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KidLit Advisory

Every book its reader.

May 28th, 2008

Help with PhD thesis @ 04:50 pm


I’m not sure if this post is allowed here, it not I apologize in advance and please feel free to delete it.

I would like to ask some help from you with a PhD thesis.

If you have any further questions, please let me know.



April 3rd, 2008

For a friend. @ 04:07 pm

Friend says:

"Ok, I've looked elsewhere, but I will leave no stone unturned. Please let me know if this rings a bell - or actually more than that, if you know the novel I am talking about:

I remember reading this young adult scifi novel as a kid (say 1980-1985). The basic plot is a girl goes to some special "institute" or something after school. I don't recall all the details of what happened there, something special. But, in addition to that, she got Baked Alaska, which was her favorite dessert. I think the Baked Alaska is the key to this mystery. Please help me find this novel!"


Salisbury University Children's Literature Festival @ 10:20 am

I was lucky enough to attend the Salisbury University Children's Literature Festival yesterday. Several authors spoke, the first of which was David Wiesner.

Nice blurry picture, eh?

Mr. Wiesner gave a fascinating talk about his influences (Edward Gorey, comic books, and some really cool 1930's wordless woodcut novels), his artistic development, and how his books evolved.

Then it was Phillip Hoose's turn:

Mr. Hoose talked about Hey, Little Ant, as well as the process of researching The Race to Save the Lord God Bird.

Finally, there was a panel about environmental writing. The authors talked about integrating environmental awareness into their books.

From left: Adrian Fogelin, Jean Davies Okimoto, the facilitator, O. R. Melling, and Cambria Gordon.

In the evening, I attended the Green Earth Book Award ceremony and reception. You can read about all of the award winners here.

March 24th, 2008

Summer reading for 6 - 12 @ 11:07 am

Hello! I'm a university student applying for a summer job at my local library. It's mostly desk work but a large part of it entails running the youth summer reading program for ages 6 - 12. It will mostly be entertaining/keeping track of the participants. I think this year's theme is The Amazing Race/Read - you reach a location/pitstop for every 50 pages read. The books for the program have already been chosen but the list won't be released until June.

Problem: I haven't read a lot of kid's lit for several years! The last time I was reading at an elementary school level was when Harry Potter was first published. In other words, I'm a little out of date. I would like to go into my interview and, hopefully, the job with the ability to recommend some good kid lit books beyond what I myself read at that age.

My question to you is this: What books would you recommend for a summer reading program for kids age 6 - 12? The program runs the gambit, from non-fiction to historical to science fiction, whatever. You can name as many or as few titles as you want! I'd just like to have a good starting point for getting back into kid's lit.

March 12th, 2008

"American Girls" series for boys? @ 04:31 pm


I feel like such a bad lib asst.! I had a parent ask me about a series her friend had recommended, of a "boy version" of the popular American Girl series books. I'd never heard anything about this type of book being offered, and a quick peruse of the American Girls site indicated nothing of the sort. I know there are other historical fiction beginning chapter books such as the "I Am America" series, but I haven't heard anything about an "American Girls" for boys and wasn't able to come up with anything. Anyone heard anything about this? Or was this patron's friend just confused?


February 29th, 2008

Airships ahoy! @ 08:47 am


Just finished a wonderful book - Mortal Engines, by Philip Reeve. It's a sort of post-apocalyptic steampunk novel set many centuries in the future, when most of human civilization has evolved into something called municipal Darwinism. Cities roam about on big wheels, devouring smaller cities. It's excellent, and I completely overlooked it when it came out in 2003 because Voya gave it a quality rating of 3 out of 5. Durr.

Steampunk is a term I've only become aware of in the the past six months. I can't believe there is now a word for the melding of my two favorite things: the Victorians and science fiction. I now realize that some of my favorite novels can retroactively be classified as steampunk - His Dark Materials, to some extent; The Diamond Age, by Neal Stephenson (not YA exactly, but certainly of interest to smart teens), etc.

Can you guys think of others? I already know of Larklight, also by Philip Reeve, and it is on my reading list.

February 25th, 2008

A Guarded Recommendation @ 01:13 pm


I picked a book at random and read it on Saturday, and despite the fact that it is well-written, fast-paced, and has boy appeal, I hesitate to recommend it. Why? Because Lowji Discovers America is a book about an Indian boy written by an American woman with no discernible Indian background, and I find that troubling.

I feel like a real stick-in-the-mud because of this, but I just can't see myself recommending this book to an actual child. In the case of an Indian or Indian American child, it would feel presumptuous to say, "Here is my country's take on your cultural experience." In the case of a child from a different background, I would worry that I'm promoting an inaccurate portrait of another culture's experience. Lowji's voice rings true to me, but then I am also an American woman with no discernible Indian background.

So, there you have it. Lowji Discovers America is a refreshingly light-hearted look at what it's like for a nine-year-old Indian boy to move to a small town in Illinois, but it's by a white chick, so do with that what you will.

(P.S. - This South Asian woman doesn't have a problem with it, so maybe it's just me.

February 22nd, 2008

Atomic Books! @ 11:29 am


Hey, I'm looking for Children's books that are about/ allude to nuclear war, cold war, atomic bombs, anything like that. This is for a project for school. So far I've got A Swiftly Tilting Planet, The Butter Battle Book, And The Magician's Nephew. I'd love to find one book though that is historical fiction or a story that takes place after a nuclear war if such a thing exists in children's lit.

February 13th, 2008

Great Advisory sources for Jewish books for kids @ 11:58 am


I'm a librarian in a Hebrew school in Brookline, Mass, so I thought I would post these resources for anyone interested in Jewish books for kids:

The Book of Life Podcast (http://www.bookoflifepodcast.com), a monthly podcast showcasing children's lit and interviews with authors, and

Association of Jewish Libraries website (www.jewishlibraries.org), which has extensive lists of recommended reading for all ages and links to lots of other great resources as well.


February 11th, 2008

Will you be mine, won't you be mine... @ 04:15 pm


So, my complaint about most Valentine's Day books for wee readers is that they never take their audience into account. Either they portray some take on romantic love that's going to go way over the head of a three-year-old, or they celebrate oppressive mother-love, which leaves moms teary-eyed but bores toddlers to tears. (Runaway Bunny and Love You Forever, I'm glancing your way). (Actually I am in the minority in the higher brow children's lit community in that I actually like those books, but they are definitely books for parents, not kids.)

Anyhow, when I found this little gem last week, I had to share:

Cynthia Rylant has written a slightly syrupy, yes, and sing-song-rhymey ode to Valentine's Day for very young children. It is structured as a series of conditional clauses ("if you'll be my valentine") addressed to the things and people a toddler loves best - his cat, his dog, his teddy bear, his parents. Two-page spreads depict the valentines that the child would give to each recipient, along with the activities promised to them if they will consent to be his valentine. He will kiss the kitten's nose, read a book about frogs with his older brother, and make funny faces with Daddy. The pictures are large, cheery and reassuring. My two-year-old endorsed it with six requests to read it again, which is high praise indeed.

Other good lovey books:

Mama , Do You Love Me?, by Barbara Joosse, illustrated by Barbara Lavallee. More unconditional mother-love, but with added mukluks and musk oxen.

Rotten Ralph's Rotten Romance, by Jack Gantos, illustrated by Nicole Rubel. A refreshing antidote to Valentine's Days filled with "sticky, gooey, wet, drippy kisses."

How about you? Know any good Valentine's Day books?

KidLit Advisory

Every book its reader.