Natalie & Naughtily: Vincent X. Kirsch
Double Helix: Nancy Werlin

Tuesday Afternoon Visits: January 6

A few tidbits for you to brighten the first work-week of the year:

Ccba_logo Tasha Saecker reports at Kids Lit that, in association with the Children's Book Council, is "giving you the opportunity to vote for your five favorite books of 2008! The five books that receive the largest number of votes will then become finalists that will again be voted on. The ultimate winner will be announced in May."  You can vote here. I also very much enjoyed this post at Kids Lit, in which Tasha thanks the publishers for her review titles. Can I just say "Ditto". She says it all.

Betsy Bird reports at Fuse #8 that the Children's Literary Cafe at the New York Public Library is recommencing. Here's her description: "The Children’s Literary Café is a monthly gathering of adults who are fans of children’s literature.  Professionals, librarians, authors, illustrators, publishers, booksellers, teachers, and anyone else interested in the field are welcome to attend our meetings.   The Literary Café provides free Advanced Readers galleys, a rotating series of talks with professionals in the field, and great conversation." It's almost enough to make me wish I lived in NY. Except for that whole big city with snowy weather thing.

Speaking of Betsy Bird, she was recently interviewed over at Just One More Book! (well, she was interviewed by Mark Blevis at the Kidlitosphere conference last fall, but the interview is now available).

TBD2009Little Willow has the early announcement for the second annual Operation Teen Book Drop event, hosted by Readergirlz. She says: "Last year, the first-ever Operation TBD was a huge success. YALSA and readergirlz organized a massive, coordinated release of 10,000 publisher-donated YA books into the top pediatric hospitals across the country and encouraged people to donate books to hospitals, schools, libraries, and gathering spots in their communities."

Over at The Tiger's Bookshelf, Janet posts about the Books for Laos program, "a labor of love that the Cotterills (Jessica and Colin) have been involved in for years, distributing books written in the Laos language to schoolchildren in conjunction with Big Brother Mouse" (an organization that strives to make literacy fun).

Regular readers of this blog may know that I usually stay away from "challenges" (with the recent exception of Pam and Lee's Comment Challenge). I find keeping up with my reviews and regular features, in combination with keeping caught up on my job, quite enough of a challenge. However, I decided to make an exception for HipWriterMama's new 2009 New Year 30 Day Challenge. The idea is to choose a new habit that you'd like to work on for 30 days, publicly proclaim it, and check in at Vivian's every week with a status update. And since I already have a goal of exercising more, I put up a tangible goal related to time spent riding the exercise bike. I'm hoping this helps me to stay motivated (along with watching past seasons of 24 on NetFlix while I bike). Lots of other people have already joined up, and I'm sure it's not to late to join in.

In honor of their three-year blogiversary, Mary Lee and Franki are holding a festival of threes at A Year of Reading. Here's part 1, and part 2. They have great mini-lists here, like their three favorite wordless picture books, and three new favorite versions of old favorites. Do stop by to enjoy the festivities, and wish Franki and Mary Lee many more years of blogging. See also Franki's new article at Choice Literacy on The Year's Best New Read-Alouds (from 2008).

And if you'd like more lists, check out last week's Saturday Review of Books at Semicolon. For this year-end edition, Sherry Early offers a "special edition of the Saturday Review of Books especially for booklists. You can link to a list of your favorite books read in 2008, a list of all the books you read in 2008, a list of the books you plan to read in 2009, or any other end of the year or beginning of the year list of books. Whatever your list, it’s time for book lists." This is a great resource. And, of course, don't miss The Best of the Best: Kids' Books '08 from Susan Thomsen at Chicken Spaghetti.

Also not to be missed is a 2008 7-Imp Retrospective that Jules put together over the long weekend. Jules adds: "yes, do I hear you saying this is the LONGEST POST IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD? Why, it is at that, but it’s oh-so skim-able — and mostly full of wonderful stuff at which to look. Sit back and enjoy. Pick your favorite interview and read a snippet. Find your favorite illustrator and kick back to soak in their skills. Choose your own adventure." I'm a little afraid to delve into this post, I must admit, for fear I'll never resurface...

Yet another controversy has erupted over the Newbery Award, this one about the question of diversity. I'm not going to get into it, but you can find an excellent analysis by Liz Burns at A Chair, A Fireplace and A Tea Cozy.

Trevor Cairney offers a detailed discussion about how online reading is different from print reading at Literacy, families and learning, addressing a recent research study by Jakob Nielsen. Trevor's take is that "While I'm a great believer in the value of the Internet, the over-use of screen-based 'reading' via the Internet has the potential to change the type of texts that people read." He has lots more to say on this, so do check out the post.

And last, but not least, a thoughtful post by The LiteraBuss on "WHY I Teach Literacy". "I DO NOT teach literacy in order to have my students score better on a test, any test. I teach the way I do because I want my students to develop a love and/or appreciation for reading and writing, and to further their own critical thinking skills. I want my students to enjoy the things they read, and seek out more. I want them to become independent, quick (and slow) minded thinkers". They sound like excellent reasons to me!

That's it for today. I'm off to ride that exercise bike! Happy reading!