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Book awards make good news

I'm writing this from Boston where I attended the American Library Association midwinter meeting and where the Youth Awards were announced. Actually, I was part of the process.

Curl up with... a Kindle?

I got a Kindle for Christmas, and before too long it found its way into the hands of Molly (9) and Anna (7).

If you're unfamiliar with Amazon's eReader, the Kindle, or eReaders in general, they're portable electronic devices that allow you to download, store and read books wirelessly. Different from a laptop, most eReaders are not backlit, which means you can't view the screen in the dark but you can read in bright sunlight, something you can't do with a laptop. Most eReaders rely on something called eInk, which uses a low-power, high contrast "electronic paper."

You had a lot to say about...

Happy New Year! January is a great time to look ahead, but I also like to revisit the past to remember some highlights. Several blog topics seemed to resonate with readers (using comments as a barometer), and for me that provides guidance about other topics I should write about in the coming year.

New Ambassador for Young People's Literature

I've been scooped!

The New York Times reported earlier today that the new ambassador was to be appointed today — at the Library of Congress. I'm not sour grapes, though. One of the reasons this posting is so late is that I got to attend the program at which Ambassador Jon Scieszka became emeritus and Katherine Paterson began her two-year term.

Making memories

Today is the first official day of winter but on the last weekend of autumn, we got a foot (plus) of snow. It's beautiful and (beyond havoc) creates a picture perfect background for the winter holidays.

I was reminded of the season of giving when I read a recent picture book by Jan Fearnley entitled Milo Armadillo (Candlewick).

So long, Mr. Ambassador

This December marks the last month of Jon Scieszka's tenure as the first National Ambassador for Young People's Literature. For two years, Mr. Scieszka (the author of several children's books and founder of Guys Read) has worked to promote a love of reading and books. He's been particularly focused on helping parents and teachers reach the reluctant reader, one he describes as "that's the kid who might be a reader, who could be one, but just isn't that interested in reading."

Unconventional, or just a good story?

I recently came across a piece online that suggested that there are more books about more things that we'd never have seen even just a few years ago.

I do suppose that's true. I can't think of many subjects that are off limits for children's books these days.

A list of lists for the holidays

This time of year, there are a zillion lists: to-do, must-do, "can't go to bed until this is done" lists, and then there are those designed to help us wrap up our holiday shopping. Below are some of my favorite lists, maybe there's something here for you too!

Perhaps the most comprehensive collection of book recommendations, our Annual Buying Guide includes books for kids ranging from 0-4 to 8-9 year olds.

Excitement builds!

December is an exciting month. Children of all ages are getting ready for the holidays and a break from school and classes. (I know my son is in countdown mode.)

It also signals the end of a year and the start of a new one.

Thanksgiving continues

I hope everyone had a fine Thanksgiving. Ours was filled with family, friends, food, a bit of football, and lots of conversations.

It was also a time to catch up with young people who were home from college for the long weekend.

One young woman I've known for most of her life is now a freshman at a Virginia university, pursuing her interest in studio art and art history. She's always been introspective and rather quiet, but she and I have always shared an interest in the arts including literary.

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"The man who does not read good books is no better than the man who can't." — Mark Twain