The Hunger Games: Suzanne Collins
Children's Literacy Round-Up: August 18

Sunday Afternoon Visits: August 17

I haven't blogged all that much this week, because I've been caught up in reading. I watched the movie Becoming Jane earlier in the week, and was then compelled to read something by Jane Austen (I chose Persuasion, which I somehow didn't have a copy of, and had to go out and buy). I also read Breaking Dawn, and it held my attention until I had finished it (review here). And I read the latest adult novel by Deborah Crombie (Where Memories Lie), one of my favorite authors. But I have been keeping up on blog reading, and I've saved up a ridiculous number of links. Here is some Kidlitosphere news of potential interest:

  • The folks at First Book asked me to mention their What Book Got You Hooked campaign. They said "Now through September 15, visitors to First Book's Web site are invited to share the memory of the first book that made reading fun, then help get more kids hooked by voting for the state to receive 50,000 new books for low-income youth... A number of celebrities have joined the effort, including: BARRY MANILOW, DAVID DUCHOVNY, EMMA THOMPSON, EDWARD NORTON, JOHN LITHGOW, MARLEE MATLIN, REBECCA ROMIJN, SCARLETT JOHANSSON, STEPHEN COLBERT and many more. You can see their responses featured on the Web site." I just entered my choice, Little House in the Big Woods. It's not my favorite of all time, but it's the first book of the first series that I remember falling into, and being consumed by the need to know what happened to the characters.
  • Via Word-Up! The AdLit Newsletter, has a new booklist up: Nonfiction for Teens. I know from my readergirlz postergirl days that good teen nonfiction can be hard to find, and I recommend that you check out this list. See also Jill's excellent piece about reaching out to reluctant readers through nonfiction at The Well-Read Child.
  • I've seen several people posting lists this week of planned classroom read-alouds for the upcoming school year. See especially the lists at Literate Lives (from Karen) and The Reading Zone (from Sarah). There will be some lucky kids starting school in the fall, that's all I have to say about these lists. Also from Sarah, a planned Teacher Swap, by which people will exchange care packages. Click through for details.
  • I learned from Trevor Cairney at Literacy, families and learning that August 16-22 is Children's Book Week in Australia. Trevor offers families some suggestions for celebrating. He also reports on the 2008 Children's Book Council (Australia) Awards.
  • I'm a bit burned out on all of the various storms in the Kidlitosphere teapot that I've been running across lately (people criticizing blog reviewers, YA as a genre, people who read children's books, etc. - see Confessions of a Bibliovore for the latest craziness). But I have had a particular interest in a discussion thats been proliferating about moral compasses in children's literature. I read a post about this at Sarah Miller's blog, which in turn linked to and quoted from an article at Editorial Anonymous. The discussion was also taken up by Carlie at Librarilly Blonde. I agree with Editorial Anonymous (and, I think, Sarah and Carlie) on this: "So I have no problem with a book being essentially moral because the author just writes that way, and I have no problem with parents influencing their children's moral development. But I disagree that every children's book should present a united moral front." Personally, I feel strongly that the best books are the ones that steer clear of overt moral messages completely, and just tell a great story. But if books are going to have moral messages (let's call them themes, instead of overt messages), then by all means, they should be diverse, and offer kids the opportunity to learn to make their own distinctions.
  • Presenting Lenore has an informative interview with a publicist from Penguin addressing questions about the importance of blog reviews, how blog reviewers are chosen, and the publisher's response to requests for specific books. If you are new to book reviewing on your blog, this is a post to check out.   
  • Stephanie has a lovely post at Throwing Marshmallows about igniting "the fire of literacy" in her sons. She notes: "I think that one of the unspoken benefits of having "late" readers is that reading together is a very well engrained habit. (In fact, it was one thing that I had reassure Jason about...that we would always read together even once he could read on his own.)" and concludes "I am most definitely blessed to be able to share my love of books with both my boys. And blessed to have them share their enjoyment of books with me!" See also Stephanie's recent post about "that ADHD serving a purpose thing", Michael Phelps, and helping children to see what they can (rather than can't) do.
  • Laurel Snyder is running a fun contest at her blog. She's giving away signed copies of her new book. She says: "You’ll post  a little story to your blog, about a task/ job/situation/role for which you are thoroughly unsuitable (the FULL title of my book is “Up and Down the Scratchy Mountains OR the Search for a Suitable Princess”)." I already have an ARC of the book, so I'm not formally entering. But I would have to say that I would be thoroughly unsuitable for any job that required all-day interaction (face to face) with other people.
  • Janet shares a great story at PaperTigers about a young boy's first experience with read-aloud. She asks readers "What was the first book you read aloud to your child?" Despite not having children, I borrowed a friend's story, and shared it in the comments over there.
  • At Semicolon, Sherry Early shares ideas for a talk that she'll be giving at her church on "Reading and How to Build a Home Library". She says (among other things): "When we read we receive the wisdom of people, past and present, whom we would never have the opportunity to meet. And we and our children can examine things and ideas that we would never be able to or would not want to experience personally."
  • Via my friend Cory, I learned of a recent NY Times article by Julie Bosman about the Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing group's plans for more direct interaction (and more financially lucrative deals) with Hollywood. Hmmm... a bit scary, I'd say, though I suspect that there will be an upside.
  • Nominations for the Carnegie Corporation's "I Love My Librarian" Award for public librarians have just opened. Liz has the details at Tea Cozy. If you have a favorite librarian, this is your chance to put that person in line for some much-deserved praise, not to mention a cash award.
  • Just in, via Kelly at Big A little a, Amanda Craig has a science fiction round-up for children and teenagers in the Times Online. I really have got to read Unwind, by Neal Shusterman, soon. Craig says: "This is the kind of rare book that makes the hairs on your neck rise up. It is written with a sense of drama that should get it instantly snapped up for film, and it's satisfyingly unpredictable in that its characters change and realise things about each other in a credible way."
  • And last, but definitely not least, the latest Carnival of Children's Literature is now available at Chicken Spaghetti. This one snuck up on me, and I didn't manage to contribute, but Susan has lots of great links for you at this Beach Edition of the carnival.

And that's all for today. Happy Reading!!