Children's Literacy Round-Up: September 4
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Thursday Afternoon Visits: September 4

I would normally wait until Sunday to do my round-up of Kidlitosphere news. But I've flagged so many links to highlight that it seems ridiculous to wait.

  • The title of Rick Riordan's fifth (and final) Percy Jackson book has been announced. The book will be called The Last Olympian and will be published on May 5th, 2009. And if that's not enough RR news, check out Becky Levine's post on a writing thought from Rick Riordan. I got a particular kick out of reading this post because I was standing next to Becky when she heard the tip.
  • I also got a kick out of this post by Gail Gauthier about how she made a book recommendation that went viral (from her hairdresser to several others). The book was Twilight, and whether you like the Twilight books or not, it's still neat to for Gail to be able to trace the path that her recommendation made.
  • Have you been reading YA Fabulous? This is a relatively new blog, but the author's dedication to young adult literature shines through. A feature that I particularly like is the regular YA Links Posts (most recent one here), in which YA for Great Justice rounds up various links to book reviews (with excerpts) and author interviews. The ones so far have been very comprehensive, and are not to be missed by YA fans.
  • Another new blog that I like is Muddy Puddle Musings, written by a middle school literature teacher named Chris. Chris recently announced "This year I'm going to try to go to the Teachers as Readers Book Club, which is sponsored by the Tucson Reading Association... The reading list for the year has been chosen from the IRA 2008 Young Adult Choices list." How great is that? A Teachers as Readers Book Club, reading great YA titles!
  • The Book Whisperer is back, after a bit of a summer break, talking about connecting kids with books. Donalyn Miller says: "I realized that I am not engaged in a race with a shaky start in August and a finish line taped across June. I am traveling an endless journey with my students, all of us readers together, with no beginning and no end. There is only the next child, the next book, and the next opportunity to connect the two. Teaching kids to love reading is not about me and what I can (or cannot) do; it is about the children and what they can do." Do go read the whole post - Donalyn is always inspiring.
  • At Librarilly Blonde, Carlie Webber takes on the recent discussion around the blogosphere about an article in Good Magazine: Anne Trubek on Why We Shouldn't Still be Learning Catcher in the Rye. I especially enjoyed Carlie's take on people who reject all books since Catcher in the Rye as not relevant: "One would never teach history and ignore events that happened after 1955. One would never teach science and stop at discoveries made after 1955. Music history doesn't stop with John Cage. Film studies classes include Fellini and Hitchcock, but they also include the Coen brothers. Given all this, why do you deem it all right and even a best practice in education, to not teach literature with teen protagonists written after 1955? I have never understood this need to teach classics and only classics and classics all the time." Me neither.
  • At The Places You Will Go, Daphne Lee takes on the question of whether or not children's authors are required to be role models. She says: "I don't see (and fail to see how anyone could see) what a writer's personal life (although for some, personal and public are one and the same) has to do with the work he/she produces. If a writer is responsible for stories that inspire and excite, intrigue and provoke, touch and move, it can hardly matter what his hobbies are, how many wives he has, or what he likes to stick up his nose (or other body parts, for that matter). Of course I realise that as mere humans its not easy for us to be totally objective... " I feel the same way that Daphne does on this subject.
  • A new issue of The Prairie Wind, the newsletter of the SCBWI-Illinois Chapter, is now available. I especially enjoyed Margo Dill's interview with our own Betsy Bird from A Fuse #8 Production. The post includes some recommended KidLit blogs and also has advice "on blogging and how it can help a children’s author’s career."
  • Over at Tea Cozy, Liz B. has a bit of a rant going, inspired by a new children's book by a celebrity author (well, the author is the wife of a celebrity, anyway). My favorite part: "Just once, I want a celebrity author to say, "you know, as I was reading with my kids, I fell in love with children's books, and rediscovered just how awesome children's books are" or something like that, rather than "the books suck, so I was forced to write."" I think that Liz has a pretty good idea for a consulting service to offer celebrities, though (at the end of the post).
  • Little Willow has the scoop on the Readergirlz plans for September, featuring "Good Enough by Paula Yoo and celebrating the theme of Tolerance."
  • I've seen several blogs address the results of the recent poll that found Enid Blyton the UK's "most cherished" writer (followed by Roald Dahl and then J. K. Rowling). I especially enjoyed Kelly Gardiner's post on the topic at Ocean Without End, which includes some lessons learned by the selections. Like "The books we love as children - the books that introduce us to reading as a mania - stay with us forever." So true. I adored Enid Blyton's books when I was a kid, even though they were relatively hard to come by in the US. When I traveled to England for work when I was in my mid-20's, I bought up every book that I could find from certain Blyton series. I also still read Inez Haynes Irwin's Maida books on a regular basis. I have no idea if they're any good or not, but I love them anyway.
  • Speaking of classics, Leila from Bookshelves of Doom is hosting the third edition of The Big Read, focusing on A Tale of Two Cities. You can find the details here. I'm not personally up for a re-read right now, but I listened to the book on tape a few years back and enjoyed it quite a bit. If you've ever wanted to read A Tale of Two Cities, this would be a good time...
  • I don't usually highlight book giveaways, but Cheryl Rainfield is giving away three copies of one of my absolute favorite titles from recent memory: The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins. You can find the details here. My review of The Hunger Games is here. All you have to do to enter is comment at Cheryl's.

And that's all the news for today. I'll most likely be back with more over the weekend (though I'm also a bit behind on my recent reviews, so that will take first priority).