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.

We welcome your feedback!

Search
Social Networking
Powered by Squarespace

Entries in Mystery (4)

Thursday
Jun252009

Thursday Afternoon Visits: June 25

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

Kidlitosphere_buttonHere are a few things from around the Kidlitosphere that caught my eye this week.

BooklightsWe have a new regular blogger over at BooklightsAnn will be posting once a month, offering “an end-of-the-month summary, reaction, and (sharing of) the ideas” that Pam, Susan, and I have raised. You can find Ann’s first post here. She has her top 10 picture books list, and responses to some of the ongoing discussion at Booklights about social reading, summer reading, and the importance of picture books. It’s an honor to have her participation!

Also at Booklights this week: Susan has an informative post about how to find information on series books and sequels, while Pam highlights three extra-cute picture books. And speaking of cute picture books (though not at Booklights, Abby (the) Librarian shares titles from a chicken storytime.

Elaine Magliaro shares Book Lists for Summer Reading 2009 at Wild Rose Reader. In addition to links to various book lists, she also links to two articles from Reading Rockets about getting the most out of summer reading. And for some summer reading suggestions directly from sixth graders, check out “You HAVE to Read This” from Sarah Mulhern’s students at the Reading Zone. “Each student chose one book that they feel all 6th graders must read.” One thing that I love about the list is the range of reading levels of the books included.

Brbc+buttonBook Dads hosts the 20th Edition of the Book Review Blog Carnival (and the first time I’ve run across this carnival, I think). There are quite a few reviews in honor of Father’s Day.

Colleen Mondor has a new installment of her fabulous What a Girl Wants series. This week, she talks with a variety of authors about the allure of the “girl detective” in literature. She asks: “does the girl detective genre matter to teen readers today? Do we need her around and if so, what does she bring to the table? Are we missing out on a chance of future female justices by not having mysteries with teen girl protagonists? In a nutshell, should we care at all about the girl detective?” In addition to the contributions by various authors in the body of the post, there’s a great discussion in the comments, too.

Colleen also links to a post that I neglected to mention before from TheHappyNappyBookseller, about the treatment of an African-American character in the final Percy Jackson book. Doret says: “this final book left a bad taste in my mouth”, and explains why. Jennie from Biblio File expands on the topic of race in the Percy Jackson books with a complaint about the narrator’s treatment of Asian-American characters in the audiobooks.  

CybilsLogoSmallAt the Cybils blog, Sarah Stevenson links to several upcoming and recently released titles written by Cybils panelists. She includes two titles that I recently reviewed (Mare’s War by Tanita Davis and Silksinger by Laini Taylor). Click through to see the others.

At Charlotte’s Library, Charlotte shares a list of fantasy titles compiled for a nine-year-old girl who likes “a bit of scary stuff”. This post is part one of the list, featuring older titles that Charlotte loved at that age. A followup post with more current titles will be forthcoming. There are a bunch of other suggestions from the 1970’s in the comments.

MotherReader shares some suggestions for preventing, and recovering from, the current round of blog angst flu. Here’s a snippet: “Look to the things that make you feel good, or at least feel better. Tap into strong relationships. Find things that make you smile. A sense of humor can be a saving grace. A well-developed sense of irony is better than a good night’s sleep.” She is very wise, that MotherReader.

LemonadestandawardLast, but not least, I received two lovely blog awards this week. First Tif from Tif Talks Books gave me a Lemonade Award, for “blogs that show great attitude or gratitude.” I certainly am grateful to be a member of the Kidlitosphere, so this award means a lot. Thanks, Tif! Susan Stephenson, who was also on Tif’s list, named me a June 2009 Book Chook Hero, with Terry Doherty, for our efforts in putting together the weekly children’s literacy round-ups. We do spend quite a lot of time on those, and it’s extra-nice to have that recognized. A great week all around! Susan also has a lovely post about books and food (reading and eating at the same time) at the Book Chook.

And now, my reader is nearly free of starred items (with the exception of a couple of reviews that I’m saving). It’s time to set aside the computer in favor of dinner. 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).

Friday
May152009

Friday Afternoon Visits: May 15

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

It’s been another week of newsworthy events around the Kidlitosphere.

GLWHeader3First up, Guys Lit Wire has an amazing initiative going on. They are running a Book Fair for BoysColleen Mondor first announced the event on Wednesday, saying: “We are moving today into the second phase of GLW, where we put our money where our mouth is and physically act on getting books into the hands of boys that otherwise have none. Today we start the first two week Guys Lit Wire Book Fair for Boys to help the teens incarcerated in the LA County Juvenile Justice System. They have no books - at all - and they need them; they need them desperately.” Essentially, the Guys Lit Wire team, together with the InsideOut Writers Program, put together a list of 125 books of interest to teen boys, and asked people to help by purchasing one or more titles. Word spread fast, and I’m delighted to report that within 48 hours, more than 100 books had already been purchased. (See a lovely post about Colleen’s joy here). Here are more details about the response to this event.

Of course the other ongoing event in the Kidlitosphere is the auction to benefit Bridget ZinnBridget is one of our own. She was recently diagnosed with stage four colon cancer. And although she is blessed with many things (a new husband, an agent for her YA novel, and many friends), she is not blessed with sufficient health insurance to weather this battle. So some of her friends from the Portland branch of the Kidlitosphere (especially Jone MacCulloch) decided to host an auction to help. It’s a blog auction, and you can bid by commenting. There are tons of amazing, one-of-a-kind prizes, far too many to list here. But I did want to draw special attention to Vivian’s post at HipWriterMama. Not only is Vivian donating a signed copy of the last Percy Jackson book, she is also having a contest for another copy, which you can enter by bidding in the auction. All I can say is, I feel privileged every day that I can be part of this community, I really do. The auction closes the morning of May 30th. You may be sure that I’ll be bidding on more items between now and then.

48hbcLooking forward to future Kidlitosphere events, MotherReader has posted a prize update and minor rules change for the upcoming 48 Hour Book Challenge. Pam also announced her plan to donate a dollar for every hour that she spends reading to the Bridget Zinn fund. See also MotherReader’s post about her participation in the 48 Hour Film Project, with a link to the resulting film, “Please Forward”.

Also, if you’re in the San Francisco area tomorrow (Saturday), do consider attending the launch party for Lynn Hazen’s new book: The Amazing Trail of Seymour Snail. I had hoped to attend myself, but we have out of town guests arriving during the event, and I’m not going to be able to swing it.

I don’t normally highlight individual Poetry Friday entries (Kelly Polark has this week’s roundup), but I really liked this original poem by Gregory K. at Gotta Book: A Perfect Game - A Baseball Poem. Also, Cari and Holly published this week’s Nonfiction Monday round-up at Book Scoops.

Updating on Saturday to add one more event: The Summer Blog Blast Tour starts Monday. You can find the whole schedule at Chasing Ray (and that post will be updated as direct links are available). The SBBT is a series of author interviews, carefully organized across a group of blogs to ensure diversity and avoid redundancy. The SBBT and corresponding Winter Blog Blast Tours are the brainchild of Colleen Mondor.

Moving on from events, Parker Peevyhouse has an interesting post at The Spectacle about the traits valued in girl vs. boy heroes in books. She says: “It seems to me that girl heroes tend to be valued for their smarts and their compassion, while boys are held up as daring (even reckless)–but it could just be that my presuppositions color my perspective. What do you think–are there general differences between boy and girl heroes?” Be sure to read the comments, too.

Solvang Sherrie has a thought-provoking post at Write About Now about the aspects of a book that make her fall “truly, madly, deeply” in love with the book. She says: “For me it comes down to characters. I want to care about the people I’m reading about. I want them to be like me, but better than me.” There’s some good discussion in the comments, too. I wrote about my thoughts on this issue in detail a while back in my 6 P’s of Book Appreciation.

At Literacy, families, and learning, Trevor Cairney has a new post in his key themes in children’s literature series: Problem Solving. He explains: “Many children love to solve problems. Children’s authors are smart enough to work this out and tap into this interest as one of many ways to engage children with books. There are many forms of problem solving that authors have used. In this post I’ll outline a few examples.”

2009-CBW-PosterAs part of Children’s Book Week, the Children’s Choice Book Awards were announced. Tasha Saecker has the winners at Kids Lit. In other Children’s Book Week news, see Lori Calabrese’s blog to find 10 activities for children’s book week. In other award news, at Fuse #8, Betsy Bird announced the number one entry in her Top 100 Picture Books poll: Where the Wild Things Are. No surprise, really, but still good to see. Here’s the complete top 100 list, all in one place, with links back to the more detailed posts.

And that’s alll for today. Happy weekend, all! I’ll be back Monday with the Children’s Literacy Round-Up.

© 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
Nov092008

Sunday Afternoon Visits: November 9

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

I had a bit of trouble keeping up with the blogs this week. This was partly because I had a three-day business trip to Colorado Springs (though it is lovely there). But mostly it’s Pam Coughlan and Lee Wind’s fault. You see, they started this blogger comment challenge. The idea is to increase community within the Kidlitosphere, by encouraging participants to comment more on one another’s blogs. Pam says:

“Since it is said that it takes twenty-one days to form a new habit, we’re going to run the Comment Challenge for the next three weeks — from today, Thursday, November 6, through Wednesday, November 26, 2008. The goal is to comment on at least five kidlitosphere blogs a day. Keep track of your numbers, and report in on Wednesdays with me or Lee.”

I’ve been participating, and it’s been a lot of fun. And since I tend to jump in with both feet to things like this, I’m averaging more like 10+ comments a day. But stopping to click through and comment is wreaking havoc on my ability to skim through lots of blog posts, quickly, in my Google Reader. Ah well. It’s still fun. And not too late to join in, if you’re interested. Read more here. On to other news.

XmasSwap1Dewey just announced the second annual Book Bloggers’ Christmas Swap at The Hidden Side of a Leaf. It’s kind of a Secret Santa thing between bloggers. If you’d like to participate, check out the details at Dewey’s.

This week’s well-organized Poetry Friday round-up is at Check It Out, Jone MacCulloch’s blog.

The International Reading Association blog links to an article about the 10 coolest public libraries in the United States. Is your library on the list?

A Visitor for BearIt’s only November, but the “best of 2008” lists are already coming out. I guess this isn’t so premature when the people making the lists have access to advanced copies of books anyway. Becky from Becky’s Book Reviews shares and discusses Publisher’s Weekly’s Best of Children’s Fiction 2008. It seems like a pretty good list to me. Just about every book is one I’ve either read and recommended, or have on my radar to read. Amazon has also been coming out with “Best of” lists. I was especially happy to see, on OmnivoraciousBonny Becker’s A Visitor for Bear topping the list of Best Children’s Picture Books of 2008. It was certainly one of my favorites of the year.

Of potential interest to mystery fans, Kyle Minor has a guest essay at Sarah Weinman’s blog, Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind. It’s about whether or not mysteries count as literature. He says “If forced to trade, I’ll take one Dennis Lehane, one Richard Price, one George Pelecanos, one James M. Cain, one Big Jim Thompson or Raymond Chandler or Dashiell Hammett—any one of them, any day—over any ten “literary” writers.” I agree.

Rose’s Reading Round-Up at the First Book Blog links to a National Post article by Misty Harris about how teen books are being read by people of all ages. It’s a little bit condescending of a step backwards from what we who read YA all the time might think (“Like many addicts, Paige Ferrari hides her compulsion behind a carefully chosen facade. The 26-year-old has been known to wrap teen novels - her guiltiest literary indulgence - inside an issue of The Economist while reading in public.”), but I’ve seen much worse. (ETA per comments below: And I do get that it probably is news for the mainstream public that adults are reading YA.) I did like this quote: “most of the adults who are reading these books likely already have them in their homes. They’re reading what their kids are reading.”

At Lessons from the Tortoise, Libby asks readers for help in differentiating young adult literature from children’s literature and from adult literature. Both MotherReader and I commented that we thought that the age of the protagonist had a lot to do with it. Pam also remarked on the wide age range of YA books today. Libby wrote a followup post with some other input from her students, but she’s still struggling a bit with a formal distinction between YA and adult fiction (beyond “I know it when I see it). Feel free to head on over there and share, if you have input on this.

In related news, The Brown Bookshelf lauds the recent decision by independent bookstore Politics and Prose to configure a separate section of the store for books for older teens. The author (I’m not sure whose post it is) says: “Yay!!!!!! Whenever anyone focuses on teen readers and thus YA literature, I feel like I’ve won a lottery…except without that whole winning a lot of money thing.” I feel the same way (except for me it’s books for kids of all ages).

November is National Adoption MonthTerry Doherty offers up some resources and personal experience at the Reading Tub’s blog. Don’t miss the comments, either. At the ESSL Children’s Literature Blog, Nancy O’Brien suggests books about adoption, categorized by age range.

Julia's KitchenBrenda Ferber has a lovely post about the inspiration for her book, Julia’s Kitchen, and the way that online connectedness helped her to get in contact with one of the boys whose story inspired her.

At the PBS Media Fusion blog, Gina Montefusco has a detailed article about the ways that the new PBS KIDS Island will help to promote early reading skills. Gina, who was instrumental in the development of PBS KIDS Island, says “reading doesn’t – and shouldn’t – have to be an intimidating process that turns off all but the most gifted students. With online games, kids are introduced to new skills in a light-hearted, silly way, allowing them to learn at their own speed and stay engaged. Everything from the alphabet to phonemes can be fun. Really. We promise.” I look forward to working more with Gina in the near future.

Trevor Cairney continues his series on key themes in children’s books at Literacy, Families, and Learning, discussing the theme of “being different.” He notes that “the struggle the be different is a common theme in children’s books from early picture books right through to adolescent novels”, and discusses how books can help “parents and teachers to sensitively and naturally raise some of these issues.”

Book Scoops is a new blog run by two grown-up sisters, Cari and Holly, who love books. Their about page says: “Our blog focuses on children and adolescent literature (even though we do read a broad range of books) because we are still young at heart.” You can see why I added them to my reading list. I especially enjoyed this recent post: Ode to Reading Grandparents. Cari explains: “Part of why we love reading so much also has to do with our grandparents reading to our parents and taking them to the library. So we thought we’d give a thank you to our grandparents (who also let us eat lots of ice-cream).”

CybilsLogoSmallReviews of Cybils nominees are starting to crop up all around the Kidlitosphere. There are far too many to link to here, but one post that especially stood out for me was this one at Readerbuzz, featuring short reviews of a plethora of nonfiction nominees.

The ALSC blog has a nice post by Ann Crewdson about how “our fondest wish is for our patrons to read together, aloud and often with their children. And don’t forget to suggest that they point out words when they read, put on a play with puppets, and sing the ABC. Here are some tried and true companion books you can recommend without going wrong.” There are recommendations by age range.

And finally, if you haven’t had your fill yet of children’s book information, today’s New York Times Book Review has a children’s books special issue. I especially liked John Green’s article about two of my favorite dystopian novels from this year: The Dead and the Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer and The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.

That’s all for today. Happy blog-reading. And don’t forget to comment as you’re out and about on the blogs. As Mary Lee pointed out, “The world gets changed by doing something small over and over again.” Like telling someone that you paid attention to what they had to say.

© 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).

Thursday
Aug212008

Thursday Afternoon Visits: August 21

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

I find myself with a bit of time to spare this afternoon, and a few links saved up, so I thought that I would share:

  • Regular readers know that I love Kim and Jason’s Escape Adulthood website. This week, I especially appreciated a post by Kim about finding reasons to celebrate, and then celebrating them. The post starts with a couple of sad stories about loss, but Kim takes the positive view, saying “Human nature tricks us into believing that we’ll all die from old age, but it’s simply not true. Don’t wait until a tragedy happens to realize that your life is meant to be lived to the fullest today. Don’t wait until your anniversary to surprise your spouse with a night out on the town. Don’t wait until your birthday to allow yourself the permission to pick up that ice cream cake from Dairy Queen. (Yum!) Don’t wait until circumstances are perfect before you plan that spontaneous camping trip. Celebrate today!” I’m not always good about this, but Kim and Jason provide regular and excellent reminders, which I really appreciate. What have you celebrated lately?
  • Betsy Bird shares ten children’s novels that would make good movies at A Fuse #8 Production. She offers an exceptionally wide range of titles, all described with Betsy’s trademark voice. Here’s an example, on Kiki Strike: “So let us consider making a movie for tween girls, starring tween girls, and doesn’t involve them wearing short skirts, shall we?  Or indulging in bad movie banter.  I know, I know.  I’m probably asking too much with that latter requirement.  Fine, if you make the film you can fill it to the brim with banter. Just show girls doing something other than teaming up with boys in an action movie and I’ll never complain again.”
  • I don’t generally highlight author interviews from other blogs, because I tend to focus more on the books than on the authors. But Jules and Eisha have posted a truly impressive interview with Jane Yolen over at 7-Imp, which I would like to bring to your attention. There is discussion, there are dozens of links to more information, there are interesting tidbits about the author, and there are fabulous pictures. This is the kind of interview that becomes a resource for the author herself, because Jules and Eisha have collected so much information into one place. Do check it out. 
  • Reading MagicAt PaperTigers, Janet shares some examples from the new edition of Mem Fox’s book, Reading Magic: Why Reading Aloud to Our Children Will Change Their Lives Forever. Janet says: “After reading her essays about the true magic that comes from reading aloud, I don’t think this lady is exaggerating. If reading aloud to children can turn them into smart, inquisitive, creative people, then reading aloud may well hold the key to solving all of the world’s woes.” I just might have to pick up with new edition.
  • For all you book reviewers out there, Steph at Reviewer X has a question: “which of the reviewers are also writers? There’s some stereotype that says all reviewers (or book bloggers, or something like that) are aspiring authors. Accurate?” A brief perusal of the comments reveals that, as with many stereotypes, there’s some truth, but by no means universal adherence.
  • Colleen Mondor writes about the value of the color gray at Chasing Ray. The discussion is in the context of Colleen’s review of two YA titles set in alternate futures: Cory Doctorow’s Little Brother and Nick Mamatas’s Under My Roof. Colleen notes that Under My Roof “is a book where the good and bad guys are never clearly defined” (in contrast to the more clear-cut Little Brother) and says that “Reading these two books had made me realize just how uncomfortable the shade of gray can be for most people.”
  • At BookKids, the BookPeople children’s book blog (from the famous Austin bookstore), Madeline discusses modern mysteries aimed at kids. She says: “I have to admit that I think there is a lack of really great new kid mystery series. There are some good stand alone books like Elise Broach’s Shakespeare’s Secret, but not the kind of series where you just want to read nine or ten of the books in a row. In fact, I could only think of three current mystery series at all. However, I fortunately like all three series, and I can heartily recommend them as great chapter books for kids and teens.” Click through to see what she recommends, and other discussion in the comments.
  • Via School Library Journal, as “part of the 10th anniversary celebration of the U.S. release of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Scholastic, the U.S. publisher of the wildly popular Harry Potter series, is inviting fans of all ages to its New York City headquarters to take part in “Harry Potter Cover to Cover Day,” an all-day muggle read-a-thon.”
  • Guardian piece by Louise Tucker on boys and reading has sparked discussion between Tricia from The Miss Rumphius Effect (here and here) and Libby from Lessons from the Tortoise (here). Tricia asks (in direct response to the article): “Why are we so blessed concerned with the “right” books instead of the process of immersing kids in books that they will love? Shouldn’t the goal be developing readers?” It’s all interesting stuff - well worth checking out.
  • Last, but not least, I’ve seen this in several places, but Jackie has the full details at Interactive Reader. Readergirlz have launched rgz TV on YouTube. Here’s a snippet from the press release: “rgz tv is broadcasting interviews with Rachel Cohn, Jay AsherSonya Sones and Paula Yoo. The uploaded videos have been shot and edited by the readergirlz founders and members of the postergirlz.” Pretty cool!

And that’s all for today. Hope you find some tidbits of interest.

© 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).