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Children's Literacy and Reading News Roundup: Mid-February

JkrROUNDUPWelcome to the mid-February edition of the Children’s Literacy and Reading News Roundup brought to you by Jen Robinson’s Book Page, The Family Bookshelf, and Rasco from RIF. We're delighted to highlight several children's literature and literacy-related events on the horizon. We also have some news about literacy and reading programs and research, and a couple of suggestions for growing bookworms. Thanks for tuning in!

Literacy & Reading-Related Events

CybilsheartThe big news in the Kidlitosphere, of course, is that the 2011 Cybils winners were announced on Valentine's Day. Thirteen winners across eleven categories, each book guaranteed to be both well-written and kid-friendly. The 2011 Cybils award process started in October, with 1289 eligible books nominated. From there, teams of Round 1 judges winnowed the books in each category down to shortlists of 5-7 titles. Now, the Round 2 judges have picked winners in each category. The winners are all books that you should consider adding to your To Be Read list. The shortlists remain a wonderful resource, too, with balanced recommendations in each category. A tremendous amount of work goes into the Cybils award process each year - but the results are well worth it!

Kindness.003The Book Chook reports from Australia that tomorrow, February 17th, is Random Acts of Kindness Day in the US. The Book Chook says: "Being kind is perhaps something we take for granted. I quite like the idea of a special day like Random Acts of Kindness Day, because it reminds me to take time out and think about being kind. There are so many things to ponder on such a day." Ponder away, we say! And, of course, giving books is always a nice act of kindness.

2011RAAlogosmallComing up March 2nd we have Read Across America Day, hosted by the NEA. "Read Across America is an annual reading motivation and awareness program that calls for every child in every community to celebrate reading on March 2, the birthday of beloved children's author Dr. Seuss. " Reading Rockets has a particularly good collection of Read Across America Day resources. See also, hosted by Random House. This year's featured book for Read Across America Day is Seuss' The Lorax.

Following closely on the heels of Read Across America Day is LitWorld's World Read Aloud Day, on March 7th. "World Read Aloud Day is about taking action to show the world that the right to read and write belongs to all people. World Read Aloud Day motivates children, teens, and adults worldwide to celebrate the power of words, especially those words that are shared from one person to another, and creates a community of readers advocating for every child’s right to a safe education and access to books and technology." Book Dads is hosting a World Read Aloud Day Caption Contest, and generally promoting this event. Also not to be missed is Donalyn Miller's post inspired World Read Aloud Day: Make Every Day Read Aloud Day.

In other news, School Library Journal has launched a new blog, Make Some Noise!, dedicated to advocating for school libraries. "Sara Kelly Johns will highlight opportunities, describe techniques, and celebrate great initiatives in school library advocacy." This new blog is particularly timely, given that President Obama has cut school library funding from the 2013 federal budget. (Both links via SLJ's Extra Helping newsletter).

Literacy Programs and Research

We Give Books, the digital literacy initiative from the Pearson Foundation and the Penguin Group, just launched a program by which "as many as 150,000 new children’s books will be shared as part of its new online campaign, Read for My School, which allows readers to show their support for local elementary schools and to do their part to highlight the importance of reading... Simply by reading online at anyone can help give a book to one of many literacy-based charities from around the world. Read for My School is the one campaign each year that allows readers to direct donations to their own schools." See the full press release for more details. Thanks to Jenny Schwartzberg for the link.

Also via Jenny, 69News has a nice feature story about Judith's Reading Room, a Pennsylvania nonprofit that "has donated nearly 28,000 books worth more than $300,000 to children ... in the Lehigh Valley, and to children across the world. "Judith’s Reading Room is our interpretation of spreading the word of freedom through literacy, by delivering custom libraries – free of cost with the goal to enrich lives through the simple act of reading,” said (co-founder) Scott Leiber."

The Guardian recently published a list of 10 books (most of them series) to entice reluctant boy readers. The list was prepared by Ellen Ainsworth in response to a recently announced UK government initiative to get more kids reading. Although the list was published in the UK, nearly all of the titles mentioned are widely available in the US, too. Link via @tashrow.

RIF_Primary_VerticalAlso in the interest of getting kids reading, RIF recently released their 2011-2012 Multicultural Books Collection. From the news release: "RIF has distributed the collection to RIF programs across the country since 2007 as part of its Multicultural Literacy Campaign, a multi-year initiative to promote and support early childhood literacy in African American, Hispanic and American Indian communities. In honor of the organization's 45th anniversary, this year's collection features 45 children's books highlighting the theme "celebration."" (via @CBCBook)

Suggestions for Growing Bookworms

In a recent Huffington Post Parents column, Dr. Rebecca Palacios strongly recommends that parents share books with their children. She begins: "Open a book with your child and step into another world! When we provide children the gift of books and language, we are providing them with imaginative experiences that are important in building a nation of creative thinkers and innovators." She proceeds to outline additional benefits to kids that stem from reading to them early and often. A message always worth repeating! (via @ReachOutAndRead)

Stacey Loscalzo recently shared a wonderful Mem Fox quote about reading: “If every parent understood the huge educational benefits and intense happiness brought about by reading aloud to their children, and if every parent- and every adult caring for a child-read aloud a minimum of three stories a day to the children in our lives, we could probably wipe out illiteracy within one generation.”-Mem Fox, (Reading Magic). So, so true!

And finally, while this isn't literacy per se, I was fascinated by this 1 minute, 11 second video posted by Lee Wind. It shows a little girl named Riley, maybe 3 years old, in a toy store, protesting the way that toy companies try to pigeonhole girls into buying pink princess stuff, when they might (some of them) prefer action heroes. Riley rocks! She'll make anyone think twice about this issue.

That's all for today. Carol will be back at the beginning of March with more children's literacy and reading news. And, of course, we'll be sharing literacy links on Twitter in the meantime @RascofromRIF, @readingtub, and @JensBookPage. Thanks for reading, and for caring about children's literacy!