My blog has been lamentably quiet this week. I was in Fort Collins, CO for work, and couldn't even keep up with email, let alone with blogging. Now I find myself with a free Sunday, and a Google Reader filled with posts. Here are some highlights of the doings of the Kidlitosphere. The Literacy and Reading News Round-Up will follow tomorrow.
I'm pleased to report that I was a winner in HipWriterMama's 2009 New Year 30 Day Challenge. As the other winners have commented, the real prize was successfully participating (my challenge goal had to do with riding my exercise bike every day, and I did pretty well with it, despite guests and travel). Thanks, Vivian!
PaperTigers has a new February issue about "the growing global awareness of the power of children to change the world." I especially enjoyed Mitali Perkins' article about how books can shape a child's heart. Although I don't have quite so specific an example as Mitali's description of reading A Little Princess, I have always felt that the books that I read as a child influenced my moral compass. For more on how children are changing the world, see my post from last week about Free the Children.
Speaking of PaperTigers, Janet has a nice write-up about the upcoming Kids Heart Authors Day, explaining how "from New England to the Pacific Northwest, independent bookstores, children’s authors, illustrators, and the young readers who love them are coming together on February 14 in a grand celebration." It's not quite enough to make me wish, in February, that I still lived in New England, but it comes close.
With her usual thoroughness, Elaine Magliaro has compiled book lists, book reviews, and other resources for Black History Month at Wild Rose Reader. This is an excellent starting point for anyone looking for resources on this topic. Friday's Poetry Friday round-up is also available at Wild Rose Reader.
In other encouraging news, Cheryl Rainfield shares a tidbit about a child who saved herself from a fire, after learning how to do so from a children's book.
PJ Hoover brought to my attention a new blog that's right up my alley. In The Spectacle, "Authors talk about writing speculative fiction for teens and pre-teens." I especially enjoyed PJ's post The Cool Thing About Post-Apocalyptic. Speaking as a series fan of the genre myself, I have to agree with her conclusion. See also this post at Presenting Lenore about dystopias. And speaking of speculative and post-apocalyptic fiction, Bookshelves of Doom reports that John Christopher's Tripods trilogy is being adapted for the big screen. Very cool!
In celebration of the launch of her new book, North of Beautiful, Justina Chen Headley is launching a Find Beauty Challenge. Justina says: "Tell the world what you find to be Truly Beautiful! Just upload a 90-second video describing what real beauty means to you...and you could win yourself an iTouch! PLUS, for every uploaded video, I'll donate $10 (up to $1,000) to Global Surgical Outreach, an amazing group that helps kids with cleft lips and palates in the third world." North of Beautiful is on my short list, but I haven't gotten to it yet. Anyone else find it ironic that I'm spending so much time reading and writing about encouraging readers that I don't have time to read myself? Ah, well!
Amy from Literacy Launchpad has a fun post about the importance of building home libraries for children, and the dilemma that she faces in deciding which of her precious books to actually share with her book-eating young son. And speaking of home libraries, Susan Thomsen shares resources for inexpensive children's books at Chicken Spaghetti, with additional resources suggested in the comments.
Facing another literacy dilemma, Tricia from The Miss Rumphius Effect mulls over the idea of a canon of children's literature, asking: "Are there books and stories that every child should/must know?" There's a good discussion going on in the comments about it - my own views are pretty much identical to what Chris Barton said. Maureen Kearney also weighs in at Confessions of a Bibliovore.
Reminding us that not all kids learn to read in the same way, Kris Bordessa from Paradise Found links to an interesting post by Miranda at Nurtured by Love. Comparing her own children's experience to those of a friend, Miranda notes: "So not only did I not do very much to nurture my kids' early achievement of literacy, but what I did do was probably almost beside the point. It's mostly in the wiring, modulated by issues of temperament. Sure, an impoverished learning environment can cause delays in literacy learning. But a reasonably supportive nurturing environment? It's in the wiring. The ages when perfectly bright non-learning-disabled unschooled kids will learn to read is all over the map."
Natasha Worswick reports that BBC Four will be showing a documentary tonight about Why Reading Matters. Doesn't seem to be on here in CA, but I'll stay tuned at Children's Books for Grown-Ups, to see if Natasha has any feedback after watching it.
And for all of you bloggers out there, especially blogging authors, Pam Coughlan has a great two-part piece at MotherReader with blogging tips. Here's Part 1 and Part 2 (which incorporates reader comments from Part 1, and has concrete examples of people she thinks are doing things right). I think she's convinced me to a) prune my blog sidebars and b) be more careful about the use of acronyms.
And finally, our own Greg Pincus from Gotta Book was mentioned in an article in the Guardian this week, about the relationship between math and poetry. Remember the Fib? The article certainly wouldn't have been complete without this art form that bridges math and poetry so perfectly.
Now my Google Reader is empty of unread items, for the first time in a week or so, and I'm off to ride my exercise bike for a while. Happy Sunday to all! -- Jen Robinson