Tuesday Evening Visits: May 20
Children's Literacy Round-Up: May 21

Wednesday Afternoon Visits: May 21

I didn't have time to finish up my visits post yesterday. So here are a few more Kidlitosphere-related links for your possible attention:

  • I'm very late with posting about this one, but early last week, Sarah wrote at the Reading Zone about censoring classroom books. She quotes a conversation between two teachers that she overheard recently. The conversation involved the non-selection of The Higher Power of Lucky due to that one anatomical reference, and the outright whiting out of a word in the classroom copies of the last Harry Potter book. I think it's quite a sad story.
  • I'm also late with this one, but Susan Beth Pfeffer is offering to send readers signed stickers to put in their copies of Life As We Knew It and the dead and the gone. I've already received mine, and they are quite lovely. You can find the details here. Don't miss Sue's SBBT interviews, either. Here and here.
  • I enjoyed this post by Peter at Collecting Children's Books about his childhood fandom for a publisher (Atheneum), and the letter that he received "from Jean Karl, the famous editor who had started the children's department at Atheneum, discovered and guided the careers of so many famous authors, and had edited dozens of my favorite books." I can't say that I was like that about specific publishers (I was all about the authors), but I was enough of a book obsessed kid to appreciate now how cool that letter must have been for Peter. See also his recent post about literary comfort food (and see some of my comfort reading listed here).
  • Speaking of comfort reading, check out Justine Larbalestier's recent post about authors who write the same book over and over again. She muses on the fact that sometimes she finds this completely fine (as with Georgette Heyer, one of my favorite comfort authors), while other times she gets bored and stops reading. There's quite a discussion going on in the comments about this. I said (and this was prior to running across Peter's post above): "re-reading those books amounts to comfort reading. I read them in a particular mood, looking for a particular thing, and it pleases me immensely that every single book that she (Heyer) wrote in this class fits the bill."
  • Cynthia Leitich Smith has a great interview with Brazos Price, a member of the leadership team for Austin's Second Chance Books program. Brazos says: "Second Chance Books is collaboration between the Austin Public Library and the Gardner Betts Juvenile Justice Center that results in books, book talks, book clubs and readers' advisory to youth who are incarcerated in either a pre- or a post-adjudication facility here in Austin, Texas." He calls the program "a win win win (win win win win win ad infinitum)." Certainly sounds like it to me.
  • On a lighter note, Kelly Herold suggests at Big A little a that "someone needs to start a blog devoted exclusively to celeb children's books. Just think, you could post each new publishing deal and even review their product." Sources (ok, the comments) report that MotherReader is thinking about it. Seems like a blog that would generate both traffic and controversy.
  • Over at PaperTigers, Janet Brown has a request for readers of The Tiger's Bookshelf. She's looking for input from kids about what kinds of books they enjoy, so that she can keep what they do at PaperTigers relevant to the true audience: kids. And honestly, the questions are great stepping off points for discussion between parents or teachers and kids. So, if you have a child in the middle grade age range that you could pass along Janet's questions to, please consider it.
  • Stepping down a bit in age levels, Jenny shares a preschool train unit at Wildwood Cottage. Since this is often a popular topic with kids, I thought that I would share. Jenny also seems to be in that blog focus angst stage that many of us have been through - and I wish her well, and hope that she'll continue blogging.
  • Over at Chicken Spaghetti, Susan T's 8-year-old son shares an insight that you probably never noticed about T.S. Eliot's name.
  • Donalyn Miller, the Book Whisperer, has a must-read post about the failures of the Reading First program, including comments by reading researcher and activist Stephen Krashen. Donalyn feels, and speaks, quite strongly on this issue, saying things like: "The children cannot wait. They do not have more time. Students, who entered kindergarten in 2000, the year the National Reading Panel report came out, are in high school now. While Washington policymakers fumble to figure out what is best practice in getting children to read and crafting program after program claiming to have the answers, these children are graduating and breathing a sigh of relief that they never have to read a book again." She also discusses the financial agendas of the people behind the testing industry, as compared to the parents and librarians and teachers who just want kids to read. Something has to be done - but I don't know what to do, personally, besides continue helping parents and teachers to find books that appeal to individual kids.
  • I.N.K. (Interesting Nonfiction for Kids) has a new post by Anna Lewis about nonfiction books that promote strong women. She says: "Here are some really cool books that show girls that they can do ANYTHING they set their minds to and the possibilities are endless". Do check out Anna's list, especially if you have young girls in your household.
  • Speaking of strong women, Sherry from Semicolon linked to an interesting article by Elaine McArdle in the Boston Globe about the role of women in science and engineering fields. The article says: "Now two new studies by economists and social scientists have reached a perhaps startling conclusion: An important part of the explanation for the gender gap, they are finding, are the preferences of women themselves. When it comes to certain math- and science-related jobs, substantial numbers of women - highly qualified for the work - stay out of those careers because they would simply rather do something else." Let's just say that I can relate to that notion, and found it a compelling read. 
  • Ellen Emerson White also has a post that I found interesting. She wrote about this week's no-hitter by young Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester, a cancer survivor. Ellen says, and I agree, that Lester's backstory makes his accomplishment all the more special. She also uses the opportunity to highlight the many other people, famous and not, who are fighting cancer. But oh so happily, Kelly Herold's son is not one of them.

Can I just tell you that if time permitted, I would spend all day reading and writing about things like this? Hope that you find some food for thought.