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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 Raising Readers (16)

Monday
Dec142009

Quick Hits: December 14

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

I’d like to share a couple of tidbits with you all this morning:

BooklightsFirst up, I have a new post at Booklights today. It’s the fifth entry in my Tips for Growing Bookworms series. This week’s tip is about taking children to libraries and bookstores. Timely for the holiday season, but a good practice year-round. I hope that you’ll check it out.

Next, many congratulations to Betsy Bird from A Fuse #8 ProductionJules Danielson from Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast and Peter D. Sieruta from Collecting Children’s Books on their new book contract. You can find their write-ups herehere, and here. This must-read title, due out from Candlewick in September of 2012, is tentatively titled Wild Things! : The True, Untold Stories Behind the Most Beloved Children’s Books and Their Creators. Very cool!

Third, Meghan Newton from Goodman Media shared a link with me today that I had somehow missed. It’s an article by Jon Scieszka from the Huffington Post, musing on the close of his tenure as National Ambassador of Children’s Literature. It’s classic Scieszka - breezy and fun, but full of concrete tips for helping reluctant readers. This is must-read stuff.

And:

Wishing you all a wonderful week!

© 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).

Saturday
Apr252009

Sunday Afternoon Visits: April 25

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

Happy Birthday, Mom and Dad! (Yes, my parents have the same birthday - it’s pretty cool. And easy to remember.) I know I just did a Kidlitosphere round-up post a few days ago. But, I don’t know what to tell you. People keep posting interesting things. Plus, you know, these round-up posts make for a good task while watching baseball (Red Sox - Yankees this weekend!).

Zombie_chicken_awardFirst up, I received another award this week. Angie from Angieville was kind enough to give me a Zombie Chicken Award, in particular recognition of my Reviews that Made Me Want the Book features. Here’s the scoop: “The blogger who receives this award believes in the Tao of the zombie chicken - excellence, grace and persistence in all situations, even in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. These amazing bloggers regularly produce content so remarkable that their readers would brave a raving pack of zombie chickens just to be able to read their inspiring words. As a recipient of this world-renowned award, you now have the task of passing it on to at least 5 other worthy bloggers. Do not risk the wrath of the zombie chickens by choosing unwisely or not choosing at all…” Hmm.. do I risk the wrath of the Zombie Chickens, or do I stick to my policy of saying that everyone who I mention in my visits posts is a blog that I’m giving recognition? Quite a dilemma. Either way, I’m grateful to Angie - this is a particularly fun award.

Kidlitosphere_buttonAt Lectitans, Kimberly has a helpful post with 5 Ways to Use Kidlitosphere Central. I especially applaud her suggestions to use the resources at Kidlitosphere Central to make friends, and get involved in the community.

I’m thrilled to be in the middle of a few weeks at home between trips. However, Betsy Bird made me a bit sad that I’m not going to BEA this year, when she described at Fuse #8 a Day of Dialog that School Library Journal is putting together. It’s “a free, day-long program where librarians, editors, authors, and vendors meet to discuss the changing world of books, reading, and libraries”, complete with food from Little Brown, and a panel session moderated by Betsy. Maybe next year…

Caps for SaleSpeaking of Betsy, she’s up to #17 in her Top 100 Picture Books announcements (Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina). This list is already filled with amazing, amazing books, and you know that the remaining 16 are all going to be popular favorites. What I’m interested to see is how many of the top 15 are newly published books. Will there be any, or will it be all old favorites? Stay tuned!

OppositedayOver at Scholastic’s Ink Splot 26 blog, Karen W. has come up with a list of clever book titles in honor of “Opposite Day”. In my favorite, Because of Winn Dixie becomes In Spite of Safeway. Your suggestions are welcome in the comments.

In other made up book title news, the winner of the Bottom Shelf Books / Saints and Spinners Unnecessary Children’s Book Titles that Never Were contest was announced. Congratulations to Book Aunt Kate Coombs for coming up with “Harry and the Can of Purple Spray Paint”. Click through for the delightful illustration. 

Speaking of delightful illustrations, Eric Carle was just featured in Newsweek, with an article titled “The Surprising Dark Side of the Very Hungry Caterpillar”. Travis has the scoop at 100 Scope Notes.

At Original Content, Gail Gauthier has an interesting post pondering adult characters in children’s books. She asks: “Have we always felt that children should be center stage in children’s books? Or back in the day when books for children were more instructive were they filled with adult characters for them to model themselves upon?” There’s quite a discussion in the comments, including a response by author Tim Byrd, whose work is mentioned in the post.

As reported on many blogs, the shortlists for the Carnegie Award (the oldest children’s literature award in Britain) were announced this week. Charlotte has the list at Charlotte’s Library, and was the first person I saw to point out the fact that in all seven, the main characters are boys. Alison Flood of the Guardian also called it a “boysy” list. UK-based blogger Bookwitch is happy to have read and liked all seven titles, and approves of the boy-friendly slant, too.

StarclimberMeanwhile, over in Canada, the 2009 Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Awards short lists were announced. You can find the list at Kids LitTasha is always up on the award news. Chester’s Back, which I loved, is on the picture book list. Starclimber, which I just reviewed last week, is on the young adult list.  

Two posts caught my eye this week from moms who are clearly doing well with the whole raising readers thing:

  • At Paradise Found, confronted by a son who finished four middle grade novels in one day, Kris Bordessa asks: “Do you ever tell your kids to stop reading? Would you, if they read four books daily? How much is too much?” There are bunches of comments in response to this question.
  • Jennifer from Snapshot shares her progress with daughter Amanda in their Read Together Challenge. She says of the challenge: “I have found the accountability great in encouraging my perseverance. When we finished this book, Amanda said, “We need to get another book we can read together.” I was glad that she is enjoying this effort as much as I am.” 

 And a few other quick hits:

© 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).

Thursday
Mar192009

Thursday Afternoon Visits: NCAA Tournament Edition

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

Kidlitosphere_buttonI’m watching a bit of college basketball in the background, while catching up on Kidlitosphere news today. (You just have to listen for when the crowd gets loud to know when something exciting is going on.) Here are a few highlights from the children’s and young adult book blogosphere.

At The Miss Rumphius EffectTricia begs to differ with a Guardian article that says: “The larger-than-life, black-and-white morality of children’s books is a relief for adult readers tired of ambiguity.” I agree with Tricia that this is not a particularly nuanced representation of the moral complexity often found in children’s books. But I’d be happy to see more adults take time to check out children’s and young adult literature either way.

Tbd2009Little Willow has the official press release for the Readergirlz, Guys Lit Wire, YALSA 2009 Operation Teen Book Drop, a “reading stimulus plan for hospitalized teen patients… Teen patients in pediatric hospitals across the United States will receive 8,000 young-adult novels, audiobooks, and graphic novels.” In preparation for the April 16th event, the Readergirlz Divas are hosting a series of weekly contests. You can find more details here.  

Laini Taylor has the scoop on an upcoming Phoenix event called Project Book Babe, a fundraiser for bookseller Faith Hochhalter, who is going through chemotherapy right now for breast cancer. Laini also has news about her own expected and sure to be a book-lover baby.

ShareAStoryLogo-colorTerry Doherty has a wrap-up post for the Share a Story - Shape a Future literacy blog tour at The Reading Tub. Please join me in thanking Terry for this amazing event. Although the initial event is finished, Terry promises “Share a Story-Shape a Future will be back. For the near term, the blog will remain our bulletin board and archive. If/When we pull together the links and bloglists into a single spot, that’s where you’ll find it. When we’re ready to start thinking about themes and start planning our lineups, that’s where we’ll make the announcement.” [Image credit: Author/illustrator Elizabeth Dulemba created the Share a Story - Shape a Future logo.]

Speaking of raising kids who love books, Jenny from Read. Imagine. Talk shares a lovely anecdote in which her very young son, Ethan, demanded to go to the bookstore right away “because there was a new book out that he “really very needed to get right now.””  He was following her example, and gives us all a real-life demonstration of the way that modeling book-loving behavior rubs off on kids.

I’ve been enjoying Sarah Mulhern’s “Slice of Life” posts at The Reading Zone. Yesterday, she related some snippets of discussion from her 6th grade girls about the best literary boyfriends. Sarah concluded: ” I couldn’t help but smile- they weren’t arguing over boy bands, or movie stars, or athletes- it was literary characters. This language arts teacher couldn’t be prouder.” As she should be. Sarah also shares her accelerated reader frustration, and a more positive follow-up.

Tamara Fisher has a great post at Unwrapping the Gifted about using bibliotherapy with gifted kids. She explains: “Essentially, by having gifted students read literature and/or biographies featuring gifted children or adults, the students can gain insights into their own giftedness.” She also provides a list of sample questions to ask kids about their reading, and an extensive reading list.

Last OlympianDates are now available for Rick Riordan’s author tour for The Last Olympian. He’ll be here in the Bay Area on May 9th, just a few days after the official release date. Safe to say that these events will be very, very popular! Perhaps I’ll see some of you there.

Kate Coombs has a fun post about picture books with bite at Book Aunt. She says: “it is with some gusto that I give you a handful of books that aren’t sweet. In fact, they are tart and funny, and above all, toothy.”

Witch MountainI also enjoyed this post at Ink Splot 26, about the movie Race to Witch Mountain. I know that a lot of people think it was corny, but I love the 1975 Disney movie version ofEscape to Witch Mountain. I will have to have the new special edition DVD, even though my brother Steve, the king of gift-giving, already bought me the regular DVD. So I was pleased to learn from Nancy T’s interview with the stars of the new movie that the actors who played the original Tony and Tia will have cameos in the new movie. Fun stuff!

And finally, I wanted to say thank you to Travis from 100 Scope Notes, who recently included my blog in his “blogs that clog my reader (in a good way)” list. I’m in excellent company. And his is a blog I never miss, either.

© 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).

Thursday
Mar052009

Thursday Afternoon Visits: March 5

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

It’s been a busy week in the Kidlitosphere. Here are a few of the many posts that caught my eye:

Carol Rasco put up a nice post at RIF in response to my article about encouraging read-aloud. She links to some resources available from RIF to help parents with this, and particularly highlights RIF’s Read Along Stories and Songs. Carol says: “We actually get calls from parents—particularly dads it seems—who say this method really allows them to feel participatory and “comfortable” with reading aloud.” The Book Chook, in turn, has a response to Carol’s post, saying: “I like these stories as yet another method for parents to add to their literacy bag of tricks… I loved RIF, and hope you will too.” The Book Chook also has a lovely post about a 10-year-old girl who started her own literacy program.

There’s another response to the campaign for read-aloud idea at Turtle Tales and Tips for Teachers, a blog that I discovered recently. Sandra Rands says that not having been read to may well be a reason “why some students continue into high school without learning to read”. She also recaps some local projects from her school.

For a success story on the benefits of reading in the classroom (silent reading, in this case), check out this post from Borderland, by Doug Noon. After introducing 30-40 minutes of free reading in his classroom, Doug reports that the kids “make book recommendations to each other. They read at home and before school without being told to, and they tell me they love to read. I even saw one of my students reading a book walking down the hall the other day. It’s going viral.” Isn’t that cool? Link via Teacherninja.

Charlotte shares a fun literacy promotion activity at Charlotte’s Library: wall demolition. During a household construction project, she had the children write letters to put in the walls, for future people to find. I remember something similar from my childhood, writing and drawing on the walls before new wallpaper went up.

Suffering from a bit of review-writing burn-out, Amy from My Friend Amy asks readers: “Do you ever get tired of reviewing books? Do you get more comments on book reviews or other posts?” She’s received quite a few comments on this post, that’s for sure.

And speaking of book reviews, Liz Burns has a great two-part piece (part 1part 2) at ForeWord Magazine’s Shelf Space about what advance reading copies (ARCs) are, and how they should, and should not, be used. Part 2, in particular, is must read stuff for anyone wondering whether or not it’s ok to sell an ARC, or put it into a library collection (no, it’s not).

Displaying her usual thoroughness, Carlie Webber takes on an opinion piece from the Tufts University Observer about Falling for Young Adult Literature. She says that the biggest problem with the piece is that “YA literature is held to a different standard than adult literature”, adding: “Truth is, there is no wrong way to read. Books mean different things to everyone and everyone reads for a different reason.”

And speaking of people’s rights to read what they want, Laini Taylor talks about her own relationship with romantic storylines in books. This has generated quite a bit of discussion in the comments, including some recommendations for books that include romantic themes. Also, not sure if I mentioned this before, but Laini recently revealed the cover of the upcoming Blackbringer sequel, Silksinger. I’m a little hesitant to include cover images on my blog when they aren’t on Amazon yet, and haven’t been sent to me, but you can see it in Laini’s blog header. In other cover news, Kristin Cashore has the cover of the ARC of Fire (Graceling prequel) on her blog. Both of these covers are gorgeous.

Alvina takes on the topic of child friendliness in books at Blue Rose Girls. After some discussion, she closes with a question: “have you ever been surprised by a book, either one that you thought would be a no-brainer in terms of kids liking it, but they turned out to not be interested, or vice versa—a book you were pretty sure they would hate, that it turned out that they loved?”

Over at The Spectacle, Parker Peevyhouse asks what will happen to audiobooks in the future, as automatic text to speech functionality in devices like the Kindle 2 improves. I agree with her that while this is a ways off (narrated audiobooks are MUCH more pleasant now), it’s something to think about.

Rick Riordan reports (though I heard it first via email from Little Willow), that Percy Jackson and Grover Underwood have both been cast for The Lightning Thief movie. The young man playing Percy looks very much like I would have expected Percy to look (and Rick says so, too), suggesting that it’s a good choice.

Finally, some brief highlights about book lists and awards:

ShareAStoryLogo-colorAnd that’s all for today. Don’t forget to stay tuned for the Share a Story - Shape a Future literacy blog tour, starting Monday.

 

 

 

© 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).

Wednesday
Feb112009

Quick Hits: February 11

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

I have a few quick news items to share with you this morning.

First up, our own Tanita S. Davis (aka TadMack from Finding Wonderland) is featured today at The Brown Bookshelf. Click through to learn more about Tanita, and her upcoming book. There’s even a rare photo. This interview is part of the Brown Bookshelf’s fabulous 28 Days Later Campaign.

Speaking of campaigns, there are a few new posts out there related to the Campaign for Read-Aloud:

  • The Book Chook interviews The Magnet Lady (aka Jen W). Jen drives around Ann Arbor, MI with a magnet on her car that says “Please read to your kids everyday”. The enthusiasm that both Book Chook and Jen have for reading with kids is inspiring.
  • Reconsidering Read-AloudFranki Sibberson picks up on the reading aloud topic at A Year of Reading, and draws readers’ attention to blog partner Mary Lee Hahn’s book, Reconsidering Read-Aloud (which I agree is an excellent resource). Franki also argues that rather than urging parents simply to read aloud with their kids, “there are LOTS of ways that parents and teachers can support children in becoming lifelong readers (and that) Being part of your child’s reading life is … the critical part.” I agree completely with Franki that read-aloud is only part of the conversation. The real goal is raising kids who enjoy reading, and it makes sense to do whatever it takes to get there. Part of why I like the idea of a campaign for read-aloud is that it’s one concrete thing that people can do to move in that direction.
  • This question was also picked up by Millie Davis at the NCTE Inbox Blog. After discussing her own experience with her daughter, Millie says: “So, would I advocate a national campaign to encourage parents to read aloud to their kids, like Jen Robinson has suggested on her blog? Yes, I think so. Would you?” A number of people discuss this in the comments.

KnuckleheadIn related news, the Providence Journal has an article by Kathleen Odean about National Ambassador Jon Scieszka’s recommendations for encouraging kids to read. The article mentions plenty of specific, kid-friendly titles. Those are fun, but I especially enjoyed this part: “Scieszka was an advocate for reading long before becoming Ambassador and will continue as such after his term ends in December. Meanwhile, he’s enjoying the perks of ambassadorship. “Kids give you things,” he reported, “like royal sashes they’ve decorated with puffy gold paint.”” Fun stuff! Link via Matt Holm.

The previous article mentioned Scieszka’s Guys Read website. Over at The Miss Rumphius Effect, Tricia is fed up with articles that presume that boys don’t like to read (and no, she’s not talking about the Providence Journal article). Citing a Guardian article, she says: “There are some interesting thoughts about “reverse engineering” books to resemble the things readers so love about the web. However, must authors always resort to boy-bashing to do it? Can we please give boys and young men just a bit of credit for their reading habits?” Tricia also linked to a fun Christian Science Monitor article about books for “children of all ages.” It’s also worth clicking through to see Tricia’s lovely new blog format.

Adult fans of children’s books should also check out the February Small Graces auction. Elaine Magliaro has the details at Wild Rose Reader.

In other news, in case you have somehow managed to miss it, Amazon just announced the release of the second edition of the Kindle eBook reader. I first saw the news on The Longstockings, but found a more detailed write-up at Cheryl Rainfield’s. I have to say, as someone who is a huge fan of tradition books, that I am intrigued by this version. It’s so thin! If I was traveling more, I would probably look into it.

Kid-Lit72Last but not least, Lynn Hazen is hosting the February Carnival of Children’s Literature, with a theme of “We Love Children’s (and YA) Books”. She says: “Tell us what you love about reading, reviewing, writing, or illustrating children’s (and YA) books. What do you love about getting good books into the hands of children and youth? What do you love (or even what breaks your heart) about the world of children’s books?” Submissions are due by February 23rd, at the Carnival site.

Wishing everyone a book-filled Valentine’s 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).