NCTE Conference Notes
Fourth Issue of the Growing Bookworms Email Newsletter

Tuesday Afternoon Visits: Amazon's Kindle Reader, Brendan Fraser, and Boys Blogging Books

As I mentioned in my previous post, I was in New York for the weekend for the NCTE Conference. This left me unable to write my usual Sunday Visits post of happenings from around the Kidlitosphere. Truth be told, I'm still catching up from the trip, and have more than 640 unread blog posts in my Google Reader. However, I have run across a few posts in the past week or so that I would like to bring to your attention. This won't be a comprehensive round-up, but there is some food for thought.

  • Donalyn Miller has a post at The Book Whisperer about her experiences at the NCTE conference. I especially enjoyed the end of the post, where she talks about how important it is for reading teachers to be readers first, saying "Students need more than classroom modeling to become readers, they need life modeling. Some may not get it from home, but they should always get it from us- their reading teachers. For me, a teacher who reads, sharing books with my students is the greatest joy there is." I'm sorry that I didn't get to meet her at the conference.
  • Just in time for holiday travel, Camille has a list of recommended audio books up at Book Moot. She feels the same way I do about Brendan Fraser's narration of Cornelia Funke's books (it's not that he's bad, it's just distracting because his voice is so distinctive). There are lots of other good audiobook suggestions in the comments.
  • My friend Cory was the first to tell me about Amazon's new Kindle ebook reader, which has since generated quite a stir. The New York Times Technology section has a nice article about it. Or, you can read Cheryl Rainfield's list of pros and cons for the new reader. Personally, I think it looks very cool. It's the first time I've been tempted by an ebook reader. But it doesn't look like it would help me to get through my stack of review books, so it's not something I'll be looking into at this time. [However, if you by any chance are thinking of buying one, can I make a humble suggestion? Go through someone's Amazon affiliate site (doesn't have to be mine, could be the Cybils blog, or pretty much anyone who you know uses Amazon links) when you make this purchase. It's something I often forget to do, but is worth remembering in this case.]
  • While we're on the subject of purchasing things, Choice Literacy offers up their Gifts for Literacy Geeks: 2007 Edition (for which they make no commission). There's some fun stuff, including crossword puzzle pajamas.   
  • Jules and Eisha from 7-Imp have an article at the Poetry Foundation website. It's about Lunchbox Poems. They say: "Why not, as Kenn Nesbitt suggests, slip some verses into your children’s lunchboxes to share a giggle or remind them that you’re thinking of them?" They suggest poems for various important days of the school year. Thanks to Anne Boles Levy at Book Buds for the link.
  • And speaking of Book Buds, Anne has another article up at ForeWord Magazine. In this installment, she revisits her Kidlitosphere Conference session on improving the quality of book reviews. This is must-read stuff, though not for the faint of heart (she thinks that we have room for improvement, and is not afraid to say so quite firmly).
  • Via Mitali's Fire Escape, I learned that the Horn Book will be launching a monthly newsletter "for parents, teachers, librarians and anyone else who is interested in the world of children's literature". Mitali has the scoop, and the email address to subscribe. [Funny thing: after reading this post late last night, I dreamed that someone else more famous than me started a Growing Bookworms newsletter, and that I was going to have to change mine to call it something else. I realize now, as I write this up, that this nightmare was probably inspired by the announcement about the "HB Newsletter". Ah, subconscious paranoia!]
  • Lisa Chellman has a new blog called Under the Covers. Among other things, she plans to include an ongoing feature called Books Boys Like. She says: "I hope it will raise awareness of books in different genres, with high boy appeal, for librarians, teachers, and parents who want to help boys find enjoyable reading material. (And yes, I do think many girls would enjoy these books, too!)". Paige Y. is also looking for and talking about books for boys at Reading and Breathing.
  • In a recent post, Lisa Chellman highlighted a new blog called Boys Blogging Books. I think that it's a great idea. So far, reviewers include 14-year-old Kurtis, 11-year-old Michael, and 12-year-old David. They will only post reviews of books that they like, because "Everyone's tastes are different and just because we don't like something doesn't mean someone else might not love it." The actual posts come from Sheri, who appears to also blog at Goading the Pen. The boys interviewed Jay Asher, and are now seeking to do a "reverse interview", by offering to answer questions from authors about what makes them, as adolescent boys, open and enjoy particular books. Very cool!
  • On a related note, The Reading Zone has started a new feature called Hot Books!, about books that are particularly popular with "real live readers". The first installment includes Diary of a Wimpy Kid, which I've heard recommended from several sources lately. I'm going to have to check that one out myself.
  • Celebrating six months of blogging, Wizards Wireless offers a detailed post with advice for beginning bloggers. She starts with general topics, and moves on to some specifics about the Kidlitosphere. I think that even experienced bloggers could learn from her thoughtful suggestions.
  • Finally, there's an interesting discussion going on at Nonfiction Matters (Marc Aronson's SLJ blog) about fictionalized nonfiction, and other genre-slipping topics. Read Part 1, Part 2, and Marc's closely related fiction non fiction post for details.

And that's all for today. I'll try to get back to you with more links on Sunday (though with the Thanksgiving holiday coming up, I can't promise to ever read those 646 backlogged Google Reader posts). Wishing you all a happy and safe Thanksgiving!