I begin to think that the sheer impossibility of keeping up with the news from around this Kidlitosphere is a permanent condition. Particularly when, as was the case last weekend, I have trips. But here's my best effort to capture the news from the past week. Hope that you find it useful.
I've been following the news about the NCBLA/Library of Congress/Jon Scieszka project, The Exquisite Corpse Adventure. The project was officially launched at last weekend's National Book Festival. The idea is for the project to be "a buoyant, spontaneous experiment; a progressive story game just like the one many families play on road trips, at camps, at parties, at home when there is a power outage... Members of The Exquisite Corpse Adventure “motley crew” are, in reality, some of the most gifted artists and storytellers in our nation, award-winners all—M.T. Anderson, Natalie Babbitt, Calef Brown, Susan Cooper, Kate Di Camillo, Timothy Basil Ering, Nikki Grimes, Shannon Hale, Daniel Handler aka Lemony Snicket, Steven Kellogg, Gregory Maguire, Megan McDonald, Patricia and Fredrick McKissack, Linda Sue Park, Katherine Paterson, James Ransome, Jon Scieszka, and Chris Van Dusen." If you follow the NCBLA's blog, you'll be notified easily about each new episode (new episodes will be published every two weeks for the next year). You can also (I learned from Leila at Bookshelves of Doom) follow a special RSS feed for the new ECA posts alone).
I must confess to being particularly pleased because, as part of a Literacy Resource Treasure Chest accompanying the Exquisite Corpse Adventure (prepared by the National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance and the Butler Children’s Literature Center at Dominican University), the team published a list of "Blogs that Inspire". And, well, my blog is listed, along with several other amazing blogs (see Fuse 8's thoughts here). I must say, this made my week. But in general, the page offers nice one-stop shopping for many of the literacy organizations that Terry Doherty and I talk about all the time. It is truly an honor to be included.
Moving on, there have been tons of articles about on Banned Book Week, too many for me to link to here (but check out Finding Wonderland, for a range of posts, and Lee Wind's challenged author roundtable discussion). But my attention was caught by this article from Boston.com, sent to me by my friend Alex from Outside In. It's an op-ed piece by Julianna Baggott about an embattled teacher's response to potential "objectionable material" in books. Here's the part that got me: "The overwhelmingly sad thing for me was the sound of fear in this woman’s voice and her utter lack of conviction in the things that probably once inspired her to become a teacher in the first place - the way someone can talk about the world of books, the power of the imagination, and change a child’s life."
Lori Calabrese reports that Saturday (October 3rd) is Make it Matter Day. She says: "Reader's Digest, Reading Is Fundamental, and other organizations are partnering to bring learning to life for Reader's Digest's National Make It Matter Day, this Saturday (October 3rd). Members of local communities as well as local and national organizations will rally behind literacy and education in over 100 events at select schools, Boys & Girls Clubs, YMCAs, and libraries across the U.S." She also offers concrete suggestions for participating.
Today is the last day to vote in First Book's What Book Got You Hooked? campaign. The First Book blog says: "Don’t forget to cast your vote for the book that got you hooked and the state to receive 50,000 new books. Voting is open through 12:00 am midnight ET TONIGHT, September 30!"
- At Semicolon, Sherry Early vents about the "torn between two lovers device" in literature and film. Now me, I find this compelling, when done well. But I still enjoyed Sherry's post.
- By way of followup to last week's What A Girl Wants column, which lamented the way that socioeconomic woes are often ignored in children's and young adult fiction, Colleen Mondor discusses two recent books that do take economic struggles into account (Operation Yes by Sara Lewis Holmes and Heart of a Shepherd by Rosanne Parry, two books that I loved. See also Sara's YES interview with Rosanne.)
- Greg Pincus shares 10 Facebook Status Update Ideas at The Happy Accident. I also liked Greg's earlier post about 10 Golden Rules for Engaging Via Social Media, created with Mark Blevis.
- Ann has an interesting post about picture book end papers at Booklights today. See also Terry's post from yesterday about celebrating culture with books, in honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month. I'm also somewhat attached to Gina's Show and Tale selection for this week: Harriet the Spy.
- Mary Pearson writes at Tor about the unsung hero of literature: setting.
- Becky from Becky's Book Reviews explains her reading challenge addiction.
- Sarah shares "hot books" from her middle school classroom at The Reading Zone. Sarah also shared a lovely success story recently, about creating a lifelong reader.
- Susan Taylor Brown is seeking your favorite unsung kidlit blogs by authors and illustrators for a top-secret project.
- At Roots in Myth, PJ Hoover suggests that parent-son book clubs would help engage more boys in reading. There are many, many interested and supportive comments on this subject.
- Speaking of boys and reading, Lori Calabrese highlights Gotcha for Guys: nonfiction books to get boys excited about reading.
- Kudos to DaughterReader (and proud MotherReader) for her recent National Book Festival success doing a dramatic reading with Mo Willems.
- Kate Coombs (Book Aunt) writes about her observation that story books (one step up from picture books, including fairy tales, written to be read to slightly older kids) are losing ground fast.
- I was traveling and didn't have a chance to participate, but Sunday's 7 Kicks from the 7-Imps featured one of my favorite characters, Andrea Beaty's Ted (of Doctor Ted fame, now reinvented as Fireman Ted).
- Liz B has the scoop on the Simon & Schuster Blogfest 2009 at Tea Cozy. Liz also had a post over that weekend about whether or not it should be viewed as negative to want to understand how something like the Book Blogger Appreciation Week awards worked. There is a LOT of discussion about transparency in the comments.
- Speaking of transparency, the Readergirlz Divas recently shared an explanation of how they choose the books that they feature each month.
- At Shelf Elf, Kerry Millar has a post highlighting three authors who she thinks are also great bloggers (including the reasons why). I certainly agree with her choices.
- Justine Larbalestier has a bit of a rant on the current obsession with dwelling on an author's age (as in, "isn't it amazing that he wrote this book by the age of ... whatever").
Whew! That's it for today. Later this week I'll be working on literacy news and reviews. And, of course, following the Cybils nominations. And preparing for KidLitCon. And ... wouldn't it be nice to have time to read books sometime? Thanks for reading!