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Not the best-looking website, but a very interesting point: to my knowledge, most oral-history-collecting efforts are done amongst seniors. It would be interesting to collect oral histories from children, since it’s so hard to remember your earliest memories…

Anyway, that thought was about the West. This is an interesting look at the way Iran thinks about children’s literature.

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I am of the opinion that this type of program/title needs to become more of a “thing” if (a) children’s literature is to become more culturally valued and (b) education/literacy is going to be regarded as important.

In America we have the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, which doesn’t even have its own Wikipedia page. Ireland just created a similar position called the Laureate na nÓg, which is like the super-coolest name ever. Anyway, that’s my two cents.

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"As a secondary English teacher for 42 years, this was yet another affirmation that Alexie’s book was affecting the lives of students, even those not in my classes. Few books have elicited this kind of response from students. Comments from readers ranged from, “This is the first book I’ve ever read,” to, “I’ve been there Mr. D, honest. It’s my life story.”"

Classroom best place for controversial novel - Opinions | Tri-City Herald : Mid-Columbia news

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"The rise of screen-based media has not melted children’s brains, despite ardent warnings otherwise: “It does not appear that time spent using screen media (TV, video games and computers) displaces time spent with print media,” the report stated. Teens are not only reading more books, they’re involved in communities of like-minded book lovers. The Story Siren, a young adult online book review authored by an Indiana graduate student gets 3,500-4,000 unique page views a day."

McSweeney’s Internet Tendency: The State of Publishing: Young People Are Reading More Than You.

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from their mission:

The ICDL Foundation’s goal is to build a collection of books that represents outstanding historical and contemporary books from throughout the world.  Ultimately, the Foundation aspires to have every culture and language represented so that every child can know and appreciate the riches of children’s literature from the world community.

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One of my favorites! The whole thing is great, but the first few minutes are what apply to this blog.

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Project Gutenberg has free books in a variety of formats, including HTML and .pdf, and this is a link to its digital bookshelf of children’s books!

If you’re interested at all in the history of children’s literature, this is particularly valuable, because this stuff is in the public domain because it is old, old, old.

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Notes on Isolation

I was drinking out of my Princess mug (looks something like this) the other day after class… it was the day that Hannah had introduced us to the Bechdel Test, I believe. I realized: the Princess mug doesn’t pass the Bechdel Test, either.

Peggy Orenstein, in her NYT article “What’s wrong with Cinderella,” touches on the non-interactivity of the way that the Princesses are marketed:
 

"Mooney [Disney marketing executive] picked a mix of old and new heroines to wear the Pantone pink No. 241 corona: Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Ariel, Belle, Jasmine, Mulan and Pocahontas. It was the first time Disney marketed characters separately from a film’s release, let alone lumped together those from different stories. To ensure the sanctity of what Mooney called their individual “mythologies,” the princesses never make eye contact when they’re grouped: each stares off in a slightly different direction as if unaware of the others’ presence" (Orenstein, fourth paragraph on page 2).

However, Orenstein doesn’t explore the implications of this isolation. What do you guys think? Should the princesses be kept separate to maintain the “individual ‘mythologies’” or should they pass the Bechdel test?

(Originally posted by me at http://mediatinggenderthrufairytales.blogspot.com/2010/09/notes-on-isolation.html )

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written BY children

826 is a national non-profit that’s dedicated to helping kids with writing, both creative and expository (DREAM JOB!) They’ve highlighted some pieces that were written by kids on their website:


(from the LA chapter)
(chicago chapter)
(valencia chapter)
(boston chapter)

happy reading!

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From their “about” page:


Once, we were teenagers. Now, we’re both published writers and committed teachers who’ve decided to share what we know about writing and publishing young adult novels. Over a series of ten lectures we will study how to craft a marketable teen novel and offer practical advice on how to present your finished work to agents and editors who are actively acquiring manuscripts. Take one class, take all, take those that offer you the insights you need. In addition to sharing our own strategies for writing and revision, we will study critically and commercially successful teen novels and discuss the structural, artistic, and thematic elements that allow these works to resonate with such a wide audience. Between us, we have sold eleven novels to Simon & Schuster, Random House, Disney-Hyperion, and Penguin. We also have over twenty years of combined teaching experience. Wherever you are in your writing life, we look forward to meeting you and guiding you toward your finished story.

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As a child, I read because books–violent and not, blasphemous and not, terrifying and not–were the most loving and trustworthy things in my life. I read widely, and loved plenty of the classics so, yes, I recognized the domestic terrors faced by Louisa May Alcott’s March sisters. But I became the kid chased by werewolves, vampires, and evil clowns in Stephen King’s books. I read books about monsters and monstrous things, often written with monstrous language, because they taught me how to battle the real monsters in my life.

And now I write books for teenagers because I vividly remember what it felt like to be a teen facing everyday and epic dangers. I don’t write to protect them. It’s far too late for that. I write to give them weapons–in the form of words and ideas-that will help them fight their monsters. I write in blood because I remember what it felt like to bleed.

WONDERFUL BLOG POST. READ THE WHOLE THING.

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