If I’m stuck for ideas whether book or play related I’ll often turn to one or more the of bulletin boards, mailing lists or email groups I subscribe to. On posting a query you normally get a very quick response and people are keen to help. Here are some of the mailing lists and groups I’ve found particularly helpful.
Yahoo group nfmon · Nonfiction Monday
This is an email list for readers, writers and reviewers of nonfiction books for kids. There are lots of nonfiction authors in the group and there’s also very useful automatic reminders for upcoming Nonfiction Monday events and Children’s Literature Carnivals.
Yahoo group EcoLit
“This is a discussion group for children’s and YA librarians, children’s lit specialists, teachers, and other educators to share information on text, digital, and multimedia resources that help enlighten young people, birth to age 18, about a wide range of environmental-related issues.” Lots of enthusiastic people on this list, and a great resource.
Yahoo groups Kids activities
“We share indoor and outdoor activities, ideas and tips for kid’s games, science projects, history journals, arts crafts, scrapbook ideas, book making, lap book ideas, note booking, projects, easy recipes, lesson plans, tips, gifts, links, wacky snacks, circle time activities, file folder games, felt board stories, geography, educational scrapbooks, creativity, music activities, board games, party ideas and a wide variety of educational activities. The ideas here come from childcare providers, home educators, home school, librarians, teachers, authors, daycare providers, writers, artists, moms, grandparents, etc.” I’ve picked up lots of good ideas from this group, though sometimes messages can be off topic.
There are many different crafty forums at AllCrafts.net – useful if you’re looking for something particular eg an activity with polymer clay or knitting. There’s a separate kids’ craft board, although many kids’ crafts are interspersed throughout all the other boards. There’s also a board dedicated to highlighting your blog if you blog about crafty things. You’ll need to register to be able to post.
Google groups rec.arts.books.childrens
A group for all aspects of children’s literature. Particularly good at anniversaries, birthdays and obituaries for children’s authors.
Child Lit email group at Rutgers
“Child_Lit is an unmoderated discussion group convened for the express purpose of examining the theory and criticism of literature for children and young adults. The list exists for anyone interested in discussing aspects of these broad fields, including authorship, illustration, publication, promotion, readership, reception, criticism and literature’s changing social functions and implications.” Of all the book related mailing lists I belong to this is the most stimulating and active. Highly recommended if you are passionate about kids’ books.
The Children’s Book forum on Amazon.co.uk
To access this bulletin board you’ll need to sign in to Amazon with the details you use to order books. I’ve found response times on these boards very fast, and the comments are particularly helpful if I’m looking at something UK related (eg an author who is popular here but not so well known elsewhere).
Children’s Books Community on Amazon.com
This works the same way as the Amazon.co.uk board but is not a copy of the same discussions – rather the people on the boards are primarily from the US and so is great if you want to tap in to a different reading audience. You do get a fair amount of authors promoting their own books – this can be double edged as sometimes authors promote their books even if it has no relevance to the query you’ve posted, but on the other hand you do get to find out about brand new books by authors and illustrators you might not otherwise know about.
Do you know of any other mailing lists, groups or bulletin boards which are helpful resources when it comes to finding book and kids’ craft ideas? I’m sure there must be more out there!