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Posts from January 2011

Book Awards and a Giveaway for Homeschoolers

I have three things to share with you today, one better-known that the others.

In case you've somehow managed to miss the news, the ALA Youth Media Awards (Newbery, Caldecott, etc.) were announced today. You can find the full details here. The Newbery went to Moon over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool, the Printz to Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi, and the Caldecott to A Sick Day for Amos McGee, illustrated by Erin E. Stead and written by Philip C. Stead.

I'd like to offer particular congratulations to these kidlitosphere friends:

In other book award news, the Sydney Taylor Book Awards were also announced today. From the release:

Sparks "Howard Schwartz and Kristina Swarner, author and illustrator of Gathering Sparks, Barry Deutsch, author and illustrator of Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword, and Dana Reinhardt, author of The Things a Brother Knows are the 2011 winners of the prestigious Sydney Taylor Book Award.
The Sydney Taylor Book Award honors new books for children and teens that exemplify the highest literary standards while authentically portraying the Jewish experience. The award memorializes Sydney Taylor, author of the classic All-of-a-Kind Family series. The winners will receive their awards at the Association of Jewish Libraries convention in Montreal this June."

Congratulations to the honorees of the ALA and Sydney Taylor book awards!!

Mares In other news today, Mare's War author and friend Tanita Davis is kicking off a new teacher's unit for homeschooler's with a 1/11/11 giveaway for homeschooling families. You can find details here. (And isn't the new paperback cover striking?)

Series Books Featuring Adventurous Girls: A Booklights Reissue

This list was originally published at Booklights on July 13 and July 20, 2009, in response to a request for book suggestions for series titles featuring adventurous girls. I kept the original list fairly well focused on a few spunky, middle grade, female protagonists. However lots of others were suggested in the comments of the original post, and so I did an add-on list. This post combined the two lists into one.

Series Books Featuring Adventurous Girls

A commenter on my personal blog asked an interesting question the other day about book recommendations for girls. Susan wrote:

"My friend and I each have a son and daughter in the 3rd to 5th grade range. We were talking about what the kids were currently reading. In the course of our conversation, we both agreed it was much harder to find books that our girls were interested in than our boys. Given that I often read about the reverse here and on other kidlit blogs, I thought I'd mention it.

There are some great series that are more geared for boys like The Ranger's Apprentice, The Overland Chronicles and even the Percy Jackson books. While many girls enjoy these books, they have more of a boy bent to them to me. The series books for girls are about fairies or horses or mean girl behavior. In terms of currently popular series books, you've got those subjects or the Clementine/Ramona/Junie B. Jones genre which our daughters loved but have outgrown.

Where are the adventure series with the female main character that have our daughters eagerly anticipating the next book being published? There are lots of good single books, but I find that my kids dig into the series more. I haven't run across a great series that appeals more to my daughter than my son yet."

I responded briefly to Susan last week, but I thought that this might be a topic that other parents would find interesting, so I have expanded on my response here at Booklights. I think that the proliferation of adventure series with boy protagonists happens because of a common perception that boys won't read about girl heroines, but girls will read about boys. This was mentioned in a recent post by Mr. ChompChomp at Guys Lit Wire. He said: "I read somewhere that the reason Disney makes so many more "boy" movies than "girl" movies is that girls will go to see boy movies but boys won't go to see girl movies. "We don't like it. That's just the way it is," Disney executives say. But if you look at the girl movies that they make, it's no wonder guys aren't interested. They are nearly all about princesses."

I do think it's a bit of an unfortunate situation, for girls and boys, resulting in fewer adventures with girl protagonists, and kids of both genders potentially missing out on great books. I also think that this viewpoint is probably why there seem to be more adventure series out there centered around male protagonists.

Fortunately, I have several ongoing series to suggest that feature girls as the hero. In all cases, I've read at least the first book or two. They are listed roughly in age order, from books for elementary schoolers up to books that I think will also work for girls in middle school. [Ed. note: As this list was originally generated for PBS, I did not include young adult recommendations. But there are some great titles for adventurous high schoolers, too, like the Scarlett Wakefield series by Lauren Henderson]

gilda_joyce_cover.jpgThe Gilda Joyce series, by Jennifer Allison, about a young girl who is a "psychic investigator". These are very fun, and set in a more modern setting. Gilda is fun, smart, and a bit wacky. There are four books out, and hopefully more on the way (I wasn't able to confirm that). The first book is Gilda Joyce, Psychic Investigator (reviewed here). [Update: Book 5 is due out in June of 2011]

THEO_crop.jpgThe Theodosia series by R. L. LaFevers, featuring Theodosia Throckmorton, Egyptologist and adventurer. These are historical / supernatural mysteries, featuring a smart Victorian girl who runs rings around her distracted parents. There are 2 books out, and a third on the way. The first book is Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos (reviewed here). [Update: Book 4 is due out in April of 2011]

enola_holmes1.jpgThe Enola Holmes series by Nancy Springer, featuring Sherlock Holmes' younger sister. Enola runs away and starts her own detective agency, and is more than a match for her smug older brother. There are five books currently available in this series, and I would imagine that more are on the way here. The first book is The Case of the Missing Marquess (reviewed here). [Update: Book 6 was apparently the final book in the series]

Blackbringer pb cover sm.jpgLaini Taylor's Dreamdark series, about Magpie Windwitch, the strongest and feistiest of fairies. Currently the first book, Blackbringer, is available in paperback, with the sequel, Silksinger, due out in September. Others are planned for this series. Don't let the books being about fairies fool you - these are excellent books for strong middle grade and middle school girls.

suddenlysuper.jpgElizabeth Cody Kimmel's Suddenly Supernatural series, featuring a middle school girl who discovers that she has psychic powers. Despite the supernatural aspects, these books also feature realistic tween friendship dynamics. There are currently 3 books available. The first book is Suddenly Supernatural: School Spirit (reviewed here). [Update: Book 4 was released in May 2010]

kiki.jpgKristen Miller's Kiki Strike books, about a team of tween girls who fight crime in New York City. These books are clever and quirky, with interesting settings (including a city below NYC). There are currently two books available, and I'm hoping for a third. The first book is Kiki Strike: Inside the Shadow City (reviewed here).

[Here are the add-on titles, after suggestions from commenters on the first post]

sistersgrimm.jpgMichael Buckley's Sisters Grimm series was suggested by both Stephanie and Laura. I actually had this series on my mental list at one point, and then neglected to include it. I've only read the first two books (reviews here: The Fairy Tale Detectives and The Unusual Suspects), but there are seven books available. [Update: now 8 titles] This is an excellent series for elementary school readers. It features two sisters who find themselves in the family business of investigating criminal behavior among the EverAfters (fairy tale characters living real lives in a particular town). The irrepressible Puck was my favorite character from the first book, The Fairy Tale Detectives. They're lovely hardcovers, too, excellent gift books.

YoungWizards.jpgDiane Duane's Young Wizards series (currently at eight books, with a ninth expected in 2010), was recommended by Deva Fagan. This series actually has two primary protagonists, a boy and a girl who are wizard partners in a society that lies hidden within our own. The presence of a very strong younger sister character makes this series definitely qualify for inclusion. Nita, Dairine, and Kit are all among my favorite characters. This is a series in which the magic is relatively mathematical, and in which real-life family dynamics play a strong part, too. As with many series, the books do get a bit darker as the series progresses, with the later books more suited to middle school and up than elementary school. The only one that I've reviewed is the most recent, Wizards at War, because I read the other books before starting my blog. (And, in fact, this series is one that kept me reading YA as an adult, even when I wasn't blogging.) The first book is So You Want to Be a Wizard, in which Nita discovers a wizard's manual, and is partnered with Kit.

200px-Sandry's_book.jpgDeva and My Boaz's Ruth also both recommended Tamora Pierce's books (specifically, the Protector of the Small and the Circle of Magic series). I hadn't included Pierce because I think of her books more as straight-up YA, but Deva and Ruth both remind me that these series start with the characters around 10 or so. The only Pierce title that I've reviewed is Wild Magic (#1 in the Immortals Quartet). But I have read the first Circle of Magic book, Sandry's Book. The first book in the Protector of the Small series is First Test. Tamora Pierce is known for writing about strong female characters, and her books are huge hits with teen readers. I personally tend more towards fantasy that is set in and around our modern world, rather than your knights and castles sort of fantasy, which is why I haven't read more of these. But I have read enough to feel quite comfortable recommending these books.

My Boaz's Ruth also mentioned several older titles that feature strong girls (Trixie Belden, etc.). This reminded me of a list that I created on my blog in 2006, 200 Cool Girls of Children's Literature. I started with a list of a few girls from children's literature who I thought were smart, brave, strong, and independent. With the help of many, many reader suggestions, I eventually collected a list of more than 200 cool girls. I later added a Cool Boys list, now at about 175 or so. Mary Lee and Franki from A Year of Reading were inspired to create their own list, of 100 Cool Teachers of Children's Literature, which is delightful. And TheBookDragon collects "Great and/or Infamous Librarians in Children's and YA Literature" in her sidebar. One day, I'll find time to update the Cool Girl and Boy lists with my discoveries from the past three years. Meanwhile, I thought that I would share the links here, in case any of you find them useful.

Once they are ready for young adult books, there are tons of series featuring female protagonists, including Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games series and Ally Carter's Gallagher Girls spy series [and Kristin Cashore's Graceling books, though those are only loosely a series]. And there are other series books for younger girls that are wonderful, though not "adventures". For example, The Penderwicks books by Jeanne Birdsall and the Casson family books by Hilary McKay.

Readers, can you suggest any other series with adventurous female main characters that will have middle grade girls "eagerly anticipating the next book being published"? And if you're interested in the issue of gendered readers' advisory in general, check out Lisa Chellman's recent post on this subject.

This post was originally published at Booklights on July 13, 2009 and July 20, 2009. Since Booklights has ended, I am republishing selected posts here, at Jen Robinson's Book Page, with permission from PBS Parents. Booklights was funded by the PBS Kids Raising Readers initiative. All rights reserved.

Two Quick Kidlitosphere Tidbits

Just a couple of quick updates from the Kidlitosphere:

First up, MotherReader and Lee Wind are once again hosting the Comment Challenge. Pam explains that January is "the perfect time of year to make a new resolution to connect more with your fellow bloggers. Since it is said that it takes twenty-one days to form a new habit, we’re going to run the Comment Challenge for the next three weeks — starting Thursday, January 6, and running through Wednesday, January 26, 2011. The goal is to comment on at least five book blogs a day. Keep track of your numbers, and report in on Wednesdays with Lee. We’ll tell each other how we’re doing and keep each other fired up. On Wednesday, January 26, I’ll post the final check-in post for the Comment Challenge. A prize package will be involved".

Also, Colleen Mondor just announced a new survey for past and future KidLitCon participants (survey developed by the multi-talented Sarah Stevenson). If you've ever attended KidLitCon, or you've thought about attending, or you might attend if only x,y,z change was made to the planning, please take a few minutes to share your thoughts with this year's organizers.

Things like the comment challenge and Kidlitcon are what make the Kidlitosphere a real community, instead of just a random collection of self-referential blogs. I hope that some of you will decide to participate in these events.

Wishing everyone a book-filled/comment-filled/fun-filled weekend!

A Bedtime for Bear: Bonny Becker

Book: A Bedtime for Bear (Bear and Mouse)
Author: Bonny Becker
Illustrator: Kady MacDonald Denton
Pages: 48
Age Range: 4-8

Bear One of my favorite titles from 2008 was A Visitor for Bear, by Bonny Becker and Kady MacDonald Denton. I loved it because it was so perfect for reading aloud. I was therefore very happy when I learned that Bear (a bit grumpy) and Mouse (small and gray and bright-eyed) were back with a new picture book, A Bedtime for Bear. (There was an early reader in between, but I haven't read that one.) I'm even more happy to report that A Bedtime for Bear lives up to the read-aloud-ability of the first book.

As A Bedtime for Bear begins, Bear, who is still rather set in his ways, is gearing up for a nice, quiet bedtime (with emphasis on quiet). He's a bit surprised when Mouse shows up for a sleepover. Friction ensues when Mouse, even though he's quiet as a .... well, you know, is not quite quiet enough for Bear. But when Bear hears a potentially scary sound, it's Mouse who saves the day.

What I love about this book is that Mouse totally gets Bear, and responds to his grumpiness with unceasing courtesy and understanding. And Bear, while perhaps not quite so clever, does know that his life is happier with Mouse in it. Their relationship rivals the classic friendships of literature (right up there with George and Martha, and Frog and Toad).

And, like A Visitor for Bear, A Bedtime for Bear is pure fun to read aloud. I could quote any page to show you. Here's the first:

"One evening, Bear heard a tap, tap, tapping on his front door."

Or this:

"Bristle, bristle, bristle. Bear heard a noise. It was Mouse, brushing his teeth.
"Ahem!" Bear cleared his throat in a reminding sort of way.
"Mouse sorry," said Mouse."

Then there's the enlarged, bold text when Bear loses his temper. ("Will this torment never cease!" wailed Bear.) Great fun!

Kady MacDonald Denton's softly-colored, detailed illustrations are perfect for a bedtime book. The colors get a bit darker when things are momentarily scary, and then warm up again. Denton totally gets Bear and Mouse, too. The cover image says it all - a weary bear leaning over a perky, pajama-clad mouse. Oh, and I love that Mouse sets up a bed in Bear's nightstand drawer. Just like the mouse in Goodnight Gorilla (only cozier, with pillow and blanket).

A Bedtime for Bear is longer than the usual picture book, and you may find that it's too long for very young children. But for preschoolers old enough to laugh, understandingly, at Bear's tantrums, A Bedtime for Bear is a must-have title. This is one that I expect to keep forever. Highly recommended.

Publisher: Candlewick
Publication Date: September 14, 2010
Source of Book: I bought it for Baby Bookworm for Christmas

© 2011 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).

Growing Bookworms Newsletter: January 4

Jpg_book007Today 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 1337 subscribers. Currently I am sending the newsletter out once a month.

Newsletter Update: In this issue I have two book reviews (both picture books), along with two children's literacy roundups (one here, one posted in detail at The Reading Tub), and a retrospective post celebrating my blog's five year anniversary. I also have one post that was originally published at PBS Parents Booklights blog, about the power of "social reading", and an announcement about the Cybils shortlists.

Not included in the newsletter this week, I also shared an announcement about the December Carnival of Children's Literature.

Reading Update: Since the last newsletter, I am sad to admit that I only finished two books:

I did abandon a few other titles, mainly on audio. I'm not sure if I hit a bad stretch of books, or just was in a particularly difficult to please mood, so I'm not going to comment specifically on the books. But the situation is improving. I'm currently reading The Latte Rebellion by Sarah Jamila Stevenson, and listening to Frederica by Georgette Heyer.

Peach Baby Bookworm and I are nearly finished with the first Penderwicks book by Jeanne Birdsall. It's a great read-aloud. I'll most likely move on to The Penderwicks on Gardam Street next. For baby books, she's returned to an early favorite: Begin Smart Animal Faces. It still makes her smile every time she sees it. I'm enjoying Each Peach Pear Plum by Janet and Allan Ahlberg and Read-Aloud Rhymes for the Very Young by Jack Prelutsky (among various other picture books and board books).

My new year's resolutions include reading more myself and reading to Baby Bookworm every day. To the latter end, I've started a new left-hand sidebar list on my blog of books read to BB in 2011. I've found that keeping a detailed hand-coded html list, as I do with my own reads, is just too difficult to keep up. I'm going to see how the sidebar list works.

How about you? What have you been reading and enjoying? Thanks for reading the newsletter, and for growing bookworms. Wishing you all a very Happy New Year, and a book-filled 2011.

© 2011 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).

Quick, Slow, Mango!: Anik McGrory

Book: Quick, Slow, Mango!
Author/Illustrator: Anik McGrory
Pages: 32
Age Range: 4-8

Mango Quick, Slow, Mango!, written and illustrated by Anik McGrory, is one of my new favorite picture books. It is apparently a sequel to Kidogo, published in 2005. Kidogo (the Kiswahili word for little) is a young elephant who likes to take his time. He stops to smell the flowers, and say hello to butterflies and snails along the way. PolePole (which means slowly, slowly) is a young monkey who constantly races about. When the paths of the two young animals intersect in the pursuit of mangoes, they each see the advantages of a change in pace.

What keeps Quick, Slow, Mango! from feeling message-y is the strength of Kidogo and PolePole as characters. Kidogo in particular is three-dimensional. He's a kid enjoying life. He can't pass a hole without stopping to sit in it. He pretends to be a rock (I love the subtle humor of this). He splashes about in the water with joy. McGrory's illustrations of Kidogo show the elephant's emotions (and the author's affection for him) on every page.

PolePole offers more comic relief, struggling to catch as many mangoes as possible. She runs, and gets tangled up in her tail. She retains a smile, even as she is falling into the river. She is irrepressible, though capable of learning.

The pencil and watercolor illustrations in Quick, Slow, Mango! are luminous, with the orange and green colors of the mangoes repeating in the background. They're also action-filled and expressive. I challenge anyone to look at the sketch of Kidogo with a butterfly on his nose without laughing.

McGrory's illustrations are in fact so strong that the text feels almost unnecessary, existing mainly to round out the pictures, and add dialog and humor. Here's a snippet (the text from 3 pages):

"Slowly Kidogo waded into the cool water. He splashed and made waves. He sprayed at the sky. He took a deep drink.

He admired the mangoes floating past.

Meanwhile, high in the uppermost branches of her tree, PolePole dashed at the very last mango. It flew through the air. And so did PolePole."

The use of a few Kiswahili words is a nice touch, to add to the book's African feel.

I think that preschoolers will enjoy spending time with Kidogo and PolePole. I hope that the elephant and the money will have other adventures in future books.

Publisher: Bloomsbury
Publication Date: January 4, 2011
Source of Book: Review copy from the publisher

© 2011 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).

Little Fur Family: Margaret Wise Brown

Book: Little Fur Family
Author: Margaret Wise Brown
Illustrator: Garth Williams
Pages: 32
Age Range: 2-8

FurFamily The Little Fur Family (Deluxe Edition) was a gift to Baby Bookworm from a dear friend, with whom I've shared many books over the years. It's pretty much irresistible from the exterior alone. Little Fur Family comes in a cardboard box, because the book itself is covered with soft brown fur, and has nowhere to put a title. A cut-out in the box allows young readers to stroke the little fur child's fur stomach (as shown).

But soft fur coat aside, I love this book for the cadence. I've only read it to Baby Bookworm a few times, but I already have parts of it memorized. It begins:

"There was a little fur family
warm as toast
smaller than most
in little fur coats
and they lived in a warm wooden tree."

Then follows a day in the life of the little fur child, who goes out exploring in the wild wild wood where they live. Nothing much happens. He stops to talk with his grandfather. He watches the fish in the river. He heads home when it starts to get dark. His parents sing him to sleep. But it's a very comforting story.

Margaret Wise Brown has a gift for writing passages that you just want to read out loud. My favorite part is:

"That sneeze woke up his grandpa
who lived in a hollow stump.
And grandpa came walking thump thump thump
and walked out of his hollow stump and said, "Bless you,"
my little fur grandson,
Everytime you sneeze ...."

What I like is that there's some rhyme, but it's not necessarily limited to the ends of each line. And the lines aren't all the same length. But the rhythm works anyway. Genius, I say.

And now whenever Baby Bookworm sneezes, I find myself saying "Bless you, my little fur child."

Little Fur Family is illustrated by Garth Williams (creator of the definitive illustrations for the Little House books). It's quite text-heavy, with relatively small illustrations and quite a few pages that are all text. The illustrations are definitely secondary, but do add to the tone of the story. Williams uses a color palette consistent with the woods - lots of browns and greens and yellows. The little fur child is an intrepid figure, and his house is perfectly cozy (and may perhaps remind older readers of a certain little house in another, bigger, wood).

Little Fur Family is a classic title, destined to be a family favorite in our household for many years. Highly recommended.

Publisher: HarperFestival
Publication Date: 1946 (this edition 2003)
Source of Book: A gift for Baby Bookworm from Aunt Liz

© 2011 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).

The Power of Social Reading: A Booklights Reissue

This post was originally published at Booklights in June of 2009. It discusses the concept of Social Reading (kids recommending books to one another), something I first saw discussed at The Reading Zone. The original post sparked quite a few comments, and I'll be interested to see if this idea still captures people's imaginations. See also this follow-on post at Booklights (which I won't be republishing here) with links to a variety of other posts about social reading and reading and grade levels. I also shared some links to other people's posts in defense of escapist summer reading here.

The Power of Social Reading

A post that I read recently at The Reading Zone inspired me to write about "social reading" for kids. Blogger Sarah Mulhern is "a 6th grade Language Arts teacher who strives to instill a love of reading and writing in her students". Recently, Sarah wrote about a book club that she observed in her classroom between two best friends. The two girls decided, on their own initiative, to read the same book (Gone by Michael Grant). Sarah observed:

"They talk about the book with each other and with me, coming to me to share their responses and exclamations. I LOVE IT! ... It's amazing the power that social reading has. Why don't we harness this in more classrooms and use it? Students reading, recommending, and talking about books is more powerful than any literacy kit, basal reader, or literature set."

I certainly agree with that. I don't remember much about what I was reading in the classroom in 5th or 6th grade, beyond a vague memory of workbooks and reading comprehension questions. But I DO remember talking about books with my friend Holly. We especially enjoyed a book about Gnomes, Fairies, and Elves, and we were thrilled to discover a hidden path to an island of sticks in the swamp behind my house. Surely there was magic there! Holly moved out of the country after fifth grade, and for quite a while we took turns writing a shared story, sending chapters back and forth by airmail. I think that our shared experience with books worked a dual magic - it strengthened my friendship with Holly, while at the same time reinforcing my love of books. And I've been fortunate to have that dynamic with friends in my adult life, too. We benefit from the recommendations that we share with each other, and our friendships grow while we discuss the books.

In The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child, Donalyn Miller talks about the importance of her own shared reading experiences with her husband, her children, and her best friend. Talking about her classroom, she says:

"By setting the expectation that reading is what we do, always, everywhere, it becomes the heart of a class' culture. Even the most resistant readers can't fight if all of their friends comply." (Chapter 3)

I know parents who have had good success with parent-child bookgroups (see, for example, or read Heather Vogel Frederick's book The Mother-Daughter Book Club). I think that bookclubs are a great idea. There's no doubt that by talking about books with their kids, parents can have a tremendous influence. Last summer, our own MotherReader hosted a wonderful summer book club for her rising seventh-grader's Girl Scout Troop. (You can find all of the posts here.)

I also think that when kids talk about books on their own, and make recommendations to one another, great things can happen. I'm not sure what can be done to encourage this social reading, exactly. I'm sure that the best response comes from the spontaneous bubbling over of genuine enthusiasm, and you can't orchestrate that. But I would be willing to bet that kids whose close friends are avid readers are more likely to be readers themselves (and vice versa).

Surely social reading has been a big part of the Twilight phenomenon, with girls reading the books because their friends rave about them. It was clear when I attended the signing for The Last Olympian this spring that part of the reason that kids were so excited about the Percy Jackson books was because OTHER kids were so excited about them. And that's great. J. K. Rowling, Stephenie Meyer, and Rick Riordan deserve every iota of success, as far as I'm concerned, because their books have turned kids into readers. But what I'd also love to see more of is kids recommending books back and forth that aren't necessarily huge bestsellers. A kid recommending The Magic Thief or Alabama Moon to his best friend because he loves it, and he wants his friend to read it so that they can compare notes, and discuss it. I'd like to peek into Sarah's classroom, just for a moment, to see those two girls, heads bent together over their matching books. I think that social reading is a beautiful thing, something worth cultivating.

What do you all think? Have you observed social reading between your kids and their friends? In their classrooms? Teachers, is this something that you've been able to harness? Do you have any suggestions for how to do it? I would love to hear your feedback.

This post was originally published at Booklights on June 22, 2009. Since Booklights has ended, I am republishing selected posts here, at Jen Robinson's Book Page, with permission from PBS Parents. Booklights was funded by the PBS Kids Raising Readers initiative. All rights reserved.

December Carnival of Children's Literature

Carnival I'm a little bit late, but wanted to be sure to bring to your attention the fabulous December Carnival of Children's Literature, hosted by Lori Calabrese (her logo to the left). Lori has a host of great links to book reviews for various age levels, as well as to a variety of literacy and news-related posts. Best of all, she shares an original take on The Night Before Christmas, kidlit blogger-style. Don't miss it!

Happy Cybils Shortlist Day!

Cybils2010small The shortlists for the 2010 Cybils Awards were announced this morning. These are the top 5-7 titles in each of 11 categories, from nonfiction picture books to poetry to young adult fiction. Dedicated panels of children's and young adult book bloggers dervived these lists after reading through (in some cases) hundreds of titles. As I've said many times, the Cybils shortlists are a wonderful resource for parents, teachers, librarians, and anyone else looking for books that are both kid-friendly and well-written. Yay for team Cybils!

Click on the links below to take you to the page for each short list. 

Wishing you all a book-filled New Year!