Big and Little: John Stadler
Children's Literacy Round-Up: Reactions to Recent Reading-Level Studies

Sunday Afternoon Visits: Readergirlz, Raising Readers and the Golden Compass

I posted about most of my Kidlitosphere links on Friday this week, but I did come across a few others things this weekend worthy of your attention:

  • PostergirlzThe new Readergirlz issue is now available. This month the Readergirlz are featuring Best Books for BFF bookmarks (download pdf versions here and here), and the fabulous Miss Spitfire: Reaching Helen Keller by Sarah Miller. The issue also includes a while you read playlist, fun ways to dress up the bookmarks, a special bookmark challenge with copies of Into the Wild as prizes, book discussion questions, and an author chat with Sarah Miller. Next month's featured book is Hattie Big Sky, by Kirby Larson. All in all, it's not to be missed!
  • At Lasting Peace, a blog that I've just discovered, Ms. T. writes about raising readers. She mentions my recent Ten Tips for Growing Bookworms article, but asks: "How do you encourage an illiterate parent to use these tips? That appears to be my biggest hurdle. I desperately want to break the cycle of illiteracy I see in countless families, but so much of what helps students become good readers happens at home." I don't have a solution for Ms. T., but I agree with her that the front lines of the battle to raise readers takes place in the home. I heard Jim Trelease (author of the excellent book The Read-Aloud Handbook) speak earlier this year. He talked about the need for a public information campaign, akin to the one about the dangers of smoking, on the importance of raising readers. I think that would be great, but I'm not sure where one would start... I'll be keeping up with Ms. T., to see if she finds any resolution to this question.
  • Fuse #8 offers a photographic tour of sculptures of characters from children's literature, from the world-famous ducklings in Boston (and apparently in Moscow) to Ramona, Alice, and Eeyore. The pictures are guaranteed to raise your spirits.
  • Colleen Mondor has started her 12 Days of Christmas series of book suggestion posts at Chasing Ray. She started yesterday by talking about mysteries for adults and kids. 
  • Via a. fortis at Finding Wonderland, on "Weekend Edition on NPR, Andrea Buchanan and Miriam Peskowitz--authors of The Daring Book for Girls--talk to NPR's John Ydstie as well as five girls who made use of the book's advice." The Daring Book for Girls was a just under the wire nomination for the Cybils in middle grade and young adult nonfiction. See also Finding Wonderland's Connie Willis interview reprinted in the Science Fiction Crowsnest e-zine.
  • Rick Riordan writes from the heart about school visits at Myth & Mystery. As his books become ever more popular, he's having a hard time finding time to schedule school visits. However, he loves doing them, and considers them an important way to keep his writing "grounded". In this post, he recaps several recent school visits. My favorite quote: "You haven’t lived until you’ve played Medusa in the Middle!" Read the whole post, and you'll see why I'm such a fan. See also Camille's thoughts on this post, which I came across after I had already written the above.
  • Ridley Pearson shares his thoughts on The Gift of Reading in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. His father used to read aloud to the family at dinner on occasion. The message that Ridley came away with from this was: "Reading is to be shared. Like a good meal. Reading is what connects the dots between the forty-somethings and the 6-year-olds. Reading is for everyone." Thanks to Becky's Book Reviews for the link.
  • Stephanie highlights a political article about Michelle Obama in which children's books play a central role at Throwing Marshmallows. I agree with Stephanie that it's nice to see children's books taking a central role in a political article.
  • I've refrained from writing about the end of year "best books" lists because there are so many of them, and many others have already linked to them. But if you would like one-stop shopping, I recommend this post at Wizards Wireless. WW has recapped several of the "best of" lists, and taken the trouble to go through and highlight the books that appear on two of the lists, and those that appear on three lists of more. This is a great way to get a quick idea of the most critically acclaimed titles across The Horn Book, the NY Times, Kirkus Reviews, and Publisher's Weekly. What's amazing is how few of the books on these lists I've read. Sigh! So many books, so little time... If you do want more lists, Kelly links to a bunch in her Weekend Reviews post at Big A little a.
  • I've also refrained from trying to cover the recent controversy around The Golden Compass. I've read the His Dark Materials books twice, and think that they are remarkable. I have signed copies of the first two. Monica Edinger has the first detailed review I've seen of the movie, and she has me convinced that it's worth seeing. Monica also gives the thumbs up to the Inkheart trailer.

Happy reading and holiday movie-watching to all!