Blogging the Blog Fest

Children's literature bloggers, authors, and others convened in Chicago over the weekend for the first annual kidlitosphere conference. "Kidlitosphere" is the term coined by Melissa Wiley (of the blog Here in the Bonny Glen) for the children's literature corner of cyberspace. A Technorati search for posts about the gathering yields lots of information, so start there. Those of us who couldn't attend missed a good time, but plans are already in the works for a meeting in Portland, Oregon, next year.

Extra! Extra! Hot Off the, Er, Blog

Several major newspapers recently reduced their book-review sections, and book critics are upset. Okay, so are a lot of other people, too, like the writers whose books the book critics criticize.

There has been anti-blog sentiment expressed by, among others, people who don't read blogs. 

(How do the advertisers figure in this? Where are advertisers choosing to spend their money? They have always chased after the demographic.)

Monica Edinger, who blogs at Educating Alice, says that we are in the middle of a paradigm shift. I agree.

I like book-review sections. I would never argue for their demise. But some could use some livening up.

Motoko Rich sums up the issues at hand in today's New York Times, and GalleyCat's coverage is thorough, too. (Check the site's May 2 entries, and look for A. Fortis's awesome cartoon.)

Children's Literature Blogs at The Horn Book

Elizabeth Bird, the NYC librarian behind the Fuse # 8 blog, has written a swell article, "Blogging the Kidlitosphere," for the May/June issue of The Horn Book. She talks about how she started blogging, describes why she likes comments, and explains some of the conflict her blogging caused when she served as a Newbery judge recently. Betsy asks some tough questions, too, continuing a conversation that's been going on at the lit blogs this year:

... insofar as a blog doesn’t make money, it isn’t  beholden to anyone. The minute cash comes into play, all that will  change. Some book bloggers already place advertising banners on their sites. How will readers take this into account when weighing a blog’s credibility?

Go, read!

Going Digital: Video Kids Lit

In addition to podcasts (example, Just One More Book!), the kidlitosphere now includes at least one vlog. I first learned of Bookwink, a children's literature video blog, through a two-part interview on School Library Journal's blog. Founded by former librarian Sonja Cole, Bookwink features many book suggestions for middle-grade readers and older. Welcome, Sonja!

Latter Day Pooters, Unite!

For a snide summary of a literary dust-up in Great Britian, I send you to Rachel Cooke's essay "Deliver us from these latter-day Pooters," in the Guardian. The snark factor makes it highly entertaining, with Cooke heaving insults at book blogs right and left. Rachel Cooke, a non-Pooter* herself, writes, " much of the stuff you read in the so-called blogosphere is so awful: untrustworthy, banal and, worst of all, badly written."

* In need of a Pooter tutorial, I turned to Wikipedia and its entry for the comic novel Diary of a Nobody, by George Grossmith.

With thanks to Mental Multivitamin for the link to the Guardian piece.

Announcements (fffffffh, ffffffh, crackle, crackle)

The seventh Carnival of Children's Literature will take place at Wands and Worlds on September 23rd. Deadline for submissions is tomorrow, September 15th. For details, go here. If you're new to blog carnivals,  Wikipedia can help you out with this definition,

A blog article that contains links to other articles covering a specific topic. Most blog carnivals are hosted by a rotating list of frequent contributors to the carnival, and serve to both generate new posts by contributors and highlight new bloggers posting matter in that subject area.

There's a nature-study carnival on the horizon at By Sun and Candlelight; the previous two were lots of fun and brimming with good ideas for enjoying the outdoors (and indoors: think books!) with children. Deadline is Monday, September 25th."Field Day: The Early Autumn Edition" goes up Wednesday, September 27th. Info here.

With the idea of helping out librarians making out next year's summer reading lists, MotherReader is asking for your top books of the year so far. I haven't yet gotten to compiling ours, but check out MR's blog for the skinny. This is when a list of the books we've read would come in handy. If I had such a thing. She wants 'em by Wednesday, September 20th.

Blog Rec: Wordswimmer

Wordswimmer is Bruce Black's blog about writing for children. In an e-mail, Bruce told me a bit about his site. He writes,

Mostly, I hope to explore different ideas about how stories come to the page... and what's necessary to keep a reader's attention. There are weeks when I'll dive into craft books and share insights (my own and others), other weeks when I might examine a  work of fiction myself and share my response. At some point I began asking writers to contribute their thoughts on their own writing process...

Go visit Wordswimmer. It's different from some of the other blogs about children's literature in that the focus is on the writing process. You will find some neat pieces on craft (points of view, plot reversals, and so on) and interviews, including a chat with Cynthia Leitich Smith. Bruce features lots of helpful links in his articles, too.