The Zoo: Suzy Lee
The 12th Carnival of Children's Literature

Sunday Afternoon Visits: March 18

Another week, another business trip, another weekend of trying in vain to get caught up on the Kidlitosphere. But I'm happy to report that this coming week I don't have any business trips. It's very exciting for me. And it's good timing, because I have some exciting stuff going on with the blog this week. I have Margo Rabb visiting on Wednesday as part of her book tour (she'll be at Chasing Ray tomorrow), and I'm scheduled to have an interview myself at 7-Imp. Stay tuned! Meanwhile, here are some tidbits for your reading pleasure:

  • I liked this quiz posted at The Shady Glade (originally from Shannon Hale's newsletter): Are You a Bibliophile? It has questions like: Do you ask strangers, "What's that you're reading?". I scored 12 (after some slight re-interpretation of the questions), which means: "You love books, but fortunately for you, there is a good chance you will remain sane. Your bibliophilia is borderline, but not yet at the pathological stage."
  • Ms. Mac has started a new feature at Check It Out, a weekly recap of what the kids at her elementary school are reading. I hope that she keeps it up - it's quite entertaining.
  • And on the subject of what kids are reading, Tricia has a post over at The Miss Rumphius Effect about kids' favorite reads. She basically dissects a list put together by the Center for Teaching and Learning, a K-8, non-profit, demonstration school in Edgecomb, Maine. Specifically, she looks at the differences in the books recommended by boys vs. girls. Interesting stuff!
  • There's a passionate discussion going on in the comments of a Guardian post by Meg Rosoff about negative book reviews. Meg says: "I only review books I really like. It's cowardly, I know, but I figure it's not my job to make people unhappy. I'll leave that to the professionals." Commenters question this, saying that her duty is to the readers who read the reviews, but she defends her point. As "a novelist who occasionally reviews? If I get a chance to review a book I really like (which is a fairly rare occurrence) then it's worth the days out of my "proper job" to write a review. After all, who doesn't want to spread the word about a terrific book, especially if it's a book other people have overlooked." Thanks to Kelly at Big A little a for the link.
  • Betsy also tackles the topic of writing negative book reviews, specifically when you are likely to meet the author. See also Wendy's comments at Blog from the Windowsill, and the Read Roger post that sparked much of the discussion on the other blogs.
  • Laurie Halse Anderson emailed me about a couple of book signings that she's doing in my area of Northern California. She'll be at the venerable Kepler's Books in Menlo Park and at Books Inc. in San Francisco, both on Saturday, March 31st. You can find the details here. I'm planning to attend the Kepler's signing.
  • The new issue of The Big Fresh, the Choice Literacy newsletter, features a listing of and discussion about Daniel Pennac's 10 rights for readers. I've seen these before, but they resonate so strongly with me that I was happy to see them again. Editor Brenda Power asks questions like "Is there a certain age when the right to read "anything" should kick in?"
  • There's an open discussion going on at the YA Authors Cafe about "What genre or subject matter seems to be neglected in today's contemporary teen lit?" I learned about this from Liz B. at Tea Cozy, and I agree with Liz's suggestion that more straightforward genre books would be welcome. I also think that we could use more books written from the perspective of minority characters (ethnic, sexual, cultural and other minorities). Not books ABOUT being a minority, just books about mystery or romance or coming of age, in which the character happens to not be straight, white, and American. That's my two cents on that topic.
  • There's a debate going on at Educating Alice and A Fuse #8 Production about whether or not the Kidlitosphere is exclusionary. Monica Edinger started the discussion by asking people to at least see that there is inclusion and exclusion going on. Most of the comments that I've read have been in defense of the Kidlitosphere as being a welcoming sort of place, where people don't deliberately exclude others. But of course we make value judgments about who we're going to write about all the time. I have certain types of things that I like to feature in these Sunday visits posts, and often I do find them at the same sub-set of blogs. But I try very hard to at least skim through all 148 blogs that I have in my Google Reader, plus the 25 or so that I have bookmarked for regular visits, before I wrap up each post. Some weeks I simply don't have the time (as will probably be the case today), and I do end up relying more on my "favorites". But I try to keep up with as many people as I can, because I think that we all have interesting things to contribute to this dialog about books and reading. See also MotherReader's post on the subject of blog cliques.
  • I also noticed that Susan at Chicken Spaghetti is taking action re: the exclusionary aspects of the Kidlitosphere by explaining what things are: notably the carnival of children's literature and Poetry Friday
  • I learned from Big A little a that the 2007 Astrid Lindgren award was just announced. This year's winner is Banco del Libro, an organization that disseminates books and promotes reading for kids in Venezuela. As Kelly notes, this award is a particularly big deal because of the money involved, about $700,000 in prize money.
  • For an interesting off-topic post, check out Becky's article about hot to trot tots and their pole-dancing mamas (about the sexualization of young girls, in terms of clothing, etc.), with several informed references.
  • Little Willow has a new booklist, this one for tweens.

And that's all I have time for today. I'll try to get back with more updates in the next couple of days. Happy reading!