Weekend Reading 3/17/06

Happy St. Patrick's Day! Kiss someone Irish, drink some tea (or green beer), and enjoy these links.

  • Editor Cheryl Klein's "recommended reading" list notes children's books that new editors should know. (via Bartography)
  • The venerable New York Times dips its toe into the blogging waters with The Pour, Eric Asimov's wine blog, and restaurant critic Frank Bruni's Diner's Journal. Welcome, fellows. The sites look great!
  • The Guardian remembers the late science-fiction author Octavia Butler.
  • Catch up with a September interview of the author of Heavy Words, Lightly Thrown on WNYC radio's Leonard Lopate Show. The book concerns the origins of nursery rhymes. Rawther naughty, they are.
  • Nobel laureate J. M. Coetzee becomes an Australian citizen. Story at The Age.
  • Consider trekking on the Hot Tamale Trail through the Mississippi Delta on April 22nd, courtesy of the Southern Foodways Alliance at Ole Miss.
  • The Associated Press, via CNN, reports on what sounds like a lovely memorial service for the  playwright Wendy Wasserstein.
  • When you're tired o' reading, dance! Check out WFUV 90.7 FM at Fordham University and its Celtic Sounds pages (listed on the left on the station's home page). Great Irish music resources here.

Carnival of Children’s Literature, No. 2: A Coney Island Adventure

Tea_cups_001_2Welcome to Coney Island! How was  the subway ride to Brooklyn? Although the amusement park doesn’t open officially until the second weekend in April, we are swinging the gates open wide today, and bloggers are everywhere. Come join the fun.

Ride by ride, let’s see who’s here.


Tea Cups

Semicolon (host of next month's carnival) considers poetry books, turning up some great resources, and illustrator Devas T. rants and raves and writes a funny poem himself. At Writing with a Broken Tusk, the author Uma Krishnaswami talks about judging an award for the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators. Incidentally, the winner is A Room on Lorelei Street, recently reviewed at the brand-new online magazine The Edge of the Forest.

Water Flume

Jump on, y'all! Start the day with a splash. A Fuse #8 Production, a nice new addition to the world o' blogs, can't resist Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! Tayari Jones, who wrote the grown-up novels Leaving Atlanta and The Untelling, names her favorite children’s books. Straight from Canada, there’s Farm School, who's mulling over the new Poetry Speaks to Children. A brave Kids Lit sure knows its beasts; see the post on Jack Prelutsky's The Dragons Are Singing Tonight. By the way, do you hear music in the distance? Could it be that crazy "Blogga" song? Take a listen. (I dare you not to laugh.) Art & Soul  lauds three big-name illustrators who spoke at the Mazza Museum of picture-book art.


With her novel Magic Lessons set to fly off the shelves, Aussie writer Justine Larbalestier wonders just how self promotery one should be. Two other young-adult authors (new ones!) are also on the Tilt-A-Whirl line: Paul Acampora (Defining Dulcie) talks about his date with Kate DiCamillo, and  Crissa-Jean Chappell offers a peak at the line editing of her novel. I see artist Ruth McNally Barshaw getting out her sketch pad, showing off  pictures of famous children's authors and illustrators. 

The Cyclone

Need I say roller coaster? Pop Goes the Library is right in front, hands in the air, providing some fine ideas about library funding for the kids' section. Who's that in the second car? Why, it's Bartography, and is he a fantasy guy or not? Read and see. Will the kiddos remember the toys, the outfits, the Mommy and Me classes? The Library Lady Rants thinks not, but they will cherish reading with mom and dad, she says. Picture-book stories of Korean Americans are on the mind of Sarah Park at sarahpark.com, and Big A little a ponders gender bias in kids' films.

Million Dollar Break Dancer

Are the rest of you inspired to try your own contribution to kid lit? The award-winning Pat Mora dishes up 20 tips for writing children's books. [UPDATED. Link to Pat Mora's tips: http://www.patmora.com/tips/ ] Book Moot smiles upon Gail Gauthier’s new novel, Happy Kid!, while Mother Goose is on the loose at pink sneakers n'at. Meanwhile at La Bloga, Gina Marysol Ruiz extols a beautiful bilingual ABC book. Carly's Book Reviews, from Northern Ireland, advises us on "How to Catch a Star." Volunteer-librarian/screenwriter/GottaBook blogger is on the fast track to becoming a "well-trained read-aloud guy."

Wonder Wheel

In a humorous bit of calculation, author Greg R. Fishbone adds up the word counts, dollar for dollar, of famous books. Dana Reinhardt's A Brief Chapter in My Impossible Life hits the #1 spot on the chart at A Chair, A Fireplace and A Tea Cozy. Mommy Brain savors From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. Chicken Spaghetti and the whole second grade are reading books as they go 'round and 'round, and so is Wands and Worlds, who sings a song of Jim Dale and classic audio books.


Hey, what's a carnival without Harry Potter? Quiet Bubble spots the boy wizard in Jackson, Miss. The Students for Literacy Ottawa group tells a tale of a sweet reading circle, and wouldn't you expect this ride is where you'd find Book Carousel (who considers the picture book Guji Guji)? On a shiny new blog, PJ Librarian pens a poetic Nancy Drew review at The Magic of Books. Reading Deborah Hopkinson's work, Cajun Cottage celebrates book studies and hands out some links for online book-study groups. Jen Robinson’s Book Page devotes a post to a sad but reassuring picture book by Annette and Jack Simon.

Closing Time

And so  it's time to leave Coney Island, but the fun's not over. We'll  stop by Children's Literature Central, a.k.a. Books of Wonder, in Manhattan, and we're going to eat (and read about) strawberries all the way home, courtesy of Here in the Bonny Glen, who launched the Carnival of Children's Literature last month. (Take a bow, Melissa.)

See you anon! Thank you to all of the contributors (volunteers, solicitees, gate-crashers), who made the Coney Island Adventure so much fun to put together: every single one of you wins the editor's choice award. Much appreciation also goes out to the Astroland amusement park for the photograph of the tea cups.

Next month the Carnival of Children's Literature moon-bounces over to Semicolon. April being National Poetry Month, the theme is poetry. Speaking of which, Lucie at Homeschool Diary ends the day in a lovely way with e.e. cummings.

The End.

Music Note: Calling Mr. Mozart?

Today is the 250th birthday of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Let's celebrate. The local NPR affiliate is broadcasting lots o' Mozart all day--that's good--but I have books on the mind, as usual. Do any of you wise readers out there have recommendations for a child-friendly biography for any age: the picture-book crew, middle-graders, or hip young adults? Thank you in advance.

Esperanza in the Shadow of the Mouse

Orlando is reading Pam Muñoz Ryan's Esperanza Rising for its One Book One Community selection this year. Sara Isaac, of the Orlando Sentinel, spoke to the author:

Ryan says the themes of diversity and social justice that weave through much of her work reflect her cultural and family background. One of her grandmothers was from Oklahoma and the other from Mexico. Both sides of the family were farmworkers. Her mother was born in a segregated camp like the one described in Esperanza Rising.

"I am Latino. I am a woman. I am concerned with social justice and women's rights," Ryan says. But "I don't sit down to impart a message or a moral. My goal is that the reader wants to turn that page."

There's even a fan-fiction kind of contest as part of the One Book program, which the Sentinel is sponsoring. What if Esperanza moved to Florida?  Check it out

Your Favorite Children's Books of the Year?

Though the Times (of London)  and the Horn Book (of Boston) may have their favorite children's books  of the year, what are yours? Please don't limit yourself to 2005. Any wonderful thing you and/or yours read in the last year is great, especially a book that you would recommend as a gift.

I'll start off with one book, while thinking of some others. This one falls into the intermediate-reader category, but certain young adults and grown-ups will likely enjoy it, too.  Drum roll, please.  Kate DiCamillo's Because of Winn-Dixie (Candlewick, 2000). I wrote about it back in August, and continue to admire the novel, which would make a nice present for 9- to 12-year-old girl.

How about the rest of y'all?

Banned Books Webcast

I was hoping to make the arduous trek into big beautiful Manhattan tonight for the Banned Books reading, but that is not to be. Given that  my son, Junior,  prefers hanging upside down on the swing set over attending far-flung literary gatherings,  I  hope to watch at least a little of Judy Blume and company on the webcast.

Muchas gracias to Media Bistro's GalleyCat for the techie alert.

Live from Botswana: Wild Animals!

The National Geographic WildCam is rocking my world this week, broadcasting live digital video from the Pete's Pond watering hole, at the Mashatu Reserve, in Botswana. It's a kids' book come to life, with elephants, giraffes, monkeys, zebras, and so on. Right now it's night time in Botswana, so you're not going to see much; check the peak animal-viewing times on the WildCam site. (I did see elephants once in the evening.) And, of course, you won't see catch them there all at once; you must have patience. I recommend running RealPlayer  in theater mode, so that the picture takes up the whole computer screen.

To supplement the WildCam viewing by younger kids, I'd choose Verna Aardema's Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain, and I'll also look for  Rachel Isadora's South African Night at the library. In contrast, Somewhere in Africa, about a boy in busy Cape Town, shows city life. I've read only Aardema's picture book, but the other two have nice reviews.