Hot off the Presses
A Book for President's Day

Quick Hits

A few more things for you to ponder, as you wait eagerly for Valentine's Day, and the Cybils award announcements:

  • Franki at A Year of Reading takes up the question raised at The Miss Rumphius Effect, and asks why it is that some older books just don't interest current students. She includes a classroom experience with From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler as an example. There's some interesting discussion in the comments. At least, I think it's interesting, because I've had this experience with my nieces, too. I was so excited when they were first old enough to read books I loved, but I found that often these would fall flat. I do better if I'm up on current books to recommend and discuss. You may also want to read Tricia's follow-up to her original post about this.
  • Gail Gauthier links to a wonderful article in the Burlington Free Press about the real-life story behind Katherine Paterson's A Bridge to Terebithia. I knew vaguely that the book was based on a true story, but this article goes into enough detail to make me really understand. Wow! It's also a testament to the impact that the right childhood friend can have on someone's life.
  • Jennifer at Snapshot has initiated the very cool Read to Me 2007 challenge, to encourage parents to set tangible goals for reading more with their kids. What could be better than that? Well, there will also be an Amazon gift certificate awarded as a prize.
  • If you want to see a great story about how writers support one another, check out this post at Cynthia Lord's journal. And while we're talking with writers, you can read Shannon Hale's thoughts on why reading negative reviews of her books isn't helpful for her.
  • I've been avoiding the whole Maureen Dowd column about chick lit debate (this Galley Cat entry, which I learned about from Liz B. at Tea Cozy, sums it up quite well). But I was taken with Bookseller Chick's response to this and some other recent instances of book snobbery. She offers a strong defense of people's right to read whatever they want to, saying "My time, and what I do with it, is my time and until it affects the great and judgmental you in some detrimental way you don’t have a right to infringe upon it." She also adds a solid yet witty defense of genre novels, asking: "If it expands my vocabulary, does it count? If it educates me in pop culture, something that our world trades upon as heavily these days as solid facts, have I wasted brain space or increased my knowledge in other areas more accessible to those around me?" It's great stuff. Well worth reading.

And now I'm reasonably caught up, and off to go finish my last unread title from the MG and YA Fiction shortlists for the Cybils.