I spent much of the weekend consumed by Jodi Picoult's Nineteen Minutes, and getting x-rays of my inexplicably (but undeniably) injured knee, leaving little time for blog visits. Fortunately, I flagged lots of interesting things throughout the week. Here are some highlights:
- Marc Aronson says at Nonfiction Matters that "we all need to talk about what nonfiction books should be. What is excellence in that environment? Should books be simpler, more photo driven, more graphic novelesque. Some say that given where students actually are, we need to meet them or we lose them." He also points a finger at teachers. Monica Edinger responds at Educating Alice to Marc's comments from a teacher's perspective. She urges authors to: "get to that teacher in her context. That is, show and model how to use these books in the classroom yourself. Find teachers who like the idea of working with you and get in there with them. Work with them, present the results with them at conferences, and write about that in articles and blogs. In other words, stop standing outside the classroom. Get inside!" It's an interesting discussion.
- David Fickling books has announced "the worldwide publication of Once Upon a Time in the North by Philip Pullman, a beguiling and intriguing new episode from Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials universe." You can read the full announcement at Lessons from the Tortoise (and at other sites). The book will delve into the first meeting of beloved characters balloonist Lee Scoresby and armoured bear Iorek Byrnison. If you haven't read them, the His Dark Materials books are not to be missed.
- Anne-Marie Nichols reminds us at A Readable Feast that September is the ALA's Library Card Sign-Up Month. She also shares "52 ways to use your library card - one activity for each week of the year". It's a great list, well worth checking out. Anne-Marie also reviews a couple of books about Middle Eastern wars, through the eyes of children.
- Cheryl Rainfield has all the cool stuff. First, she features a gorgeous book sculpture Toronto artist Ilan Sandler. Click through for pictures. Then she links to an article about how to create a bookshelf closet door (basically, a bookshelf hiding the entrance to a tiny hidden room). I want one. And finally (this one is for you, Mom), a quilt for book lovers.
- Becky (Reading with Becky) found a great article in Tufts Magazine by Maryanne Wolf about how "Literacy changes us forever, both intellectually and biologically". My favorite quote from the article is: "reading is a kind of sanctuary where human beings have access to thousands of different realities they might otherwise never encounter or understand. Each of these new realities can transform your life without your ever leaving your sandy retreat."
- Shrinking Violet Promotions announced the winner of their contest, in which participants re-wrote book and song titles from an introvert's perspective. First place was Terry P with "Hush Little Baby Don't Say a Word, Mama Understands You're An Introvert." Also not to be missed are the winning responses to The Disco Mermaids' Snappy Answers to Frequently Frustrating Questions contest. And, in something of an unplanned contest, I received third place in Mary Lee's bloglines back-up contest at A Year of Reading, having produced some 56 unread posts during her blog absence. This is what can happen when I don't have to travel so much. Sorry, ML!
- Via Tricia (The Miss Rumphius Effect), the third part of Donalyn Miller's three-part Teacher Magazine article about creating readers is now available. The intro says: "In this final installment of her Ask the Mentor column, Miller answers readers' questions on creating in-class reading time and raising test scores. Don't miss “Thirteen Books You Have to Read Before You Turn Thirteen,” a list compiled by one of her former students, or Miller's own "Books That Hook Readers."" I had to register for the site to view the article this time, though I hadn't had to do so for the previous two parts.
- Publisher's Weekly had a great article this week about the readergirlz 31 Flavorites initiative, taking place during the month of October, and the readergirlz partnership with YALSA for the event. The State Library of Iowa also published a nice article about readergirlz.
- Mitali Perkins (back from a summer sabbatical) addresses writing about race and skin color.
- Emily Beeson shares a list of her daughter's favorite "girly picture books" at whimsy.
- Tasha (Kids Lit) links to a fascinating article in ScienceDaily about the reading process, "surprisingly different than previously thought." Scientists found that when we read "our eyes look at different letters in the same word and then combine the different images through a process known as fusion.
- Kathy (Library Stew) links to a Scholastic article by Mo Willems about making reading fun. Mo suggests playing around with books by changing things as you read, and going off with your child to make up related stories after reading a book.
- Jennifer Schultz reviews the best books about books at The Kiddosphere, including my beloved Read Aloud Handbook, by Jim Trelease.
- And, echoing something that Trelease strongly suggests, Susan quotes John Holt on reading aloud at Chicken Spaghetti, specifically "There's no reason to feel...that we must always read aloud to little children from 'easy' books that they can 'understand.'" The idea is that just because first graders can't read complex books doesn't mean that they can't take in more complex material.
- Susan Beth Pfeffer has published parts 2 and 3 of her blog series about writing. Part 2 is about getting from theme to story. Part 3 is about finding your characters. Other installments will follow next week.
- Cynthia Lord has a helpful post with recommendations for authors who travel to do presentations. She's incorporated input from various commenters, too. Cindy also recently published a lovely list of Books that Linger. My favorite from her list is The Borrowers.
- Over at Semicolon, Sherry wraps up posts about autumn from last year and this year, complete with poems.
- And, I saved the best for the last. The new issue of The Edge of the Forest is now available. Here are some highlights, as outlined by Kelly Herold: "An interview with Phil Bildner, by Camille Powell. An appreciation of Patrick McDowell's picture books, by Adrienne Furness. Kelly discusses Anglo-American versions of Baba Yaga tales in Baba Yaga Heads West. Liz Burns reviews Barry Lyga's Fanboy and Boy Toy. Kim Winters talks being on retreat in A Day in the Life. Betsy Bird (A Fuse #8 Production) tells us What's in their Backpacks?. Robin Brande is this month's Blogging Writer. Sounds from the Forest talks with Mary Anne Hoberman and Deborah Freedman (Brought to you by Just One More Book!!)". There are also bunches of reviews. Head on over to see for yourself.
That should keep you busy for a while. I hope to continue with more middle grade and YA book reviews this week.