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Babymouse: Heartbreaker

Sunday Afternoon Visits: February 11

It's getting harder and harder to keep up with the Kidlitosphere, with new blogs popping up all the time (or at least, I'm still learning about new blogs all the time). But I'm going to have fun trying! Fortunately, I haven't traveled for a couple of weeks, and that helps me to have time to keep up. Anyway, here are some Sunday afternoon suggestions for your perusal. This week features a plethora of posts by authors.

  • As we get ready for the Cybils announcements, Jackie shares some stats regarding the young adult fiction nominees over at interactivereader. Were you just dying to know the average number of pages of the nominated books? Want to know how many were historical fiction? How many featured death? Head on over to Jackie's to learn more.
  • The big news over at Here in the Bonny Glen is that Melissa Wiley will no longer be writing her Martha and Charlotte books for HarperCollins. She made this decision because the publisher has decided to discontinue the original books, and reissue them as much shorter abridgements, aimed at a younger audience. She writes movingly about the difficulty of this decision, and it's impact on her family. In essence, as she explains in a follow-up post, she thinks that HarperCollins is dumbing down the series, and she doesn't want to be part of that. She doesn't bear them ill will - she understands that it's a business decision - but it's still a loss. For Melissa and her family, and for all of the people who love her Martha and Charlotte books. You can still, for a short time, find the original books on Amazon, starting with this one. I just purchased my copies.
  • Kirby Larson (author of Hattie Big Sky) shares her "the glass is more than half full" thoughts. She writes about how a "lovely gentleman named Richard Baldwin chose to honor his late wife in a most amazing way. Since she was a former 8th grade teacher, he decided to help every single 8th grader at Meany Junior High in Seattle buy $30 worth of books." She also shares her plans to head out for a week of Katrina clean-up work - her second trip. This time she'll also be meeting with students, and sharing books donated by Scholastic. She reminds us that there's a lot of good stuff going on in the world.
  • Rick Riordan (author of The Lightning Thief) writes about a mentoring program to keep teachers in school. He says "We would be much better served training our teachers (and compensating our teachers) the way we train doctors, with an extensive internship and residency program. Teaching children is no less important than saving lives." He doesn't think that it's going to happen, but that's what he believes.
  • Gail Gauthier (author of Happy Kid) writes about reading speed, quoting an article from the Chronicle of Higher Education. Gail's words "I was immediately attracted to this article because I'm so often frustrated because I can't read more and more and more" particularly resonated with me. The CHE article is quite interesting.   
  • I missed my chance to participate, but Lisa Graff (author of The Thing About Georgie and one of the Longstockings) is taking a page from John Green's book, and going on a 7-day blog tour. There will be free books, too!
  • Kelly from Big A little a was inspired by Betsy from A Fuse #8 Production to re-start something that she (Kelly) tried years ago, when the kidlitsophere was much smaller: a wiki novel. Read more here. You can find the wiki here, but you'll have to contact Kelly for a password if you want to participate.
  • Mindy writes about reading aloud with kids over at In this well-researched piece, she synthesizes suggestions from a variety of sources (including my Jim Trelease notes), and includes links to recommended read alouds for different age ranges. Definitely not to be missed, if you read aloud with young kids (and if you don't, could you? Just a thought).
  • Eisha over at 7-Imp is proposing a post-Cybils celebration in Boston. As I told her, it's almost enough to make me wish I still lived in Boston. Well, except for that whole cold thing.
  • As you all know, I'm a fan of First Book (an organization that gives new books to underprivileged children). So I thought that I would bring to your attention a post about how you can support First Book while doing your Valentine's Day gift-giving. If you're into that sort of thing.
  • Michele has a very detailed post over at Scholar's Blog, about a recent talk that she heard by Philip Pullman on "the fundamental particles of narrative". If you're an aspiring writer, or even someone who isn't sure whether you might be an aspiring writer, you'll find it fascinating reading.
  • LibrariAnne writes about the ALSC's decision to allow people on award committees to continue blogging about books during their term, though they won't be able to write about "their ALSC award committee work, or about the status of eligible books in relationship to these awards during their term of committee service." Anne also offers some words in defense of blog reviews (which are often considered inferior to more formal print reviews), saying "to me anyway, many of the amazingly insightful kitlitosphere blogs are often more interesting and useful than some of the print journals with established cred." Can't argue with that.
  • Tricia at the Miss Rumphius Effect writes about what happens when books fall out of fashion. She proposes that instead of discarding books that include aspects considered politically incorrect by today's standards, we use the books to teach kids about why standards have changed. She says: "I'm afraid that if we excise these books from the curriculum because they offend, we lose the opportunity to examine why such stereotypes and perspectives were/are wrong". She has several examples, and some interesting food for thought.
  • The National Children's Book and Literacy Alliance (NCBLA) urges parents to read Bridge to Terebithia aloud to their kids before taking them to the movie (which they do recommend). They say "When your children experience a story first in book form, they use their minds, their imaginations, to create their own pictures of characters, settings, and action. Seeing a movie before reading the book robs your child of that incredible opportunity because once your child sees the film, images supplied by the director of the movie will be burned into his or her brain." Sounds like a good idea to me!

And that's all for today. Tomorrow I'll have a book review or two for you, and then we'll be headed into the Cybils count-down. Happy reading!