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Two Years and Counting

Sunday Afternoon Visits: December 16

There is a plethora of interesting news from around the Kidlitosphere this week.

  • I haven't mentioned this in a while, but every Friday, many Kidlitosphere blogs feature poetry, by including or linking to a poem or by reviewing a poetry book. Anyone can participate, and various blogs take turns publishing a summary of the week's posts You can find a round-up of this week's Poetry Friday posts at The Miss Rumphius Effect, and a schedule of past and future hosts at Big A little a (in the right-hand sidebar, scroll down a bit).
  • Speaking of poetry, Jules and Eisha have their second article up at The Poetry Foundation. They recommend their top 20 books for children from the PF Essential Collection. 
  • The Brown Bookshelf had a nice post this week by Carla Sarratt about how to help kids who don't like to read. In addition to making her own suggestions, Carla links to a variety of other articles on this topic. She also includes a few tips to encourage reading in adults.
  • I think I mentioned before that Liz Burns from Tea Cozy is guest blogging at Shelf Space this month. This week she has a new post up about how to give and receive gift books. This is not a list of books to give, but rather a framework for how to go about deciding what books to give in general. I especially enjoyed the suggestions for how to receive a book, since books are always at the top of my wish list. (In fact, you'll note handy lists of children's, young adult, and adult books that I want to read, in my left-hand sidebar, folks.)
  • Speaking of Liz from Tea Cozy (she had a good blogging week), Liz was recently inspired by reading a comment that "good YA books for males readers are few and between" to start her own list. Bloggers and authors have responded in droves, and the comments on this post provide an excellent resource for anyone looking for reading suggestions for middle school and high school boys. I must add that this is the kind of thing that the Kidlitosphere does best.
  • Kids Lit reports (via the Times) that British publishers are going to start putting age guides on the covers of children's books. Tasha asks people to comment on this development, but as I write, no one has weighed in. I started to, but the truth is that I just don't know. I think it will be almost impossible to put valid age guides on children's books, because children are such varied readers. On the other hand, I know that a lot of parents are looking for more guidance in selecting books, and that "middle grade" consists of a very broad range. What do you all think?
  • In a related story, see this post at Tea Cozy, and this post by Alex Flinn, about how many kids are reading above their official age ranges, and what can happen when the wrong YA book is picked for a nine-year-old. The gist is that many parents are so caught up in how advanced their kids are as readers that they can end up expecting YA books to be appropriate for younger kids. There's a difference between being able to read something text-wise and being ready to read it, content-wise. Kathy weighs in on this topic at Library Stew, as does Maureen at Confessions of a Bibliovore. My personal take is that just because a kid might be able to read above her "grade level", whatever that means in practical terms, that doesn't mean that the child wouldn't enjoy books written for her own age range. Clementine is my current favorite example. Yes, it's a pretty easy read. But it's so perfect for second and third graders. How can you pass it up, just because they can read bigger books?
  • On another related note, Ms. Yingling wrote earlier in the week about whether or not advanced readers should be pushed to read more advanced books, or allowed to read what they enjoy. As above, I come down on the "give them what they enjoy" side. But there's no harm in having some cool, related, more advanced books on offer.
  • Loree Griffin Burns reports that for the first time in the history of the Siemens Competition in Math, Science, and Technology, girls took the three top honors. Sounds like great news to me! And you know, of course, that girls who read more tend to do better in math and science, right?
  • Over at Nonfiction Matters, Marc Aronson has asked readers to share their favorite nonfiction books of the past year. He's received several in-depth comments on this subject. Of course you can also consult the middle grade and YA and picture book nonfiction lists for the Cybils awards.
  • Susan links to two must-read articles for book reviewers at Chicken Spaghetti. She discusses in particular (in her post and in the comments) the question of whether it's ethical for people to review books by authors that they link to. This is something that many bloggers struggle with, as we read the blogs belonging to authors and establish online relationships with them. As I commented at Susan's, I don't have a good answer, but it is something that I think about.
  • And speaking of authors whose blogs I read, Mitali Perkins re-posted, with permission, a list by librarian Lisa Linsday of YA books featuring Latino main characters. She asks readers to add their suggestions in the comments, and there are several additional suggestions there.
  • I'm a bit late with this news (which I learned about from another author whose blog I read), but they have cast the character of Edward Cullen in the movie version of Twilight. Edward will be played by actor Robert Pattinson, best known for playing Cedric Diggory in the Harry Potter movies. See details here. I must say, I think that this is an excellent choice. Bella Swann will be played by Kristen Stewart, currently on screen in Into the Wild.
  • Little Willow is asking authors for their favorite reads of 2007. Six authors have participated so far. She'll be adding links here as the lists are posted over the rest of the month. Colleen Mondor is also posting favorite reads lists at Chasing Ray, starting with a list from Sharyn November, a senior editor from Viking's children's books division.
  • For a slightly quirky post from author Kirsten Miller (she is very good at finding these things), at Ananka's Diary, there is a Christmas mystery by which ornaments have begun mysteriously appearing on trees along New Jersey's Garden State Parkway. Spooky, but cool.
  • 100 Scope Notes has been perusing various "best of" book lists, and producing compiled lists based on books that appear on multiple lists. Here are the lists of Fiction Picture Books, Nonfiction Picture Books, and Middle Grade Fiction that "received the most love in 2007" from the major lists.
  • Concluding with some sad news, reported everywhere (but that I saw first on Finding Wonderland), 59-year-old author Terry Pratchett has announced that he has Alzheimer's disease. He does seem to be maintaining his sense of humor, but his fans are justly horrified. We tend to think that being intellectually active will protect us, but this is not always the case.

And that's all the Kidlitosphere news for this week. I'll be back tomorrow with my literacy round-up, and a few other tidbits, but will then go on a bit lighter of a schedule for the holidays. Happy Sunday!