Children's Literacy and Reading News Roundup: End of November Edition
Children's Literacy and Reading Roundup: Early December Edition

Growing Bookworms Newsletter: December 6

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 and young adult books and raising readers. There are 1318 subscribers. Currently I am sending the newsletter out once a month.

Newsletter Update: In this issue I have two book reviews (one for early elementary school readers, and one for later elementary/middle school readers), along with two children's literacy roundups (one here, one posted in detail at Rasco from RIF, and one at The Reading Tub). I also have three posts that were originally published at PBS Parents Booklights blog, one on my favorite picture books, one on my favorite chapter books, and one about not letting a focus on reading levels take the fun out of reading for kids. The last of these posts has quite a bit of discussion in the comments. Finally, I have a very short post with some Kidlitosphere news.

Not included in the newsletter this week, I also shared a post about a funding issue facing RIF, Reach Out and Read, and other nonprofits, as well as an announcement about the November Carnival of Children's Literature.

Reading Update: Since the last newsletter, I finished:

  • Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm: Babymouse: Cupcake Tycoon. Random House. Completed November 8, 2010. My review.
  • Zilpha Keatley Snyder: The Velvet Room. Back in Print. Completed November 14, 2010, read aloud to Baby Bookworm. This is one of my all-time favorite books, and held up very well as a read-aloud. Reviewed here and here.
  • Alexander Key: Escape to Witch Mountain. Completed November 15, 2010, on MP3. Nice to revisit the book from which came the classic 1970s movie. The stories are actually quite different, and I really enjoyed listening to this book. This book was reissued as a paperback by Sourcebooks last year, and is now available on audio, too. This makes me, a longtime Alexander Key fan, very happy.
  • Elizabeth Enright: Gone-Away Lake. Sandpiper. Completed November 18, 2010, on MP3. I've never reviewed this, but I adore all of Enright's books. My favorite of hers is Return to Gone-Away, which I also just picked up from Audible.
  • Madeleine L'Engle: Meet the Austins. Completed November 30, on MP3. As you can see, I was on a nostalgia kick. I enjoyed this one, which I hadn't read in a long time, though I thought that the anti-muffins chapter skated perilously close to being preachy. But I love the characters, especially Rob. And I love the grandfather's home in a former stable.
  • Rick Riordan: The Heroes of Olympus, Book 1: The Lost Hero. Hyperion. Completed December 6, on MP3. I just finished this one, and liked it a lot. Fans of the Percy Jackson series won't want to miss it. It has the same trademark blend of Greek mythology and modern middle school humor that I loved from the earlier series. And fans will be glad to know that several of the original characters make an appearance, though the primary focus in on three new teen heroes.
  • Harlan Coben: Play Dead. Signet. Completed November 11, 2010. I found this standalone novel a decent trip book, but a bit predictable.
  • Robert Crais: The First Rule (A Joe Pike Novel). Putnam. Completed November 12, 2010, on MP3. This one I really enjoyed. I like these spin-offs from the Elvis Cole series even more than the original books. The best part of this one is the interaction between tough guy Pike and a 10-month-old baby. A great mix of suspense, action, and dry humor.

I also got about half-way through Kathy Reich's first YA novel, Virals, before abandoning it. I wanted to like this book, about the teenage niece of Reich's series character Temperance Brennan, but I just couldn't get through it. I found the scientific background, delivered in a series of mini-lectures from one kid to the others, condescending. An explanation of exactly what a fingerprint is finally sent me over the edge. I haven't read any of Reich's adult novels recently, so I don't know if this is typical, or an adaptation for the YA market. If I had been reading instead of listening, I could have skimmed over this material, but it didn't work for me on MP3.

Penderwicks I'm still reading The Complete Tales of Winnie the Pooh to Baby Bookworm. I'm on the last chapter of The House at Pooh Corner, and doling the rest out in small chunks, because I don't want it to end. We're about halfway through the first Penderwicks book by Jeanne Birdsall. So so so wonderful! For baby books, her favorite right now is the board book edition of The Very Hungry Caterpillar, but I think that's because it's the right thickness for chewing. (Ironic, no? Chewing her way through that one?)

How about you? What have you been reading and enjoying? Thanks for reading the newsletter, and for growing bookworms.

© 2010 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. All Amazon links in this post are affiliate links, and may result in my receiving a small commission on purchases (with no additional cost to you).