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 Nonfiction Monday (3)

Wednesday
Oct072009

Wednesday Afternoon Visits: October 7

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

It’s been another active week around the Kidlitosphere. Here’s my take on the highlights and lowlights.

JOMB_bookmarkFirst of all, please join me in sending good thoughts to Andrea Ross from Just One More Book!, who was just diagnosed with breast cancer. Andrea’s husband and JOMB co-founder, Mark Blevisreported today that “The Just One More Book!! children’s book podcast will be taking an indefinite hiatus so that Andrea and I can focus on making Andrea a Breast Cancer survivor.” Mark also included a few statistics in his post that show, if anyone needs to see it, how much JOMB has done to promote children’s love of books these past few years. Andrea and Mark have my deepest of good wishes, in fighting this battle. Also, if there’s anyone out there who might have doubts as to whether the Kidlitosphere, a virtual community, is a real community, just check out the comments on Mark’s post already.

This is a bit circular, but Liz B. recently profiled my Afternoon Visits series at A Chair, A Fireplace, and A Tea Cozy. If you’re reading this, you already, by definition, know about my afternoon visits posts. But still, I’d like to thank Liz for the write-up, part of a series that she’s been doing about ongoing events around the Kidlitosphere (including Poetry Friday, founded by Kelly Herold, and Nonfiction Monday, founded by Anastasia Suen).

Liz also wrote an excellent post recently listing professional sources for reviews of children’s and young adult literature. She calls it her “if you’re reading children’s books and want more reviews” list. She warns: “The primary audience for many of the reviews in these journals is adult gate keepers. The review isn’t for the end-reader but for a person buying materials for the end-reader. In other words? Yes, there may be spoilers.” Looking at all of Liz’s recent content together, one thing is clear to me. If you’re writing online reviews of children’s and young adult books, and/or you’re interested in being part of the community of other people doing this, you should be reading Tea Cozy.

One another thing that Liz has been on top of is this whole FTC Disclosure Guidelines issue. If you’ve somehow missed it, the FTC issued guidelines (link goes to PDF) for bloggers this week regarding disclosure of relationships with publishers. The implications for book bloggers are problematic, to say the least. The FTC seems to be declaring that any mention of a book (in a blog post or tweet or Facebook comment) is an “endorsement” (at least if the book was received from a publisher OR you are an Amazon Affiliate), and that review copies can be considered in some sense “compensation”. There’s also a suggestion of returning review books to the publisher, to avoid them being considered compensation. All of this shows that the FTC doesn’t at all understand how book blogging work. Nonetheless, there are some stiff fines involved for violations, and this is something that bloggers should be taking seriously. These are going to be laws that, even if they don’t fully make sense to us, could be enforced. We’re going to see a lot of discussion of this issue, on blogs and listservs and Twitter, while we see how it all shakes out. The regulations go into effect December 1st. It is not out of the question that many of us will no longer be accepting review copies after that, though I hope it doesn’t come to such a drastic response.

If you’d like to learn more, you should probably start with Ed Campion’s interview with Richard Cleland from the FTC about specific applicability to book bloggers. Then move on to these two posts from Colleen Mondor at Chasing Ray. Then go to GalleyCat, and read all of Ron Hogan’s posts from this week (especially this one). You might also check out responses at MotherReaderthe Book Smugglersthe Reading TubKids LitThe Cybils blog, and Confessions of a Bibliovore.

NonfictionmondayGetting back to regular news, this week’s Nonfiction Monday roundup is at Moms Inspire Learning.

Steph at Steph Su Reads has some suggestions for authors seeking reviews and for reviewers seeking books. I think that she makes some good points, and I especially agree with her top suggestion: personalization. Review requests that start with “Hey there” or “Dear Blogger” don’t exactly endear themselves to me. I’ll likely post on this topic myself later in the year. I’ve started a little file with some pet peeves.

At Shrinking Violet Promotions, Mary and Robin interview Egmont publisher Elizabeth Law about marketing and book promotion techniques for authors. Here are a couple of tidbits that struck me: “We used to send authors on the road more, and we used to encourage them to go into every bookstore within a few hours’ drive of their house and sign books, do appearances, etc. Now we love it if they have a website, get to know bloggers and librarians online, etc” and “Authors who give thoughtful recommendations of others’ books, or who comment on writers’ LiveJournal blogs for example, are showing that they are interested in good books as a whole, and not just their own.”

Cybils2009-150pxNominations continue to roll in for the Cybils, at this half-way point in the nomination cycle. On this post, you can find the link to the nomination form, and to the lists of nominated titles so far. We’re closing in on 600 eligible titles. Nominations will remain open through the end of the day on October 15th.

KidLitCon-badgeMotherReader has some updates regarding KidLitCon (which is NEXT WEEK). The biggest news is that there’s now an author signing event (featuring 6 authors) taking place on Sunday at Hooray for Books!.

Quick Hits:

  • Kate Messner suggests five ways to celebrate National Reading Group month.
  • As pretty much a direct result of blogging and Twittering by Carol Rasco, RIF has launched a new series of real-world author visits. First up is the Kidlitosphere’s own Laurel Snyder. I found this a nice example of the tangible connections that can come from blogging.
  • Greg Pincus has updated his “I’m Pretty Well Connected” social web poem.
  • At SemicolonSherry Early asks: “What good books would you recommend for children and young adults that feature characters living in poverty or in lower middle class financial stress? How does this choice of socioeconomic class on the part of an author affect the book and its characters’ choices?”
  • Colleen has a new installment of What a Girl Wants at Chasing Ray. This week’s theme is “holding out for a super heroine”. She asks her stellar panel of contributors: “So does it matter if girls only have Wonder Woman to read about as a major super heroine and that all the other women are relegated to “supporting” status? Are we missing something important or is this just all too testosterone fueled anyway? Do girls even want more super heroines?” 
  • Did you hear that Harriet the Spy is being reinvented as a bloggerMonica Edinger has the scoop at Educating Alice.
  • Christine M reports at The Simple and the Ordinary that today is National Walk Your Child to School Day. While this post is probably a bit late for that to be useful, Christine’s general reasons why it’s important for kids to walk to school are timeless.

© 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).

Sunday
Aug092009

Sunday Afternoon Visits: August 9

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

I’ve been a bit out of the blogging loop this week, due to the presence of houseguests. But I’m slowly getting myself back to normal, and have some news to share with you from around the Kidlitosphere.

Kidlitosphere_buttonFirst and foremost in Kidlitosphere news, Pam Coughlan (MotherReader and Kidlitosphere Central founder) has announced the preliminary agenda for the Third Annual Kidlitosphere Conference (aka KidLitCon). A registration form is now available with full details. If you blog about children’s or young adult books, or you’re thinking of blogging about children’s or young adult books, you should come. If you write or edit children’s or young adult books, or you are a teacher, librarian, or literacy advocate, and you are thinking about dipping a toe into the Kidlitosphere, you should come, too. The conference will be held at the Sheraton Crystal City Hotel in Virginia on October 17th. I attended the conference the past two years, and I simply can’t recommend it highly enough. It’s going to be great!!

LiarThe other big news in the Kidlitosphere this week is that Bloomsbury responded to the huge outcry about the cover of Justine Larbalestier’s upcoming young adult novel Liar. The publisher maintains that their original choice to put a white teen on the cover of a book about an African-American teen was “symbolic” (reflecting the character’s nature as a liar), rather than a response to perceptions about the market for book covers showing people of color. Regardless, they have decided to change the cover to one more representative of the book, and I think that’s great news (in no small part because people will no longer have to conflicted over whether to buy the book or not). I also find the whole thing to be an excellent demonstration of the power of the literary blogosphere. The new cover was first reported in Publisher’s Weekly’s Children’s Bookshelf, and has since been commented upon pretty much everywhere. (See Justine’s response here).

Also, if you’re thinking of starting a blog (and especially if you are thinking of ways to make money from book blogging), I recommend checking out Liz B’s recent piece at A Chair, A Fireplace and A Tea Cozy about the business of publishing and blogs. Specifically, Liz discusses the question of whether or not bloggers could accept advertising from authors or publishers without the integrity (and/or perceived integrity) of their reviews being compromised. Liz’s own view on this is pretty clear: “I do not believe that basically becoming an employee/independent contractor of a publisher/publicist (let’s be realistic, authors don’t have that kind of money) would ultimately allow for a website/blog, in its entirely, to remain objective, critical, and uninfluenced by the publisher.” I agree with her.   

Speaking of Liz, kudos to her for having a recent School Library Journal cover story with Carlie Webberas announced here. It’s called When Harry Met Bella: Fanfiction is all the rage. But is it plagiarism? Or the perfect thing to encourage young writers?

In excellent kidlit news, Camille reports at BookMoot that the young adult novel Airborn, by Kenneth Oppel, is currently in orbit around the International Space Station. According to a press release: “astronaut Robert Thirsk, currently aboard the International Space Station with fellow Canadian Julie Payette, has brought with him two books by Canadian authors – Airborn by Kenneth Oppel and Deux pas vers les étoiles by Jean-Rock Gaudreault.” Having been saying for years that I think that adults should read children’s books, I am thrilled by this high-profile example.

Last week’s Poetry Friday roundup was at The Miss Rumphius Effect. Tomorrow’s Nonfiction Monday roundup will be at MotherReader (updated to add direct link to the post here).

Also this week, Colleen Mondor is hosting a One-Shot blogging event in celebration of Southeast Asia. She says: “the basic rules are simple - you post at your site on a book either set in SE Asia or written by a SE Asian author and send me the url. I’ll post a master list with links and quotes here on Wednesday.”

I don’t normally highlight blog birthdays in these roundup posts (because I read so many blogs - there are blog anniversaries happening all the time). But I did want to extend special congratulations to Tasha Saecker, who has now been blogging at Kids Lit for SIX YEARS. As Pam said in the comments, that’s like being 40 in blog years. Tasha has demonstrated style, integrity, and a passion for children’s literature all along the way. If you’re thinking of starting a children’s book blog, I encourage you to make a study of Kids Lit - Tasha will steer you right. Happy Birthday to Kids Lit.

I’ll be back tomorrow with this week’s Literacy and Reading News roundup. I’ll also have a new post up tomorrow at Booklights.

© 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).

Sunday
Jul052009

Sunday Afternoon Visits: July 5

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

Kidlitosphere_buttonHope that you’ve been enjoying the July 4th weekend (for those in the US).The blogs have been pretty quiet this weekend. However, quite a few posts from around the Kidlitosphere have caught my eye over the past week or so. First up is Tanita Davis‘ public service announcement at Finding Wonderland about Kidlitosphere Central and the upcoming 3rd annual Kidlitosphere Conference. In other news:

Newlogorg200The Readergirlz will be celebrating Cecil Castellucci’s graphic novel The Plain Janes in July. They urge: “Join us all month right here on the blog for discussions and mark your calendars a LIVE chat with Cecil and Jim on Wednesday, July 22nd at 6pm PST/9pm EST.”

Yankee Doodle GalSpeaking of gutsy women, President Obama just signed a bill to recognize female pilots who flew during World War II. The New York Times Caucus blog says: “During World War II, more than 1,000 female pilots became the first women to ever take the controls of American military planes. Now, more than six decades later, members of the Women Airforce Service Pilots will receive the Congressional Gold Medal, one of America’s highest civilian honors.” There’s also an NPR story about it. I found out about this from Amy Nathan, who wrote a children’s book called Yankee Doodle Gals about the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPS) that’s been getting some attention in light of the recent bill, and was on hand during the recent signing. I haven’t read Yankee Doodle Gals, but it might be something that the Readergirlz postergirlz would be interested in, don’t you think? Perhaps to pair with Mare’s War?

Steampunk in young adult fiction also seems to be getting some play in the Kidlitosphere this week. Becky Levine wrote about this last week, quoting a definition by Jeff VanderMeer: “”Mad scientist inventor + [invention (steam x airship or metal man divided by baroque stylings) x (pseudo) Victorian setting] + progressive or reactionary politics x adventure plot = steampunk.”“. Becky also shared a lovely picture of her local bookmobile. Maureen Kearney also picked up on a recent piece about YA steampunk at Confessions of a Bibliovore, and suggests some omissions from a recent i09 story. Maureen also has a great snippet from a recent interview with new UK children’s laureate Anthony Browne about not living pictures behind in appreciating books.

IMGP3383Natasha Maw at Maw Books shared a post asking: why do I own books when I rarely reread? She concludes: “I’ve decided that the reason that I like to keep the books that I’ve read and enjoyed, even though it’s unlikely that I’ll read them again, is because I just like to look at them. I mean, is nothing better then perusing your own shelf and remembering a particular story or characters? I like to reminisce. Plus, this is what people see when they walk into my home”. There are a whole slew of comments - so many that I chose not to comment there. Personally, I do reread books sometimes, but I also keep some books just because they are my friends, and I can’t possibly part with them. That’s one of my bookshelves, to the left.

Another interesting discussion can be found in the comments on a post at Laurel Snyder’s blog about epic vs. episodic fantasy. The post was inspired by a post from Charlotte’s Library, where Charlotte was seeking Edward Eager read-alikes, and mentioned their episodic nature. I’m more of an epic than episodic fan myself at this point, but many of my episodic childhood favorites are mentioned in the comments of Laurel’s post.

Parker Peevyhouse has a post at The Spectacle about “how to get rid of the parents” in children’s literature. She asks: “How is a young reader affected by reading a story in which all of the adults are missing, incompetent, or antagonistic?  It’s a question that’s been brought up before, but the answer still eludes me.”

The BookKids blog (from BookPeople) has a four-part series by Emily Kristin Anderson: “Fab YA Authors on their Favorite Queer-Themed Books”. Here’s part 4. You can find the other links here.

At A Fuse #8 Production, Betsy Bird shares her thoughts on 10-year-olds reading Twilight. She says: “If you are a parent, I fear you are merely delaying the inevitable. Your child, if forbidden Twilight, will desire it all the more. There’s nothing saying you can’t suggest other books as well, though.” And she includes some suggestions.

NonfictionmondayTerry Doherty is ready early with this week’s Nonfiction Monday round-up post at The Reading Tub. Contributors can use Mister Linky to enter their nonfiction posts tomorrow. 

Donalyn Miller (The Book Whisperer) calls upon people to celebrate their reading freedom. She says: “On this Independence Day, I am grateful for my freedom to read what I want. My fundamental right to write or read any book, blog, news article, or Twitter feed—no matter how controversial, thoughtful, or ridiculous—is not commonplace for all citizens around the world. When we choose our own reading material and encourage children to do the same—we exercise our rights as Americans. Celebrate your reading freedom today!” She also shares her recent reading list - she’s trying for a book a day this summer.

Speaking of The Book Whisper, Sarah Mulhern from The Reading Zone shares her experience in implementing a survey recommended by Donalyn in her book. She asked her students which factors from their classroom helped them the most in their development as readers. The result is a list of seven non-negotiables, in order of importance. I think that all teachers looking to inspire a love of reading in their students should check out the results from Sarah’s classroom. You might be surprised!

BooklightsI’ll also be sharing links to a bunch of posts written in defense of fun summer reading at Booklights first thing tomorrow morning. Other recent posts at Booklights have included a post in defense of comic strips by Susan Kusel, and some recommended beach-themed books suggested by Pam Coughlan. 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).