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Clementine's Letter: Sara Pennypacker

Summer Reading, Blogging Tips, and Charlie Bucket

Is it just me, or are there more and more interesting blog posts out there every day? Here are a few things that have caught my eye since last weekend:

  • PBS Parents has a new guest expert, literacy and education consultant Julie Wood. Julie is talking with parents about "instilling a love of words in your child." She discusses her own experience reading aloud with students, and notes that "A love of words and a rich reservoir of word knowledge are essential for children. Word knowledge allows children to understand what they read and to express themselves in writing and speaking." Do check out the post, and the intelligent comments and questions entered by various parents.
  • Mitali Perkins has an interesting post (inspired by a discussion on the YALSA-BK discussion list) about religious authors and children's fiction. She notes (responding to a previous comment by Pooja Makhijani): "An author's religious worldview definitely shapes his or her fiction, but I worry about assumptions that drive such a discussion in the realm of children's literature." She also posits that "Children love stories because for once they sense equality in a relationship with a grownup." Make sure you read the comments on the post.
  • Liz B. from Tea Cozy can be glimpses in an MTV report on an American Sign Language story hour at the NJ Library for the Blind and Handicapped. She has the link here.
  • Jenny has a must-read post at Read. Imagine. Talk. about how her passion for encouraging readers was influenced by her experiences teaching in an inner city school. She says: "For now, I am content to be able, for the first time, to trace my thinking about literacy to a moment in time.  My love for helping kids fall in love with books is not because I love books, but because it is painful to watch kids who have no interest in or knowledge of books." Here's hoping she shares more in this series, however.
  • At The Reading Tub blog, Terry shares her plans for the upcoming BEA conference, and outlines three items on her "influence agenda" for people she talks with at the show. She calls for specific shifts in focus for the publishing industry to help nurture developing readers (e.g. "We need more sensory books for emerging and semi-independent readers").
  • A Visitor for BearCongratulations to Bonny Becker! Her picture book, A Visitor for Bear (which I LOVED) was just awarded the Hicklebee's Book of the Year Award. Hicklebee's is my local independent children's bookstore (in San Jose), and it's run by people who adore books, and want kids to adore them, too. That makes this award a huge honor, but one that is well-deserved.
  • After preparing for a summer school class that she's teaching, Tricia shares an excellent post about The Importance of Math in Our Lives at The Miss Rumphius Effect. She asks readers of the blog: "What do you do to help your students (young or old) think about the importance of math in their lives?"
  • Speaking of summer, over at Chicken Spaghetti, Susan asks readers: "what's on your summer list". She shares some of her planned reading, and several others contribute in the comments. How about you? Do you have any books lined up for summer reading?
  • See also Donalyn Miller's post about the summer reading slump, and what she's doing to combat it, at The Book Whisperer. She says: "I believe that the most important books my students will read are the ones they read after school is out. Choosing to read during the summer proves my students are independent readers who don’t need my modeling or expectations to keep reading. They read because they want to, not because they have to." Donalyn also shares some titles from her own summer reading list, and asks readers to share theirs. 
  • And for a special twist on summer reading, April Pulley Sayre writes at Interesting Nonfiction for Kids (I.N.K.) about how it's sometimes good for kids to be trapped through circumstances (like a vacation house) into reading books that they wouldn't ordinarily read. She concludes: "Nonfiction is perfectly suited to this kind of spontaneous reading. Seed your surroundings with such books and see what happens!"
  • Via TadMack from Finding Wonderland (who always has the scoop on the important things), I learned that Colleen Mondor has another project brewing, this one open to anyone who would like to participate. She ""is going to be highlighting young adult books that cover political subjects Wednesdays this August, and invites interested bloggers to join her... Topics are these: August 5th - Race in America; August 12th - The environment; August 19th - Class divisions in America; August 26th - US foreign policy."
  • PJ Hoover asks an interesting question over at Roots in Myth: "Why is Charlie (Bucket, from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) worthy to become the heir? He made a mistake just like all the other kids. Sure, he didn't get carried off by Oompa-Loompas, but he still disobeyed the rules." Read the post for PJ's son's thoughts, and the comments for various other responses.
  • Although relatively new to blogging, Natasha from the Maw Books blog shares an extremely helpful post filled with Blogging Tips for the Book Blogger. She covers everything from motivation to branding to blogging and blog reader platforms, with many other topics in between. Some other tips from readers can also be found in the extensive comments.

Happy reading to all!