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Posts from March 2008

A Tale to Warm Your Heart

If you are feeling a bit blue today, I urge you to check out this story by Denis Theriault from today's San Jose Mercury News. 82-year-old philanthropist Lorry I. Lokey donated $20 million to Santa Clara University to help build their new library. The university would have happily named the building after him, but instead, Lokey surprised his longtime companion, Joanne Harrington, by having them name it after her instead. There's this picture in the article of her looking happy, perhaps a bit teary-eyed, at the ceremony, while he has eyes only for her. It is truly beautiful.

And then, as if I wasn't already smitten, I read this part:

"But Lokey said he also meant to honor another important woman in his life: Mary Belle Hancock, the librarian at his grammar school in Portland, Ore. Lokey says Hancock inspired him to a life of reading and writing. To pay tribute, he dedicated a stone to her in front of the library.

"This librarian was a sweetheart," Lokey said. "She made me a pretty serious student.""

How excellent is that? He is 82 years old, and paying tribute to his elementary school librarian. I know that when I am 82 years old I'll remember my elementary school librarian, Mrs. Tuttle, and that I'll still have the books that she gave me as gifts. But I doubt I'll be in a position to build a library in her honor... Thanks, Mr. Lokey, for brightening my day immensely.

© 2009 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved.


Thursday Afternoon Visits: Interviews, Blurbs, and an 8th Harry Potter Movie

I should really be packing at this point, but a few things came across my desk that I couldn't resist mentioning to you:

  • Last week I mentioned a Public School Insights interview by Claus von Zastrow with children's author Joseph Bruchac. I've since learned that Claus has been doing a whole series of literacy-related interviews. On March 6th he talked with National Ambassador for Young People's Literature Jon Scieszka about "his ambassadorial duties, his long-term efforts to encourage more children to read, and some of his forthcoming projects." On March 11th he talked with two middle school educators, Michael de Vito and Carmen Macchia, about the "remarkable story of how they and their colleagues created a safe and positive school climate, a richer, broader curriculum focused on literacy and aligned to state assessments, a commitment to literacy across the curriculum, intensive collaboration among school staff, and strong support for teachers' work." Finally, "rounding out (the site's) two-week celebration of NEA's Read Across America this year is Public School Insights' telephone interview with Don Deshler, one of the nation's most respected experts on adolescent literacy." I've added Public School Insights to my Google Reader - I think it's an excellent resource, and I look forward to reading future posts. One feature that I really like is that the interviews have a highlights version available, as well as the option to skip to a particular section of the interview.
  • Over at the PaperTigers Blog, Aline talks about the importance of reading and being read to, and the value in finding anecdotal success stories behind the statistics. The idea is that while some people are motivated sufficiently by the statistics around reading aloud, for others personal anecdotes will resonate more, and help make a difference.
  • Cheryl Rainfield talks about encouraging children to read through book events. She highlights several news stories about how schools celebrate books with children, saying "Creating events where children can have fun, while encouraging them to read, instead of forcing books on them as if they’re a chore or homework…. I think the fun approach is so much more likely to succeed." I certainly agree with her. Cheryl also wrote recently about a nonprofit called Literature for Life that encourages teenage mothers to read books.
  • At Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast, Jules has a new installment of her recurring feature: 7 Picture Book Tips for Impossibly Busy Parents. The idea is to feature books that have been out for long enough that they should be available in libraries. Titles discussed include Iggy Peck, Architect (which I've just received a copy of, and look forward very much to reading), and several others.
  • Meanwhile, at Chicken Spaghetti, Susan shares 50 Easy Readers with a "Wow!" Factor: Exciting Nonfiction for 1st and 2nd Graders. Susan says: "Many six and seven year olds want their nonfiction and they want it exciting. Shipwrecks! Escapes! Dinosaurs! Exclamation points! Here is a thriller of a list that caters to that very crowd. It comes from Candace Herbst at the Westport (CT) Public Library; she runs the Book Voyages club for first and second graders. I've added bookstore links (Powell's, Barnes & Noble) so that you can see the books. Plenty of older children will like these titles, too."
  • I have to admit that I don't usually read anything from the back of book covers because I like to face each book with as few preconceived expectations as possible. However, I am embarrassed to have missed the fact that the ARC of Susan Beth Pfeffer's the dead & the gone (which I own and have read) featured a blurb from Bookshelves of Doom about Pfeffer's first book, Life As We Knew It. Way to go, Leila! It is so wonderful to see Harcourt paying attention to blogger feedback, and to see Leila, whose reviews I always enjoy, get noticed. Thanks for Fuse #8 for the head's up. I'm glad that I learned about this now, because a certain niece of mine is visiting soon, and I may have to relinquish my advance copy of d&g.
  • Incidentally, if you enjoyed LAWKI and/or d&g, you really must read Susan Beth Pfeffer's blog. The blog is wry, entertaining, and gives a writer's eye view of the entire writing and publishing process. Not to mention fun sketches.
  • And speaking of members of the Kidlitosphere getting more broad attention, our own MotherReader is now blogging part-time at BigUniverse.com, "a unique website where kids, parents, teachers, librarians and authors can read, create and buy quality children’s picture books." I am thrilled to MotherReader's entertaining and insightful posts getting out there for a broader pool of readers.
  • In case anyone is wondering why young adult authors sometimes choose to write about edgy or depressing subjects, check out this post by Jay Asher, author of 13 Reasons Why. Jay shares, with permission, two messages that he received from teens in response to his book (about a teen who commits suicide). I don't think there's any question that by writing 13 Reasons Why, Jay has changed people's lives in a meaningful and positive way. What an amazing thing!
  • Darla from Books & Other Thoughts pointed me to a great little article about the scientific benefits of being a bookworm. The RealAge tip of the day the other day was "Pick Up a Book, Bulk Up Your Brain". The article, though short, includes things like this: "Being a bookworm doesn’t just make you smart. It makes you mentally tough. It builds so much cognitive reserve that bookworms’ brains may be bolstered against bad things like pollution and toxins." How cool is that?
  • Via Wizards Wireless, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows will be split into two parts for the movie, filmed at the same time, but aired six months apart. I say, if it lets the producers get more detail from the books up on the screen, more power to them. 
  • Via Open Wide, Look Inside, tomorrow is Pi Day. Yes, that's the correct spelling. It's a day in honor of the number Pi. I always liked Pi, so I'm happy to see it getting some attention.

And now, I really must get back to packing. Happy reading!


Books Now Available: My Most Excellent Year

Back in early December I reviewed My Most Excellent Year: A Novel of Love, Mary Poppins, and Fenway Park, a young adult title by Steve Kluger. I said that the book:

"...has a little something for everyone. If you are a Red Sox fan, Patriots fan, musical fan in general, Julie Andrews fan in particular, social activist, budding politician, budding thespian, person just figuring out that you're gay, friend of a person just figuring out that he or she is gay, or hard of hearing, this book has something for for you. And if you are a fan of romance, or you are the kind of person whose heartstrings are likely to be pulled by a 15-year-old boy who misses his long-dead mother, or a six-year-old deaf orphan with a chip on his shoulder and a Mary Poppins obsession, then you'll want to grab this one as soon as it becomes available (in March). As for me, I think it's one I'll read again. And I can offer no higher praise than that."

You can read the full review here. My Most Excellent Year should be available in stores now, and is well worth checking out. It also received a starred review from Kirkus.


Growing Bookworms Newsletter: Why I Can't Write Reviews Right Now Edition

Jpg_book007This afternoon I will be sending out the new issue of my Growing Bookworms weekly email newsletter. If you would like to subscribe, you can find a sign-up form here. The Growing Bookworms newsletter contains content from my blog focused on children's books and raising readers. There are currently more than 200 subscribers.

Unfortunately, as I am in the early stages of moving, this week's issue is relatively light, containing only: a children's literacy and reading news round-up, a Kidlitosphere round-up with links to useful posts from the week, an installment of my reviews that made me want the book feature, and an announcement about a book previously reviewed that is now available.

I apologize for the lack of reviews in this issue. For me, review-writing is a creative process. What I'm finding is that since I am distracted by the demands of moving, while also struggling to keep up with my full-time job, I simply don't have the mental focus necessary to write reviews. But I am reading some great books, and I promise that if you stick with me, I'll get back to the reviews as quickly as I can.

FYI, because some people have asked, this is a local move - I will still be in San Jose - but we are moving across town to a bigger place. Although the move is a lot of work, we ordered some gorgeous bookshelves to fill the living room, and I calm myself during the stress by thinking about how beautiful they will be once filled with books.

Thanks for reading, and for growing bookworms!


Books Now Available: My Life the Musical

My Life the MusicalIn December I reviewed My Life: The Musical, by Maryrose Wood (author of the delightful Sex Kittens and Horn Dawgs Fall in Love). My Life: The Musical is scheduled for publication today. It's about a pair of sixteen-year-old best friends who become obsessed with a particular Broadway musical, and how they react when the musical is in danger of being shut down. Of course it's about the strengths, insecurities, and relationships of the two main characters, too. Here's part of my conclusion:

"I highly recommend this title for theater buffs from middle school and up, especially for fans of musicals. Any "drama club geek from the suburbs" (as the author describes herself) will be completely unable to resist, and will be likely to settle in for multiple readings. Although the main characters are sixteen, I think that the book is quite accessible for middle school kids... For those who aren't theater fans, My Life the Musical offers a window into another world, and a chance to see what all the fuss is about."

Read the rest here.


Children's Literacy Round-Up: March 8

Here's a bit of children's literacy and reading-related news from around the wires these past few days:

  • Via the International Reading Association blog, I found an interesting commentary in the Toronto Star by Roy Romanow. Romanow, founding chair of the newly formed Canadian Index of Wellbeing Institute Board, writes: "The importance of reading every day is one of the main findings from Health Literacy in Canada 2008: A Healthy Understanding, a recently published report on the state of health literacy from the Canadian Council on Learning. The report found that daily reading is the strongest predictor of higher levels of health literacy. On average, as health literacy rises, individuals enjoy better health. And of course, as the health of the population improves, the burden on the health-care system is reduced." Interesting. This is the kind of thing that makes sense intuitively, and it's nice to see it backed up by research.
  • Also via the IRA Blog, I found this article in IRIN Middle East, about how Egypt is building girl-friendly schools in order to boost girls' education. This is part of an initiative to break down the gender gap in education. The article says that "The “girl-friendly” schools also accept boys but their number should not exceed 25 percent of classroom capacity."
  • Articles about the NEA's Read Across America initiative, and Dr. Seuss's birthday, continue to abound. The Berkshire Eagle calls it The New March Madness, in an article by Jenn Smith, and lots of schools and towns have been having celebrations. See also this somewhat contrarian view of the NEA's reading encouragement efforts, written by Jim Henley in the UnionLeader. Henley concludes: "America has not lacked for opportunities to read "A Farewell to Arms" or "The Great Gatsby." According to the NEA's own figures, pleasure reading has been declining (in percentage terms) despite all these public and private reading drives. The idea that a few million dollars and speeches by a few hundred mayors are going to make pleasure reading "central" again is too silly for, well, words."
  • World Book Day was also celebrated this week. See, for example, this South Wales Echo article by Kate Bodinger about children from South Wales dressing up as their favorite book characters. See also this Times Online article by Elizabeth McFarlane about reducing the pressure on parents to expect all children to take to reading at the same time, and in the same way.
  • Susie O'Brien's recent article in the Melbourne Herald Sun has this provocative sub-title: "JUST 15 minutes of reading a day can turn pre-school brats into brains, an expert says." According to the article, which generally focuses on the benefits of reading aloud, "This week, the State Government said every Victorian toddler would get a free picture book as part of a bid to boost literacy rates." See also the Age's article by Beck Eleven about the free book program.
  • I also enjoyed this article by Jennifer Nelson in the North Platte Telegraph about a librarian, Carol Eshleman, who is "promoting literacy and inspiring teens to read by reading aloud to them." Eshleman was partially inspired by Jim Trelease, author of the Read-Aloud Handbook. She does things like read short stories aloud to a teen book group during their lunch hour.

Happy reading to all!


Reviews that Made Me Want the Book: March 7

Today I bring you the third installment of my recurring "reviews that made me want to read the book" feature (you can find previous installments here). The idea is to highlight books that particularly catch my eye from other people's reviews and book commentary. This will help me to keep track of the books, and will also allow me to give credit to the bloggers who help me to discover great books.

13th RealityAmanda from A Patchwork of Books made me want to read the first book in James Dashner's The 13th Reality series (The Journal of Curious Letters, Shadow Mountain Press) by saying: "It's got everything: action, adventure, riddles, reality hopping...you name it, it's in there. A perfect mixture of science fiction and fantasy for those kids that have that love of a bit of magic and a bit of weirdness all in one."

Visitor for BearLaura Salas got me interested in reading Bonny Becker's new picture book, A Visitor for Bear (Candlewick) by giving out some updated information about the book (rather than a full review). Laura said: "Bonny recently learned that A Visitor for Bear was going to be featured on the picture book wall at Barnes & Noble stores nationwide", and gave some background about how this came about. I was thrilled to hear this because I very much enjoyed Bonny's first book, Holbrook: A Lizard's Tale, and I'm pleased to see her new book getting so much attention.

YestermorrowMs. Yingling's reviews often catch my eye. I think it's a combination of how prolific she is in writing reviews, and the fact that she and I are clearly kindred spirits in our reading interests. This week, she's intrigued me by writing about Stefan Petrucha's Time Tripper Quartet (Razorbill), starting with Yestermorrow. Like me, Ms. Yingling enjoys time travel books. She says of this series: "What I really liked, however, was the dark, teenage tone, the swiftly moving plots, the quirky characters, and the mind-bending aspects of time travel. These were a great portrayal of a darker side of that thought, which is what I have come to expect from Razorbill."

MadappleStacy Dillon from Booktopia inspired me to add Madapple, by Christina Meldrum (Knopf) to my list, saying "...Aslaug is soon intertwined in a family saga filled with twists, turns and untruths. She has survived so much already, can she survive this? Christina Meldrum has written a devastating, gut-wrenching, compelling and thoughtful story." And I just like the name Aslaug.


Friday Afternoon Visits: Book Lists, Reading Choices, and Reaching Reluctant Readers

My Internet time is going to be very limited this weekend, but I do have a few posts from around the Kidlitosphere that I noticed during the week that I'd like to share with you now (all emphasis mine).

  • First of all, on the off chance that you missed it, Roger Sutton at Read Roger (the Horn Book blog) created quite a stir by saying that "adults whose taste in recreational reading ends with the YA novel need to grow up." There is a veritable storm of responses in the comments on that post. Many people have also posted responses on their own blogs. I especially appreciated TadMack's quick and impassioned defense of making her own recreational choices, and her statement that some of the comments on Roger's post "suggest to me a fundamental -- and unsubtle -- contempt not only for the literature of children and young adults, but for... childhood." Also at Finding Wonderland, don't miss a. fortis's cartoon on the subject. Among the other posts out there, I particularly found myself nodding at Liz B.'s remarks at Tea Cozy, and Colleen Mondor's at Chasing Ray. Personally, I think that more adults should read and appreciate children's and young adult books. I think it's a genre that has a lot to offer (including, as several people have noted in the discussion, tighter editing than many adult books). I happen to sprinkle in a few adult books with my children's and YA reading (usually mysteries), because that's the mix that works for me. But I certainly don't do it because I think that it somehow makes me more grown up. I think that people should be able to read what they enjoy, and what has value for them. End of story.
  • At Critique de Mr. Chompchomp, Brian Jung writes about boys and reading, and the notion of instituting separate education by gender in schools (referencing a New York Times article on the latter topic). Although he see certain benefits to separate classrooms, and he supports initiatives like Guys Read and Guys Lit Wire, he also notes that "we ought to be alarmed by systematic division of individuals based on gender no matter how "scientific."" He notes, essentially, that although there may be statistical differences between the sexes, there are also statistical differences within each sex, and that such divisions automatically ignore "a really enormous chunk of kids". Having studied statistical distributions quite a bit in graduate school, I found Brian's article refreshing. (Though for the record I also think that organizations like readergirlz that focus on girls and reading are important, too.)
  • Lots of book lists were published this week. On Monday, MotherReader announced the winners of the Weird A** Picture Book Awards. Categories include Cover Art, Illustration, Story, and overall winner. You'll have to click through to see. Meanwhile, the ESSL Children's Literature Blog published a nice list of books with "Daring Detectives and Puzzling Plots" for kids, classified by age range. And Librarian Mom Els Kushner posted a list of Toddler Story Time Favorites at Scholastic Parents (noting, in joking fashion, "all the story time books I'd been reading had one of two basic themes: either "Mommy loves you," or "There sure are a lot of animals!""). For a more special-interest book list, Anne-Marie Nichols gathers up Books for Children Named Oliver over at My Readable Feast. She's focused on books for younger readers, but of course any reference to "Oliver" in children's books also makes me think of Oliver Melendy. Finally, the ALSC blog has a Spring Into Early Literacy booklist, with books focused on different skills.
  • At Pixie Stix Kids Pix, Kristen McLean writes about a fun new product called "Monster Go Away! Spray". She says that "its psychological mojo comes from the empowering feeling kids get by running around their room at bedtime, spraying it anywhere and everywhere monsters lurk." How cool is that?
  • Via Cynsations, I found this audio interview by Claus E. von Zastrow at Public School Insights. Zastrow talks with prolific children's author Joseph Bruchac about motivating young readers. The interview itself is fairly long, but there is also a highlights version, as well as links to specific segments of the interview.
  • At the Reading Tub Blog, Terry Doherty writes about the idea that there is no one size fits all approach to getting kids excited about reading. She says: "The important thing is to be open to and try different approaches. Somewhere out in the universe is the spark that will light up your child's world and hook them on reading. The idea is to complement your child's interest and help them find success for themselves."
  • AdLit.org's The Mash-Up blog also writes about reaching reluctant readers, saying, among other suggestions: "After several years of working with reluctant-to-read students, the best advice I have is that our reluctant readers are very different, and the way to make a connection with your reluctant readers is through a one-on-one relationship. Get to know the teens, find out their interests, remember those interests, and seek out books that reflect those interests."
  • At The Well-Read Child, Jill writes about building your child's library with series books, discussing the Trixie Belden books from her own childhood, and asking readers for their series suggestions. She notes: "Good series books draw readers into the lives of the characters. We care about them. We get to know them. We want to know what happens next. We can't wait until the next book comes out." I was a huge series fan as a kid (including the Trixie Belden books), and I certainly agree with Jill about their merits.
  • As with last August's One Shot World Tour, focused on Australia, Colleen Mondor and a group of other bloggers will be shining a light on Canadian authors on March 26th. I don't believe that I'll be participating myself, since that's right around my move date, but if you would like to participate, see details here. See also Becky's early suggestions for Canadian-written books at Farm School.
  • This week's Poetry Friday round-up is at The Simple and the Ordinary.

Wishing everyone a happy and book-filled weekend.


Growing Bookworms Newsletter: Moving and Traveling Edition

Jpg_book007Tonight I will be sending out the new issue of my Growing Bookworms weekly email newsletter. If you would like to subscribe, you can find a sign-up form here. The Growing Bookworms newsletter contains content from my blog focused on children's books and raising readers, all in a handy email format. There are currently more than 200 subscribers.

This week's issue contains a review of one book (a fiction picture book), a children's literacy and reading news round-up, and a Kidlitosphere round-up with links to useful posts from the week. I also include my list of books read in February, as well as announcements about the February issue of The Edge of the Forest and the February Carnival of Children's Literature. Content published on my blog this week that's not included in the newsletter includes:

  • An announcement about the March issue of Readergirlz (an online publication aimed at helping teenage girls through books).
  • A call for participation in Guys Lit Wire, a new blog dedicated to recommending books to teenage boys. I will write about this more for  the newsletter when Guys Lit Wire goes live. The current announcement is aimed primarily at book bloggers, as Guys Lit Wire is seeking additional reviewers.

I apologize for the relatively thin content (particularly the shortage of reviews) in this week's issue. I'm traveling for work this week, on top of the fact that I'm in the early stages of moving, and the combination of the two has been a bit too much to allow me to keep up with the blog. I'll post what I can over the next couple of weeks, and hope to be back up to full strength once I get through the move (a local move, but still an astonishing amount of work).

Thanks for reading, and for growing bookworms!


Children's Literacy Round-Up: Read Across America Day Edition

I'm a bit pressed for time because I'm on a business trip this week, but I couldn't let the NEA's Read Across America Day (held this year on March 3rd, the day after Dr. Seuss's birthday) pass by without sharing some children's literacy and reading news with you:

  • Via Sara Lewis Holmes (and did you see Sara's recent good news?), I learned that Toys for Tots is launching a new children's book drive, its first year-round initiative. They'll be working with the UPS Store and Mail Boxes Etc. to "offer our nation’s most economically disadvantaged children the ability to compete academically and to succeed in life by providing them direct access to books and educational resources that will enhance their ability to read and to communicate effectively." You can see the press release here.
  • Nancy Lowell George has an article in the Christian Science Monitor about the joys of reading books aloud to kids during long car trips. She says: "Reading chapter books in the car is like quizzing a child on spelling words while she soaks in the bathtub. The audience is captive. They can't wander off or flip on the television as they would at home. Instead, they listen and gaze out the car windows until their imaginations take over... A fringe benefit? At young ages they learned what every reader knows: The book is always better than the movie." Thanks to the International Reading Association blog for the link.
  • At the Tiger's Bookshelf (part of The Paper Tigers blog), Janet shares tips from parents about engaging children in reading, including virtual book clubs and question-filled, interactive reading sessions.
  • The Age has an interesting article by Margaret Cook about rethinking the way that books are recommended to kids, especially to "reluctant readers". The article cites research into why children do and don't read by Professor Adrian Ashman from the University of Queensland's education faculty. For example, "Professor Ashman found that prerequisites for recreational reading included availability of literature, individual reading skills and motivation. "But what most attracted the 'avid readers' was connecting with the story. Regardless of what they read, they wanted to identify with the characters, they liked the story to be authentic and they didn't like predictability."" The article also includes some tips for fostering a love of reading in kids. Most of the tips aren't new, but they are all things that can't be said enough.

And that's all I can manage today. There are tons of other news stories out there about literacy events in honor of Read Across America Day, from opinion pieces about the importance of reading to features about kids eating Green Eggs and Ham. Click here for a Google News listing of a few. The important thing is, take a few moments to tip your hat to Dr. Seuss today, and perhaps think about what else you and your children can do this week to celebrate books and reading.


Sunday Afternoon Visits: Babymouse, Butterflies, and Creative Play

I've been a bit busy this weekend, and so this has evolved to more of a "Sunday night visits" post. But here are some recent posts from around the Kidlitosphere that have caught my eye.

  • Babymouse: Puppy LoveVia Matthew Holm, I learned that School Library Journal has a new article about the advantages of graphic novels for younger readers, complete with a list of 25 recommended titles (including Babymouse: Puppy Love). I especially enjoyed this part (also highlighted by Matt): "Teachers and librarians are also beginning to realize that these books are perfect for young readers who are making the transition from picture books to text-only titles. And with graphic novels’ hypnotic power to pull kids into a story, they’re also perfect for promoting recreational or free voluntary reading—one of the most effective ways to increase literacy and create lifelong readers." Click through to see the full list. See also this related SLJ article (also via Matt).
  • Becky has a lovely post over at Becky's Book Reviews about her childhood love of reading, and how it was nurtured by her mother. She also recaps several of her favorite childhood titles, and discusses why she prefers reading the old battered copies to newer editions. This is a post for all book lovers, as Becky's specific details inspire each of us to reflect on the books that have made us who we are.
  • Sarah from The Reading Zone has been posting day by day summaries of her recent trip to Mexico to see the Monarch butterflies. Although this is a bit off-topic from children's books, she has some lovely photos, and these posts are well worth a look. Start here, and work your way forward.
  • Camille reminisces about several children's books that feature dolls as important characters over at Book Moot. It's a great list, but I really had to suggest the addition of Ginnie and the Mystery Doll, by Catherine Wolley. I don't remember much about it, but I know that I was fascinated by it as a child.   
  • Peter at Collecting Children's Books has a nice post about collecting "perfect" first editions vs. collecting books that have been loved (he sides with the latter). I feel the same way he does - that there's a charm to seeing an old inscription by which a grandmother chose a book to give to a grandchild 60 years ago, and the like. I especially cherish books that belonged to my mother and my grandmothers, and I'm thrilled if I can find written evidence of that inside. Thanks for the validation, Peter!
  • Over at Kids Lit, Tasha links to an interesting NPR piece about the importance of creative play for children, and shares a lovely verbal picture of her daydreaming son.
  • And speaking of creative play, check out this post from Jama Rattigan's Alphabet Soup, about brownies, both the little mythic creatures and the desserts. She also features some A. A. Milne, something that should never be passed by.
  • I know I already mentioned that Pam Coughlan has been guest blogging at ForeWord Magazine's Shelf Space. But I simply love her new post, about her dual roles as a mother and a reader and how she strives to raise her children to be readers. My favorite part is this paragraph (emphasis mine): "I’ve also been asked by parents that with today’s busy lifestyle, how I find time for my kids to read. For this question, I allow a quick wide-eyed expression of shock so the questioner realizes the very seriousness of the inquiry. For me, it’s as if they’ve asked how I find time for my children to eat dinner. In my family, reading is a necessary and vital part of our day. We formed the habit early, and rarely break it." Keep 'em reading, Pam. Keep 'em reading.
  • Inspired by a. fortis's recent post at Finding Wonderland, Charlotte writes about "things that stuck in (her) head" from children's books at Charlotte's Library. The things she highlights are "are more guidelines for living than facts, and not big guidelines, like respecting others, but little things." I feel completely the same way about what I've learned from children's books - I learned values and guidelines, rather than dates and places. See also Kelley's response at ACLA Youth Services blog.
  • Speaking of Finding Wonderland, please join me in congratulating a. fortis and TadMack on Finding Wonderland's three-year anniversary. They inspire us all. And don't miss TadMack's post about visiting the Museum of Childhood. So fun!!
  • Finally, Cheryl Rainfield reports (citing a Telegraph story) that J. K. Rowling has started a new children's book, unrelated to the Harry Potter series. Only time will tell...

And that's all for this weekend. I'm headed out on a business trip tomorrow, but I hope to squeeze in some time for a literacy round-up tomorrow night. Happy reading!


February Edition of The Edge of the Forest

Making it in just under the wire, the February edition of The Edge of the Forest was published late last night (thank goodness for Leap Year Day). The Edge of the Forest is an online journal dedicated to children's literature, created and edited by Kelly Herold from Big A little a. Christine Marciniak of The Simple and the Ordinary is the recently appointed Features Editor. Here is the list of this month's highlights, borrowed from Kelly:

For fans of children's literature, The Edge of the Forest is not to be missed. This looks like another excellent issue, one which I look forward to savoring.