The January issue of the online children's literature magazine The Edge of the Forest is up. I look forward to reading all of it, including Franki Sibberson's piece about children and leveled reading. On Sunday night we had two college-aged visitors, and I was surprised that Junior was telling them about which level books he read; I didn't even know that he noticed. He added something like, "Well, I have some Level 1's that I like, but they're in my room," as if he needed to hide them. Now I realize that he and all the children in his classroom know exactly what level everyone is reading. Franki refers to "level mania" in her article, and I can see why.
The Association for Jewish Libraries announced the Sydney Taylor awards for children's books last week. The picture book Hanukkah at Valley Forge, written by Stephen Krensky and illustrated by Greg Harlin, won in the younger readers' category. There are even more winners and honorees, and you can see all of them at this PDF file, on the AJL site. (Hat tip to A Fuse # 8 for the news.) Author Cynthia Leitich Smith reviews another book in the Taylor list, Brenda A. Ferber's Julia's Kitchen , and shares additional comments about these prizes. Finally, one of the honorees is Esme Raji Codell, of PlanetEsme fame.
In the Not Kid Lit department, the New Yorker's Nancy Franklin talks to novelist Patricia Marx (who used to write for "Saturday Night Live") about what's funny and other matters.