Children's Literacy Round-Up: October 21
Cybils Press Release

Sunday Afternoon Visits: October 22

The last couple of weeks have been very hectic work-wise for me, plus any spare time that I have had has been taken up by the Cybils. Thus, I haven't had a lot of time to check out what's been going on at the other blogs. Today, I'm attempting to catch up. Here are some highlights:

  • Via A Fuse #8 Production, you can visit Powell's Bookstore online for a chance to win their 24 new staff picks for kids. Submit your email address before Halloween. I love their fine print on the topic: "We at may not be held liable for any increase of imagination incurred by reading the books featured in our newsletters. Side effects may include dry mouth, improved motor skills, expanded attention span, a sharp increase in reading materials, sudden declines in television watching and video game playing, and absolutely no vomiting or nausea."
  • I first heard about this from Kris at Paradise Found, and also read about it at A Fuse #8 Production. The Class of 2k7 is a "group of first-time children's and YA authors with debut books coming out in 2007". They are helping to promote each other's books through a website, collective blog, and other marketing activities. What's neat about the site, I think, is the tremendous level of energy and excitement that the thirty-seven authors bring to the party. The kidlitosphere's own Jay Asher (from The Disco Mermaids) is a member.
  • In my running around to stay caught up last week, I neglected to mention that the gorgeous new logo for The Cybils (located in the upper right-hand corner of my blog) was designed by Stephanie Ford from The Children's Literature Book Club. Excellent work, Stephanie!
  • Wendy has a couple of additional posts on the negative book review question over at Blog from the Windowsill. First, she laments the fact that one idea from her original post on the topic hasn't received much attention: "the idea that reviewing is (or can be) a form of creative writing in itself." Then she raises some other good questions about specific issues that sometimes face book reviewers. For me, Wendy's comments about writing thoughtful reviews for books that we feel passionately about have made me want to write better reviews (better-written, not necessarily more positive). And isn't aspiring to make one's writing constantly better (whatever the format of the writing) what it's all about?
  • Over at Book Buds, Anne posts the results of her Famous First Words contest, in which she asked readers "to submit either a funny or a poignant quip for when we land on Mars someday." The winners are a humorous poem by retired librarian Elaine M, and a heartfelt plea by Tim, aka The Lapped Catholic.
  • On an even more frivolous note, Becky has a photo of Lego pumpkins over at Farm School. I agree with her that they're pretty cute.
  • I completely missed Teen Read Week last week. Teen Read Week is a national campaign put on annually by the American Library Association to get teens interested in reading. Little Willow has a nice summary of resources over at Bildungsroman. MotherReader covered Teen Read week thoroughly, with reviews of teen books just about every day. Mary Pearson celebrated Teen Read week by interviewing teen authors, and posting their thoughts over the course of the week. Start here. It's inspiring stuff. Mary says: "I love Teen Read Week, not just because it encourages teens to read, but because it reminds old fogeys like me, what a true gift reading is, and maybe when a teen is asking for a lift to the library to check out this "Teen Read Week thing," they might even get their parent to peek inside too. Spread the miracle." I'm sorry I missed Teen Read week, but I suppose that it was fitting enough that I was working on assembling the Young Adult Fiction committees for the Cybils.
  • Gregory K. links to the coolest furniture ever, over at GottaBook. It's irresistible for people who love children's books.
  • Sherry from Semicolon links to this hilarious contest: make campaign literature for your favorite fictional character. I like the Draco Malfoy sign, myself. And wouldn't you rather vote for Encyclopedia Brown than any actual candidate for district attorney? Sherry also has some spoilerish thoughts about last week's Lost episode, if you're into that (which I am).
  • There's been an interesting discussion going on at Blue Rose Girls, A Fuse #8 Production, and The Analytical Knife about the prevalence of relatively youthful editors in the children's publishing industry, and whether this is a good thing or a bad thing. Never having worked with an editor, I don't have any comment on it myself, but there are some fascinating sidelights regarding the influence that family choices can have on women's careers. Incidentally, if you like the Blue Rose Girls (a blog that I've only recently discovered), you can enter their contest, and win cupcakes. Details here.
  • Per Rick Riordan's blog, you can now order high-quality prints or posters of the covers to the three Percy Jackson books. Rick also has a great post about the successes that he finds personally satisfying, like "the eight-year-old boy who hated writing, but who liked Percy Jackson so much he labored to produce a handwritten note he could mail to me." Very cool!
  • Patty has a new challenge over at It's All About the Book. She asks: "What is the one book you wish everyone would read? It doesn't have to be your favorite book, but a book that made some sort of impact on you and the way you live your life, or do your work, or treat your kids, etc. And you can modify the request any way you want." Head on over and give her your choices.
  • There's a lovely post over at Tales from the Reading Room about "grippers" (books that grip your interest and don't let go). Says litlove: "I am very fond of the moment when you realize that a book has gripped you and that normal life is out of the question until you have passed the climax of the action. It’s such a secure, self-contained kind of thrill. Ideally, night - or rain - should be falling, the room should be warm, the outside world and its worries should simply dissolve and, before you, a tempestuous drama should be enacted. Bliss." I love those times, too.

And with that, it's time for me to stop perusing the blogs for the day. I can never catch up on everything I missed in the past three weeks anyway. Google Reader says that I still have more than 200 unread items (and that's after moving the really prolific blogs to a different category, and visiting them directly). And so I have marked them all as read, and will try harder to keep up going forward. Happy Sunday to all!