Looong Novel, Foodies, and So On

Nicola_Bayley_1-1 Remember the movie Endless Love? I am reading Endless Book. Vanity Fair has hijacked my spring. Just when I think things are heading to a close, a minor character becomes major. I know I'll be glad to have read the novel, but at this point (page 700 out of 800), I feel like I'm in a wrestling match.

Meanwhile, all these interesting things are happening.

At PBS Kids' Booklights blog, Terry started "Bookworm Basics," a series about building a home library for a child. Lots of good ideas. Don't forget about the free bookplates available at the UK's My Home Library. (That's one, by Nicola Bayley, on the right.)

My friends the excellent cooks (and fellow chicken owners) Michelle and Steve started a new blog, Gourmandistan. They say, "Those entering Gourmandistan should be prepared to endure tales of farmers, farm shares, fancy and not so fancy restaurants and features of a good kitchen—as well as recipes, amateur food porn and scathing contempt for industrial 'food.'" Don't miss their simple but AWESOME vinaigrette recipe that changed my life.

The Summer Blog Blast Tour series of interviews with children's and young adult authors. The master schedule is at Chasing Ray.

MotherReader's 48 hour readathon begins soon. Details here.

Monday Afternoon Coffee Break, 2.1.10

28 Days Later, a monthlong celebration of African American writers and illustrators, at The Brown Bookshelf

2010 Newbery winner Rebecca (When You Reach Me) Stead, interviewed by Kurt Andersen, at WNYC Radio's Studio 360

Author Katherine Paterson on Apple's iPad, at the New York Daily News. "It is as futile for us to fight technological advances as it was for Plato to battle literacy."

A new Carnival of Children's Literature, with links to many blog posts, at Jenny's Wonderland of Books

Jen Robinson's newsy roundup, at PBS Parents' Booklights blog

On February 8th in NYC, PEN American Center presents "Crafting a Career as a Children's or Young Adult Author," a free panel discussion with Brian Floca, Richard Peck, Jane O'Connor, and Marilyn Singer. David Levithan will moderate. Details here.

Speaking of Brian Floca, I highly recommend Moonshot, a gem of a picture book about the Apollo 11 moon landing. Floca's college newspaper, The Brown Daily Herald, recently talked to the author-illustrator-award winner.

A bounty of recommendations for nonfiction books for children, at Wild About Nature, host of this week's Nonfiction Monday fiesta.

"Calvin and Hobbes" cartoonist Bill Watterson was interviewed by the Cleveland Plain-Dealer. The Millions blog says that it's thought to be Watterson's first interview since 1989. 

From the Plain-Dealer article, this great news, too: in July, the U.S. Postal Service will issue stamps honoring Calvin and Hobbes, Garfield, Archie, Beetle Bailey, and Dennis the Menace.



On Behalf of Lunch Ladies

A recent conversation with my son, age 10.

Junior: Mom, when you were in school, were the lunch ladies mean?

Me: Hmm. No, they weren't. I remember them as being nice.

Junior (with relief in his voice): Yeah, they're nice. At my school they're nice. But in books they're always mean.

Me: Yeah, I noticed that, too. 

Junior: It isn't true.

Me: Nope.


Author Mitali Perkins put together a good list of children's books about and set in Haiti, at her blog, Mitali's Fire Escape. She writes, "Stories can bring faraway people and places from the screen into our homes and hearts, and keep them there, even through information overload or compassion fatigue." I can't say it any better than that. 

The Rumpus details a number of ways to help in Haiti.

A teacher in Haiti—and one of my kid-book-blogging friends—whose site is There Is No Such Thing as a God-Forsaken Town, says, "Things are worse than anyone can imagine. Our whole family is fine and our house and school are standing and apparently undamaged. 14 others at our house." She asks for our prayers. 

Monday Morning Coffee Talk, 1.11.10

Carmen Tafolla's What Can You Do with a Paleta? has won the Charlotte Zolotow Award for outstanding writing in a picture book. No online link yet, but the information will surely be posted soon at the University of Wisconsin's Cooperative Children's Book Center, which sponsors the prize. (news via Kathleen T. Horning on the CCBC-Net listserv)

Last week the new ambassador for young people's literature was announced: Katherine Paterson. Hurray! A big group of bloggers also saluted the outgoing ambassador, Jon Scieszka. Though late, I'll add to the chorus: thank you very much, Mr. S.!

The Newbery, Caldecott, and a host of other children's book awards will be announced on January 18th. Details at the web site of the prizes' sponsor, the American Library Association. A plea to the ALA: please, please, please put a clearly labelled link on your home page so other readers don't have to hunt around the whole site. And while I'm at it, "ALA Youth Media Awards" means nothing to the general public; please include the words "Newbery" and "Caldecott." Thank you.

Elizabeth Bird, of the New York Public Library and A Fuse #8 Production, is taking a poll of the top 100 children's fictional chapter books. What's your favorite?

The NAACP Image Awards include honors for children's and teens' books. The 2009 nominees make up a very interesting list.

At the blog Charlotte's Library, you'll find a good list of 2009 children's books featuring dragons. (When I was little, I wanted so much for dragons to be real.)

Want a laugh? The hilarious blog Awful Library Books gave the nod to the best awful books of the year last month.

Meanwhile the proprietor of My Parents Were Awesome has a book deal, says GalleyCat.

Also cool: the cakes inspired by children's books, at Cake Wrecks.

Welcome, Choice Literacy Readers!

A big welcome to the readers of Choice Literacy's excellent newsletter, which kindly mentioned Chicken Spaghetti's "Best Children's Books of 2009: The Big List of Lists."  The weekly newsletter is free, and I highly recommend it.  

To find out more about the organization, check its web site, which says that Choice Literacy is "the home on the web for K-12 literacy leaders. We are literacy coaches, teachers, and school leaders with experience in dozens of diverse classrooms. This site presents the best of the tools, guides, literacy lessons, and sage advice we've gathered and tucked away as we've worked together over the years."

If you haven't seen the Chicken Spaghetti list lately, lots of best-kids-books links have been added, including those from Smithsonian Magazine, Audio File, and Nick Jr.

Hey, That's Me!

Sometimes I do other things besides blog. No, really. For instance, I have this new pair of binoculars, and I use them to check out the bird life in the neighborhood and nearby—in addition to the two hens in the front-yard chicken coop, of course. Recently the new binocs and I were captured not on film but in a sketch. Go see.

Boys & Books: Guys Read

Jon Scieszka's Guys Read web site has been revamped, and it looks terrific. The mission of the "web-based literacy program for boys...is to help [them] become self-motivated, lifelong readers."

Book recommendations include such categories as "Outer space, but without aliens," "Mysterious Occurrences," and "At least one explosion." The book-of-the-month is Jeff Smith's Out from Boneville (#1 in the Bone series). The 10-year-old guy reader here can vouch for that one, having read it 49 times or so.

Scieszka wrote The Stinky Cheese Man, and Other Fairly Stupid Tales, the Time Warp Trio series, and Squids Will Be Squids, among other books. He is also the first (and current) Children's Ambassador for Young People's Literature (but he sounds a lot more fun than that title).

Hat tip to Betsy Bird, at the School Library Journal blog A Fuse #8 Production, for the news of the revamped Guys Read.