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 Gail Gauthier (4)

Saturday
Oct182008

Saturday Evening Visits: October 18

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

The FireI haven’t spent as much time working on my blog this weekend as usual, because I’ve been consumed by a couple of books. The Eight, by Katherine Neville, is one of my favorite books - an adult thriller/romance/historical epic/mystery. However, it had been several years since I last read it. When the sequel, The Fire, came out this week, I had to sit down and re-read The Eight first, before diving into The Fire. I’ve felt a bit guilty about neglecting my blog, but I had to remind myself that I started my blog because I love books. And it’s really not right for the blog to keep me from being consumed by books, is it? But anyway, here are some links that I saved up from the week.

The Reading Tub website has a gorgeous new look. The Reading Tub is one of my favorite resources for encouraging young readers. They have hundreds of profile pages for books, with details like recommendations for age to read together vs. read yourself, whether to borrow or buy, and read-alikes. The Reading Tub also has related links and reading resources, and an excellent blog that features reading news. If you have a few minutes, do check out their new website.

Over at The Reading Zone, Sarah has a nice post about helping struggling readers to find the perfect book. She warns: “It can take weeks to find something that a reluctant and struggling reader can read and wants to read.  There will be a lot of abandoned books along the way.” But she offers concrete suggestions to help. I think this is a must-read post for anyone new to recommending books for struggling readers.

My VerboCity reports (a story originally from Publisher’s Weekly) the Simon & Schuster is going to be releasing eBooks for cell phones. Some of the Nancy Drew mysteries will be available at the program’s launch, to drive initial interest.

Mary and Robin at Shrinking Violet Promotions (with much help from their devoted readers) have made tremendous progress in drafting their Introvert’s Bill of Rights. If you’re an Introvert, or you live with one, this is required reading. See also Robin’s post about the benefits of spending some time unplugged. I followed her advice, and turned my computer off at noon on Friday. I later checked email on my phone, but wished that I hadn’t… I do think there’s something to be said for spending more time away from the computer, to provide clear mental space.

Liz Burns writes at Tea Cozy about some important purposes of book reviews, including the reasons why professional book reviews “won’t be going away anytime soon.” She proposes that “instead of cutting back book reviews, newspapers and magazines should be increasing the book-talk that appears on their websites.” Liz’s post was quoted on GalleyCat, and sparked some further discussion there.

Trevor Cairney has a post at Literacy, Families, and Learning about a key theme in children’s literature: death. He notes that “Literature can helps parents, in particular, to discuss the reality of death with their children. Books that address death can be read with children and by children themselves as a source of insight, comfort and emotional growth.” Trevorsuggests some books that deal with, but haven’t been specifically written to address, death (like Bridge to Terebithia).

Lisa Chellman reports that Cavendish is launching a line of contemporary classic reissues. She says: “This is truly a labor of love. I mean, presumably Cavendish expects to make some money from this line, but they’re tracking down all sorts of rights and artwork to make this happen while looking at a pretty strictly library and indie bookstore market.” Lisa also shares some books about out of the ordinary princesses.

The PaperTigers blog offers multicultural reading group suggestions for young readers. Janet explains: “At PaperTigers, we are deeply committed to books on multicultural subjects that bring differing cultures closer together. So of course the books on our little list are novels that we think will accomplish that, while they keep their readers enthralled and provide the nourishment for spirited book group discussions.”

Laura writes at Children’s Writing Web Journal about staying young as a children’s book writer. She says: “Whenever I’m feeling more mature than I’d like, I read children’s books. A great book for kids pulls me right back to my childhood. A stellar novel for young adults makes me feel like a teen again, only now I’ve got some perspective on the experience and can actually laugh about it.”

The Hunger GamesOn a related note, Gail Gauthier links at Original Content to a School Library Journal article about teen books that adults will enjoy. I can think of lots of other titles that could have been listed in the article (The Hunger Games comes immediately to mind), but right now I’m just happy that articles like this are being written.

The latest edition of Just One More Book! asks how old is too old for reading aloud. Several commenters report that it’s never too old for read-aloud, which makes me very happy. Everything I’ve ever read on this topic suggests that parents should keep reading aloud to their kids for as long as their kids will let them.

Speaking of reading aloud, Cynthia Lord shares a lovely story about reading aloud to her daughter, and a whole waiting room full of other people, around Christmastime. She concludes, speaking to the author of the book she was reading, “ As authors we get to do something that very few people get to do. We get to matter in the lives of complete strangers. Barbara Robinson, you’ve mattered in mine.” Isn’t that lovely?

ChainsThis has been written about pretty much everywhere, but just in case you missed it, the National Book awards were announced this week. I first saw the short list for Young People’s Literature at Read Roger. The titles are: The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart (Hyperion); The Underneath by Kathi Appelt (Atheneum); Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson (Simon and Schuster); What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell (Scholastic); The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp (Knopf). Chains is high up on my to-read list, and I am especially happy for Laurie Anderson.

Justine Larbalestier takes on the topic of editing titles originally published in foreign countries to Americanize them. I hate this, too. As a kid, I loved figure out what British words like lift and pram and jumper meant.

At Greetings from Nowhere, Barbara O’Connor shares ”timelines that kids made focused on books that were important to them at various points in their lives.” I love this idea (and the examples shown). What a way to celebrate the love of reading!

Sp0112x2Finally, I so want this notepad, which Betsy linked to at Fuse #8. It says “I will do one thing today. Thing:”. Brilliant!

And that’s all for tonight. I’ll just conclude by saying: how ’bout those Red Sox!!

© 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).

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).

Sunday
Jul132008

Sunday Afternoon Visits: July 13

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

There have been tons of interesting things going on around the Kidlitosphere this week. Here are a few links:

  • Congratulations to Andrea and Mark, who just celebrated the second anniversary, and 400th post, at Just One More Book! Wishing them hundreds more posts. See also Shelf Elf’s one-year birthday party, with a very creative list of book reviews as gifts.
  • Over at Open Wide, Look Inside, Tricia shares her must-have subscriptions for teachers. She calls them “a series of e-mail subscriptions that I can’t live without”. Selections include the PBS Teachers weekly newsletter and the Math Solutions online newsletter.
  • Inspired by a post by Jenny Han at The Longstockings, Liz Burns writes about direct delivery of services at A Chair, A Fireplace, and A Tea Cozy. The discussion started with a new paid service that will deliver books to you via mail (like NetFlix), and questions about what this offers as compared to libraries. It evolves, at Tea Cozy, into a discussion about the future of libraries.
  • In case you didn’t get enough of Gail Gauthier’s Three Robbers blog tour last week, you can read one more interview with Gail at Cheryl Rainfield’s blog. I particularly enjoyed the discussion about how to get kids interested in reading (for example “You can’t treat reading like work, like something you escape from when you’re on vacation.”).
  • On a related note, Abby (the) Librarian writes about adult summer reading clubs. She notes: “In terms of developing literacy, one of the best things parents can do is read themselves. Seriously. It seems like such a simple thing, but I think it’s a really potent thing”. 
  • And speaking of reading and vacation, Franki takes on the question of summer reading lists at A Year of Reading. She warns that “kids are not going to become readers if they see reading as an assignment and don’t have the opportunity to read the books they choose”, and cautions against adults, even with the best of intentions, creating lists at all. She says “Creating our own summer reading lists because we don’t like the ones out there, only says that we like the idea of summer reading lists if they are lists that WE create. Where is the child as reader in these conversations?” A valid point, I must say. See also Betsy’s thoughts on this issue at A Fuse #8 Production, Maureen’s at Confessions of a Bibliovore, and Gail’s at Original Content. On a related note, ShelfTalker Alison Morris writes about the shortage of YA titles on many summer reading lists. (Last link via Original Content.)
  • Speaking of Fuse #8, one thing I didn’t have in my ALA roundup post was a picture from the dinner that Sondra LaBrie from Kane/Miller hosted for Betsy and me. Fortunately, this has been remedied by both Betsy and Sondra, who each posted a photo taken with Betsy’s camera. Betsy also has some free ARCs to share, if you happen to live in New York, and a warning about stolen book reviews.
  • Trevor Cairney has a detailed, two-part post at Literacy, Families, and Learning about stimulating literacy and learning during the holidays (though in Australia, where Trevor is based, the holidays going on now are relatively short). Here is part 1 and here is part 2. There’s much more in these posts than I can possibly capture here, but if you’re facing school vacation time with kids, do check out these articles.
  • Monica Edinger shares some thoughts about Laura Amy Schlitz’s Newbery Award acceptance speech at Educating Alice. She urges “those who read Marc Aronson’s thoughts about the speech to read it for yourselves especially if you are planning on weighing in on the issue next week as Colleen Mondor suggests you do.”
  • The Newbery acceptance speech was actually only of several potential topics that Colleen raised for discussion next week. After recapping recent controversies (from Frank Cottrell Boyce to celebrity picture books, Colleen said: “I’m proposing that the week of July 20th we all take some time and talk about the controversies that have found there way to our corner of the lit blogosphere… What I’d love to see is many other blogs pick up on this thread and write about the aspects of children’s and teen publishing that frustrate them. We write about this stuff way more than pretty much any other print reviewers anywhere (not all but most) and we have our ear to the ground in ways that most publishers do not. In other words, we hear about stuff lightening quick and we form immediate opinions. Well, now is a great time for everyone to share those opinions and actually create a few ripples in the literary pond ourselves, rather than just riding someone else’s waves.” Personally, I’m thinking of writing about “message books” (which of course as a topic does tend to overlap with the topic of celebrity picture books).
  • Speaking on controversies in the KidLit blogosphere, Laurie Halse Anderson responds to a repeat cartoon by aquafortis at Finding Wonderland about how book bloggers think of themselves. Laurie has quite a discussion going in the comments about how blog reviewers think about what they’re doing. Personally, I used to call my reviews “recommendations”, because I didn’t publish very many negative reviews. But somewhere along the way I decided to give myself more credit, and call them reviews. I do try to separate out personal background information about how I responded to a book from the review itself, where applicable.
  • And, for another book reading and reviewing question, Jill asks at The Well-Read Child how readers feel about abandoning books unfinished. Several people weigh in on this topic in the comments - most have evolved to some sort of book abandonment policy (e.g. after 50 pages).
  • The brand-new blog Book Addiction has a partial round-up by Eva M. on graphic novels for kids. I found this blog through a recommendation from Susan Patron on the CCBC-Net mailing list.
  • And finally, just off the presses, Sarah Miller, a Disney fan, has issued a Disney Literature Challenge. She says: “Let’s dig up the uncorrupted originals, and see how these stories looked before Uncle Walt had his way with them, shall we? For my part, I’m making this a long term, laid back endeavor. No time limits, no minimums, no obligations. Pick the ones you like and quit when you get sick of the whole idea.” Personally, I tend to pass on challenges, because I have enough trouble just keeping up with my regular blogging. But I have to admit that this one does appeal…

And that’s all for today. I hope that you’re all having a restful Sunday. Me, I’m happy because the Red Sox are back in first place of the AL East, just in time for the All-Star Break.

© 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
Jul062008

Sunday Afternoon Visits: Holiday Weekend Edition

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

It was a pretty quiet weekend on the blogs, what with the July 4th holiday in the US and all. Still, I ran across a few things that I wanted to share:

  • Jill is hosting a Family Reading Challenge and Giveaway at The Well-Read Child. After discussing her reasons for starting this challenge, she says “Would you like to spend more time reading and challenge yourself and your family to read a bit every day? If so, I’d love it if you joined me! The only rule is that you try to fit in time every day.” Sounds like a worthy goal to me. Jill also has some excellent books that she’s going to give away to participants.
  • Over at the Reading ZoneSarah asks readers for book recommendations for her nine year old sister, “a voracious reader.” There are tons of suggestions in the comments (including a few from me), so if you are looking for ideas for the nine year old in your life, this post is worth checking out.
  • And, if you’re looking for recommendations for slightly younger readers, check out the conclusion of Gail Gauthier’s Three Robbers blog tour, with links to all of the interviews/early chapter book discussions.
  • At Shrinking Violet PromotionsMary Hershey and Robin LaFevers have an event going on in honor of the launch of Mary’s new book (10 Lucky Things that Have Happened to Me Since I Nearly Got Hit by Lightning) that will get books into the hands of young girls who need them. Explains Robin, Mary “has invited her friends and family to purchase a gift card (by phone if that’s easier) from our local independent bookstore, Chaucer’s, and then in turn designate that it be used to buy a copy of our books (yes we’re doing a buddy signing!) to be donated to Girls, Inc. so that a girl that might not otherwise have a chance to read or own the books might do so.” How cool is that?
  • Shelf Elf is celebrating her upcoming one-year blogiversary. And she is seeking presents. Not to worry, though. All she wants are your book recommendations. If you read Shelf Elf, and would like to show your support, just head on over to this post, and leave a link to one of your reviews in the comments.
  • Speaking of showing support, congratulations to Mitali Perkins, whose Rickshaw Girl (reviewed here) was recently named to The Children’s Literature and Reading Special Interest Group of the International Reading Association’s list of 25 Notable Books for a Global Society. She’s in some excellent company, too. If you’re looking for some globally diverse book recommendations, do check out the full list.

And now, for the first time since I left on June 19th to go to my brother’s wedding, I’m feeling caught up with what’s going on in the Kidlitosphere — reviewsliteracy news, and other general happenings. Next up — catching up on my own reviews. I’ve read some great stuff lately, and hope to have time to write a bunch of reviews later this week.

© 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).