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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 Readergirlz (24)

Tuesday
Dec022008

Quick Hits: December 2

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

I have to get to work, but I do have a few quick things to share this morning:

Judy Blume started a blog tour yesterday at Big A little a. I don’t see how my stop on the tour (Thursday) can possibly measure up to Kelly’s post. Or Little Willow’s interview today, for that matter. But I hope that you’ll tune in on Thursday anyway. As I commented at Kelly’s, it’s a bit surreal to be interviewing someone who seemed mythic and unreachable when I was a child. But very cool.

I was honored to be included again in Jon Bard’s Children’s Literature Blog Posts of the day video at Children’s Writing Web Journal (for yesterday’s children’s literacy round-up). Also, for those who subscribe to Children’s Book Insider, don’t miss the guest article from Pam Coughlan (MotherReader). It’s content that Pam has presented at the Kidlitosphere Conferences, about taking your blog to the next level, but it’s always worth another look.

Newlogorg200Big news from Readergirlz. First, they’ll be featuring Meg Cabot this month, and discussing her novel How To Be Popular. [One of the recommended companion reads by the Postergirlz is A la Carte, the lovely first novel by our own Tanita Davis (TadMack from Finding Wonderland). I was also pleased to see Jennifer Ziegler’s How NOT to be Popular as a companion read, because it’s selection pleases my sense of symmetry.]

The other news from Readergirlz is the launch of Readertotz. The email announcement explains: “Co-founded by readergirlz diva and author/illustrator Lorie Ann Grover and author/illustrator Joan Holub, the blog site aims to raise the awareness and esteem of infant-toddler books. Visit the site for a monthly community service, a playlist, a recommended read for the older sibling, and weekly recommends for baby readers.” Very nice!

And finally, don’t forget to submit your favorite/best post of the year (related to children’s literacy or literature) to the December Carnival of Children’s Literature. You can submit by emailing me, or (ideally) use the form at the Carnival website. Please note that posts that have some overt agenda (e.g. religious or commercial), or seem unrelated to the carnival, may be excluded. The deadline to submit is the end of the day on December 15th. So, think about your best or favorite post of the year, or just a post that you would like to see given another look, and send it in. Thanks!

© 2008 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson’s Book Page. All rights reserved.
You can also find me on Twitter and at Booklights from PBS Parents.
All Amazon links in this post are affiliate links, and may result in my receiving a small commission (with no additional cost to you).

Friday
Nov282008

Friday Afternoon Visits: Thankgiving Weekend Edition

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

Greetings! I hope that you all had a lovely Thanksgiving. I’m dreadfully out of the loop on the doings of the Kidlitosphere, but here are a few things that I came across to share with you:

Lisa Chellman has the Thanksgiving Weekend edition of Poetry Friday, complete with an original Thanksgiving Rondeau.  

Newlogorg200The Readergirlz Divas are hosting a blog scavenger hunt in honor of Native American Heritage MonthCynthia Leitich Smith contributed several questions, and HipWriterMama has the details.

Trevor Cairney continues his series on key themes children’s literature at Literacy, families, and learning, writing this week about a sense of place. He notes that “in some writing place has a special central role, almost as strong as the very characters that are interwoven in the plot. In some narratives, a sense of place is on centre stage, almost shaping the narrative and its characters.” He also gives several examples of books that express, in different ways, a strong sense of place. A sense of place is part of my 6 P’s of Book Appreciation.

I’m not sure how I missed this article myself, but Libby from Lessons from the Tortoise linked to, and commented on, a recent School Library Journal blog article about recent young adult books that are good for adults, too. The original article, by Angelina Benedetti, is called 35 Going on 13. I especially liked Benedetti’s note that “The books being published for this market (YA) stand toe to toe with this year’s best adult reads—David Wroblewski’s The Story of Edgar Sawtelle or Marilynne Robinson’s Home being but two. The only difference is that books for teens generally feature teens and themes that resonate with them.”

Inspired by her niece, Emily, Sara Lewis Holmes is “starting a library of camp and horse related books for Flying Horse Farms. Flying Horse Farms is a magical, transforming and fun camp for children with serious illnesses and their families.” She has suggestions on her blog for people who would like to help.

Anastasia Suen is hosting an early 12 days of Christmas. Starting today, she’ll be giving away a book a day for 12 days, on her various blogs. You can find more details here.

Speaking of giving books, Liz B. from Tea Cozy has a specific idea for holiday book-giving. She suggests “Give something not published in 2008. Give something that you loved, loved, loved, yet, somehow, was overlooked; something that did not get on any of the awards lists, but, in your humble opinion, should have been on those lists.” She is also looking for suggestions.

And if you’re buying books this Thanksgiving weekend, you can print out a voucher at the NCFL Literacy Now blog, with which Barnes and Noble donates a portion of sales this Saturday and Sunday to the NCFL.

And if you’re looking for ideas of what books to buy, Doret, TheHappyNappyBookseller, has put together a fabulous, detailed list of African American children’s books, including both African-American authors and illustrators, and titles featuring African-American characters. And Mitali Perkins shares several recent YA novels with Muslim characters.

That’s all for today. I’ll be back on Sunday with the Children’s Literacy Round-Up, with literacy and reading-focused news. Wishing everyone a peaceful and book-filled weekend.

© 2008 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson’s Book Page. All rights reserved.
You can also find me on Twitter and at Booklights from PBS Parents.
All Amazon links in this post are affiliate links, and may result in my receiving a small commission (with no additional cost to you).

Sunday
Nov022008

Sunday Afternoon Visits: November 2

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

I don’t have TOO much Kidlitosphere news for you today, because I did a visits post on Wednesday night. But a few things since then have caught my eye.

CybilsLogoSmallThere’s lots going on at the Cybils blog (thanks to fabulous Deputy Editor Sarah Stevenson and the equally fabulous committee organizers). I’m especially enjoying the Meet the Panelists posts. So far we’ve met the YA Fiction nominating panelists, the Fantasy/Science Fiction nominating panelists, and the Middle Grade Fiction nominating panelists.

Cynthia Lord mentioned a neat new literacy program on her blog this week. The New Hampshire Humanities Council is using children’s books in discussion groups with new American citizens. The Connections program “discussions offer adult new readers an opportunity to read interesting, beautifully-illustrated books and discuss them with other adult new readers and a trained facilitator.” Titles mentioned on the Connections website include The Not-So-Star-Spangled Life of Sunita Sen, by our own Mitali Perkins.

OK, still no politics on the blog, but I did appreciate this post by MotherReader about how there were three references to reading in Barack Obama’s infomercial the other night. I’m glad that Pam is on top of this stuff.

Susan has a way fun Children’s Book Pop Quiz at Chicken Spaghetti. How can a pop quiz be fun, you ask? Well, there’s a gorgeous graphic of a pencil… OK, I’m a geek. But I thought it was fun. There are blanks for the answers, and if you click on them, they’re really links.

Maureen from Confessions of a Bibliovore linked to a Chicago Tribune article by Tara Malone about how schools are trying to balance classics with contemporary fiction. What’s a bit sad, though, as Maureen points out, is that the contemporary fiction mentioned is all adult fiction, rather than YA. Like Maureen, I would prefer to see a balance there, too.

From Linda Ernst at the ALSC blog I learned about the Maureen Hayes Author/Illustrator Visit Award. “The award provides up to $4,000 towards the honorarium and travel costs of a writer/illustrator to visit a location where children might otherwise never have this amazing opportunity.”

Newlogorg200I have good news for all the non-MySpace people out there. The Readergirlz Divas are now also blogging at BlogSpot. And they have a new Diva - Melissa Walker of the Violet on the Runway books. The new Readergirlz featured title for November is, appropriately, Long May She Reign, by Ellen Emerson White (about the daughter of the President). It’s a great book (plus Ellen is a die-hard Red Sox fan, so I’m extra happy to see her featured). Finally, congratulations to the newest Postergirl, ShelfElf.

I also have good news for Babymouse fans. I learned from Matt Holm’s blog that the Babymouse series has the number one graphic novel circulation in Metrowest Boston’s library network (according to School Library Journal and Robin Brenner.

BlogTheVote-SmallThe Blog the Vote roundup is now available at Chasing Ray. Tons of bloggers have shared their stories about voting, and their reasons behind and enthusiasm for getting others to vote. I have to admit that I don’t have anything to add to their contributions. But I’m happy to send you to Chasing Ray to read other people’s smart workds on this topic.

And finally, the November Carnival of Children’s Literature will be held at Mommy’s Favorite Children’s Books. The theme is The Gift of Reading (including gift books). Coincidentally, I wrote a post on that very subject yesterday, though it’s a guest post that will be up at Shelf Space, instead of here. Anyway, I’ll be hosting the Carnival in December.  

And that’s all for today. Happy November!

© 2008 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson’s Book Page. All rights reserved.
You can also find me on Twitter and at Booklights from PBS Parents.
All Amazon links in this post are affiliate links, and may result in my receiving a small commission (with no additional cost to you).

Saturday
Oct112008

Saturday Afternoon Visits: October 11

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

CybilslogosmallI’m still distracted by the Cybils and the baseball playoffs (Go Sox!), and my reviews have dropped off a bit, but I have saved up some Kidlitosphere links from this week.

Speaking of the Cybils, TadMack has an excellent graphic at Finding Wonderland. This is a visual, do click through to see it. Also, Sarah Stevenson has put together a gorgeous Cybils double-sided flyer that you can download from the Cybils site and print out. Say, if you were planning on attending a conference, and wanted to be able to tell people about the Cybils. You can find it available for PDF download here.

Lee Wind has a detailed post about the upcoming Blog the Vote event that he’s organizing with Colleen Mondor. This is a nonpartisan event - the idea is to encourage people to vote, whatever their convictions.

At In Search of Giants, Aerin announced the winner of the contest that she did during Book Blogger Appreciation Week, based on my Reviews that Made Me Want the Book feature. Congratulations to Alyce of At Home with Books. Alyce chose Graceling as her prize.

At Guys Lit Wire, a. fortis published a list of “not just gross, but actually scary horror books” of interest to teens. My favorite from the list is The Shining by Stephen King. I also recently enjoyed World War Z (about zombies).

The Forgotten DoorJenny from Jenny’s Wonderland of Books has a fabulous post about Alexander Key, one of my favorite authors. I recently reviewed Key’s The Forgotten Door, and also recently watched the 1975 movie version of Escape to Witch Mountain. Jenny says: “While Key often shows children fleeing villains and in danger, there is always a happy ending with children returning home and winning out over their enemies. He also portrayed children with ESP and from other worlds.” She includes a bio and a detailed list of books written and illustrated by Key (I didn’t even know that he was an illustrator). For Alexander Key fans, this post is a huge treat. And I join Jenny in hoping that the upcoming (2009) Witch Mountain movie will spark a renewed interest in Key’s work.

At I.N.K. (Interesting Nonfiction for Kids), Anna M. Lewis writes about VERY interesting nonfiction for kids: Graphic Novels. Anna notes (relaying feedback from a conference session that she attended) “A fifth- grade, reluctant reader would rather not read than carry a first-grader’s picture book… but, give him a graphic novel at his reading level and he reads… and still looks cool!”. Good stuff. But I didn’t know that graphic novels were classified as nonfiction in libraries.

Also at I.N.K., Jennifer Armstrong writes about the nature deficit: “more and more children staying inside, choosing electronic screens over not only books (our focus here) but over authentic experience of the natural world. It’s a mounting crisis with implications for the environment and for children’s health, for social networks and political movements, among other things.” She’ll be working with the Children and Nature network to help find books to combat this problem.

Betsy Bird v-blogs the Kidlitosphere Conference at A Fuse #8 Production.

The Longstockings have a nice post by Kathryne about getting started for very beginning writers. Kathryne offers several tips and also recommends books for writers. There are additional suggestions in the comments.

Liz Burns responds at Tea Cozy to a New York Times article by Motoko Rich about using videogames as bait to hook readers. The article quotes a reading professor who says that we need to do a better job of teaching kids how to read. Liz says: “My knee-jerk response to this is that it’s not about teaching kids HOW to read; it’s teaching kids to love reading”. I could not agree more! Walter Minkel also responds to the Times article at The Monkey Speaks. Walter’s interpretation is that “that media companies are now headed down that road that leads to a largely bookless future.” This is an idea which I find too depressing to contemplate.

And speaking of the future of books, Audiobooker has a report about a new audiobook download company that sends books to people’s cell phones. British novelist Andy McNab is the co-founder of the company, GoSpoken.

I ran across several responses to the recent Duke University study that found a link between reading a certain Beacon Street Girls book and weight lossMaureen from Confessions of a Bibliovore says “I found it a fundamentally flawed study. Let me say this: it’s one book. I’m the last person to say it’s impossible that a book can change a kid’s life, but this is pushing it.” Carlie Webber from Librarilly Blonde says “I’m intrigued as to what it is about this particular Beacon Street Girls book that encouraged weight loss… at what point does a book make kids change their ways and can other books have similar effects? Where does a book like this become didactic?” Monica Edinger from Educating Alice says “Suffice it to say I’m NOT a fan of “carefully” crafting novels this way. In fact I’m skittish about bibliotheraphy in general.” I actually did read and review the BSG book in question (Lake Rescue) back in 2006. Although I’m generally quite critical of books that are written to promote a particular message (regardless of whether I agree with the message), I gave this one a pass at the time, because I thought that the characters were sufficiently engaging. But I think it’s a very tricky thing.

Newlogorg200Via HipWriterMama comes the news that “In celebration of Young Adult Library Services Association’s (YALSA’s) Teen Reed Week™, readergirlz (rgz) is excited to present Night Bites, a series of online live chats with an epic lineup of published authors.” Vivian has the full schedule at HipWriterMama. The games begin on October 13th.

Laurie Halse Anderson opens up discussion on whether booksellers have a “need to further segment the children’s/YA section of their stores to separate books that appeal to teens that have mature content and those that don’t.” If you have thoughts on this, head on over to Laurie’s to share.

On a lighter note, Alice Pope is taking an informal poll to see who among her Alice’s CWIM Blog readers is left-handed. I am. As will be our next President (either way).

Mary and Robin from Shrinking Violet Promotions are working on an Introvert’s Bill of Rights. I’m kind of fond of “Introverts have the right to leave social events “early” as needed.” You can comment there with your other suggestions. The SVP post also links to an excellent essay on introverts by Hunter Nuttall, whose blog I’m now going to start reading. Nuttall includes pictures of various famous introverts (I’m not sure who classified them as such, but it’s still fun to see). I especially enjoyed a section that he did on “why introversion makes perfect sense to me”, starting with “I don’t see the need for untargeted socialization”. Hmm… I wonder who the famous left-handed introverts are, and how many of them have resisted “untargeted socialization”.

Roger Sutton reports at Read Roger that “The complete Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards ceremony is now up for your viewing and listening pleasure.” This, combined with the baseball playoffs, is almost enough to make me wish I still lived in Boston. But not quite…

Happy weekend, all!

© 2008 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson’s Book Page. All rights reserved.
You can also find me on Twitter and at Booklights from PBS Parents.
All Amazon links in this post are affiliate links, and may result in my receiving a small commission (with no additional cost to you).

Friday
Oct032008

Friday Night Visits: October 3

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

CybilslogosmallIt’s been a tough week for me to keep up with the blogs, between the Cybils and the start of the baseball playoffs (how ‘bout those Red Sox!!). And I never really caught up after being away at the Kidlitosphere conference last weekend. Which means that I have many pieces of news to share with you.

But first, a mildly funny word thing. Earlier I tried to email someone about something “boggling the mind”, but my fingers really wanted to type “bloggling” instead. Shouldn’t& bloggled be a new word? As in, to be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of blog posts in one’s Google Reader. I am bloggled!

IheartyourblogOK, back to the blog news. First up, my thanks to Kristine from Bestbooksihavenotread and Bill and Karen from Literate Lives, both of whom were kind enough to give me the “I (heart) your blog” award. I also got kind of an honorable mention from Esme Raji Codell. I already passed this one along last week (though I neglected to go around and comment, so some people might have missed it), so I’m just going to say THANK YOU! These awards have come at a particularly nice time, when I’ve been struggling to keep up, and I especially appreciated a bit of validation.

Newlogorg200There’s a new issue up at Readergirlz. “In celebration of YALSA’s Teen Read Week™ Books with Bite, readergirlz is excited to present Night Bites, a series of online live chats with an epic lineup of published authors! The five themed chats will take place at the rgz MySpace group forum, October 13-17, 2008, 6:00 pm PST/9:00 pm EST.” This month, Readergirlz will also be featuring Rachel Cohn, co-author (with David Levithan) of Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist. This choice is quite timely. Not only is there a recently released motion picture based on Nick and Norah, but the book also won the first-ever Cybils award for Young Adult Fiction in 2006. You can find more details about this month’s Readergirlz activities at Bildungsroman.

Speaking of Readergirlz, Diva Lorie Ann Grover was featured this week on GalleyCat. She spoke of the passion for reading that she sees within the Readergirlz community. GuysLitWire, focused on teen boys and reading, also got a positive mention. The GalleyCat piece even inspired a followup at the Christian Science Monitor’s Chapter & Verse blog. Thanks to Mitali Perkins for the links. 

Also in time for Teen Read Week, Sheila Ruth shares a couple of very detailed lists of Books with Bite at Wands and Worlds. The lists are based on input from teen members of the Wands and Worlds community. One list is focused on animals, the other is focused on “creepy creatures”. Sheila has generously prepared pdf, text, and widget forms of the lists, so that other people can use them.

Jill will be hosting the October Carnival of Children’s Literature at The Well-Read Child. Jill says: “In my part of the world, we’re finally starting to experience the cool, crisp air of Fall - the kind of weather that makes me want to snuggle up with a good book and read all day. So, this month’s theme is “Snuggle Up With a Good Children’s Book.” Submit your posts here by Friday, the 24th, and I’ll post the Carnival on the 26th. Happy reading and snuggling!”

Jenmheir_4I never got my post up about the Kidlitosphere conference last weekend. Honestly, so many people have written about the conference, that I’m not sure that I’d have anything useful to add. But I did want to share a photo that Laini Taylor took late on Saturday night. I was wiped out from the conference, and Mheir (who kindly accompanied me on the trip) had tired himself out hiking to Multnomah Falls, and we were just beat. Here are a couple of posts about the conference that I particularly enjoyed, by Mark BlevisLee WindGreg Pincus, and Laini Taylor (who had great photos). Also not to be missed are Sarah Stevenson’s live-action sketches from the conference.

Speaking of conferences, Sara Lewis Holmes recaps that National Book Festival. She made me want to attend, one of these years (perhaps next year, when the Kidlitosphere Conference will be held in Washington, DC…).

There’s been quite a lot of discussion on the blogs this week about a piece that Anita Silvey wrote for the October issue of School Library Journal. The article is called “Has the Newbery Lost Its Way?” In light of some critical comments about the Newbery Award, Silvey asks “Are children, librarians, and other book lovers still rushing to read the latest Newbery winners? Or has the most prestigious award in children’s literature lost some of its luster?” She interviewed more than 100 people, and shares statements like “School librarians say they simply don’t have enough money to spend on books that kids won’t find interesting—and in their opinion, that category includes most of this century’s Newbery winners.” Of course, as has been pointed out on many blogs, popularity isn’t a criterion for the Newbery in the first place. I particularly enjoyed Carlie Webber’s post about the article.

Speaking of the Newbery Awards, blogger WendyB recently decided to read all of the Newbery winners that she hadn’t read already. She then prepared a detailed three-part post about her experience. I thought that the most interesting was part 2, in which Wendy shares some statistics about the winners, like the stat that “59%, of the Newbery winners are either historical fiction or plain historical” and three books are about “orphaned or semi-orphaned boys traveling through medieval England and meeting colorful characters typical of the period.” Fun stuff!

Lisa Chellman has a useful post about ways to offer “better library service to GLBTQ youth”. She recaps a conference session “presented by the knowledgeable and dynamic Monica Harris of Oak Park Public Library”, and includes suggestions from the session attendees, too. For example: “Don’t assume that because books aren’t circulating heavily they’re not being used. Books on sensitive topics often see a lot of covert in-library use, even if patrons aren’t comfortable checking them out to take home.”

Colleen Mondor and Lee Wind are organizing a non-partisan effort to encourage people to vote. “The plan is to run a One Shot event on Monday, November 3rd where all participants blog about why they personally think voting matters this year. You can write a post that touches on historical issues or policies of significance today. Anything you want to write about that expresses the idea that voting matters is fair game. The only hard and fast rule - and this is very hard and fast - is that you do not get to bash any of the four candidates for president and vice president.”

TitlesupersistersPBS Parents recently launched a parenting blog called Supersisters, “Three real-life sisters sharing their kids’ antics, milestones and adventures through this crazy journey called motherhood”. Supersister Jen had a post recently that I enjoyed called “seven sensational things to do when you’re not feeling so super”. My personal favorite was “Create your own personal chocolate stash and stock it.” 

Shannon Hale has another installment in her fascinating How To Be A Reader series, this one about morals in stories. Her main question is “Is an author responsible for the morals a reader, especially a young reader, takes from her book? I can say, I never write toward a moral. But then again, some writers do.” She also asks (about morals in books): “Is the book powerful in and of itself, the carrier of a message that can change a reader’s life? Or is it just a story, and the reader is powerful by deciding if and how the book might change her life.” Ultimately, as a writer, Shannon comes down on the side of telling the story.

I’m not a big fan of memes (which are basically the blog equivalent of chain letters). However, I can get on board with this one from Wendy at Blog from the Windowsill. It includes this final step: “Carry the secret of this meme to your grave”. So, that’s all I can say about it, but it’s my favorite meme so far since I started blogging. So go and check it out.

Poster2007And finally, this past week was Banned Book WeekThe ALA website says: “Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read is observed during the last week of September each year. Observed since 1982, this annual ALA event reminds Americans not to take this precious democratic freedom for granted. This year, 2008, marks BBW’s 27th anniversary (September 27 through October 4). BBW celebrates the freedom to choose or the freedom to express one’s opinion even if that opinion might be considered unorthodox or unpopular and stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of those unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints to all who wish to read them. After all, intellectual freedom can exist only where these two essential conditions are met.” I did not, alas, read any banned books this week, but I’ve appreciated the people who did. The poster to the left is from last year, but I like it.

And that is quite enough catching up for one evening. I’ll be back with literacy and reading news over the weekend.

© 2008 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson’s Book Page. All rights reserved.
You can also find me on Twitter and at Booklights from PBS Parents.
All Amazon links in this post are affiliate links, and may result in my receiving a small commission (with no additional cost to you).