Greetings, readers. I just wanted to let you know that Chicken Spaghetti will be on a break for the next few weeks. Meanwhile, there's plenty of good reading in the links to the right. Click away. Enjoy the summer!
Pooja Makhijani, who contributed a guest column here recently, wrote an essay for the site PaperTigers called "Here to Stay: South Asian Literature for Children and Teens." She said,
...There has been a burst of literature for and about South Asian children and teens. Kids scouring libraries and bookstores today will find a good handful of realistic contemporary stories, set in specific South Asian or South Asian diasporic cultures, as well as a South Asian literary magazine for children, Kahani.
Meanwhile, in a bit of belated news, MotherReader and her 48-Hour Book Challenge reviewing marathon were featured at School Library Journal.
Congratulations to both writers!
After reading last year's post on the Australian children's book awards, a reader would like to know about other children's picture books that involve travel around Australia. I had mentioned Alison Lester's wonderful Are We There Yet?, which we loved, and the reader knew of Mem Fox's Possum Magic. Do any of you have other such books to recommend? Thanks!
The New York Times runs an illuminating article today about textbook publishing. In researching an update of Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong, author James W. Loewen discovered identical passages about 9/11 in two textbooks published by two different companies. In "Schoolbooks Are Given F's in Originality," Times reporter Diana Jean Schemo writes,
Just how similar passages showed up in two books is a tale of how the largely obscure $4 billion a year world of elementary and high school textbook publishing often works, for these passages were not written by the named authors but by one or more uncredited writers. And while it is rare that the same language is used in different books, it is common for noted scholars to give their names to elementary and high school texts, lending prestige and marketing power, while lesser known writers have a hand in the books and their frequent revisions.
The fifth Carnival of Children's Literature airs on July 23rd at Kelly Herold's blog, Big A little A; submission deadline is July 15th. Run, hop, skip over to Kelly's for the details. (A blog carnival is a roundup of links to posts on a particular subject.)
My apologies for the sporadic posting around here these days. Summer fun has been keeping us busy. Today we went for a little nature walk, and Junior somehow stepped into some black mud that came past his knees. I mean, this is New England, not the Everglades. Where did that come from? On Friday we spent the whole day at the beach; if you want to see a neat site for identifying New England sea creatures, click over to this one offered by the University of Rhode Island and others.
So, if you don't see me here I am out and about, but will be back soon.
The Times critic Nicolette Jones shares her summer reading recommendations, and includes the recent Carnegie winner, Mal Peet's Tamar ("a big, fat, satisfying, sophisticated read"). Jones's list covers a wide range of ages, although some books are likely available in the U.K. only. The critic calls Junie B. Jones (the heroine of Barbara Park's early chapter books) "cute but stroppy."
The Carnegie medal is like the U.S. Newbery (it's for books for older readers), while the Greenaway honors illustration. Wolves, by Emily Gravett, won the Greenaway this year; the short list can be found here for the Greenaway and here for the Carnegie.
Wow. How did we get to July already? For this Friday's poetry offering, here is a link to "Signal,"by Mark Doty. I like the unexpected line breaks in this poem; each couplet is a kind of "to be continued" until the final two lines. "Signal" comes from Doty's 2005 collection, School of the Arts. He's a great reader to see live if you ever get the chance.
Leila, of Bookshelves of Doom, got a mad shout-out from both Michael Shaub and Frank Portman at Bookslut, where Schaub interviewed Portman about his young adult novel, King Dork. Yay for the kidlitosphere!
Happy 4th of July, everyone! Today's book recommendation is So You Want to Be President?, written by Judith St. George and illustrated by David Small. It's a collection of amusing and somewhat eccentric facts about U.S. Presidents. Oh, dear. My description sounds dry as all get-out, but the book is really entertaining, with topics like "Some Presidents knew how to dance and some didn't." (Woodrow Wilson is pictured dancing a wild jig.) Small's witty art contributes to the rollicking nature of this picture book.
In an op-ed piece at the Miami Herald, Carl Hiaasen weighs in on the Miami-Dade School Board's banning of Vamos a Cuba. He writes,
Whether young or old, readers tend to be both curious and independent. That's why self-righteous censorship campaigns usually flop.