The Book Whisperer Gets a Book Contract
Princess Baby: Karen Katz

Sunday Afternoon Visits: Percy Jackson, A Carnival, and Developing a Sense of Story

I did kind of a big roundup on Thursday, so I thought that I wouldn't have much more for you today. But there has been a surprising amount going on around the blogs this weekend. No wonder I'm having trouble getting caught up on my reviews. Anyway:

  • The January Carnival of Children's Literature is now available at Wizards Wireless. The theme is book awards. I love the way Susan has made the whole carnival into a book awards ceremony, complete with acceptance speech. I kind of feel like I was able to attend the ALA Awards ceremony now.
  • Speaking of awards, via Educating Alice, the 2007 Cuffies have been announced. I don't comment on every "best of" list that comes around, because there are so many of them. But I like the Cuffies, which are compiled by Publisher's Weekly, based on input from children's booksellers. This year, the middle grade and young adult winners are both on the Cybils YA fiction shortlist (Wednesday Wars and Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, respectively). They also feature awards like Best Book Title, Most Memorable Character in a Lead Role, Best Novel for Young Readers That Adults Would Love If They Knew About It, and Favorite Book to Handsell (A Crooked Kind of Perfect, which I adored). Click through for more, the Cuffies are a lot of fun.
  • And still speaking of awards, congratulations to our own Mary Lee from A Year of Reading. She was selected to serve on the Notable Children's Books in the Language Arts Committee for the Children's Literature Assembly of the NCTE. Franki is very happy for her. It couldn't happen to someone who cares more about children's books.
  • Over at Reading and Breathing (named after this perfect Harper Lee quote: "Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing"), middle school librarian Paige Y. has a response to Julie's remarks at Reader's Carousel about the credibility of KidLit bloggers. Paige defends the use of blogs by librarians as a supplement to traditional print reviews, and outlines several favorable attributes of blogs. Her post also was a bit of a wake-up call for me, reminding me of how much I've gained by reading other people's blogs, from book ideas to insights on encouraging readers to knowledge about book banning attempts, and so on. I've learned so much from other bloggers, many of whom are much more educated and experienced than I in this area of children's literature. I am grateful.
  • Terry shares her list of resolutions for 2008 at The Reading Tub blog. She has some tangible goals that together support her overall mantra: "bring reading home to families." The Reading Tub is a nonprofit dedicated to promoting reading and literacy. Naturally, I'm a big fan of what Terry's doing, and I love her resolutions.
  • At GottaBook, Gregory K. asks what we all do with our ever-expanding piles of books. There's a pretty lively discussion going on in the comments. I'm thinking that I need to go through my piles and find good homes for the ones that I'm just not going to get to. I did give many many books away as Christmas presents this year, both to kids I know, and to the Mercury News Gift of Reading program.
  • Fittingly enough, since Kelly and I are both mystery fans, I found the juvenile and young adult shortlist titles for the Edgar Awards at Big A little a. As with the ALA Youth Media Awards, I found that I had read distressingly few of the nominated titles. On the bright side, that means more good mysteries out there to add to my list.
  • Rick Riordan explains why no ARCs will be available for his upcoming Percy Jackson book: Battle of the Labyrinth. He quotes Mo Willems on how "presenting is theater", and makes the same argument for books. He says: "I love having a story full of secrets that will not be revealed until the book is published. I love keeping people in suspense. I am so looking forward to May 6, when Battle of the Labyrinth comes out, because that is my ‘big entrance.’ An ARC would take all the magic out of that." I do think that the lack of ARCs is one reason why this book didn't show up on many of the "what I want to read in 2008" lists that were floating around last week. But I have no doubt whatsoever that the many, many kids who are fans of the series will be waiting eagerly for the book on May 6th. And they will find magic. A sneak preview of the book is available, too. You can now watch a video of Rick reading a short selection from Chapter 1.
  • There's more on the PaperTigers new book group. I quite enjoyed this post, about how "bright adults frequently read books written for children". Speaking of some classic children's books, Janet says: "The element that these books all share are the magic created by a writer who placed highly original characters in a world that was constructed by considering the story, not the age of its readers, nor any underlying didacticism." I love that, especially the bit about "nor any underlying didacticism." But go read the whole post - it is a love letter to children's books and reading.
  • Wendy chimes in with excitement (and considerable detail) on the re-issuing of the Melendy Family books at Blog from the Windowsill. I think she hits it right on the nose with this statement: "I think what makes the Melendys seem like the quintessential literary family is that the books strike a perfect balance between realism and idyll."
  • And this news just in from HipWriterMama: the 2008 commencement speaker at Harvard will be ... drumroll, please! ... J. K. Rowling. How cool is that? I love it.
  • Two of my favorite blogging authors, Liz Garton Scanlon (aka Liz in Ink) and Sara Lewis Holmes (aka Read, Write, Believe), will be co-blogging this week about "the physicality of writing". Details are here and here. Hmmm... maybe they'll inspire me to some more physical exercise.
  • This is a small post, but I thought that it was insightful. At Books Together, Anamaria talks about how "One of the benefits of reading aloud to your kids that's sometimes overlooked is that it develops their sense of story." She gives a real-world example of her young son's ability to see from Chapter 2 where The Invention of Hugo Cabaret is headed. I know that I have a well-developed (some who have the misfortune of watching movies and television shows with me would say over-developed) sense of story, and that it comes from reading so many books. I didn't realize it could kick in so young, though.

And last, but definitely not least, how 'bout those Patriots!!