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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 Rick Riordan (14)

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).

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).

Sunday
Nov162008

Sunday Afternoon Visits: Summer's Day Edition

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

It’s a beautiful day here in San Jose. So beautiful that I’m sitting out in my backyard this afternoon, with the computer on my lap, because I just can’t bear to be inside. It’s a bit hard to read the screen, though, so I’m not sure how long I’ll last. But it’s about 75 degrees, with blue skies, there are occasional prop planes flying by and late roses blooming, and if I lean forward a tiny bit, I can see cows out grazing. Yeah, it would be hard to leave California.

Anyway, there has been a lot going on in the Kidlitosphere this week:

The Comment Challenge is still going strong. MotherReader has the full list of participants here. If you’re new to the Kidlitosphere, and looking for a list of active bloggers, this is a great place to start.

Via Rick Riordan’s blog, I learned that registration opens for Camp Half-Blood in Austin tomorrow (Monday). You can find more details in the Austin-American Statesman, or at the BookPeople website.

Imbuyingbooks_buttonThere have been lots of great posts at or around the Books for the Holidays blog. If you’re looking for motivation or ideas related to giving people books as gifts this season, do head on over to check it out. I especially liked this post by Becky Laney, with mini-reviews of children’s and YA titles, from bargains to books to get kids hooked on a series. See also Tricia’s post at The Miss Rumphius Effect about gift books for kids who love animals, and Elaine Magliaro’s post at Wild Rose Reader with links to various book lists.

Speaking of the gift of books, Tanita from Finding Wonderland shares a lovely Emily Dickinson poem about “precious words”. She’s also giving some thought to the idea that we can work together to create a culture of reading, and says “anyone can become a reader.” I agree 100%. You can find a full Poetry Friday round-up at Yat-Yee Chong’s blog.

I already posted the schedule for the Winter Blog Blast Tour (which launches tomorrow). As if that weren’t enough organizing for anyone, Colleen Mondor just announced another cross-blog event, in which everyone is welcome to participate. It’s called the 2008 Holiday Season Book Recommendation Event. Colleen explains: “If you want to join in then you send me the exact url of your first Holiday Book Recs post. I’ll link to that on a master list and then from there, if you want to keep posting for however many days of the 12 (all or part or whatever), then you need to update your own first day post to reflect that.”

CybilsLogoSmallOver at The Well-Read Child, Jill shares her Cybils nonfiction evaluation criteria. She includes age-appropriateness, layout, writing style/tone, appealing story, visual elements, and (with a nod to Tricia from The Miss Rumphius Effect) references. This is a post that I think would benefit anyone analyzing nonfiction titles for kids.

Speaking of judging books, Carlie Webber from Librarilly Blonde identified a cringe-worthy sentence in a review of John Green’s Paper Towns by Monica Watson from the Ithacan. Watson says: “The young-adult genre has been riddled with uninspiring novels that lack any kind of creativity or originality. Shuffling through the mundane “Gossip Girl” spin-offs and “Twilight” rip-offs has made finding a substantive novel as easy as finding a needle in a haystack.” How sad is that? See Carlie’s rebuttal.

On a lighter note, Kim and Jason over at the Escape Adulthood website are running a tournament to decide the all-time greatest childhood food. They started with 16 options, from mac and cheese to chocolate chip cookies, and voters select the winners in a series of rounds. You can find more details here.

I saw this link first at Guys Lit Wire. Publisher’s Weekly shares an opinion piece by 13-year-old Max Leone about what kinds of books teenage boys would like to see published. Here’s a brief taste, but you really should click through and read the article, especially if you are an author or a publisher: “The selection of teen literature is even more barren now that the two great dynasties, Harry Potter and Artemis Fowl, have released their final installments. Those two massive successes blended great characters, humor and action in a way that few other books manage. When they went for laughs, they were genuinely funny, and their dramatic scenes were still heart-poundingly tense, even after I’d read them dozens of times.” Other parts of the article are hilarious. And probably true.

Shannon Hale shares the latest installment of her books and readers series, discussing “good book vs. bad book”. She says “It would be so convenient if we could classify books as either good or bad, as vegetables or candy, as Literature or Dross. Sometimes I really want to… I think it’s good to question the merit of what we’re putting into our minds. But I also think it’s wise to challenge how we determine the value and quality of a book.” As usual, she says smart things, and generates tons of interesting comments. I especially liked this part: “But something happens, some profound chemical reaction, when a reader is introduced. The reader takes the text and changes it just by reading it. The reader tells herself a story from the words on the page. It is a unique story only for her.”

Over at A Year of Reading, Franki Sibberson shares the second installment of her “books I could read a million times” feature. Think about the power of a person who does read the same book aloud multiple times a day, to different classes, identifying books that she still enjoys, reading after reading. Those are books that parents should buy.

And while we’re on the subject of reading in the classroom, Bestbooksihavenotread shares an idea, originally suggested by Beth Newingham, about bringing a mystery reader into the classroom. She explains: “Parents sign-up for a slot (about 20 minutes) to come in and share a favorite book with the class. The week leading up to their visit, the teacher reads one clue that points to the reader’s identity.” The idea is to use the mystery to get kids extra-excited about the read-aloud.

And that’s all for this week in general Kidlitosphere news. I’ll be back today or tomorrow with the children’s literacy and reading news round-up. But now, the cows have gone in for the day, and I believe that I will, too.

© 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).

Wednesday
Oct292008

Wednesday Afternoon Visits: October 29

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

I was away this weekend, attending a lovely wedding down in Los Angeles, and I’m still catching back up (I think it’s a sign of being over-committed when taking a couple of days away from the computer completely throws things completely out of kilter). But there has been plenty going on around the Kidlitosphere.

Jill posted the October Carnival of Children’s Literature at The Well-Read Child, suggesting that readers “grab a cup of hot apple cider, a warm blanket, and join me in a look at some great snuggle-worthy children’s literature from around the blogosphere.” She has tons of well-organized and interesting posts for your reading pleasure.

Charlotte from Charlotte’s Library just announced a lovely tribute that she’s organizing in honor of Amanda Snow’s son Jacob, who died much, much too young. The talented Katie Davis has designed a downloadable bookplate. If you would like to honor Jacob’s life, you can download the bookplate here, print out copies, and put them in books that you donate. Amanda suggests in particular that people donate books to Ronald McDonald House. As Charlotte explains “the children’s book blogging community has come together to give books away to places where they will bring happiness to other children and their parents.” But anyone is welcome to participate. You can find more details here. I’m planning to take some books up to the Ronald McDonald House in Palo Alto.

Terry Doherty has a comprehensive October 27th reading round-up at the Reading Tub’s blog, filled with children’s literacy and reading news. I found this tidbit especially interesting: “The National Literacy trust just issued Literacy Changes Lives: An Advocacy Resource, a report about the relationship between a child’s literacy ability and their success later in life.” I haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but Terry promises “Lots of great snippets to reinforce the need to read.” I also really liked this: “Randy Astle, who is not associated with PBS Kids, wrote a very detailed post about how PBS Kids is raising readers.” It’s a great post.

BlogTheVote-SmallLots of bloggers from around the Kidlitosphere are banding together to encourage readers to vote next week. Even the organization is a group effort. Lee Wind and Gregory K both have the scoop. The master list of participants will be maintained by Colleen Mondor at Chasing RaySarah Stevenson developed the neat graphic. Personally, I voted late last week (I’m a permanent vote by mail person in California). I don’t like to talk politics on my blog, but I will say that I wanted to get my vote in before heading out to the lovely wedding that I mentioned, the wedding of two dear friends who both happen to be male. I would not have missed it for anything.

5 Minutes for Books recently had their Kids’ Picks Carnival for October. Seventeen participants chimed in with posts about what books their kids have enjoyed. I love this idea by site editor Jennifer Donovan, and enjoy checking out the posts each month.

In author news, Cynthia Lord shares some tips for librarians about “Including and Serving Patrons with Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome at Your Library.” There’s also a nice interview with Rick Riordan in Texas Monthly. And via Bookshelves of Doom, I learned that Holly Black has the coolest hidden library ever. Yes, the door is a bookshelf. Someday…

On a non-book-related note, I enjoyed this post by Robin from The Disco Mermaids about finding your special “spot”, someplace outdoors where you can go and think and clear your head. I have had spots like that in my life, though I don’t have one now that’s near to where I live. But what I LOVED about the post are Robin’s pictures of her son enjoying nature. There’s one of him skipping down a path in the woods that is positively magical. Seriously, if you could use a little pick-me-up, just click through to the post, and scroll down.

And last, but definitely not least, Deanna H, on a new blog called Once Upon A Time, writes about reasons for adults to read children’s literature. She dug up quotes from David Almond and Jonathan Stroud about the power of the narrative in children’s books - and I do think this is a big part of why I’ve always enjoyed kids’ books so much.

That’s all for today - I expect to be back with more news and reviews 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).

Sunday
Sep142008

Sunday Afternoon Visits: September 14

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

It’s a beautiful day here in San Jose. Of course I’ve been inside watching the Red Sox. But that doesn’t make it any less beautiful. There has been lots of activity around the Kidlitosphere this week. Here are a few highlights:

  • Roald_dahl_day_logo_2I’m a bit late with this news, but yesterday was Roald Dahl Day. I celebrated by re-reading MatildaBetsy Bird shared lots of other suggestions for celebrating at A Fuse #8 Production (she also posted this great logo, which I have borrowed). Yesterday was also Positive Thinking Day, according to Phil Gerbyshak, a coincidence which I think Dahl would have found amusing. But Phil does share some nice tips for creating a positive attitude. Of course, for members of the Kidlitosphere looking for positive attitudes today, the place to go is the 7-Imps 7-Kicks (today featuring Jody Hewgill).
  • Jill is looking for guest reviewers, especially for YA titles, at The Well-Read Child. Not ready to start your own blog, but interested in writing some reviews? This could be just the ticket. The Well-Read Child is one of my favorite blogs.
  • At Open Educationthis post caught my eye: “To Raise Smart and Successful Children, Focus on Developing a Work Ethic”. The gist is that, according to Carol S. Dweck, parents should praise their children for working hard, rather than for “being smart.” “Dweck insists that praising children’s innate abilities serves only to reinforce an overemphasis on intellect and talent. According to Dweck, such a viewpoint “leaves people vulnerable to failure, fearful of challenges and unwilling to remedy their shortcomings.” The researcher refers to this group as having a “fixed mind-set.”” Interesting stuff!
  • At The Miss Rumphius Effect, Tricia has a comprehensive post in honor of the upcoming Constitution Day. She says: “In 2005, a federal law established September 17th as Constitution Day. Here are some books and additional resources to help you celebrate the law of the land in your home or classroom. Please note that these are largely focused on the elementary level.”
  • Happy 10th Anniversary to Cynthia Leitich Smith’s excellent website! In honor of this milestone, Cynthia is hosting a 10th anniversary giveaway at Cynsations. To enter, you have to send Cynthia a question to answer at Cynsations. Congratulations also to Tasha Saecker from Kids Lit. Her library, the Elisha D. Smith Public Library in Menasha, Wisconsin, has won the Wisconsin Library of the Year award.
  • Readingjunky shares recommended “must read” titles from her 8th grade students. I think it’s good for we adult reviewers of young adult fiction to stop occasionally and take a look at what the kids say, and I appreciate Readingjunky’s reminder.
  • Carlie Webber has an interesting post at Librarilly Blonde about the role of the parent in the YA novel. Compared to the relative absence of parents in past novels, she says: “What I’m noticing more and more is a shift from the dead/missing/antagonist parents to teens who maintain a much closer relationship to their parents, and parents who play a major role in the story. Even if one of the parents is dead or missing, the teen will maintain close ties to the remaining parent and have a positive relationship with him/her, or whose improving relationship is a focus of the book.”
  • As has been widely reported, J.K. Rowling won her lawsuit to stop the publication of the Harry Potter Lexicon. If you’d like to understand the implications of the ruling, check out Liz’s post at Tea Cozy8 Things to Know About the Lexicon Ruling. Liz took the time to read through the full court ruling, and has a law degree (although she is retired from the profession) to lend weight to her analysis.
  • Laurie Halse Anderson has an interesting post about the risks to an author of changing genres. She begins: “This question goes to the heart of the tension between art and the marketplace. 
    In an ideal world, we would write the stories in our hearts and they would connect with readers and there would be peace in the land and health insurance for all. We aren’t quite there yet. If you want your writing income to pay your bills, then you need to understand the perspective of the sales and marketing departments of your publishers, and you really need to respect how hard their job is.”
  • Via The Children’s Book Review I learned that Amazon has published their list of Best Books of 2008 so far. It’s a pretty great list, actually. Titles from the 10 book list that I’ve reviewed include: The Underneath by Kathi AppeltA Visitor for Bear by Bonny Becker (one of my very favorites!), The Penderwicks on Gardam Street by Jeanne BirdsallLittle Brother by Cory Doctorow, and Smash! Crash! by Jon Scieszka. Most of the others are on my radar, too.
  • Stephanie Ford has a nice post at Children’s Literature Book Club about building a library for your child. She’s certainly building an amazing library for her son. Check out her ideas.
  • And last, but not least, an announcement for teachers and librarians from Rick Riordan. Rick says: “Disney-Hyperion will be sponsoring a Percy Jackson mythology bee this fall. Any school with students ages 10-15 can participate. Each school holds a bee (as I understand it, this can be done school-wide or with a single grade or classroom), using an activity booklet provided by the publisher. One winner from each school will be entered into a national sweepstakes. The grand prize for the winner of the sweepstakes: A trip for four to Greece where you will meet me and my family!” Now, how fun would that be?

© 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).