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Sunday Afternoon Visits: February 18

My Sunday visits post will be relatively short today, because it seems that for many bloggers, the only things going on this week were the Cybils and Valentine's Day. You can find out more about Cybils coverage on the Cybils site. I'll be concentrating on other topics here.

  • This post at Read Roger caught my eye earlier in the week. A Horn Book reader requested a "children's lit. guide to Boston." Being originally from Boston (well, Lexington, MA), and a fan of children's lit, I was interested to see Roger's response. He has several good suggestions (though the comments for some reason veer off into discussion about Emily Dickinson and Maurice Sendak). If you have thoughts on children's literature landmarks in the Boston area, head on over to offer your two cents. And yes, he already mentioned the Ducklings.
  • Following up to my post last weekend, about meeting Mitali Perkins, you can read all about her Northern California visit, with photos, here. The pictures of her Mom painting alpanas are eye-opening. It's also nice to see book readings that are such a family affair. And so wonderful for me to have been included in one of the events.
  • Tricia has a list of "terrific" books for kids about baseball, with short descriptions of each book, over at The Miss Rumphius Effect. If you know a young baseball fan, you'll want to check it out.
  • Barbara Johansen Newman asks "Is Work Your Life?" over at Cats and Jammers Studio. She concludes in her case: "I think it is my life. I cannot keep my need for art out of my life." How about you? Is your work your life? Barbara also expresses her love for her UPS man, who brings her wondrous packages. And who among us can't relate to that?
  • Liz B. asks "How long until the posts start about the poor kids who went to see Bridge To Terabithia expecting Narnia and getting Love Story?" over at Tea Cozy. She makes a good point. I had been bothered by the trailer because it makes it look like the movie won't be like the book, and people who love the book won't want to see it based on the trailer. But Liz starts a discussion from the other side: the people who will think they want to see it, based on the trailer, and then be disappointed because that's not what it's about at all. Way to make everyone unhappy, advertisers!
  • A debate that I've been staying away from, because I haven't read the book, concerns possible censorship of the recent Newbery winner, The Higher Power of Lucky. Never one to shy away from controversy, Betsy has an excellent re-cap over at A Fuse #8 Production. Personally, I agree that libraries have the right not to purchase the book if they truly think that kids won't like it. But to not purchase it because of a single word, the technically correct term for a body part ("scrotum"), well, that seems a bit ridiculous. But then, I live with a Urologist, so I'm a bit de-sensitized to such words.
  • You may also be interested in Mary Lee's impassioned response from an elementary school teacher's perspective at A Year of Reading. She says it all in the labels alone. My favorite quote: "Teaching is not for sissies! We're an integral part of the team (team, not village, and yes, I would include the librarians) who raise the children of our world. We're important because we're NOT the parents. Kids can talk to us in ways they can't talk to their parents, and we can answer them with an honesty parents sometimes can't manage."
  • See also Nancy's review of The Higher Power of Lucky at Journey Woman, which she concludes with "There are people who want to ban the book from school libraries because of this word. But I hope you don't let those people stop you from reading it -- it's simply a wonderful story, wonderfully told." (There are lots of other reviews and comments on the book and the controversy out there, but I've just reached my limit for covering it, and will move on.)
  • Kelly reports at Big A little a that Philip Pullman is working on a sequel to His Dark Materials. Wow! I'll bet Michele is pretty psyched, too (ok, she voices her opinion in the comments at Kelly's post, but I wrote the previous sentence before noticing that). I'm excited too! 
  • If you haven't spent all of your spare cash buying copies of Cybils winners, you might want to check out the t-shirts that Leila has for sale over at bookshelves of doom (right-hand sidebar). My favorite is "Trust Snape." The newest is "Cult of Castellucci".
  • Jennifer continues her advocacy for parents reading more books with their kids over at Snapshot. Today she has some suggestions from her 8-year-old daughter. I especially enjoyed Amanda's thoughts on why it's important for her Mom to continue to read aloud to her. "Because then the daughter knows that you're still her Mommy, and she's still your little girl." What parent could argue with that?
  • My fellow Cybils MG fiction judge Brooke reviews Elizabeth Enright's The Saturdays over at The Brookeshelf. Oh, I love Elizabeth Enright's books so much! I reviewed The Saturdays and The Four Story Mistake last year. It makes me so happy to see someone else write about the Melendy family.
  • This just in from the ever passionate about reading Shannon Hale: don't feel guilty about reading for pleasure. Among other things she says "Personally, the books that bring me greatest pleasure are those that are well written, have real merit, and tell a ripping good tale to boot. Everyone's tastes will vary. The important thing is to allow ourselves to read what we love--otherwise (as is happening everywhere) we'll stop reading altogether." Words to live by.
  • Saving the best for last, I especially enjoyed Colleen Mondor's recent post about why she blogs (and not just because she was kind enough to mention me in the context of discussion with other book reviewers). She says: "I have already written why I chose to review books, but starting Chasing Ray was more of an attempt to connect with a portion of the literary world. Simply put, I blog so I can meet people and learn things that make me a better writer." She gives lots of specific examples, and concludes with "I blog because at long last I have found my people and really, what better reason do you need than that?" I know exactly what she means. It's not about having a blog, it's about being a part of this community of people who love books and writing, and want to discuss them, together. I've had a hard time expressing to people from my "real life" just why it is that this blog is so important to me, and I think that Colleen really hits the nail on the head. You simply must read her post.

And that is an excellent place to leave off. My posting will be a bit more sparse than usual coming up, because I have a LOT of business travel over the next few weeks. But I'll do my best to keep up, and you know that I'll be reading. Happy Presidents Day!