Reviews That Made Me Want the Book: Jan. 9
Ten Cents a Dance: Christine Fletcher

Saturday Afternoon Visits: From Sesame Street to the Sydney Taylor Awards

The Kidlitosphere has been energized by the holidays and the start of a New Year, and there are many items worthy of your attention. Thus, I bring you my Sunday afternoon visits post one day early, before it takes over my blog completely.

Tarie has the preliminary schedule for the Sydney Taylor Award Blog Tour (in which she'll be participating) at Into the Wardrobe. It promises to be an excellent tour.

The new issue of Through the Looking Glass Book Review is now available, thanks to Marya Jansen-Gruber.

The Saturday Review of Books is up at Semicolon, featuring one my favorite quotes (from my favorite book, D. E. Stevenson's Listening Valley).

Congratulations to our own Miss Erin, who will have a six-word memoir included in a published book. Published before she's 18. Pretty impressive stuff!

Congratulations also to Mitali Perkins, who will be writing about children's literature for her local newspaper for the next few months. She shares the first post here, about all of the ways that her town (Newton, MA) champions children's books. I especially enjoyed this article, because some of my favorite people in the world live in Newton. Also, Mitali's new novel, Secret Keeper, is coming out next week. As previously mentioned, I'll be at the book launch party at Not Your Mother's Book Club on January 15th, and hope to see some of you there (Hi, Becky!).

Geek3 A special thank you to Melissa at Book Nut for including my blog as one of her favorites for the latest Weekly Geeks. It's especially nice to be included in this edition, because this is (I believe) the first Weekly Geeks event since Dewey (the founder) passed away last month. I'm in great company on Melissa's list, too.

Thanks also to Lenore from Presenting Lenore, for including my blog in her recent Awards post. She gave me the "Most consistently amazing book reviews award", and while this might be more a reflection on the similarity in our tastes than the true quality of the reviews, I was still quite pleased. The other awards in the post are fun and creative, well worth a look.

Another fun set of awards is Darla D's Golden Hammock Awards at Books & other thoughts, with categories like "best alternate history" and "best boarding school story".

I've seen several mentions of Grace Lin's new Small Graces initiative to help fund author visits to underserved schools. I think that Elaine Magliaro has the most comprehensive scoop at Wild Rose Reader, though you can also find details in the sidebar of the Small Graces blog. Small Graces offers people a chance to support a great cause, and acquire a one-of-a-kind piece of art each month.

Alien MotherReader reports that this is National Delurking Week. I'm catching the announcement a bit late in the game, but I did try to make a few extra comments to say hello. If you're a typically quiet visitor to this blog, and you feel inclined to comment, I'd love to hear from you. You can name a favorite book from your childhood, or something.

Maureen links to and discusses an interesting article at Confessions of a Bibliovore. The article in question is by Michelle Slatalla in the New York Times, and is about how the author wishes she could "read like a girl." After watching her daughters immersed in books, Slatalla says: "I miss the days when I felt that way, curled up in a corner and able to get lost in pretty much any plot. I loved stories indiscriminately, because each revealed the world in a way I had never considered before." Like Maureen, I could quibble over some of the details in the article - I don't think that one must outgrow the ability to suspend disbelief and enjoy books - but I do see what the author is driving at. While I'm overwhelmingly glad to be reviewing books, I do find sometimes that I stop and think about what I'll say about a book, instead of remaining immersed in the story. And I'm nostalgic for the Jen who didn't do that.

Denise Johnson posted an article from The Chronicle Review at The Joy of Children's Literature. The article, by literature professor Andrew Martino, is about wonder rediscovered in children's books. There's a funny bit about the author skulking around the children's section, afraid that people will suspect that he is "a potential threat". Martino speaks about how children's books are "every bit as complicated and thought-provoking as the texts I included on my syllabi", and "he texts I was reading told their stories in an economical and exact style, without the unnecessary burden of digression or overexplication". It's worth a read.

On the topic of people discovering children's literature, the ESSL Children's Literature blog has a fun list of children's books written by authors famous for writing adult fiction

BestBooksIHaveNotRead announced a fun new feature: Mystery Authors. She says: "Starting this upcoming week I am going to begin posting one clue each day (four total) about an upcoming KidLit author who has agreed to a “blog interview”. The clues will start general and get more specific with each day. If you can guess the identity of the author in a posted comment before the day of the “reveal” you will be entered into a drawing to receive a new book by that author."

Speaking of fun, Betsy Bird met some actual Sesame Street performers. She even got to see Oscar, in the ... fur? You can read the whole scoop at Fuse #8. But the highlight for me was: "Oscar is larger in real life than you might expect. He is also incredibly well articulated. His eyebrows move almost fluidly. It's eerie." With pictures. And, if you're looking for book suggestions, look no further than the whole slew of bite-sized book reviews that Betsy recently posted at Fuse #8.

Librarian Nan Hoekstra recently announced the 2009 Anokaberries: "Our selections for the best books of 2008 for middle-grade readers, ages 8 to 14." It looks to me like a solid, diverse list, though I haven't had the opportunity to read all of the titles. A number of the authors included have left lovely comments, too.

CybilsLogoSmall Speaking of author appreciation for awards, do check out my recent post at the Cybils blog, with quotes from various authors about their joy in being Cybils finalists. For me, reactions like this make being involved with the Cybils all the more rewarding. We should have printable versions of the Cybils shortlists available soon.  

Jill has the results of her first Reading Roundtable at The Well-Read Child, with several contributions from readers about their family reading routines. Personally, I like the fact that so many people were interested in sharing. This is a heartening post, for those of us who want to see all children have the chance to grow up as bookworms. 

And that's all for today, if I'm ever to find time to meet my goal of exercising this afternoon. Hope that you're all having a peaceful and book-filled weekend!