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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 Kristin Cashore (3)

Friday
Jul242009

Friday Afternoon Visits: July 24

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

Here are a few links from around the Kidlitosphere, for your reading pleasure. Today’s installment is filled with controversy and thought-provoking discussion (rather surprising for a late-July Friday, but there you have it).

Controversy update #1Betsy Bird at Fuse #8 has some great links and commentary in response to the recent SLJ article by Diantha McBride that proposed changing some protagonists of children’s and young adult titles from girls to boys. I especially liked (and had already flagged myself) J. L. Bell’s response at Oz and Ends. He said: “McBride’s complaint is based on a false premise: that we’re drastically undersupplied with books about boys.” But Betsy suggests that there are an awful lot of books out there with pink covers, turning off YA male readers.

July23LiarControversy update #2Justine Larbalestier set off a true firestorm with a recent post in which she discussed the white model selected for the cover of her new book, Liar (which features a black teen). I mean, does that look like a girl who “is black with nappy hair which she wears natural and short”? Yeah, not so much. Justine said that she believes that this happened because of a pervasive belief in publishing that “black covers don’t sell.” Bloomsbury responded at PW, saying that the fact that the narrator of the book is compulsive liar led them to use the cover image to create ambiguity around the character’s race. As Colleen Mondor says: “This has to be the lamest and yet most predictable response I have ever come across from a publisher.” Lots of other people have had similar responses, Colleen has a compilation of many.

Parallel musings on an interesting topic: the pervasive connectedness that most of us have these days (Facebook, Twitter, email, blogs, etc.), and whether or not that poses a problem:

  • Sara Zarr (author of Story of a Girl and Sweetheartssaid: “We tend to see our Internet/technology addiction as a bad habit, I think, something about which we say, “I really should cut down…” Or we joke about it or Tweet about it. But it’s kind of a giant problem. We already know from research that the way our brain pathways work changes depending on what mental habits we’re in. If you’re like me and feel like you’ve developed ADD since web 2.0, you probably have.”
  • New Blackberry Pearl owner Kathy from Library Stew said: “Do I REALLY need to be connected 24 hours a day/7 days a week, even while at the beach??.. I have found that I do tend to spend too much time checking Facebook/Twitter/chatting online at night when I used to use that time to read, but then again using my phone to keep up with e-mail and things while sitting at football practice has been a great thing.”
  • I’ve been struggling with this a bit lately, too. For a while I had a Twitter newscrawler that popped up with new tweets whenever I was in Firefox. I had to turn that off - I felt it giving me ADD, just as Sara described. I have a Treo, and I love being able to read and file email and keep up with my Google Reader while I’m out and about. I’ll never have dead time while waiting in line somewhere, or sitting through a dull presentation, again. But I’m trying (with little success so far) to spend a bit less time on the computer when I’m at home. I’d like to do better at giving other things my full attention.

Literacy and Reading News reports that 1200 teachers have sent a letter to Scholastic saying “Don’t Use Us to Market Toys, Make-up, and Brands to Children in School”. Brian Scott says that the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood “sent the letter, signed exclusively by teachers, after a review of Scholastic’s 2008 elementary and middle school Book Club flyers found that one-third of the items for sale were either not books, like the M&M Kart Racing Wii videogame, or were books packaged with other products, such as lip gloss and jewelry.”

Susan Beth Pfeffer (author of my beloved Life As We Knew It and the dead and the gone) shares her response to discovering (via Google alert) an illegal download of one of her titles. While she’s not concerned that this will have any drastic affect on her own retirement, she says: “I really don’t know how writers starting out now and writers who are just on the verge of starting out are going to survive this kind of theft in years to come… The people who are stealing my works may well just be kids; they don’t understand that what they’re doing is as morally wrong as stealing my wallet.” This worries me, too.

Colleen Mondor has part 4 of her What a Girl Wants series at Chasing Ray, this time asking authors what subject areas in young adult fiction might be more important for teens than for adults. She asks: “just what sort of subjects do teen girls need to address in their reading that they can not simply find in adult titles. In other words, I asked the group why do we need YA titles for girls in particular and what those books could/should include.” 

On a lighter note, Sarah Mulhern from The Reading Zone shares her appreciation for pitcher Mark Buehrle’s perfect game yesterday for the White Sox (only the 18th in MLB history). She explains that she understood and appreciated the magnitude of Buehrle’s achievement because of what she’d learned from reading Alan Gratz’s The Brooklyn Nine. She says: “Isn’t that exactly what we want our students to do? Read, build schema, and then go out to read and learn more?” It’s a nice real-world illustration of one of the many, many benefits with which reading repays the devoted book-lover. 

Melissa from Book Nut is working on a list of 100 top middle grade titles. Her preliminary list looks pretty good - just reading it stresses me out a bit, because I wish that I had time to go re-read (or read for the first time) many of the books. I should warn Melissa, based on my own experience with the Cool Girls list, that suggestions will keep coming in, and it will be very difficult to get the list back down to 100.

Book-blogger-appreciation-weekPam Coughlan posts at Mother Reader about the upcoming Book Blogger Appreciation Week, and suggests that people ”nominate favorite KidLitosphere blogs for awards. Of course, you can nominate other non-KidLit/YA blogs, since there are plenty of categories in which to do so, but my pointhere is that the KidLitosphere needs to REPRESENT!” I have followed Pam’s suggestion (would I argue with a direct request from MotherReader? In caps? I think not!).

Smuggler_YA_finalIn related news, Angieville reports that the bloggers at The Book Smugglers “have just kicked off their Young Adult Appreciation Month, which runs from July 19 through August 15th… They’ve even extended an open invitation to anyone interested to send them a link to a post on YA lit or a review you’ve written of a YA book and they’ll post links to them all on August 15th—the last day of the celebrations.”

And a few quick hits:

  • Librarian Betsy Bird shares a lovely anecdote about why she has “the best job in the western hemisphere”.
  • Greg Pincus has a useful post at The Happy Accident about the 11 types of Twitter followers. I’ve already found this list helpful, as I manage my Twitter account (assessing “do I need to follow this person back?”, etc.)
  • Cheryl Rainfield found a site offering Curious George loungewear for adults.
  • Terry Doherty from The Reading Tub has a couple of questions, for which she’s seeking input from librarians. Can anyone help her out?
  • Congratulations to Kristin CashoreGraceling just won the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Children’s Literature. Kristin’s response is here.
  • Funny story about a Twilight fan at my favorite non-kidlit blog, Not Always Right. (This was the only blog that I read regularly during a recent vacation - I love it).

© 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).

Thursday
May072009

Thursday Afternoon Visits: May 7

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

A few interesting things have crossed my reader this week from around the Kidlitosphere.

Babe RuthFirst up, I won a prize at Get in the Game—Read. I hardly ever enter contests for books because, you know, I feel guilty enough about the books that I already have that I’m not reading. But this one, I couldn’t resist. Lori Calabrese was giving away a signed copy of David A. Kelly’s Babe Ruth and the Baseball Curse. Here’s a snippet from the product description: “Then, in 2004, along came a scruffy, scrappy Red Sox team. Could they break Babe Ruth’s curse and win it all?” What can I say? I’m a woman of limited interests. (If it wasn’t for books, chocolate, the Pride and Prejudice miniseries, and the Red Sox, I’d be hard pressed to ever come up with Facebook status updates.)

Diary of a Wimpy Kid author Jeff Kinney was named to the Time 100 this year. Travis has the details at 100 Scope Notes. I love seeing a children’s book author recognized for his positive impact on kids. Also available at 100 Scope Notes this week, photographic proof of Where the Sidewalk Ends. I knew it had to be somewhere.

2009-CBW-PosterChildren’s Book Week will be observed May 11-17. Elaine Magliaro has tons of great links at Wild Rose Reader. Elaine also has a comprehensive round-up of National Poetry Month links from around the Kidlitosphere. I don’t know where she finds the time, I really don’t!

For anyone looking for summer reading recommendations for kids, do check out Claire’s summer reading list at The Horn Book website. There are some great titles, all nicely organized by age range. Link via Read Roger.

I learned via Omnivoracious that one of my favorite 2009 titles is already on the way to becoming a movie. “Film rights have for Carrie Ryan’s YA novel The Forest of Hands and Teeth have been snapped up by Seven Star Pictures. Publishers Weekly is reporting that “the project [is] for an-as-yet-unnamed A-list starlet.”” Now that has the potential to be a great movie!

Catching FireAnd speaking of my favorite dystopian YA novels, kudos to Lois Lowry for selecting Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games as the winner of SLJ’s Battle of the (Kids’) Books. For responses, see Liz B.’s take at A Chair, A Fireplace and A Tea Cozy or Maureen Kearney’s at Confessions of a Bibliovore. Color me envious of all those attending BEA, who may be able too score advance copies of the Hunger Games sequel, Catching Fire. (I’m also envying Sarah Miller, who seems to have herself a copy of Kristin Cashore’s Graceling prequel, Fire. One would think that I didn’t have hundreds of other books to choose from already. And don’t you think that Carrie Ryan’s next book should be called Unconsecrated Fire?).

Speaking of Kristin Cashore, she has an interesting post about intertextuality (when later books are influenced by earlier books, and then re-readings of the earlier books are influenced by your experience reading the later books).

Colleen Mondor comments on a trend that she’s noticed, of having 12-year-old protagonists in books published for adults. She says: “I”m not saying that adults can’t enjoy a book with a child protagonist - we all know and love Tom Sawyer and Scout and all those other classics that have stood the test of time and that’s great. But this whole teen trend thing that seemed such a big deal with Special Topics in Calamity Physics is starting to look like vamp novels look in YA. In other words these preternaturally smart children are starting to crop up everywhere and I wish I knew why.”

And last but not least, don’t miss MotherReader’s latest post at Booklights, about her favorite funny chapter books.

© 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).

Saturday
Oct112008

Saturday Afternoon Visits: October 11

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy weekend, all!

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