The 10th Carnival of Children's Literature
The Envelope, Please

Sunday Afternoon Visits: January 21

Time is short. The Patriot's play at 3:30 (PST), and we are going over to a friend's house to watch. Usually, we watch football at home (thank you, DirecTV), and I can sneak in work on my weekly visits post during the slow parts of the game. But not today - not in the AFC playoffs. Still, here are a few things that I saved up from during the week. Fortunately for my ability to keep up, a lot of people are at the ALA, and aren't posting as much as usual.

  • First of all, I have a question for you. A visitor to my blog was asking me about how to find information on a book that she dimly remembered from her childhood. And I would like to have a more general answer to give to this question. Does anyone have any experience with Book Stumpers? Or, do you have other sites that you can recommend? I've heard mention of such sites, but I wasn't clever enough to write them down, so I'm hoping for your help. Thanks!
  • Over at Chicken Spaghetti, Susan responds to Janine Wood's article "Please, I Want Some Dickens" in the Christian Science Monitor, a woman's plea for her son, and other preteens, to read more Dickens. Susan comments: "I'm going to go out on a limb here, say, about an inch, and suggest this: the subtext of this kind of piece is always "I'm smarter than you are." Which is too bad, because toward the end of the  article, Wood makes some good suggestions for creating more interest in the classics."
  • There is a ton of speculation about the upcoming Newbery announcements. To get yourself in the mood for the award, check out A Year of Reading's Mock Newbery Round-Up post, where Mary Lee and Franki summarize several people's projected picks. You can also find twenty-some people's top picks in the comments of this post at A Fuse #8 Production.
  • Also not to be missed is Franki's article about the Cybils for Choice Literacy. Thanks to LibrariAnne for the link. And speaking of Anne, she has a great post about the recent Best Books for Young Adults meeting, and a discussion about "books published for adults and their place in this list of best books for teens." She also includes comments about some specific books, and has lots of other posts about the conference, too.
  • As a fan of Jacqueline Winspear's Maisie Dobbs series (adult historical mysteries), I enjoyed Colleen Mondor's recent article about Paul Nash and Maisie Dobbs. In other news, Colleen also reports: "Fans of Kiki Strike be aware that the latest Bloomsbury catalog included a teaser that a sequel will be listed in the Fall catalog. No word - anywhere - as to what it's about but I'm delighted to see a return to this story." I say, YAY, Kiki Strike! (Which in no way indicates whether or not I'm going to vote for Kiki Strike for the middle grade Cybils award - I like the other books too.)
  • Proud new mom Shannon Hale asks about Seuss for the teenage mind. She's responding to an article about efforts back in the 50's to get authors to write "an alternative reading primer that first graders wouldn't be able to put down." She asks "And what about high school students? Don't they have the right to read books that aren't boring? There's little comparison between the banal Dick and Jane books and the renowned classics that make up a high school English class curriculum. But still, I find a correlation. Dick and Jane were the unquestioned reading material of elementary schools for years until people started to say, hey, wait a minute, why can't we have other choices? Literacy at the high school level is very much threatened. Wouldn't it also make a difference to have stories that capture the older reader's interest?" I think that it's an excellent post, and it has generated her usual dozens of comments in response.
  • HipWriterMama is back with more Strong Girl Role Models, including, coincidentally, Miri from Shannon Hale's Princess Academy. She should have another list out soon, too, because this one is from last Sunday.
  • TadMack has some additional follow-up thoughts on book reviewing and the Cybils. I'm having some trouble with the site's permanent links, but head on over to Finding Wonderland, and scroll down through the last couple of posts. See in particular her comments, and her link to Not Your Mother's Book Club's comments, on the fact that the Young Adult fiction shortlist ended up with four out of five books from the same publisher. TadMack said: "The second painful thing was that shortlist -- and discovering that four of the final five are from one publishing house. We hadn't noticed until we 'heard' that house described as having a stranglehold on the category. Ouch!" Personally, I believe that the fact that four out of five titles were from the same publishing house shows that the team WASN'T taking the publisher into account in selecting the books, because if they had known, they would have been tempted to balance things out a bit. And I don't think that would have been right. They picked the books that they thought were the best. Period.
  • Thanks to the Disco Mermaids for linking to the first issue of the Class of 2k7 eZine. You can find it here. If you subscribe, you could win a selection of Advance Reading Copies of books by Class of 2k7 authors.
  • The Longstockings Question of the Week is "what children's book character would you want as your best friend?" They always have such appealing questions. Not that they asked me, but I would have to say that I'm torn between Pippi and Hermione (both of whom where selected by Longstockings, too). I would not choose Lyra, because look what happened to her first best friend... The Longstockings also gave out their new award, the Flappie Award, to Absolutely Positively Not..., for best jacket flap copy. The book was nominated by Jay from The Disco Mermaids, and is one that I've been wanting to read.
  • Wendy shares some thoughts about writing book reviews at Blog from the Windowsill, here and here. I've never given much thought to the concept of reviewer's block, but I definitely have it from time to time. Right now, for instance, I have a bunch of books that I read around the holidays, and didn't have time to review. It would appear that I have time now, since I'm spending all this time visiting other blogs. And yet... I can't make myself sit down and write the reviews. I think it's because I'm putting some pressure on myself to write "better" reviews, and as a result, I don't write them at all. But I will. Soon. Wendy has helped motivate me.
  • Little Willow has a new list of Books for Sports Fans. They aren't all books about sports (e.g. The Westing Game), but are books with characters that sports fans will identify with. She's also updated her list of Funny Fiction for Kids.
  • If you're not a fan of this book, be sure to check out The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane: Readers Theater at MotherReader. And if you are a fan, well, then you might not think that it's funny. I haven't actually read Edward Tulane, but I think that the Reader's Theater is hilarious.
  • Over at Original Content, Gail Gauthier relates an experience that she and her son had with The Westing Game. While she and her son liked the book, when his class at school read it, the other kids complained that it was too hard. Gail concludes: "I'm always concerned about whether kids like the same books the adult kidlit community does, so I found this incident worrisome. That's all. But it made me think. And still does." I sometimes wonder about this question, too, so I thought it was an interesting post. Though I have no intelligent conclusions to make on the subject.
  • Jennifer discusses three different versions of Mary Poppins (book, movie, and Broadway show) over at Snapshot. Definitely enough to make me want to go back and re-read the books.
  • Eisha and Jules over at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast have their first of a planned series of interviews available. This one is with Liz B. from A Chair, A Fireplace, and a Tea Cozy. My favorite part (because I feel the same way) is where Liz says: "While I do post mostly about books, my broader interest is in stories. The stories we tell, the stories we believe, the ones we read and the ones we watch. The ones we want to believe in, the ones we’re afraid of, and the stories we tell because we’re afraid and we want comfort. I think stories are important, and whether it’s a picture book or a T.V. show or Gossip Girls, it’s important." Bravo to that! And it's exactly how I justify watching TV and loving books.
  • Kristen has put together a list of "awesome resources for reading and kid lit" over at Pixie Stix Kids Pix. She includes both printed and web resources. It's well worth checking out.
  • I wrote a bunch yesterday about raising readers (in the context of Jim Trelease's visit). But I've also always been interested in young kids who are interested in writing (hello, J. from Lexington and N. from Westwood). So I was particularly interested to read Adrienne's recent post about Raising a Writer. She says "Personally, I can't get enough of watching this barely seven-year-old using writing to express himself, to communicate, to entertain, and for all manner of practical applications." I feel that way about a couple of kids I know, too.

Thank you all for visiting. This is my 500th published post. I look forward to 500 more! Happy reading!