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 KidLitCon (48)

Sunday
Apr122009

Sunday Afternoon Visits: Easter Edition

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

Kidlitosphere_buttonSo, I thought I’d be back to blogging normally this week, but I was stymied by a combination of business travel and flu. But I did at least get some reading done… And now, on the tail end of Easter Sunday, I’m catching up a bit on the doings of the Kidlitosphere.

FeedFirst up, Terry Doherty continues her amazing work promoting literacy. Don’t miss the gorgeous new redesign of the Share a Story - Shape a Future website. Is that not the cutest RSS feed logo in the world? (Image credit to Share a Story - Shape a Future).

Lenore has what I think will be a useful post for authors at Presenting Lenore, talking about what makes a good pitch when an author is approaching a blogger about a potential review. There’s quite a bit of discussion in the comments, too. 

And a post that I think will be of interest to bloggers is this one from Janssen at Everyday Reading, about the difficulty of explaining to people who don’t blog the fact that other bloggers can become real-life friends. This has certainly been the case for me (people I know through my blog becoming genuine friends). And if any of you would like to see this in action, I urge you to attend the next Kidlitosphere conference in October, and observe the bonds between people who interact virtually for 364 other days of the year.

Jennie from Biblio File reports that “kidlit is taking over the world.” She says: “Of ALL books purchased Jan-Mar of this year, the top 5 sellers? Were kidlit. Twilight took the top 4 spots and Diary of a Wimpy Kid took #5.” Apparently (original source: Galley Cat), 16% of all books sold in Q1 were written by Stephenie Meyer.

Meanwhile, over at Wands and Worlds, Sheila Ruth is on a quest for undiscovered gems in a bestseller world. She says: “I want to hear your input about the best undiscovered gems of 2008. Please post in the comments your favorite children’s or YA books published in 2008 that were not widely buzzed, reviewed, or awarded. I’ll compile all the suggestions into a book list and post it on my blog, with permission for anyone to copy it and post it elsewhere.” Do take a few minutes to contribute, if you have a below-the-radar book that you loved last year.

At Kids Lit, Tasha Saecker takes exception to some of exclusions from VOYA’s recently released list of best sci fi, fantasy, and horror for teens. Do check out Tasha’s list of suggested adds, as well as the original list. And, speaking of a book that did make the list, Jessica Freundel at Kid Lit Kit shares two pieces of news about The Hunger Games. Hint: “Scholastic is giving one lucky fan a chance to sit down with Suzanne (Collins) for a private lunch in NYC”.

In other award list news, the short lists for the E. B. White Read-Aloud Awards were announced recently. I saw this news on various blogs, but am linking to the list as posted on nominee Lois Lowry’s blog. I was extra pleased to see Bonny Becker’s A Visitor for Bear nominated for picture books, and to see The Willoughby’s nominated for older readers.

Speaking of reading aloud, Sarah Mulhern has a great post at The Reading Zone about Nuts and Bolts of Reading Aloud. She begins: “Reading aloud to my students daily is one of, if not the most, important aspects of my classroom.  I extoll the virtues of classroom read alouds to anyone and everyone who will listen, yet I realized I never broke down the nuts and bolts of it here on my blog!” And so she does.

I don’t normally highlight author interviews, because there are so many, but I was taken with this Q&A between Paul from Omnivoracious and Joshua Mowll, author of the “Guild of Specialists” trilogy. Paul points out that this sounds like an extremely boy-friendly series for middle grade readers. The author responds, however: “The trilogy has some very strong female characters such as Becca and Liberty da Vine, so I’d always hoped both boys and girls would enjoy it. The narrative style moves everything along at speed… and it’s a big, big story after all. It is what it is—a full throttle adventure story. I know it’s exactly the sort of book I would have loved when I was young.” I think I’d like to check these books out.

Camille from Book Moot has two pieces of good news for New England children’s literature fans. Blueberries for Sal will be available for purchase again soon (original source Wizards Wireless), and the duckling (of Make Way for Ducklings fame) that was stolen from the Public Garden in Boston has been returned to his family. In other good news, I’m sure you’ll all be happy to know that Betsy Bird and Winnie-the-Pooh have been reunited at last.

Lori Calabrese has a great post at her new Get in the Game — Read! blog, about the value of sports and books. She recaps benefits of playing sports, and reading books, and then talks about the ways that sports and reading go together, all with very cute illustrations. This is a blog that I’ll be following closely!

Meanwhile, Melissa at Kidliterate makes a plea for more sports books for girls, saying: “Where is the awesome middle-grade girls’ series about friends who play soccer/ice skate/play field hockey/shoot hoops? Where’s the stereotypical girls’ sports series, for that matter? Most days I’d give my left arm for a fair-to-middling book about short girls on a gymnastics team.”

NationalPoetryMonthLogoAs I mentioned previously, there’s a lot going on all across the blogs in honor of National Poetry Month. I haven’t been able to keep up with it myself, but Elaine Magliaro is on the job at Wild Rose Reader. This post recaps activities as of a few days ago, and I think that it’s safe to say she’ll share other links going forward.

And, last but not least, don’t forget that School Library Journal’s Battle of the (Kids) Books starts tomorrow morning. Match 1 will be The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume II: The Kingdom on the Waves vs Ways to Live Forever, judged by Roger SuttonYou can download the full brackets here.

Wishing you all a peaceful week!

© 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).

Friday
Feb272009

Friday Night Visits: February 27

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

There’s been lot of activity out and about the Kidlitosphere this week. Here are a few highlights:

First up, breaking news from MotherReader — it looks like we have a definite date for the third annual Kidlitosphere conference, “officially, set for the weekend of October 16th–18th at the Sheraton Crystal City Hotel! … As we’ve done in the past, Friday will feature a dinnertime outing to some local place for whomever can come. Saturday will be the conference and dinner. Sunday will be some Washington, DC adventure”. I’ll let you know when the room block is set up, and you can make plans.

Kid-Lit72Lynn Hazen is hosting the February Carnival of Children’s Literature at Imaginary Blog this week. She asked for posts on the theme of “We Love Kid-Lit!”, and the result is a fabulous tribute to the joy of children’s literature. Like Lynn, I especially “enjoyed Book Aunt Kate Coombs’ view on the Anarchy of the Imagination: Why I Love Children’s Books.” But there is lots of other great stuff, too. Don’t miss it!

CybilsLogoSmallDeputy Editor Sarah Stevenson has a final round-up of reviews, and a bit of author feedback from Nic Bishop, at the Cybils blog. Our co-founder Anne Levy also had a fun post earlier in the week of Cybils by the numbers (number of books read, traffic, etc.)

Lots of other award news out this week, too. Gwenda Bond has the nomination lists for the Nebula and Norton awardsLori Calabrese has the scoop on the 2009 Red House Children’s Book AwardsTasha Saecker has the finalists for the 2009 Children’s Choice Book Awards and the 2009 Agatha Awards.   

SassafAnd of course, there’s been lots of buzz this week about the upcoming Share a Story - Shape a Future Literacy Blog Tour. Terry Doherty shares some additional background about the event here. The very thoughtful Brimful Curiosities made a nice button that people can display on their blogs to show support for the event, and I’m seeing it all over the place. You can also join the Share a Story - Shape a Future Facebook group.

Speaking of sharing stories, the Children’s Book Review has coined a new term. “Bookarazzi: A freelance blogger who pursues celebrities who read books, to create posts that promote children’s literature.” I like it!

Interesting Nonfiction for Kids (I.N.K.) shares children’s nonfiction magazinesGretchen Woelfle says “Children’s science magazines have evolved into well-designed, beautifully illustrated journals meant to entertain as well as inform. Animal-loving kids, especially, can revel in the options available.” 

Laurel Snyder’s had a great reaction to an article that she wrote about children’s books for Jews (“Lamenting the predictability of Jewish kids’ lit, a writer takes matters into her own hands”). Liz Burns supports Laurel’s post, but asks “what about the Catholics?” Both articles have generated lots of great discussion about how often authors completely gloss over any religious background of characters in children’s literature.

Gail Gauthier notes “an indication of YA’s significance now”, reporting that “Condoleeza Rice has signed a contract with Crown Publishers to write three books. Two of them will be memoirs about her family—one written for adults and the other “a young adult edition.”” I agree with Gail that a young adult version of the memoir of someone like Rice is good news all around.

BlogbutterflyawardAnd last, but definitely not least, the wonderful team at PaperTigers was kind enough to award me a Butterfly Award, for having a “cool” blog. This is one of my favorite awards, and it’s an honor to receive it from a blog that I link to so often. Thanks, Marjorie!

Wishing you all a joyful and book-filled 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).

Wednesday
Feb182009

Wednesday Afternoon Visits: February 18

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

The blogs were relatively quiet over the holiday weekend, and I was in Lake Tahoe with friends myself. But now that I’m catching back up, I have a few things to share with you:

The Last OlympianI know I already shared the recently released cover of the last Percy Jackson book. But I also just ran across this fun interview between Percy and Blackjack the Pegasus (who are both pictured on the cover). It’s on Rick Riordan’s blog.

Mary Lee has a lovely little post at A Year of Reading about the top five expectations that her students have when they read fiction. For any adult in the business of evaluating fiction for kids, this is a useful post. I, of course, like the emphasis on story. See also this recent post by Donalyn Miller, the Book Whisperer, about students looking for expert opinions about books that they value. She says: “I know from your posts that you are readers, too. Why not join the conversation? Submit a quote about a book or two you would like to recommend. Celebrate your reading expertise and share it with us all!”

Carlie Webber from Librarilly Blonde has a new article in Publisher’s Weekly, What they don’t know won’t hurt them: Persuading adults to read YA literature. Carlie says: “My advice is simple: lie and cheat. To get more adults to read and enjoy YA literature, the lie of omission often works.” And she gives some concrete examples of books that will work perfectly well for many adults, if the books aren’t pre-judges as “for kids”. She also suggests that “Teen books must make an appearance outside the teen section. Staff picks and themed book displays should include teen books.” I certainly agree!

MotherReader has started planning for “the Annual KidLitosphere Conference — or if you’d prefer, The Society of Bloggers in Children’s and Young Adult Literature Annual Conference.” Nothing firm yet, but the weekend of October 16th in Arlington, VA is starting to look promising. I’m hoping that having the conference in DC, and not in conflict with any other major conferences, will result in the highest attendance yet. Stay tuned for more details!

The London Eye MysteryBookwitch has a new resource that I think a lot of people are going to find useful: the Aspie Books Page (“any fiction which I feel is the slightest bit Asperger/Autism/ ADHD related can be listed here for reference”). Bookwitch writes from the UK, so it’s possible that some books will be unfamiliar to US audiences, but I found several favorites there (including recent Cybils winner for middle grade fiction: The London Eye MysteryRULES, and the aforementioned Percy Jackson books).

The Book Chook has a new two-part feature: the Read Aloud Roundup (part 1 and part 2) in which she asks “some people who love books to choose their favourite book to read aloud.” She also shares “great tips to add extra value”. Don’t miss this fun new feature, focused on the joys of reading aloud with kids.

Becky Laney from Becky’s Book Reviews is doing quite a bit of thinking about the rights and wrongs of copying (after her blog content was shamefully stolen by another site). She discusses links vs. quotes vs. memes, etc., and seeks reader feedback. All I have to say is that I own a software company, and this has made me very very respectful of other people’s intellectual property. (I should also mention that some of my “afternoon visits” posts are being reposted on the Kidlitosphere Central news blog, but that’s happening with my full knowledge and consent. I’m on the board there. What Becky’s talking about is copying without permission. And that’s nothing short of theft.)

Speaking of theft, Guys Lit Wire has a post by Kristopher about writing-related scams.

And speaking of the potential co-opting of other people’s intellectual property, there’s been quite a bit of conflict lately around Facebook’s Terms of Service. They seem to have backed down a little bit on some recent changes that they made, in response to a storm of controversy, but I think that people are now being extra-careful about what they put on Facebook.

And that’s all for today! 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).

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.
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).