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Sunday Afternoon Visits: April 15

I had a bit of trouble keeping up with the blogs this week because I was in Baltimore seeing friends (including the beautiful one-month-old Baby G), and then in Dallas on business. I did have Thursday afternoon free in Dallas, but it was a beautiful day, and I chose to spend it visiting bookstores and going for a walk.

It turned out to be good that I relaxed on Thursday afternoon, because Friday was a very long day. I taught a class (on cycle time improvement for semiconductor factories) all day, and then I faced flying out of DFW while there was a tornado, hail, and lightning storm passing by. After a four hour delay that including boarding the plane, then rushing off to get out of the path of the tornado, boarding again and sitting until the plane could be inspected for hail damage, and then being told that the flight (and all other flights to San Jose) was cancelled, and then learning that it was reinstated, I finally made it home at midnight. Yesterday I pretty much spend recovering, and lying on the couch with some sort of delayed stress headache. But there is no place like home!

And now, I do have a few tidbits for you from around the Kidlitosphere.

  • Julius Lester has a whole series going at A Commonplace Book in which people have written him to tell him about the books that changed their lives. He's published seven so far, and I believe that they'll continue. I learned about this from Monica Edinger, whose "book that changed your life" was Charlotte's Web.
  • Also generating some responses is a request by Gina from AmoxCalli for guest reviewers of classic children's books. I read about this first at Tea Cozy, and also at Farm School. I'll be watching the classic reviews with interest. Gina is starting with Little Women.
  • I enjoyed this post at book, book, book about books that have "the thump factor", defined as "a perfect or near-perfect balance of emotional plot and action plot". There's a discussion of some books that bookbk thinks do and do not have thump, with other suggestions in the comments.
  • I'm tardy in mentioning this, but there is a new interview at the Cybils site. Kris Bordessa of Paradise Found interviews Sylvia Long, author of non-fiction picture book winner An Egg is Quiet.
  • I don't usually highlight individual reviews (because there are so many out there), but I did want to bring to your attention David Elzey's review of Life As We Knew It (at the excelsior file). As I did previously, David speculates on "why some of us (especially those of us in Gen X) like reading about Earth shattering events that provoke those corners of our brains to ask "What would I do in that situation?""
  • The Lectitans question of the week is "What Makes Good Historical Fiction?" Liz B. shares her thoughts on this at Tea Cozy. Becky also responds at Becky's Book Reviews.
  • Via Mary Lee at A Year of Reading, the cutest baby picture ever (at least it will seem so to fans of children's books). Congratulations to Stephanie at Children's Literature Book Club.
  • Having just reviewed Cecil Castellucci's Boy Proof, I was entertained by Alkelda's Saints and Spinners post about Wilgefortis, "the patron saint of women who wish to avoid arranged marriages ... Wilgefortis prayed to God to remove her conventional good looks in order to repel her prospective husband." She ended up with a beard, and used that to repel suitors. Seems a bit of a desperate solution, but whatever works, I guess...
  • Members of the Kidlitosphere are getting some mainstream press exposure. Betsy Bird (Fuse #8) has a picture book review column at Newsday (via Big A little a's weekend review roundup), and Anne Boles Levy (Book Buds) has a book review in the L. A. Times. Yay, Anne and Betsy!
  • The endlessly creative Lisa Yee has a new contest going. She challenges readers to write an entire story in 25 letters (or numbers) or fewer. I think that people used to text messaging shortcuts will have an advantage. 
  • Via Robin Brande (who is rapidly becoming one of my most kindred-spirit bloggers), I read an interesting post by best-selling thriller author Tess Gerritsen about whether storytellers are born or made. To me, the most telling part of the discussion was Tess's statement: "I do know that early childhood experiences are important. If your parents read to you, or tell you stories, or if you read a lot of books, you will integrate the rules of good story structure without even realizing it." She also strongly suggests that people who want to be writers have to be readers also (despite the disagreement by at least one of her commenters on this point). I also liked this comment on the subject by Robin (at her own site), "I just don’t get why a writer wouldn’t want to (read) anyway. I understand feeling like you don’t have time to read everything you want to (I’m sure a lot of us are raising our hands on that one) or even feeling guilty about reading someone else’s work when you should be writing your own, but to not want to read? Are you kidding me? That’s like a surfer saying he doesn’t really care for the water." Good stuff!
  • And last, but not least, don't forget to make your submission to the next carnival of children's literature. Submissions are due this Thursday! You can email me, or use the form at the carnival site.

And I'm sure there are things that I missed, but I simply must get outside for a walk. I hope that everyone has a Happy Patriot's Day tomorrow (I won't have the day off myself, but having grown up in Lexington, MA, I have a special fondness for the holiday).