Growing Bookworms Newsletter: July 6
First Light: Rebecca Stead

Tuesday Afternoon Visits: July 7

I know that I just published a Kidlitosphere news round-up on Sunday. But I have a few additional links to share with you today:

First up, congratulations to Guys Lit Wire. Their Book Fair for Boys was a huge success. Colleen Mondor reports: "I am thrilled to announce that to date we received 600 books for the boys in the LA County juvenile justice system. The response to the original Book Fair for Boys post has been huge - far greater than we anticipated - and will make a big difference in a lot of lives. So many books were sent to LA that InsideOut Writers is able to spread them over all three facilities where the boys are held, providing much greater access to the books." Very cool!

Also at Guys Lit Wire, an excellent post from Mr. Chompchomp suggesting some guy-friendly books that feature female protagonists. He says: "Fortunately, the world of literature is more varied than the world of Disney movies, and gives us many books with girls as the main characters, girls who are neither princesses nor fairies, nor, for that matter, the tormented little playthings of boy vampires. Here are some of those books, mostly fantasy and sci-fi, because that's what I know, but some non-fiction too, for good measure". There are some great suggestions, including Garth Nix's fabulous Sabriel (and sequels).

Mitali Perkins just published a great list of Take Me Away Fiction (books with a strong sense of place). She says: "f you can't afford a lavish vacation this summer, here's a list of books that make you forget where you are by creating a great sense of place. I haven't read all of these, so don't quote me as your travel agent -- they came in response to my call for YA/Kid novels that turn us into armchair travelers with their mastery of setting." The first three books I thought of were Sara Zarr's Story of a Girl, Mary Pearson's A Room on Lorelei Street, and Laini Taylor's Blackbringer. And of course there is Mitali's own Monsoon Summer. Do you have any other titles to suggest for Mitali's list?

In light of the many responses to the recent NY Times column by Nicholas Kristof's list of "the best kids' books ever" (one person's opinion, and not at all a diverse list, but at least he's got lots of people talking about children's books), Laurel Snyder has re-posted her own essay on "the very worst books for kids".

There seems to be a minor bout of blog reviewer burnout going around. This is different from blog focus angst, and tends to be caused by either writing many reviews in a short time, or by having a big stack of books that have been read, and not yet reviewed. Amy from My Friend Amy is the latest victim of this malaise (though she clearly has an excellent support network). In any event, for anyone suffering from this, I prescribe 7 Tips for Quitting a Book, from Kelly at YAnnabee. That and a big stack of books that you don't feel like you'll need to review - things outside of your usual focus, old favorites, etc.

OK, that's all for now. Back to our regularly scheduled programming.

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