Robert's Snow Event: Blogging for a Cure: Week 1
Children's Literacy Round-Up: Marc Brown, Ken Follett, Hockey, and Teacher Pay for Performance

Sunday Afternoon Visits: Picture Books, Chocolate Chip Muffins, and Pond Scum

I'm a bit groggy today, after staying up too late watching the endless (and endlessly disappointing) Red Sox game last night. (Yes, I live on the West Coast, but we had to watch on Tivo-delay, because of a social engagement.) Fortunately, I have all of the wonderful things that people are doing in the Kidlitosphere to console me. Here are some highlights:

  • Gregory K has an interesting discussion going at GottaBook about the apparent decline in commenting on blog posts. This particular post being an exception, with 17 comments as I write. But people are generally in agreement that commenting is down a bit, possibly because we're all spread thin by the ever-increasing number of blogs.
  • And speaking of blogging, Judith Ridge has a thought-provoking piece over at Misrule about The Uses of Blogging. She touches on many points, but the one that particularly struck me was the idea that there are people who will search the Internet, and find one review, and have no broader context with which to tell if it's a high quality review or not. I thought that this was an interesting parallel to Anne Boles Levy's attempts to get all of us to increase the professionalism of our reviews. I also think that Judith's comments are further justification of the need for some sort of portal by which people who aren't accustomed to finding book information on the Internet can get started.
  • For yet another thought-provoking discussion, check out TadMack's balanced thoughts at Finding Wonderland on "the so-called "urban" or "ghetto" literature." According to TadMack, "Author Terry McMillian has written a scathing letter to the head editors at Simon & Schuster, excoriating them for elevating hip-hop, street culture, for being complicit in the exploitation of African American girls and women, and for allowing poorly written, barely edited street trash to be promoted beyond more literary novels." On the flip side are people who say that anything that gets minority teens reading is good. It's an interesting discussion.
  • I also learned via Finding Wonderland, that "Annick Press has begun an ambitious new online program for grades 4 - 8 - middle school and junior high schools students, teachers, librarians and homeschoolers called the "LIVEbrary." The two-year program is funded by a grant from the Canada Council for the Arts. The first season begins October 15 with a 5-week program on Media Awareness."
  • Congratulations to Betsy Bird (A Fuse #8 Production) for her book contract with ALA. Her book has the working title "KidLit: Finding Old and New Classics in Your Collection." Read the ALA's reaction here, and Betsy's reaction here.
  • Slightly off-topic, though books are mentioned, Adrienne has a cozy fall fitness regimen that seems to be resonating with readers. It involves a fireplace, a couch, a fuzzy blanket, and chocolate chip pumpkin muffins. See more at What Adrienne Thinks About That.
  • Eisha from 7-Imp has a great piece up at ForeWord Magazine's Shelf Space about depression in Young Adult Fiction. She reviews several recent titles that feature clinically depressed characters.
  • Susan from Wizards Wireless recently asked people to write about their favorite childhood picture books. Several people have responded, and Susan has a round-up of relevant posts. I have to admit that I don't remember in much detail what picture books I loved as a child, though The Digging-est Dog does come to mind for some reason.
  • Editorial Anonymous urges publishers to provide books that will appeal to children, rather than appealing to adults and what the adults remember about childhood. Or course this is tough, since the adults are the ones who buy the books.
  • Becky takes on the question of what makes a book kid-friendly at Farm School, in the context of the Cybils middle grade and young adult nonfiction category. I am so happy to have her (and her three children, in an advisory capacity) on the nominating committee.
  • Fellow Red Sox fan Alan Silberberg is off on a Pond Scum book tour in Texas. What's of broader interest about his post is his note on self-promotion for authors. He suggests (and gives the Texas tour as an example) that reaching out to say a personal thank you to someone who has recommended your book can pay big dividends. Meanwhile, I hope he enjoys his Texas barbecue.
  • Mark from Just One More Book interviews Esme Raji Codell about "her efforts to help educate people about great children’s books, and her thoughts on what children’s books can do to change the world." Esme talks about her long-term goals, which include the de-segregation of schools, in a financial sense. She says, and I'm paraphrasing a little, that 'children's literature is the promise, the best hope of equalizing education in America, because a great book is the same in the hand of a poor child as it is in the hands of a rich child.' But go and listen to the whole thing yourself. It's inspirational.
  • Via the Old Coot, I learned that Werner von Trapp just died at age 91. Werner was the inspiration for Kurt in the movie The Sound of Music, and was a member of the von Trapp Family Singers.
  • Melissa Wiley brought to my attention (via the Kidlitosphere Yahoo group) a very cool home-schooling course of study developed by LaPaz Home Learning: A Term at Hogwarts. Topics include: Herbology; Care and Feeding of Magical Creatures; Potions, Charms and Spells; and Alchemy. It's highly creative, and looks like a lot of fun. Seems to me that programs like this one really highlight the varied opportunities of homeschooling.

And that's all for this week. Which is just as well, because starting tomorrow everyone will be busy reading illustrator profiles for the Robert's Snow Blogging for a Cure Event.