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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 Poetry (8)

Sunday
Nov082009

Sunday Afternoon Visits: November 8

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

It’s been a fairly quiet weekend on the kidlit blogs, for whatever reason. However, I have run across a few things of potential interest for you.

Jpg_book008At Scrub-a-Dub-Tub, Terry Doherty shares a monthly roundup of new literacy and reading-related resources. The new resources section was something that we spun out of our weekly children’s literacy roundups, in the event of streamlining those, and Terry’s been collecting ideas for this monthly column. I hope you’ll check it out. She’s got lots of useful tidbits.

NcblalogoThe NCBLA blog reports that the fourth episode of The Exquisite Corpse Adventure is now available. This installment was written by Susan Cooper. The post adds: “And if you need further incentive to share the Library of Congress and the NCBLA’s reading outreach project with the young people in your life, take a look at Timothy Basil Ering’s electric new illustration for Episode Four!”

In the context of a recent graphic novel kick, Gail Gauthier muses at Original Content on how many books are “rigidly” formulaic. She says: “Maybe reading the same formula/pattern/storyline over and over again assists them in some way I’ve just never heard about.” In the comments, Becky Levine adds: “I wonder about this often—how many things we see as formulaic, “old” don’t feel that way to a child reading them—since they don’t have X number of decades of this kind of reading behind them.” What do you all think?

At Books & Other ThoughtsDarla D. wonders whether it’s a good idea for parents to “ink out all of the bad words” in books before giving them to their children. Darla says: “A discussion between this parent and child about unacceptable language and why the parent believes it is not a good idea for her daughter to use those words might be more productive than expurgating the text.” There are a range of opinions in the comments - it’s quite an interesting (and civil) discussion.

At Biblio FileJennie Rothschild discusses Amazon’s new capability to quickly share Associates links on Twitter, in the context of the new FTC disclosure regulations. She notes: “the way I understand it, you’d have to disclose ON YOUR TWEET that you’ll make money off the link. But how does one fit a link, why you’re linking to the product, and a disclosure all in 140 characters? That, I don’t know.” I don’t know, either. The idea of being able to share a Tweet that says “I’m reading this” and then get a small commission if anyone should happen to click through and buy the book, well, that has some appeal. But I think that the disclosure would be very tricky to pull off in any meaningful way.

Bookwormdock-3-300x249Lori Calabrese has started a new monthly meme (possibly to become a weekly meme, if there’s sufficient interest) in which she’ll link to book giveaways around the Kidlitosphere. Don’t you love her cute logo for Fish for a Free Book? She says in the launch post: “If you are hosting a children’s- young adult book-related giveaway, sponsoring a giveaway, or just found a really awesome giveaway that you’d like to share with us, please leave it here! (Please make sure it’s children’s book related)”.

Speaking of giveaways, I, like Betsy Bird, don’t usually link to them in my roundups (there are just too many). However, Betsy recently talked at A Fuse #8 Production about one that I think is brilliant. From the press release: “The YA and MG authors of the 2009 Debutantes are giving away a 46-book set of their debut novels to ONE lucky library, anywhere in the world! In light of recent budget cuts to libraries in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and other communities, these debut authors would like to contribute their library to your library, offering up brand new novels for your patrons at no cost.” Pretty cool!

Quick hits:

And that’s it for today. Hope you’re all having a lovely Sunday.

© 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
Oct302009

Friday Afternoon Visits: Halloween Eve

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

Kidlitosphere_buttonThere’s been nonstop action around the Kidlitosphere this week. Here are a few highlights.

Halloween-themed posts abound this week. I, of course, liked this one from Joyce Grant at Getting Kids ReadingHallowe’en Literacy: Some ideas for working literacy into your Hallowe’en festivities. Like “Do a Hallowe’en recipe together. A perfect combination of math, reading and - yum!” Also, via a link from Katie B’s First Book’s Odds and Bookends column, bookish Halloween costume ideas from Laura Nathan. And Roberta Gibson at Wrapped in Foil is mulling giving out books for Halloween, inspired by a Books for Treats promotion in the comic strip Luann. And Pam Coughlan profiles three books about monsters at Booklights.

I found an interesting article about adults reading young adult fiction via @DonalynBooks and @TheReadingZone on Twitter. The Courier-Journal.com article by Erin Keane says “Young adult fiction’s appeal has grown way beyond the school library. What was once considered entertainment for kids has become big business for adults, who are increasingly turning to the children’s section for their own reading pleasure, according to publishing experts.”

As for what teens themselves enjoy reading, Publisher’s Weekly recently published the results of a TeenReads.com survey about teens’ reading habits. See Carol Fitzgerald’s article for details. Roger Sutton comments at Read Roger that “The most interesting statistic of this teen reading survey concerns who responded to it: “while we purposely marketed the survey to attract male readers, females are the vast majority (96%) of responders.”“

In other news about teen readers, Becky Levine shares a lovely story about boys excited for a book signing by Eoin Colfer. She says: “I hear SO much about boys not liking books, about losing boys from reading as they get into their teens. I watch my son and, too often, see him as the exception–myself as the lucky parent who gets to keep sharing this with her son. Last night, I realized he’s not the exception and neither am I. Write for the boys, folks. They’re here, and they’re starving for more books to read, more books that show them why theywant to write, too.”

My blog was included in recent lists of 101 Book Blogs You Need to Read and 100 Best Book Blogs for Kids, Tweens, and Teens by Online Universities. I especially liked the second list, because lots of my blogging friends are on it, too. Both lists are diverse, classified, and annotated. Although, as you know, I’m not a huge fan of “bests” in reference to blogs, I am happy to be in such good company.

Speaking of bests, Susan Thomsen has started her annual list of lists of best children’s books of 2009 at Chicken Spaghetti. She explains: “Last year I started compiling all the year-end “best of” lists in newspapers, magazines, and other sources. I added in many of the various children’s literature prizes throughout the year, too. (You can peruse “The Best of the Best: Kids’ Books ‘08” right here.) A person who chooses titles from these lists will read—and give and recommend to children—many good books.”

Still speaking of bests, Amazon is counting down their 100 best books of the year at Omnivoracious. You can find books 20 to 11 here, with links to the previous lists. I’ve been particularly happy to see The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate (#83), Shiver (#62), Catching Fire (#42), The Last Olympian (#29), and When You Reach Me (#21). That’s some representation for children’s and young adult literature in the overall list. I mean, I’d like to see more, but I agree with the titles that they did include.

Cybils2009-150pxIf you’re going to be around New York City next Saturday, November 7th, there’s an excellent Cybils-themed Literary Cafe being hosted by Betsy Bird at the new Children’s Center at 42nd St. You can find details in this post/news release at A Fuse #8 Production. Panelists will include Pam CoughlanElizabeth BurnsSusan Thomsen, and Anne Boles Levy. I’ll tell you - this is one of those rare occasions when I wish I still lived in the Northeast.

Speaking of Betsy Bird and of Amazon, Betsy provoked quite a controversy recently when she asked some pointed questions about Amazon’s Vine reviewer program. She said things like “the Vine reviewers are sometimes not the best representative readers for books that are a little different” and “The difference being that you can rely on a professional reviewer to give insightful commentary and acknowledge a book’s intended audience, and you can determine whether or not a blog reviewer is the kind of person you want looking over your product. And you don’t even have to pay us. The Vine folks, by contrast, are not professional reviewers and yet they enjoy a newfound #1 status of sorts.” The comments about “professional reviewers” vs. not seem to have caused the most sting for people. Me, I tried the Vine program very briefly, and didn’t like it. I didn’t like the idea of having to review books I was lukewarm about in order to receive more books (though I can see that requiring a certain number of reviews is necessary for this type of program). But I think that Betsy raises some issues worth thinking about. See also Kate Messner’s take.

Colleen Mondor took on this Vine controversy at Chasing Ray, tied it in with two other recent conflicts, and noted one alarming overall issue that connects the three. She says: “I wanted to point this all out to emphasize the many small ways in which book choice is constantly under attack. It’s not just banning that is a problem, in some ways that is the least of our problems because at least it is obvious. We know who to fight and when. The removal of choice in places big and small is insidious however and it’s easy to lose sight of but we need to be thinking about it and doing what we can to combat it all the time.” The comments there, though not as extensive as the ones at Betsy’s, are similarly mixed.

Liz B points out at Tea Cozy one more must-read article about the FTC Guidelines for BloggersOlgy Gary typed up a detailed transcript of Mary Engle’s session at KidLitCon, and then sent it to Mary for editing/approval. The result is an sanctioned transcript of the discussion - well worth your time. You can find it at Olgy’s Children Come First website. Olgy, a first-time attendee to KidLitCon, is clearly going to be an asset to the Kidlitosphere. Also at Tea Cozy, Liz highlights Cynthia Leitich Smith’s blogCynsations, in the latest of her Kidlitosphere profile features.

I’d like to offer a fond blogging farewell to Eisha from Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast. After co-founding 7-Imp with Jules (who will still be blogging there), Eisha has decided to move on to pursue other interests. I’m glad that she’s found other things to interest her, but she’ll certainly be missed in the Kidlitosphere. See also Tanita Davis’ farewell to Eisha at Finding Wonderland.

Quick hits:

And that’s all for today. I’ll be catching up on some literacy news this weekend for Monday’s roundup. Wishing you all a festive and freakish Halloween.

© 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
Oct042009

Sunday Afternoon Visits: October 4

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

I did a pretty thorough Kidlitosphere roundup on Wednesday (though some of you may have missed it, because I was having some temporary technical problems with my blog this week - apologies). Anyway, I have just a few additional links to share with you today.

Cybils2009-150pxFirst up, the Cybils nomination process is going strong. As I write this, there have been more than 400 eligible nominations. There have been some great, great titles nominated. You can view the lists of nominated titles (complete with cover images, and the name of the person who nominated each book), here:

We’ve also been continuing to roll out profiles of Cybils organizers, lists of panelists, and introductions to the various categories. There are too many posts to link to - I recommend that you go to the Cybils blog, and check it out. You can also follow the Cybils on Twitter. Last, but not least, you can find some great tips for new Cybils panelists at Abby (the) Librarian.

At A Chair, A Fireplace and a Tea Cozy, Liz B. offers an introduction to Poetry Friday, and a thank you to PF founder Kelly Herold. (Liz also links to Susan Thomsen’s previously written and definitive intro to PF). Fittingly, this week’s Poetry Friday roundup is at Crossover, Kelly’s new blog. Like Liz, I don’t end up participating in Poetry Friday all that often these days. I have trouble with scheduled events, beyond my own roundups and PBS posts and so on. But I still think that Poetry Friday is one of the jewels of the Kidlitosphere, a weekly celebration of poetry, spread across a variety of different blogs, completely volunteer run, and fully democratic.

Ellen Hopkins continues to face book challenge drama. She says: “the superintendent of schools in Moore OK … preemptively pulled all my books from all her schools “as a precaution.”” Nice. Don’t even put the book banners to the trouble of mounting challenges - just remove everything. Maureen has a roundup of some other Banned Book Week links at Confessions of a BibliovoreColleen Mondor shares her thoughts on several related topics (with lots of discussion in the comments) at Chasing Ray.

At The Happy Accident, Greg Pincus has a great post about #kidlitchat, Twitter, and community. He explains the goal that he and Bonnie Adamson had in starting the weekly chats in the first place (to build community), and the benefits that are already coming out of these sessions. Like this one: “Each member of our individual networks sees our passion and, if they want, can see our community in action – sharing, laughing, supporting, learning. We can be emissaries for children’s literature as a group, far more than we can as individuals.” How great is that?

Quick hits:

  • Pam Coughlan has some new details about KidLitCon at MotherReader, as well as links to some external articles that show why authors can’t “afford not to invest in learning more about blogging, social media, and online presence.”
  • Sherry has a new installment of her Saturday Review of Books at Semicolon. This is a regular Semicolon feature, in which a host of bloggers submit links to a review from the week (it’s supposed to one review, but lots of people apparently link to all of these reviews). Anyway, it’s a nice place for browsing.
  • At Literacy, families, and learning, Trevor Cairney has a detailed piece about the importance of historical fiction, and why children should be encouraged to read it. He gives lots of examples.
  • Monica Edinger links from Educating Alice to some points at the SLJ Heavy Medal blog on the Newbery Award, audience, and insensitivity. She calls it “Hard stuff, but important. Highly recommended.”
  • Esme Raji Codell has a fun post at PlanetEsme highlighting “great new books about books and writing”.
  • Abby (the) Librarian has a few more links in her Around the Interwebs post from Friday. Karen has still more links at Teenage Fiction for the Ages, in her Links from the Blogosphere post. And still more from Gwenda Bond at Shaken & Stirred and from Book Dads in their Weekend Wander.
  • There’s a nice post at the ESSL Children’s Literature Blog from Nancy O’Brien listing children’s literature on multicultural families.
  • The featured author at Readergirlz this month is Libba Bray.
  • At 100 Scope Notes, Travis posts several Wild Things links. Are you interested in Where the Wild Things Are tattoos? I’ll bet Betsy is. And just in case that’s not enough Wild Things news for you, Elaine Magliaro links to a Boston Globe article about how Maurice Sendak made the world safe for monsters.
  • And in closing, my favorite blog post of the weekLaini Taylor posted photos of her husband, Jim di Bartolo, reading to their baby. She’s looking straight at the book. She’s smiling. The photos are perfect! Do click through. They’ll brighten your day.

And that’s all for today. Hope you’ve all been having a lovely 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).

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).

Friday
Jul312009

Friday Visits: July 31

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

The Kidlitosphere continues to be full of interesting posts this week, some weighty, some just fun (with most of the lighter stuff towards the end of the post, as seems fitting for a Friday).

BWI_125sqAlong with some 500+ others to date, both Tasha from Kids Lit and Amy from My Friend Amy have signed a pledge to blog with integrity. The idea is to “assert that the trust of … readers and the blogging community is important”, and publicly declare a set of standards. Tasha explains: “The integrity badge is a shorthand to openly declare what my blogging ethics are… I see it as a tangible expression of my blogging beliefs. It says what I already do and already believe in. It is not going to change my blogging.” Amy says: “Why sign the pledge? Because I believe in proactive measures rather than reactive measures when possible. This issue won’t go away and this is a clear and public statement that when I accept review copies, I will let you know and I’ll still give you honest feedback.” I’m following with interest (though I managed to miss the Twitter discussion).

Kidlitosphere_buttonAnd speaking of bloggers and integrity, Pam Coughlan has a post at MotherReader about BlogHer09 vs. KidLitCon (I don’t remember who came up with KidLitCon - Laurel Snyder, maybe - but it’s sure less of a mouthful than “The Third Annual Kidlitosphere Conference”). Here’s a snippet: “What’s going on in the mommy blog community concerns me, not because it’s a direct correlation but because it’s a warning.” Bloggers should read the whole post (and think about attending KitLitCon, of course).

Kate Coombs also takes on blogger integrity questions as part of a post at Book Aunt. Though she starts with a light-hearted blogger vs. professional reviewer smackdown, she continues with a balanced look at some of the criticisms being leveled at blog reviewers today.

At the Picnic BasketDeborah Sloan shares some book reviewing tips from Shelf Awareness’ Jennifer Brown. Thanks to Susan Thomsen from Chicken Spaghetti for the link.

Discussion continues in response to the Liar book cover issue (which I talked about last week). There are hundreds of comments and posts out there, far too many to link to. People have, however, moved on this week from venting to suggesting and/or committing to positive courses of action to support diversity in their reading (diversity of race, gender, sexuality, etc.). Here are a few examples:

Kristine from Best Book I Have Not Read has a request for donations to the Make A Wish Foundation, in support of a young friend of hers, fighting cancer, whose wish is to meet author Brian Jacques.

At Just One More Book!Andrea and Mark interview Horrid Henry author Francesca Simon. In the course of the interview, they talk about “books with universal themes, the penalty of growing old enough to read by yourself and Storybook Dads — breaking the cycle of crime through a literacy and family connection program for convicts in a high-security prison”.

Casey from Bookworm 4 Life shares books that she thinks “might be contenders for modern/current teen classics”. She has some of my favorites on her list, and I suspect that the ones that I haven’t read are all worthy of my attention. Do check it out!

Susan Beth Pfeffer is looking for suggestions for a name for her Life As We Knew It and dead and the gone trilogy. It kind of grew into a trilogy - she thought that LAWKI was a standalone book when she wrote it, so there’s no cool, over-arching name. Leave suggestions in the comments here.

At The Book WhispererDonalyn Miller asks readers to share memories of their own reading origin stories. She asks: “How did your reading life begin? How does your reading past impact you now as a teacher or parent? What books stick with you now, years later? Who influenced your reading life?” The results (in the comments) make for a lovely ode to reading.

DogdaysMoving on to the stuff that’s pure fun, I’m loving the idea of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid ice cream truck tour to promote literacy and celebrate the title announcement for Book 4. I first heard about this on Omnivoracious, but then saw a detailed schedule in School Library Journal’s Extra Helping.

In other ice cream news, Cheryl Rainfield reports that there’s a petition for Ben and Jerry’s to come up with a library-themed ice cream flavor. Cheryl suggests “Anne of Green Gables ice cream, with raspberry and lime swirls.”

There’s a meme going around by which people design their own debut young adult novel covers. I don’t quite understand it, but quite a few people have participated, and some of the results are quite eye-catching and/or humorous. Travis, who I believe started this whole thing, has a round-up at 100 Scope Notes.

And this just in, via A Fuse #8 ProductionJill Davis snapped a picture of the ultimate expression of summer reading: a girl in a park reading while hula hooping. I love it! Betsy Bird called this “the Holy Grail of summer reading spottage.” Jill’s got some nice summer book recommendations in the post, too. Betsy also shares a press release about a call for photos of literary tattoos. And that, my friends, is why you should never miss your daily dose of Fuse #8.  

Last but not least, this week’s Poetry Friday roundup is available at Poetry for Children. Wishing you all a book-filled, fun-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).