titles for books reviews. However, when someone searches for a review of X book on Google, they won’t be as likely to hit your blog if you called your review “A Look at the Newest Great American Novel” instead of X book by Z author.” It’s all good stuff!

At Chasing RayColleen Mondor questions a Heavy Medal blog discussion by Jonathan Hunt about Rebecca Stead’s When You Reach Me, a discussion criticizing Stead’s decision to include a non-white character without identifying the specifics of the character’s racial background. Colleen says: “What bothers me about this is the double standard at play here. A Caucasian character can be described as white with no one blinking an eye but Julia must be more than her skin color because it is not specific enough.”

Quick hits:

Hope that gives you some food for thought. Happy reading!

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

Wednesday
Oct142009

Wednesday Afternoon Visits: October 14

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

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

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

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

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

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

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

Quick hits:

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

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

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