Oliver's Must-Do List: Susan Taylor Brown and Mary Sullivan (illus)
Happy Birthday to L. Frank Baum

Sunday Afternoon Visits

I'm spending some time on this beautiful Sunday afternoon visiting friends across the blog world. Here are some things that caught my eye.

  • A Fuse #8 Production brings us a link to a story about J.K. Rowling (an incident which I had also seen briefly mentioned in my local paper). Apparently Ms. Rowling had mentioned on her own blog the fact that she was having difficulty finding lined paper on which to write in longhand. Since then, she's been deluged with lined paper by her legions of fans, who want to make sure that she has everything she needs to produce that next Harry Potter book.
  • A Fuse #8 Production also has an interesting discussion, carried over from a discussion on Read Roger, about whether or not there have been any children's books written in the U.S. in the past 25 years that would already qualify as classics. Top choices in the discussion seem to be Louis Sachar's Holes, and Lois Lowry's The Giver.
  • Jay over at The Disco Mermaids received the first positive (glowing, actually) critique of his newly completed young adult manuscript. The post is a nice window into how hard it can be to put oneself out there for feedback. I'm also curious about The Disco Mermaids' countdown until they "begin cracking the codes buried within some of the most beloved books for children."
  • And speaking of countdowns, Gail Gauthier's new book, Happy Kid!, comes out on Thursday, the 18th. In honor of the book's release, Gail is giving away six copies of the book to people who email her that day. You can find details here. I did have an internal struggle with deciding whether to post about this or not, because I want to win a copy myself, and all of you are competition. But I decided to take the high road! Good luck!
  • All About Children's Books links to a quiz about celebrity children's book authors. I did disturbingly well, for someone who doesn't actually read celebrity children's books. Sally links to some other articles about celebrity children's book authors, and gets into a bit of a rant yourself. It's a fun tangent for the day.
  • Kelly at Big A little a crowns Lyra from Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials "the single best female hero in children's literature." I would have to agree. Kelly also links to a great Amanda Craig interview of Cornelia Funke, author of the Inkworld trilogy. Here I learned the fascinating tidbit that Ms. Funke based the character of Mo (Meggie's dad) on Brendan Fraser. I actually didn't like Brendan Fraser's narration of the audiobook of Inkspell. Not because he didn't do a wonderful job (he did), but because his voice is so distinctive that I kept getting distracted from the story by thinking, "hey, that's Brendan Fraser." But if Mo is supposed to be like Brendan Fraser, well then, that changes everything. Thanks to Kelly for helping to clear this up!
  • Gregory K at Gotta Book has an original poem for Mother's Day.
  • Susan at Chicken Spaghetti writes about slowing down and listening to what kids want to read, with a recommendation of Big Brown Bear for beginning readers.
  • Little Willow has a bunch of great new book lists, on cats, being kind to animals, books for elementary school boys, strong women, books set in schools, and fairy tales re-told. You could spend hours poring through these lists!
  • Meg Cabot has a nice follow-up to last week's post about the importance of practice to get better at something (as opposed to stealing someone else's work). Here she references a scientific study about the Expert Performance Movement, which found that what makes people good at something is practice, as opposed to some ephemeral concept of talent.
  • Congratulations to Scott Westerfeld, whose book Specials (the third in the Uglies, Pretties trilogy) debuted at number 6 on the New York Time chapter book list. You can read about Scott's joy here.

Hope that you all had a great weekend! I'll be back to visit soon. -- Jen