47 posts categorized "Web/Tech" Feed

The Never Ending Story Website

A visitor to my book lists site told me about a new, UK-based website called The Never Ending Story. Participants have to register to use the site. Once you register, you can participate in the writing of stories and poems. For each continuing story, people can sign up to write the next page. The site editors select what they feel is the best submission, and post it on the website. The idea is to publish a book once the story reaches a sufficient length. There is a similar continuing poem.

I think that it's an interesting idea, one that may appeal to people who would like to dabble in writing, and/or explore alternative paths to getting their writing published. Or, it might appeal to you if you just love stories. There is no fee to sign up.

I don't think that this is quite my thing - I like my stories long, continuous and uninterrupted, and reading a story a little bit at a time doesn't have much appeal. But I am all in favor of stories in general. And I could see this being of interest to some of the other visitors to my site. So I point you to The Never Ending Story website as something worth checking out. 

Interesting Links

I spent some time this weekend catching up on blog news that I missed last week. Here a few things that especially caught my eye:

Second Carnival of Children's Literature Available

Susan Thomsen of Chicken Spaghetti has recently posted the Carnival of Children’s Literature, No. 2: A Coney Island Adventure. If you are at all interested in children's literature, you should head on over there now to check it out. Susan has grouped the submissions into several categories, and associated each with a carnival ride (tilt-a-whirl, tea cups, etc.), making the carnival both well-organized and fun! I love the sense of playfulness about the whole thing. I can't wait to spend more time clicking through to the various links (I just returned from a trip, and am a little bit behind on this, as the carnival was actually posted yesterday). Thanks for an amazing job, Susan!!

P.S. You can find my contribution in the Carousel section. Happy reading!

Quiz: What Literature Classic Are You?

I learned from Camille over at Book Moot about a fun online quiz that tells you what literature classic you are like. And I actually had the same result as Camille. I am like The Lord of the Rings. The quiz result says: "You are entertaining and imaginative, creating whole new worlds around yourself. Well loved, you have a whole league of imitators, none of which is quite as profound as you are. Stories and songs give a spark of joy in the middle of your eternal battle with the forces of evil." Fascinating. I do love stories! You can check out the quiz yourself here. Let me know your result if you do.

New Online Journal About Children's Literature

Last week, while I was traveling to the East Coast, a new monthly online journal about children's literature commenced publication. It's called The Edge of the Forest. It includes reviews of books for children and young adults, event announcements, blog reviews, author interviews, and kid's picks of favorite books. The journal was created by created by Kelly Herold from Big A little a. Also involved are: Liz Burns from A Chair, a Fireplace and a Tea Cozy, Susan Thomsen from Chicken Spaghetti; Anne Boles Levy from Book Buds; Michele Fry from Scholar's Blog; and Camille Powell from Book Moot.

The Edge of the Forest is definitely worth your time. All of the articles are well-written and well-researched. I particularly enjoyed this month's Kid Picks column, in which "Kelly Herold, Big A little a, met with Mr. Abarr's fourth-grade class at Davis Elementary (Grinnell, Iowa) to discuss their best-loved reads." Kelly's interview with children's author and blogger Cynthia Leitich Smith was also excellent. Of course, I have to admit to particularly enjoying Kelly's Best of Blogs column for this inaugural issue, because my own blog was mentioned.

But really, I think that The Edge of the Forest is going to be a wonderful new resource for people who love children's books. You should definitely check it out.

Also if you are interested in children's literature, don't forget the Second Carnival of Children's Literature, being organized by Susan Thomsen. The deadline for submission is this Friday, and Susan will be unveiling the Carnival next Monday, March 6th. Don't miss it!

Second Carnival of Children's Literature

After the success of the First Carnival of Children's Literature, hosted by Melissa Wiley at Here in the Bonny Glen, Susan from Chicken Spaghetti has generously offered to host the second carnival. The Second Carnival of Children's Literature will be held on March 6th, with Carnival submissions requested by March 3rd.

Susan is requesting "links: blog entries from readers, writers, artists, illustrators, teachers, playwrights, academics, poets, home-schoolers, book reviewers, school-schoolers, editors, moms, dads, agents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, librarians, scientists, all  fans and/or critics of kids' books. One submission per person is grand." You can find more detail and the email address and requested format for submissions here.

So, if you write about children's books, be sure to send in your submission by March 3rd. And if you like to read about children's books, be sure to visit Chicken Spaghetti on March 6th. The first Carnival was a lot of fun, and I'm sure that this one will be, too. Happy Reading! -- Jen

New Look for My Blog

I spent time yesterday afternoon tweaking custom themes in Typepad, to come up with a new look for this blog. Given the weather here in San Jose lately, the snowman really had to go. I've replaced him with a bookworm that I found irresistible (I downloaded the bookworm from Graphics Factory). If you have a moment, please tell me what you think! And if you receive blog updates by email, please click through to check out the new look. Thanks!! -- Jen

Is Text Messaging Making Kids Illiterate?

I read an interesting article by Steve Friess at USA Today online about spelling and grammar problems that some kids are having due to spending so much time writing in instant messaging shorthand. The article asks whether or not the many shortcuts used in instant messaging are leading kids to start writing like that all the time (e.g. "2 b R not 2 b"), and gives several examples. The article leaves open for discussion whether kids are really "destroying their ability to write properly", or whether they can manage writing in two different languages. I read about the USA Today article in the WXPnews e-zine, which has a nice summary of this question in the current issue.

What I think is that kids who read a lot of books, whether or not they spend time instant messaging, will have an advantage. Book-reading kids will, hopefully, continue to see proper spelling and grammar in the books that they read. This will help them to develop an unconscious recognition of the right way to write. I know that for me, someone who read constantly as a child, spelling and grammar tend to flow pretty naturally. Writing always comes more easily to those who read. Writing standard English, rather than IM shorthand, is bound to come more naturally to the kids who read books than to the kids who don't. I'll talk about other reasons why you should want your kids to love books in future articles. Thanks for reading! -- Jen

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Rosetta Project: Children's Books Online

My friend Scott just sent me this link (http://www.childrensbooksonline.org/), to the Rosetta project's Children's Books Online page. The site contains a library of illustrated antique children's books, classified by age. You can view all of the books online (as jpegs, separate files for each page, with arrows to scroll through the book). To download the books, you pay a non-refundable download fee, which seems to vary according to the length of the book (I did a quick spot-check and found prices ranging from $5 to $15). It's a fascinating site, promising, as Scott said, "hours of fun." Enjoy! -- Jen

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Spaghetti Book Club

Today I ran across the website for the Spaghetti Book Club. From the website:

"The Spaghetti Book Club is an innovative literacy program that integrates reading, writing, art and technology by teaching students how to write and illustrate book reviews. Much to their delight, the reviews are then published on the Spaghetti Book Club web site... The Spaghetti Book Club helps students develop critical reading and writing skills by providing them with a meaningful context in which they learn how to think critically about the books they read; engage in reflective dialogue with teachers and peers; express their opinions and reactions in conversation and writing; and write for an intended audience. At the end of the project, it is quite a thrill for the students to see their work published on the web!"

The Spaghetti Book Club sells memberships to classes, schools, districts, after-school programs, and libraries, and also offers some memberships through corporate sponsorship. A Spaghetti book club membership is something to consider for your library or school. (I don't know how much it costs, you'll have to contact the program.)

I support any program that gets kids more engaged in reading. The idea of allowing kids to publish book reviews on the internet (only the child's first name, list initial, and hand-drawn self-portrait are public) seems very empowering. I know that children I've talked with since starting this website are very interested in sharing their recommendations with me and with site visitors. I've been thinking of a way to make it easier on my own site to allow kids to make recommendations (while protecting their privacy). This personal experience makes me think that The Spaghetti Book Club is a great idea! Thanks for reading! -- Jen

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Receive Email Updates from this Site: FeedBurner and FeedBlitz

Since I started this site, I have supported the ability for users to subscribe to the site's RSS feed (where you automatically get news updates through an aggregator). I've recently started offering an RSS feed through FeedBurner, which will let me collect some statistics on how many people are viewing the content. To sign up for the feed, just click on the "subscribe to this site" link below the "RSS Feed" header in the right-hand column.

However, I think that many people who visit this site have never even heard of RSS feeds, and would be more comfortable receiving updates via email. Therefore, I've also started using a service called FeedBlitz. Through FeedBlitz, you can now subscribe to receive a daily email containing the full text of any articles that I've written that day. On days when I don't write any articles, you will not receive any email. The messages are sent out by FeedBlitz, and you can make your entry private if you like so that I don't see your email address. (To do this, log in to your FeedBlitz account, click on the Profile link, and check the box marked "Private").

To subscribe to receive email updates of this site's content, enter your email address in the form in the right-hand column, and click the "Subscribe me!" button. FeedBlitz will then send you an email message with a confirmation link. (If you do not click on the confirmation link, your subscription will not be added.) I think that this will be an effective way for you to hear about new content related to literacy and children's books. However, as FeedBlitz is a new service to me, please let me know if you have any problems with it. Thanks!! -- Jen

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