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Posts from June 2007

SBBT: Day 3 Schedule

I'm still digging through yesterday's wonderful Summer Blog Blast Tour interviews. And today there are eleven more. Talk about an embarrassment of riches! My own interview of Kirsten Miller is coming out today. I'm very excited about that because she gave some GREAT responses to my questions. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 19
Laura Ruby at Miss Erin
Bennett Madison at Shaken & Stirred
Shaun Tan at A Fuse #8 Production (Part Two) (Part Three)
Chris Crutcher at Bookshelves of Doom
Holly Black at The YA YA YAs
Kazu Kibuishi at Finding Wonderland
Christopher Golden at Bildungsroman
David Brin at Chasing Ray
Kirsten Miller at Jen Robinson's Book Page
Sara Zarr at Big A, little a
Sonya Hartnett at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast

Luring the Reluctant Boy Reader

I've been reading mystery author Denise Hamilton's books for years. She does a tremendous job making Los Angeles almost a character in her series, which is about a street-smart LA Times reporter who solves mysteries. Today I learned that Denise is also a mother of two boys, and a passionate advocate of children's books and reading. She had an excellent piece published in a recent LA Times summer reading issue about books and techniques for luring reluctant boy readers. She includes recommendations for all age ranges, from very early chapter books to books for teens -- from Captain Underpants to Alex Rider and Percy Jackson to The Dangerous Book for Boys (which she likens to "catnip"). Denise says that her sons:

"like stories packed with action, danger, suspense, technological gadgets, tricks, slapstick and scary supernatural stuff. Books with bathroom humor and mischief-making kids are sure winners. They don't always like the books grown-ups think they will or the ones that are supposed to be good for them -- or those with expensive marketing campaigns.

She goes on to list, with brief descriptions, tons of amazing books. This article is a great resource for parents and teachers of boys, or anyone else who is looking for help enticing boys into the world of books. I'm not sure how long the article will be available online (and you may have to register to read it), but it's well worth tracking down.

Happy reading! 

© 2009 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved.

SBBT: Day 2 Schedule

Welcome to Day 2 of the Summer Blog Blast Tour. This is when things start to get really exciting. We have ten interviews with eleven fantastic authors (including a husband and wife team) and twelve amazing interviewers (7-Imp and Finding Wonderland are each team blogs). I can't wait to hear what everyone has to say. 

Monday, June 18
Tom & Dorothy Hoobler at Chasing Ray
Mitali Perkins at Big A, Little a
Sara Zarr at Interactive Reader
Justina Chen Headley at Hip Writer Mama
Justine Larbalestier at A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy
Dana Reinhardt at lectitans
Brent Hartinger at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast
Laura Ruby at Writing and Ruminating
Jordan Sonnenblick by Bildungsroman
Ysabeau Wilce at Finding Wonderland

Sunday Afternoon Visits: June 17

Happy Father's Day to all of the dads out there, especially to my own Dad, who is relaxing this weekend, and to Mheir's Dad, whose household is a bit more hectic than usual right now. I posted a round-up on Wednesday, and things have been a bit quiet since then, so this week's Sunday Visits post is a bit shorter than some. Here are a few items for you, however:

  • The First Book Blog writes about The Library Hotel in New York, a hotel with books in all of the rooms, and books distributed among the public areas, too. How cool is that?
  • Kim Kotecki has a wonderful list of 39 ways to slow down summer over at Escape Adulthood. My favorites are "Proactively schedule weekends to “just be”" and "Go to a drive-in movie or create your own at home."
  • Monica Edinger share some Newbery selection criteria suggested by her students at Educating Alice. I especially enjoyed “You know you read a good book if you can say to a friend, ‘Oh, last year I read a really good book.’"
  • This has been reported elsewhere, but I think it's interesting enough to bear repeating. The PW Children's Bookshelf announced: "Bill Murray will star in a film adaptation of Jeanne DuPrau's YA novel City of Ember, to be directed by Gil Kenan (Monster House) and written by Caroline Thompson (Edward Scissorhands, The Secret Garden and Corpse Bride). Murray will play the Mayor of Ember. Production begins in Belfast this summer, with an October 2008 release date planned. Playtone and Walden Media will co-produce." Now that's a movie that I look forward to.
  • Via World of Words, Al Roker has announced the third title in his summer bookclub for kids: Swordbird, by Nancy Yi Fan.
  • Liz B. announces the publication of some previously reviewed titles, including Gail Gauthier's A Girl, A Boy and a Monster Cat (which I reviewed here). I like that she does this, and I'd like to be organized enough to do it, too. Something to work on...
  • For Father's Day, book, book, book has a list of favorite fictional dads, and the books in which they appear.
  • And finally, don't forget that the deadline for submissions to the June Carnival of Children's literature is June 19th. You can make your submissions at the Carnival site, or at A Year of Reading. The theme is "Good News from the Kidlitosphere."

And that's it for this week. Happy reading to all!

The Dangerous Book for Boys

I'd like to extend a quick thank you to the people who have purchased copies of The Dangerous Book for Boys through this blog. In the past month or so I've earned commissions of roughly $1 each on some 48 copies of book. Thanks so much, whoever you are!

For those of you unfamiliar with how Amazon referrals work, any time you click through from this site to Amazon, I get a small (~6%) commission on all of your purchases for that session. There's no extra cost for you, of course -- the commission comes wholly from Amazon. Amazon shows me a list of what titles were purchased, though I can't tell who purchased them. Which is how I know about the Dangerous Book for Boys purchases.

And in case you're wondering what I do with the (generally small) revenues that come from these Amazon commissions, well, I spend the money on books. What else would I do with Amazon money? During the Cybils I referred commission to the Cybils organization, but mostly the commission comes to me, and I use it to buy more books to read and review. So, those Dangerous Book for Boys commissions will come in handy.

Book Lists

TypePad has a new feature that allows me to include web pages, in addition to posts. (They're like posts, but more static, and without comments.) I've brought over a variety of pages from my book lists website, including the lists of books that I've read this year and last year, an index of all of the reviews that I've written, and an extensive (though certainly not comprehensive) list of recommended children's books by age range. You can find links to all of these lists in the top part of the right-hand sidebar on the blog. I hope that you'll find it useful to have these lists so easily accessible.

I've also expanded my list of "adult books that I'm most eager to read", and added lists of middle grade and young adult books that I would like to read. You can find all three lists in the left-hand sidebar, near the bottom, complete with cover images and Amazon links.

I hope for these lists to make the blog more useful to me, in tracking books that I've read and want to read. More importantly, I hope that the lists will be useful to parents, who seek to find reading selections for their children. I expect to continue adding titles and making the lists more detailed over time. Thanks for visiting!

Summer Blog Blast Tour Schedule

I'm pleased to be participating next week's the Summer Blog Blast Tour (SBBT), organized by the fabulous Colleen Mondor of Chasing Ray. The SBBT is a week-long series of author interviews, designed (as Colleen says) "to rock the literary world", and show what great things kid lit bloggers can do. Tons of amazing authors and bloggers are participating. I'll be interviewing Kirsten Miller (on Tuesday) and Jordan Sonnenblick (on Thursday), and I look forward to seeing everyone else's interviews, too. Here's the full schedule:

Sunday, June 17
Gene Yang at Finding Wonderland

Monday, June 18
Tom & Dorothy Hoobler at Chasing Ray
Mitali Perkins at Big A, Little a
Sara Zarr at Interactive Reader
Justina Chen Headley at Hip Writer Mama
Justine Larbalestier at A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy
Dana Reinhardt at lectitans
Brent Hartinger at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast
Laura Ruby at Writing and Ruminating
Jordan Sonnenblick by Bildungsroman
Ysabeau Wilce at Finding Wonderland

Tuesday, June 19
Laura Ruby at Miss Erin
Bennett Madison at Shaken & Stirred
Shaun Tan at A Fuse #8 Production
Chris Crutcher at Bookshelves of Doom
Holly Black at The YA YA YAs
Kazu Kibuishi at Finding Wonderland
Christopher Golden at Bildungsroman
David Brin at Chasing Ray
Kirsten Miller at Jen Robinson's Book Page
Sara Zarr at Big A, little a
Sonya Hartnett at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast

Wednesday, June 20
Mitali Perkins at Hip Writer Mama
Svetlana Chmakova at Finding Wonderland
Dana Reinhardt at Interactive Reader
Laura Ruby at A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy
Holly Black at Shaken & Stirred
Hilary McKay at Bookshelves of Doom
Kirsten Miller at Miss Erin
Julie Ann Peters at A Fuse #8 Production
Carolyn Mackler at The YA YA YAs
Jordan Sonnenblick at Writing and Ruminating

Thursday, June 21
Eddie Campbell at Chasing Ray
Sara Zarr at Writing and Ruminating
Brent Hartinger at Interactive Reader
Justine Larbalestier at Big A, little a
Cecil Castellucci at Shaken & Stirred
Ysabeau Wilce at Bildungsroman
Jordan Sonnenblick at Jen Robinson's Book Page
Chris Crutcher at Finding Wonderland
Kazu Kibuishi at lectitans
Mitali Perkins at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast
Laura Ruby at The YA YA YAs

Friday, June 22
Tim Tharp at Chasing Ray
Justina Chen Headley at Big A, little a
Ysabeau Wilce at Shaken & Stirred
Dana Reinhardt at Bildungsroman
Julie Ann Peters at Finding Wonderland
Cecil Castellucci at A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy
Bennett Madison at Bookshelves of Doom
Holly Black at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast
Justine Larbalestier at Hip Writer Mama
Kirsten Miller at A Fuse #8 Production

Saturday, June 23
Justina Chen Headley finishes out the week at Finding Wonderland

Sameera Righton (Sparrow) Interview

Today I have the unusual distinction of welcoming a fictional character to my blog for an interview. I'm pleased to greet Sameera (Sparrow) Righton, daughter of fictional Presidential candidate James Righton. Sparrow makes her first appearance in First Daughter: Extreme American Makeover, which is being published TODAY! She also blogs at Sparrowblog, where she discusses the real 2008 First Kid wannabees and their parents. I highly recommend that you check out both book and blog, to experience Sparrow's unique and dynamic personality. But first, you can meet her here. My questions are in bold. First Daughter was written by the Kidlitosphere's own Mitali Perkins.

What's your favorite book?

Sorry, Jen, I know how much you love books, but I prefer getting my story fix at the movie theater.

Do you think we'll hear more from you about Bobby? Or perhaps more about Tom Banforth???

Of course! Both guys make an appearance in First Daughter: White House Rules (Dutton, Spring 2008). They're great, aren't they?

You've been all over the world. What's the nicest, and/or most unusual, place that you've ever read? Or blogged?

Probably the orphanage in Pakistan that closed down after I was adopted. I'd love to go back and see it someday. Now I'm wondering if and how that's ever going to work out, especially with my father's ... public situation. Wouldn't the press have a great time tracking my journey "home"? Yow. Scary.

You clearly love to write on your blog. Have you considered writing fictional stories? Or are you more of a "write to change the real world" sort of girl?

My cousin Ran and I might write a screenplay for a flick. Good stories can change the world -- take Uncle Tom's Cabin, for instance.

In terms of your blog, how do you think that your words can help affect positive change in the world?

I hope it will be a fun, safe place where people can read about the First Kid wannabes. I'm not out to tear anybody down (I know how THAT feels), but I think it's fun to find out stuff about the candidates' families. If people come to sparrowblog first, they'll get a positive "purple" take on ALL the candidates -- not just a "blue" or "red" view that tries to rip apart the oppposition.

Do you think you'll be able to pull off your burka disguise when your father is in the White House? Or do you think it's too risky? You could be kidnapped, after all.

You'll have to wait for Book Two to find out what happens to me and my burka. It's exciting.

When you do get into the White House, will you try to broaden the menu to include more South Asian food? Or, to make that question more general, now that you're come out with your personal blog, do you expect to portray more of your true self, with less worry about portraying yourself as the all-American girl?

You bet I am. I don't stress much about that anyway -- the campaign staff got a little freaky about me being Pakistani, not me. Besides, All-American girls these days are dancing bhangra, the hula, and cool urban funk, we're eating samosas, tabouli, and burgers and fries, and we're wearing our hair under burkas, in rasta locks, and long and loose. I'm sure the White House chefs cook a lot of international food, so I'm not planning to change the menu.

How are you adjusting to those high-heeled shoes? You mentioned that you in general liked the makeover, because you felt less invisible with a bit of polish, and more fashionable (if artificially shaped in some  cases) clothes. Do you think that the glamour girl clothes and makeup will come to seem natural to you? Or will you always be most comfortable in the clothes that you wear on the farm? Will you go back to buy more clothes from Muhammad's Attire?

Clothes are like costumes -- they tell people something about who you are, so if you change them, you can manage people's perceptions of you. I like being able to switch it around, go glam, farm, South Asian, or a fusion of all three depending on who I'm going to be with and what I want to say about myself. As Ran says, why get stuck in a fashion rut, anyway?

You've expressed concern about your cousin Ran from the country spending time with you in the media spotlight, and losing her innocence. Yet you can't exclude her from it without hurting her feelings, and I'm sure that it's more fun for your to have her around. Do you have any plan for how to shield her?

Turns out Ran can handle herself pretty well, as you'll find out in Book Two.

I've enjoyed reading about how your "circles" have grown, strengthened, and linked with one another, from your MyPlace friends to your SARSA friends to Muhammad's family. Do you think that it will be a challenge to keep your tight connections with people once you are in the White House? How will you work towards that?

That's what I love about blogging, Jen, as you know yourself. You can hold a circle around you that stays tight, even as it gets wider and wider to include more people. It doesn't make sense, I know, but things are weird in the virtual world.

I just want to add that I love the fact that one of your MyPlace buddies, and the only one over the age of twenty on the list, is a librarian. I can't think of a question about that, but Mrs. Graves is great.

Wow, you're right. Just turned out that way. I wasn't trying to sweet talk any librarians reading the book, I promise.

Thanks so much, Jen, for your great questions. Come visit me in the White House via Book Two!

Don't miss Sameera's video here at YouTube and the rest of her blog tour here:

Monday, 6/11: 5 Minutes For Mom and Jennifer Snapshot
Tuesday, 6/12: Big A little a
Wednesday, 6/13: Semicolon
Thursday, 6/14: Jen Robinson's Book Page
Friday, 6/15: Little Willow
Monday, 6/18: Sara's Hold Shelf

© 2009 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved.

Wednesday Afternoon Visits: June 13

I didn't have time to put together my Sunday visits post over the weekend, but I have spent some time visiting the other blogs, and I have a few tidbits for you:

OK, that's more than a few links, but now I feel more caught up. Happy reading!

Children's Literacy Round-Up: June 12

Here's the children's literacy news for this week:

  • The U.S. Embassy donated a collection of children's books to the Al-Babtain Central Library for Arabic Poetry in Kuwait, according to the Kuwaiti Times. The library chairman "stressed the importance of encouraging children to read through providing them with interesting publications on topics of knowledgeable value, adding that this would better prepare our future generations."
  • The Jefferson County Library Foundation recently donated 840 children's books and backpacks to preschool and Head Start students, according to in Denver.
  • As outlined in the Jackson Clarion Ledger, Scholastic and Disney have both announced plans to make electronic versions of classic children's books available. The article also quotes the U.S. publisher of the Disney book group as saying "I still prefer to read traditional books. But if our program was available right now, I would be reading it to my child." You can also read about these programs in the Vail Daily News.
  • The Virginian-Pilot recently featured Cheryl and Wade Hudson, who write and publish children's books aimed at black people. I especially liked this quote: ""What children's book authors really do is speak to the children in all of us," Cheryl Hudson said. "Children's books are healing and hopeful. They give us a window of imagination. "In 32 pages, they can take you all over the world.""
  • I also enjoyed this Glenwood Springs Post Independent article about a librarian who works to get kids hooked on reading. Her name is Ms. Robinson. OK, it's Pam, not Jen, but still, you get quotes like this: "Robinson holds storytime for kids every Wednesday at the library, and she makes it interesting with music, puppets and games in addition to colorful books." If only...
  • The Creswell Chronicle has a nice article about steps parents can take to encourage literacy in the home. Items listed include: "Write a letter a week with your child" and "Encourage your child to watch captioned television programs and DVDs", in addition to the usual concepts of reading with your kids, and showing them reading as an example.
  • The University of Arkansas website recently carried a press release about a literacy conference for teachers. The idea is "to help the state's teachers meet challenges they face in helping their students succeed academically."
  • The Youngstown Vindicator (Ohio) writes about a library program aimed at increasing literacy in babies. "The Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County created the Baby Brilliant program to teach early literacy skills to children and adults. The skills that the program teaches include letter knowledge, phonological awareness, print motivation, narrative skill, print awareness and vocabulary."

And that's it for this week. Happy summer reading!