Two Quick Announcements
Growing Bookworms Newsletter: Holiday Tidings

Friday Afternoon Visits: Pre-Holiday Edition

This might be redundant after the enormous Birthday Carnival of Children's Literature from Wednesday, but I've saved up a few Kidlitosphere links from this week that I'd like to share with you all. Besides which, sitting at my kitchen table, listening to Christmas music, and visiting a few blogs seems like a nice way to spend some time, after an expectedly stressful work week.

Kidsheartauthorlogo First up, kudos to author Mitali Perkins for launching Kids Heart Authors Day, a celebration of authors and independent booksellers scheduled for Valentine's Day. As announced on the project website:

"Bookstores, authors, and illustrators are teaming up to make V-Day 2009 an unforgettable one for New England families. Bundle up your brood and head to your community bookstore on Saturday, February 14th, where local authors and illustrators will gather from 10 to 12 a.m. to sign books for kids and teens. Bookstores will provide bunches of books, and authors and illustrators will personalize them and answer any and all questions about writing and drawing."

It's almost enough to make me wish I still lived in New England. And this time of year (I am NOT a snow person), that's really saying something.

And speaking of taking kids to bookstores, author Sara Lewis Holmes recently announced plans for going on a Reading Date with her daughter. She says: "Don't you want to make a Reading Date with someone you love?" I'm going to see if I can work one in over the holidays.

Imbuyingbooks_button You can find book recommendations everywhere this time of year, of course, especially on the Books for the Holidays blog. (For the record, I bought a TON of books this year, and I purchased most of them by going through the Cybils blog). I'm particularly taken with the book lists on BookKids Recommends (the Book People children's book blog). They've been offering first recommendations for "dudes" of various age ranges, and more recently for "girlie-girls", from picture books through teen books. These are fun, up-to-date lists, and are a perfect example of the specialized services offered by independent booksellers. I also liked this list of 10 great gifts for dads that read to their kids (and don't you wish that category included all dads?) from BookDads.

See also this anecdotal piece by Janet Brown at The Tiger's Bookshelf (the PaperTigers blog) about the pleasure of giving a book. Janet says: "Snuggling with your father, hearing his voice directed especially toward you, seeing the glow of colors and the excitement of new shapes as the pages turn, what could be better than that? Nothing, except perhaps for the delight of choosing a book that can help this experience be as good as it can be–and then hearing about it later from a happy parent." I certainly agree!

Jama Rattigan has two posts about literary cookbooks for kids (and short grown-ups). Very fun! They are here and here. She has lots of delicious posts about things like Christmas cookies, too.  

As linked by many people, this past week was Girl Week at Reviewer X, featuring guest posts about girls and book reviews of girl-friendly titles. Another good place to look for gift ideas, I'd hazard.

I've pretty much had my fill of children's book controversy by this point in the year (who knew there would be so much, honestly?). But if you're still interested in discussions, the Washington Post has jumped on the Newbery Award criticism bandwagon (actually going so far as to imply that recent Newbery award selections have been hurting reading enjoyment among kids). Lots of people have written about this article, including Mitali Perkins (who writes more generally on the impact of adult recommendations on kids), and Donalyn Miller at the Book Whisperer.

CybilsLogoSmall I tend to agree with Donalyn that "The limited allure of recent winners doesn’t marginalize reading, it marginalizes the award and reveals a missed opportunity by the Newbery committee to celebrate books that are not only well-written, but also attractive to readers." I know that kid appeal isn't part of the criteria of the Newbery, but I do think that there are plenty of books that have kid-appeal and are well-written. Happily, the Cybils short lists will be out on January 1st!!

And, discussing one more publishing controversy that I think is going to pick up steam in 2009, 100 Scope Notes talks about PDFs and eBooks being sent to reviewers. There's some discussion in the comments. Personally, I am NOT up for more time in front of my computer. So eBook review copies would mean either getting a Kindle-type decide, or just not accepting review copies at all. I'll be interested to see how things shake out.

And I'm not even going to comment on the recent New Yorker article that dissed young adult fiction even while reviewing a particular YA title in a positive light ("I tend to think of young-adult fiction as sort of facile—a straightforward style, uncomplicated themes and morals—but this had a complexity, an ambiguity, that surprised me"). See the comments there, or this post by Brian from the Flux Blog.

On a lighter note, Lisa Chellman has a fun post about Fictional Parents with Interesting Jobs. Click through to see which character's father is a funeral director, a punk rocker, or a mathematician.

And for lots of fun tidbits about the past year in children's literature, check out this very fun post at 100 Scope Notes. Travis is predicting a trend of "tiny characters" in 2009. What do you think? See also his Best Confirmation That a Character is Indeed Awesome in the post. Can you guess?

Mary Pope Osborne (of Magic Treehouse book fame) has just completed a blog tour at The Well-Read Child. Jill has direct links to the four previous stops. For a different type of interview, author James Preller recently interviewed Karen and Bill from Literate Lives (source for many book recommendations that catch my eye). It's more of a conversation than an interview, and definitely a fun read.

Libby shares some children's literature love at Lessons from the Tortoise, quoting a couple of recent articles in which authors recalled and rediscovered their appreciation for children's books. Tricia also posted a response to one of the articles at The Miss Rumphius Effect.

Kudos to Andrea and Mark from Just One More Book for helping to get a favorite book re-printed. They'll also have a blurb on the reprinted book: Sleeping Dragons. See here and here. It's nice to see tangible evidence that book advocacy can make a difference.

Mary and Robin at Shrinking Violet Promotions are doing a lovely 12 Days of Christmas - Introvert Style series. The gifts that they recommend introverts seek out this time of year include earplugs, soothing drinks, and "a nice quiet place to be." They're also giving out a gift each day, to previous commenters. I find that their blog is a nice quiet space that I want to visit.

Speaking of blogs that I want to visit, would you like to know about a blog I that actively seek out, and am disappointed when there are no posts? Not Always Right: Funny & Stupid Customer Quotes. Some of the posts are hilarious. I forget where I discovered this site (Finding Wonderland? Bookshelves of Doom?), but I love it. If you need a little humor, it's definitely worth checking out.

And that's it for Kidlitosphere links until after the holidays. Happy reading!