Readergirlz: November Issue
Kimchi & Calamari: Rose Kent

Thursday Afternoon Visits: Hidden Books, Digital Bookmarks, and the Brown Bookshelf

My brother Steve arrives tonight from Boston for a long weekend. I'm not sure how much time I'll have to work on the blog (though there's sure to be some football watching on Sunday), so I started putting together my Sunday visits post early.

I know I said that I was going to keep that post more focused on things related to books and literacy. And I think that I have been more focused. But there is just a ton of stuff going on this week. So much so that I've decided to go ahead and share this post with you now. I will probably be back with a short post on Sunday, too.

  • Inspired by Mo Willems, Annie from so tomorrow writes about the need to make reading fun for kids. She says: "I think that the library profession definitely treats books (and, by extension, libraries) as temples. This is a bad thing." She also talks about those poor people who "hate to read."
  • Tricia from The Miss Rumphius Effect recently investigated some sneaky behavior on the part of her son. What she discovered was that William has been staying up past his bedtime, reading cleverly hidden books. Now there's a good problem to have with your child!
  • Speaking of Tricia, The Miss Rumphius Effect been named a finalist in the 2007 Weblog Awards, in the Best Education Blog category. If you have a chance, and you read Tricia's blog, please stop in and cast a vote for her. And if you don't read Tricia's blog, well, you really should check it out. It's an excellent resource. Congratulations, Tricia! And thanks to Anne Boles Levy for the link.
  • The Green Knight's Chapel has a somewhat skeptical response to the Richard and Judy Show's recent focus on children's books (a UK phenomenon). My favorite part (not having seen Richard and Judy myself) was when The Green Knight said: "The presenters talked about children’s reading as if it was some radical new theory (“We’ve got a woman here who reads books with her children!”) rather than something fundamental like shoes or sunlight." I like that. "Something fundamental like shoes or sunlight." Thought-provoking stuff!
  • Holly from On My Bookshelf shares some tidbits from a pamphlet that she read about raising readers. Highlighting something I haven't seen elsewhere, she writes about "the digital mark-my-time bookmark ( It either counts down or logs your child's reading time. Might be a handy gadget for school-age readers who have to read a certain amount of time each day for class."
  • Kudos to Amy from Literacy Launchpad. She reports: "This week I began doing some volunteer work: childcare for children whose mothers are taking an ESL class. My hope in volunteering for this gig is that I can do at least a little bit of my Literacy Launchpad magic with these children." She says that the kids do seem to enjoy the books, despite some language issues. I look forward to hearing about her progress.
  • In honor of the upcoming Children's Book Week (November 12-18), the Children's Book Council offers 25 Ideas for Celebrating Children's Book Week. The list seems to be written for teachers, but I think that parents could use it for ideas, too. I learned about list from the Kane/Miller weekly email newsletter (which I also highly recommend). 
  • Speaking of Kane/Miller, Sondra has a story at her Happy Healthy Hip Parenting blog about the gifts that she and her former husband hope to pass on to their son before he was born. Book lovers will enjoy it, and will be glad of Sondra's success. (Sondra's post was partially inspired by my post from last week about how children's books helped me get accepted at my dream college.)
  • Over at Reading Rockets: Sound It Out, Joanne Meier discusses Michael Winerip's recent New York Times article about getting kids reading (I wrote about it here). More specifically, Joanne addresses Michael's statement: "I don't care what they read as long as they are reading". She concludes (in the face of her daughter's affection forJunie B. Jones) that she does care. I heard a similar view from a mom this week who emailed me offline. I've always been of the "whatever gets kids reading is OK" school, but I know that this is a controversial topic (as is Junie B.). Thoughts?
  • Camille from Book Moot once again held her "Trick or Book?" celebration for Halloween, asking trick-or-treaters to name their favorite book. Leven Thumps and the Gateway to Foo is apparently quite popular in Texas this year, thanks to being a Bluebonnet title. But it's not the specific titles mentioned - I just love that Camille does this at all. After reading her post, I thought about handing out my Jen Robinson's Book Page bookmarks (with candy, of course), but I was too insecure.
  • Sara Lewis Holmes posted about a children's illustration contest sponsored by the Washington Post. "The winning entry will be used as the cover of our forthcoming issue devoted to children's literature, and the winner will receive a bag full of books." Sarah has the full set of submission instructions. I know that I passed along the information to my favorite future children's book author/illustrator.
  • I learned about this from both Don Tate and Gwenda Bond. A group of five authors and illustrators has launched The Brown Bookshelf, a new site (quoting Don's post) "for the collective goal of showcasing the best and brightest voices in African-American Children’s Literature, with a special emphasis on new authors and books that are “flying under the radar”. ... On February 1, 2008, the group, in conjunction with the African-American Read-In Chain, The Black Caucus of NCTE, and AACBWI, will launch the 28 Days Later Campaign, an initiative designed to highlight African-American authors with recently released books or books that have “gone unnoticed.” Each day during Black History Month, a different book and author will be featured." See more details here.
  • Emmet Rosenfeld writes at Eduholic (a Teacher Magazine blog) about the benefits of having multiple books under discussion at the same time in a high school classroom. He says that "the one book fits all approach stifles kids’ ability to become independent readers." In addition to what he can teach them, he tries to "let kids discover most of the good stuff on their own."

And that's it for today. Hope you all find some of this useful!