Share a Story - Shape a Future: Day 3: Reading Aloud
Boys Are Dogs: Leslie Margolis

Wednesday Afternoon Visits: March 11

Kidlitosphere_button_170 I know that I've been posting a lot about the Share a Story - Shape a Future literacy blog tour this week. But there have been lots of other things going on around the Kidlitosphere, too. Here are a few highlights:

The latest issue of Notes from the Horn Book (a free email newsletter from the Horn Book Magazine team) is now available. Read Roger has the details.

Mary Lee Hahn has posted the lists of 2009 Notable Children's Books in the Language Arts from the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) at A Year of Reading. Mary Lee was actually on the committee, and it looks like they did a great job.

Gail Gauthier is doing a series at Original Content this week about adult books for young adult readers. I may be biased, because she's been focusing on a book that I recommended (The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie R. King), but I've found it fascinating. You can find the relevant posts here, here, and here (and here). And can you believe that Gail has been blogging at Original Content for seven years!? 

Laini Taylor has a heartening post about how the Twilight movie transformed her thirteen-year-old niece into a reader. She also discusses a downside of the hyper-popularity of books like Twilight (anecdotal evidence suggesting that this is making it hard for other types of books to be published). But me, I'd rather focus on the upside - the Twilight books, like the Harry Potter books before them, like the Wimpy Kid books and the Percy Jackson books, are getting kids reading. I wish these authors all success, because they are making a difference.

And speaking of authors who make a difference, our own Jay Asher (former Disco Mermaid) was featured in the New York Times this week. It seems that his amazing book, 13 Reasons Why, has been ever so slowly climbing the best-seller lists. The quotes from teens in the article are a lot of fun. 13 Reasons Why is a book that's helping teens every day (by addressing the sometimes small-seeming events that can drive a teen towards suicide).

Another movie that I think would inspire kids to read books is the movie version of The Hunger Games. I just heard from The Longstockings that "According to Nina Jacobson and Color Force have recently acquired the movie rights to a futuristic young adult novel, Hunger Games, written by Suzanne Collins!" Now that's a movie that I'd like to see.

At 4IQREAD, Kbookwoman speaks up for "a public relations campaign that raises the importance of universal literacy to a human right". She suggests one specific program: "I would like to see every child own a CD player so they can listen to stories read aloud even if they do not have adults in their lives that can read to them."

Speaking of literacy, Carol Rasco announced this week that RIF's FY10 Dear Colleague Campaign has begun. The campaign: "includes a bi-partisan letter co-sponsored by members of Congress. The letter asks their colleagues to sign on in support of RIF funding." RIF's team is "asking that you take 10 minutes to visit RIF’s Advocacy Center and send e-mails to your members of Congress asking them to sign on in support of RIF’s funding for fiscal year 2010." Carol also highlighted another Cybils title (poetry winner Honeybee) this week in her Cover Story feature.

SmallGracesMarch Elaine Magliaro announced that the March Small Graces art auction has begun. She says: "Maybe you’ll be the lucky person to win this lovely original painting by popular children’s author and illustrator Grace Lin. Remember…all auction proceeds will be donated to The Foundation for Children’s Books to help underwrite school visitations by children’s authors and illustrators in underserved schools in the Greater Boston area."

Trevor Cairney from Literacy, families and learning writes about "the 4th 'R': Rest!" He says (emphasis mine): "Allowing time for play inside and outside of school is important, and I have written extensively about its importance for children's learning, development, creativity and well being".

Els Kushner has a delightful post at Librarian Mom about how her first "professional reading" took place when she was in second and third grade, "and sat in the Reading Corner for hours at a time reading one children's novel after another." She shares some of her childhood favorites, and concludes: "for practical job preparation--who would have known it?--nothing in my formal pre-library-school education beats those two years I spent hunched in the reading corner. I hope, for my profession's sake, that even though open classrooms have largely fallen out of fashion, there are still kids out there reading with such indiscriminate freedom as I had." 

Endoftheworld2009MarchOctoberthis Becky is hosting a second End of the World Challenge at Becky's Book Reviews. She says: "Read (over the next 7 months) at least four books about "the end of the world." This includes both apocalyptic fiction and post-apocalyptic fiction. There is quite a bit of overlap with dystopic fiction as well. The point being something--be it coming from within or without, natural or unnatural--has changed civilization, society, humanity to such a degree that it radically differs from "life as we now know it." Now, I think it's very safe to say that I'll be reading at least four "end of the world (as we know it)" books in the next seven months. However, I find that formal challenges, where you have to keep track, and check in, are a bit too much for me. But I'll be following Becky's progress!

Susan Taylor Brown is compiling lists of memorable mothers, fathers, and grandparents from children's literature at Susan Writes. Check out the lists so far, and share your suggestions.

And that's all for today. I'll continue to update you on the Share a Story - Shape a Future literacy blog tour for the rest of this week, and I'll be back with reviews and literacy news this weekend. Happy reading!