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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Entries in Readergirlz (24)

Wednesday
Sep022009

Wednesday Afternoon Visits: September 2

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

Kidlitosphere_buttonI did a pretty comprehensive Kidlitosphere round-up on Friday. Since then, however, there have been a slew of interesting posts. Here are a few that I couldn’t resist sharing.

Newlogorg200As the month changes, the Readergirlz divas say goodby to Coe Booth (roundup of August posts here). For September, they will be hosting Kristin Cashore (author of Graceling and Fire, both of which I adored). The theme of the month is Triumph! They’ll also have Beth Kephart as author-in-residence this month. You can read more details on the Readergirlz blog. Postergirl Little Willow has just posted a Graceling Roundtable.

I’ve only recently discovered Ellen Hopkins’ blog. She has two recent post of particular interest. She shared a post about “writing on the edge” in young adult fiction, saying “don’t dare think most of today’s YA readers aren’t equipped to deal with books like TRICKS (about teen prostitution). They aren’t just reading about these issues. They’re living them. Knowing they’re not alone is valuable. Knowing there’s a way out is invaluable.” She continued by writing about “the YA renaissance”, and how it did not start with Twilight. She says: “I don’t want to sound snippy or envious. I think it’s great that a YA author can find the kind of following and crossover appeal that Stephenie Meyer has. But it bothers me that other (and in my opinion, better) YA authors aren’t more justly rewarded.” She includes good examples.

At The Brown BookshelfVarian Johnson links to an Examiner article by Paula Chase-Hyman about “why YA is the new hotness”. I agree with Varian’s positive take on “Reason #5. YA novels enable their young readers to process problems and situations from a safe distance.”

Tricia muses on “half-read books” at The Miss Rumphius Effect, influenced by an essay by Suzanne Munshower in today’s Guardian books blog. Someone who normally feels compelled to finish every book, Tricia has had a revelation: “Time is too precious and there many books out there waiting to be read. If a book doesn’t work for me (or you) why stick with it?” That’s certainly how I feel - if a book puts me to sleep for more than a couple of nights in a row, or if clunkiness in the writing makes me cringe, I will quietly set the book aside, and find something else. How about you all?

Yesterday there was an interesting discussion on a discussion group for KidLit bloggers. Today, Pam Coughlan shares some highlights at ForeWord Magazine’s Shelf Space blog. After quoting Laurel Snyder (who started the whole discussion), Pam defines three different types of book buzz. She says: “Our first line of attack is knowing what kind of buzz we’re seeing. Some book coverage is justified, some… not so much. Knowing the difference can allow us to enjoy the ride of literary excitement without being taken for a ride by literary publicists.” It’s interesting stuff - head on over and comment with your take. And definitely don’t miss the last sentence of the post.

Speaking of Pam, at MotherReader she has another reminder about registration fo the Third Annual Kidlitosphere conference. This time, she includes a list of bloggers and authors who will be attending. I challenge you to read the list and NOT want to attend. I’m so looking forward to meeting the people I haven’t met before, and seeing friends from the past couple of years. It’s going to be great!

Quick hits:

  • Here’s more on the new web series on social media and the book industry by Mark Blevis and Greg Pincus (which I mentioned last week).
  • At Misrule, Judith Ridge shares a bit of a rant on expectations of virtue (or not) among children’s authors.
  • At Roots in Myth, PJ Hoover writes about what makes for a good audiobook. She has a ton of comments on the post, with pros and cons and specific recommendations for audiobooks.
  • Little Willow has an interesting post at Guys Lit Wire about literary initials. She asks a variety of questions on the subject, and shares responses from a number of kidlitosphere friends.  
  • At Book AuntKate Coombs muses on “the eight deadly words” that turn off readers “I don’t care what happens to these people”. So true! (And one of those things that will make me give up on a book.)
  • Travis shares breaking sock news at 100 Scope Notes (with an illustration of some of the many sock-dedecked book covers in MG fiction these days).
  • Susan Kusel writes at Booklights in praise of that essential back to school supply: the library card.
  • Roger Sutton has an interesting analysis on the changes in book length for middle grade fiction over the past 30 years.
  • At Reading RocketsJoanne Meier for first classroom readaloud for the new school year.

I’m going to take a little blog-break over Labor Day weekend. I won’t be commenting or twittering much. However, I’ve left some book reviews scheduled to post. Hope you all have a lovely holiday!

© 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
Aug122009

Wednesday Afternoon Visits: August 12

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

This week’s posts around the Kidlitosphere have been filled with reminders about why I love this community so much. I’ll probably be back with more over the weekend, but wanted to share these links with you all now.

Mitali Perkins shares photos from her recent visit to Prince Edward Island, home of Green Gables. She says: “As an oft-displaced child, I borrowed roots from my favorite authors. L.M. Montgomery’s novels made Prince Edward Island one of my many homes.”

Speaking of lovely places to spend a summer day, check out this post at Cynthia Lord’s blog. Her husband John is the  most amazing photographer. I always enjoy his photos, but this one, of two Adirondack chairs facing sunset over a lake … truly gorgeous. Click through. However your day is going, it will make you feel better. [And to my friend summering in Truro, this one made me think of you.]

If those first two links didn’t offer enough travel for you, Colleen Mondor’s One Shot Southeast Asia round-up post is now available at Chasing Ray. There are tons of great entries, too many for me to mention here. But I did especially like seeing Liz B feature PaperTigers at Tea Cozy.  

At Wild Rose Reader, Elaine Magliaro announces the August Small Graces auction from Grace Lin. Elaine says: “All the proceeds from the Small Graces auctions will benefit The Foundation for Children’s Books, a small non-profit organization in Boston that is making a big difference in the lives of young readers by bringing children’s book authors and illustrators into under-served schools in the Greater Boston area for visits and residencies.” This month’s painting is beautiful and sunny.

Jennie has a new project at Biblio File, a Reading Challenges Clearinghouse. She says: “This blog will post (and link) to all the reading challenges out there for all types of book blogs. The long ones, the short ones, the serious, and the silly.” So, if you are hosting or participating in a reading challenge, do let Jennie know. (I personally have enough trouble keeping up with my reading, without adding challenges to the mix, but I know that a lot of people love them).

Angiegirl at Angieville writes about stubborn girls (in literature) and why she likes them. She highlights three of her favorites, and concludes: “In the end, I guess I’m just a ridiculously firm believer in the kind of heroines Robin McKinley (an excellently stubborn girl herself) refers to as “girls who do things.”“

Newlogorg200Someone else who I suspect appreciates stubborn girls (in life and literature) is Tanita Davis (have you read Mare’s War?). Tanita has a wonderful guest post at the Readergirlz blog about mothers and daughters. She shares some family memories, and photos, too. Go, read. It’s lovely.

Tanita also shares, at Finding Wonderland, an announcement about a call for young adult writing submissions for e-Publishing company Verb Noire. They’re looking for: “original works of genre fiction (science fiction/fantasy/mystery/romance) that feature a person of color and/or LGBT as the central character.”

Kidlitosphere_buttonAnd finally, another must-read post from Pam Coughlan at MotherReader. Pam summarizes her position of several topics currently in discussion around the Kidlitosphere, from review copy envy to the idea of making money from blogs. Not surprisingly, I thought that she was dead on. There’s some good discussion in the comments, too. Pam suggests (not for the first time) that we as a community: “spend some time educating ourselves about the issues, discussing the possible implications, and drafting our personal policies.” She asks: “What does it mean to you to Blog with Integrity?”

See what I mean? This is such a great community. Hope you found some food for thought, or just some news to make you smile.

© 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
Jun102009

Wednesday Afternoon Visits: June 10

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

Here are some items worth mentioning from around the Kidlitosphere:

Colleen Mondor has started a new feature at Chasing Ray called What a Girl Wants. She’ll be showcasing writers whose young adult novels have strong female characters. In the first installment of the series, Colleen asks her participants to share memories of books that they read as teens, books that made a lasting impact. Colleen’s own thoughts on A Wrinkle in Time particularly caught my attention, but all of the mini-essays are worth reading.

Newlogorg200And speaking of authors who write about strong female characters, Readergirlz is featuring Sara Zarr’s Sweethearts this month. You can find details here.

The UK has a new children’s laureate. Anthony Browne will be replacing Michael Rosen in this position. Do you think he’ll have tea with Jon Scieszka? I first saw the news at Children’s Books for Grown-Ups, where Natasha Worswick reports: “Anthony’s agenda as next Childrens Laureate is to  stimulate and encourage a lifelong love of reading.”

Betsy Bird has made her mid-year predictions for the Newbery and Caldecott awards at A Fuse #8 Production. She mentions one of the books that I read last weekend, The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate 

BooklightsSusan Kusel has a brilliant analysis of the design of Where the Wild Things Are at Booklights. She looks at how the ratio of white space to text and illustration change throughout the book, and how it affects the reader’s experience. Jules from 7-Imp also pointed out that today is Maurice Sendak’s birthday, so this is an extra-fitting post.

Mitali Perkins is running a poll on her site about whether or not it’s ok for publishers to “edit beloved children’s books like LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE or THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA to eliminate racial or ethnic stereotyping?” I’m kind of on the fence about this. I don’t like the idea of making changes like this. I think it’s better to leave the classics as-is, and use the racial or ethnic stereotyping as a jumping off place for discussion. However, if an author wants to make such changes herself, I hesitate to say that we shouldn’t let her. If you all have thoughts on this, please share them at Mitali’s.

J. L. Bell has a post at Oz and Ends about “representation of racial and ethnic minorities in American children’s books” and the realities of today’s publishing industry. He thinks that: “The challenge isn’t convincing individual gatekeepers. The challenge is convincing those editors’ corporate employers—and the corporations they work closely with, such as the chain booksellers—that there’s enough money to be made from those families to justify publishing more books than they already are.” Which sounds realistic to me.

I’ve mentioned Greg Pincus’ new blog, The Happy Accident, before. I especially liked this recent post, in which Greg introduces a social media “rule of three” for producing good content. The idea is that you should think about why you’re using the tool in the first place, whether you’re serving that purpose with individual updates, and whether you’re getting the results that you want. Which seems like good advice to me.

These are both a bit off topic, but Lois Lowry had two posts at her blog that I particularly enjoyed. Last week she had a post documenting an encounter (while on a trip to Africa) with elephants. Big ones protecting a little one. Gorgeous! (My grandfather used to collect elephant figurines, and elephants still catch my eye). Then, returning home, she shared a lovely post highlighting the upside of living in a rural place. Since she had missed her tulips blooming while she was away, her letter carrier took a picture of them for her. Kind of made me want to live in a small town, you know?

LiteraryBloggerAnd last, but not least, thank you to Melissa from Book Nut for giving me a Literary Blogger Award. She said that “promote and inspire people of all ages to read”, which is a lovely compliment. I’m great company, too!

That’s all for today.

© 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
May012009

Friday Afternoon Visits: May 1

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

Kidlitosphere_buttonIt’s been another hectic week around the Kidlitosphere. The number of starred items in my Google Reader keeps growing by leaps and bounds. Here are a few highlights (with more literacy and reading focused news to come on Monday):

The Edgar Award winners (from the Mystery Writers of America) were announced this week, as reported by Omnivoracious. They include: Best Young Adult Mystery: Paper Towns by John Green, and Best Juvenile MysteryThe Postcard by Tony Abbott.  

Jacba_bookseal-150x150In other award news, the 2009 Jane Addams Children’s Book Awards were announced. I found the news at PaperTigers. From the press release: “Books commended by the Award address themes or topics that engage children in thinking about peace, justice, world community, and/or equality of the sexes and all races. The books also must meet conventional standards of literary and artistic excellence. Planting the Trees of Kenya: The Story of Wangari Maathai… is the winner in the “Books for Younger Children” category. The Surrender Tree: Poems of Cuba’s Struggle for Freedom… is the winner in the “Books for Older Children” category.”

The five British Children’s Laureates recently each selected their seven favorite children’s booksTasha Saecker has the lists at Kids Lit, saying “Great reads are timeless as this list shows. Just reading the list brings back flashes of memories. Lovely.” I agree. I especially liked Jacqueline Wilson’s list, with favorites like Little WomenA Little Princess, The Railway Children, and Ballet Shoes

Newlogorg200The Readergirlz will be focusing on Red Glass by Laura Resau this month. Little Willow has all the details at Bildungsroman. Red Glass was also a Cybils short list title for young adult fiction in 2007. 

IblogoMary Hershey and Robin LaFevers have launched their third annual National Independent Booksellers Appreciation Month at Shrinking Violet Promotions. They’ve also just started a Shrinking Violet’s Yahoo Group, “the brainstorming, buddying-up, and support arm of the Shrinking Violet Promotions blog. It’s a place where introverted authors can discuss (and commiserate with!) the ins and outs of marketing and promoting their books.” 

May is also National Asian Pacific American Heritage month. Tanita Davis is participating at Finding Wonderland, responding to an interactive poll with questions like “Favorite Asian, South Asian or Asian American writers and their works”.

School Library Journal’s Battle of the (Kids) Books continued this week, with the semifinal winners identified. Melissa has a nice little recap at Book Nut. Like Melissa, what I’m curious about is: “will final judge Lois Lowry go for a huge, sprawling work of genius or a hip, intense dystopian novel? ” Me, I’m a huge fan of The Hunger Games (which won the Cybils award this year for YA fantasy/science fiction), so I know what I’m pulling for… 

The Last OlympianI’m guessing that a potential Cybils and SLJBoB candidate for next year will be the final book in the Percy Jackson seriesThe Last OlympianRick Riordan links to a feature article about Percy Jackson in the Wall Street Journal. Pretty impressive for a kid with ADHD who keeps getting kicked out of schools. Seriously, though, Mheir and I are planning to attend Rick’s upcoming signing at Kepler’s in Menlo Park, and will hope to see some of you there. 

The online auction to benefit fellow kidlit blogger Bridget Zinn (who is battling cancer) has begun. Matt Holm has the full details of the call for action. The auction site is here (a blog, appropriately enough), and there are lots of great items up for bid already. Please do consider participating - you can get great, one-of-a-kind items, and help one of our own at the same time. I’ve already put in a bid for an item that I want… But more items will be added in the next few days.

The Book Chook has a fun post about places that people read. She notes: “I love that reading is so portable. … When I go on holiday, my packing order is books: first; clothes: if I remember. That portability has enabled me to read in planes, trains and automobiles, on the Great Wall of China, and once while resisting anaesthetic before an operation.” I commented there and shared some of the notable places that I enjoyed reading as a child. Click through to see.

I also enjoyed this post at Ink Splot 26, about the five best sidekicks from books. Some of my favorite characters are the sidekicks, especially Bean from Ender’s Game and Sam from The Lord of the Rings.  

NationalPoetryMonthLogoIn round-up news, Elaine Magliaro rounds up week 4 of National Poetry Month in the Kidlitosphere at Wild Rose Reader. See also individual NPM round-ups at Susan Taylor Brown’s blogGotta Book (Gregory K’s blog), and Kelly Fineman’s blog. Also Chronicle of an Infant Bibliophile rounds up a host of children’s books about animals, with links to full reviews.

NORTHlogo[1]And finally, congratulations to Miss Erin, winner of Justina Chen Headley’s North of Beautiful Find Beauty Challenge. (My review of North of Beautiful is here.)

Wishing you all a peaceful and book-filled weekend.

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

Saturday
Apr252009

Sunday Afternoon Visits: April 25

From Jen Robinson’s Book Page

Happy Birthday, Mom and Dad! (Yes, my parents have the same birthday - it’s pretty cool. And easy to remember.) I know I just did a Kidlitosphere round-up post a few days ago. But, I don’t know what to tell you. People keep posting interesting things. Plus, you know, these round-up posts make for a good task while watching baseball (Red Sox - Yankees this weekend!).

Zombie_chicken_awardFirst up, I received another award this week. Angie from Angieville was kind enough to give me a Zombie Chicken Award, in particular recognition of my Reviews that Made Me Want the Book features. Here’s the scoop: “The blogger who receives this award believes in the Tao of the zombie chicken - excellence, grace and persistence in all situations, even in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. These amazing bloggers regularly produce content so remarkable that their readers would brave a raving pack of zombie chickens just to be able to read their inspiring words. As a recipient of this world-renowned award, you now have the task of passing it on to at least 5 other worthy bloggers. Do not risk the wrath of the zombie chickens by choosing unwisely or not choosing at all…” Hmm.. do I risk the wrath of the Zombie Chickens, or do I stick to my policy of saying that everyone who I mention in my visits posts is a blog that I’m giving recognition? Quite a dilemma. Either way, I’m grateful to Angie - this is a particularly fun award.

Kidlitosphere_buttonAt Lectitans, Kimberly has a helpful post with 5 Ways to Use Kidlitosphere Central. I especially applaud her suggestions to use the resources at Kidlitosphere Central to make friends, and get involved in the community.

I’m thrilled to be in the middle of a few weeks at home between trips. However, Betsy Bird made me a bit sad that I’m not going to BEA this year, when she described at Fuse #8 a Day of Dialog that School Library Journal is putting together. It’s “a free, day-long program where librarians, editors, authors, and vendors meet to discuss the changing world of books, reading, and libraries”, complete with food from Little Brown, and a panel session moderated by Betsy. Maybe next year…

Caps for SaleSpeaking of Betsy, she’s up to #17 in her Top 100 Picture Books announcements (Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina). This list is already filled with amazing, amazing books, and you know that the remaining 16 are all going to be popular favorites. What I’m interested to see is how many of the top 15 are newly published books. Will there be any, or will it be all old favorites? Stay tuned!

OppositedayOver at Scholastic’s Ink Splot 26 blog, Karen W. has come up with a list of clever book titles in honor of “Opposite Day”. In my favorite, Because of Winn Dixie becomes In Spite of Safeway. Your suggestions are welcome in the comments.

In other made up book title news, the winner of the Bottom Shelf Books / Saints and Spinners Unnecessary Children’s Book Titles that Never Were contest was announced. Congratulations to Book Aunt Kate Coombs for coming up with “Harry and the Can of Purple Spray Paint”. Click through for the delightful illustration. 

Speaking of delightful illustrations, Eric Carle was just featured in Newsweek, with an article titled “The Surprising Dark Side of the Very Hungry Caterpillar”. Travis has the scoop at 100 Scope Notes.

At Original Content, Gail Gauthier has an interesting post pondering adult characters in children’s books. She asks: “Have we always felt that children should be center stage in children’s books? Or back in the day when books for children were more instructive were they filled with adult characters for them to model themselves upon?” There’s quite a discussion in the comments, including a response by author Tim Byrd, whose work is mentioned in the post.

As reported on many blogs, the shortlists for the Carnegie Award (the oldest children’s literature award in Britain) were announced this week. Charlotte has the list at Charlotte’s Library, and was the first person I saw to point out the fact that in all seven, the main characters are boys. Alison Flood of the Guardian also called it a “boysy” list. UK-based blogger Bookwitch is happy to have read and liked all seven titles, and approves of the boy-friendly slant, too.

StarclimberMeanwhile, over in Canada, the 2009 Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Awards short lists were announced. You can find the list at Kids LitTasha is always up on the award news. Chester’s Back, which I loved, is on the picture book list. Starclimber, which I just reviewed last week, is on the young adult list.  

Two posts caught my eye this week from moms who are clearly doing well with the whole raising readers thing:

  • At Paradise Found, confronted by a son who finished four middle grade novels in one day, Kris Bordessa asks: “Do you ever tell your kids to stop reading? Would you, if they read four books daily? How much is too much?” There are bunches of comments in response to this question.
  • Jennifer from Snapshot shares her progress with daughter Amanda in their Read Together Challenge. She says of the challenge: “I have found the accountability great in encouraging my perseverance. When we finished this book, Amanda said, “We need to get another book we can read together.” I was glad that she is enjoying this effort as much as I am.” 

 And a few other quick hits:

© 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).