Growing Bookworms Newsletter: Moving and Traveling Edition
Reviews that Made Me Want the Book: March 7

Friday Afternoon Visits: Book Lists, Reading Choices, and Reaching Reluctant Readers

My Internet time is going to be very limited this weekend, but I do have a few posts from around the Kidlitosphere that I noticed during the week that I'd like to share with you now (all emphasis mine).

  • First of all, on the off chance that you missed it, Roger Sutton at Read Roger (the Horn Book blog) created quite a stir by saying that "adults whose taste in recreational reading ends with the YA novel need to grow up." There is a veritable storm of responses in the comments on that post. Many people have also posted responses on their own blogs. I especially appreciated TadMack's quick and impassioned defense of making her own recreational choices, and her statement that some of the comments on Roger's post "suggest to me a fundamental -- and unsubtle -- contempt not only for the literature of children and young adults, but for... childhood." Also at Finding Wonderland, don't miss a. fortis's cartoon on the subject. Among the other posts out there, I particularly found myself nodding at Liz B.'s remarks at Tea Cozy, and Colleen Mondor's at Chasing Ray. Personally, I think that more adults should read and appreciate children's and young adult books. I think it's a genre that has a lot to offer (including, as several people have noted in the discussion, tighter editing than many adult books). I happen to sprinkle in a few adult books with my children's and YA reading (usually mysteries), because that's the mix that works for me. But I certainly don't do it because I think that it somehow makes me more grown up. I think that people should be able to read what they enjoy, and what has value for them. End of story.
  • At Critique de Mr. Chompchomp, Brian Jung writes about boys and reading, and the notion of instituting separate education by gender in schools (referencing a New York Times article on the latter topic). Although he see certain benefits to separate classrooms, and he supports initiatives like Guys Read and Guys Lit Wire, he also notes that "we ought to be alarmed by systematic division of individuals based on gender no matter how "scientific."" He notes, essentially, that although there may be statistical differences between the sexes, there are also statistical differences within each sex, and that such divisions automatically ignore "a really enormous chunk of kids". Having studied statistical distributions quite a bit in graduate school, I found Brian's article refreshing. (Though for the record I also think that organizations like readergirlz that focus on girls and reading are important, too.)
  • Lots of book lists were published this week. On Monday, MotherReader announced the winners of the Weird A** Picture Book Awards. Categories include Cover Art, Illustration, Story, and overall winner. You'll have to click through to see. Meanwhile, the ESSL Children's Literature Blog published a nice list of books with "Daring Detectives and Puzzling Plots" for kids, classified by age range. And Librarian Mom Els Kushner posted a list of Toddler Story Time Favorites at Scholastic Parents (noting, in joking fashion, "all the story time books I'd been reading had one of two basic themes: either "Mommy loves you," or "There sure are a lot of animals!""). For a more special-interest book list, Anne-Marie Nichols gathers up Books for Children Named Oliver over at My Readable Feast. She's focused on books for younger readers, but of course any reference to "Oliver" in children's books also makes me think of Oliver Melendy. Finally, the ALSC blog has a Spring Into Early Literacy booklist, with books focused on different skills.
  • At Pixie Stix Kids Pix, Kristen McLean writes about a fun new product called "Monster Go Away! Spray". She says that "its psychological mojo comes from the empowering feeling kids get by running around their room at bedtime, spraying it anywhere and everywhere monsters lurk." How cool is that?
  • Via Cynsations, I found this audio interview by Claus E. von Zastrow at Public School Insights. Zastrow talks with prolific children's author Joseph Bruchac about motivating young readers. The interview itself is fairly long, but there is also a highlights version, as well as links to specific segments of the interview.
  • At the Reading Tub Blog, Terry Doherty writes about the idea that there is no one size fits all approach to getting kids excited about reading. She says: "The important thing is to be open to and try different approaches. Somewhere out in the universe is the spark that will light up your child's world and hook them on reading. The idea is to complement your child's interest and help them find success for themselves."
  •'s The Mash-Up blog also writes about reaching reluctant readers, saying, among other suggestions: "After several years of working with reluctant-to-read students, the best advice I have is that our reluctant readers are very different, and the way to make a connection with your reluctant readers is through a one-on-one relationship. Get to know the teens, find out their interests, remember those interests, and seek out books that reflect those interests."
  • At The Well-Read Child, Jill writes about building your child's library with series books, discussing the Trixie Belden books from her own childhood, and asking readers for their series suggestions. She notes: "Good series books draw readers into the lives of the characters. We care about them. We get to know them. We want to know what happens next. We can't wait until the next book comes out." I was a huge series fan as a kid (including the Trixie Belden books), and I certainly agree with Jill about their merits.
  • As with last August's One Shot World Tour, focused on Australia, Colleen Mondor and a group of other bloggers will be shining a light on Canadian authors on March 26th. I don't believe that I'll be participating myself, since that's right around my move date, but if you would like to participate, see details here. See also Becky's early suggestions for Canadian-written books at Farm School.
  • This week's Poetry Friday round-up is at The Simple and the Ordinary.

Wishing everyone a happy and book-filled weekend.