Posts Tagged ‘kidlitosphere’

From “Cauldrons” to “Punchbowls”

I heard someone on NPR last night say that the Blogosphere has become “a cauldron of rage.” As someone who also tends towards broad generalizations, I felt a little put out by that statement. I am a member of the Blogosphere, and I do not feel that my blog is “a cauldron of rage” (although there are times when I would certainly like to use it that way.)  Could it be possible that the Kidlitosphere (a small portion of the Blogosphere) might be able to dilute that “cauldron” a bit – one children’s book at a time?

Perhaps what the world needs in order to pull itself out of the “cauldron of rage” is to read some excellent, interesting, well illustrated and subtlety values laden children’s books. Perhaps going back – way back – to our roots, shoring up those foundations with a few gentle Bible stories, some charming Aesop’s Fables and the like might create a new world filled with smiles and joy rather than frowns and sorrow. Could we turn that “cauldron of rage” into a “punchbowl of happiness”?

I plan to do my best to help the Blogosphere, and the world, on this journey – one children’s book at a time.

Happy Reading,

Kathy B.

Welcome to the April Carnival of Children’s Literature!

I volunteered to host the April Carnival of Children’s Literature for Kidlitosphere Central. What is Kidlitosphere Central? In my own words, it is a group of individuals, passionate about children’s literature, who put their time, money, energy and love where their mouths – oops – fingers are. Our goal: getting excellent children’s books into the hands of children and their families. In essence, we are out to change the world, one book at a time.

And boy, have we had a busy month! With so much going on from National Poetry Month to Earth Day, several Jewish holidays (for me) and as always, tons of books to review,  I had to take a step back and many deep breaths to figure out how to arrange all of this material.  I have had quite a journey, but a lot of fun along the way.

To organize the submissions I received around the themes I perceived, I am using excerpts from The Tree That Time Built: A Celebration of Nature, Science, and Imagination by Mary Ann Hoberman and Linda Winston (Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, 2009) as my guidebook.  I also want to thank Lee Wind at The Zen of Blogging for helping me get my head on straight as I began this endeavor. Starting with his  “thread video” for Earth Day and ending with “’Jingle Bells,’ Karaoke,…”  and Adam Lambert,  he has been a real inspiration. I want to kick the Carnival off with this  selection  in honor of Lee:

“His back legs are a pair of hands,/ They can spindle out the strands/ Of a thread that is small /It stops the sunlight not at all.” From “The Spider” by Robert P. Tristram Coffin

So let’s get started shall we?

“I should like to write a poem about the world that has in it nothing fancy. /But it seems impossible.” From “This World” by Mary Oliver

April was National Poetry Month.

Many, many members of the kidlitosphere participated in NPM in some way. Here’s the list put together by Laura Evans at All Things Poetry as posted on The Miss Rumphius Effect.

Susan Taylor Brown kicked off the month with The Child I Was at Susan Taylor Brown, saying, “The Child I Was is the first poem 30 Poems in 30 Days in the month long series for National Poetry Month in which I challenged myself to write a poem a day about the father I have never known.” Believe me when I tell you her work is powerful.

Carmela Martino sent Patterns in Poetry! How I wrote This Poem—a Poetry Writing Workout posted at Teaching Authors, saying, “April Halprin Wayland shares an original poem celebrating our blogiversary and Earth Day, along with a lesson plan for creating a unique rhyming poem.”

Mary Ann Scheuer shared Tan to Tamarind: poems about the color brown (ages 4-8) posted at Great Kid Books, adding, “At its best, poetry can help give voice and language to things we sense and experience. Young children notice different skin colors, and yet they can struggle to explain those different colors, to name them. Tan to Tamarind is a beautiful book that celebrates the beauty of brown, and helps give voice to the different shades of skin children see all around them.”

“Soak up the sun/Affirm life’s magic/Be graceful in the wind/Stand tall after a storm/Feel refreshed after it rains/Grow strong without notice/Be prepared for each season/Provide shelter for strangers/Hang tough through a cold spell/Emerge renewed at the first sign of spring/Stay deeply rooted while reaching for the sky/Be still long enough to/Hear your own leaves rustling.” “Think Like a Tree” By Karen I. Shragg

April saw the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day.

The Miss Rumphius  Effect provided a fantastic book list on Trees.

Julie Hedlund sent along Picture Books for the Planet at Write Up My Life, saying, “In honor of Earth Week, I rounded up some of my favorite books with nature, wildlife and ecological themes.”  I love that she focused not just on Earth Day but on everyday respect for Nature.

Eric Aldrich shared 10 Works – List # 3 – Nature, Animals, and Survival in Young Adult Literature at making owls cool since 1986. A list of outdoor classics.

“In honor of Earth Day,” Deborah Freedman provided probably one of the most unique Earth Day blogs I have seen –  The Real World at Writes with Pictures .

“Sing of the Earth and sky,/sing of our lovely planet,/sing of the low and high, of fossils locked in granite./ Sing of the strange, the known,/ the secrets that surround us,/ sing of the wonders shown,/ and wonders still around us.”  By Aileen Fisher

If Poetry and Mother Earth were not enough, April had plenty of other things to rejoice over.

Trickster Fiction with Kate Coombs at Book Aunt. “A mega-post taking a look at tricksters in children’s literature.”

Archaeology and Fossils with SarahN. If you are able to tear yourself away from the picture of the most delicious cookies I have seen in a while (I need that recipe!) read  “a review of 3 children’s books about fossils and archaeology” Non-Fiction Monday: Fossils and Archaeology at In Need Of Chocolate.

Celebrate Every Family with Amanda Hartman at The Literary Family. “The books we read to and with kids matter. This posting celebrates families. All different kinds of families. Families that resemble our own and ones that do not! To grow a more lovely world, the books and ideas we discuss with all kids matter. Help kids build positive self images of themselves and build positive images of others. You will see that this blog helps aunties, teachers, friends, and parents build strong relationships through reading books together. Enjoy the books, enjoy the blog and enjoy the read.”

Nonfiction with Jennifer at Jean Little Library, as she writes about Exploring Nonfiction With New Readers. “I’ve offered several suggestions on books to introduce new readers to nonfiction as well as ideas on how to use nonfiction to interact with emerging readers.”

Exoplanets with Shirley Duke. What? You never heard of an exoplanet. Then you better get to SimplyScience Blog,and read about Planet Hunter–Out of this World! “Written by Vicki Oransky Wittenstein, this book traces the career of Dr. Geoff Marcy and his search for exoplanets, or planets outside of our solar system.”

Pajamas with Mary Ann Dames. “Did you know that April 16 was Wear Your Pajamas to Work Day? Well, it was. For that week’s Reading Monday I shared picture books about PJs. Recipe Wednesday told how to make Breakfast-for-Lunch Sandwich. Writing Friday’s prompt was about wearing your PJs all day. 8-)”  Reading, Writing &.. – Mary Ann Dames, M.S., R.D. at Reading, Writing, and Recipes.

Fairy Tales with Roberta Gibson. A review of three delicious picture book fairy tales.  Wrapped in Foil · Three Servings of Fairy Tales at Wrapped in Foil,

Unconditional Love with Saraline Grenier. Stories of unconditional love for children at Feminist Mom in Montreal

“…Those who saw the buffaloes are gone,/And the buffaloes are gone.”  From “Buffalo Dusk” by Carl Sandburg

Zachor/Remembrance was my theme for the month of April. It appears that resonated with others as well.

Barbara Bietz presents an interview with Debbie Levy, author of The Year of Goodbyes posted at Jewish Books for Children with Author Barbara Bietz.

Susan Kusel shares When I was your age…at Booklights, commenting, “Remember a book you loved as a child? Read it again before recommending it to children today.”

Remember taking those standardized tests in school? Camille at BookMoot will remind you It’s TAKS time in Texas.

“This is the gist of what I have to say./From an embryo, whose nourishment comes in the blood, /move to an infant drinking milk,/to a child on solid food,/to a searcher after wisdom,/to a hunter of more invisible game…” From Little by Little by Jelaluddin Rumi. Translated from the Persian by Coleman Barks.

Several contributions assist in creating those “searchers after wisdom” by helping children read.

Jennifer at the Jean Little Library is hosting her own “I Can Read Carnival!” this month. Stop in for a visit and check out some interesting books for early readers.

Fiona Ingram shares Does Your Child Struggle to Read? Tips for Parents at Word Magic: Articles & Tips for Authors, she says, “It can be disappointing when your child expresses absolutely no interest in reading. Reading is a skill, just like any other skill. It has to be introduced, nurtured, and developed. Here are some great tips for parents.”

Helaine Becker sent along How to Stimulate Scientific Curiosity in Your Kids at Track & Display Changes: A Writer’s Blog, with the comment, “Some notes about what I’ve learned as a writer of science-y non-fiction for kids and as a former kid myself.”

“…Put on the palm,/Still rough/With crumbs,/They roll and/Glisten in the sun/As fresh/As new rubies/Dug out of/Deepest earth.” From Earthworms by Valerie Worth.

Let’s put those books to work!

Abigail Bailey read The Dark is Rising and got out her yarn and crochet hooks!  Crochet basics – Sign seeker belt « abigailscraftshowto.com at abigailscraftshowto.com, she adds “I’ve been re-reading “The Dark is Rising” every year since I was 11 years old. This crochet pattern is inspired by one of the kid’s books that matters very much to me.”

Katie Fries sent along The Day-Glo Brothers – Neon Painted Cake at Eat Their Words, saying, “After reading Chris Barton’s The Day-Glo Brothers, my kids and I explored fluorescence in the kitchen by painting cakes with fluorescent edible (cream cheese) paint.” I am doing this ASAP!

Paula, in Belgium, presents arts and crafts using the art of  Carl Larsson at Books Etc.

Zoe Toft shared Stories in tune – The Magic Flute; Part 1 at Playing by the book, comments, “Tips on using picture books to introduce more classical music into your family home, with a roundup of retellings of Mozart’s Magic Flute”

“take the leaf of a tree…memorize the way it is fastened to the twig…crumple it in your hand…when there is no leaf left/invent one.” From Reply to the Question: “How Can You Become a Poet?” by Eve Merriam

Admit it, we are all writing something. Thankfully, several colleagues are there to help.

D.M. Cunningham sent ReSearching for the Story at Literary Asylum, with the comment, “When working on your children’s story, can you do enough research or too much? Is there a way to use that research to discover your story?”

Linda Benson shared Shelter Animals – Writing your Passion at Linda Benson, she says, “Writing about animals helps children develop compassion and animals find homes.”

Greg Trine provided Funny Words ? Building Blocks of Humor at Greg Trine’s Blog, saying, “Want to write funny books for kids? Start with funny words.” Greg Trine wants to know about your funny words.

Wendy Wax shared You Wrote a Children’s Picture Book –So NOW What? at Wendy Wax adding “Here are some children’s book writing tips from a children’s book editor/author/illustrator.”

“Dinosaurs get all the press/ in books and movies/on subway walls…” From “Prehistoric Praise” by Marilyn Singer

Book Reviews:

Sally Apokedak shared Weaving in Worldview ~ Wednesday Writers ~ Faery Rebels at Whispers of Dawn ~.”A discussion on how RJ Anderson wove her weltanschauung (worldview) into her book, Spell Hunter, without preaching.”

A.C.E. Bauer reviews Skim the YA graphic novel SKIM by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki at I’m working on it

A.C.E. Bauer also reviewed Tales from Outer Suburbia Shaun Tan’s wonderful and quirky YA picture book at I’m working on it.

Debra Black reviewed Tuck Everlasting at Litland.com Book Reviews adding, “my review of Tucks Everlasting leads to the corresponding commentary.

Tammy Flanders reviewed Finding Violet in her piece entitled,  For the pure pleasure of it. at Apples With Many Seeds, sharing, “A recommendation for Finding Violet by Jenny Valentine. It’s all about connecting kids (especially those who see themselves as non-readers) to books. And finding a book with a unique premise and great characters can be what makes the difference in turning a non-reader to the other side. No connection to what is being taught in the classroom just a really great story. No strings attached.”

Robin Gaphni reviewed Art From Her Heart: Folk Artist Clementine Hunter at thebooknosher .

Becky Laney reviewed a retelling of Cinderella, Princess of Glass (MG/YA) by Jessica Day George at Becky’s Book Reviews,

Becky Laney also sent along a review of Farm by Elisha Cooper at Young Readers.

Aaron Mead discussed Harry Potter: Christian Allegory or Occultist Children’s Books? (Part 3) posted at Children’s Books and Reviews.

Eva Mitnick sent her Review of The Dreamer by Pam Muňoz Ryan at Book Addiction

Anastasia Suen presents 5 Great Mother’s Day Books at 5 Great Books adding “It’s almost time for that special day, Mother’s Day!”

Anastasia Suen also sent along a review for Good Night, Little Bunny at Read to Me sharing that it is “A sweet board book for bedtime.”

“The trees ask me,/And the sky,/And the sea asks me,/ Who am I?…The wind tells me/At nightfall, /And the rain tells me./ Someone small./…But a piece/of/it/all.” From “Who Am I?” by Felice Holman

Author/Illustrator Interviews:

Tarie talks with children’s book Author/Illustrator Interview: Grace Lin posted at Asia in the Heart, World on the Mind.

Lori Calabrese discusses how You can accidentally become a novelist at Lori Calabrese Writes!, with fellow Indie-Debut 2010 author, Danika Dinsmore.

Barbara Bietz presents an interview with Debbie Levy, author of The Year of Goodbyes posted at Jewish Books for Children with Author Barbara Bietz.

Samantha Clark presents an Interview with new agent Bree Ogden at Day By Day Writer, adding, “In this interview, new Martin Literary associate agent Bree Ogden explains why she is specializing in children’s literature and graphic novels, her favorite books and the type of agent she will be.”

The Galapagos Islands, Ecuador: Such strange creatures!/ Huge tortoises, big enough for me to ride;…What amazes me most are the tiny finches./Each island’s finches have different beaks!” From “Journal Jottings of Charles Darwin” by Bobbi Katz

News

Sit at the SCBWI Booth with Angela Cerrito while she presents a view of  SCBWI Bologna 2010 at Angela Cerrito – “Illustrators and writers at the Bologna Rights Fair in Bologna, Italy.”

Angela Craft sent Book Thoughts: My Role as a Reviewer at Bookish Blather, her “response to the Huffington Post’s essay about negative reviews in the YA blogosphere”. In case you missed this, here is the original essay  entitled “Faking Nice in the Blogosphere: Women and Book Reviews“, and here is what our  Liz B. at A Chair, A Fireplace and a Tea Cozy had to say about it. [No, Liz did not send me her blog, I include it here because I think it is good and well worth reading.]

Wendie Old looks at iPad+Picture Books at Wendie’s Wanderings commenting “I have been amazed at the things people can do with the new iPad.  For example, in the blog post I’m linking to — I talk about how I’m going to have to completely re-write the ending of my Critical Essay about the history of Picture Book Biographies.”

Book Fairs Online? Having once had a book fair business myself, I am curious and interested in the idea Elizabeth Dulemba is sharing regarding Big Noodle Books at dulemba.

Throughout their May 2010 issue, Hunger Mountain, the Vermont College of Fine Arts Journal, will feature an exclusive, 2-chapter excerpt of Holly Cupala’s young adult novel, TELL ME A SECRET!  (article will be posted May 1)

Elizabeth Bird at A Fuse #8 Production released her Top 100 Children’s Novels. Charlotte’s Web was Number 1. Would you have guessed differently?

“Think of a circle   think/our planet/Earth/solid globe/spinning   holding us…” From “Circles” by Barbara Juster Esbensen

Additional News, Enquiring Minds Need to Know

Jen Robinson has a new baby – a girl.  Mazel Tov, Jen and Family! Understandably, she is taking a break from blogging, but says she will return soon. Jen, if there is something you need, other than books, please let us know.

Pam Coughlan at MotherReader could use our prayers. Her mother had a medical issue earlier this month. Pam does so much for this online community. I hope there is something we can do for her. Pam, we are holding you and your mother in our hearts.

There you have it,  the April edition of the Carnival. I want to thank Anastasia Suen for her support in helping me with this process. She is a blessing to the entire Kidlitosphere. Thanks, Anastasia! Next month’s Carnival host will be Homespun Light. Please submit your May blog article to the Carnival of Children’s Literature by using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page. Thanks for stopping by.

Happy reading!

Kathy B.

So Far Away

I am posting this from my sister’s home in Southern California where it has been raining so hard I fear we will be building an ark shortly in order to sail back to Massachusetts.  There is much to report since my last post.

I spent my weekend at the American Library Association‘s Midwinter Conference in Boston. My “job” was to walk around the Exhibit Hall and find the publisher’s who had Sydney Taylor Award Winners, Honor Books and Notable books and bring them congratulations and mazel tovs on behalf of the Association of Jewish Libraries and the Sydney Taylor Award Committee and also provide them with gold and silver seals for the winning books.  It was very exciting to meet the publishers and some of the editors responsible for these excellent books. Even more exciting, I got to tell them a bit about forwordsbooks and what I do.  Call me crazy, but I love publishers and exhibit halls. I have a stack of books at home that I am so looking forward to telling you about.

On Saturday evening, I joined up with the ALATweetup and met a number of interesting people from the kidlitosphere, kidlit publishing and children’s magazines.  I will admit, I went out of my way to say hello to Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy, who I consider a STAR of the kidlitosphere.  We all have a right to our idols. Well, she is one of mine.  As always, Ms. Burns was gracious. I felt my Tweetup was well spent.

Immediately following,  I headed over the bridge to the Boston World Trade Center to listen to Brian Stokes Mitchell talk about the new book he worked on with Harriet Ziefert called Lights on Broadway from Blue Apple Press.  He sang two songs and let me tell you, this man has a gift from God.  When you hear someone refer to their voice as their instrument – this is what they are talking about.  I would have sat in that chair in that hotel conference room all night and listened to that man sing whatever he wanted. There was no theater orchestra, professional sound system, Broadway stage lighting, nothing.  Just “Stokes” (as everyone was calling him), a cordless microphone and a piano player.  Thank you very much…I was in heaven.

What could be better than that? Listening to him describe sitting in his public library as a kid, checking out every Broadway musical in the collection and sitting in a special room they had listening to the music. Hearing him describe librarians as his heroes. Watching him clap and bow to the librarians in the room.  All followed by his taking the time to have his picture taken, shaking hands, hugging and providing autographs for anyone who asked. We have a word for this – Mensch.

I was not able to attend the Awards Ceremony on Monday morning, but I did view the recording of the event.  How very exciting.  I was happy to see that on of our Sydney Taylor Honor Books, A Faraway Island by Annika Thor was awarded the Batchelder Award for the most outstanding children’s book originally published in a language other than English.  I was also excited that Jerry Pinkney’s The Lion & the Mouse won the Caldecott Award having seen him discuss the book at the School Library Journal Day of Dialogue last May.  As for all the rest of the award winners, let’s just say I have a lot of reading to do!

And now I am in Southern California, as I said, battling a rainstorm of “Biblical” proportions.  I am way behind in my Comment Challenge activities, but hope to catch up in the next couple of days.  I will keep you posted. Until then,

Happy Reading,

Kathy B.

Getting Down to It

I have posted five comments today! One goal achieved! You are going to ask me where, right? OK, my five comments today were left at:

MotherReader - where I signed up for the 2010 Comment Challenge and thanked her for the opportunity.

Lee Wind – where I thanked Lee for partnering with MotherReader on the Comment Challenge and giving us the opportunity to meet new people.

Maw Books Blog – where I signed up for the Boggiest and thanked her for the opportunity.

There’s a Book – where I got involved in a Bloggiesta mini-challenge and learned about creating a cheat sheet for my blog and thanked him for the template.

The Book Lady’s Blog – where I got involved in another Bloggiesta mini-challenge to think about my goals for my blog in 2010 and commented about how I  am already completely overwhelmed.

I am happy it is Friday night and Shabbat will allow me to relax just a bit. But before I light the candles, here are a couple goals for 2010:

  1. Finish the forwords Catalog of Jewish Books and get it up on the website and let the Jewish community know it is there and updated in the next two weeks.
  2. Target a Jewish Value each month and find secular books that support it. Feature those books and write a blog about the value and how the books support it.
  3. Work on my Amazon affiliate program and see if I might generate a bit of income through book sales.
  4. Attend the 2010 kidlitosphere Conference. Meet some the incredible people writing these amazing blogs.

I am sure there will be more,  I haven’t even touched the social networking stuff yet. But let’s leave it here for now.

Happy Reading,

Kathy B.

Todah Rabah! Thank you very much, Jon Scieszka

January 4, 2010

He (Rabbi Tarfon) also used to say,

“It is not your obligation to complete the task,

but neither are you at liberty to desist from it entirely…”

Pirke Avot 2:16

My favorite quote from Pirke Avot, above, seems to have been written about Jon Scieszka, author The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs!, who in January 2008, became the first National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. According to the press release at the time, “The position was created to raise national awareness of the importance of young people’s literature as it relates to lifelong literacy, education, and the development and betterment of the lives of young people.” As with all things Scieszka, he took this role very seriously and immediately began his campaign to get children excited about reading, with a special emphasis on boys. He has been untiring and unwavering in his efforts.

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