Reading Like a Teenage Girl
Behind the Eyes: Francisco X. Stork

Saturday Afternoon Visits: November 25

It's a pretty quiet weekend out there in blog land, with many people taking time away from their computers. So here are some highlights from the kidlitosphere that I've been saving up over the past week or so:

  • MotherReader mocks the new U.S. Department of Agriculture decision to eliminate the term "hungry" in favor of the phrase "food insecure". She suggests also referring to poverty as poverté, to make it more trendy.
  • Over at Kids Lit, Tasha decries a Science Daily article that found that "children's ability to use contextual cues to determine whether the information is true develops significantly between the ages of 3 and 5." The idea behind the study was that if information is put into scientific terms, rather than fantasy-related terms, kids are more likely to take the information as real. Tasha's point, which I agree with, is that there's nothing wrong with young kids believing in fairies and dragons anyway.
  • This is a bit late, but a regular reader of this blog was kind enough to point out a special children's book section in last Sunday's Columbus Dispatch (Ohio). There are mini-reviews of lots of great titles, all carefully categorized.
  • Tanya Lee Stone addresses a humorous piece to librarians about the fact that people are writing in library copies of A Bad Boy Can Be Good for a Girl. "Bad Boy's once-empty bits are now filled with girls expressing themselves with writing implements. Telling it like it is. Sticking it to the man. (Okay, that's too dated, but you get the idea and I can't bring myself to delete it.)" A Bad Boy... is on the Cybils Young Adult Fiction nominee list.
  • Mitali Perkins makes peace with the onset of her seventh winter in Massachusetts. As someone who fled the Massachusetts winters at the earliest possible opportunity, I was especially amused by her article. She also links to the How Massachusetts Are You quiz, on which I scored a 91%. I did get 100% on the Are You a True Dedicated Red Sox Fan quiz.
  • Reading Matters writes about "The pitfalls of receiving free books, or how not to risk your book blogging credibility". Apparently there was a marketing effort centered around The Thirteen Tale (which I did not know about or profit from) by which bloggers could quietly get cash by promoting the book. There is a huge discussion in the comments at Reading Matters about it. Personally, I always indicate the source of a book when I review it, and I try to steer away from requests to promote things on my blog in which the request feels especially commercial to me.
  • PJ Librarian from The Magic of Books links to two Multnomah County Library booklists for middle grade kids with reading difficulties. She also recommends books by Jerry Spinelli, though he doesn't appear on either of the lists.
  • OK, this one is wrenching, but a Colorado father who lost his wife and two young children in a hit-and-run accident asked that people bring children's books to the funeral, so that he could donate them to a school. Read more at
  • The Blue Rose Girls take the direct approach, and ask their readers who they are and why they visit blogs in general, and this blog in particular. There are a surprising number of responses, and the post offers a nice glimpse into the make-up of the kidlitosphere.
  • Inspired by her son, currently lost in the book Danger Boy: Ancient Fire, Lisa Yee asks readers "what book(s) do you remember grabbing you and not letting go?" Her example is The Secret Garden, and there are many other excellent responses in the comments. For me, I'd have to cite the Green Sky trilogy, by Zilpha Keatley Snyder, though of course I could name many others.
  • Over at Finding Wonderland, TadMack rediscovers the compelling truth that: "I cannot make everyone happy with my writing. I can't make anybody like what I've done, or what I do. I have to be true to my of whatever. And go with it." Personally, I think this truth applies to blogging as well as fiction writing, and to other life choices, too.
  • Linda Sue Park has an excellent post about her stint as a member of the panel for the National Book Award for Young People's Literature. While she doesn't go into details about specific books, she does discuss the criteria that she used for winnowing the list. Useful reading, for all of you Cybils committee members out there.
  • Here in San Jose, the Mercury News is in high gear soliciting donations for their Gift of Reading program (in which people donate like-new books, and the books are distributed to Bay Area children who need them). I enjoyed Mike Cassidy's column yesterday about how a local high school book club (Bookzilla) is gathering books, and discussing books passionately. Says Mike "Bookzilla was a force field, a ball of energy, a conversation so animated that I certainly couldn't keep up." Personally, I'm thinking that the Gift of Reading program will be a good home for some of the reviewed books currently stacking up around my house.

Happy reading, and a peaceful post-Thanksgiving weekend!