There continues to be a lot going on around the Kidlitosphere. Last week was the Winter Blog Blast Tour, consisting of approximately 50 author interviews across 20 or blogs. It was a big success, with lots of great insights. I interviewed Gabrielle Zevin and Rick Riordan. The Robert's Snow: Blogging for a Cure event is wrapping up this week, with auctions for the snowflakes beginning November 19th. Nominations are being accepted for the 2007 Cybils awards through November 21st. Hundreds of great books have been nominated already, but there is still time to nominate your favorite in each category. See also Anne Boles Levy's article at ForeWord magazine about the Cybils. Anne is guest blogging for ForeWord this month, so check back.
Coming up, I (along with many others) will be attending next weekend's NCTE (The National Council of Teachers of English) conference in New York City. I'll be presenting in a panel session called "Welcome to the Kidlitosphere: Reading, Reviewing, and Blogging About Children's Literature" with Mary Lee Hahn, Liz Burns, and Susan Thomsen. My part of the discussion is called "Whatever It Takes: Helping Kids to Fall in Love with Books". The session will take place on Saturday, November 17th from 1:15 to 2:30 PM at the Javits Convention Center. If you'll be attending the conference, I hope that we'll have a chance to meet.
Also, this coming week is Children's Book Week. Not sure what that means for me, exactly, since I consider every week to be children's book week. But you'll likely find fun programs at your local library. And it's a great excuse to buy and read children's books. Thanks to Kids Lit and the ALSC blog for the word.
And now, on to the other Kidlitosphere news of the week:
- MotherReader will be hosting the next Carnival of Children's Literature. The theme is tips. She says: "For this month I want a tip as a reader, writer, illustrator, reviewer, publisher, or editor of children’s literature. I want a lesson learned from a teacher, librarian, author, or parent with regards to kids’ lit." The deadline is Saturday, November 24th. I plan to do a post on tips for growing bookworms.
- Speaking of growing bookworms, Cheryl Rainfield has a post about how parents can create a love of reading by reading aloud with their children. This is, of course, the number one tip on my list, too. She references some recent results from the UK.
- Along the same lines, Daphne Lee writes at The Places You Will Go about reading aloud to babies. She's very firm in stating that people should read to babies early and often, and that it doesn't matter so much what you read. She says: "The best thing about books and reading is that they create “together” time. You can’t just chuck a book at a babe and hope for the best... But the real joy and the best fun come from mum showing him pictures and telling him a story. The actual words may not mean anything but the way they sound will." I have a friend (she knows who she is), who used to read her daughter Anne River Siddons novels (adult fiction/romance). Her daughter is 13 now, and a huge bookworm. Coincidence? I think not. See also Daphne's post about buying books for holiday gifts. She quotes Roger Sutton on choosing books that the reader will enjoy, because "it's supposed to be a gift, not an imposition".
- And, for another tip on encouraging young readers, the ALSC blog has a list of picture books that are helpful for raising print awareness ("one of the six early literacy skills that focuses on noticing print everywhere"). The post finishes with some concrete suggestions for parents to raise print awareness in young children.
- Susan Taylor Brown is seeking book recommendations for two young girls whose mother is undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer. There are some good suggestions in the comments already, but if you have anything to add, please share. Also, Susan is starting a list of animals that hold our hearts from children's literature. She's looking for real animals, no talking animals or the like. If you have any suggestions, you can make them in the comments here.
- Over at The Disco Mermaids, Jay Asher has an interesting post on what to do as an author if you are in the bookstore, and see someone holding a copy of your book. He asks if it's ok to approach the person and offer to sign it. There are about 20 comments so far, and most people have said "sure." What do you think? Would you find it weird or would you find it cool if the author approached you as you were holding a book in the bookstore? (My review of Jay's book, Thirteen Reasons Why, is here.)
- Every year The Association of Booksellers for Children (ABC), a non-profit trade association for the children’s book industry, produces a 20-page catalog filled with some 240 picks for top children's books of the year. As a special bonus for blog readers, this year's catalog is now available, and can be downloaded free of charge from Kirsten McLean's blog Pixie Stix Kids Pix.
- Author Shannon Hale has a post about how she balances writing and mothering. I think that her comments have applicability to all women who are trying to balance motherhood against some other passion. The article is well worth a read.
- I can't possibly highlight all of the posts that people have done featuring illustrators for the Robert's Snow blogging for a cure event. But I did want to bring to your attention Just One More Book's podcast interview with Scott Magoon, in which Scott refers to picture books as (with slight paraphrasing because I took notes from the audio) a "gateway drug to a greater world of understanding and learning and life and love". I love that. Scott is also the author and illustrator of one of my favorite picture books from this year, Hugo and Miles in I've Painted Everything (review here).
- I learned from Reading Rockets about a new website and blog for parents and teachers of 4th to 12th graders, focused on literacy and reading motivation. It's called AdLit.org, and I've already signed up for their blog and newsletter. I'll keep you posted on what they come up with.
- A couple of months back I mentioned a three-part Teacher Magazine article on encouraging readers by Donalyn Miller. Ms. Miller has a new Teacher Magazine blog called The Book Whisperer. "She will write about how to inspire and motivate student readers, and respond to issues facing teachers and other leaders in the literacy field." One of her early posts discusses finding time to read (she's not very sympathetic towards people who say that they don't have time). Clearly, this is going to be a must-read blog for me.
- I'm also still enjoying Eduholic, another Teacher Magazine blog. In this post, Emmet Rosenfeld talks about the pace at which people read, and remarks: "Sometimes I regret that in moving as slowly as we tend to do through a text with students, we lose that sense of dipping into another world." Funny, I once said something similar about reading books for the purpose of reviewing them.
- Mindy has a post over at Tandem Insights about urban fiction for high school. She says: "Urban fiction is a hot topic for teens right now, and many libraries are looking for titles that show the harsher side of city life from a teen’s perspective." Mindy also blogs at Propernoun.net, where she has a list of books that make math and science accessible to kids.
- And speaking of the grittier side of high school, Deborah Davis has a post about why teens in prisons don't have books. She starts with this statement: "Among all of our juvenile detention centers across the United States--that is, in our prisons for people under the age of 18--there exist only six staffed libraries. Six. That's all." She goes on to discuss the crisis in more detail, and concludes with some concrete suggestions about donating books. Thanks to TadMack from Finding Wonderland for the link.
- On a lighter note, Elaine Magliaro gathers Thanksgiving book lists at Wild Rose Reader.
- And finally, in honor of Remembrance Day, Shelf Elf lists several picture books for peace.
Thank you veterans! Wishing everyone peace this Remembrance/Veteran's Day.