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 Read-Aloud (12)

Wednesday
Nov042009

Wednesday Afternoon Visits: November 4

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

It’s been a pretty active week around the Kidlitosphere. Here are a few links for you.

Bigbird-hpToday is Sesame Street’s 40th birthday. Happy Birthday to Cookie Monster, Oscar, and the rest of the crew. One of my earliest memories is of singing “C is for Cookie, that’s good enough for me” in the car. According to this news release, “Google, an innovator in the world of technology, has partnered with Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street, to create original “Google doodles.”  Starting today, Google will feature photographic depictions of the Sesame Street Muppets with the Google logo on its home page from November 4-10.” Fun stuff!

Colleen Mondor has posted the latest installment in her “What a Girl Wants” series (a set of roundtable discussions that she’s hosting with a panel of authors) at Chasing Ray. This week’s topic is: mean girls in literature. Colleen asks: “did literature create the myth of mean girls or have the reality of mean girls created accompanying literature?” As usual in this smart series, the responses extend in a variety of intriguing directions.

Newlogorg200The Readergirlz will be celebrating Native American Heritage Month for November, spotlighting Marlene Carvell’s novel Sweetgrass Basket at readergirlz. In her customary organized manner, Little Willow has all the details.

At Pixie Stix Kids PixKristen McLean takes on “the Amazon Vine brouhaha kicked off by Betsy Bird over at Fuse #8 last week”, saying “I think this discussion has some larger implications for the industry, which is why it’s going to continue to get play.” She begins by discussing the lack of transparency in the Amazon program, and moves on from there.

Picking up on another Betsy Bird article (her recent SLJ piece about KidLit blogs), Roger Sutton asks at Read Roger ”whether or not there is such a thing as a blog-friendly book”, if “some books more than others will appeal to people who like to blog about children’s books.” He also makes some interesting points about the usefulness (or lack thereof) of blogs for libraries researching for their book collections, in context of “The glory and the bane of book blogging is its variety”.

Speaking of Betsy’s SLJ article, Liz B. has a fun piece about the photo shoot for the cover at Tea Cozy. Betsy’s article also inspired in librarian Ms. Yingling some philosophical musings on why she blogs. She also makes the excellent point that “The more good people we have commenting on books, the easier it is for the rest of us to keep on top of the huge number of new books that are coming out”. 

Cybils2009-150pxAnne Levy is running a new contest on the Cybils website related to NaNoWriteMo (where people try to write a whole book in November). Well, actually she links to a contest, and then also asks people to share 50 word blurbs from their NaNoWriteMo projects, for publication on the Cybils blog. Fun stuff! 

Mitali Perkins recently announced an ALA Midwinter Kid/YA Lit Tweetup. She says: “Coming to Boston for the ALA Midwinter conference? If you’re a tweeting librarian, author, illustrator, publisher, agent, editor, reviewer, blogger, or anyone interested in children’s and YA lit, join us on January 16, 2010 from 4-6 in the Birch Bar at Boston’s Westin Waterfront Hotel.” Still not enough to make me wish that I still lived in Boston as winter approaches, but this comes close…

AlltheworldIt looks like blogging friend Liz Garton Scanlon is going to have her picture book, All the World (with Marla Frazee), included in the Cheerios Spoonful of Stories program next year. Congratulations, Liz! Liz shares some other good news for the book at Liz in Ink.

Sixth grade language arts teacher Sarah asked at the Reading Zone for “a few “words of wisdom” for a presentation” on reading aloud to middle school students. There’s some good input in the comments. It’s an inspiring post all around, actually.

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).

Wednesday
Oct142009

Wednesday Afternoon Visits: October 14

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

First up, congratulations to the Kidlitosphere’s own Laini Taylor, shortlisted for the 2009 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature (for Lips Touch, which was already on my “must read soon” stack). I have raved about Laini’s other two books, Blackbringer and Silksinger, and heard great things about Lips Touch, too. Laini is a fabulous writer, and this is much deserved. Not to mention that Laini was a Cybils panelist last year, and co-organizer of the second Kidlitosphere Conference in Portland (with Jone MacCulloch). And she’s growing a young bookworm, even as we speak. Oh, I am just so happy for Laini!! {Edited to add: here’s Laini’s response.} Congratulations to the other nominees, too. Especially Deborah Heiligman (author of Charles and Emma), who I haven’t met, but who is my Facebook friend. See the full young people’s list at the Cybils blog.

Cybils2009-150pxCybils nominations close at midnight tomorrow night (10/15). You can access the nomination form, and lists of all of the nominated titles in each category, here. So, if you have a title that you LOVE, that you think is well-written and kid-friendly, the kind of book that you want to shout from the rooftops about, and it hasn’t been nominated yet, don’t miss your chance to see it considered for the Cybils. You can also read a bio/manifesto for Cybils co-founder Anne Boles Levy here.

KidLitCon-badgeKidLitCon is also fast approaching. Sara Lewis Holmes and her blogging author co-panelists are looking for your input. Sara asks: “What would you like to know about blogging as an author? Do you have questions about how we decide what to blog about/how we got started/why we continue/what benefits we see/what the pitfalls are? Or any other question?” See also Pam’s most recent post, encouraging locals who haven’t signed up yet to give the conference a look.

Susanna Reich wrote to me from I.N.K., saying: “Twenty-two award-winning authors who’ve been blogging at INK: Interesting Nonfiction for Kids, have created a searchable  database, INK Think Tank: Nonfiction In Your Classroom, at www.inkthinktank.com. Visitors will be able to search by keyword, subject, author, title, grade level, and most significantly, by national curriculum standards. Our goal is to get trade books into the classroom, and initial response from teachers and librarians has been enthusiastic.”

Becky Levine has an inspirational post about re-opening doors that you might have closed earlier in your life. She says: “I’m finding a big plus to being a person “of a certain age.” And that is that I believe in more possibilities than I did when I was younger… Possibilities. What doors have you closed and either forgotten about or too stubbornly ignored? Is it time, perhaps, to go oil the lock and hunt out the key?”

I ran across two additional responses to the FTC Guidelines for Bloggers:

Quick hits:

  • Kate Coombs shares five great out of print read-alouds at Book Aunt.
  • At Tea CozyLiz B shares information about the ALA’s Great Stories Club: “The Great Stories Club reaches underserved, troubled teen populations through books that are relevant to their lives. Libraries located within or working in partnership with facilities serving troubled teens (including juvenile justice facilities, alternative high schools, drug rehabilitation centers and nonprofits serving teen parents) are eligible to apply.”
  • Liz is also continuing her series of informational posts. This week she talks about children’s and young adult literature listservs.
  • Pam Coughlan has a repeat of an excellent article that she wrote about being a mother and a reader (they don’t call her MotherReader for nothing).
  • The Shrinking Violets have an interview with Laurie Helgoe, author of Introvert Power (which I reviewed here). This is an interview that particularly resonated with me (as did the book).
  • Terry Doherty has a great post at Booklights about Easy Readers (starting with The Cat in the Hat, of course, and including the Geisel and Cybils awards). This week’s Show and Tale at Booklights is Eloise.
  • Angie from Angieville has good news for fans of Dennis Lehane’s Patrick Kenzie/Angela Gennaro mystery series (like me).
  • Don’t forget that next week is Teen Read Week. See more details about the Readergirlz plans at Miss Erin.
  • A new issue of Notes from the Horn Book is now available, featuring an interview with Kristin Cashore.
  • The authors at The Spectacle are discussing Suzanne Collins’ Catching Fire (with spoilers).
  • Monica Edinger links to a New Yorker article by Daniel Zalewski about how strongly kids seem to be in charge in today’s picture books. He criticizes a number of modern books for their portrayal of browbeaten parents and rampaging kids (citing Kevin Henkes as an exception).
  • See more news at Terry’s Tuesday Blurbs post at the Reading Tub. She is highly recommending “the pictures from the Read for the Record event at Nationals Park”, and I agree with her.

That’s all I have for news for this week. I’ll be taking a few days off from the blog to attend KidLitCon. Ironic, I know, that I won’t be blogging because of a blogging conference. But there you have it. I have left a review or two queued up for delayed posting. Wishing you all 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
Jul192009

Sunday Afternoon Visits: July 19

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

Here is some news from around the Kidlitosphere this week:

Twitter_logo_headerBonnie Adamson and Greg Pincus have initiated a weekly Twitter chat about children’s and young adult literature. Greg reports that the next chat will be held Tuesday night at 6:00 pm PST. The tag for participants is #kidlitchat. I am on Twitter these days (@JensBookPage), but am still working my way up to the “chatting” level of interactivity. But I hear that the first chat, held last week, was quite successful.

Karen from Euro Crime and Teenage Fiction for All Ages links to a pbpulse article about how women of all ages are enjoying urban fantasy novels. It says: “The economy may be deeply troubled, but urban fantasy novels about vampires, werewolves, zombies, supernatural creatures, blood and romance are booming, and women are sinking their teeth into them in ravenous numbers.”

There was also a recent Wall Street Journal article that talked about the high quality of literary young adult fiction. Cynthia Crossen recommended YA fiction for older adults, saying: “Good YA is not dumbed-down adult fare; it’s literature that doesn’t waste a breath. It doesn’t linger over grandiloquent descriptions of clouds or fields, and it doesn’t introduce irrelevant minor characters in the hope (too often gratified) that the book will be called Dickensian.” Thanks to Laurie Halse Anderson for the link.

And speaking of people reading books originally written for a young audience, Jennie from Biblio File shares her thoughts on reading regardless of level. She said that she tells parents: “Everyone should always be reading something below level, something above level, and something at level. This mixture is what lets us grow as readers.” 

Daphne Lee from The Places You Will Go shares tips on reading aloud with kids, including how to choose books, how to tell a story well, and dos and don’ts. I liked: “Don’t preach. Try not to use stories to teach children a lesson or make a point unless the message can be arrived at through discussion.” See also, via We Be Reading, Neil Gaiman’s excellent answer to a parent’s question about reading aloud.

Farida Dowler from Saints and Spinners brought to my attention a recent Amazon incident, in which the company remotely deleted from people’s Kindles books that they had purchased (due to a copyright issue). In a particularly ironic twist, one of the books in question was Orwell’s 1984. Farida draws a parallel with my own experience of lost books (that one due to flooding), noting how upsetting it would be to have a good that you bought vanish before your eyes. This is not making people more likely to buy Kindles, that’s for sure.

At The Spectacle, Joni Sensel asks whether people who read a lot could be doing “too much of a good thing”, at the expense of their real lives. I’m not sure where I stand on this, but there’s some thought-provoking discussion in the comments. I also appreciated the comments on a recent Spectacle post by Parker Peevyhouse responding to a suggestion made by a librarian that authors change their protagnists from girls to boys, to increase readership.

Speaking of thought-provoking posts, Colleen Mondor has a third installment in her What A Girl Wants series, this time various authors discuss issues related to including diversity in books. She asks questions like: “Do you think that writers and publishers address this identity issue strongly enough and in a balanced matter in current teen fiction? Can authors write characters of different race/ethnicity or sexual preference from their own and beyond that, what special responsibility, if any, do authors of teen fiction have to represent as broad a swath of individuals as possible?” See also Lisa Chellman’s response to this topic at Under the Covers.

Book-blogger-appreciation-weekAmy from My Friend Amy recently announced the second Book Blogger Appreciation Weekcomplete with its own website. BBAW will be held September 14-18. Amy calls it: “A week where we come together,  celebrate the contribution and hard work of book bloggers in promoting a culture of literacy, connecting readers to books and authors, and recogonizing the best among us with the Second Annual BBAW Awards. There will be special guest posts, daily blogging themes, and giveaways.” You can register to participate, and also nominate your favorite blogs for awards in various categories. See also, from Natasha at Maw Books: Ten Reasons Why Book Blogger Appreciation Week is So Cool. I had a fun time participating last year - it was nice connecting with the larger book blogging community (not just children’s and young adult books), and I discovered new blogs that I still read every day.

And finally, some quick hits:

  • Jay Asher has been posting pictures from a recent trip to Boston. Having grown up in that part of the country, I enjoyed seeing his travelogue, most especially this post. Scroll down to see Jay climbing onto Mrs. Mallard’s back.
  • I found an interesting article at Socialbrite by Josh Catone about 10 Ways to Support Charity through Social Media. (h/t to Barbara H for pointing me to Socialbrite in the first place).
  • GreenBeanTeenQueen asks bloggers and librarians to all just get along, suggesting ways that bloggers can embrace librarians and vice versa.
  • Becky Laney has last week’s Poetry Friday Roundup at Becky’s Book Reviews. Sarah has last week’s Nonfiction Monday Roundup at In Need of Chocolate (one of my favorite blog names). And the July issue of Notes from the Horn Book is now available (via Read Roger).
  • At Escape Adulthood, Jason Kotecki shares a great list of 22 family-friendly movies from the 80’s. Such flashbacks! E.T. The Karati Kid. Ghostbusters! Click through for more. They also have some fun new t-shirts available, including Red Rover, Rock Paper Scissors, etc.
  • MotherReader has in which she expresses her recent conference envy and rounds up an array of reports from the American Library Association conference.
  • On a less light-hearted note, Pam (aka MotherReader) links to some articles with important implications for book bloggers. Lots of good discussion in the comments.
  • And speaking of my Booklights cohorts, Susan Kusel has a great post about her experiences at the Newbery / Caldecott banquet, including chatting with Newbery winner Neil Gaiman.

And that’s all for tonight. Terry Doherty will have a full literacy and reading news round-up at The Reading Tub tomorrow. Over at Booklights, I’ll be following up on last week’s post about series titles featuring adventurous girls, with a few user-suggested additions.

© 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
Feb182009

Wednesday Afternoon Visits: February 18

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

The blogs were relatively quiet over the holiday weekend, and I was in Lake Tahoe with friends myself. But now that I’m catching back up, I have a few things to share with you:

The Last OlympianI know I already shared the recently released cover of the last Percy Jackson book. But I also just ran across this fun interview between Percy and Blackjack the Pegasus (who are both pictured on the cover). It’s on Rick Riordan’s blog.

Mary Lee has a lovely little post at A Year of Reading about the top five expectations that her students have when they read fiction. For any adult in the business of evaluating fiction for kids, this is a useful post. I, of course, like the emphasis on story. See also this recent post by Donalyn Miller, the Book Whisperer, about students looking for expert opinions about books that they value. She says: “I know from your posts that you are readers, too. Why not join the conversation? Submit a quote about a book or two you would like to recommend. Celebrate your reading expertise and share it with us all!”

Carlie Webber from Librarilly Blonde has a new article in Publisher’s Weekly, What they don’t know won’t hurt them: Persuading adults to read YA literature. Carlie says: “My advice is simple: lie and cheat. To get more adults to read and enjoy YA literature, the lie of omission often works.” And she gives some concrete examples of books that will work perfectly well for many adults, if the books aren’t pre-judges as “for kids”. She also suggests that “Teen books must make an appearance outside the teen section. Staff picks and themed book displays should include teen books.” I certainly agree!

MotherReader has started planning for “the Annual KidLitosphere Conference — or if you’d prefer, The Society of Bloggers in Children’s and Young Adult Literature Annual Conference.” Nothing firm yet, but the weekend of October 16th in Arlington, VA is starting to look promising. I’m hoping that having the conference in DC, and not in conflict with any other major conferences, will result in the highest attendance yet. Stay tuned for more details!

The London Eye MysteryBookwitch has a new resource that I think a lot of people are going to find useful: the Aspie Books Page (“any fiction which I feel is the slightest bit Asperger/Autism/ ADHD related can be listed here for reference”). Bookwitch writes from the UK, so it’s possible that some books will be unfamiliar to US audiences, but I found several favorites there (including recent Cybils winner for middle grade fiction: The London Eye MysteryRULES, and the aforementioned Percy Jackson books).

The Book Chook has a new two-part feature: the Read Aloud Roundup (part 1 and part 2) in which she asks “some people who love books to choose their favourite book to read aloud.” She also shares “great tips to add extra value”. Don’t miss this fun new feature, focused on the joys of reading aloud with kids.

Becky Laney from Becky’s Book Reviews is doing quite a bit of thinking about the rights and wrongs of copying (after her blog content was shamefully stolen by another site). She discusses links vs. quotes vs. memes, etc., and seeks reader feedback. All I have to say is that I own a software company, and this has made me very very respectful of other people’s intellectual property. (I should also mention that some of my “afternoon visits” posts are being reposted on the Kidlitosphere Central news blog, but that’s happening with my full knowledge and consent. I’m on the board there. What Becky’s talking about is copying without permission. And that’s nothing short of theft.)

Speaking of theft, Guys Lit Wire has a post by Kristopher about writing-related scams.

And speaking of the potential co-opting of other people’s intellectual property, there’s been quite a bit of conflict lately around Facebook’s Terms of Service. They seem to have backed down a little bit on some recent changes that they made, in response to a storm of controversy, but I think that people are now being extra-careful about what they put on Facebook.

And that’s all for today! 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).