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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 Cybils (38)

Sunday
Oct042009

Sunday Afternoon Visits: October 4

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

I did a pretty thorough Kidlitosphere roundup on Wednesday (though some of you may have missed it, because I was having some temporary technical problems with my blog this week - apologies). Anyway, I have just a few additional links to share with you today.

Cybils2009-150pxFirst up, the Cybils nomination process is going strong. As I write this, there have been more than 400 eligible nominations. There have been some great, great titles nominated. You can view the lists of nominated titles (complete with cover images, and the name of the person who nominated each book), here:

We’ve also been continuing to roll out profiles of Cybils organizers, lists of panelists, and introductions to the various categories. There are too many posts to link to - I recommend that you go to the Cybils blog, and check it out. You can also follow the Cybils on Twitter. Last, but not least, you can find some great tips for new Cybils panelists at Abby (the) Librarian.

At A Chair, A Fireplace and a Tea Cozy, Liz B. offers an introduction to Poetry Friday, and a thank you to PF founder Kelly Herold. (Liz also links to Susan Thomsen’s previously written and definitive intro to PF). Fittingly, this week’s Poetry Friday roundup is at Crossover, Kelly’s new blog. Like Liz, I don’t end up participating in Poetry Friday all that often these days. I have trouble with scheduled events, beyond my own roundups and PBS posts and so on. But I still think that Poetry Friday is one of the jewels of the Kidlitosphere, a weekly celebration of poetry, spread across a variety of different blogs, completely volunteer run, and fully democratic.

Ellen Hopkins continues to face book challenge drama. She says: “the superintendent of schools in Moore OK … preemptively pulled all my books from all her schools “as a precaution.”” Nice. Don’t even put the book banners to the trouble of mounting challenges - just remove everything. Maureen has a roundup of some other Banned Book Week links at Confessions of a BibliovoreColleen Mondor shares her thoughts on several related topics (with lots of discussion in the comments) at Chasing Ray.

At The Happy Accident, Greg Pincus has a great post about #kidlitchat, Twitter, and community. He explains the goal that he and Bonnie Adamson had in starting the weekly chats in the first place (to build community), and the benefits that are already coming out of these sessions. Like this one: “Each member of our individual networks sees our passion and, if they want, can see our community in action – sharing, laughing, supporting, learning. We can be emissaries for children’s literature as a group, far more than we can as individuals.” How great is that?

Quick hits:

  • Pam Coughlan has some new details about KidLitCon at MotherReader, as well as links to some external articles that show why authors can’t “afford not to invest in learning more about blogging, social media, and online presence.”
  • Sherry has a new installment of her Saturday Review of Books at Semicolon. This is a regular Semicolon feature, in which a host of bloggers submit links to a review from the week (it’s supposed to one review, but lots of people apparently link to all of these reviews). Anyway, it’s a nice place for browsing.
  • At Literacy, families, and learning, Trevor Cairney has a detailed piece about the importance of historical fiction, and why children should be encouraged to read it. He gives lots of examples.
  • Monica Edinger links from Educating Alice to some points at the SLJ Heavy Medal blog on the Newbery Award, audience, and insensitivity. She calls it “Hard stuff, but important. Highly recommended.”
  • Esme Raji Codell has a fun post at PlanetEsme highlighting “great new books about books and writing”.
  • Abby (the) Librarian has a few more links in her Around the Interwebs post from Friday. Karen has still more links at Teenage Fiction for the Ages, in her Links from the Blogosphere post. And still more from Gwenda Bond at Shaken & Stirred and from Book Dads in their Weekend Wander.
  • There’s a nice post at the ESSL Children’s Literature Blog from Nancy O’Brien listing children’s literature on multicultural families.
  • The featured author at Readergirlz this month is Libba Bray.
  • At 100 Scope Notes, Travis posts several Wild Things links. Are you interested in Where the Wild Things Are tattoos? I’ll bet Betsy is. And just in case that’s not enough Wild Things news for you, Elaine Magliaro links to a Boston Globe article about how Maurice Sendak made the world safe for monsters.
  • And in closing, my favorite blog post of the weekLaini Taylor posted photos of her husband, Jim di Bartolo, reading to their baby. She’s looking straight at the book. She’s smiling. The photos are perfect! Do click through. They’ll brighten your day.

And that’s all for today. Hope you’ve all been having 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).

Wednesday
Sep232009

Wednesday Afternoon Visits: September 23

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

There is way too much going on around the Kidlitosphere for me to wait until the end of the week to share the news. Here are a few highlights:

Newlogorg200Readergirlz announced their latest initiative for Teen Read Week: Read Beyond Reality. Here’s a snippet: “Teen Read Week, a week-long celebration of literacy, is scheduled for Oct. 18-24, 2009, and will include live chats with top teen authors on readergirlz.com, the most popular online reading community for teen girls… In support of this tremendous literary initiative, the readergirlz divas will host nine young-adult authors—eight of whom are nominees for the Teens’ Top Ten—throughout Teen Read Week.” You can read the full press release here. There’s also a downloadable post here, and a trailer here.

Betsy Bird at A Fuse #8 Production reports on the new and improved Guys Read website from National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature Jon Scieszka. She says: “I’m talking new look, new blog, cool recommendations, and funny funny funny.” Books are in categories like “how to build stuff” and “robots”. 

Cybils2009-150pxThe Cybils blog remained active this week. On Monday, deputy editor Sarah Stevenson posted the latest Cybils organizer profile, this one featuring Susan Thomsen from Chicken Spaghetti, this year’s MG/YA Nonfiction category administrator. Then today she posted the profile for our Easy Reader panel organizer, Anastasia Suen. The other big Cybils news is that we’ve started announcing panelists for the categories. Here, you’ll find the list of panelists (for both rounds) for the Easy Reader and Short Chapter Books category. Our other amazing panels will be announced soon!

At Chasing Ray, Colleen Mondor has a new installment of her What A Girl Wants Series, in which she engages in discussion with a variety of young adult authors. This installment’s theme is “because we are not all rich girls”. Colleen says: “The great swath of the American public however have actual jobs - blue collar or white collar they simply go to work to get a paycheck. In teen literature this is often not part of the equation and it left me wondering what that means to so many kids who can not ignore the money or how they live because of it.” A number of authors share smart, insightful responses.  

KidLitCon-badgeMotherReader announced the charity that will benefit from this year’s KidLitCon raffle. She says: “This year I’ve turned to Donors Choose for our charity, and specifically to impoverished Washington, DC, schools. At this point I’ve selected two proposals to fund. I picked Literacy is Fun-damental because they need Spanish language books, which are hard to pick up at a discount or at a local book sale, and because the picture of the kids is soooo cute. I picked It All Starts With Reading! because they need titles for teens, and the picture of the empty bookcase is soooo sad.” She’s also accepting prize donations for the raffle, if anyone is interested. You can also see the updated list of people scheduled to attend, at the bottom of this post.

Nancy_SilhouetteAngie from Angieville, one of my book selection kindred spirits, has a post up today about her favorite mystery series (something that I tackled last month). Of the seven she listed, I adore five of them (some were on my list, and some weren’t, but I love them all). A sixth is a second series by an author I’m currently working my way through, so I’m delighted to hear that the other series holds up, too. And the seventh, well, clearly I’ll have to check that one out. Because if Angie’s taste matches this well with mine, how could I possibly not want to read that one, too. Click through to see her choices. (And don’t you love the image, which I borrowed from Angie’s post?)

At Moms Inspire LearningDawn Morris has a two-part interview with Terry Doherty from The Reading Tub. (Terry is, as regular readers know, my partner in the weekly children’s literacy roundups). The interview is Dawn’s launch of a new “Moms Inspire Moms” series. She talks with Terry about how and why Terry started The Reading Tub (a nonprofit designed to “make it easy for families to create a positive reading environment at home, find great books … and make it accessible to EVERYONE!”), as well as Terry’s personal experience in raising her daughter, Catherine, to be a reader. Then (in an echo of the paired interviews that were my favorite part of last week’s Book Blogger Appreciation Week), Terry interviews Dawn about Moms Inspire Learning (“Simple Resources and Strategies to Inspire Lifelong Learning, Reading, and Leading”). Dawn shares tips for teaching kids to read, and also talks about inspiring kids to write. She even has a Read Aloud Recipe for a Garden of Reading. Very nice!

Quick hits:

  • Natasha from Maw Books has a very fun post about how she manages to blog with two small children in her house. It’s a visual - click through to see. I also really liked her BBAW wrap-up post, in which she spotlighted several blogs that she learned about through the whole event.
  • The Brown Bookshelf is looking for submissions for their flagship 28 Days Later event. Their blog says: “We are looking for submissions of African American children’s authors who are flying under the radar of teachers, librarians, parents and anyone who considers themselves a gatekeeper to a child’s reading choices.”
  • As reported by Lauren Barack in School Library Journal’s Extra Helping, Thursday (the 24th) is National Punctuation Day.
  • Friday is the deadline to submit entries for the September Carnival of Children’s LiteratureSusan Taylor Brown is hosting, and asks for your favorite post of the month.
  • Elaine Magliaro shares a list of fall-themed picture books and poetry at Wild Rose Reader.
  • This week’s Nonfiction Monday roundup was at Bookends. Also not to be missed, at Tea Cozy Liz B. shares a thank you post in honor of Nonfiction Monday creator Anastasia Suen.
  • I don’t usually highlight author interviews, but I did especially enjoy Sherrie Petersen’s recent interview of fellow Kidlitosphere member, and Any Which Wall author, Laurel Snyder.
  • This seems to be my week for highlighting interviews, because I was also pleased to see author Justine Larbalestier interview blogger Doret from TheHappyNappyBookseller (about young adult fiction featuring girls playing sports, complete with recommendations).
  • Karen at Teenage Fiction for All Ages reported earlier this week that the shortlists for the Booktrust Teenage Prize have been selected. Would you imagine? The Graveyard Book is on the list. Winners will be announced November 18th. Tasha Saecker also has the shortlist, with cover images.
  • Persnickety Snark is hosting an international celebration of young adult book bloggers. Link via Leila from Bookshelves of Doom.
  • Kidliterate has launched a new feature called Old Release Tuesdays, with videos highlighting older titles that Melissa and Sarah enjoy selling. I think it’s a nice idea! 
  • Laurie Halse Anderson has an important post, written in response to recent attempts to remove two of her books (Speak and Twisted) from high school classrooms. I especially liked this part: “I used to get really angry at these things because I felt they were a personal attack on me. Then I grew up. Now I get angry because book banning is bad for my country. It is an attack on the Constitution and about the core ideals of America. It is the tool of people who want to control and manipulate our children.”
  • Speaking of book challenges, Leila has an update to the recent Ellen Hopkins book challenge (which I mentioned last week), at Bookshelves of Doom.
  • And Donalyn Miller, the Book Whisperer, has some suggestions in honor of Banned Book Week, too. She recaps several recent challenges, and offers criteria for teachers “to prevent book challenges and parent complaints before they occur”.

And that’s it for today. I do have lots of reviews that I’ve starred in my reader, but I’m not sure when I’ll have time for a “reviews that made me want the book” feature. Soon, I hope. 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
Sep202009

Sunday Afternoon Visits: September 20

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

Last week kind of got away from me, blog-wise. Which is a shame, because there’s been a lot of great stuff going on in the Kidlitosphere. This is my attempt to catch you all up.

Via lots of people, yesterday was Talk Like a Pirate Day. Me, I’ve been wanting to watch the Pirates of the Caribbean movies all weekend. Or at least Goonies… I recommend, for those of you interested in a different perspective on pirates, a reading of The Dust of 100 Dogs, by A. S. King.

Cybils2009-150pxLiz Burns has a post about the Cybils up today at A Chair, A Fireplace, and A Tea Cozy. She discusses the origins of the Cybils, as well as the transparency of the Cybils award process. If you’ve seen the term “Cybils Awards” floating around, and you’re not sure what that means, do check out Liz’s post. And if you’re already a fan of the Cybils, I’m happy to report that you can now buy Cybils-themed items (mugs, etc.) at CafePress. I just got two gorgeous Cybils mugs in the mail this week. See also the introduction post for Liz Jones, this year’s Graphic Novel Category Organizer. And did you hear that the Cybils Award now has a Wikipedia page?

Despite general excitement about the Cybils, another round of Blog Angst Flu (loosely defined as a periodic phase of questioning the purpose of and time required by a blog) is going around. Andrea and Mark from Just One More Book!! and Lenore from Presenting Lenore have both written recently about their struggles. Outside of the Kidlitosphere, Megan from Velveteen Mind has a post about the phenomenon in general (thanks to Liz B. from Tea Cozy for the link), reporting on blog closures after big conferences. Blog Angst Flu is surprisingly contagious (considering how rarely we’re all in the same room). What I find helps fight it off is focusing on my larger goals for the blog (to help people who are growing bookworms, in whatever small ways I can). My stack of unread review titles taunts me sometimes, but I try to think of every review that I DO have time for as a little candle that I’m lighting in the darkness. It works for me, anyway.

Speaking of reviews, in this weekend’s Around the Interwebs postAbby (the) Librarian pointed me to an excellent post by author Jackson Pearce about the different types of reviews. Pearce offers an ode to bloggers who write “thoughtful, meaningful reviews” (she calls us rock stars!). She also discusses the problems with reviews that offer just a ranking, with no explanation, and other equally unsatisfactory types of reviews. Everyone who blogs about books should read and think about this post.

Speaking of authors and bloggers, Colleen Mondor has a post at Chasing Ray directed at authors with suggestions for ways to interact with the literary blogosphere. She’s not talking about authors like Jackson Pearce, of course, but to those who send blog reviewers mass, impersonal emails about participating in blog tours, and the like. The conversation in the comments is well worth reading, for authors and bloggers. Colleen also has another new post, one that I’m going to talk about at length separately.

Getting back to review books, Greg Pincus has been collecting photos of people’s to be read stacks (or, in some cases, bookshelves and closets). He’s posted a compilation of photos at The Happy Accident. Some of these have to be seen to be believed. I didn’t get around to sending mine in (I have a six-shelf bookcase, double-stacked, plus a growing pile of picture books on a nearby table), but seeing everyone else’s made me feel a bit better about my own.

Another post with great pictures is from What Adrienne Thinks About That. Librarian Adrienne shares photos of her library’s welcoming new Tween Center. I LOVED her opening paragraph: “Lately, I’ve been thinking that my philosophy of librarianship could best be summed up, “Embrace your inner nerd.” I want every child who walks in the doors to find something of interest in the Children’s Room, but, what’s more, I want children to know that this is the place where we love books and thinking and art and creativity and logic and problem-solving. This is the place where you can go to figure out the world or get a little respite when figuring out the world is wearing you out.”

KidLitCon-badgeOne conference that I vow will NOT lead to anyone feeling discouraged about their blogging is the Third Annual Kidlitosphere Conference (now affectionately known as KidLitCon09). Pam has come up with a handy conference badge, which I’m proud to display. I’ll be working on my panel session this week, about “Coming Together and Reaching Out: Building Community, Literacy and the Reading Message”.

BooklightsThe PBS Parents Booklights blog is pleased to welcome two new guest contributors. Terry Doherty from The Reading Tub and Susan Thomsen from Chicken Spaghetti will be alternating weekly guest posts for a bit, while Susan Kusel takes a temporary break from posting. You can read Susan and Terry’s welcome posts here and here. Pam, Gina, Ann, and I are thrilled to have them both on the team! Of course the real question is, will Susan be able to get Elmo’s autograph?

Mitali Perkins has an interesting theory, after much discussion on her blog, about whether kids look for themselves in what they read, or not. She says: “Elementary-aged kids and upper high-schoolers are more open to fiction with protagonists who are markedly different than they are when it comes to race, class, or nationality. During early adolescence, fifth through ninth grade, most young readers buzz about and share books featuring protagonists they hope to resemble. Also, if everybody’s reading it, or watching it, or playing it, odds are they’ll want to, also.” Sounds reasonable to me. Read more at Mitali’s Fire Escape.

Quick Hits:

  • Color Online shares a recommended reading list for Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 - October 15). There are some additional suggestions in the comments, too.
  • Bill from Literate Lives has a fun post (with pictures) about how NOT to treat a library book.
  • Sherrie from Write About Now has a lovely little post about her second grade daughter looking around the house for “secret portals”, after reading The Doll People. This is what it’s all about, people! Kids finding magic in what they read.
  • This weekend’s Poetry Friday roundup was at Becky’s Book Reviews.
  • Jill T. from The Well-Read Child recently put out a call for guest hosts for her weekly “what my children are reading” roundups. Quite a few people have already volunteered, but there are still slots available. I think that including other hosts is a great idea to strengthen this event.
  • Congratulations to the Kidlitosphere’s own Monica Edinger from Educating Alice, who just sold her book Africa Is My Home (a book 10 years in the making) to Candlewick Press. Details here.
  • Inspired by a recent experience with having an author visit canceled because of censorship, Author Ellen Hopkins offers a stirring defense of the First Amendment (and a criticism of banning books). She says things like this: “NO ONE PERSON should be able to tell other people what their children can or can’t read… Why not instead, parents, read the books with your kids, open the lines of communication, and TALK TO THEM!”
  • Middle school librarian Ms. Yingling (a frequent source of book suggestions for me) asks a philosophical question about what books she should be providing for middle school readers. In a depressing kind of reverse censorship, she gets pressured to push middle school kids to read YA, in many cases reading above their interest levels. See also Robin La Fevers’ thoughts about older middle grade fiction.
  • Kelly from YAnnabe has a post about how to ban books the right way. OK, that’s a provocative title. What she really talks about is banning oneself from buying more books, before they take over one’s life. It’s pretty entertaining.
  • At The SpectacleParker Peevyhouse asks whether authors should try to create more female secondary characters.
  • Charlotte from Charlotte’s Library made me laugh out loud with this post.
  • Another fun post comes from Bri Meets Books, about “Top Five Kidlit Characters Who Were Infinitely Cooler Than Me When I Was Younger”. She mentions one of my favorite characters, Sara Crewe from A Little Princes. Bri also had a nice post about last weekend’s Roald Dahl Day.
  • Becky from Becky’s Book Reviews recently read Tarzan for the first time. Check out her fun interview about the book, here.
  • The deadline to submit articles for TBR Tallboy (which Tanita Davis says is “a hip, low-tech, chapbook style fiction ’zine, successful after only one issue, filled with stories from atrociously talented writers, if I do say so myself”) is September 30th.
  • Maureen from Confessions of a Bibliovore reports that the next big thing in young adult fiction is going to be angels. I say, sure, why not?
  • Did you hear about the Harry Potter Theme Park being built in Orlando? I heard about it from Educating Alice.

Five hours after starting this post (I kid you not, though I’ve also been working in parallel on tomorrow’s Children’s Literacy Roundup and watching the Red Sox), I am thrilled to report that all that’s left starred in my Google Reader are an assortment of book reviews. (I’m saving those for the next “Reviews that Made Me Want the Book” column, of course.) Maybe you guys could all take next week off from writing interesting things, as a little favor to me? Kidding … kidding! Thanks for tuning in!

© 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
Sep162009

Wednesday Afternoon Visits: September 16

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

This is one of those weeks in which it’s nearly impossible to keep up with all of the interesting things going on around the Kidlitosphere. I’ll be back with more over the weekend. But here are a few things that I wanted to share with you now.

BBAW_Celebrate_BooksMany children’s and young adult book bloggers are participating in Book Blogger Appreciation Week. Yesterday a host of book blogs participated in randomly assigned interview swaps. The results are, I think, quite successful. It’s nice to read about why people blog, how they blog, etc. (as a chance from the more customary author interviews.) You can find links to all of the interviews here, and links some of the participating children’s and young adult at MotherReader. Today’s theme is a Reading Habits Meme, which I’m going to try to get to later in the day. The winners in the various blog award categories have also been trickling in. There was much rejoicing in KidLitLand yesterday for Lee Wind, who won for Best GLBT Review blog. Kudos also to BBAW creator Amy, who won for Best Community Builder, and Natasha Maw, who won for Best Challenge Host and Best KidLit Blog.

A while back I posted about a reading teacher, Sandra Stiles, who was frustrated by being asked to follow a very structured reading program in her classroom (with students expected to choose between a proscribed set of 8 books). Today that link was included in an Examiner.com article by Cheryl Vanatti (aka Tasses from Reading Rumpus!) about why the recent New York Times article about reading workshops (and ensuing dust-up) missed the point. Cheryl says: “The real reason the New York Times article is important was lost in the scuffle. As standardized testing and accountability are the current driving forces in education, teachers like Sandra Stiles, who are forced to choose from eight district-approved titles, have lost the ability to do what is best for their students. Now, that’s an article we all should be reading.” I agree! But do read Cheryl’s whole article.

Cybils2009-Web-SmallNominations for the 2009 Cybils open October 1st. The Cybils organizers are working behind the scenes to put together judging panels in various categories, and get the new nominating form (created by Sheila Ruth) ready. In the meantime, you can learn more about the Cybils organizers at the Cybils blog (with two profiles posted so far, mine included). You can also show your support for the Cybils, if you are so inclined, by downloading and posting the snazzy new Cybils logo (created by Sarah Stevenson. You can find downloadable logos (aka bling for your blog) here. We hope that you’ll all start thinking about your favorite books published since last year’s contest and now, and be ready for nominations to open October 1st. 

Kidlitosphere_buttonTime is running out to register for the Third Annual Kidlitosphere Conference (aka KidLitCon ‘09). The deadline has, however, been extended into next week, so there’s still time to register, and get the truly excellent hotel rate. The conference will be held October 17th in Arlington, VA. Here’s a quick blurb about the conference from organizer Pam Coughlan (who has the extremely tough job of asking people to travel for a conference in a down economy):

For authors, illustrators, editors, and publishers in the area of children’s and Young Adult literature, the October 17th Kidlitosphere Conference in Arlington, VA offers an incredible opportunity to learn more about online reviewers, blog book tours, blog writing, and social media. Participants will also talk to forty book reviewing bloggers one-on-one about their books in a Meet the Author session. The dinner gives everyone has a chance to socialize, talk, network, and collaborate. And all for a low $100 registration fee that includes breakfast and dinner.

Featured sessions for authors/illustrators include:

  • It’s Not All About Your Book: Writing Ideas for Author Blogs
  • Social Networking for Fun (and Profit?).
  • Building a Better Online Presence
And several more sessions in the 8:00-5:00 p.m day. Attending authors will have the opportunity to set up a table and show their books to bloggers. This is a great opportunity to connect with the blogging community and promote fall titles.

 

It’s not too late to participate!! I hope to see you all there. Everyone is welcome.

Online College recently posted a list of 100 Best Blogs for Book Reviews. Of course “best” is a highly subjective thing, but I think that the list is a nice resource for people looking to dip a toe into the book blogosphere. The list includes categories from general fiction reviews to mysteries to graphic novels and comic books to children’s and young adult literature (where I was happy to be listed among several friends). The authors of the list took the time to include short blurbs about each blog. One thing that I thought was interesting (in light of some discussions that we’ve had in the Kidlitosphere) is that they specifically mention that several of the blogs “include sources of the books”. I’ve always thought that listing the sources of the books enhances a blog’s credibility - this list seems to support that. But I’d say, if you’re looking for new review blogs in a particular genre, this list could be a good place to start.

And finally, speaking of sources for books, Colleen Mondor has a thought-provoking post at Chasing Ray asking publishers: “are you looking for publicity or critical reviewing from the lit blogosphere?” Here’s a quote from Colleen: “I get a book, I read the book, fit it into a column’s theme down the line, review the heck out of it … and generally put some serious time into doing a good job of lit crit. Then I look online and see someone else who pasted the same book’s catalog copy into a post, wrote three sentences about how much they LOVE it (for no reason I or anyone else can discern) and announce a giveaway of one or three or five copies of the book. Which means the publisher has happily sent them not only the exact same book but multiple copies of it and only wanted this nice little PR post in return. So why do I even spend more than five minutes at a single review EVER?” There is an excellent discussion going on in the comments. You can find my thoughts on this there.

And that’s it for today. I have other starred items in my reader, and hope to get another post out soon. 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).

Friday
Sep112009

Friday Afternoon Visits: September 11

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

September 11th will never again be just another day. One can’t even think about the date without remembering the events that occurred 8 years ago. My heart goes out to the friends and family members who are still grieving. The people lost on 9/11/01 will never be forgotten.

But I think that remembering terrible things only makes it that much important to take positive actions when we can. In doing so, even when the actions are small, we send out a tiny light into the darkness. And so, this Friday, September 11th, I bring you the news from the largely joyful place that is the Kidlitosphere. First, some September 11th-related remembrances and reviews:

RIFF_logoAt Rasco from RIFCarol Rasco shares RIF’s plans for the first official September 11 Day of Service and Remembrance. She says: “The tragic events of September 11, 2001 unified us as a nation. The memory of that day continues to inspire us to serve our neighbors, our communities, and our country. We are pleased to join this national effort and thank the President for making this call to service.” 

14_cowsAt The Reading TubTerry Doherty shares her personal response to the book 14 Cows for America, saying: “Although September 11, 2001 is the backdrop for the story, Deedy is offering us a timeless, universal story of empathy, compassion, and shared dreams of hope. Sharing this book with a child will open their minds to other cultures, traditions, and belief systems.”

Levithan_loveAnd at Finding WonderlandTanita Davis intermingles her memories of 9/11 with a review of David Levithan’s Love is the Higher Law. She says: “David Levithan is a New Yorker whose own impressions of that bewildering, horrifying, terrifying day are reflected in these pages. Few readers, teens and adults alike, will be able to experience this novel without remembering their own story — where they were that day, what they did.” Jackie Parker reviews the book, too, at InteractiveReader. She says: “I read it because it was David Levithan writing about 9/11. I know that Levithan is a New Yorker. And I trusted him as an author to deal with this subject with barefaced honesty, never pandering, never with any sense of self-importance or false heroism, or anything else that sullies that day.” 

At The Simple and the Ordinary, Christine M. shares her fragmented but crystal clear 9/11 memoriesSarah shares hers at The Reading Zone, and Susan hers at Chicken Spaghetti.  Me, I was in Austin, Texas on a business trip, and I heard about the events in New York on the car radio, on my way to work. During the course of that half hour drive, the first tower fell. And things were different. We all remember.

But, now, because life does go on, I’ll go on to the regular blogosphere news:

Book-blogger-appreciation-weekSherry Early has been running a great feature at Semicolon. She’s going through the shortlists for Book Blogger Appreciation Week, checking out each blog, writing a short blurb about the blog, and identifying her pick in each category. For example, here’s her assessment of the Best Thriller/Mystery/Suspense Blog category. I’ve flagged several of her posts to go back to, as I seek out new blogs to follow myself. (In the interest of full disclosure, I should admit that Sherry has some nice things to say about my own blog, shortlisted in the Best KidLit Blog category. But I would think it was a neat feature in any case, I’m sure.) See also a thoughtful post at Chasing Ray, in which Colleen Mondor shares her opinion about shortlisting blogs, in general. Incidentally, voting for BBAW closes at midnight Saturday night. I hope that if you have opinions about any of the categories, you’ll take a few minutes to vote. And stay tuned for lots more BBAW activity next week.  

Cybils2009-Web-SmallThanks to the talented and hard-working Sarah Stevenson, new Cybils Bling is now available for purchase at Cafe Press. All of the new merchandise (t-shirt, mugs, buttons, tote bag, etc.) features the snazzy new Cybils 2009 logo. You can find details at the Cybils blog. Personally, I have my eye on a new mug, to go with my assorted Kidlitosphere Conference mugs from years past.

BooklightsPam and Susan have both hit it out of the park at Booklights this week, in my opinion. On Wednesday, Susan wrote about the ups and downs of reading aloud. She offers practical advice for parents who might be disappointed by their young kids’ unwillingness to sit still for read-aloud. Her conclusion: “Go easy on yourself and your children when it comes to reading aloud. And enjoy the wonderful moments when they happen.” Then yesterday, Pam used her Thursday Three feature to offer reading help for “the three people involved in your child’s reading development - the teacher, the child, and yourself.” I especially liked her strong suggestion that parents try to avoid The Reading Game (parental competition over kids’ reading levels and books). Both of these posts have the same general message for parents: raising readers works best if you keep it fun, and keep from being too hard on yourself or the kids. And that, my friends, is why I’m so happy to be working with Pam and Susan (and Gina, who guides us all, and Ann, who reinforces what we’re doing) at Booklights.

Terry Doherty wrote a guest article for this month’s Children’s Book Insider (subscription required) that some of you may find of interest. It’s about generating cyberbuzz (or, how to get your book reviewed online). Terry offers tips based on her experience in moderating book review requests at The Reading Tub. She also makes an interesting distinction between “stories written for kids, titles adults like for their kids; and books meant for adults.” There’s also a followup interview between Terry and CBI’s Laura Backes here. Terry also has a guest piece in the Examiner, as part of Jennifer Finke’s series on Toys with Imagination. Terry talks about engaging toddlers and kids with interactive books (no batteries required!).

Nathan Bransford, the literary agent, started an interesting discussion on his blog this week about whether or not children’s books should be “content-rated” like movies and video games. As I write there are some 250+ comments - clearly this is a topic that people feel strongly about. I found this post via Dawn Morris from Moms Inspire Learning (who found it via Jon Bard from Children’s Book Insider). Dawn says (on her own blog): “I wish the YA section of the library could be split in two, with books that address serious issues being put into a separate section for high school students. Why can’t there be a “safe” section just for children between the ages of 10 and 14? Parents can’t always read every book, after all.” Me, I think it’s a complicated question, because content ratings for books are such a subjective and variable thing. What’s “safe” for one kid might seem edgy for the next. It’s not easy. On a related note, Robin LaFevers writes about “some of the delineations in writing YA versus MG versus adult books”.

Another controversy has spun up around the lit blogosphere this week. The latest Notes from the Horn Book (a monthly email newsletter from Horn Book Magazine) included an interview with author Richard Peck. Mr. Peck apparently criticized teachers for reading books aloud. The interview has evoked some dissenting opinions from teachers, of course, particularly from Sarah at The Reading Zone and Monica Edinger at Educating Alice. See also Horn Book editor Roger Sutton’s take at Read Roger (he says “I think Peck was complaining about classrooms where kids’ only exposure to trade books was hearing them read aloud”). But still… it’s always something! 

Gail Gauthier linked to an interesting piece in the Denver Post by David Milofsky. The author posits that, as Google and Yahoo start paying publishers to link to news stories, the same might be expected of literary bloggers. A number of prominent bloggers are quoted in the article. I would tend to agree with Gail that if your blog doesn’t make money, fair use would probably apply in linking to a news story. Personally, it’s not like my blog is a big profit center for me. If I had to pay to link to news stories, well, I just wouldn’t link to news stories. Or I’d find some other way to do it, anyway. But it’s something to watch.

Quick Hits:

  • This week’s Poetry Friday roundup is at Wild Rose Reader. The last Nonfiction Monday roundup was at The Miss Rumphius Effect.
  • Greg Pincus has an inspirational post about community and the power of #kidlitchat (a weekly Twitter chat about children’s books and publishing). I’ll tell you, he made me want to participate, and I’m so not a “chat” person (the introvert in me can’t cope with the swirl of conversation, even when it’s online).
  • At Angieville, Angie has a fun post about the appeal of “bad boys” in literature, inspired by a post from Adele at Persnickety Snark. Reading both posts, it’s clear to me that in literature and TV, I’m generally in favor of Bad Boys, too (I pick Pacey over Dawson any day, and I am Team Gale all the way).
  • At Bookshelves of DoomLeila is in a bit of a reading slump, and looking for “something that I’ll be able to fall into, that has writing that at the very least won’t make me roll my eyes, that has characters I can believe in, a story that I haven’t read a million times before (unless the writing and the characters make it work), something that I’ll remember for more than an hour after reading.” Lots of promising suggestions in the comments.
  • At Parents and Kids Reading Together, Cathy Puett Miller says that “picture books are for everyone”.
  • Cheryl Rainfield has pictures of a house and furniture made out of books (well, not really, but they’re made to look like they’re made out of books, which works, too). Very fun!
  • At the Miss Rumphius EffectTricia links to a Fledgling post by Zetta Elliott about authors of color. Tricia says: “In addition to being a mighty strong argument for the recognition of works by authors of color, she includes links to some astounding and disheartening statistics.” See also Roger Sutton’s response.
  • Speaking of the need for diversity in publishing, Susan has a great quote at Chicken Spaghetti from Amy Bowllan’s School Library Journal blog, in a recent column about writers against racism: “Literature helps us understand who we are and to find our place in the world.” 
  • Responding to the recent trend of adding horror elements to classic romances (e.g. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies), Becky from Becky’s Book Reviews suggests adding romance to some of the classic horror stories (e.g. a love interest for Frankenstein). I like it!
  • At A Year of Reading, Mary Lee and Franki are commemorating the start of the new school year with a series of posts celebrating teachers. I especially liked Day 4, in which Franki reminds people about Mary Lee and Franki’s list of Cool Teachers in Children’s Literature.
  • Liz Burns from Tea Cozy is one of the winners of the Color Me Brown challenge at Color Online. She links to other winners here
  • Susan Beth Pfeffer unveils the cover of the third Life As We Knew It book, The World We Live In. This is one book for which I don’t need to see any reviews. I already want it.  
  • Colleen Mondor wrote a short history of Guys Lit Wire for Crossed Genres magazine.
  • Mary Pearson guest blogged at Tor the other day about everyone’s obsession with the future (and specifically talked about how thinking about the future led her to the ideas in The Adoration of Jenna Fox). She also has a smart post at Tor about what YA lit is and isn’t (I found that one via Liz B.).
  • Sarah Stevenson chimed in on MotherReader’s Kidlitosphere Conference meme at Finding Wonderland. Updated to add that Betsy Bird chimed in from Fuse #8, too (and she hardly ever does memes). And Colleen makes a particularly strong case for writers to attend, at Chasing Ray. Oh, I wish that EVERYONE could come this year. At least Liz B. will be there again this year (here’s her meme).
  • And if this isn’t enough news for you, Abby (the) Librarian has some other links today.

Wishing you all a weekend of peace. Me, I just got some good news from my brother, which definitely makes the day a lot brighter.

© 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.
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