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Entries in Kids Heart Authors (2)


Sunday Afternoon Visits: February 8

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

My blog has been lamentably quiet this week. I was in Fort Collins, CO for work, and couldn’t even keep up with email, let alone with blogging. Now I find myself with a free Sunday, and a Google Reader filled with posts. Here are some highlights of the doings of the Kidlitosphere. The Literacy and Reading News Round-Up will follow tomorrow.

I’m pleased to report that I was a winner in HipWriterMama’s 2009 New Year 30 Day Challenge. As the other winners have commented, the real prize was successfully participating (my challenge goal had to do with riding my exercise bike every day, and I did pretty well with it, despite guests and travel). Thanks, Vivian!

PaperTigers has a new February issue about “the growing global awareness of the power of children to change the world.” I especially enjoyed Mitali Perkins’ article about how books can shape a child’s heart. Although I don’t have quite so specific an example as Mitali’s description of reading A Little Princess, I have always felt that the books that I read as a child influenced my moral compass. For more on how children are changing the world, see my post from last week about Free the Children.

KidsheartauthorlogoSpeaking of PaperTigers, Janet has a nice write-up about the upcoming Kids Heart Authors Day, explaining how “from New England to the Pacific Northwest, independent bookstores, children’s authors, illustrators, and the young readers who love them are coming together on February 14 in a grand celebration.” It’s not quite enough to make me wish, in February, that I still lived in New England, but it comes close.

With her usual thoroughness, Elaine Magliaro has compiled book lists, book reviews, and other resources for Black History Month at Wild Rose Reader. This is an excellent starting point for anyone looking for resources on this topic. Friday’s Poetry Friday round-up is also available at Wild Rose Reader.

ReadkiddoreadWendie Old has a very positive write-up about James Patterson’s new ReadKiddoRead site.

In other encouraging news, Cheryl Rainfield shares a tidbit about a child who saved herself from a fire, after learning how to do so from a children’s book.

PJ Hoover brought to my attention a new blog that’s right up my alley. In The Spectacle, “Authors talk about writing speculative fiction for teens and pre-teens.” I especially enjoyed PJ’s post The Cool Thing About Post-Apocalyptic. Speaking as a series fan of the genre myself, I have to agree with her conclusion. See also this post at Presenting Lenore about dystopias. And speaking of speculative and post-apocalyptic fiction, Bookshelves of Doom reports that John Christopher’s Tripods trilogy is being adapted for the big screen. Very cool!

NORTHlogo[1]In celebration of the launch of her new book, North of BeautifulJustina Chen Headley is launching a Find Beauty Challenge. Justina says: “Tell the world what you find to be Truly Beautiful! Just upload a 90-second video describing what real beauty means to you…and you could win yourself an iTouch! PLUS, for every uploaded video, I’ll donate $10 (up to $1,000) to Global Surgical Outreach, an amazing group that helps kids with cleft lips and palates in the third world.” North of Beautiful is on my short list, but I haven’t gotten to it yet. Anyone else find it ironic that I’m spending so much time reading and writing about encouraging readers that I don’t have time to read myself? Ah, well!

Amy from Literacy Launchpad has a fun post about the importance of building home libraries for children, and the dilemma that she faces in deciding which of her precious books to actually share with her book-eating young son. And speaking of home libraries, Susan Thomsen shares resources for inexpensive children’s books at Chicken Spaghetti, with additional resources suggested in the comments.

Facing another literacy dilemma, Tricia from The Miss Rumphius Effect mulls over the idea of a canon of children’s literature, asking: “Are there books and stories that every child should/must know?” There’s a good discussion going on in the comments about it - my own views are pretty much identical to what Chris Barton said. Maureen Kearney also weighs in at Confessions of a Bibliovore.

Reminding us that not all kids learn to read in the same wayKris Bordessa from Paradise Found links to an interesting post by Miranda at Nurtured by Love. Comparing her own children’s experience to those of a friend, Miranda notes: “So not only did I not do very much to nurture my kids’ early achievement of literacy, but what I did do was probably almost beside the point. It’s mostly in the wiring, modulated by issues of temperament. Sure, an impoverished learning environment can cause delays in literacy learning. But a reasonably supportive nurturing environment? It’s in the wiring. The ages when perfectly bright non-learning-disabled unschooled kids will learn to read is all over the map.”

Natasha Worswick reports that BBC Four will be showing a documentary tonight about Why Reading Matters. Doesn’t seem to be on here in CA, but I’ll stay tuned at Children’s Books for Grown-Ups, to see if Natasha has any feedback after watching it.

And for all of you bloggers out there, especially blogging authors, Pam Coughlan has a great two-part piece at MotherReader with blogging tips. Here’s Part 1 and Part 2 (which incorporates reader comments from Part 1, and has concrete examples of people she thinks are doing things right). I think she’s convinced me to a) prune my blog sidebars and b) be more careful about the use of acronyms.

And finally, our own Greg Pincus from Gotta Book was mentioned in an article in the Guardian this week, about the relationship between math and poetry. Remember the Fib? The article certainly wouldn’t have been complete without this art form that bridges math and poetry so perfectly.

Now my Google Reader is empty of unread items, for the first time in a week or so, and I’m off to ride my exercise bike for a while. Happy Sunday 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).


Friday Afternoon Visits: Pre-Holiday Edition

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

This might be redundant after the enormous Birthday Carnival of Children’s Literature from Wednesday, but I’ve saved up a few Kidlitosphere links from this week that I’d like to share with you all. Besides which, sitting at my kitchen table, listening to Christmas music, and visiting a few blogs seems like a nice way to spend some time, after an expectedly stressful work week.

KidsheartauthorlogoFirst up, kudos to author Mitali Perkins for launching Kids Heart Authors Day, a celebration of authors and independent booksellers scheduled for Valentine’s Day. As announced on the project website:

“Bookstores, authors, and illustrators are teaming up to make V-Day 2009 an unforgettable one for New England families. Bundle up your brood and head to your community bookstore on Saturday, February 14th, where local authors and illustrators will gather from 10 to 12 a.m. to sign books for kids and teens. Bookstores will provide bunches of books, and authors and illustrators will personalize them and answer any and all questions about writing and drawing.”

It’s almost enough to make me wish I still lived in New England. And this time of year (I am NOT a snow person), that’s really saying something.

And speaking of taking kids to bookstores, author Sara Lewis Holmes recently announced plans for going on a Reading Date with her daughter. She says: “Don’t you want to make a Reading Date with someone you love?” I’m going to see if I can work one in over the holidays.

Imbuyingbooks_buttonYou can find book recommendations everywhere this time of year, of course, especially on the Books for the Holidays blog. (For the record, I bought a TON of books this year, and I purchased most of them by going through the Cybils blog). I’m particularly taken with the book lists on BookKids Recommends (the Book People children’s book blog). They’ve been offering first recommendations for “dudes of various age ranges, and more recently for girlie-girls, from picture books through teen books. These are fun, up-to-date lists, and are a perfect example of the specialized services offered by independent booksellers. I also liked this list of 10 great gifts for dads that read to their kids (and don’t you wish that category included all dads?) from BookDads.

See also this anecdotal piece by Janet Brown at The Tiger’s Bookshelf (the PaperTigers blog) about the pleasure of giving a book. Janet says: “Snuggling with your father, hearing his voice directed especially toward you, seeing the glow of colors and the excitement of new shapes as the pages turn, what could be better than that? Nothing, except perhaps for the delight of choosing a book that can help this experience be as good as it can be–and then hearing about it later from a happy parent.” I certainly agree!

Jama Rattigan has two posts about literary cookbooks for kids (and short grown-ups). Very fun! They are here and here. She has lots of delicious posts about things like Christmas cookies, too.  

As linked by many people, this past week was Girl Week at Reviewer X, featuring guest posts about girls and book reviews of girl-friendly titles. Another good place to look for gift ideas, I’d hazard.

I’ve pretty much had my fill of children’s book controversy by this point in the year (who knew there would be so much, honestly?). But if you’re still interested in discussions, the Washington Post has jumped on the Newbery Award criticism bandwagon (actually going so far as to imply that recent Newbery award selections have been hurting reading enjoyment among kids). Lots of people have written about this article, including Mitali Perkins (who writes more generally on the impact of adult recommendations on kids), and Donalyn Miller at the Book Whisperer.

CybilsLogoSmallI tend to agree with Donalyn that “The limited allure of recent winners doesn’t marginalize reading, it marginalizes the award and reveals a missed opportunity by the Newbery committee to celebrate books that are not only well-written, but also attractive to readers.” I know that kid appeal isn’t part of the criteria of the Newbery, but I do think that there are plenty of books that have kid-appeal and are well-written. Happily, the Cybils short lists will be out on January 1st!!

And, discussing one more publishing controversy that I think is going to pick up steam in 2009, 100 Scope Notes talks about PDFs and eBooks being sent to reviewers. There’s some discussion in the comments. Personally, I am NOT up for more time in front of my computer. So eBook review copies would mean either getting a Kindle-type decide, or just not accepting review copies at all. I’ll be interested to see how things shake out.

And I’m not even going to comment on the recent New Yorker article that dissed young adult fiction even while reviewing a particular YA title in a positive light (“I tend to think of young-adult fiction as sort of facile—a straightforward style, uncomplicated themes and morals—but this had a complexity, an ambiguity, that surprised me”). See the comments there, or this post by Brian from the Flux Blog.

On a lighter note, Lisa Chellman has a fun post about Fictional Parents with Interesting Jobs. Click through to see which character’s father is a funeral director, a punk rocker, or a mathematician.

And for lots of fun tidbits about the past year in children’s literature, check out this very fun post at 100 Scope NotesTravis is predicting a trend of “tiny characters” in 2009. What do you think? See also his Best Confirmation That a Character is Indeed Awesome in the post. Can you guess?

Mary Pope Osborne (of Magic Treehouse book fame) has just completed a blog tour at The Well-Read ChildJill has direct links to the four previous stops. For a different type of interview, author James Preller recently interviewed Karen and Bill from Literate Lives (source for many book recommendations that catch my eye). It’s more of a conversation than an interview, and definitely a fun read.

Libby shares some children’s literature love at Lessons from the Tortoise, quoting a couple of recent articles in which authors recalled and rediscovered their appreciation for children’s booksTricia also posted a response to one of the articles at The Miss Rumphius Effect.

Kudos to Andrea and Mark from Just One More Book for helping to get a favorite book re-printed. They’ll also have a blurb on the reprinted book: Sleeping Dragons. See here and here. It’s nice to see tangible evidence that book advocacy can make a difference.

Mary and Robin at Shrinking Violet Promotions are doing a lovely 12 Days of Christmas - Introvert Style series. The gifts that they recommend introverts seek out this time of year include earplugs, soothing drinks, and “a nice quiet place to be.” They’re also giving out a gift each day, to previous commenters. I find that their blog is a nice quiet space that I want to visit.

Speaking of blogs that I want to visit, would you like to know about a blog I that actively seek out, and am disappointed when there are no posts? Not Always Right: Funny & Stupid Customer Quotes. Some of the posts are hilarious. I forget where I discovered this site (Finding WonderlandBookshelves of Doom?), but I love it. If you need a little humor, it’s definitely worth checking out.

And that’s it for Kidlitosphere links until after the holidays. 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).