Growing Bookworms Newsletter: October 27
This Blog's for You: Ten of the Best from Betsy Bird

Friday Afternoon Visits: Halloween Eve News from the Kidlitosphere

Kidlitosphere_button There's been nonstop action around the Kidlitosphere this week. Here are a few highlights.

Halloween-themed posts abound this week. I, of course, liked this one from Joyce Grant at Getting Kids Reading: Hallowe'en Literacy: Some ideas for working literacy into your Hallowe'en festivities. Like "Do a Hallowe'en recipe together. A perfect combination of math, reading and - yum!" Also, via a link from Katie B's First Book's Odds and Bookends column, bookish Halloween costume ideas from Laura Nathan. And Roberta Gibson at Wrapped in Foil is mulling giving out books for Halloween, inspired by a Books for Treats promotion in the comic strip Luann. And Pam Coughlan profiles three books about monsters at Booklights.

I found an interesting article about adults reading young adult fiction via @DonalynBooks and @TheReadingZone on Twitter. The Courier-Journal.com article by Erin Keane says "Young adult fiction's appeal has grown way beyond the school library. What was once considered entertainment for kids has become big business for adults, who are increasingly turning to the children's section for their own reading pleasure, according to publishing experts."

As for what teens themselves enjoy reading, Publisher's Weekly recently published the results of a TeenReads.com survey about teens' reading habits. See Carol Fitzgerald's article for details. Roger Sutton comments at Read Roger that "The most interesting statistic of this teen reading survey concerns who responded to it: "while we purposely marketed the survey to attract male readers, females are the vast majority (96%) of responders.""

In other news about teen readers, Becky Levine shares a lovely story about boys excited for a book signing by Eoin Colfer. She says: "I hear SO much about boys not liking books, about losing boys from reading as they get into their teens. I watch my son and, too often, see him as the exception–myself as the lucky parent who gets to keep sharing this with her son. Last night, I realized he’s not the exception and neither am I. Write for the boys, folks. They’re here, and they’re starving for more books to read, more books that show them why they want to write, too."

My blog was included in recent lists of 101 Book Blogs You Need to Read and 100 Best Book Blogs for Kids, Tweens, and Teens by Online Universities. I especially liked the second list, because lots of my blogging friends are on it, too. Both lists are diverse, classified, and annotated. Although, as you know, I'm not a huge fan of "bests" in reference to blogs, I am happy to be in such good company.

Speaking of bests, Susan Thomsen has started her annual list of lists of best children's books of 2009 at Chicken Spaghetti. She explains: "Last year I started compiling all the year-end "best of" lists in newspapers, magazines, and other sources. I added in many of the various children's literature prizes throughout the year, too. (You can peruse "The Best of the Best: Kids' Books '08" right here.) A person who chooses titles from these lists will read—and give and recommend to children—many good books."

Still speaking of bests, Amazon is counting down their 100 best books of the year at Omnivoracious. You can find books 20 to 11 here, with links to the previous lists. I've been particularly happy to see The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate (#83), Shiver (#62), Catching Fire (#42), The Last Olympian (#29), and When You Reach Me (#21). That's some representation for children's and young adult literature in the overall list. I mean, I'd like to see more, but I agree with the titles that they did include.

Cybils2009-150px If you're going to be around New York City next Saturday, November 7th, there's an excellent Cybils-themed Literary Cafe being hosted by Betsy Bird at the new Children's Center at 42nd St. You can find details in this post/news release at A Fuse #8 Production. Panelists will include Pam Coughlan, Elizabeth Burns, Susan Thomsen, and Anne Boles Levy. I'll tell you - this is one of those rare occasions when I wish I still lived in the Northeast.

Speaking of Betsy Bird and of Amazon, Betsy provoked quite a controversy recently when she asked some pointed questions about Amazon's Vine reviewer program. She said things like "the Vine reviewers are sometimes not the best representative readers for books that are a little different" and "The difference being that you can rely on a professional reviewer to give insightful commentary and acknowledge a book's intended audience, and you can determine whether or not a blog reviewer is the kind of person you want looking over your product. And you don't even have to pay us. The Vine folks, by contrast, are not professional reviewers and yet they enjoy a newfound #1 status of sorts." The comments about "professional reviewers" vs. not seem to have caused the most sting for people. Me, I tried the Vine program very briefly, and didn't like it. I didn't like the idea of having to review books I was lukewarm about in order to receive more books (though I can see that requiring a certain number of reviews is necessary for this type of program). But I think that Betsy raises some issues worth thinking about. See also Kate Messner's take.

Colleen Mondor took on this Vine controversy at Chasing Ray, tied it in with two other recent conflicts, and noted one alarming overall issue that connects the three. She says: "I wanted to point this all out to emphasize the many small ways in which book choice is constantly under attack. It's not just banning that is a problem, in some ways that is the least of our problems because at least it is obvious. We know who to fight and when. The removal of choice in places big and small is insidious however and it's easy to lose sight of but we need to be thinking about it and doing what we can to combat it all the time." The comments there, though not as extensive as the ones at Betsy's, are similarly mixed.

Liz B points out at Tea Cozy one more must-read article about the FTC Guidelines for Bloggers. Olgy Gary typed up a detailed transcript of Mary Engle's session at KidLitCon, and then sent it to Mary for editing/approval. The result is an sanctioned transcript of the discussion - well worth your time. You can find it at Olgy's Children Come First website. Olgy, a first-time attendee to KidLitCon, is clearly going to be an asset to the Kidlitosphere. Also at Tea Cozy, Liz highlights Cynthia Leitich Smith's blog, Cynsations, in the latest of her Kidlitosphere profile features.

I'd like to offer a fond blogging farewell to Eisha from Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast. after co-founding 7-Imp with Jules (who will still be blogging there), Eisha has decided to move on to pursue other interests. I'm glad that she's found other things to interest her, but she'll certainly be missed in the Kidlitosphere. See also Tanita Davis' farewell to Eisha at Finding Wonderland.

Quick hits:

And that's all for today. I'll be catching up on some literacy news this weekend for Monday's roundup. Wishing you all a festive and freakish Halloween.

© 2009 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. All Amazon links in this post are affiliate links, and may result in my receiving a small commission on purchases (with no additional cost to you).

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