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 First Book (2)

Wednesday
Sep302009

Wednesday Afternoon Visits: September 30

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

I begin to think that the sheer impossibility of keeping up with the news from around this Kidlitosphere is a permanent condition. Particularly when, as was the case last weekend, I have trips. But here’s my best effort to capture the news from the past week. Hope that you find it useful.

ECA-main-title3I’ve been following the news about the NCBLA/Library of Congress/Jon Scieszka project, The Exquisite Corpse Adventure. The project was officially launched at last weekend’s National Book Festival. The idea is for the project to be “a buoyant, spontaneous experiment; a progressive story game just like the one many families play on road trips, at camps, at parties, at home when there is a power outage… Members of The Exquisite Corpse Adventure “motley crew” are, in reality, some of the most gifted artists and storytellers in our nation, award-winners all—M.T. Anderson, Natalie Babbitt, Calef Brown, Susan Cooper, Kate Di Camillo, Timothy Basil Ering, Nikki Grimes, Shannon Hale, Daniel Handler aka Lemony Snicket, Steven Kellogg, Gregory Maguire, Megan McDonald, Patricia and Fredrick McKissack, Linda Sue Park, Katherine Paterson, James Ransome, Jon Scieszka, and Chris Van Dusen.” If you follow the NCBLA’s blog, you’ll be notified easily about each new episode (new episodes will be published every two weeks for the next year). You can also (I learned from Leila at Bookshelves of Doom) follow a special RSS feed for the new ECA posts alone).

NcblalogoI must confess to being particularly pleased because, as part of a Literacy Resource Treasure Chest accompanying the Exquisite Corpse Adventure (prepared by the National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance and the Butler Children’s Literature Center at Dominican University), the team published a list of “Blogs that Inspire”. And, well, my blog is listed, along with several other amazing blogs (see Fuse 8’s thoughts here). I must say, this made my week. But in general, the page offers nice one-stop shopping for many of the literacy organizations that Terry Doherty and I talk about all the time. It is truly an honor to be included.

3961914637_3993283a87Moving on, there have been tons of articles about on Banned Book Week, too many for me to link to here (but check out Finding Wonderland, for a range of posts, and Lee Wind’s challenged author roundtable discussion). But my attention was caught by this article from Boston.com, sent to me by my friend Alex from Outside In. It’s an op-ed piece by Julianna Baggott about an embattled teacher’s response to potential “objectionable material” in books. Here’s the part that got me: “The overwhelmingly sad thing for me was the sound of fear in this woman’s voice and her utter lack of conviction in the things that probably once inspired her to become a teacher in the first place - the way someone can talk about the world of books, the power of the imagination, and change a child’s life.”

Mimlogo_smLori Calabrese reports that Saturday (October 3rd) is Make it Matter Day. She says: “Reader’s Digest, Reading Is Fundamental, and other organizations are partnering to bring learning to life for Reader’s Digest’s National Make It Matter Day, this Saturday (October 3rd). Members of local communities as well as local and national organizations will rally behind literacy and education in over 100 events at select schools, Boys & Girls Clubs, YMCAs, and libraries across the U.S.” She also offers concrete suggestions for participating.

What-book-2Today is the last day to vote in First Book’s What Book Got You Hooked? campaign. The First Book blog says: “Don’t forget to cast your vote for the book that got you hooked and the state to receive 50,000 new books. Voting is open through 12:00 am midnight ET TONIGHT, September 30!”

Quick hits:

  • At SemicolonSherry Early vents about the “torn between two lovers device” in literature and film. Now me, I find this compelling, when done well. But I still enjoyed Sherry’s post.  
  • By way of followup to last week’s What A Girl Wants column, which lamented the way that socioeconomic woes are often ignored in children’s and young adult fiction, Colleen Mondor discusses two recent books that do take economic struggles into account (Operation Yes by Sara Lewis Holmes and Heart of a Shepherd by Rosanne Parry, two books that I loved. See also Sara’s YES interview with Rosanne.)
  • Greg Pincus shares 10 Facebook Status Update Ideas at The Happy Accident. I also liked Greg’s earlier post about 10 Golden Rules for Engaging Via Social Media, created with Mark Blevis.
  • Ann has an interesting post about picture book end papers at Booklights today. See also Terry’s post from yesterday about celebrating culture with books, in honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month. I’m also somewhat attached to Gina’s Show and Tale selection for this week: Harriet the Spy.
  • Mary Pearson writes at Tor about the unsung hero of literature: setting.
  • Becky from Becky’s Book Reviews explains her reading challenge addiction.
  • Sarah shares “hot books” from her middle school classroom at The Reading Zone. Sarah also shared a lovely success story recently, about creating a lifelong reader.
  • Susan Taylor Brown is seeking your favorite unsung kidlit blogs by authors and illustrators for a top-secret project.
  • At Roots in Myth, PJ Hoover suggests that parent-son book clubs would help engage more boys in reading. There are many, many interested and supportive comments on this subject.
  • Speaking of boys and reading, Lori Calabrese highlights Gotcha for Guys: nonfiction books to get boys excited about reading.
  • Kudos to DaughterReader (and proud MotherReader) for her recent National Book Festival success doing a dramatic reading with Mo Willems.
  • Kate Coombs (Book Aunt) writes about her observation that story books (one step up from picture books, including fairy tales, written to be read to slightly older kids) are losing ground fast.
  • I was traveling and didn’t have a chance to participate, but Sunday’s 7 Kicks from the 7-Imps featured one of my favorite characters, Andrea Beaty’s Ted (of Doctor Ted fame, now reinvented as Fireman Ted).
  • Liz B has the scoop on the Simon & Schuster Blogfest 2009 at Tea Cozy. Liz also had a post over that weekend about whether or not it should be viewed as negative to want to understand how something like the Book Blogger Appreciation Week awards worked. There is a LOT of discussion about transparency in the comments.
  • Speaking of transparency, the Readergirlz Divas recently shared an explanation of how they choose the books that they feature each month.
  • At Shelf ElfKerry Millar has a post highlighting three authors who she thinks are also great bloggers (including the reasons why). I certainly agree with her choices.
  • Justine Larbalestier has a bit of a rant on the current obsession with dwelling on an author’s age (as in, “isn’t it amazing that he wrote this book by the age of … whatever”).

Whew! That’s it for today. Later this week I’ll be working on literacy news and reviews. And, of course, following the Cybils nominations. And preparing for KidLitCon. And … wouldn’t it be nice to have time to read books sometime? Thanks for 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).

Sunday
Aug172008

Sunday Afternoon Visits: August 17

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

I haven’t blogged all that much this week, because I’ve been caught up in reading. I watched the movie Becoming Janeearlier in the week, and was then compelled to read something by Jane Austen (I chose Persuasion, which I somehow didn’t have a copy of, and had to go out and buy). I also read Breaking Dawn, and it held my attention until I had finished it (review here). And I read the latest adult novel by Deborah Crombie (Where Memories Lie), one of my favorite authors. But I have been keeping up on blog reading, and I’ve saved up a ridiculous number of links. Here is some Kidlitosphere news of potential interest:

  • The folks at First Book asked me to mention their What Book Got You Hooked campaign. They said “Now through September 15, visitors to First Book’s Web site are invited to share the memory of the first book that made reading fun, then help get more kids hooked by voting for the state to receive 50,000 new books for low-income youth… A number of celebrities have joined the effort, including: BARRY MANILOW, DAVID DUCHOVNY, EMMA THOMPSON, EDWARD NORTON, JOHN LITHGOW, MARLEE MATLIN, REBECCA ROMIJN, SCARLETT JOHANSSON, STEPHEN COLBERT and many more. You can see their responses featured on the Web site.” I just entered my choice, Little House in the Big Woods. It’s not my favorite of all time, but it’s the first book of the first series that I remember falling into, and being consumed by the need to know what happened to the characters.
  • Via Word-Up! The AdLit Newsletter, AdLit.org has a new booklist up: Nonfiction for Teens. I know from myreadergirlz postergirl days that good teen nonfiction can be hard to find, and I recommend that you check out this list. See also Jill’s excellent piece about reaching out to reluctant readers through nonfiction at The Well-Read Child.
  • I’ve seen several people posting lists this week ofplanned classroom read-alouds for the upcoming school year. See especially the lists at Literate Lives(from Karen) and The Reading Zone (from Sarah). There will be some lucky kids starting school in the fall, that’s all I have to say about these lists. Also from Sarah, a planned Teacher Swap, by which people will exchange care packages. Click through for details.
  • learned from Trevor Cairney at Literacy, families and learning that August 16-22 is Children’s Book Week in Australia. Trevor offers families some suggestions for celebrating. He also reports on the 2008 Children’s Book Council (Australia) Awards.
  • I’m a bit burned out on all of the various storms in the Kidlitosphere teapot that I’ve been running across lately (people criticizing blog reviewers, YA as a genre, people who read children’s books, etc. - see Confessions of a Bibliovore for the latest craziness). But I have had a particular interest in a discussion thats been proliferating about moral compasses in children’s literature. I read a post about this at Sarah Miller’sblog, which in turn linked to and quoted from an article at Editorial Anonymous. The discussion was also takenup by Carlie at Librarilly Blonde. I agree with Editorial Anonymous (and, I think, Sarah and Carlie) on this: “So I have no problem with a book being essentially moral because the author just writes that way, and I have no problem with parents influencing their children’s moral development. But I disagree that every children’s book should present a united moral front.” Personally, I feel strongly that the best books are the ones that steer clear of overt moral messages completely, and just tell a great story. But if books are going to have moral messages (let’s call them themes, instead of overt messages), then by all means, they should be diverse, and offer kids the opportunity to learn to make their own distinctions.
  • Presenting Lenore has an informative interview with a publicist from Penguin addressing questions about the importance of blog reviews, how blog reviewers are chosen, and the publisher’s response to requests for specific books. If you are new to book reviewing on your blog, this is a post to check out.   
  • Stephanie has a lovely post at Throwing Marshmallows about igniting “the fire of literacy” in her sons. She notes: “I think that one of the unspoken benefits of having “late” readers is that reading together is a very well engrained habit. (In fact, it was one thing that I had reassure Jason about…that we would always read together even once he could read on his own.)” and concludes “I am most definitely blessed to be able to share my love of books with both my boys. And blessed to have them share their enjoyment of books with me!” See also Stephanie’s recent post about “that ADHD serving a purpose thing”, Michael Phelps, and helping children to see what they can (rather than can’t) do.
  • Laurel Snyder is running a fun contest at her blog. She’s giving away signed copies of her new book. She says: “You’ll post  a little story to your blog, about atask/ job/situation/role for which you are thoroughly unsuitable (the FULL title of my book is “Up and Down the Scratchy Mountains OR the Search for a Suitable Princess”).” I already have an ARC of the book, so I’m not formally entering. But I would have to say that I would be thoroughly unsuitable for any job that required all-day interaction (face to face) with other people.
  • Janet shares a great story at PaperTigers about a young boy’s first experience with read-aloud. She asks readers “What was the first book you read aloud to your child?” Despite not having children, I borrowed a friend’s story, and shared it in the comments over there.
  • At Semicolon, Sherry Early shares ideas for a talk that she’ll be giving at her church on “Reading and How to Build a Home Library”. She says (among other things): “When we read we receive the wisdom of people, past and present, whom we would never have the opportunity to meet. And we and our children can examine things and ideas that we would never be able to or would not want to experience personally.”
  • Via my friend Cory, I learned of a recent NY Times article by Julie Bosman about the Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing group’s plans for more direct interaction (and more financially lucrative deals) withHollywood. Hmmm… a bit scary, I’d say, though I suspect that there will be an upside.
  • Nominations for the Carnegie Corporation’s “I Love My Librarian” Award for public librarians have just opened. Liz has the details at Tea Cozy. If you have a favorite librarian, this is your chance to put that person in line for some much-deserved praise, not to mention a cash award.
  • Just in, via Kelly at Big A little aAmanda Craig has ascience fiction round-up for children and teenagers in the Times Online. I really have got to read Unwind, byNeal Shusterman, soon. Craig says: “This is the kind of rare book that makes the hairs on your neck rise up. It is written with a sense of drama that should get it instantly snapped up for film, and it’s satisfyingly unpredictable in that its characters change and realise things about each other in a credible way.”
  • And last, but definitely not least, the latest Carnival of Children’s Literature is now available at Chicken Spaghetti. This one snuck up on me, and I didn’t manage to contribute, but Susan has lots of great links for you at this Beach Edition of the carnival.

And that’s all for today. Happy Reading!!

© 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).