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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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Wednesday
Jan132010

Wednesday Afternoon Visits: January 13

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

There is a lot going on around the Kidlitosphere this week. Here are a few highlights:

AlienMotherReader reports that this is National Delurking Week (the graphic is one that she downloaded from Paper Napkin in 2007). The idea is to encourage people to take a few extra minutes to leave a comment on blogs that they visit regularly (instead of just lurking silently in the background). Fits in well with the 2010 Comment Challenge, doesn’t it? (I’m continuing to enjoy the Comment Challenge, by the way. I find that once I start leaving comments as I go through my reader, it’s impossible to stop at just five. And I love receiving comments on my reviews. Kind of motivates me to publish some more.)

In the End-o-the-Week Kid-Lit Roundup, Paul from Omnivoracious links to an interesting Economist article about the global economic impact of the Harry Potter series. Most of the article is about the market side of things. But I liked this part: “even at their clumsiest the books are well-plotted and full of invention. They also avoid the temptation to sneak ideology into children’s heads by wrapping it in fantasy. C.S. Lewis’s children’s books, to which Ms Rowling’s are often compared, are spoiled by creeping piety. Philip Pullman’s suffer from strident anticlericalism. Although the Harry Potter series endorses traits such as bravery and loyalty, it is intended above all to entertain. It has, hundreds of millions of times.”

ShareAStoryLogo2Terry Doherty is looking for suggestions and ideas for the upcoming 2010 Share a Story - Shape a Future literacy blog tour (March 8-13). I’m hosting Friday, Reading for the Next Generation. Terry explains: “Jen has invited guests to answer some of the things parents wrestle with, like being the opposite reading personality of their child, or feeling pressured to create a reading superstar, among others.” I this description inspires you to want to write something, please do drop me a line. [Logo by Susan StephensonThe Book Chook.]

James Kennedy emailed me about a gallery show that he’s organizing in Chicago for fan art for his novel The Order of Odd-Fish. You can find the call for submissions here. He says: “It’ll be not only an art show, but also a costumed dance party and theatrical hoo-hah. I’m working with the Chicago theater group Collaboraction to decorate their cavernous space to portray scenes from the book (the fantastical tropical metropolis of Eldritch City, the digestive system of the All-Devouring Mother goddess, the Dome of Doom where knights fight duels on flying armored ostriches, etc.).” Doesn’t sound like quite my sort of thing, but it definitely seemed like something that readers would be interested in.

CSK_LogoAnother email request came to me this week from Nick Glass of TeachingBooks.net. Nick wanted me to mention “the Coretta Scott King Book Award Online Curriculum Resource Center—a free, multimedia, online database for educators and families featuring more than 250 original recordings with award-winning authors and illustrators and hundreds of lesson plans.” He says “It is a great reading resource as teachers, librarians, and families plan for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and Black History Month. The resource center includes more than nine hours of originally produced audio with Coretta Scott King Book Award (CSK) authors and illustrators talking about their books in two- to three-minute clips.” And speaking of Black History Month, at Wild Rose Reader Elaine Magliaro shares her list of resources for Black History Month.

I-can-read-memeAt the Reading Tub, Terry just announced the January I Can Read Carnival. She explains: “The first carnival (or MEME if you prefer) for celebrating Easy Readers and Short Chapter books is here at the Reading Tub. I am really excited about the chance to regularly collect books that will engage and excite new and developing readers. I Can Read! is a three-day, mid-month carnival whose host rotates each month. To see the list of hosts, check out the list on the right sidebar… If you have a post that reviews an easy reader or short chapter book or offers ideas for helping new readers, we’d love for you to participate in the carnival. Your post can be up to one year old, so posts back to January 2009 can be included in this inaugural event.” 

Congratulations to Mitali Perkins and Melissa Wiley, each asked to write the foreword of a reissue of a favorite childhood book (both books part of the Betsy-Tacy series). Melissa says: “Can you hear me smile? I am so honored. I’m pretty much over the moon!” I especially identified with Mitali’s response: “Anyone have a time machine? I want to find nine-year-old Mitali scouring the NYPL shelves for anything Maud Hart Lovelace and tell her the news.” That’s how I’ve felt (on a smaller scale) with merely emailing with favorite authors from my childhood. My heartfelt congratulations to nine-year-old Melissa and Mitali, and their successors.

BookBlogCon-2010-smallerAt GalleysmithMichelle has the scoop about an upcoming conference for book bloggers. This is not to be confused with KidLitCon (now in planning for the 4th annual conference), but is a broader conference for all sorts of book bloggers. Michelle says: “the first annual Book Blogger Convention is open for business! Being held on Friday, May 28th, 2010 participants are welcome to join us in New York City for a great day of food, fun and education.”

At Presenting Lenore, Lenore recently announced: “I would like to continue supporting international book bloggers and have decided to start the International Book Blogger Mentor Program. Any book blogger who blogs in English about books and lives outside the US and Canada can apply. Each month I will pick one blogger to send 2-3 of my most recent review copies to. Upon request, I will also look over the reviews you write for the books and suggest improvements. Once you post your first review, I will feature you and your blog on Presenting Lenore.” Nice display of community spirit, I think.

And in another display of community spirit, Sherry Early shares 12 Tips for New Bloggers at Semicolon. Seems to me that Sherry’s tips will be useful to all bloggers, not just new ones. For example: “Title your book reviews with the title of the book and the author. This tip may seem self-evident, but it’s tempting to try to come up with catchy titles for books reviews. However, when someone searches for a review of X book on Google, they won’t be as likely to hit your blog if you called your review “A Look at the Newest Great American Novel” instead of X book by Z author.” It’s all good stuff!

At Chasing RayColleen Mondor questions a Heavy Medal blog discussion by Jonathan Hunt about Rebecca Stead’s When You Reach Me, a discussion criticizing Stead’s decision to include a non-white character without identifying the specifics of the character’s racial background. Colleen says: “What bothers me about this is the double standard at play here. A Caucasian character can be described as white with no one blinking an eye but Julia must be more than her skin color because it is not specific enough.”

Quick hits:

Hope that gives you some food for thought. Happy reading!

© 2010 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
Jan102009

Saturday Afternoon Visits: January 10

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

The Kidlitosphere has been energized by the holidays and the start of a New Year, and there are many items worthy of your attention. Thus, I bring you my Sunday afternoon visits post one day early, before it takes over my blog completely.

Tarie has the preliminary schedule for the Sydney Taylor Award Blog Tour (in which she’ll be participating) at Into the Wardrobe. It promises to be an excellent tour.

The new issue of Through the Looking Glass Book Review is now available, thanks to Marya Jansen-Gruber.

The Saturday Review of Books is up at Semicolon, featuring one my favorite quotes (from my favorite bookD. E. Stevenson’s Listening Valley).

Congratulations to our own Miss Erin, who will have a six-word memoir included in a published book. Published before she’s 18. Pretty impressive stuff!

Congratulations also to Mitali Perkins, who will be writing about children’s literature for her local newspaper for the next few months. She shares the first post here, about all of the ways that her town (Newton, MA) champions children’s books. I especially enjoyed this article, because some of my favorite people in the world live in Newton. Also, Mitali’s new novel, Secret Keeper, is coming out next week. As previously mentioned, I’ll be at the book launch party at Not Your Mother’s Book Club on January 15th, and hope to see some of you there (Hi, Becky!).

Geek3A special thank you to Melissa at Book Nut for including my blog as one of her favorites for the latest Weekly Geeks. It’s especially nice to be included in this edition, because this is (I believe) the first Weekly Geeks event since Dewey (the founder) passed away last month. I’m in great company on Melissa’s list, too.

Thanks also to Lenore from Presenting Lenore, for including my blog in her recent Awards post. She gave me the “Most consistently amazing book reviews award”, and while this might be more a reflection on the similarity in our tastes than the true quality of the reviews, I was still quite pleased. The other awards in the post are fun and creative, well worth a look.

Another fun set of awards is Darla D’s Golden Hammock Awards at Books & other thoughts, with categories like “best alternate history” and “best boarding school story”.

I’ve seen several mentions of Grace Lin’s new Small Graces initiative to help fund author visits to underserved schools. I think that Elaine Magliaro has the most comprehensive scoop at Wild Rose Reader, though you can also find details in the sidebar of the Small Graces blog. Small Graces offers people a chance to support a great cause, and acquire a one-of-a-kind piece of art each month.

AlienMotherReader reports that this is National Delurking Week. I’m catching the announcement a bit late in the game, but I did try to make a few extra comments to say hello. If you’re a typically quiet visitor to this blog, and you feel inclined to comment, I’d love to hear from you. You can name a favorite book from your childhood, or something.

Maureen links to and discusses an interesting article at Confessions of a Bibliovore. The article in question is by Michelle Slatalla in the New York Times, and is about how the author wishes she could “read like a girl.” After watching her daughters immersed in books, Slatalla says: “I miss the days when I felt that way, curled up in a corner and able to get lost in pretty much any plot. I loved stories indiscriminately, because each revealed the world in a way I had never considered before.” Like Maureen, I could quibble over some of the details in the article - I don’t think that one must outgrow the ability to suspend disbelief and enjoy books - but I do see what the author is driving at. While I’m overwhelmingly glad to be reviewing books, I do find sometimes that I stop and think about what I’ll say about a book, instead of remaining immersed in the story. And I’m nostalgic for the Jen who didn’t do that.

Denise Johnson posted an article from The Chronicle Review at The Joy of Children’s Literature. The article, by literature professor Andrew Martino, is about wonder rediscovered in children’s books. There’s a funny bit about the author skulking around the children’s section, afraid that people will suspect that he is “a potential threat”. Martino speaks about how children’s books are “every bit as complicated and thought-provoking as the texts I included on my syllabi”, and “he texts I was reading told their stories in an economical and exact style, without the unnecessary burden of digression or overexplication”. It’s worth a read.

On the topic of people discovering children’s literature, the ESSL Children’s Literature blog has a fun list of children’s books written by authors famous for writing adult fiction

BestBooksIHaveNotRead announced a fun new featureMystery Authors. She says: “Starting this upcoming week I am going to begin posting one clue each day (four total) about an upcoming KidLit author who has agreed to a “blog interview”. The clues will start general and get more specific with each day. If you can guess the identity of the author in a posted comment before the day of the “reveal” you will be entered into a drawing to receive a new book by that author.”

Speaking of fun, Betsy Bird met some actual Sesame Street performers. She even got to see Oscar, in the … fur? You can read the whole scoop at Fuse #8. But the highlight for me was: “Oscar is larger in real life than you might expect. He is also incredibly well articulated. His eyebrows move almost fluidly. It’s eerie.” With pictures. And, if you’re looking for book suggestions, look no further than the whole slew of bite-sized book reviews that Betsy recently posted at Fuse #8.

Librarian Nan Hoekstra recently announced the 2009 Anokaberries: “Our selections for the best books of 2008 for middle-grade readers, ages 8 to 14.” It looks to me like a solid, diverse list, though I haven’t had the opportunity to read all of the titles. A number of the authors included have left lovely comments, too.

CybilsLogoSmallSpeaking of author appreciation for awards, do check out my recent post at the Cybils blog, with quotes from various authors about their joy in being Cybils finalists. For me, reactions like this make being involved with the Cybils all the more rewarding. We should have printable versions of the Cybils shortlists available soon.  

Jill has the results of her first Reading Roundtable at The Well-Read Child, with several contributions from readers about their family reading routines. Personally, I like the fact that so many people were interested in sharing. This is a heartening post, for those of us who want to see all children have the chance to grow up as bookworms. 

And that’s all for today, if I’m ever to find time to meet my goal of exercising this afternoon. Hope that you’re all having a peaceful and book-filled weekend!

© 2009 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson’s Book Page. All rights reserved.
You can also find me on Twitter and at Booklights from PBS Parents.
All Amazon links in this post are affiliate links, and may result in my receiving a small commission (with no additional cost to you).