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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 Newbery Award (4)

Saturday
Jan172009

Saturday Afternoon Visits: January 17

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

Here is some recent news from around the children’s and young adult book blogs, for your long weekend reading. I’ll be back sometime Monday night with more focused children’s literacy and reading news.  

Secret KeeperThere’s nothing like a good book party. On Thursday I attended a book launch party for Mitali Perkins’ Secret Keeper at Not Your Mother’s Book Club. I didn’t get any pictures, but I did get a signed copy of the book, and a couple of excellent samosas. It was great to see Mitali again. I also met some new people (both friends of Mitali’s and friends of YA books), and got to chat with Sharon LevinSusan Taylor Brown (see Susan’s write-up about the party), Lynn HazenJim AverbeckEmily Jiang, and Becky Levine. Fun stuff. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to make Justina Chen Headley’s upcoming book party for North of Beautiful, because it’s up in Bellevue, Washington (and I have guests coming that weekend). But if you’re in the neighborhood, it’s on February 1st, and sure to be a fun time.

Via Read Roger, the new Notes from the Horn Book is now available. Notes is a lovely little email newsletter about “good books for children and teens”. I recommend it. The Horn Book also has a new monthly book list from Claire, this one, fittingly, about American Presidents.

Newbery-winning author Susan Patron has an opinion piece defending the Newbery Award in last Sunday’s LA Times. I first saw the link at Educating AliceMonica Edinger’s blog. Franki Sibberson also has a nice reaction to the Newbery-related discussions at A Year of Reading, complete with a defense of prior winner Kira-Kira. See also Denise Johnson’s Newbery News round-up at The Joy of Children’s Literature, and Betsy Bird’s Newbery & Caldecott Predict-o-rama at A Fuse #8 Production.

In other book award news, Tasha Saecker has the shortlists for the 2009 Edgar Awards in juvenile and young adult fiction at Kids Lit. She is always up on the book award news. I was glad to see Eleven, by Patricia Reilly Giff, on the list. It was one of my favorites last year.

Speaking of awards, another blog award has been making the rounds. The Prémio Dardos (“Best Blog Dart Thinker”) Award “acknowledges the values that every blogger shows in their effort to transmit cultural, ethical, literary, and personal values every day.” Aerin from In Search of Giants and Pam Coughlan from MotherReader were both kind enough to grant me this award. I’m grateful to have them as my friends. But I’m also going to take Lee Wind’s example and “instead of passing on any more Prize Darts, remind everyone to check out the blogrolls on the blogs you read - That, in my opinion, is the real Prize Cache!” 

ReadicideSarah from The Reading Zone is encouraging people to take advantage of the opportunity to download a free copy of Kelly Gallagher’s new book, Readicide: How Schools are Killing Reading and What You Can Do About It. Sarah, along with several other fabulous, reading-focused blogs, will be participating in Kelly’s blog tour this coming week. It sounds like an amazing book, though (not being much of a 21st Century Reader), I’m likely to wait to read it until I can read more comfortably in print. See also Donalyn Miller’s response to the book at The Book Whisperer, Mary Lee and Franki’s response to the book at A Year of Reading. And don’t miss Franki’s new blog visits feature, in which she’ll be giving us a window into her 21st Century Literacy Thinking: “posting about my current thinking and linking to some great posts that helped my thinking each week— or whenever I seem to be finding lots of good stuff around the topic.”

Finally, four fun quick hits: First, Donalyn Miler emailed me that “January 27th is the 5th annual Rabbit Hole Day in honor of Lewis Carroll’s birthday”. The original link is from Boing Boing. Second, Longstocking Daphne Grab had a heart-warming experience at a recent middle school visits, when the students rose up in defense of writing for kids. Great stuff! Third, congratulations to our own Little Willow, who has just opened in a world premiere musicalPope Joan. Fourth, Farida Dowler has a nice post about the five laws of storytelling, with extensive comments.

Happy MLK/inuguration 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).

Tuesday
Jan062009

Tuesday Afternoon Visits: January 6

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

A few tidbits for you to brighten the first work-week of the year:

Ccba_logoTasha Saecker reports at Kids Lit that TeenReads.com, in association with the Children’s Book Council, is “giving you the opportunity to vote for your five favorite books of 2008! The five books that receive the largest number of votes will then become finalists that will again be voted on. The ultimate winner will be announced in May.”  You can vote here. I also very much enjoyed this post at Kids Lit, in which Tasha thanks the publishers for her review titles. Can I just say “Ditto”. She says it all.

Betsy Bird reports at Fuse #8 that the Children’s Literary Cafe at the New York Public Library is recommencing. Here’s her description: “The Children’s Literary Café is a monthly gathering of adults who are fans of children’s literature.  Professionals, librarians, authors, illustrators, publishers, booksellers, teachers, and anyone else interested in the field are welcome to attend our meetings.   The Literary Café provides free Advanced Readers galleys, a rotating series of talks with professionals in the field, and great conversation.” It’s almost enough to make me wish I lived in NY. Except for that whole big city with snowy weather thing.

Speaking of Betsy Bird, she was recently interviewed over at Just One More Book! (well, she was interviewed by Mark Blevis at the Kidlitosphere conference last fall, but the interview is now available).

TBD2009Little Willow has the early announcement for the second annual Operation Teen Book Drop event, hosted by Readergirlz. She says: “Last year, the first-ever Operation TBD was a huge success. YALSA and readergirlz organized a massive, coordinated release of 10,000 publisher-donated YA books into the top pediatric hospitals across the country and encouraged people to donate books to hospitals, schools, libraries, and gathering spots in their communities.”

Over at The Tiger’s BookshelfJanet posts about the Books for Laos program, “a labor of love that the Cotterills (Jessica and Colin) have been involved in for years, distributing books written in the Laos language to schoolchildren in conjunction with Big Brother Mouse” (an organization that strives to make literacy fun).

Regular readers of this blog may know that I usually stay away from “challenges” (with the recent exception of Pam and Lee’s Comment Challenge). I find keeping up with my reviews and regular features, in combination with keeping caught up on my job, quite enough of a challenge. However, I decided to make an exception for HipWriterMama’s new 2009 New Year 30 Day Challenge. The idea is to choose a new habit that you’d like to work on for 30 days, publicly proclaim it, and check in at Vivian’s every week with a status update. And since I already have a goal of exercising more, I put up a tangible goal related to time spent riding the exercise bike. I’m hoping this helps me to stay motivated (along with watching past seasons of 24 on NetFlix while I bike). Lots of other people have already joined up, and I’m sure it’s not to late to join in.

In honor of their three-year blogiversaryMary Lee and Franki are holding a festival of threes at A Year of Reading. Here’s part 1, and part 2. They have great mini-lists here, like their three favorite wordless picture books, and three new favorite versions of old favorites. Do stop by to enjoy the festivities, and wish Franki and Mary Lee many more years of blogging. See also Franki’s new article at Choice Literacy on The Year’s Best New Read-Alouds (from 2008).

And if you’d like more lists, check out last week’s Saturday Review of Books at Semicolon. For this year-end edition, Sherry Early offers a “special edition of the Saturday Review of Books especially for booklists. You can link to a list of your favorite books read in 2008, a list of all the books you read in 2008, a list of the books you plan to read in 2009, or any other end of the year or beginning of the year list of books. Whatever your list, it’s time for book lists.” This is a great resource. And, of course, don’t miss The Best of the Best: Kids’ Books ‘08 from Susan Thomsen at Chicken Spaghetti.

Also not to be missed is a 2008 7-Imp Retrospective that Jules put together over the long weekend. Jules adds: “yes, do I hear you saying this is the LONGEST POST IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD? Why, it is at that, but it’s oh-so skim-able — and mostly full of wonderful stuff at which to look. Sit back and enjoy. Pick your favorite interview and read a snippet. Find your favorite illustrator and kick back to soak in their skills. Choose your own adventure.” I’m a little afraid to delve into this post, I must admit, for fear I’ll never resurface…

Yet another controversy has erupted over the Newbery Award, this one about the question of diversity. I’m not going to get into it, but you can find an excellent analysis by Liz Burns at A Chair, A Fireplace and A Tea Cozy.

Trevor Cairney offers a detailed discussion about how online reading is different from print reading at Literacy, families and learning, addressing a recent research study by Jakob Nielsen. Trevor’s take is that “While I’m a great believer in the value of the Internet, the over-use of screen-based ‘reading’ via the Internet has the potential to change the type of texts that people read.” He has lots more to say on this, so do check out the post.

And last, but not least, a thoughtful post by The LiteraBuss on “WHY I Teach Literacy”. “I DO NOT teach literacy in order to have my students score better on a test, any test. I teach the way I do because I want my students to develop a love and/or appreciation for reading and writing, and to further their own critical thinking skills. I want my students to enjoy the things they read, and seek out more. I want them to become independent, quick (and slow) minded thinkers”. They sound like excellent reasons to me!

That’s it for today. I’m off to ride that exercise bike! 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
Dec192008

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).

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).