Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The December Carnival of Children's Literature

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the 'net
every blogger was blogging, without a regret.

The badges were hung on the sidebar with care,
In hopes that all readers soon would be there;

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of Wimpy-Kids danced in their heads;

A Bedtime for Bear would be given to all.

When out on the 'net there arose such a clatter,
A Carnival full of books on a platter.

Away to computers we flew like a flash,
Tore open our readers and read in a dash.

Children's news, reviews, and latest interviews
Gave the lustre of books to the holiday blues.

When, what to our wondering eyes should appear,
But a gathering of the Kidlitosphere!

With reviewers and parents, so lively and sure,
It must be the Carnival of Children's Literature.

More rapid than eagles librarians they came,
And they whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;

Jen Robinson's Book Page! Now, the Scrub-a-Dub-Tub!
MotherReader, Cynsations, it's quite a neat club!

To your Google Reader! To Blog Navigator!
You won't find kids lit news anywhere greater!

As there's book after book and more recommendations,
you'll find the most liveliest conversations.

So on the computer the bloggers they wrote
With a case full of books and their time to devote.

And then, in a twinkling, we heard on the roof
The typing and blogging of each little hoof.

As they drew in their heads, and were turning around,
Down the chimney the carnival came with a bound.

It was full of good books, from Brain Jack to Ling & Ting,
And reviews were all raving about the next new thing.

A bundle of books it had flung on its back,
And it looked like a library opening its pack.

Its books -- how they twinkled! Its reviews how merry!
Its guides were like roses, its lists like a cherry!

Its bounty of booklists will make your hearts glow,
Books for kids of all ages will help young minds grow;

The joy of reading's what it's looking to share,
And to help a young reader find books everywhere.

This society is full of gift books for all
Through contests and giveaways. Just answer its call.

Giving children access to learn how to read
Sharing literacy tips, they began to proceed.

A click of their mouse and they published their posts
All joining together from East and West coasts.

They spoke not a word, but went straight to their work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,

And laying their fingers aside of their nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney they rose;

They sprang to their sleigh, to their team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.

But I heard them exclaim, ere they drove to their nook,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-book."

Picture Books

Anastasia Suen at Picture Book of the Day introduces us to 10 Little Penguins: A Pop-Up Book by Jean-Luc Fromental: 
"A fun book for the wintry weather. It has counting, poetry, and it's a pop-up book, too!"

Sometimes I Like to Curl Up in a Ball
Liz at Children's Books to Love loves Charles Fuge and recommends Sometimes I Like to Curl Up in a Ball by Vicki Churchill and Charles Fuge:
"The stunning pictures are coupled with sweet rhymes by Vicki Churchill describing what Little Wombat likes to do with his day. Little Wombat is strikingly similar to most toddlers in that he likes to play hiding, jump up and down, scream as loud as he can, spin round and round to dizziness, and pull funny faces."

Help! S-O-S for Parents introduces us to Pixie and Trixie Bug by Lauri B. Rosen:  "The text is written in a nice, comfortable rhyming format and is fun to read. The overall theme of the story is that we are all unique and special."

The Gifts
Janelle at Brimful Curiosities reviews The Gifts by Regina Fackelmayer:
"The Gifts made it on last year's The Horn Book Magazine's Holiday High Notes and rightly so. This picture book glows with holiday warmth and focuses on the spirit of giving."

Dear Rebecca, Winter Is Here
The approach of the winter solstice caused Brenda Kahn at Prose and Kahn to reflect on some of her family's favorite winter picture books:
"While I love a great deal about winter and snow and crisp cold days, I miss the sun and sunlight. I have always felt the lack of sunlight organically. When I learned about Seasonal Affective Disorder some years ago, I was actually relieved! I'm not so affected that I need one of those sunlight lamps. As long as I get out of doors in the middle of each day, I can deal. But I definitely begin mourning the loss of daylight at the summer solstice.Thinking about this reminded me of some older family favorites..."

The Nutcracker

at Playing By the Book brings us a series of reviews of picture book versions of The Nutcracker as part of her series, Stories in Tune:
"The Nutcracker Ballet with music written by Tchaikovsky and a libretto adapted from E.T.A. Hoffmann’s story “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King”, could barely be more appealing to young children. The story, set at Christmas, is full of toys who come to life, a hard fought battle, animals who behave like humans, sweets galore and a happy ending with a marriage to a prince. So with a cracking story (pun intended, sorry!) and wonderful melodies, The Nutcracker is perfect for introducing kids to some magical classical music and an enduring story."

Zoe at Playing By the Book also brings us part 2 of her Stories in Tune by sharing the fun and games they enjoyed while reading the books and listening to Tchaikovsky's music.

The Cow Loves Cookies

Jeff Barger at NC Teacher Stuff reviews The Cow Loves Cookies by Karma Wilson:
"This book just seemed to open the thinking floodgates in my class. I was pleasantly surprised to have a "deeper read" than expected. The Cow Loves Cookies is a whimsical read aloud full of surprises and delightful illustrations that will get your kids' minds buzzing."

Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You? (Bright and Early Books for Beginning Beginners)
Jen Drake at MyBossisTeething.com points out some of her son's favorite books in her post, "As a Matter of Fact, Mr. Brown, I Can Moo":
"My son is a total bookworm! Twice a day, we read about 10-15 books in a row, which lasts about 30-40 minutes (I’m still amazed Pudgy stays focused that long!). Interestingly, he has definite favorite books. So much so, that if I try to read a book that is not one of his favorites, he starts fussing before I can get to page 2. But I’m always on the lookout for new books to add to his repertoire (for my own sanity, if nothing else). Here are some of his favorites..."

Holler Loudly

Pat Zeitlow Miller at Read, Write, Repeat provides us with a Kid Review: Jake is blown away by Holler Loudly by Cynthia Leitich Smith:
"The book has a strong southwestern sound, engaging language and a likeable character. And Barry Gott’s illustrations are crisp, clean and colorful."

Ruth and the Green Book (Carolrhoda Picture Books)
Jennifer Wharton at Jean Little Library reviews 257 of the 262 fiction picture books nominated for Cybils 2010! (Note - there are still a couple reviews scheduled to post, the last will go up December 31st). Check out her review of  Ruth and the Green Book (Carolrhoda Picture Books) by Calvin Alexander Ramsey:"There are plenty of nonfiction books about the struggle for civil rights for African-Americans, many of them in picture book form. This, however, is the best one I've seen so far for early elementary students. Or for older children for that matter"

Good Night, Little Sea Otter
Right Here at Lori Calabrese Writes!, I recommend Good Night, Little Sea Otter by Janet Halfmann:
"This is a wonderful story to share with your little ones as they say good night to the moon and stars. Children will look forward to bedtime just so they can share a good night with their own ocean friends and they'll feel as though they're right under the twinkling stars as they gaze at the rich, colorful art by Wish Williams."

Middle Grade/ YA Non-Fiction:

Navigators: Oceans and Seas

Shirley at Simply Science reviews Navigators: Oceans and Seas by Margaret Hynes:
"In another life I would be a marine biologist and this book confirmed that idea. In the new series, Navigators, Oceans and Seas is an in-depth look at the life in and around the oceans. It defines oceans and seas and provides information about the physical as well as life science of marine environments"

The Story of Salt
Tammy Flanders at Apples With Many Seeds reviews The Story of Salt by Mark Kurlansky:
"The Story of Salt...takes this fascinating topic and spins out the history and science of this substance – its chemical makeup, why the body needs it, which countries exploited it for economic reasons, and how people have used it for centuries. This is an adaptation of his adult best seller, making it accessible for kids, ages 9-12."

Journey into the Deep: Discovering New Ocean Creatures (Junior Library Guild Selection)

Roberta Gibson at Wrapped in Foil reviews Journey into the Deep: Discovering New Ocean Creatures (Junior Library Guild Selection) by Rebecca L. Johnson, a Cybils MG/ YA Nonfiction Nominee!:
"Readers learn about cutting edge science, view glorious full-color photographs of creatures never seen before, and get glimpses into the lives of scientists at work. It is so appropriate for kids at an age where they are getting ready to explore their world, as well as starting to think about their career options. This book is sure to inspire everyone to want to study marine biology."

Middle Grade/ YA Fiction:

Sugar and Ice
Jama Rattigan at Jama Rattigan's Alphabet Soup celebrates the release of Sugar and Ice by Kate Messner:
"It's time to put on our sparkly skirts, lace up our skates, and do a triple toe loop and a couple of flying spins to celebrate the official release today of Kate Messner's brand new middle grade novel, Sugar and Ice (Walker, 2010)!!"

Z-Kids at Bookie Woogie discuss Shadow by Suzy Lee: 
"Dad: Today we are taking a look at the book "Shadow." Wow. What did Suzy Lee do inside these pages?
Gracie (age 10): She created magic.
Dad: We are big Suzy Lee fans."

Don't You Know There's a War On?

Alex Baugh at The Children's War reviews Don't You Know There's a War On? by Avi: "This is not really a book about the war as much as it is a book in which the war acts as a catalyst for setting things in motion. Howie speaks exactly like a kid from Brooklyn, and I know what that’s like because I was a kid from Brooklyn."

Threads and Flames
Margo at The Fourth Musketeer reviews Threads and Flames by Esther Friesner:
"2011 marks the 100th anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire, one of the most important events in American labor history.  This anniversary makes the release of Threads and Flames by Esther Friesner particularly timely."

The Crowfield Curse

Kate Coombs at Book Aunt provides us with her top ten MG/ YA picks of 2010:
"I suspect the only real dark horse on my list is The Crowfield Curse, a fine book I feel has been underappreciated, though it does pop up with an awards nomination here and there. I will note that I'd rather see an astonishing book that takes risks and has a couple of flaws than a book that plays it safe and makes fewer mistakes."

The Charlatan's Boy: A Novel

Sally Apokedak at Whispers of Dawn reviews The Charlatan's Boy: A Novel by Jonathan Rogers:
"I am also, always, pleasantly surprised by the depth of the stories Rogers writes. So, since a couple of bloggers on the tour have mentioned that they didn’t find strong spiritual elements in the book, I thought I’d look at the climax of the story, because I thought it was such a strong picture of salvation."

Nan's Journey

Deb Black
at Litland.com provides us with a list of some of her recent young adult reviews, including Black as Night: A Fairy Tale Retold by Regina Doman and Nan's Journey by Elaine Littau.


Library Lion

Cynthia Leitich Smith
at Cynsations continues her Writing Across Formats in Children's Literature author interview series with Michelle Knudsen:
"Michelle Knudsen is the author of 40 books for children. Her best-known title is Library Lion, illustrated by Kevin Hawkes (Candlewick, 2006), which was a New York Times bestseller and has been translated into several languages. Her latest book is a middle-grade fantasy novel called The Dragon of Trelian (Candlewick, 2009, paperback Jan. 2011)(sample chapter)."


Aaron Mead
at Children's Books and Reviews interviews Cynthia Leitich Smith:
"Here’s another in my series of kidlitosphere blogger interviews. Today I report on my interview with children’s books author and blogger Cynthia Leitich Smith (abbreviated “CLS” below), who blogs at Cynsations."

Literacy & News:

Jen Robinson at Jen Robinson's Book Page presents a fascinating article, "Reading and Grade Levels: Keeping it Fun: A Booklights Reissue."
"I posted on my blog on Friday [in June of 2009] about the question of whether or not it's a good idea to encourage kids to read above their grade level. I was inspired by an excellent post on this subject by Dashka Slater at Babble. I discovered very quickly that quite a few people have opinions on this."

Read Aloud Dad
presents Why reading aloud is for losers:  "Don't be afraid. Just say it. Reading aloud is for losers! Yes. It’s true. Some parents (Dads - I am looking at you) who have not yet started reading aloud to their kids on a daily basis, still hope that they can have their cake and eat it too. But if you are about to embark on the read-aloud ferry, it is high time you faced the brutal facts."

Elizabeth Dulemba is thrilled that Paco is a Ripple Read to Me Book:"Ripple is a wonderful tie-in with our kidlit world as it is a way for family to share stories from far away and adds an audio element for kids having difficulty learning to read. I'm thrilled one of my books is available in this program!"

Carmela at Teaching Authors was inspired by Scholastic's new "You Are What You Read Website" and shares the titles of five books that most influenced her in her post, "My BookPrint, An Update, and Some Buzz":
"After entering my books on Scholastic's site, I was surprised to find that, at least so far, I'm the only person with my bookprint. In fact, only TWO current members of the You Are What You Read site have more than one of my books in their profiles. I hope more readers will join the site so that I can find more "readers like me."

Dee White at Dee Scribe informs aspiring young writers who are interested in writing their own stories in her post, What Will I Write About?:"Ever find yourself staring at a blank screen or piece of paper and wondering where to start? I do and I'm an author."

Carol Rasco
at Rasco from RIF has been giving a lot of thought to poverty's effects on our children:
Carol says, "the poem featured in this post says a great deal to me on the topic of poverty."

Lynn Hazen at Imaginary Blog shares a great art and literacy activity where students made "gifts" for the characters in her YA novel, SHIFTY:
"What a gift to the author to see this--so inspiring. The students really showed a lot of creative thought toward the characters and the story by the gifts they chose to give." This art and literature activity can be used with students for any book with memorable characters."

Pam Coughlan
at MotherReader presents some ingenious ideas in her post, Ways to Wrap a Book:
"I love matching picture books with gifts because there are so many fun choices! For teens? Not so much. Also, teens are more likely to truly appreciate the gift of a book without something extra. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t make it a little fun. Here are ten ways to wrap a book for teens and tweens."

Lee Wind at I'm Here. I'm Queer. What the Hell Do I Read? gives his social commentary critique of the Christmas Song, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and what it teaches us about kids and bullying and forgiveness. Let's all celebrate our own difference!:
"My wish for this holiday season, going into 2011, is that we all work to get to the place where we go beyond tolerance. Beyond acceptance. That we create a world where we celebrate our differences and as we go there, we GLBTQ Red Nosed reindeer will keep saving the world, one gift of ourselves at a time."

What an amazing array of posts! Thanks to all of the contributors and I hope everyone enjoys the Carnival! If you'd like to learn more, please visit The Carnival of Children's Literature Information Page at Anastasia Suen's website and please join us next month at Challenging the Bookworm Blog! For now...


  1. This is great. I love all of the sites and books presented. Great Carnival Lori!

  2. This is a great Carnival of Books Lori! Looks like a lot of interesting books and fun too.

  3. Hi Lori,
    thanks for a brilliant Carnival! Would love to join in with my post, http://bit.ly/fViNs7, "Rudolph The Gay Reindeer - On Bullies, Forgiveness, and the Holidays" My social commentary critique of the Christmas Song and what it teaches us about kids and bullying and forgiveness. Happy Holidays to all, and to all a wonderful 2011!

  4. I know I'm a little early, so if anyone didn't get their links in, either email me or leave them here in the comments and I'll gladly get them in!

    Thanks, Brandon and Kristi! Hope everyone's able to get in some holiday blog reading! :)

  5. Thanks, Lee. What a great post and a great message to end this month's carnival!

  6. Such a cute, creative Christmas poem, Lori. Thanks for compiling the carnival links this month!

  7. I love your opening poem Lori - raised a big smile! Thanks for hosting this month.

  8. The Carnival looks great and your poem is so cute and clever. Thanks!


  9. Yay! Awesome post and wonderful poem Lori! :) e

  10. Lori--Your poem is great, cheery as well as clever! Thanks for all your hard work!

  11. Lori, what a great Carnival...the poem sets the tone in such a fun and festive way! I fear the Congressional work I was doing along with the necessary follow up work precluded my adherence to the deadline, but I share here with all of you the post I had the intention of submitting: http://www.rascofromrif.org/?p=13998. During the lead-in to the holiday period and this current post-holiday period, I am giving a lot of thought to poverty's effects on our children; the poem featured in this post says a great deal to me on the topic of poverty.

    Happy New Year to all!

  12. What a gorgeous carnival and wonderful poem. Loved it!

  13. This looks great, Lori! Thanks so much for hosting this month!

  14. Glad everyone's enjoying the carnival!

  15. Carol,

    You're not too late. I just included your post. With the economy the way it is, it's something the whole country should be worried about!

    Thanks for sharing.

  16. Thank you, Lori; you were certainly brave to take on the end of year Carnival!

  17. Thanks so much for this excellent Carnival, Lori! I especially love your poem!

  18. Thank you, Lori! The poem is terrific and everything looks great. I second Carol's comments about your bravery.

  19. Great poem and wonderful carnival, Lori! Thanks so much for hosting this month :).

  20. Love the poem, Lori.

    You have done a fabulous job with the carnival. Thanks for including me.


  21. So glad so many people could contribute considering all the holiday hub-bub! Thanks, everyone! :)

  22. Hi Lori.
    Sorry, to be thanking you so late about the great job on the carnival. The poem was good fun.
    Happy New Year.
    Apples with Many Seeds

  23. This comment has been removed by the author.

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