The Compound: S. A. Bodeen
Growing Bookworms Newsletter: May 13, 2008

Sunday Afternoon Visits: May 11

Happy Mother's Day, to all of the Moms out there. It's a beautiful day here in California, though I'm feeling a bit under the weather. Still, I managed to get some reviews written, finally. And for once I'm feeling relatively caught up on the doings of the Kidlitosphere. This makes me happy. And you know what? It makes my Mom happy, too, because she knows it's how I want to spend my time (and she's 3000 miles away, so I can't spend it with her today). And that's what Moms are all about, wanting their kids to be happy and fulfilled and all of that. Anyway, here is some news from around the Kidlitosphere:

  • Newlogorg300First off, congratulations to Readergirlz for winning a James Patterson PageTurner grant!! Here's a bit from the press release: With recent reports showing a decline in reading among adults and teens, and federal budget cuts reducing book distribution, the promotion of books and reading is more important than ever. James Patterson's true passion has always been to get people of all ages excited about books and reading, and for years he has proudly supported people and organizations who dedicate themselves to keeping the fun and excitement of books and reading alive. This year's PageTurner Award winners are the cream of the crop..." Well, certainly if they include Readergirlz, they must be!
  • At The Places You Will Go, Daphne uses her Tots to Teens column to vent about celebrity and child authors. She writes, sarcasm evident, "I'm certain celebrity authors write for children because it's something that they've worked on for years and years, and are willing to continue to work at until they have perfected their craft or died in the attempt. Yes. Of course." She also says: "I have nothing against child authors per se, but I don't think children should be published simply because they are children (just as celebs shouldn't be encouraged to write and publish books simply because they've recorded and sold millions of CDs). If a child's work is published I feel it should be judged (reviewed) without consideration for the age of its writer/illustrator." I agree! The author's age makes for interesting backstory, if and only if the book can stand on its own in the first place.
  • Shelf Elf shares a SMART List of Gripping Greek Mythology. As noted in the comments of the post, this list could be an excellent jumping off point for young fans of the Percy Jackson books.
  • At Big A little a, Kelly Herold shares a post of special interest to writers of young adult and middle grade fiction for boys, linking to a conversation between two real-life teens and their mother at Writing as Jo(e).
  • Meanwhile at Educating Alice, Monica Edinger shares her thoughts about the recent Renaissance Learning study about kids' reading habits. Her post title pretty much sums it up: So What? But you should go read the entire post, and the comments, which give perspectives from people in the trenches, teaching. See also Susan's follow-on post on the subject at Chicken Spaghetti. She also links to a variety of recent discussions on reading.
  • At the Reading Rockets Sound It Out blog, Joanne Meier shares 5 ways to appreciate a teacher AND build literacy skills. The ideas are quite practical and inexpensive, starting with: "Donate a copy of your favorite read aloud to the class. Teachers are always looking for tried and true read alouds. If a book worked for you, it might work for the class too!"
  • At I.N.K. (Interesting Nonfiction for Kids), Vicki Cobb writes about the selling of books at an author's school visits. I found this interesting, because it's not something I've ever given thought to (not working at a school, or having kids). Vicki makes the point that "If an author excites and interests kids, the author is invariably asked, "Where can I get your books? If the books are not at hand, the moment is lost. What baffles me is why a school that has spent some of its limited resources to bring an author to the school, obviously caring about "enrichment," does not understand how to optimize the educational experience it has created." Sounds reasonable to me.
  • At Confessions of a Bibliovore, Maureen writes about the trust that she has in certain authors, which makes her pick up their new books, even if she doesn't know anything about them. She adds: "The deepest author trust is when you hear the synopsis and go, ". . . Huh. I dunno about that one. If another author were writing it, I'd pass it over, but it's X. So I'll give it a whirl."" She also shares an off the cuff list of some of her most trusted authors, like Meg Cabot and Eva Ibbotson, and asks readers to share their trusted author lists. I touched on this myself, in my recent "six P's of book appreciation" post, when I said that there are certain authors who I'll read, even if I'm skeptical of the premise of a book. Kindred spirits, Maureen, kindred spirits. 
  • Elaine Magliaro shares some links for Children's Book Week (May 12-18) at Wild Rose Reader. She also links to a variety of book lists. 
  • Lots of people have sent greetings to their mothers on their blogs this weekend, but do check out Vivian's letter to her mom at HipWriterMama. Any mother would be proud to have her for a daughter. See also Peter's extensive post at Collecting Children's Books: "a mamacentric collection of thoughts, opinions and information dedicated to all the mothers out there -- especially mine!"

And that's it for today. Happy reading!