Too Grown Up for Kids' Stuff!?
Crispin: The Cross of Lead: Avi

Sunday Afternoon Visits: September 3

I was in Arizona this past week, and not able to keep up on the kidlitosphere as much as I would have liked. However, here are some highlights from my attempt to catch back up this weekend. There has been some great stuff going on out there!

  • Liz B. at A Chair, A Fireplace, and A Tea Cozy links to a post by author Arthur Slade about getting boys to read. One of Arthur's suggestions is to get kids into podcasting short book reviews to release on the net. The idea is that boys who are interested in technology might read books just so that they can do the podcasts. He also suggests book-related projects that could be posted on MySpace. What I say is, whatever works! And anyone who goes out and talks to people about how to get kids reading (boys or girls) is on my A list.
  • A Fuse #8 Production links to a humorous article at the Publisher's Weekly website about places that children's book editors have been pitched about books. I thought that the worst was a woman who was forced to take a manuscript from someone at her uncle's funeral. Overall, it's an interesting cautionary tale for aspiring authors. Buried in the Slush Pile also comments on the article with a post entitled Editors (and publishers and agents) are people, too. Gail Gauthier also shares some thoughts on the matter at Original Content.
  • Fuse #8 also links to a disturbing article on the Bookseller Blog about nostalgia book buyers who are targeting libraries. In some cases people check out rare books from the library and "lose" them, paying a standard replacement fee that doesn't come close to the true value of the book. A sad story.
  • Franki at A Year of Reading has a thoughtful post about summer reading lists, inspired by an article that Fuse #8 referenced about a school where 519 kids were suspended for not completing their summer reading assignment. Franki suggests that the problem with summer reading programs is that they feel like work, and that "as teachers and administrators, we should help kids discover the amazing experience that reading is, so that they use the summer to catch up on the books that they have been dying to read. I would think a good goal would be for kids to get excited about an event like the 48 hour book challenge sponsored by the brilliant Mother Reader." Hmm... maybe there's a useful synergy between Franki's suggestion and Arthur Slade's suggestion (above) about using MySpace pages for book-related projects.
  • Kelly at Big A little a links to a Feminist Press article about an NSF-funded project for children's writers who want to write fiction about girls and science. The idea, of course, is to keep more girls interested in science, by giving them fictional role models that they can relate to. Kelly suggests that "excellent, engaging, enthusiastic math teachers at all U.S. junior and senior high schools might be more effective!", but I agree with her that it's an interesting proposal.
  • And on a more controversial note, Leila at bookshelves of doom links to a Sun Online article about the next Harry Potter movie (The Order of the Phoenix). Apparently, the producers will be excluding Quidditch scenes from the movie, because "If we included everything the film would be seven hours long." Fans beg to differ, citing the importance of Quidditch to the books. Personally, I don't see what would be wrong with a seven hour Harry Potter movie. But of course I don't have to pay to produce it.
  • The Fairrosa Cyber Library of Children's Literature has started a list of children's and young adult literature-related blogs. I'm happy to have my book page included in the list. Thanks to Susan at Chicken Spaghetti for the link to Fairrosa. I've also received nice recommendations this weekend from Buried in the Slushpile (which I recommended recently for BlogDay) and Paradise Found (a new to me blog about "homeschooling, book publishing and (Hawaiian) island life"). Thanks!!
  • a.fortis at Finding Wonderland links to a nice article by Cameron Leigh James about reading age-appropriate material to babies. The article references a new book by two reading specialists, a "primer to show parents that reading aloud to baby provides the foundation necessary for learning." You can find more information about the book at There are no customer reviews yet on Amazon, but there is a quote from read-aloud expert Jim Trelease: "If I were in charge of American parents, my first law would be that all new parents had to read this book."
  • The FirstBook blog links to a nice little article by Barbara Rowley about The Joy of Reading. The article has tips for parents on reading with children of different age ranges. For instance, for babies and toddlers "(b)ook time is snuggle time", while for preschoolers, "if you pretend to read one (a book), you'll look just like a grown-up."
  • Little Willow at Bildungsroman has just completed a series of six interviews with authors of MTV Books for teens, including Laura Wiess, Cara Lockwood, Caridad Ferrer, Beth Killian/Kendrick, Jenny O'Connell, and Tara Altebrando.
  • If you happen to catch tomorrow night's showing of Behind the Camera: The Unauthorized Story of Diff'rent Strokes, be aware that our own Gregory K. from GottaBook was the writer for the project. I hope that it's a success!
  • Melissa Wiley at Here in the Bonny Glen wants to start a new list: good contemporary retellings of old tales. If you have any suggestions, head on over to Bonny Glen to comment. The only one that I could think of was Shannon Hale's The Goose Girl.
  • Author M.J. Rose has a guest column from Susan O'Doherty, Ph.D. (Dr. Sue) called Books Saved My Life. The idea is that for Dr. Sue, as for many other people, books have saved lives by offering "a safe means of escape (and) ... the reality of a community that transcended the boundaries of geography, ethnicity, and even time." She urges authors to keep writing, because what they do is of paramount importance. Thanks to Paradise Found for the link.
  • Author Rick Riordan writes about his and his wife's decision to start home schooling their sixth grade son Haley. The decision was made in large part in response to Haley's borderline dyslexia and ADHD, and boiled down to the fact that when they tried a sample day, Haley loved it. Rick shares early impressions, after three weeks of home schooling, and concludes: "right now, I’d say the benefits of home-schooling far outweigh the disadvantages for our family." I find it interesting because Rick was a sixth grade teacher for years, and now he really has a perspective on both sides of the home school debate. Of course if Percy Jackson (from The Lightning Thief) was home schooled, he'd get into a lot less trouble.

And while I still have other blogs that I'd like to visit, this seems like quite enough for one post. Happy reading, and Happy Labor Day!