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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Sunday
Nov082009

Sunday Afternoon Visits: November 8

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

It’s been a fairly quiet weekend on the kidlit blogs, for whatever reason. However, I have run across a few things of potential interest for you.

Jpg_book008At Scrub-a-Dub-Tub, Terry Doherty shares a monthly roundup of new literacy and reading-related resources. The new resources section was something that we spun out of our weekly children’s literacy roundups, in the event of streamlining those, and Terry’s been collecting ideas for this monthly column. I hope you’ll check it out. She’s got lots of useful tidbits.

NcblalogoThe NCBLA blog reports that the fourth episode of The Exquisite Corpse Adventure is now available. This installment was written by Susan Cooper. The post adds: “And if you need further incentive to share the Library of Congress and the NCBLA’s reading outreach project with the young people in your life, take a look at Timothy Basil Ering’s electric new illustration for Episode Four!”

In the context of a recent graphic novel kick, Gail Gauthier muses at Original Content on how many books are “rigidly” formulaic. She says: “Maybe reading the same formula/pattern/storyline over and over again assists them in some way I’ve just never heard about.” In the comments, Becky Levine adds: “I wonder about this often—how many things we see as formulaic, “old” don’t feel that way to a child reading them—since they don’t have X number of decades of this kind of reading behind them.” What do you all think?

At Books & Other ThoughtsDarla D. wonders whether it’s a good idea for parents to “ink out all of the bad words” in books before giving them to their children. Darla says: “A discussion between this parent and child about unacceptable language and why the parent believes it is not a good idea for her daughter to use those words might be more productive than expurgating the text.” There are a range of opinions in the comments - it’s quite an interesting (and civil) discussion.

At Biblio FileJennie Rothschild discusses Amazon’s new capability to quickly share Associates links on Twitter, in the context of the new FTC disclosure regulations. She notes: “the way I understand it, you’d have to disclose ON YOUR TWEET that you’ll make money off the link. But how does one fit a link, why you’re linking to the product, and a disclosure all in 140 characters? That, I don’t know.” I don’t know, either. The idea of being able to share a Tweet that says “I’m reading this” and then get a small commission if anyone should happen to click through and buy the book, well, that has some appeal. But I think that the disclosure would be very tricky to pull off in any meaningful way.

Bookwormdock-3-300x249Lori Calabrese has started a new monthly meme (possibly to become a weekly meme, if there’s sufficient interest) in which she’ll link to book giveaways around the Kidlitosphere. Don’t you love her cute logo for Fish for a Free Book? She says in the launch post: “If you are hosting a children’s- young adult book-related giveaway, sponsoring a giveaway, or just found a really awesome giveaway that you’d like to share with us, please leave it here! (Please make sure it’s children’s book related)”.

Speaking of giveaways, I, like Betsy Bird, don’t usually link to them in my roundups (there are just too many). However, Betsy recently talked at A Fuse #8 Production about one that I think is brilliant. From the press release: “The YA and MG authors of the 2009 Debutantes are giving away a 46-book set of their debut novels to ONE lucky library, anywhere in the world! In light of recent budget cuts to libraries in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and other communities, these debut authors would like to contribute their library to your library, offering up brand new novels for your patrons at no cost.” Pretty cool!

Quick hits:

And that’s it for today. Hope you’re all having a lovely Sunday.

© 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).

Friday
Aug282009

Friday Afternoon Visits: August 28

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

Kidlitosphere_buttonMy blogging time has been limited for the past couple of weeks, due to a combination of guests, travel, and Internet access woes. Fortunately, I had a few reviews stored up, which kept the blog from going dark. But I’ve missed out on a lot of activities going on around the Kidlitosphere. Today, I’ve managed to catch up on the past couple of weeks of kidlit blog news.

Cybils2009-Web-SmallThe call for judges for this year’s Cybils Award process went out earlier this week. Here’s the scoop: “If you:

  • blog about some aspect of children’s or teen books on at least a somewhat consistent basis;
  • or contribute regularly to a group blog about same;
  • know a thing or two about what kids/teens are reading these days;
  • are planning to be reading obsessively over the next few months anyway

…we may have a spot for you. You start by emailing us at cybils09 (at) gmail (dot) com. It’s a group email so that our organizers can get excited when they see the names coming in from prospective volunteers.” (Do click through to read the full announcement first.) I’ll be continuing as Literacy Evangelist for this year’s Cybils, and I know for certain that a result of the process is going to be fabulous lists of books. I hope that many of your will participate. Also, have you seen our gorgeous new logo? It’s the work of the multi-talented Sarah Stevenson (aka aquafortis). I love it!

Two of the savviest bloggers I know, Mark Blevis from Just One More Book!! and Greg Pincus from Gotta Book and The Happy Accident, are teaming up on a new project. According to the Just One More Book!! newsletter, they’re going to “deliver a series of free webcasts that will give book publishers, publicists, authors, illustrators and enthusiasts social media savvy for outreach and promotion.” You can find more information here. Congratulations to Andrea and Mark of JOMB on their third blogging anniversary, too.

Mary Lee and Franki from A Year of Reading have started a new “lifetime of reading gallery”. Here’s the scoop: “Members of the Kidlitosphere are invited to submit stories from their reading lives. Your submission can be an anecdote from childhood, a recent experience around books or reading, a memory from school (good or bad), a vignette about learning to read, the impact of a particular book—anything about your life as a reader. We are looking for a variety of short pieces (think blog post length) from anyone in the Kidlitosphere, including bloggers, authors, illustrators, readers of blogs, etc. Our gallery is open to everyone who is a blogger, blog reader, author, illustrator, blog reader, blog commenter, etc.” [And while you’re thinking about reading memories, Charles from online children’s bookstore Through the Magic Door is also looking for submissions in that area.]

Pam Coughlan (MotherReader) is guest blogging at ForeWord Magazine’s Shelf Space this month. This week she has a new post “about saving time, money, and energy at your library during this difficult economic climate.” Dedicated community builder that she is, Pam also wrote a must-read post at MotherReader recently reminding people not to let an addiction to Twitter keep them from taking time to comment on blog posts. She says: I don’t want to come off as angry or peevish, and I hope that those of you who follow me understand that. I do think commenting is important and is something that we are losing in our community to the detriment of all.” And she discusses the benefits to the person commenting, in terms of exposure. There is, appropriately, an interesting discussion in the comments, some of which points out ways that Twitter and blog comments can complement each other. Personally, I like Twitter for broadcasting news tidbits, but I find that I prefer my blog or Facebook for back and forth discussion in the comments. It’s easier to see the whole thread. But I’ve found new friends on Twitter, too. It’s an interesting balance. But do check out Pam’s post, and the comments. See also a getting started guide for Twitter, prepared by Mitali Perkins.

Speaking of people who inspire lots of comments, My Friend Amy has taken on a couple of interesting topics this week. Yesterday, she asked: “what themes draw you in when reading?” Today, she asks “how important are likeable characters?” Both posts have tons of comments. I was particularly interested in the themes question. Here’s an abridged version of my response: “My favorite sub-genre is dystopian fiction. I think as a theme I’m drawn to a larger question of identity (as mentioned be Lenore and Alexa). I’m curious about what happens when the traditional constraints of society are removed. How to individuals rise to the challenge? How does society reform? Which values are internal, and which are imposed by society? I’m also drawn to tween books where the characters are just starting to think about growing up, dating, etc. Perhaps this is identity, as framed by separation from the family (just as the dystopia books are identity as framed by separation from society… interesting parallel).”

And still speaking of people who inspire many comments, Shannon Hale published a new installment in her fabulous “How to be a reader” series last week. This one is about book evaluation vs. self-evaluation. Shannon talks specifically about star ratings on reader reviews, and calls the practice into question, saying (among other excellent points) “In my opinion, there are more interesting questions to ask myself after reading a book than what I would rate it… I wonder if book evaluation is trumping self-evaluation. I wonder if we get so caught up in gushing or bashing, shining up those stars or taking them away, that the reading experience is weighed too heavily on the side of the book itself and not enough on the reader.” She also includes a quiz for people who review books. Tanita Davis responds at Finding Wonderland. Liz B responds at Tea Cozy, here and here. Like Liz and Tanita, I don’t include ratings in my reviews. It just seems arbitrary. I’d rather talk about the book, and what I liked or didn’t like, or what I thought was particularly well done. Most of the time, any review from me is an implied “thumbs up” anyway, because I don’t tend to spend my time reviewing books that I don’t think are worth my reviewing time. Still, there’s a lot of great food for thought in Shannon’s post, the comments, and Liz and Tanita’s responses.

Quick hits:

  • Also from Liz B, a survey about time spent blogging. For me, today, it’s going to be something like 8 hours. But that’s not typical. Really.
  • Today’s Poetry Friday roundup is at Kate Coombs’ blog, Book Aunt.
  • Kirby Larson has been hosting a discussion panel on the topic of gender in reading and writing. Here are Part 1 (about the reading histories of the 10 panelists), Part 2 (about “girl books” vs. “boy books”), and Part 3 (books that appeal regardless of gender). (updated to add Part 4)
  • Elaine Magliaro shares an excellent list of links to back to school booklists and other resources at Wild Rose Reader.
  • At Literate Lives, Karen writes about a first day of school author visit from Margaret Peterson Haddix. How great is that for getting kids excited about being back at school?
  • Franki Sibberson shares her reflections, pros and cons, on reading via Kindle. Overall, she sees the Kindle as her primary reading source for the future.
  • Charlotte from Charlotte’s Library (with help from various commenters) muses on fantasy books that include girls who like to read.
  • At Confessions of a BibliovoreMaureen takes on Susan’s recent Booklights question about books that you’d like to read again for the first time. Maureen talks about books that she’s re-read, and found more the second (or third or tenth) time.
  • Kelly at YAnnabe shares 7 ways to revive your love of reading. She even suggests having a friend or partner read aloud to you, if you need to bring back the fun of reading.
  • Tif from Tif Talks Books writes about books as bridges, saying “I have discovered that books can truly be a bridge … a connection … something that can help many of us relate despite our differences.” 
  • Abby (the) Librarian has more Kidlitosphere links, if you’re still hungry for news. So does MotherReader.
  • Last, but not least, don’t forget to register for KidLitCon 2009.

I hope to be back this weekend with an installment of my “reviews that made me want the book” feature. That would let me finish cleaning up my Google Reader in quite a satisfactory fashion. And it’s an excellent baseball task. Happy reading, all!

© 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).