#KidLitCon Teams Up With RIF!

I am thrilled to see that KidLit Con is teaming up with RIF, in order to help RIF get books into the hands of those who need them.  RIF was a victim of the recent budget crisis and lost the federal funds that they rely on in order to perform their mission.  Colleen, one of the KidLit Con organizers released the following information on her blog:

I’m sure many of you are aware how RIF’s budget was decimated by the elimination of federal funds this year. I’m not going to get all political with you because the hard truth is that there are few painless answers to our economic mess. But cutting RIF is particularly harsh as it exists solely to put books into the hands of children who otherwise can not afford them. RIF is an investment in our future in the purest and most direct terms. When you think about that way, it’s hard to understand why anyone would ever put RIF on the chopping block but that is what has happened and now we just have to do what we can to make sure that future promise remains unchanged.

There are many generous groups and corporations who have stepped up to help RIF and for that we should all be grateful. KidLit Con is seeking to make a more personal and direct contribution as the funds we raise will be coming directly from book lovers in the pursuit of creating more book lovers. Now is the time, quite frankly, where we need to put up or shut up. If you are a writer or a librarian or a bookseller or a book blogger or if you read blogs about books then this fundraiser is targeted directly at you.

So that’s all of you, right?

Learn more  Colleen’s blog.  I’ll be donating and I hope you will, too!


Which of the Top 100 Have You Read?

Thanks to Teacherninja for this great meme!

So which of Betsy Bird’s Top 100 Children’s Novels have you read? Bold the titles of any books you have read.

100. The Egypt Game – Snyder (1967)
99. The Indian in the Cupboard – Banks (1980)
98. Children of Green Knowe – Boston (1954)
97. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane – DiCamillo (2006)
96. The Witches – Dahl (1983)
95. Pippi Longstocking – Lindgren (1950)
94. Swallows and Amazons – Ransome (1930)
93. Caddie Woodlawn – Brink (1935)
92. Ella Enchanted – Levine (1997)
91. Sideways Stories from Wayside School – Sachar (1978)
90. Sarah, Plain and Tall – MacLachlan (1985)

89. Ramona and Her Father – Cleary (1977)
88. The High King – Alexander (1968)
87. The View from Saturday – Konigsburg (1996)
86. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – Rowling (1999)
85. On the Banks of Plum Creek – Wilder (1937)

84. The Little White Horse – Goudge (1946)
83. The Thief – Turner (1997)
82. The Book of Three – Alexander (1964)
81. Where the Mountain Meets the Moon – Lin (2009)
80. The Graveyard Book – Gaiman (2008)
79. All-of-a-Kind-Family – Taylor (1951)

78. Johnny Tremain – Forbes (1943)
77. The City of Ember – DuPrau (2003)
76. Out of the Dust – Hesse (1997)
75. Love That Dog – Creech (2001)
74. The Borrowers – Norton (1953)

73. My Side of the Mountain – George (1959)
72. My Father’s Dragon – Gannett (1948)
71. The Bad Beginning – Snicket (1999)
70. Betsy-Tacy – Lovelae (1940)
69. The Mysterious Benedict Society – Stewart ( 2007)
68. Walk Two Moons – Creech (1994)
67. Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher – Coville (1991)
66. Henry Huggins – Cleary (1950)
65. Ballet Shoes – Stratfeild (1936)
64. A Long Way from Chicago – Peck (1998)
63. Gone-Away Lake – Enright (1957)
62. The Secret of the Old Clock – Keene (1959)
61. Stargirl – Spinelli (2000)

60. The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle – Avi (1990)
59. Inkheart – Funke (2003)
58. The Wolves of Willoughby Chase – Aiken (1962)
57. Ramona Quimby, Age 8 – Cleary (1981)
56. Number the Stars – Lowry (1989)
55. The Great Gilly Hopkins – Paterson (1978)
54. The BFG – Dahl (1982)
53. Wind in the Willows – Grahame (1908)
52. The Invention of Hugo Cabret (2007)

51. The Saturdays – Enright (1941)
50. Island of the Blue Dolphins – O’Dell (1960)
49. Frindle – Clements (1996)
48. The Penderwicks – Birdsall (2005)
47. Bud, Not Buddy – Curtis (1999)

46. Where the Red Fern Grows – Rawls (1961)
45. The Golden Compass – Pullman (1995)
44. Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing – Blume (1972)
43. Ramona the Pest – Cleary (1968)
42. Little House on the Prairie – Wilder (1935)
41. The Witch of Blackbird Pond – Speare (1958)
40. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz – Baum (1900)
39. When You Reach Me – Stead (2009)
38. HP and the Order of the Phoenix – Rowling (2003)
37. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry – Taylor (1976)
36. Are You there, God? It’s Me, Margaret – Blume (1970)
35. HP and the Goblet of Fire – Rowling (2000)
34. The Watson’s Go to Birmingham – Curtis (1995)

33. James and the Giant Peach – Dahl (1961)
32. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH – O’Brian (1971)
31. Half Magic – Eager (1954)
30. Winnie-the-Pooh – Milne (1926)
29. The Dark Is Rising – Cooper (1973)
28. A Little Princess – Burnett (1905)
27. Alice I and II – Carroll (1865/72)

26. Hatchet – Paulsen (1989)
25. Little Women – Alcott (1868/9)
24. HP and the Deathly Hallows – Rowling (2007)
23. Little House in the Big Woods – Wilder (1932)
22. The Tale of Despereaux – DiCamillo (2003)
21. The Lightening Thief – Riordan (2005)

20. Tuck Everlasting – Babbitt (1975)
19. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Dahl (1964)
18. Matilda – Dahl (1988)
17. Maniac Magee – Spinelli (1990)
16. Harriet the Spy – Fitzhugh (1964)
15. Because of Winn-Dixie – DiCamillo (2000)
14. HP and the Prisoner of Azkaban – Rowling (1999)

13. Bridge to Terabithia – Paterson (1977)
12. The Hobbit – Tolkien (1938)-I  am checking this one off because I have tried to read it no less than 15 times since the age of ten.  I have never been able to get more than halfway through without quitting!
11. The Westing Game – Raskin (1978)
10. The Phantom Tollbooth – Juster (1961)
9. Anne of Green Gables – Montgomery (1908)
8. The Secret Garden – Burnett (1911)
7. The Giver -Lowry (1993)
6. Holes – Sachar (1998)
5. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler – Koningsburg (1967)
4. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe – Lewis (1950)
3. Harry Potter #1 – Rowling (1997)
2. A Wrinkle in Time – L’Engle (1962)
1. Charlotte’s Web – White (1952)

If I counted correctly, then I read 76 of the top 100.  I read all of the top 27 and 46 of the top 50.  How about you?

Edublog Awards Nominations

The Edublog Awards are one of my favorite blogging awards.  Through the nominations I always discover new and interesting blogs.  This year, I decided to take the plunge and nominate a few blogs.

My nominations for the 2009 Edublog Awards are as follows:

Best individual blogJen Robinson’s Book Page:  Jen’s blog is amazing.  She posts thoughtful, insightful reviews of many middle grade and YA books.  And it that wasn’t enough, she also does the Kidlitosphere Round-up, Children’s Literacy and Reading News, and is the literacy evangelist for the Cybils.  Her hard work exposes books to parents, teachers, librarians, and many others!
Best resource sharing blogTwo Writing Teachers:  Stacey and Ruth are my own personal writing gurus.  The minilessons they share are always inspiring and never fail to make me sit down and plan out my own version.  They work hard to share new mentor texts and professional books with teachers while also writing their own book.  Finally, they encourage their readers to write alongside their students and they provide memes as opportunities to do this.  I love participating in their Slice of Life Tuesdays and Memoir Mondays!

Best teacher blogThe Book Whisperer: Donalyn Miller is the book whisperer; a teacher who can find the right book for any student in her classroom.  Her blog is a veritable treasure trove of book recommendations, classroom experiences, and her own reading life.  It should be required reading for any language arts or English teacher.
Best librarian / library blogHeavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog: Every year I run a mock Newbery with my 6th grade students.  That means I read, read, read.  I love to talk about my reading with other adults who enjoy children’s literature and that is why Heavy Medal is one of my favorite blogs.  Jonathan Hunt and Nina Lindsay do a phenomenal job posting thought-provoking questions about eligible titles and the conversations in the comments are almost scholarly.  I always leave the blog feeling like I have learned so much about children’s literature.

Reading in Middle School: Choice, Independence, and Community

It’s been a crazy few days for reading in the news.  First, I was devastated to learn that Reading Rainbow has been cancelled and its final episode aired on Friday.  I remember watching Reading Rainbow often as a child and singing the theme song even more often.

“Butterfly in the sky, I can go twice as high. Take a  look, it’s in a book…”  I can still picture the opening credits in my head!

According to vice president for children’s programming at PBS, Linda Simensky, “research has shown that teaching children the mechanics of reading should be the network’s priority…”  This breaks my heart.  It’s just another example of the mentality that mechanics and how-to takes precedence over why reading (and often writing) is fun and enjoyable.  As a teacher I can promise you that enjoying reading has taken my students to new heights and in my experience is just as important as those mechanics.  If you hate reading it doesn’t matter how well you can read, you still aren’t going to pick up a book.  And if you struggle with reading it’s hard to see a reason to enjoy it. It saddens me that PBS no longer sees teaching the enjoyment of reading as important but I plan to continue teaching and modeling that enjoyment in my classroom.

After reading about Reading Rainbow I was I was thrilled to see the “reading workshop” approach to teaching getting publicity with an article in the New York Times.  Motoko Rich’s  A New Assignment: Pick Books You Like isn’t ground-breaking- reading workshop has been around for decades- but any publicity for this way of teaching is good publicity in my opinion. There are thousands of teachers out there who are unfamiliar with the workshop approach, don’t believe it can work in this age of standardized testing, or don’t feel confident enough to take the plunge. Hopefully this article will encourage a few more to try it in their own classrooms.  Presenting students with choice in reading opens new worlds.  I have the anecdotal evidence from my own classrooms as do many other teachers. You only have to read my literacy surveys at the beginning of the year and the end of the year- you’ll see the difference in my readers.  Speak to their parents.  More importantly?  Speak to my students.  Having a choice in their reading leads to enjoying reading!

I don’t agree with every single thing in the article, just like I don’t agree with every single thing Nancie Atwell or Lucy Calkins preaches.  Lorrie McNeill, the teacher in the article, doesn’t believe in any whole-class novels.  While I use them (very) sparingly, I agree with Monica Edinger (a fourth grade teacher) that they can be very valuable.  Adults read with book clubs, so why not students?  I do agree with McNeill’s opinion that too many teachers overteach whole-class novels.  That’s the problem.  But this is why I love the workshop approach- you do what works for you and your students.

My teaching was shaped by my student-teaching experience.  I was extremely fortunate in that I taught at a Teacher’s College Reading & Writing Project school in New Jersey.  I attended staff development and saw the workshop approach work over my two semesters in third grade there.  My cooperating teacher was an inspiration and I’ve never looked back.  Nancie Atwell, Lucy Calkins, Kelly Gallagher, and so many more have been inspiring me ever since.  But my reading workshop isn’t identical to anyone else’s.  I teach 100 sixth grade students in 55 minute periods.  I have to modify the system to fit my classroom and my students.  For the record, I do think reading workshop works at its best with small classes for larger quantities of time, like McNeill’s classes.  But we all work within the parameters of our district.

Here’s a broad overview of my sixth grade reading workshop:

  • Independent Reading– The cornerstone of my workshop.  All of my students are required to have a book with them at all times.  We read in class, while I model by reading or conference with individuals.  At the beginning of the year I spend a lot of time modeling reading while easing into reading conferences with my students.  Our minilessons are related to each child’s independent book because I focus on comprehension strategies which can be applied to all books instead of lessons tailored only to a specific novel (a la the numerous novel guides out there).  My students begin the year with in-class reading logs while easing into letter-essay responses.  They also keep an at-home reading log that is collected once each month as a quiz grade.  The quiz is pass/fail and everyone passes as long as the log is turned in.  The logs, and later letter-essays, allow me to keep track of each student’s progress and help guide them.  I also have individual reading conferences with each student along with numerous informal chats in the hall, during homeroom, and hopefully online this year!
  • Read Alouds: Can you have two cornerstones?  Because read alouds are equally as important as independent reading in my class  We are always reading a book together.  This is a “for fun” book, as I tell my students.  They aren’t quizzed, tested, or graded.  What they rarely realize is how much they are learning from my modeling, thinking aloud, and our class conversations.  I choose books that they class wouldn’t normally choose to read on their own and the books are always a few level above my average reader.  We usually use Newbery buzz as a guide, trying to read the Newbery winner before it is announced in January.  Of course, we also read picture books, non-fiction related to the content areas, and numerous articles.  This year’s first read aloud? When You Reach Me.  See here if you are interested in what we read last year.
  • Whole class books:  The dreaded whole-class novel.  *shudder*  We do read books together.  These are different from our read alouds because the students are responsible for these books (tests, quizzes, or projects). One of the reasons I grade the activities attached to these books is because my students will experience reading class this way from 7th grade until graduating college.  It’s my job to prepare them.  We normally  read Natalie Babbitt’s Tuck Everlasting as we learn to annotate text and dig deeper. We read literary articles about the novel, including Horn Book’s amazing interview with Babbitt, “Circling Tuck: An Interview with Natalie Babbitt”. We also read Lois Lowry’s The Giver as we debate euthanasia, free choice, and so much more. Every year it is a wonderful experience. And nothing beats hearing kids moan and groan about a “boring book” before we begin reading it and then listening to their devastated reactions when Jesse and Winnie don’t end up together or debating whether or not Jonas made the right decision.
  • Book Clubs– We study the  Holocaust at each grade level (4-8) as part of our district initiative.  We read and research different aspects of the Holocaust before students break off into book clubs of their choosing. The groups read a variety of books, fiction and nonfiction, about different aspects WWII.  They take notes, do further research, and then present what they learn to the class.  Every year I learn something new and the students are able to dig even deeper into aspects of the war they might not have been familiar with before our book clubs.
  • Primary and secondary sources– Our students participate in National History Day each year and I love introducing them to primary sources!  Connecting with history through those who actually experienced it turns on so many students to research and helps them overcome the dread attached to the word “research”.

This is only a brief, very brief, summary of my classroom and my personal approach to reading workshop.  The reaction I get the most when I mention I use reading workshop is a frown followed by, “Don’t your  students just read “junk books?”  Of course.  However, they aren’t junk books to me or those students.  They are gateway books.  I watched this year as one of my most reluctant readers  read Twilight, followed by all of its sequels, every other vampire book she could get her hands on, and then Sarah Dessen, Laurie Halse Anderson, and eventually Wuthering Heights!  One person’s junk is another’s treasure, and that same junk opens up a whole new world to readers.  And that’s also why I am sure to include all the other aspects of my reading workshop- read alouds, book clubs, and even whole class selections.  My students are surrounded by books and words at all times.  Each book connects with each student differently.

Reading workshop works so well because it can be personalized by each teacher.  Every classroom is different.  Just check out some of these other responses around the blogosphere:

-Monica Edinger’s In the Classroom: Teaching Reading
-The Book Whisperer’s The More Things Change
-Lois Lowry’s I Just Became Passe’
-Meg Cabot’s How to Foster a Hatred of Reading
-Kate Messner’s Heading Off Book Challenges

Megan McCafferty News!

Megan McCafferty’s “Jessica Darling” series (Sloppy Firsts: A Novel is the first book in the series) is one of my favorites. I was so sad when the final book came out last month, even though I loved, loved, loved the resolution to the series. I was mostly sad that I didn’t have anything else to look forward to from McCafferty. And then I read this announcement from HarperCollins:

Alessandra Balzer at Balzer & Bray/HarperCollins Children’s Books acquired World English rights to New York Times bestselling author Megan McCafferty’s new novel in a two-book deal from Heather Schroder at ICM. Bumped is a sharply funny and provocative dystopian novel set in a world where only teens are able to have babies, and are contracted by adults to carry them to term. Megan is best known for her Jessica Darling series, which started with Sloppy Firsts and most recently ended with Perfect Fifths.

YAY YAY YAY!!!!  I literally did a little happy-dance when I read the announcement.  Anyone who reads my blog regularly knows that dystopian fiction is my favorite genre.  So dystopian fiction, written by one of my favorite authors?  Where do I sign up?! 

The only downside?  I apparently have to wait awhile to read it!  🙂

News from Around the Blogosphere

What an insanely busy day today.  With state testing starting next week, this week is crazy.  Tomorrow, my team at school is hosting a fundraiser for the Holocaust Genocide and Human Rights Education Center that our students will be visiting soon.  And I am hurrying to finish an assortment of books so that I can booktalk them to my students before standardized testing.  Testing is the perfect time to hook kids on a book, because when the finish their choices are to sit and stare at the wall or read a book.  And I strongly encourage them to read, rather than space.  😉

In light of my crazy to-do list, I have a review list that is backed up to last Wednesday.  Or somewhere thereabouts.  In the meantime, here is some news from around the blogosphere:

  • Donalyn Miller’s recent post about reading during testing certainly hit home.  My favorite part of testing – ok, really the only thing I like about testing- is watching my students open up their novels when they close their test booklets.  Those of you heading into testing season should take a moment and read this!
  • If you missed any of GottaBooks Thirty Poets/Thirty Days, be sure to check out Gregory K.’s wrap-up post. With poets like Marilyn Singer, Adam Rex, Nikki Grimes, and so many more- this is one not to be missed!
  • YPulse has a survey up which makes me very happy.  They polled tweens about their reading habits and I think many people will be surprised at some of the results.  90% of the tweens who responded say they “enjoy reading”.  Yay!
  • The kidlitosphere is a wonderful place and everyone takes care of each other.  Right now, there is a wonderful opportunity to help out one of our own: The Auction for Bridget Zinn.  

Three things happened to Bridget in February:
1. She got an agent for her young adult novel.
2. She got married.
3. She found out she had Stage Four colon cancer.  

From the website:

 Bridget is dealing with an ugly reality that is all too common in America today.  Even when you have insurance that covers most things, it doesn’t cover everything.  Medscape reports, “The cost of treating colorectal cancer has skyrocketed over the past 5 years or so, and the costs of new agents and regimens have risen 340-fold.”

Here’s how you can help.  A group of writers who have been impressed with Bridget’s friendliness and what can only be described as her radiant joy (even now) has banded together to help Bridget with the costs she faces.  One of the activities will be an online auction. 


Please check out the auction.  All of the items up for bidding are amazing!  And this is a wonderful opportunity to help out an amazing person.  Please check it out!

ARCs and Authors, Bloggers and Blogs! My Oh My!

There have been a lot of posts in the book blogopshere this week about requesting ARCs, cool vs. uncool blogs, emailing bloggers/reviewers, and blog angst.  I’ve been starring posts in my Google reader, drafting posts here on the blog, and thinking a lot of the posts over in my own head.  This is going to be a mish-mosh post of ideas from all over, but I wanted to get my say about some of these topics.  

I feel like I walk a fine line as a blogger sometimes.  TheReadingZone is the blog of a teacher, reader, reviewer, and technophile.  I am middle school language arts teacher who loves, loves, loves to read (and always has!).  When I started blogging I wanted to open a window into my classroom while also helping other teachers and parents find books for their tweens/teens.  Very quickly I realized that my real mission was to spread the joy of reading and reading aloud with kids who aren’t traditionally seen as readers or potential read-aloud audiences.  I’m not always sure which category my blog falls into.  Is this an education blog?  A book blog?  A kidlitosphere blog?  A YA blog?  A teacher blog?  Regardless of the category, I love reviewing books.  With or without the blog, I would be reviewing.  

A Teacher Who Blogs and Reviews….On and Off-line

Being a teacher/blogger puts me in an interesting position as a reviewer.  I don’t get boxes of books everyday, but I do get a decent amount of review copies (and a few ARCs here and there).  I’ve made it clear from the beginning that I do not guarantee a review for every book I read.  I would need 6542 hours in a day to read all the books on my TBR pile, do my school work, go to work, and have a normal life.  But I do promise to read every book I receive.  And I promise to booktalk all books to my classes, as they all end up in my classroom library.  ARCs and review copies move to my classroom library as soon as I finish reading them, where they are shared with my students.  I have between 50-100 students per year and every class reacts to review copies and ARCs the same way- with awe and excitement.  

Teachers are an untapped resource for publishers and authors.  This isn’t saying that all teachers want to read and share books with their students and not all teachers will have the time to devote to it.  But even a few books a year for a teacher will then be shared with their classes.  The anecdotal evidence in my classroom shows over and over that word-of-mouth is the best way to share books with kids and build buzz.  My kids devour books and recommend them to classmates, friends, cousins, online friends, and parents.  Just before spring break a group of my students was passing around Evermore (The Immortals), a book I read and did not get a chance to review. I haven’t seen the book in weeks- my students read it, passed it on to a classmate in a different class, and it’s somewhere down the line now. I’ll get it back before summer break, but I am thrilled that they are reading and sharing the book! I also have a another group of girls who bought the book because they didn’t want to wait for their turn to read it. And they all have the release date of the sequel written in their planners!  One review copy sparked all of this frenzy from kids who otherwise might never have discovered the series or Alyson Noel as an author.

While I sometimes feel guilty that I don’t get to review every.single.book I receive, I feel better when I watch my students read and recommend the books to each other.  And even better when I see them buying books!  Publishers need to reach out to schools and teachers, especially teacher bloggers.  We spend most of our lives in front of an untapped audience.  

But How Do I Get ARCs?  Getting Free Books Sounds Cool!

I get a few emails a week asking me how to get on ARC lists.  To be perfectly honest, I get very few ARCs.  The ARCs I do get usually come directly from authors or from giveaways.  I rarely ask authors for ARCs.  If an author asks for reviewers to contact them and it’s a book I want to read, I shoot off a quick email.  Megan McCafferty recently did this for the release of Perfect Fifths: A Novel. Because this is my favoritest series, I shot her an email and hoped I would get an ARC. I was extremely lucky and did! Do I get a ARC everytime? Heck no! But it’s worth the few minutes to type up an email or enter a comment contest.

If you are interested in ARCs, start up a blog!  But remember, while this is a hobby that I love, it is work.  Check out the blog angst posts the pop up every few months and you’ll see people who are retreating a bit.  There are days (and weeks) when I feel completely overwhelmed.  But I love the community in the blogosphere and I love my blogging colleagues and friends- people I have “met” online like Stacey at Two Writing Teachers, the amazing Kathi Appelt, Karen at Literate Lives, Jen at Jen Robinson’s Book Page, Terri at the Reading Tub, and so many more!  As a professional community, the blogosphere can’t be beat.   I also love having the ability to read books, build buzz, and shout my favorites from the mountaintops.  It’s so much fun!

If you do start a blog, begin with reviews of your own books- whether they come from the library or the bookstore.  Build up a blog, make sure this is something that you want to do, and create a blog that authors and publishers can take a look at when you contact them.  If they see you are reviewing they will be more likely to take your requests seriously.  How many reviews?  How long should you blog?  I don’t think there is one answer to this question.  I blogged for about 6-8 months before I started contacting publishers and publicists.  At about the 1-year mark I was starting to receive review copies.  

Company and Community

If you do start a blog, be proactive!  This isn’t high school- no one is too cool or too uncool.  Leave comments on blogs and posts you read (though I am notoriously awful at doing this myself).  Insert yourself into conversations.  Join blogging groups like the Yahoo Kidlitosphere group.  Put yourself out there!  And go to any events that you can- author readings at your local bookstore, online chats (like those at Readergirlz), industry events (like BEA and ALA), and anything else book-related.  The Kidlit Blogging Conference is awesome (or so I’ve heard…I’ll make it there someday!).  Just make yourself known and connect.  You’ll build a readership.  You’ll learn from other bloggers,  And you will network.  

Author Requests

Another hot topic this week was author requests.  I don’t receive a ton of author emails asking if I will read/review their books.  But I do enjoy receiving emails from authors who have taken the time to read my blog and my About Me page.  Do I care if they call me “TheReadingZone” instead of Sarah?  Nah, because I make it a point to leave my real name out of the blog as much as possible (it’s a teacher thing).  But I do care if they take the time to notice what I read and review.  I don’t read and review adult books, so it’s silly to request I do so for you.  However, if your book is education-related, then I might read it.  Just send a personalized email, not a form letter.  I try to respond to all emails.

As I said before, I don’t email many authors and ask for ARCs.  I hope and pray I get them in the mail or I watch author blogs and websites for giveaways.  And I go to industry events, like ALA and BEA.  You’ve gotta be proactive, baby! 😉



Like I said at the beginning, this is a long and rambling post.  I just wanted to put some of my thoughts out there because the “hot topics” this week really got under my skin and the words were starting to flow out of my blood vessels!  That’s what happens when I am on spring break and have more time to read blogs and respond to posts.  🙂

SLJ Battle of the Books!

SLJ’s Battle of the (Kids’) Books starts tomorrow and I can not wait!  I’ve been dying for it to start because I am a March Madness junkie.  Something that combines my love of kids books and the Madness?  Perfect!  And there is even a People’s Choice Poll!  So go vote for your favorite among the 16 contenders here and check out the standings here.  Don’t let your favorite book be left out in the cold. 🙂

News Around the Kidlitosphere

It’s been a busy day here- I was visiting a sick friend after school and didn’t get home until late!  But here are a few links I have been saving up for a few days.

  • Check out the trailer for Where The Wild Things Are.  I think it looks great!
  • SLJ kicks off Battle of the Books!  As an avid fan of both March Madness and children’s books, this sounds like it will be a lot of fun.  Be sure to check it out!  I’m rooting for quite a few of the books.
  • It’s National Poetry Month!  There is a lot going on out there, so here are a few great links-  30 Poets/30 Days over at Gotta Book sounds like it is going to be awesome.  30 different poems by 30 different poets!  He’ll be posting a previously unpublished poem by a different poet for each day in April.
  •  The Miss Rumphius Effect features Poetry Makers.    She’ll be interviewing thirty-six awesomepoets during the month of April. The schedule is here.

February Carnival of Children’s Literature

Be sure to set aside some time to check out the February Carnival of Children’s Literature this weekend.  Chock-full of great posts, you don’t want to miss this one!


In other news, I am sick. Again.  I have been sick for almost a month straight now.  Whatever is going around right now is awful.  Hoping I feel better tomorrow!