Teen Read Week: October 14 to 20
How To Be A Spy: Justine Smith

Friday Afternoon Visits: September 14

31_flavorites_logotThere's a lot going on in the Kidlitosphere right now. The Cybils are starting up, and looking for volunteers. Teen Read Week is approaching. People (thanks to a tremendous initiative by Jules from 7-Imp) are starting a huge, interconnected project in support of Robert's Snow. Spots are still open for volunteers to help with that, too. The readergirlz are gearing up for a multi-author "31-Flavorites" extravaganza in October. Not to mention that the team that brought you the Summer Blog Blast Tour is hard at work on interviews for the Winter Blog Blast Tour. (This last event is closed to new blogger participants, for logistical reasons, but I promise you that it's going to be spectacular.)

However, none of the above should overshadow the other wonderful things that people are writing about on their blogs. Here are some recent highlights:

  • Sherry contributes an annotated bibliography of Madeleine L'Engle's titles at Semicolon.
  • Tasha was the first up that I saw with the Quills winners at Kids Lit. The kids winners were Flotsam (picture book), The Invention of Huge Cabaret (middle grade) and Sold (young adult). Looks like three good choices to me.
  • Mindy reports at propernoun.net that kids at her old public library were able to talk last week with people on the International Space Station. How cool would that be for a kid?
  • And I know, I know, I've been talking about Shrinking Violet Promotions a lot lately. But they started a really fun contest this week. And I've had such great feedback to my recent introvert posts that I thought that some of you would be interested. The idea is to "Take the title from a favorite book or song, and rewrite it from the Introvert's perspective." I had quite a bit of fun with it, myself. And, for all you writers out there, one of the prizes that you can choose if you win is a 10 page manuscript critique. The deadline to contribute is Wednesday.
  • Melissa Wiley has a lovely write-up and response to the book A Child's Delight, by Noel Perrin, at Here in the Bonny Glen. The book is a series of 30 short essays about minor children's classics which the author, and his editor, felt had been neglected or ignored recently. Remind anyone of Recommendations from Under the Radar?
  • Sara Lewis Holmes aggregates an array of recent discussions about middle grade (vs. middle school) literature at Read Write Believe. She also throws in a hint of discussion for all you middle children out there.
  • Kathryne Alfred asks at The Longstockings how to get kids to read, and how make reading more cool. There are lots of great comments, though no definitive answer.
  • Liz Garton Scanlon writes about the difficulty of staying productive while also staying balanced, and enjoying life. This is something we're all struggling with, I know, but I found that Liz's words helped. I especially liked her conclusion: "There was a poet once who said something about time being "the coin of your life." I'd like to become even more mindful of how I'm spending mine. How about you?"
  • Robin Brande also addresses the question of how we spend our time, noting that "those long periods of thinking and goofing off are part of what I enjoy about my life." I know for me that the time I spend at home reading books, reading blogs, and even watching certain television shows, is what recharges me, and keeps me able to do my work in between.
  • Did you see the See-Saw Bookshelf at Generate? It's completely impractical, but very funny. Link via Bookshelves of Doom.
  • Justine Larbalestier has a well-thought-out post about the difference between writing about something (like teenage pregnancy) and condoning it. She concludes: "I see my duty of care in writing for people who are not yet adults like this: 1) Entertain; 2) Do not condescend; 3) Be honest." And that, people, is how you get books that kids want to read. (There is quite a discussion going on in the comments, too.)
  • The second part of Donalyn Miller's excellent three-part article about creating readers is now available on the Teacher Magazine website. Thanks to Don for pointing it out to me. "In this second installment of her Ask the Mentor column, Miller answers readers' questions on motivating reluctant readers and encouraging parent involvement. Next week, in Part III, she will share “Thirteen Books You Have to Read Before You Turn Thirteen,” a list compiled by one of her former students." Thanks again to Tricia for the link to Part 1.
  • If you live in LA, now is the time to get your tickets to the play Spring Awakening, featuring our own Little Willow. I mean, really, aren't you curious to see what she looks like?
  • Nancy has a new contest at Journey Woman. The contest theme is "High Culture meets Pop Culture". Nancy is looking for "examples of TV shows, popular songs, or movies that used references or quotes from famous poets or authors in a way that may have caught people by surprise." Sounds like fun, doesn't it?
  • At Becky's Book Reviews, Becky comments in-depth on Read Roger's latest question about pros and cons of reviewing, and whether or not there should be a "blind" review process. While I'm a fan of blind tasting of wines (also touched on by Roger), I think that blind reviewing is impractical. Sure, I want my reviews to be semi-blind, in that I try very hard not to read promotional material, blurbs, other reviews, etc., before I write my own review. And, like Becky, I happily review lots of books from authors that I've never heard of before. But the fact is that people, myself included, have favorite authors, and want to hear news about those favorite authors. Blind reviews would also not work very well with sequels, of which we have many in the fantasy genre. But it's an interesting question.
  • There's another new blog from the folks at Read Alert. It's called Boys blokes books. It's a companion to a reading program taking place in Drouin, Melton and Melton. Their first question is about what book you would save from a fire, if you were on a deserted island.

Hmmm, I noticed that I linked to lots of posts by writers this week. Purely a coincidence - I just collect the posts as they catch my eye, and then write them up at the end of the week. But it sure shows that kid lit writers have a lot to say about things besides their own books.

I'll be back on Sunday with the news from the weekend. I was going to hold off on this until Sunday (my usual round-up day), but I've included a couple of deadlines for contests, and wanted to get you that info right away. I wish you all a happy weekend. Me, I'll be watching the Red Sox / Yankees series.