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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 Laurie Halse Anderson (5)

Saturday
Oct112008

Saturday Afternoon Visits: October 11

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

CybilslogosmallI’m still distracted by the Cybils and the baseball playoffs (Go Sox!), and my reviews have dropped off a bit, but I have saved up some Kidlitosphere links from this week.

Speaking of the Cybils, TadMack has an excellent graphic at Finding Wonderland. This is a visual, do click through to see it. Also, Sarah Stevenson has put together a gorgeous Cybils double-sided flyer that you can download from the Cybils site and print out. Say, if you were planning on attending a conference, and wanted to be able to tell people about the Cybils. You can find it available for PDF download here.

Lee Wind has a detailed post about the upcoming Blog the Vote event that he’s organizing with Colleen Mondor. This is a nonpartisan event - the idea is to encourage people to vote, whatever their convictions.

At In Search of Giants, Aerin announced the winner of the contest that she did during Book Blogger Appreciation Week, based on my Reviews that Made Me Want the Book feature. Congratulations to Alyce of At Home with Books. Alyce chose Graceling as her prize.

At Guys Lit Wire, a. fortis published a list of “not just gross, but actually scary horror books” of interest to teens. My favorite from the list is The Shining by Stephen King. I also recently enjoyed World War Z (about zombies).

The Forgotten DoorJenny from Jenny’s Wonderland of Books has a fabulous post about Alexander Key, one of my favorite authors. I recently reviewed Key’s The Forgotten Door, and also recently watched the 1975 movie version of Escape to Witch Mountain. Jenny says: “While Key often shows children fleeing villains and in danger, there is always a happy ending with children returning home and winning out over their enemies. He also portrayed children with ESP and from other worlds.” She includes a bio and a detailed list of books written and illustrated by Key (I didn’t even know that he was an illustrator). For Alexander Key fans, this post is a huge treat. And I join Jenny in hoping that the upcoming (2009) Witch Mountain movie will spark a renewed interest in Key’s work.

At I.N.K. (Interesting Nonfiction for Kids), Anna M. Lewis writes about VERY interesting nonfiction for kids: Graphic Novels. Anna notes (relaying feedback from a conference session that she attended) “A fifth- grade, reluctant reader would rather not read than carry a first-grader’s picture book… but, give him a graphic novel at his reading level and he reads… and still looks cool!”. Good stuff. But I didn’t know that graphic novels were classified as nonfiction in libraries.

Also at I.N.K., Jennifer Armstrong writes about the nature deficit: “more and more children staying inside, choosing electronic screens over not only books (our focus here) but over authentic experience of the natural world. It’s a mounting crisis with implications for the environment and for children’s health, for social networks and political movements, among other things.” She’ll be working with the Children and Nature network to help find books to combat this problem.

Betsy Bird v-blogs the Kidlitosphere Conference at A Fuse #8 Production.

The Longstockings have a nice post by Kathryne about getting started for very beginning writers. Kathryne offers several tips and also recommends books for writers. There are additional suggestions in the comments.

Liz Burns responds at Tea Cozy to a New York Times article by Motoko Rich about using videogames as bait to hook readers. The article quotes a reading professor who says that we need to do a better job of teaching kids how to read. Liz says: “My knee-jerk response to this is that it’s not about teaching kids HOW to read; it’s teaching kids to love reading”. I could not agree more! Walter Minkel also responds to the Times article at The Monkey Speaks. Walter’s interpretation is that “that media companies are now headed down that road that leads to a largely bookless future.” This is an idea which I find too depressing to contemplate.

And speaking of the future of books, Audiobooker has a report about a new audiobook download company that sends books to people’s cell phones. British novelist Andy McNab is the co-founder of the company, GoSpoken.

I ran across several responses to the recent Duke University study that found a link between reading a certain Beacon Street Girls book and weight lossMaureen from Confessions of a Bibliovore says “I found it a fundamentally flawed study. Let me say this: it’s one book. I’m the last person to say it’s impossible that a book can change a kid’s life, but this is pushing it.” Carlie Webber from Librarilly Blonde says “I’m intrigued as to what it is about this particular Beacon Street Girls book that encouraged weight loss… at what point does a book make kids change their ways and can other books have similar effects? Where does a book like this become didactic?” Monica Edinger from Educating Alice says “Suffice it to say I’m NOT a fan of “carefully” crafting novels this way. In fact I’m skittish about bibliotheraphy in general.” I actually did read and review the BSG book in question (Lake Rescue) back in 2006. Although I’m generally quite critical of books that are written to promote a particular message (regardless of whether I agree with the message), I gave this one a pass at the time, because I thought that the characters were sufficiently engaging. But I think it’s a very tricky thing.

Newlogorg200Via HipWriterMama comes the news that “In celebration of Young Adult Library Services Association’s (YALSA’s) Teen Reed Week™, readergirlz (rgz) is excited to present Night Bites, a series of online live chats with an epic lineup of published authors.” Vivian has the full schedule at HipWriterMama. The games begin on October 13th.

Laurie Halse Anderson opens up discussion on whether booksellers have a “need to further segment the children’s/YA section of their stores to separate books that appeal to teens that have mature content and those that don’t.” If you have thoughts on this, head on over to Laurie’s to share.

On a lighter note, Alice Pope is taking an informal poll to see who among her Alice’s CWIM Blog readers is left-handed. I am. As will be our next President (either way).

Mary and Robin from Shrinking Violet Promotions are working on an Introvert’s Bill of Rights. I’m kind of fond of “Introverts have the right to leave social events “early” as needed.” You can comment there with your other suggestions. The SVP post also links to an excellent essay on introverts by Hunter Nuttall, whose blog I’m now going to start reading. Nuttall includes pictures of various famous introverts (I’m not sure who classified them as such, but it’s still fun to see). I especially enjoyed a section that he did on “why introversion makes perfect sense to me”, starting with “I don’t see the need for untargeted socialization”. Hmm… I wonder who the famous left-handed introverts are, and how many of them have resisted “untargeted socialization”.

Roger Sutton reports at Read Roger that “The complete Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards ceremony is now up for your viewing and listening pleasure.” This, combined with the baseball playoffs, is almost enough to make me wish I still lived in Boston. But not quite…

Happy weekend, all!

© 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
Jul202008

Sunday Afternoon Visits: July 20

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

BrillanteI spent a lot of time thinking this week about the time that I spend on my blog, and ways to somehow regain a bit of balance in my life. One thing that’s clear is that these Sunday visits posts, much as I enjoy them, are very time-consuming. It’s not just the time to write the post — it’s the 1000+ posts a week that I have to skim through to find the few that I mention here (which does not mean that it’s hard to decide — the right posts actually jump off the page for me — but I still have to find them). This afternoon I could have finished my review of No Cream Puffs and probably finished reading The Diamond of Darkhold, but instead I read and linked to blog posts. And yet, as with everything else, I love knowing what’s going on in the Kidlitosphere, and being part of all of the great discussions that people are having. Still, I may need to scale my blogroll back a bit… Anyway, this week there is plenty to share with you. And I think that I’ll take next weekend off.

  • This morning I was honored to learn that Andrea and Mark from Just One More Book! had awarded me a Brillante Weblog Premio - 2008 award. I’m in excellent company, too, with the other six recipients. Just One More Book! is one of my short-list blogs, because I find Andrea and Mark philosophically in tune with what I believe about children’s books and reading. It’s great to know that they feel the same way.
  • Librarian Mom Els Kushner takes on a particular result from a recent Scholastic survey (the 2008 Kids and Family Reading Report): “89% of kids say their favorite books are the ones they picked out themselves.” She adds “now many of the people reading this already believe in the importance of free book choice for kids. And of course—as is also documented in the Scholastic report—parents can help their children find and choose good and enjoyable books. But it’s just been something that’s struck me over and over, how important it is for kids to find their own reading paths.”
  • Carlie Webber (Librarilly Blonde) links to and discusses a disturbing post from the parenting blog Babble. The blog entry in question is Where Oh Where is Superfudge by Rachel Shukert. And the gist of Shukert’s post is that “Kids’ books aren’t what they used to be”. She recaps several thirty-year-old books about “average kids with real-world problems” and suggests that “the Young Adult section has become … downright aristocratic.” The author’s confusion over the difference between middle grade and YA aside, the sad thing is that Shukert, who clearly wants kids to read diverse and relevant books, has NO IDEA that hundreds of such books exist, and are being published today (in some cases, as one commenter noted, by the same authors for whom Shukert waxes nostalgic - they are writing NEW books). Anyway, do check out both Carlie’s post and the original article and the comments therein. See also Liz B’s post on this subject at Tea Cozy, in which she asks readers to help compile a “List of YA/middle grade books, written in the past few years, that do not have Rich Kids as the main character”. There’s quite an impressive diversity of literature listed in the comments.
  • Speaking of class in young adult literatureTadMack takes on the subject at Finding Wonderland. She was inspired both by Carlie’s post above and by some remarks at Read Roger, saying “I just feel strongly that name-dropping and normalizing affluence in YA literature creates the wrong idea about young adult literature as a genre and gets far more attention somehow than novels pertaining to lives more ordinary.”
  • And speaking of rants on topics like class in YA literature, Colleen Mondor reminds us “starting Monday I declare the entire children/YA portion of the litblogosphere to enjoy a week of posting loud and long about those things that have been driving them crazy in the publishing world.” She lists a few hot-button issues that have recently arisen. Lots of people — too many to link — have already written about a recent Margo Rabb article about the stigma that many people attach to writing YA. Personally, the issue that bugs me the most right now is this “children’s books aren’t what they used to be” post (described above). But I’ll defer my thoughts to a separate post.
  • Via Cheryl Rainfield, Paddington Bear is going to be used in the British Airways children’s travel program. Cheryl also takes on the question of whether or not blog reviews can influence people to buy books, and gives her own data points to say that they can. As for my own data point, I have a whole slew of people who commented on my review of Allegra Goodman’s The Other Side of the Island to say that they want it, and intend to get their hands on it when it’s available. And I recently purchased FoundLittle Brother, and The Adoration of Jenna Fox, among others, as a direct result of blog reviews.
  • Congratulations to Open Book for the recent successes of their Book Buddies program (by which volunteers become reading buddies to young kids). Erin has the details at Read All About It! Coolest part? The program is apparently inspiring some of the volunteers to want to become teachers.
  • For those who are curious, Anastasia Suen has started a Kidlitosphere FAQ, in which she explains what the Kidlitosphere is, and links to some key resources.
  • Trevor Cairney reviews the “Your Baby Can Read” program at Literacy, Families and Learning. He gives the program a detailed assessment, and appears to have approached it with an open mind, but concludes that he wouldn’t introduce it to his own children. He says “Instead of using this program I would encourage my children from birth by stimulating their language (singing to them, reading with them, asking questions etc) and learning (exploration, invention, creative play etc).”
  • Nancy Sondel recently sent me the announcement for the Pacific Coast Children’s Writers workshop. She says that it will be a “small, quality, international seminar in north Santa Cruz county (CA) Aug 15-17, for writers of literary youth novels”. If you are looking for a workshop like this, check out the website for details. 
  • Laurie Halse Anderson shares some “cold hard facts about the writing life.” This post is must-read stuff for aspiring authors.
  • At Becky’s Book Reviews, Becky makes a plea for “more authenticity and less stereotyping” in fiction (especially in the portrayals of both Christianity and body size). She talks eloquently about the ways that we find ourselves in literature, and the ways that we use literature to “see the world through new eyes”.
  • Walter Minkel writes about a recent USA Today report on how having a video on in the background shortens the attention span of children when they’re playing. Walter is concerned that this “means that children’s attention spans are broken up, and kids are engaging in less, and more fragmented, imaginative play. I’m concerned that as kids grow older and become more and more fixated on screens - in particular, the Net and video games - they use less and less of their imaginations and let their brains fall under the direction of Web designers and game designers.”

Hope that you’re all having a great day!

© 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).

Wednesday
Jul022008

Wednesday Afternoon Visits: July 2

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

I’m finally feeling a bit caught up after last weekend’s ALA Conference, and I have a few links to share with you.

  • MotherReader posts about the first meeting of her Mother-Daughter Summer Book Club, in which the participants read Jenny Han’s Shug (which I reviewed here). Pam said: “Most interesting for me was finding out that the realistic flavor of the book that I find so appealing was actually a turn-off to some of the girls. I loved the book because it took me back to that transition so clearly and represented that age so accurately. But these particular girls felt like they’re already living this life of friends and crushes and popularity — why would they want to read about it?” Fascinating, isn’t it? Something for we adult reviewers of children’s and young adult books to keep in mind. (hmmm …. do you think the acronym ARCYAB would catch on?)
  • Speaking of summer reading, The Book Whisperer, Donalyn Miller, writes about the dichotomy by which summer reading for adults consists of “fast-paced thrillers…, weepy beach blanket reads, and thick historical epics” while young adults are required to read improving fare. She says: “We must remind ourselves that readers who leave school and keep reading are those people who discover reading is personally valuable”, suggesting that kids should be left to read what they enjoy during the summer. I know I did.
  • If you’re looking for summer reading lists, here are a few good choices. Esme Raji Codell reviews We Are the Ship, and shares various other baseball books at PlanetEsme. Els Kushner suggests several “magical, timeless, enchanting novels for children are set during summer vacation” at Librarian Mom. In contrast, Charlotte has a list of “cool books with which to escape summer” at Charlotte’s Library. Summer reading options for all! I have to say that personally, I find the summer vacation list the most enticing - it’s nice to see The Penderwicks on the same page as their literary antecedents, the Melendy Family.
  • Jama Rattigan’s Alphabet Soup has an illustration-filled interview with Marla Frazee (the talented illustrator who makes Clementine spring from the page). I especially enjoyed a photo of Marla’s work studio, which looks like a secret little cottage in the woods.
  • For all you writers out there, Laurie Halse Anderson has issued a challenge for July. She says: “1. Commit to write for 15 minutes a day for the entire month of July. 2. Just do it.” Sounds almost achievable, doesn’t it? Laurie will have encouraging/check-in posts every day on her blog.
  • And, for anyone thinking about writing as a career, you might want to check out TadMack’s recent post (OK, rant) at Finding Wonderland about the financial side of being a children’s book author. She says: “Don’t get me wrong: I love what I do. And if you want to, may you find the courage to write, too. Just understand that it may not be blindingly lucrative, and please be nice to the writers you know, who are sometimes taken for granted as the one in the group who should treat everyone to dinner or coffee because they’re “rich.” OK. Point taken.
  • Cheryl Rainfield has rounded up a huge list of contests by which you can win books for children and teens, as well as a couple that have e-book readers as prizes.
  • Via Sarah Weinman’s blog, Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind, I learned that someone is publishing a Treasure Island prequel. It’s not going to be a children’s book, however. According to the Independent, “The author John Drake, a former biochemist and freelance TV producer, has spent years studying Treasure Island line by line, together with books and essays on 18th-century shipping and piracy. The book, Flint & Silver, is the first in a scheduled series of six, snapped up last year by Harper Collins. Mr Drake is currently negotiating with a US publishing house for the American rights.”
  • Anna from the Literacy is Priceless blog recently recapped some family literacy activities from the PBS Kids Raising Readers site, including a shout-out to the WordWorld show. And speaking of public broadcasting, via my friend Alex, WBUR and NPR’s On Point broadcast today was about “A new history of children’s literature, and what it tells us about growing up”. The program featured guest Seth Lerer, professor of English and comparative literature at Stanford University and author of Children’s Literature: A Reader’s History from Aesop to Harry Potter.

It’s good to be back home, hanging around in the Kidlitosphere. 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).

Saturday
Jun142008

Saturday Afternoon Visits: Father’s Day Edition

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

Happy Father’s Day weekend to all of the dads out there, especially to my Dad and Mheir’s Dad. Thanks for all that you do for your kids every day. And extra special, super-duper thanks to the dad who read to to their kids (mine did, and look at how I love books!). The kidlit blogs have been pretty quiet this weekend, hopefully because people are out spending time with family. But here is some news for those who are interested:

  • If you’re in need of some reading that will make you appreciate what you have, check out Kelly’s poem at Big A little a about the recent tragedies in Iowa. Beware, though, it’s quite a tear-jerker. My heart goes out to the affected families.
  • I didn’t win it, but Kim and Jason at Escape Adulthood gave away a very cool book-themed clock this week. Click through to see it. Also, to enter the contest, Jason asked visitors to comment on “When you were a kid, what was your favorite time of day, and why?”. The result is a treasure trove of memories that I thought might be of interest to children’s book authors.
  • Lectitans has a nice summer reading round-up here. She links to lots of great resources.
  • The debate over age-banding of children’s books continues to rage. Tricia links to some new discussion on the matter at The Miss Rumphius Effect.
  • The recent flap over the new KidzBookBuzz blog tour site has prompted several bloggers to take a look at how and why they write reviews. Check out posts at Chasing RayThe Miss Rumpius Effect, and Becky’s Book Reviews, as well as a plethora of comments on these posts (especially on Tricia’s post). I shared my opinons hereGail Gauthier also offers an author’s perspective on the idea of whirlwind, three-day blog tours at Original Content (and I shared some opinions there, too, now that I think about it).
  • Kris B. at Paradise Found linked to an interesting site this week: BookTour (unrelated to the blog tours discussed above). You can enter your zip code, and the site shows you all of the authors who have upcoming events in your area. You can filter the list for, say, authors who write for kids. If you sign up, you can get a weekly email listing book tours in your area. I’m going to give it a try.
  • Speaking of events, I’ll be attending both the upcoming ALA Annual Conference in Anaheim and the BlogHer conference in San Francisco (the latter I’m currently planning to attend for Saturday only). This will be my first time attending ALA, and I’m looking forward to meeting up with some KidLit bloggers, meeting some authors, talking with some of the publishers’ PR people, and attending some of the events (like the Newbery banquet and the Edwards lunch). And, of course, I’m looking forward to scooping up a few, or more than a few, ARCs. I attended the first BlogHer conference in San Jose two years ago, and will be interested to see how that has evolved as a conference. If any of you are attending either event, and would like to meet up, just let me know.
  • Congratulations to Laurie Halse Anderson for winning the 2008 ALAN Award (from the Assembly on Literature for Adolescents). I first read about it here, at the CMIS Evaluation Fiction Focus blog. The full announcement is here, and you can read Laurie’s reaction here. Laurie rocks! She so deserves this award (and the dozens of congratulatory comments that she received are a strong indicator of this). She’s also organized a Hot Summer Twisted/Speak Book Trailer contest, with details here. This contest would be a great addition to anyone’s summer reading program for teens. 
  • And last, but definitely not least, don’t miss Jules’ post about early readers (and the other names that people use for this category of books) at 7-Imp. She’s got tons of great recommendations for parents in this hard-to-define category. Jules is one of my few “go-to” reviewers for books in this age range, and I’m bookmarking this one for future reference.

And that’s all for today. It’s a hot day here (as it is many places), and Mheir and I are planning to make margaritas, and watch the Red Sox on TV.

© 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
Jun012008

Sunday Afternoon Visits: June 1

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

Here are few links for your Sunday afternoon/evening enjoyment:

  • Newlogorg800The new issue is up at Readergirlz. This month, the Readergirlz will be featuring the book Prom, by Laurie Halse Anderson. The issue features things to know about Laurie Halse Anderson, the GoodSearch program, a while you read playlist, book discussion questions and party suggestions, and suggested companion reads from the Postergirlz. You can read also Laurie’s response to be chosen by Readergirlz here. Next month, the Readergirlz will be discussing Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why (reviewed here). 
  • Via In Need of Chocolate I found a great post at Parent Hacks about the joys of reading aloud as a familyAsha Dornfest says “Once your child begins reading on her own, it’s easy to let the read-aloud habit fall by the wayside. But I encourage you to carry on as long as you can.” There are lots of suggestions for family read-alouds in the comments.
  • The new edition of The Prairie Wind, the online newsletter of the SCBWI-Illinois Chapter, is now available, with plenty of interesting articles for children’s book writers and illustrators.
  • Over at There’s Always Time for a BookEmma describes a recent visit to the house that Lucy Boston’s Green Knowe series was based on. As Emma explains, “The Green Knowe books are children’s fantasies written between the 1950s and 1970s by Lucy M Boston. The six books centre around the house of Green Knowe, where times are fluid – the spirits of children who used to live in the house play with the children of the present.” I enjoyed the Green Knowe books immensely, and I also enjoyed Emma’s description of the house.
  • At Charlotte’s LibraryCharlotte shares a link to a website that organizes the places a reader might go in search of long-lost childhood book titles. She also discusses her quest to replace lost childhood editions of Enid Blyton’s books. Let’s just say that I can relate.
  • PJ Hoover writes about a syndrome that she’s noticed in her own reading of audiobooks at Roots in Myth. This post has sparked a host of discussion regarding audiobooks in the comments. So, if you’re a fan of audiobooks, and/or you’re looking for some recommended audio titles, this is a must-read post.
  • Tricia shares some of the reasons that she loves the Kidlitosphere at The Miss Rumphius Effect, and her commenters share some of their reasons, too. My own reasons are too many to name, but I’m aware of them every day.
  • In a similar vein, Liz Garton Scanlon shares the central reason why she writes for kids, and presents a photo essay of a recent Literacy Parade at her daughter’s school. Inspiring stuff!
  • Jenny continues to share her early teaching experiences at an inner city school at Read. Imagine. Talk. She was not impressed by the principal (“At this school, the principal used a lot of words to say very little that was true.”) or the policies at the school (“Kids learned that only certain things were valued.  Obedience was valued.  Silence was valued.  Independence at the expense of community was valued.”), but she persevered.
  • For another teaching perspective, Sarah from the Reading Zone shares her positive experience reading the first Percy Jackson book (review here) aloud with her two classes. She says: “In no way was I prepared for complete and utter obsession that would result! My students are BEGGING to have more read-aloud time everyday.  We stop and talk about the myths that Riordan alludes to and they are quickly becoming experts on Greek mythology.  It is a perfect example of using a read-aloud to teach the content areas.” How cool is that?
  • Dewey’s Weekly Geeks theme of the week at The Hidden Side of a Leaf is Catch Up On Reviews. Now there’s one that I really need to participate in. We’ll see what the schedule allows.

And that’s it for today - a relatively short round-up, because I shared some other links on Wednesday 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).