Archive for April, 2011

Gary Schmidt has won two Newbery Honor Awards for Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy and The Wednesday Wars and one Printz Honor Award for Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy. His latest novel, Okay for Now, is a companion to the popular The Wednesday Wars.

Watch a free live webcast from the New York Public Library with Gary Schmidt on Monday, May 9, 2011 at 1:00pm EST. Sign up

Listen to Gary Schmidt talking about his new novel, Okay for Now.


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Friday, April 30 is El Día de Los Niños/El Día de Los Libros (Children’s Day/Book Day) that promotes books in many languages to children. The event is sponsored by the Association for Library Service to Children.
The ReadWriteThink website has an event description with suggested classroom activities, lesson plans and related resources.

The American Library Association has a nice booklet with celebration ideas and a booklist.

The Pura Belpré Awards also offer a list of books to support this day. These awards are presented “annually to a Latino/Latina writer and illustrator whose work best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in an outstanding work of literature for children and youth.” (ALA)

Teaching Resources for present and past Pura Belpré Awards

The Dreamer by Pam Muñoz Ryan – Gr. 4-8 (Discussion Guide)
Return to Sender by Julia Alvarez – Gr. 4-7 (Teacher Guide)
The Surrender Tree by Margarita Engle – Gr. 7-12 (Discussion Guide)

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In early April, The Guardian wrote an article entitled “Patrick Ness’s Top 10 ‘Unsuitable’ Books for Teenagers.”  Many of the young adult listservs have been chattered about the list ever since.

I think what gave me the most pause was that Catcher in the Rye was the first book on the list and often times is always the first book on a controversial list. I remembered when I was a teenager (too many years ago), my mother was reading the book which had been on library shelves for a while. Of course, I wanted to read it, too. I recall that her first remark was, “Oh, I don’t think you should read this book.” But she finally relented.  I read it almost immediately, and I must say it didn’t scar me for life because I read a controversial book.

Have you read anything controversial lately?

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I received an interesting email this morning about the winners of the Street Lit Award. I’ll have to admit…I wasn’t familiar with this award, but I found it very interesting since I used to work in an urban school district. I read a few excerpts, and most of the books will not be appropriate for a school library. They’re better suited for a public library and will probably have plenty of check-outs.

The award is described as follows:

The Street Lit Book Award Medal Committee comprises of a group of volunteer librarians and library workers from across the U.S. who work with Street Lit and its readers in public and school libraries. The Committee collected, discussed, and nominated titles based on library patron popularity, book club interest, and overall reception of the story as a valuable addition to the Street Literature genre.

Decoded by Jay-Z

Honor Books:
Damaged by Kia  Dupree
Welfare Wifeys by K’wan
The Streets Keep Calling by Chunichi
Diary of a Young Girl by Mark Anthony

More info about Street Lit on the ALA wiki.

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Back in March, Horn Book’s Roger Sutton wrote a blog post on Read Roger about a current author’s concern about a lack of interest by publishers in historical fiction.

My feeling…..I suspect publishers have a lack of interest in historical fiction because of their expected bottom lines. The books simply have to sell. When I worked in school libraries, I was an advocate of more reading across the curriculum….especially with my social studies teachers. Unfortunately, today’s teachers have to spend too much time worrying about their students passing standardized tests and less time finding the resources they need.
Using historical fiction is a perfect way to engage students in the social studies content area…and more reading will inevitably increase a publisher’s bottom line.

If you want to read some top historical fiction for children and teens, use these great lists from ALA.
Top 10 Historical Fiction for Youth: 2011
Top 10 Historical Fiction for Youth: 2010
Top 10 Historical Fiction for Youth: 2009

For more books, take a look at the list of books that won the Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction.
In January, the site updated the list of book winners by historical period.
Here’s another list with historical fiction for teens by time periods.

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The end of the school year is coming up soon. If you work with teens, this summer will be the perfect time to read the nominated books for the 2011 Teens’ Top Ten. Since teens will be reading the top ten selected books in August and September, you will be ahead of the game for Teen Read Week, October 16-22. You’ll be able to suggest other titles for your teens to read during the fall.
This is a very interesting list because the nominated books are selected by teens…..and not adults who sometimes have a different perspective of what teens should be reading.

The 25 nominated titles with a few book-related teaching links from our database include:

Angel by James Patterson
Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver   (Audiobook Excerpt)
Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld
Blessed by Cynthia Leitich Smith
The Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick   (Reading Guide)
Demonglass by Rachel Hawkins
Drought by Pam Bachorz
The False Princess by Eilis O’Neal
Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
I am J by Cris Beam
I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore   (Book Website)
Iron King by Julie Kagawa
Lies by Michael Grant
The Lost Gate by Orson Scott Card
Love, Inc. by Yvonne Collins and Sandy Rideout
Matched by Ally Condie
Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins   (Discussion Questions)
Nightshade by Andrea Cremer
Paranormalcy by Kiersten White
Red Moon Rising by Peter Moore
Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce
The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
You Killed Wesley Payne by Sean Beaudoin   (Book Trailer)
Zombies vs. Unicorns edited by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier

Click here for an annotated list.

All Amazon links are affiliate links for Linda’s Links to Literature.

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There are so many eReaders currently on the market, how would you ever make up your mind which one was the right one for you?
This is a nice article from eSchool News about eReaders. There is a comparison chart and a description of over 10 different eReaders.

I admit I still don’t have an eReader yet because I haven’t quite decided which one. I guess I still like the feel of the book in my hands. I have friends who favor the iPad, or the Kindle, or the Nook, or the Sony. What a dilemma?!  At least I get to see the eReaders first hand before I make up my mind.

Do you have a favorite?

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