Alec Flint: Super Sleuth: Jill Santopolo
Children's Literacy Round-Up: July 13

Sunday Afternoon Visits: July 13

There have been tons of interesting things going on around the Kidlitosphere this week. Here are a few links:

  • Congratulations to Andrea and Mark, who just celebrated the second anniversary, and 400th post, at Just One More Book! Wishing them hundreds more posts. See also Shelf Elf's one-year birthday party, with a very creative list of book reviews as gifts.
  • Over at Open Wide, Look Inside, Tricia shares her must-have subscriptions for teachers. She calls them "a series of e-mail subscriptions that I can’t live without". Selections include the PBS Teachers weekly newsletter and the Math Solutions online newsletter.
  • Inspired by a post by Jenny Han at The Longstockings, Liz Burns writes about direct delivery of services at A Chair, A Fireplace, and A Tea Cozy. The discussion started with a new paid service that will deliver books to you via mail (like NetFlix), and questions about what this offers as compared to libraries. It evolves, at Tea Cozy, into a discussion about the future of libraries.
  • In case you didn't get enough of Gail Gauthier's Three Robbers blog tour last week, you can read one more interview with Gail at Cheryl Rainfield's blog. I particularly enjoyed the discussion about  how to get kids interested in reading (for example "You can’t treat reading like work, like something you escape from when you’re on vacation.").
  • On a related note, Abby (the) Librarian writes about adult summer reading clubs. She notes: "In terms of developing literacy, one of the best things parents can do is read themselves. Seriously. It seems like such a simple thing, but I think it's a really potent thing". 
  • And speaking of reading and vacation, Franki takes on the question of summer reading lists at A Year of Reading. She warns that "kids are not going to become readers if they see reading as an assignment and don't have the opportunity to read the books they choose", and cautions against adults, even with the best of intentions, creating lists at all. She says "Creating our own summer reading lists because we don't like the ones out there, only says that we like the idea of summer reading lists if they are lists that WE create. Where is the child as reader in these conversations?" A valid point, I must say. See also Betsy's thoughts on this issue at A Fuse #8 Production, Maureen's at Confessions of a Bibliovore, and Gail's at Original Content. On a related note, ShelfTalker Alison Morris writes about the shortage of YA titles on many summer reading lists. (Last link via Original Content.)
  • Speaking of Fuse #8, one thing I didn't have in my ALA roundup post was a picture from the dinner that Sondra LaBrie from Kane/Miller hosted for Betsy and me. Fortunately, this has been remedied by both Betsy and Sondra, who each posted a photo taken with Betsy's camera. Betsy also has some free ARCs to share, if you happen to live in New York, and a warning about stolen book reviews.
  • Trevor Cairney has a detailed, two-part post at Literacy, Families, and Learning about stimulating literacy and learning during the holidays (though in Australia, where Trevor is based, the holidays going on now are relatively short). Here is part 1 and here is part 2. There's much more in these posts than I can possibly capture here, but if you're facing school vacation time with kids, do check out these articles.
  • Monica Edinger shares some thoughts about Laura Amy Schlitz's Newbery Award acceptance speech at Educating Alice. She urges "those who read Marc Aronson’s thoughts about the speech to read it for yourselves especially if you are planning on weighing in on the issue next week as Colleen Mondor suggests you do."
  • The Newbery acceptance speech was actually only of several potential topics that Colleen raised for discussion next week. After recapping recent controversies (from Frank Cottrell Boyce to celebrity picture books, Colleen said: "I'm proposing that the week of July 20th we all take some time and talk about the controversies that have found there way to our corner of the lit blogosphere... What I'd love to see is many other blogs pick up on this thread and write about the aspects of children's and teen publishing that frustrate them. We write about this stuff way more than pretty much any other print reviewers anywhere (not all but most) and we have our ear to the ground in ways that most publishers do not. In other words, we hear about stuff lightening quick and we form immediate opinions. Well, now is a great time for everyone to share those opinions and actually create a few ripples in the literary pond ourselves, rather than just riding someone else's waves." Personally, I'm thinking of writing about "message books" (which of course as a topic does tend to overlap with the topic of celebrity picture books).
  • Speaking on controversies in the KidLit blogosphere, Laurie Halse Anderson responds to a repeat cartoon by aquafortis at Finding Wonderland about how book bloggers think of themselves. Laurie has quite a discussion going in the comments about how blog reviewers think about what they're doing. Personally, I used to call my reviews "recommendations", because I didn't publish very many negative reviews. But somewhere along the way I decided to give myself more credit, and call them reviews. I do try to separate out personal background information about how I responded to a book from the review itself, where applicable.
  • And, for another book reading and reviewing question, Jill asks at The Well-Read Child how readers feel about abandoning books unfinished. Several people weigh in on this topic in the comments - most have evolved to some sort of book abandonment policy (e.g. after 50 pages).
  • The brand-new blog Book Addiction has a partial round-up by Eva M. on graphic novels for kids. I found this blog through a recommendation from Susan Patron on the CCBC-Net mailing list.
  • And finally, just off the presses, Sarah Miller, a Disney fan, has issued a Disney Literature Challenge. She says: "Let's dig up the uncorrupted originals, and see how these stories looked before Uncle Walt had his way with them, shall we? For my part, I'm making this a long term, laid back endeavor. No time limits, no minimums, no obligations. Pick the ones you like and quit when you get sick of the whole idea." Personally, I tend to pass on challenges, because I have enough trouble just keeping up with my regular blogging. But I have to admit that this one does appeal...

And that's all for today. I hope that you're all having a restful Sunday. Me, I'm happy because the Red Sox are back in first place of the AL East, just in time for the All-Star Break.