STORM: The Infinity Code: E. L. Young
Children's Literacy Round-Up: Newspapers, Dyslexia, and Funding for Literacy Programs

Saturday Afternoon Visits: February 23

it's a stormy, windy day here in Northern California. Mheir had to go into work, so I've been spending some time on the computer. Here is some news from around the Kidlitosphere:

  • Jess has a post about the use of digital storytelling for educators, linked from discussion on EduCause Connect. There's a definition of digital storytelling, and a discussion about how Web 2.0 has a "lower barrier to use."
  • Sara Lewis Holmes has a conversation going on at Read Write Believe about "otherness" in children's literature. She asks: "what makes you leap into the story? Do you think: Oh! that character's just like me! I would do that! Or is it the opposite: why on earth would a character think that? Do that? Say that?"
  • Abby (the) Librarian shares several nonfiction picks for middle grade students that she will be booktalking for the upcoming Women's History Month. She asks readers for other suggestions.
  • HipWriterMama describes her recent visit to her daughter's first grade classroom, in which she talked to the kids about the right way to treat books. She incorporated suggestions from several other members of the Kidlitosphere, and the result is both an illustration of the power of this little corner of the Internet, and an inspiration. In fact, Alkelda has dubbed HipWriterMama Super Mama, complete with action figure.
  • The new blog I.N.K. (interesting nonfiction for kids) has been off to a strong start, with posts by a variety of nonfiction authors. I especially enjoyed this post by Anna M. Lewis about fun art appreciation books for kids. I think that parents and teachers will find this an excellent resource.
  • Another relatively new blogger who has jumped in with both feet is Jama at Jama Rattigan's Alphabet Soup. This week she shares her thoughts on finding the courage to start a blog, and the joy of finding her voice. This is a must-read post for anyone out there hesitating over dipping a toe into blogging. She also has a fun post about using chocolate instead of therapy.   
  • Over at A Fuse #8 Production, Betsy Bird has been shining a spotlight on "some authors, illustrators, and teachers that are going out of their way to help kids become better readers." Those featured so far include Sue Stauffacher, who has "more than fifteen years experience introducing at-risk kids to the joys of reading", author G. Neri and illustrator Jesse Joshua Watson, and the Kidlitosphere's own Monica Edinger, teacher extraordinaire.
  • Lots of people have written this week in response to a New York Times article (subscription required) about product placement in children's books. I first learned about this at The Longstockings, where there has been considerable discussion on the topic. I've especially enjoyed TadMack's impassioned response at Finding Wonderland (here and here). I agree with her that the whole "product placement in children's books" thing is a travesty.
  • Another New York Times article that's generated a lot of discussion this week is about James Patterson's efforts to drive up sales of his teen books, by asking bookstores to place them near the front of the store. He's also actively working to market the books to adults, especially women. I first saw this discussed at So Tomorrow. I was interested to learn that "the Maximum Ride series is co-written by one (uncredited) Gabrielle Charbonnet, according to the Times." I don't find this surprising, given the prolific pace at which James Patterson books come out. I still like the Maximum Ride books, despite a certain two-dimensionality of the characters, and a certain ego being displayed by Patterson.
  • Speaking of Finding Wonderland, I also enjoyed a. fortis's recent post on Things I Learned from Kids' Books. She says: "As a kid, without those kids' books I wouldn't have learned about dodecahedrons or tesseracts. Those books taught me what a veruca was, and what makes somebody a twit." And if you don't know what books she's referring to, well, clearly there are some children's books that you should be reading or re-reading.
  • Charlotte links to a Guardian article about fictional boarding schools at Charlotte's Library, and asks readers what fictional school they would like to attend. I actually wrote about this topic quite some time back, and listed Hogwarts, Mallory Towers, and the village school in Avonlea. Charlotte disagrees with me about Hogwarts, making the valid point that the moving stairways would be inconvenient. Fun stuff!
  • Inspired by some recent discussion elsewhere, Kelly writes about her Children's Book Reviews wiki at Big A little a. The Wiki is a site where bloggers can index their completed reviews, by age range, author, title, etc. Her post has inspired several people to archive their own reviews at the site, making it an ever more useful resource. Sara also went to the trouble of getting the Wiki added to the Adaptive Blue Smartlinks widgets. If you write children's book reviews on your blog, and would like more people to find them, do read Kelly's post.
  • Sheri from Boys Blogging Books links to a discussion at Through the Tollbooth about boys and books. This post combines discussion from several other posts over the past couple of weeks. There's too much for me to even begin to share with you, but if you're interested in books and books, do click through.

And that's it for today. Happy weekend to all!