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October 2013

Posts from September 2013

Happy Talk Like a Pirate Day! Arrgh!

Talk-like-a-pirate-dayI was reminded by Cole from Ghergich & Co. that today is Talk Like a Pirate Day, and am sharing Ghergich's illustration with permission. 

I'm pleased to report that after our trip to Disney World this summer (her first), my daughter can now sometimes be found walking around the house singing "Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me!". 

May a suggest a read of Pirates vs. Cowboys by Aaron Reynolds & David Barneda today? In my review I said: 

"You know that you are in good hands with this book on the very first page: 

"Burnt Beard the Pirate was the scourge of the seven seas, the four oceans, and several lakes." 

Rich vocabulary and deadpan humor. What more could the parents of a six year old want in a picture book?"

It's the perfect book for today, and I plan to read it to my daughter at bedtime. 

Wishing you a treasure-filled Talk Like a Pirate Day. Arggh! 

Growing Bookworms Newsletter: September 18

JRBPlogo-smallToday 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 1745 subscribers. I send out the newsletter once every three weeks. 

ReadAloudMantraNewsletter Update: In this issue I have a post about one of my daughter's milestones on the path to literacy, a post in celebration of Roald Dahl day, a post about the 2013 Cybils panels, a discussion of the five series I am most looking forward to reading with my daughter, and post about whether or not it matters if you read at bedtime.

I also have a post about getting my blogging groove back, after my illness this summer slowed me down. I appreciate you all staying with me through that. I don't have any book reviews in this issue, but I do expect to have more book recommendations (in one form or another) coming up soon. 

Other recent posts not included in the newsletter this time around are:

Reading Update: In the last 3-4 weeks I read 2 middle grade novels, one young adult novel, and 8 adult novels. I'm just starting to dip my toe back into the world of children's and young adult literature, after what turned out to be a refreshing break. I'm including mini-reviews here:

Jessica Day George: Wednesdays in the Tower. Bloomsbury. Middle Grade. Completed September 14, 2013. I had trouble getting into this sequel to Tuesdays at the Castle (reviewed here). The actions of the kids felt tame compared with the first book, and the device of the semi-sentient castle felt less original (perhaps inevitable in a sequel). The book did get more exciting towards the end, but then concluded with an unexpected cliffhanger. 

Holly Black: Doll Bones. Margaret K. McElderry Books. Middle Grade. Completed September 16, 2013. I haven't written a formal review of this book, because it's already been reviewed everywhere (and is on Betsy Bird's Newbery candidates list). But it really is fabulous and I highly recommend it. Doll Bones is the perfect mix of creepy possible ghost story with kid-directed adventure, with a spot on portrayal of evolving boy-girl friendships at age 12. 

Malinda Lo: Adaptation. Little Brown. Young Adult. Completed August 28, 2013. The premise of Adaptation, in which two teens awaken from a car accident and find themselves in a secret government hospital, intrigued me. I picked it up as a Kindle daily deal one day, and enjoyed it. I do plan to read the sequel at some point.

Robert Crais: Suspect. Putnam. Adult Mystery. Completed August 23, 2013, on MP3. This is a standalone (or first in a new series?) novel is about an LA cop and a military service dog who help each other recover from their respective traumas while solving the mystery of why the cop was shot (and his partner killed). Some of the book is told from the dog's perspective. This worked surprisingly well (though I was a bit resistant to the premise at first). 

Marcus Sakey: Brilliance. Thomas & Mercer. Adult Science Fiction. Completed August 23, 2013, on Kindle. I found this an intriguing science fiction novel about an alternate US reality in which, starting in the 80s, some 1% of the population are "brillliants" - the kind of geniuses that previously only cropped up once in a generation. There are, naturally enough, tensions between the brilliants and others. It's the first of a series, and I can't wait to see what happens next. 

Carol O'Connell: It Happens in the Dark (A Mallory Novel). Putnam. Adult Mystery. Completed August 25, 2013. The Mallory novels are among my favorite mystery series. I find the character herself (a deeply flawed, highly capable NY cop) endlessly fascinating (even if she does break her friends' hearts). The plots are so convoluted that I can actually re-read these books, and thus buy them in hardcover. This one did not disappoint. 

Stephen White: The Last Lie (Alan Gregory #18). Signet. Adult Mystery. Completed August 30, 2013. See below. 

Stephen White: Line of Fire (Alan Gregory, #19). Signet. Adult Mystery. Completed September 4, 2013. See below. 

P.J. Tracy: Shoot to Thrill (Monkeewrench , #5). Signet. Adult Mystery. Completed September 5, 2013, on MP3. The Monkeewrench series is another that celebrates quirky characters (a crew of wealthy, odd hackers), set against a more conventional (in this case) police procedural. The premise of this one, in which people are murdering others on camera, and posting the videos on YouTube, was a bit disturbing. But the characters made it fun.

Stephen White: Compound Fractures (Alan Gregory #20). Signet. Adult Mystery. Completed September 6, 2013. I read the last few books in the Alan Gregory series pretty much all at once, after dipping in and out of the series over the years. The books are about a Boulder psychologist who, with his Assistant District Attorney wife and cop best friend, finds himself in the middle of some ugly situations. The final books of the series are all tightly connected, and it was definitely the right thing to read them as a unit. 

Louise Penny: How the Light Gets In (Chief Inspector Gamache). Minotaur Books. Adult Mystery. Completed September 8, 2013. This series is absolutely brilliant, another one of my all-time favorites. In this installment, things start out a bit bleak for Chief Inspector Gamache, and he to some extent retreats to the small town of Three Pines (which was absent from the prior book). But fans should not worry, because everything is not what it seems. The actual mystery involves a story loosely based on the Dionne Quintuplets, but there is much more to be figured out. I found this one quite satisfying. 

I'm currently listening to Never Go Back (A Jack Reacher novel) by Lee Child. I'm reading The Shade of the Moon (Life As We Knew It, Book 4) by Susan Beth Pfeffer. There are many other books on my TBR shelf, and several upcoming books that I am excited about. 

Baby Bookworm has been enjoying Splat the Cat: What Was That by Rob Scotton and Pinkalicious: Pink or Treat by Victoria Kann, as we start to think about Halloween. We're also reading lots of Curious George, Fancy Nancy, Arthur, and Little Critter books. 

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

© 2013 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook

Does It Matter If You Read to Your Kids at Bedtime (Specifically)?

The Guardian recently reported, in an article by Liz Bury, on a study that found that "only 13% of parents read to their kids at night every day of the week." The title of the article is:

"Children's bedtime stories on the wane, according to survey"

It's a brief article, but says:

"A poll of 2,000 mothers with children aged 0-7 years, carried out by the clothing and homeware retailer Littlewoods, highlighted the extent of the change. Only 64% of respondents said they read their children bedtime stories, even though 91% were themselves read bedtime stories when young."

Participants said things like that they were too stressed, or didn't have time to read to their kids before bed, even though they think it's important. This part is sad: "Only 13% of respondents read a story to their children every night, but 75% recall being read to every night when they were kids."

I shared this link on my Facebook page with a sigh, and my friend Jennifer remarked that she would have to answer no to the question, because she tends to read to her kids at other times, rather than at bedtime. Which got me thinking that perhaps this survey wasn't really asking the right question. (To be fair, the survey was focused on whether bedtime reading was on the decline, more so than bigger picture questions. So it was the right question for them, but not for me.)

RAM1_shadowI've been helping the organization Read Aloud to spread their message, which is: Read Aloud for 15 Minutes. Every Child. Every Parent. Every Day. This is delightfully concrete, and I've been happy to share it. But I still see people saying: "But I want to read for more than 15 minutes." Or, "I can't read every day." 

ReadAloudMantraTo me, the right message is something like:

Read aloud to your child whenever you can, as often as you can, for as long as you can.

For many families, bedtime is the easiest time for reading aloud, because you have a routine in place, and it's relatively straightforward to make reading aloud part of that. This is great when it works. But if you can’t read at night without falling asleep after 5 minutes, or you have different kids of different ages, and you're working on the older kids' homework, and you just can’t fit the reading in then, ok. Find another time.

It doesn’t matter if you read in the morning before breakfast, or after lunch during quiet time, or before bed. It matters that you:

  • Always have books around that you can read to your child, whether they are your family’s own books or library books.
  • Try to say yes when your child asks you to read aloud.
  • Make reading part of your daily routine, no matter how busy that routine is, by fitting it in somewhere.
  • Keep reading together fun!
  • Keep reading aloud to your child even after your child can read to herself, for as long as she will let you.

These are the important things. These are things that you can do as a parent that will make a difference in your child’s happiness now, and future success later.

In my house, I tend to let read aloud time be dictated by what my daughter requests. Sometimes she wants to read a couple of books before even heading down for breakfast. Often she asks her babysitter to read to her after lunch, in the time period that she used to nap. If a new picture book arrives in the mail, she’ll usually want to read it right then. Same for times when she arrives home from the library with new books. I can't always say yes to reading at any particular minute, but I try to say yes as frequently as possible. 

We do usually read to her at bedtime. Mostly my husband does the nighttime reading these days, because my daughter in a major “daddy phase.” I’ll often sit nearby and read my own books, so we’re still together. But sometimes she falls asleep on her own before we get to the bedtime reading, and, well, there isn’t any. Especially if we’re out somewhere, and she falls asleep on the way home (sound familiar, anyone?). But most of the time, she’s been read to at some other point during the day. Some days she’s probably been read to at 5 or 6 points during the day. So I figure that what we’re doing is working for us, and I don’t get too hung up about the occasional missed night.

I know that I'm lucky because I work from home, and can sneak in extra reading time during the day. I'm lucky because I have other people who read to my daughter, too, and because I only have to worry about one child's schedule. I realize that it's going to get harder as my daughter gets older, and has homework and activities. But I'm going to try to keep this mantra in my head:

Read aloud to your child whenever you can, as often as you can, for as long as you can.

I'm going to try to seize, and appreciate, those moments, regardless of what time of day they occur. 

How about you? Does your family read before bed, or at other times, or both? 

 © 2013 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook

The Five Series I Most Look Forward to Reading with My Daughter

FiveSeriesI wrote a couple of weeks ago about my three-year-old daughter's newly expressed interest in being read chapter books, in addition to her regular diet of picture books and early readers. I asked people on the post and on Facebook to share titles that they had read with their children while were still pre-readers. I collected a number of titles, and was especially pleased to be reminded of a post that Melissa Wiley wrote a couple of years on this very topic (Chapter book suggestions for a four-year-old). Out of these suggestions, and my own opinions, I've come up with a list of the top five series I most look forward to reading with my daughter. They are (in approximate age order):

1. The Clementine Books by Sara Pennypacker (ill. Marla Frazee). I absolutely adore Clementine. I think she is a wonderful character, and that the books are spot on in terms of both realism and humor. Frazee's illustrations perfectly capture Clementine for me, too. And there are enough illustrations that I think Baby Bookworm will be ready for the first book soon. In fact I just ordered a new copy, because I apparently gave mine away (back in the days before I knew that I'd have a daughter to read it to, I suspect). And as a bonus, the books are set in Boston, where my family's pro sports loyalties will forever lie. 

2. The Pippi Longstocking Books by Astrid Lindgren. My daughter has a 3-year-old's love of the ridiculous. I think that she'll be as charmed by the irrepressible Pippi as I was. And perhaps she'll be inspired by the way that Pippi solves her own problems. Pippi gives new meaning to the term "strong girl." My second grade class did Pippi as a class play, with my friend Holly as Pippi (her real braids manipulated out to the sides with a coat hanger or something). I was Annika, and I'll never forget it. 

I also splurged on the DVD boxed set of the four Pippi movies from the 1970s. This was more for me than for Baby Bookworm, in truth (though she adores movies), because I have fond memories of my dad taking my siblings and I (or probably just my next-youngest brother and I) to see them in the theater. Pippi in the South Seas was my favorite of the movies, and I look forward to seeing it again (after we read the book). 

3. The Little House Books by Laura Ingalls Wilder (ill. Garth Williams). This was the first series that I remember reading on my own, devouring book after book. Little House in the Big Woods will forever be the first middle grade title that Baby Bookworm expressed a serious interest in reading (admittedly inspired by Little House in the Big Woods paper dolls). So it is naturally on our Top 5 list. But as we've progressed in attempting to read the first book, it's become clear that she's more interested in hearing the stories associated with some of the pictures than in actually listening to the whole book right now. No worries. The books will wait. 

4. The Penderwicks Books by Jeanne Birdsall. I adore The Penderwicks. To me these books are modern classics, with the characterization and emotional resonance of the Elizabeth Enright books (childhood favorites of mine), but with a more up-to-date feel. Clearly 4-year-old Batty will be Baby Bookworm's favorite character, if we read the books any time within the next few years, but I imagine that one day she will identify with Jane or Skye or eventually Rosalind. These are books I'd like to read with her while she's in elementary school, when she's old enough to discuss Rosalind's crush, and Jeffrey's loneliness. But young enough to feel the endless potential of summer in the first book. 

5. The Harry Potter Books by J.K. Rowling (ill. Mary GrandPre). OK, this one is a bit of a cliche. But really, who doesn't look forward to reading the Harry Potter books with their child? I did, in fact, read Baby Bookworm the first book when she was an infant, but I look forward to her being old enough to appreciate the story. I don't want to start too soon, because the later books are pretty dark, and I know that once we start we're likely to want to keep going. But I do look forward to spending time with my daughter in Harry Potter's world. In fact, I think this one will be a family affair, because I can't imagine my husband not wanting to participate, too. 

There are lots of other books that I hope to read with my Baby Bookworm when the time is right. I hope that she will be as captivated by the work of Elizabeth Enright and Zilpha Keatley Snyder as I was, and am. I imagine that she'll love The Borrowers. I hope that she doesn't find A Little Princess or The Secret Garden dated. I hope that we are able to read book after book after book together. I think that there are some books that she'll enjoy more if she discovers them on her own (though I can't say which ones off the top of my head). But the above five are the series that I am most looking forward to sharing with her. Perhaps in a future post I'll look at some standalone titles (Matilda, perhaps?).

What books do you look forward to reading aloud with your children? What books did you enjoy when they were younger? If you've already been through it, don't you kind of envy me, having all of these books still ahead of us? An unintentional upside to having a child late in life. Thanks for reading!

© 2013 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook. This site is an Amazon affiliate. 

The National Book Festival is Next Weekend

NationalBookFestivalThe National Book Festival is next weekend, September 21st and 22nd, on the National Mall in Washington, DC. Here are some highlights that the organizers sent to me specifically for kids:

  • "Famous authors. Children’s and teen authors Katherine Paterson, Holly Black, Kadir Nelson, Katherine Applegate and award-winning children’s book illustrator Rafael López are just a few of the award-wining authors who will discuss and sign their latest books.
  • Kid & family-friendly activities.  Kids can take a nationwide tour of our nation’s literacy initiatives in the Pavilion of the States, Saturday only at the 2013 event.
  • “A Book That Shaped Me” Summer Writing Contest: The contest encourages rising 5th and 6th graders to reflect on a book that has made a personal impact on their lives. The context is administered through local public library systems in the Mid-Atlantic region. Top winners will be honored at this year’s National Book Festival.
  • Library of Congress resources.  Inside the Library of Congress Pavilion, children of all ages will enjoy learning about all the exciting resources our nation’s oldest federal cultural institution has to offer—everything from learning how to research their family’s genealogy to what it takes for a song to be cool enough to make the National Jukebox’s cut." 

And here are the logistical details:


The Library of Congress’ 2013 National Book Festival—an annual celebration of books, reading and literature co-chaired by President Obama and Mrs. Obama.  This DC tradition gives book lovers of all ages a rare opportunity to interact with and get their books signed by their favorite authors.

For more information and a complete list of authors, visit

When:  Sept. 21 & 22

9/21: 10am – 5:30pm
9/22: noon – 5:30pm


The National Mall, between 9th & 14th Streets
Washington, D.C."

Are any of you planning to attend the National Book Festival? I'd like to go someday, but it's too far to justify for me unless I happen to be on the East Coast anyway. 

Wishing everyone who does attend happy reading, good weather, and many author sightings. 

The 2013 Cybils Panelists Have Been Announced

Cybils2013SmallI'm pleased to announce that the lists of 2013 Cybils panelist were posted this morning. Here are direct links to each of the posts:

If you were selected for a panel this year, congratulations! Being a Cybils panelist is a lot of work (particulary for Round 1), but it's highly rewarding. You get to work with amazing people. You also get to select wonderful books that are well-written and kid-friendly, and spread the word about those books to the reading / blogging world. 

If you were not selected for a panel this year, we are sorry about that. There were so many amazing applicants this time around that it was impossible to put everyone on a panel. The category organizers worked hard to create a balance of new vs. returning participants, as well as to achieve a mix of skills and viewpoints on each panel. This inevitably meant that some people, even some people who have been great panelists in the past, had to sit out this year. We hope that you'll understand and try again.

We also humbly suggest that some categories (such as young adult fiction and fiction picture books) are more popular than others, and that applying in the nonfiction or apps categories next time might help (if you review in those areas). 

I've been tweeting the lists of panelists (the ones who are on Twitter), and will be creating Twitter lists for the panels, too. I hope you'll follow along. Many thanks to everyone who has helped to spread the word, on Twitter, Facebook, your blogs, etc. 

Over the next couple of weeks we will be posting updated category descriptions on the Cybils blog and getting ready behind the scenes. Nominations open October 1st. Start thinking of your favorite high-quality, kid-friendly titles in the above categories. It's Cybils time!

On Getting My Blogging Groove Back

Regular readers of this blog may have noticed that my once-steady stream of book reviews has dried up of late. In fact, it dried up much earlier than was visible on the blog, because I was fortunate enough to have a backlog of 20 or so reviews. This enabled me to keep posting reviews for more than a month after ceasing to write them. But eventually, the reviews ran out, and my blog posting has been rather sparse ever since.

Most people who have been blogging for a long time (I'm coming up on 8 years in December) go through periods of blog doldrums. Blogging is something that we spend a lot of time and energy on, for which most of us don't make any appreciable amount of money. And there's the pressure implied by the steady stream of books that appear on one's doorstep, or in one's GoodReads and NetGalley queues. It sometimes requires periods of rest, or refocusing one's efforts, to recapture the energy to keep going. 

For me, my period of blog doldrums started because I was ill, and I for quite a while didn't have the energy to even think about blogging. I've been having recurring pneumonias for nearly 2 years now. This summer things got worse, and I ended up hospitalized a couple of times. But the good outcome of that was that we finally learned that I had an obscure bacterial infection that was causing the pneumonias. A month or so of very strong antibiotics (via home IV line) seem to have beaten back the infection (though they had their own less than fun side effects). And finally, I'm doing better. I still tire easily. I'm still trying not to do too much, or travel. But I'm ready to think about what I want to do with my blog going forward. 

During the time that I've been sick, I've been reading primarily adult titles, catching up on the genre that I've always most enjoyed, mysteries. This started out because I didn't want to feel guilty about reading children's or young adult books and not having the energy to review them. But as my energy levels have come back up a bit, I've found that I still don't really feel like reading things that I think that I should review. That is to say, reviewing has started to feel like a bit of a chore. Homework. Unpaid work. However you'd like to put it. It's not that I don't appreciate the books that publishers send to me, because I do. I have books that I've been really looking forward to reading. But ... the piles feel overwhelming. 

As I was coming to this realization about my reluctance to dive back into reviewing, I came across a two-post discussion launched by Sarah Stevenson at Finding Wonderland. And it turned out that Sarah and I were in the same boat. Sarah started with Rekindling My Love for Blogging, Or Is the Thrill Gone?, saying:

"Sometime over the past year or two, the whole blog thing became a chore. Posting, commenting, writing book reviews, "maintaining an online presence"--it wasn't so much fun anymore."

Sarah was mostly just telling people, explaining that she didn't expect to be blogging quite so much. But she got a lot of good suggestions in the comments, and she later posted More Monday Thoughts on Blogging and Kidlit, in which she captured some of the comments from the earlier post. I was particularly taken by these three points:

"Gail Gauthier said that starting some new features has really helped her regain momentum for blogging."

"Melissa Wiley talked about going back to the original roots of why she started blogging in the first place--something that really resonated."

 "Adrienne's feelings about the situation really paralleled my own, too: "It got so I couldn't do book reviews anymore, for a lot of the reasons you all have mentioned--feeling overwhelmed and feeling obligated." 

I took a few days to think about Sarah's post, and particularly Adrienne and Melissa's feedback. Thinking about why I started blogging, and what it is about blogging that excites me. Here's part of what I commented on the second post on Thursday:

"what motivated me at the beginning, as this person with no kids who wasn't a children's book writer or anything, was this passion that I have for encouraging kids to love books. Not sure WHY I feel so strongly about that (besides the obvious wanting other people to share in the joy that I got from books, and the opportunities that came from being a strong reader). But the blog was an effort to "do something" instead of just thinking that it was important. 

And I guess these days, I find I'm more motivated to skim other blog posts and newsletters to find the good stuff that helps with that (growing bookworms) than I am to write reviews of individual books. But a bunch of Twitter and Facebook links doesn't really make for an exciting blog..."

So I've been thinking about that, particular the bit about going back to why I started the blog in the first place. And suddenly, yesterday, I found myself coming up with ideas for blog posts. Posts that I wanted to write, rather than posts that I felt like I should write. I wrote about Roald Dahl day, and my two favorite Dahl books. I drafted a post about the five series that I'm most looking forward to reading with my daughter, and started sketching out thoughts for a post on bedtime reading vs. other types of reading. And I can feel other ideas percolating behind the scenes.

In terms of the books, I'm thinking of doing some mini-reviews or themed lists of picture books, rather than putting pressure on myself to review all 30+ titles that are in "worth talking about" stack. And I think ... that I'm going to just start reading children's and young adult books again, and trust that my desire to talk about them will come. 

My thanks to Sarah, Gail, Melissa, and Adrienne, all of whom have helped me, I think, to get my blogging groove back. Only time will tell! Thanks for listening. 

© 2013 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook. This site is an Amazon affiliate. 

Happy Roald Dahl Day!

DahlI learned via and email from Random House this morning that today is Roald Dahl day, a day to celebrate mischief and mayhem (image to the left is from Random House). How appropriate for a Friday the 13th. The email urges us to "Visit the official Roald Dahl site for ways to celebrate in your classroom or library and learn about the man behind the stories:" 

But personally, I just want to talk about my two favorite Dahl stories:

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is the first Roald Dahl book that I ever read, and I love it to this day. It both captures the childhood imagination and contains biting satire. Such a perfect blend! When I was in 7th or 8th grade, I learned to type. I practiced by copying Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, sitting at the desk in my basement bedroom. I don't remember being bored for even a moment. Who wouldn't love (in regards to TV):

Before this monster was invented?'
Have you forgotten? Don't you know?
We'll say it very loud and slow:
THEY...USED...TO...READ! They'd READ and READ,
AND READ and READ, and then proceed
To READ some more. Great Scott! Gadzooks!
One half their lives was reading books!

(You can read the full poem at the site.)

Although it is somewhat different from the book (particularly the songs), I also love the movie. The original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory with Gene Wilder, of course, not the travesty of an unnecessary remake. What child of the 70's doesn't occasionally find herself humming: "Oompa loompa doompety-doo". (Full song lyrics here, if you want them.) And who hasn't dreamed of the chocolate waterfall?

My other favorite Dahl story is Matilda. I'll even go so far in Matilda's case as to say that the movie may be better than the book. But the book is lovely, too. My favorite part of the movie is when young Matilda visits the library, and sits there and reads and reads. The image of this tiny person waiting for the walk light so that she can be with the books that are as necessary as breathing, well, of course it resonates.

My husband and I have already introduced the movie to our three year old daughter. We were a bit worried that she would find it scary, but I think (and this is the beauty of Dahl) that it is so over-the-top that she finds it hilarious. She loves the part where the indifferent parents throw the baby seat loose into the back of the station wagon, so that it careens all over place. I think that witnessing the terrible parents that DeVito and Perlman bring to life so well makes her feel more satisfied with her own life. Or something. 

But for me, Matilda is special because we share the eternal love of books, and the knowledge that books can take you anywhere. Happy Roald Dahl Day! (And than you Random House for the idea for this post.)

What are your favorite Dahl books? What will you do to celebrate Roald Dahl Day?

© 2013 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook. This site is an Amazon affiliate.

Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: September 13

TwitterLinksHere are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage.

Book Lists

A Tuesday Ten: School Stories in speculative fiction from Views From the Tesseract #kidlit

Best Books for Kids Set in (well, or near) Boston by @PragmaticMom #kidlit

Great booklist idea from Stacked: YA in the Witness Protection Program @catagator #yalit

A Posy of Books for Pre-schoolers, recommended by @bookchook  #kidlit

21 Children's Book Characters Born To Be Halloween Costumes, Jackie Reeve @buzzfeed via @PWKidsBookshelf

Book list: Celebrating Grandparents Day in Books, from Holly Mueller #kidlit via @CHRasco

Book list: Favorite Children's Picture Books of 2013 (Part 2) from @momandkiddo #kidlit

Great list of Percy Jackson @CampHalfBlood readalikes from Leila @bkshelvesofdoom #kidlit

Book list: Best Old fashioned Children's Books Set on a Farm | @PragmaticMom #kidlit

Top 75 Read Aloud Books Starring Mighty Girls | @AMightyGirl #kidlit via @tashrow

Book recommendations for before a sleepover (for dift ages) | the family that reads together #kidlit

The 15 Greatest Kid Detectives in literature | Jordan B. Nielsen @HuffingtonPost via @PWKidsBookshelf

Common Core

How Parents Can Support the Common Core Reading Standards @ReadingRockets #literacy

Rex Tillerson: How to Stop the Drop in American Education (support the common core) @wsj


Cybils2013SmallRT iPad_Storytime: Get ready for #CYBILS 2013 - See 2011-2012 Finalists for #BookApps

Our CafePress store has been updated w/ the 2013 #Cybils logo. Get your Cybils Bling here: (thanks @aquafortis)

On the #Cybils blog: Meet the Organizers: Pam Coughlan @MotherReader | Fiction Picture Books #kidlit

On the #Cybils blog: Meet the Organizers | @LizJonesBooks | Graphic Novels | …

On the #Cybils blog: Meet the Organizers: @MaryAnnScheuer | Book Apps #BookApps @cybils


RT @tashrow No, seriously: Oyster comes pretty close to being a Netflix for ebooks — Tech News and Analysis #ebooks

RT @tashrow The big short – why Amazon’s Kindle Singles are the future | @guardianbooks #ebooks

Growing Bookworms

Useful tips: Read Aloud TATTLER #1 (The Circus Ship) | @aliposner #GrowingBookworms #lliteracy

Great stuff! Growing Preschool Writers & Learners: 12 Basics, from @TrevorHCairney #literacy

Help Your Kids Keep Track of the Books They've Read, suggests @LiteracyLaunch #GrowingBookworms

"I enjoy reading more when I can choose what I read. And then I read a lot more" - student to @katsok #literacy

Movies / TV / Magazines

‘Sesame Street’ Widens Its Focus, reports @NYTimes #literacy via @ReadingRockets

Exciting stuff! Leila reports on New movie magic from J.K. Rowling @bkshelvesofdoom

Middle Grade Mania: Introducing MIDDLE SHELF digital magazine w/ #kidlit recs + interviews via @charlotteslib

Programs and Research

This is nice. Detroit Public Library Partners to Feed Kids After School | @sljournal

SFAP-stat-block1First Book’s “Stories for All Project” Lobbies for Kid Lit Diversity | @sljournal @FirstBook

Advantages of Being a Reader–You Can Count on It! | @tashrow reports on new BBC study #literacy

Sigh! Children's bedtime stories on the wane, according to UK survey | @guardianbooks via @PWKidsBookshelf

Schools, Libraries, and Resources

This is neat. When the Library Is Bigger Than the School (the school is inside a bigger library) | @sljournal

Constitution Day (Sept. 17) Resources for kids ages 6 - 11 from @MaryAnnScheuer #kidlit

Constitution Day Resources for Middle School & High School (ages 12 and up) from @MaryAnnScheuer

Nice intro to Finding the Power of Twitter from @cathymere #teaching

On Reading, Writing and Books

So true! GottaBook: Summer Reading - a reading poem/a school poem by @gregpincus #kidlit #poetry

News: @nationalbook to honor E. L. Doctorow and Maya Angelou w/ lifetime achievement awards via @CHRasco

Why Picture Books, Why Now? | Becky Levine on why she's fallen in love w/ the genre #kidlit

Science fiction is no longer a boys’ club, reports @salon, thanks in part to Katniss via @PWKidsBookshelf

So You Want to Win the Newbery? (Part I) When should you publish? — @100scopenotes  #kidlit

So You Want to Win the Newbery? (Part II) How many stars do you need? — @100scopenotes  #kidlit

What Are the Chances You’ll Win Another Newbery? asks @100scopenotes  #kidlit

A Short Essay (w/ Lots of Pictures) on the Making of a Book:Philip C. Stead & Hello, My Name Is Ruby at 7-Imp

© 2013 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook.

Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: September 6

TwitterLinksHere are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage. Lots of book lists this week, for some reason. Lots of Cybils posts, too, but that's because the Cybils website is ramping up in anticipation of the October 1st start to nominations.

Book Lists

Latest in @greenbeanblog So You Want To Read Middle Grade series from Kellie Celia @WaldenPondPress

Booklist Top 10 Horror Books for Youth | Waking Brain Cells @tashrow #yalit

Book List: A Tuesday Ten: More Picture Book Science Fiction | Views From the Tesseract #kidlit

New Stacked book list: Get Genrefied: YA Romance @catagator #yalit

Book list: Children's Books About Autism @growingbbb #kidlit

Children's Books For and About Syrian Children. @MitaliPerkins is looking for more #kidlit

Ten Books That Showed Me the Power of Reading by @JenAnsbach @NerdyBookClub #kidlit #yalit

List of all MG SFF books reviewed at Kirkus from Oct. 16 to today (think #Cybils nominations) @charlotteslib

Book list: Talking About Tough Times: World War Two Books from SSHEL #kidit blog picture books to YA

Cybils Awards

Cybils2013SmallNew #Cybils blog post: Meet the Organizers: Anne Levy, Overlord #kidlit #yalit @Cybils

On the #Cybils blog: Meet the Organizers: Jackie Parker @interactiver, YA Fiction #yalit

On the #Cybils blog: Timeless Artwork (a new logo without a year included) #kidlit @CYBILS

On the #Cybils blog: Meet the Organizers: Jone MacCulloch @JoneMac53 | Poetry #kidlit

On the #Cybils blog: Meet the Organizers: Terry Doherty @readingtub | Easy Readers/Early Chapter Books

New #Cybils blog post: Meet the Organizers: Karen Yingling, MG Fiction @MsYingling @Cybils #kidlit

New #Cybils blog post: Meet the Organizers: @ginaruiz | Young Adult Nonfiction #yalit

New #Cybils blog post: Meet the Organizers: Jennifer Wharton, Nonfiction Picture Books #kidlit

New #Cybils blog post: Meet the Organizers: Charlotte Taylor, MG Speculative Fiction @charlotteslib

New #Cybils blog post: Meet the Organizers: Sheila Ruth, YA Speculative Fiction @SheilaRuth #yalit

Growing Bookworms

Timeless advice from @MotherReader on helping your child, her teacher, and yourself w/ reading #literacy

Introducing the Read Aloud TATTLER | @aliposner recommends high-quality read-alouds w/ strategies for comprehension

#Literacy Lalapalooza 11 | Lots of Back-to-School Ideas | Family Bookshelf @readingtub

Interesting essay on kids who read too early (hyperlexia) | Early Reader @NYTimes via @gail_gauthier

An excerpt from Pam Withers’ book Jump-Starting Boys @thereadingzone quote @donalynbooks #literacy

RT @CBCBook: Should kids have audiobooks? Here are a few reasons to say YES! @Scholastic @PARENTandCHILD #kidlit

Depressing! Two-thirds of busy parents claim they read to their kids less than once a week @newscomauHQ via @tashrow

Just for Fun

How to Play Kick the Can from @CoffeeandCrayon, part of Old School Summer

Very fun! 2012-2013 yearbook superlatives for #kidlit characters from @HornBook via @100scopenotes

13 Children's Book Quotes Every Adult Should Know @mashable via @tashrow #kidlit


Interesting post @Freakonomics » How Google Fights Obesity (hint, display only the healthful snacks in glass jars)

When Yes Is Not Consent — @lizb looks for #yalit reflecting student/teacher sexual conduct

Artists Donate to Auction Inspired by Boston Marathon Bombing via @PWKidsBookshelf #kidlit #BostonStrong

Publishing and eBooks

Publishing Hears Echoes of Netflix as startups explore ebook subscription models @WSJ

Schools and Libraries

New York’s Folly: A Lack of Vision at the City’s Dept. of Education | Editorial | @sljournal

Also depressing: School is no Place for a Reader « Canadian Notes & Queries via @FuseEight #literacy

© 2013 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook.

I'm on the Cybils blog today

Cybils2013SmallThere's a post about my position as Literacy Evangelist for the Cybils up on the Cybils blog today. I must admit that I do MUCH less work for the Cybils than the category organizers do. But I am always prepared to jump up and down and spread the word about the wonderfulness that is the Children's and Young Adult Bloggers' Literary Awards. 

Cybils+Logo+-+Generic+BW-01Also on the Cybils blog this week, in addition to profiles of the other organizers (this year's blog editor Ms. Yingling is posting those two per day), a timeless black and white version of our logo (created by the talented Sarah Stevenson). This was created in response to a request for a version without a year displayed, so that people wouldn't have to update their blogs so frequently. If you are a fan of the Cybils, feel free to display this (and perhaps link to the Cybils blog), to show your support. Updated Cafe Press Cybils bling will be coming soon. 

Press Release: Dr. Seuss e-Books


41 Dr. Seuss Ebooks to be released beginning September 24

New York, NY, September 4, 2013—Random House Children’s Books, the longtime publishing home of the beloved and bestselling Dr. Seuss books in their print editions (, will now also publish these stories as ebooks beginning on September 24 and continuing throughout November, marking the first time they have been available in this format. This landmark publishing event was announced today by Barbara Marcus, President & Publisher, Random House Children’s Books, and Susan Brandt, President, Licensing & Marketing, Dr. Seuss Enterprises, L.P.

Dr. Seuss’s books have sold more than 600 million print book copies worldwide. On Tuesday, September 24, fifteen of his classics will make their debut as ebooks, among them many enduring and widely read favorites: The Cat in the Hat; Green Eggs and Ham; Oh, the Places You’ll Go!; Horton Hears a Who!; One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish; Dr. Seuss’s ABC; Fox in Socks; Hop on Pop; Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You?; Oh, the Thinks You Can Think!; The Cat in the Hat Comes Back; The Foot Book; There’s a Wocket in My Pocket!; The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins; and The Lorax.

Each of the forthcoming Random House Children’s Books ebooks will preserve Dr. Seuss’s original layouts and the beloved illustrations from their print editions. They also will be published simultaneously as Read & Listen editions that feature brand-new audio recordings of the full text.

“Random House Children’s Books and Dr. Seuss Enterprises have been publishing partners for decades. I am so pleased to announce the start of an exciting new chapter in our long and thriving relationship, as we embark on expanding the Dr. Seuss reading experience together with ebooks,” says Marcus. “We are delighted that today’s parents, their children, and educators can now add Dr. Seuss’s classics to their digital bookshelves, joining the cherished hardcovers that we have all grown up with.”

“The introduction of ebook editions to the Dr. Seuss canon is an exciting milestone that we know will enhance Dr. Seuss’s legacy,” says Brandt. “When Dr. Seuss wrote The Cat in the Hat more than fifty years ago, he revolutionized the way children learn to read. Today, we celebrate that his impact on reading will thrive for generations to come with these new ebooks.”

The titles to be released as Random House Children’s Books ebooks on Tuesday, October 22, are I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!; Marvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now!; The Cat’s Quizzer; The Shape of Me and Other Stuff; Dr. Seuss’s Sleep Book; Happy Birthday to You!; Horton Hatches the Egg; How the Grinch Stole Christmas!; The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories; The Sneetches and Other Stories; Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories; And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street; I Can Lick 30 Tigers Today! and Other Stories; If I Ran the Circus; If I Ran the Zoo; On Beyond Zebra!; The King’s Stilts; and Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose.

The ebooks to be released on Tuesday, November 5, are Oh Say Can You Say?; Bartholomew and the Oobleck; Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are?; Hunches in Bunches; I Had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sollew; McElligot’s Pool; The Butter Battle Book; and You’re Only Old Once!

The remarkable library of books that Dr. Seuss created has a lasting appeal, and classics such as The Cat in the Hat; Oh, the Places You’ll Go!; and The Lorax continue to top the bestseller lists decades after their original publication. Millions of people across the country celebrate Dr. Seuss annually on his birthday, March 2. This year marked the 75th anniversary of The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins, Dr. Seuss’s second published children’s book, as well as the 50th anniversary of Dr. Seuss’s ABC. 

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