Happy Kid!: Gail Gauthier
Wizards at War: Diane Duane

Sunday Afternoon Visits: August 20

Here are a few things that I noticed in my web travels this weekend:

  • A recent post at PlanetEsme, by Esme Raji Codell, has a nice explanation of why Esme doesn't include negative comments in her reviews. She says, "I think criticism is overrated in our culture... I don't think people need help knowing what not to read, so I direct my energy towards recommending what I consider to be the cream of the crop." I agree, and I try to do the same thing: highlight great books, and quietly not mention the ones that I find less than great. And I'm constantly amazed at how many wonderful books there are that are worth talking about. Hat tip to Finding Wonderland for this link. Esme also has a nice list of teacher resources posted today.
  • Via Gail Gauthier's blog, Original Content, I learned of an interesting post at Rick Riordan's blog. Rick writes about his son Patrick's summer reading blues. Patrick apparently took a strong dislike to Newbery-award winning Ginger Pye by Eleanor Estes (which I don't recall ever having read). This set Rick to thinking about whether or not adults who choose books (especially the Newbery committee) are alienating kids, by picking books that kids don't enjoy reading. He has some strong thoughts on the matter. He concludes "And please God, grant me the wisdom to remember that I am writing for children, not golden stickers. If children don’t enjoy my books, I haven’t done my job." Yay, Rick! Camille at Book Moot was inspired by Rick's post to put up some of her thoughts on award-winning books. (Coincidentally, she quoted Rick's concluding words, too).
  • Susan Taylor Brown is inviting all of you to attend her Hugging the Rock (my review is here) book launch party, to be held on September 27th, in Mountain View, CA. I was pleased to receive a lovely evite to the party last week, and you can receive one, too, if you email Susan. Susan lists several incentives for attending on her blog (meeting her, getting your book autographed, refreshments). And if you go, you can meet me, too, because I'm planning to attend, and you can meet Wendy from Blog from the Windowsill. So many reasons to attend. Liz B., sadly, had to decline, not being so close by. But if you live in the Bay Area, and you like children's books, then you should come on by! And if you want to learn more about Susan first, check out Little Willow's recent interview with Susan Taylor Brown.
  • The cool teacher's list at A Year of Reading is now up to 71. I think that Mary Lee and Franki will get the list up to their goal of 100 soon. I also enjoyed Mary Lee's post about the twin author signing held recently by Jennifer Roy and her sister Julia DeVillers. Jennifer Roy is the author of Yellow Star, about which I and everyone else have been raving of late.
  • The great or infamous librarians list over at TheBookDragon is now up to 28 (see the right-hand sidebar).
  • Kelly Herold from Big A little a has been making great progress with adding reviews to the Children's Book Reviews site. Children's Book Reviews is a collaborative website by which bloggers from the kidlitsophere can post links to their reviews of children's and young adult titles. It's well worth checking out, even if you've visited previously, because new titles are being added all the time. 
  • The weekend dialog question at Buried in the Slush Pile asks for readers' opinions about author websites and blogs. I included my two cents in the comments over there, but I do think that this discussion topic could be useful reading for published and aspiring authors.
  • Wendy Betts has a new annotated bibliography of bedtime stories at Notes from the Windowsill. I also like her adoptions and orphans bibliography. I'm not sure why it is that so many great children's books are about orphans, but it's certainly notable.
  • Michele at Scholar's Blog gives advance notice that she'll be hosting the Eighth Carnival of Children's Literature on Halloween. She says: "I invite you to start thinking about witches, pumpkins, vampires, ghosts and ghouls, and anything else that might be related to Hallowe'en." Kind of makes me want to go on a vampire reading binge (I'm eagerly awaiting my copy of New Moon from Amazon). Carnival number seven will be held, I believe, at Wands and Worlds in September.
  • Michele also has an interesting post asking "why do you read?". This is in response to an essay that she read that said that "Losing oneself in a fictional world is the goal of the naive reader or one who reads as entertainment." Given that Michele is a tremendous reader and reviewer, she naturally took offense to this statement, as do several of her commenters. Personally, I'm happy to count myself as naive, if that means that I get to enjoy the books that I read.
  • I think that I've mentioned this before, but Sherry's Saturday Review of Books posts at Semicolon have really taken off. Each Saturday, she publishes a handy little form by which visitors can include a link to a book review written during that week. It's a neat idea, well-executed.

And that is quite enough for one day. In fact, many of these bullets probably deserve a post of their own. But I kind of like having all of the things that I noticed this weekend in one handy post. Thanks for visiting with me!