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Posts from September 2009

September Carnival of Children's Literature

The September Carnival of Children's Literature is now available at Susan Taylor Brown's blog, Susan Writes. Susan has grouped all of the posts into handy categories. While book-related posts dominate, as you might expect, the carnival also includes Author Talk, Events, Video, Writing for Kids, Misc, Creative Teaching, Pirates, Poetry, and (at the bottom of the post) Controversy.

What strikes me, in looking at the wide range of posts, contributed by a wide range of bloggers, is that way that the Kidlitosphere continues to grow by leaps and bounds. I look forward to spending some time this afternoon, over a cup of tea, perusing these many posts. Many thanks to Susan for organizing such a festive carnival.

Books Now Available: Pastworld

PastworldLast week, I reviewed Ian Beck's Pastworld. I said:

Ian Beck's Pastworld is a young adult title that is a bit difficult to categorize. The setting is a mix of past and future. The genre a mix of mystery/thriller and speculative science fiction. But I found the premise irresistible.

Pastworld is a theme park version of Victorian London. It's a fully restored, historically accurate (mostly) version of the city.

I thought when I published the review that it wasn't going to be published until November, but it turns out that (effective September 29th) Pastworld is now available for purchase. Fans of brooding mysteries and alternative histories will want to give it a look.

There's An Adult In My Soup: Kim and Jason Kotecki

Book: There's An Adult in My Soup
Author: Kim & Jason Kotecki
Pages: 192 
Age Range: 18 and up 

51Vkr6x4UyL._SL500_AA240_ I've been a follower of Kim and Jason Kotecki's Escape Adulthood site for several years now. I admire their quest to free the world of "adultitis", and the way that they encourage people to remain open to the joys of life. Jason's Escape Adulthood manifesto was one of my earliest book reviews. I am a regular reader of Kim and Jason's blog. Recently, Jason sent me a copy of There's An Adult in My Soup, with a note to check out a couple of specific pages. I was happy to see that a couple of conversations that I had with Kim and Jason had actually made their way into the book. On further reading, I was even more happy to discover quotes from TadMack (aka Tanita Davis) and Robin Brande. As you can see, I'm not objective about this book. So you may take this as more a recommendation from a friend than a formal review.

There's An Adult in My Soup is a collection of essays about "cooking up the life of your dreams". I think that most of these essays began as blog posts. As such, it's not a book that you need to read cover-to-cover, in order (though I suspect that the entries were published in the chronological order that they were written). In fact, reading it cover to cover, you will notice occasional repeated ideas. There are a few copy-editing errors, too. It reads like what it is - a hand-picked collection of inspirational blog posts, with cartoon illustrations added to brighten the start of each essay.

I still loved the book. I flagged it with about 30 post-its. I intend to read it again, and to give it to other people to read. Because, for me, this book is a reminder to try to be a happier, more optimistic, person. To be more childlike (as opposed to childish). To notice the small joys as they pass by. To strive for balance.

My general view is that people only change when the change is internally motivated. I think that self-help books work for people who happen to read a particular piece of advice that resonates with them at that time. That is, you'll only actually change if you read a particular book at a time that intersects with your own personal journey. And sometimes, you read a book that tells you things that you already believe, but serves as a gentle reminder not to get sidetracked. That said, here are a few passages from There's An Adult in My Soup that resonated with me this week:

"Everyone is busy. Enough already.
Do you find yourself unknowingly getting thrown into the "busyness" contest? Whether it's at work or with family or acquaintances, people start talking about how busy they are. Before you know it, you too are spouting about how little time you have. For some reason, it seems like the busiest person wins. What a twisted and damaging conversation." (Page 13)

"God has scattered these free prizes all around us: a watercolor sunset, the smell of fresh cut grass, the intricacy of a snowflake. We're so busy being self-absorbed and stressed-out that we miss them all because they're hidden just below the surface of our hurried consciousness." (Page 30)

"They say life is all about the journey, not the destination. But we don't often live like that. Many of us gear our lives around some arbitrary date in the future, as if everything will be better when that point in time--that day on the calendar--comes. But what makes THAT day on the calendar any better or more important than THIS day on the calendar?" (Page 44)

"What does your daily schedule look like?
Are you finding a good balance between work, family and alone time?
What can you do to take more control of your life, for the good of your health and sanity, as well as your relationships?" (Page 76)

And so on. Most people will, I think, have one of two responses to quotes. You might be intrigued, and want to read more (in which case, I direct you to Kim and Jason's blog). Or you might think it sounds a little naive or overly simplistic (in which case, this isn't the right book for you). My experience has been that the authors really believe in what they're promoting. They believe in creating a balanced life, in celebrating small joys, and in demonstrating a childlike curiosity. And this belief comes across in the book. There's An Adult in My Soup is like a series of pep talks from that unquenchable friend - the one who always makes you smile, even when your cynical side things that it's more complicated than that. I'm happy to have read it. I hope that some of you will want to read it, too.

Publisher: JBiRD iNK, Ltd.
Publication Date: September 1, 2009
Source of Book: Received copy as a gift from the authors 

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

Wednesday Afternoon Visits: Exquisite Corpse Adventure Edition

I begin to think that the sheer impossibility of keeping up with the news from around this Kidlitosphere is a permanent condition. Particularly when, as was the case last weekend, I have trips. But here's my best effort to capture the news from the past week. Hope that you find it useful.

ECA-main-title3 I've been following the news about the NCBLA/Library of Congress/Jon Scieszka project, The Exquisite Corpse Adventure. The project was officially launched at last weekend's National Book Festival. The idea is for the project to be "a buoyant, spontaneous experiment; a progressive story game just like the one many families play on road trips, at camps, at parties, at home when there is a power outage... Members of The Exquisite Corpse Adventure “motley crew” are, in reality, some of the most gifted artists and storytellers in our nation, award-winners all—M.T. Anderson, Natalie Babbitt, Calef Brown, Susan Cooper, Kate Di Camillo, Timothy Basil Ering, Nikki Grimes, Shannon Hale, Daniel Handler aka Lemony Snicket, Steven Kellogg, Gregory Maguire, Megan McDonald, Patricia and Fredrick McKissack, Linda Sue Park, Katherine Paterson, James Ransome, Jon Scieszka, and Chris Van Dusen." If you follow the NCBLA's blog, you'll be notified easily about each new episode (new episodes will be published every two weeks for the next year). You can also (I learned from Leila at Bookshelves of Doom) follow a special RSS feed for the new ECA posts alone).

Ncblalogo I must confess to being particularly pleased because, as part of a Literacy Resource Treasure Chest accompanying the Exquisite Corpse Adventure (prepared by the National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance and the Butler Children’s Literature Center at Dominican University), the team published a list of "Blogs that Inspire". And, well, my blog is listed, along with several other amazing blogs (see Fuse 8's thoughts here). I must say, this made my week. But in general, the page offers nice one-stop shopping for many of the literacy organizations that Terry Doherty and I talk about all the time. It is truly an honor to be included.

3961914637_3993283a87 Moving on, there have been tons of articles about on Banned Book Week, too many for me to link to here (but check out Finding Wonderland, for a range of posts, and Lee Wind's challenged author roundtable discussion). But my attention was caught by this article from, sent to me by my friend Alex from Outside In. It's an op-ed piece by Julianna Baggott about an embattled teacher's response to potential "objectionable material" in books. Here's the part that got me: "The overwhelmingly sad thing for me was the sound of fear in this woman’s voice and her utter lack of conviction in the things that probably once inspired her to become a teacher in the first place - the way someone can talk about the world of books, the power of the imagination, and change a child’s life."

Mimlogo_sm Lori Calabrese reports that Saturday (October 3rd) is Make it Matter Day. She says: "Reader's Digest, Reading Is Fundamental, and other organizations are partnering to bring learning to life for Reader's Digest's National Make It Matter Day, this Saturday (October 3rd). Members of local communities as well as local and national organizations will rally behind literacy and education in over 100 events at select schools, Boys & Girls Clubs, YMCAs, and libraries across the U.S." She also offers concrete suggestions for participating.

What-book-2 Today is the last day to vote in First Book's What Book Got You Hooked? campaign. The First Book blog says: "Don’t forget to cast your vote for the book that got you hooked and the state to receive 50,000 new books. Voting is open through 12:00 am midnight ET TONIGHT, September 30!"

Quick hits:

  • At Semicolon, Sherry Early vents about the "torn between two lovers device" in literature and film. Now me, I find this compelling, when done well. But I still enjoyed Sherry's post.  
  • By way of followup to last week's What A Girl Wants column, which lamented the way that socioeconomic woes are often ignored in children's and young adult fiction, Colleen Mondor discusses two recent books that do take economic struggles into account (Operation Yes by Sara Lewis Holmes and Heart of a Shepherd by Rosanne Parry, two books that I loved. See also Sara's YES interview with Rosanne.)
  • Greg Pincus shares 10 Facebook Status Update Ideas at The Happy Accident. I also liked Greg's earlier post about 10 Golden Rules for Engaging Via Social Media, created with Mark Blevis.
  • Ann has an interesting post about picture book end papers at Booklights today. See also Terry's post from yesterday about celebrating culture with books, in honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month. I'm also somewhat attached to Gina's Show and Tale selection for this week: Harriet the Spy.
  • Mary Pearson writes at Tor about the unsung hero of literature: setting.
  • Becky from Becky's Book Reviews explains her reading challenge addiction.
  • Sarah shares "hot books" from her middle school classroom at The Reading Zone. Sarah also shared a lovely success story recently, about creating a lifelong reader.
  • Susan Taylor Brown is seeking your favorite unsung kidlit blogs by authors and illustrators for a top-secret project.
  • At Roots in Myth, PJ Hoover suggests that parent-son book clubs would help engage more boys in reading. There are many, many interested and supportive comments on this subject.
  • Speaking of boys and reading, Lori Calabrese highlights Gotcha for Guys: nonfiction books to get boys excited about reading.
  • Kudos to DaughterReader (and proud MotherReader) for her recent National Book Festival success doing a dramatic reading with Mo Willems.
  • Kate Coombs (Book Aunt) writes about her observation that story books (one step up from picture books, including fairy tales, written to be read to slightly older kids) are losing ground fast.
  • I was traveling and didn't have a chance to participate, but Sunday's 7 Kicks from the 7-Imps featured one of my favorite characters, Andrea Beaty's Ted (of Doctor Ted fame, now reinvented as Fireman Ted).
  • Liz B has the scoop on the Simon & Schuster Blogfest 2009 at Tea Cozy. Liz also had a post over that weekend about whether or not it should be viewed as negative to want to understand how something like the Book Blogger Appreciation Week awards worked. There is a LOT of discussion about transparency in the comments.
  • Speaking of transparency, the Readergirlz Divas recently shared an explanation of how they choose the books that they feature each month.
  • At Shelf Elf, Kerry Millar has a post highlighting three authors who she thinks are also great bloggers (including the reasons why). I certainly agree with her choices.
  • Justine Larbalestier has a bit of a rant on the current obsession with dwelling on an author's age (as in, "isn't it amazing that he wrote this book by the age of ... whatever").

Whew! That's it for today. Later this week I'll be working on literacy news and reviews. And, of course, following the Cybils nominations. And preparing for KidLitCon. And ... wouldn't it be nice to have time to read books sometime? Thanks for reading!

Nominations for the Cybils Open Tomorrow!

Cybils2009-150pxCybils nominations open first thing tomorrow morning (October 1st), and run through October 15th. This year, we're launching a snazzy new nomination form, courtesy of the hard-working and talented Sheila Ruth. You can find some additional details here, though the form itself won't be unveiled until tomorrow.

But do start thinking about your favorite titles to nominate. We're looking for the books that you think are wonderful. Books that are well-written and kid-friendly. Books that deserve accolades. Books that you've been jumping up and down talking about, and that you want to hand to every kid you know. Each person will be able to nominate one book per category (though you don't have to nominate in all categories, of course). The nine categories are:

  • Easy Readers and Short Chapter Books
  • Fantasy and Science Fiction
  • Fiction Picture Books
  • Graphic Novels
  • Middle Grade Fiction
  • Nonfiction Picture Books
  • Nonfiction for Middle Grade and Teens
  • Poetry
  • Young Adult Fiction

For Fantasy/Science Fiction and Graphic Novels you will be able to nominate a middle/elementary book OR a teen book but not both. Each book will only need one nomination to be included. (This is not a popularity contest, as I discussed here). If your title has already been nominated, you'll have a chance to pick another. Books first published between October 16, 2008 and October 15, 2009 are eligible for this year's contest. More details will be on the Cybils blog tomorrow.  

In the meantime, Sarah Stevenson and Anne Levy are continuing to roll out category organizer profiles (Kerry, Pam) and lists of our wonderful panelists (Poetry, Graphic Novels, Science Fiction and Fantasy, MG/YA Nonfiction, Fiction Picture Books). More to come. Stay tuned! These are going to be exciting weeks for Cybils fans.

Growing Bookworms Newsletter: September 29

Jpg_book007Tonight I will be sending out the new issue of the Growing Bookworms 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. It is sent out once every two weeks (if you are getting daily Feedblitz updates, you might prefer to sign up for the Growing Bookworms newsletter instead, and only receive one email every two weeks). There are currently 921 subscribers to the newsletter. 

Newsletter Update: In this issue, I have two book reviews, and two posts about books previously reviewed that are now available. I also have three posts with Kidlitosphere news, and two children's literacy round-ups (one here and one at The Reading Tub). Not included in the newsletter, I have:

  • A post about popularity in book blogging and book awards (with an explanation of how the Cybils work).
  • An announcement and call for questions regarding a panel session that I'm hosting at the upcoming Kidlitosphere conference.
  • An announcement about a new widget that Terry Doherty has put together so that she and I can share news tidbits between our literacy roundups.

Reading Update: In the past two weeks, I read two middle grade, one young adult, and three adult titles. I expect to have reviews for these soon, unless otherwise noted.

  • Sara Lewis Holmes: Operation Yes. Arthur A. Levine Books. Completed September 20, 2009. My review.
  • P. J. Hoover: The Navel of the World (The Forgotten Worlds #2). CBAY Books. Completed September 26, 2009.
  • Maggie Stiefvater: Ballad: A Gathering of Faerie. Flux. Completed September 28, 2009.
  • Charlaine Harris: Dead to the World (Sookie Stackhouse #4). Ace Trade. Completed September 13, 2009 (on MP3). I'm not reviewing the individual books in this supernatural mystery series, but I continue to like them (obviously, or I wouldn't keep listening).
  • Chris Brogan and Julien Smith: Trust Agents. Wiley. Completed September 18, 2009. This is a nonfiction title (recommended by Greg Pincus), about "using the web to build influence, improve reputation, and earn trust". I enjoyed it, and got some good ideas from it.
  • Kim and Jason Kotecki: There's An Adult in My Soup. JBird, Inc. Completed September 29, 2009.

How about you? What have you been reading and enjoying? Thanks for reading, and for growing bookworms!

"Between the Roundups" News Widget

Jpg_book008 Earlier this month, Terry Doherty and I announced some changes to the way that we were going to do the weekly children's literacy and reading news roundups. This was in response to the fact that the roundups were getting bigger and bigger every week. While we've been thrilled that there's so much news to report, we were concerned with a) the roundups getting too large and b) getting the news out in a more timely manner.

As part of revamping the roundups, Terry took on a project to find a better way to share some of the links that we find. And she's been hugely successful - I am VERY lucky to have her as a partner in these literacy roundups, that's for sure. What she's done (thanks to some very helpful advice from Andrea Ross) is set up Del.ic.ious accounts that we're both using to share news in four different categories: raising readers, literacy news, 21st century literacies, and events.

Today, she also set up a great new widget using WidgetBox, with which you can, if you like, display these news links on your own blog. You can see the widget in my right-hand sidebar, near the top. You can switch between the four tabs, to keep the one you like best on top. If you click on "Get Widget" you can install it on your own blog. If you create a (free) account on WidgetBox, you can change the width of the widget, to match your blog's setup.

Terry has more details about this widget, and some other widgets that she's experimenting with, at Scrub-a-Dub-Tub. As for me, I'm going to be working on sharing more children's literacy links on Del.ic.ious and Twitter. We welcome your feedback!

Children's Literacy Round-Up: September 28

Terry_readingtubfinal_1 This week’s children’s literacy and reading news round-up, brought to you by Jen Robinson’s Book Page and Scrub-a-Dub-Tub, a Reading Tub blog, is now available at the Reading Tub. This week Terry Doherty and I (mostly Terry, this time around) have collected plenty of content for you about literacy & reading-related events; literacy and reading programs and research; 21st century literacies; and grants, sponsorships & donations.

The events section covers Banned Book Week, the upcoming Teen Read Week, and the National Book Festival (particularly "the unveiling of The Exquisite Corpse Adventure. Every two weeks, authors and illustrators  will release new episodes in this year-long saga".) Terry also has a lovely, separate post in honor of Banned Book Week, or, as she likes to say, Celebrate Reading Week

Booklights As for me, I have a new post up today at Booklights about my Five Favorite Fictional Towns from Children's Literature. Can you guess what they are? After a long weekend away, I look forward to catching back up on the other blogs soon. Wishing you all a great week!

Pastworld: Ian Beck

Book: Pastworld 
Author: Ian Beck 
Pages: 320 
Age Range: 14 and up 

PastworldIan Beck's Pastworld is a young adult title that is a bit difficult to categorize. The setting is a mix of past and future. The genre a mix of mystery/thriller and speculative science fiction. But I found the premise irresistible.

Pastworld is a theme park version of Victorian London. It's a fully restored, historically accurate (mostly) version of the city. Some people live there full-time, while others visit as tourists from 21st century society (they are called Gawkers). Everyone currently in Pastworld is required to dress with historical accuracy (no cell phones, no plastic, etc.). They are also subject to the laws in place during Victorian England. A murderer can be hanged, a thief can have a hand cut off, etc. This is no sanitized version of history - there are pickpockets and beggars, horse droppings and moldy cheeses. And executions.

The story in Pastworld is told primarily through the viewpoints of three teenagers and one adult. Eve is a beautiful, talented girl who has lived her whole live in Pastworld, and doesn't even know that the 21st century world exists. Bible J is a resident pickpocket with a surprisingly tender heart. Caleb is a first-time visitor from the 21st century, the sheltered son of one of the founders of Pastworld. Chief Inspector Catchpole is a representative of Scotland Yard, dividing his time between the outside world and Pastworld, taxed with solving a crime. Their four stories intersect as the book progresses. A mysterious villain is also featured, though his background is far less clear.

Pastworld is quite moody and atmospheric. It reminded me of Resurrection Men, by T. K. Welsh, and a bit of The Doomsday Book by Connie Willis. It's an interesting mix of past and future (as conveyed by the cover, with an airship above a Victorian-looking street). The premise is unique and compelling, and the story suspenseful. I must admit, however, that I found the narrative structure a bit confusing to read at first - beyond "this is a mystery, and I'm trying to figure out what happened" into "who are these characters and what are they doing?" territory. This resolved about mid-way through the book for me, however, and I stayed up late to finish. (And, of course, I'm reviewing from the advance copy, so there could be changes in the final book.)

Beck's descriptive power stands out throughout the book. Scenes are conveyed through sights, sounds, smells, and the emotions of the viewer. Here are a couple of examples:

"Few sounds were to be heart at that early hour, only the drone of the airship's engines and the mournful moans of the foghorns, which seemed almost to be searching for one another, somewhere along the silvered and twisted ribbon of river. Further away in the distance, from the deep, slumbering darkness at the centre of the city, could be heard the faint tolling of a single church bell.

There was little human movement." (Page 1, ARC)

"In the evening we had a cold supper of sliced mutton, pickles and bread. We ate in silence. Our cutlery clattered on the plate. Jack breathed heavily not looking at me.

Since that day Jack has remained in a watchful and preoccupied state." (Page 20, ARC. The tone is different from above, because this quote is from a journal excerpt, by Eve)

"The streets and buildings stretched from one side of the window to the other. Horse-drawn carriages could be seen, crowded pavements, the great dull curve of the river, green squares and parks, and white church spires, grey roofs and dark red railway trains trailing billows of steam. Even Caleb gasped. He hadn't wanted to give his father the satisfaction of seeing how interested he really was in the city below them, didn't want him to see that a great flicker of excitement had just at that moment grown, doubled, trebled, as the airship slipped gracefully through the gloomy fog bank and floated over the dreamlike city itself." (Page 68, ARC)

In part because of the structural complexity of the book, and in part because of the British setting, Pastworld had more the feel to me of an adult mystery than a young adult title. There is also some pretty grim content, presented in a matter-of-fact manner (murders and dismemberment). I think that Pastworld will intrigue older teens and adults, but I don't think I'd try it with middle schoolers. I would recommend it for anyone who likes dark, moody stories, historical fiction, and/or books that cross the line between past and future.

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's Books
Publication Date: September 29, 2009
Source of Book: Advanced review copy from the publisher. Quotes are from the advance copy, and should be checked against the final, printed book
Other Blog Reviews: Kiss the Book
Author Interviews: Living in a Picture Book

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

KidLitCon '09 Panel: Coming Together, Reaching Out, Giving Back

KidLitCon-badge I'm pleased to announce the panel that I'm organizing for the Third Annual Kidlitosphere Conference (aka KidLitCon '09). The topic is: Coming Together, Reaching Out, Giving Back: Building Community, Literacy and the Reading Message. Panelists will include:

Here in the Kidlitosphere, we blog because we love books, and because we want to share that love and inspire the joy of reading in families, kids, and teens. In this panel, Ernestine, Gina, Pam, Terry, and I will be talking about some of the many ways that people from within the Kidlitosphere have banded together to connect with the larger community and spread the joy of reading. Specific initiatives discussed will include:

We'll be introducing these efforts briefly, to bring them to the attention of those unfamiliar with them, and then will talk about ways that we can expand our efforts, to reach more parents, teacher, librarians, and authors - the people on the front lines connecting kids with books. I have some questions in mind for the other panelists already. I would love include your questions, too (whether you are planning to attend the conference or not). You can leave them in the comments, or email me directly. 

I am really looking forward to the conference, and to working with this amazing panel. I welcome your feedback. I'll see y'all at KidLitCon!

Wednesday Afternoon Visits: September 23

There is way too much going on around the Kidlitosphere for me to wait until the end of the week to share the news. Here are a few highlights:

Newlogorg200 Readergirlz announced their latest initiative for Teen Read Week: Read Beyond Reality. Here's a snippet: "Teen Read Week, a week-long celebration of literacy, is scheduled for Oct. 18-24, 2009, and will include live chats with top teen authors on, the most popular online reading community for teen girls... In support of this tremendous literary initiative, the readergirlz divas will host nine young-adult authors—eight of whom are nominees for the Teens’ Top Ten—throughout Teen Read Week." You can read the full press release here. There's also a downloadable post here, and a trailer here.

Betsy Bird at A Fuse #8 Production reports on the new and improved Guys Read website from National Ambassador for Young People's Literature Jon Scieszka. She says: "I'm talking new look, new blog, cool recommendations, and funny funny funny." Books are in categories like "how to build stuff" and "robots". 

Cybils2009-150pxThe Cybils blog remained active this week. On Monday, deputy editor Sarah Stevenson posted the latest Cybils organizer profile, this one featuring Susan Thomsen from Chicken Spaghetti, this year's MG/YA Nonfiction category administrator. Then today she posted the profile for our Easy Reader panel organizer, Anastasia Suen. The other big Cybils news is that we've started announcing panelists for the categories. Here, you'll find the list of panelists (for both rounds) for the Easy Reader and Short Chapter Books category. Our other amazing panels will be announced soon!

At Chasing Ray, Colleen Mondor has a new installment of her What A Girl Wants Series, in which she engages in discussion with a variety of young adult authors. This installment's theme is "because we are not all rich girls". Colleen says: "The great swath of the American public however have actual jobs - blue collar or white collar they simply go to work to get a paycheck. In teen literature this is often not part of the equation and it left me wondering what that means to so many kids who can not ignore the money or how they live because of it." A number of authors share smart, insightful responses.  

KidLitCon-badgeMotherReader announced the charity that will benefit from this year's KidLitCon raffle. She says: "This year I’ve turned to Donors Choose for our charity, and specifically to impoverished Washington, DC, schools. At this point I’ve selected two proposals to fund. I picked Literacy is Fun-damental because they need Spanish language books, which are hard to pick up at a discount or at a local book sale, and because the picture of the kids is soooo cute. I picked It All Starts With Reading! because they need titles for teens, and the picture of the empty bookcase is soooo sad." She's also accepting prize donations for the raffle, if anyone is interested. You can also see the updated list of people scheduled to attend, at the bottom of this post.

Nancy_Silhouette Angie from Angieville, one of my book selection kindred spirits, has a post up today about her favorite mystery series (something that I tackled last month). Of the seven she listed, I adore five of them (some were on my list, and some weren't, but I love them all). A sixth is a second series by an author I'm currently working my way through, so I'm delighted to hear that the other series holds up, too. And the seventh, well, clearly I'll have to check that one out. Because if Angie's taste matches this well with mine, how could I possibly not want to read that one, too. Click through to see her choices. (And don't you love the image, which I borrowed from Angie's post?)

At Moms Inspire Learning, Dawn Morris has a two-part interview with Terry Doherty from The Reading Tub. (Terry is, as regular readers know, my partner in the weekly children's literacy roundups). The interview is Dawn's launch of a new "Moms Inspire Moms" series. She talks with Terry about how and why Terry started The Reading Tub (a nonprofit designed to "make it easy for families to create a positive reading environment at home, find great books ... and make it accessible to EVERYONE!"), as well as Terry's personal experience in raising her daughter, Catherine, to be a reader. Then (in an echo of the paired interviews that were my favorite part of last week's Book Blogger Appreciation Week), Terry interviews Dawn about Moms Inspire Learning ("Simple Resources and Strategies to Inspire Lifelong Learning, Reading, and Leading"). Dawn shares tips for teaching kids to read, and also talks about inspiring kids to write. She even has a Read Aloud Recipe for a Garden of Reading. Very nice!

Quick hits:

  • Natasha from Maw Books has a very fun post about how she manages to blog with two small children in her house. It's a visual - click through to see. I also really liked her BBAW wrap-up post, in which she spotlighted several blogs that she learned about through the whole event.
  • The Brown Bookshelf is looking for submissions for their flagship 28 Days Later event. Their blog says: "We are looking for submissions of African American children’s authors who are flying under the radar of teachers, librarians, parents and anyone who considers themselves a gatekeeper to a child’s reading choices."
  • As reported by Lauren Barack in School Library Journal's Extra Helping, Thursday (the 24th) is National Punctuation Day.
  • Friday is the deadline to submit entries for the September Carnival of Children's Literature. Susan Taylor Brown is hosting, and asks for your favorite post of the month.
  • Elaine Magliaro shares a list of fall-themed picture books and poetry at Wild Rose Reader.
  • This week's Nonfiction Monday roundup was at Bookends. Also not to be missed, at Tea Cozy Liz B. shares a thank you post in honor of Nonfiction Monday creator Anastasia Suen.
  • I don't usually highlight author interviews, but I did especially enjoy Sherrie Petersen's recent interview of fellow Kidlitosphere member, and Any Which Wall author, Laurel Snyder.
  • This seems to be my week for highlighting interviews, because I was also pleased to see author Justine Larbalestier interview blogger Doret from TheHappyNappyBookseller (about young adult fiction featuring girls playing sports, complete with recommendations).
  • Karen at Teenage Fiction for All Ages reported earlier this week that the shortlists for the Booktrust Teenage Prize have been selected. Would you imagine? The Graveyard Book is on the list. Winners will be announced November 18th. Tasha Saecker also has the shortlist, with cover images.
  • Persnickety Snark is hosting an international celebration of young adult book bloggers. Link via Leila from Bookshelves of Doom.
  • Kidliterate has launched a new feature called Old Release Tuesdays, with videos highlighting older titles that Melissa and Sarah enjoy selling. I think it's a nice idea! 
  • Laurie Halse Anderson has an important post, written in response to recent attempts to remove two of her books (Speak and Twisted) from high school classrooms. I especially liked this part: "I used to get really angry at these things because I felt they were a personal attack on me. Then I grew up. Now I get angry because book banning is bad for my country. It is an attack on the Constitution and about the core ideals of America. It is the tool of people who want to control and manipulate our children."
  • Speaking of book challenges, Leila has an update to the recent Ellen Hopkins book challenge (which I mentioned last week), at Bookshelves of Doom.
  • And Donalyn Miller, the Book Whisperer, has some suggestions in honor of Banned Book Week, too. She recaps several recent challenges, and offers criteria for teachers "to prevent book challenges and parent complaints before they occur".

And that's it for today. I do have lots of reviews that I've starred in my reader, but I'm not sure when I'll have time for a "reviews that made me want the book" feature. Soon, I hope. Happy reading!

Books Now Available: Candor

CandorLast month, I reviewed Candor by Pam Bachorz. I said:

"Candor, by Pam Bachorz, is an example of my favorite genre, dystopian young adult fiction. It's a book that will make readers think... Candor is a fast-paced, first-person novel. It's thought-provoking, atmospheric, and more than a bit scary, with flashes of dry humor."

I think that Candor is going to be a hit. It is scheduled for publication today, and is a don't-miss for dystopia fans.

Updated to add: just learned from the comments (thank you MotherReader) that Pam Pachorz will be at KidLitCon next month. How great is that?