Julia's Kitchen: Brenda Ferber
Children's Literacy Round-Up: Jon Scieszka, Bedtime Stories, and a Literacy Quilt

Sunday Afternoon Visits: Armenian Christmas Edition

Here in my house today, we're celebrating Armenian Christmas (no, I'm not Armenian, but Mheir is, and this is a big holiday in his church). In other houses, however, people have been getting back to blogging, now that the majority of the holidays are past. So I have lots of Kidlitosphere news for you this weekend.

  • PostergirlzFirst and most important, congratulations to the newest readergirlz postergirl: Vivian from HipWriterMama! I'm so thrilled to have her joining the group, and I know that she'll be an excellent contributor to the readergirlz mission of connecting teen girls with great books. You can read the announcement on the readergirlz MySpace page (look for forum topic Our Newest Postergirl), and offer her your congratulations there.
  • This week's Poetry Friday roundup can be found at A Year of Reading. Also, as I mentioned previously, Mary Lee and Franki had a four-day party at A Year of Reading this week, celebrating their two year blog anniversary. My favorite post was from day 4, from which I learned that January is "Hot Tea Month". Now there is a useful piece of information. I'm still suffering the lingering effects of my New Year's cold, and dedicating the whole month to drinking tea sounds like a pretty good idea.
  • Bottom Shelf Books has a funny post about the little-known impact of the screen writer's strike on picture book production. Without professional writers you get things like this version of Make Way for Ducklings: "Mr. and Mrs. Mallard were looking for a place to live. Boston seemed like a nice place, so that's where they lived. Next to a Dunkin' Donuts." It made me laugh. Click through for more.
  • The Kane/Miller blog recently carried a list of Resolutions for Raising a Reader, adapted from a post by Elizabeth Kennedy at About.com: Children's Books. The list is filled with great, concrete ideas, like "Take your children to the library once a week." It's well worth checking out.
  • There are lots of other posts about resolutions and reading plans for 2008, and many of them are interesting. But my two favorite resolution posts come from Ananka's Diary (things like "become dangerous" and "explore the unknown") and What Adrienne Thinks About That (things like "watch plenty of movies" and "read every day").
  • Also starting the new year, Jules and Eisha have a new feature going on at 7-Imp. On the first Sunday of every month they'll be featuring a student or newly graduated illustrator looking to break into children's books. This will be part of their regular "7 Kicks" feature (in which they, and many commenters, focus on the seven positive things that happened during the week). This week's illustrator is Ashley Smith, newly graduated from Brigham Young University. Also at 7-Imp, a newly compiled list of all of the 7 Impossible Blogger Interviews conducted to date. If you're new to the Kidlitosphere, perusing this list is a great way to get an introductory look at assorted blogs and bloggers.
  • Colleen Mondor muses about what sorts of books teenage boys want to read (or lack of such books) at Chasing Ray. She notes: "It's something to think about, this keeping boys reading business. And I really do believe that they must be targeted as the specific creatures they are. What do boys like as boys - boys of all colors, races, locations, sexualities? What are not their common interests so much as their common traits? What makes boys tick in other words?" Not sure anyone knows the answer to that question, but we do know that Jon Scieszka is working on it.
  • Meanwhile, Little Willows just says no to gender bias at Bildungsroman, talking about how, as a bookseller, she works to get boys interested in what might be considered by some to be girl books, and vice versa. She says: "First, I tell the hopeful reader about the story, why I like it, and why I think he or she will like it too. I make book recommendations based on the reader's personality, literacy, and interests, not on the gender of the reader, the writer, or the protagonist." She moves on to specific tactics. 
  • Also via Little Willow, Olivia Kidney author Ellen Potter is sponsoring a short story contest for writers age 9 to 13. The deadline is January 14th, so get your young writers working now. First prize is a $100 gift card to Barnes and Noble. The contest page also includes helpful tips for young writers, so it's worth visiting even if your kids don't plan to enter.
  • In response to a comment from Sheila Ruth, Sarah Miller re-addresses the issue of parents looking for reading for their "advanced" readers. She offers advice for parents on how to be specific in asking for books for particular young readers. On her own blog, Wands and Worlds, Sheila links to a gifted and reluctant readers catalog, prepared by the owners of an independent book store called The Book Barn. Via Read Roger, the Horn Book also has a new list of books for reluctant readers.
  • Monica Edinger shares an announcement about the Children's Literature New England's planned CLNE Colloquy, to be held May 8-11 in Vermont. Speakers include M.T. Anderson, Susan Cooper, Sarah Ellis, Janice Harrington, Arthur A. Levine, Katherine Paterson, Pam Muñoz Ryan, and Brian Selznick.
  • If you'll be attending ALA Midwinter in Philadelphia, Liz B. from Tea Cozy and Julie from Reader's Carousel are organizing a KidLit Lunch on Saturday, January 12th. Comment here or here if you are interested in attending.
  • Tricia from The Miss Rumphius Effect has started a new blog called Open Wide, Look Inside. She says: "This blog is about throwing open the pages of books and using them to motivate and excite kids about learning math, science and social studies. I am taking this blog journey with my students, an enthusiastic bunch of men and women preparing to become elementary school teachers." She's started by providing lists of various resources, linked here.
  • End of the year book awards and book lists abound. But ratcheting up the creativity, as always, is Betsy Bird with the Golden Fuse Awards. She includes listings like "weirdest cameos" and "best villains" (you'll have to click through to see).
  • Susan from Wizards Wireless recently joined Yahoo Answers, where she's answering definitive (as opposed to subjective) questions about the Harry Potter books. I couldn't think of anyone better equipped for this position. And she's clearly having fun with it already (though she welcomes additional questions).
  • Over at Makes and Takes, Marie, a former kindergarten teacher, discusses "Reading with the Kiddies". She includes a lovely tongue-twister poem by Richard N. Krogh that captures many of the reasons why English is a difficult language to learn (words that look alike, but sound different, for example). I discovered this post through Marie's thoughtful comments on my PBS Parents post. Many, many thanks to those of you who took time to click through and comment over there.   

That's all for this week. Hope you're all enjoying 2008!