Welcome to the March Carnival of Children’s Literature

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It is with the greatest of pleasure that I present to you today the March 2011 Carnival of Children’s Literature! The carnival is thronging with people so to help you find some delights I’ve tried a couple of new things.

I’ve highlighted first-timers in blue. If you’re a first-timer and I’ve inadvertently not highlighted you please let me know.

I’ve also selected my favourite posts of those submitted – ones that I was particularly glad to have discovered thanks to the Carnival, and I’ve highlighted those in pink! I really hope members of the kidlitosphere won’t see this as divisive. I merely wanted to highlight a few of the wonderful posts in this carnival which is overflowing with interesting ideas, reviews and comments.

So, without further do let’s join the crowd and see what everyone’s chatting about!

If you do not have the time to hook up with everyone at the carnival please click immediately below for posts on specific topics:
Early Literacy | Historical Fiction | Interviews | Books inspiring fun projects | What it’s like being an Author or Illustrator | Picture book reviews | Nonfiction | Fiction for older readers | Poetry | Illustration | A few more gems

Early Literacy

  • On Learn Live Laugh, Elizabeth Baldwin shares with us how she helps her son with Learning Letters. She’s also got a short list of great looking picture books which begin with A, and that reminded me of MotherReader‘s ABC Storytime series of posts.

  • Read Aloud Dad presents an absolutely fantastic post – How Reading Aloud Made Me A Better Father posted at Read Aloud Dad. This one really made me smile. Read Aloud Dad candidly admits “My babies’ naturally limited (non-existent) ability to respond verbally to my words was somehow an excuse for me to limit my own communication” but then goes on to explain how reading books to his twins saved the day: “Children’s books almost magically opened up the the channels of communication. They broke down all the walls.

  • Historical fiction

  • Shelf-employed reviews The Glorious Adventures of the Sunshine Queen posted at Shelf-employed. “It’s like Mark Twain for kids” says Shelf Employed – sounds good doesn’t it! There’s also an interesting final paragraph about cover illustrations for historical novels – should they celebrate or hide their historical identities?

  • Angela Craft presents Book Thoughts: Connections to History posted at Bookish Blather. In her post Angela highlights a book about the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, “an important part of history – of immigration, worker’s rights, and women’s rights“, but one she only learned about through a book, and not at school.

  • Juliette Harrisson presents Pop Classics: The Roman Mysteries: The Gladiators from Capua posted at Pop Classics. A glowing review from Juliette tells how a tripartite narrative enables readers to witness the inaugural Games in what was to become known as the Colosseum as participants, as the people in the best seats in the house, and also from the very top tiers of the amphitheatre. The novel doesn’t shy away from gore and may not be for every child, but on the basis of Juliette’s review I’ll certainly be looking out for this book.

  • Alex Baugh presents an engaging review of Back Home by Michelle Magorian at her blog, The Children’s War. Alex also tweeted an interesting article from the Guardian about the experience of children who were evacuated which pairs up very well with her review.

  • Amy presents a review of a children’s book about the American Civil War, The Storm Before Atlanta posted at Children’s Books and Reviews. She describes the author’s storytelling style as “astute, playful” and notes that the book “manages a commentary on the effects of war that is both subtle and profound.”

  • Jeff Barger presents an extremely timely review of Lizzie Newton and the San Francisco Earthquake at NC Teacher Stuff. As Jeff comments, “Historical fiction is a great way for students to become interested in a real event.” And if you liked the sound of Amy’s review of The Storm Before Atlanta, you should check out this post to see which book got Jeff interested in the American Civil War.

  • Lisa Taylor presents a guest post by Esther Friesner entitled Haunted by History posted at Kidlit Celebrates Women’s History Month 2011. It’s all about what Fiesner likes to call “the Great Historical Novel Attitude Schism” and the belief held by some “that fictionalizing history can trivialize it.

  • Interviews

  • Matthew Finch recently travelled to Chicago for just 36 hours solely to interview YA author Nnedi Okorafor. You can read all about it in his post Nnedi Okorafor: (Re)Writing Destiny, posted at Matt’s blog Books and Adventures.

  • Jax at Making it up has a two-part interview with author and illustrator Rebecca Elliott – you can read part 1 here and part 2 here. One of the questions Jax poses to Elliott is “What do you think the impact of e-readers is likely to be on picture books – will it adversely affect sales?” What would your answer be? Do click through to see how Rebecca Elliott answered!

  • Margo Tanenbaum interviews debut children’s novelist Randi Barrow, author of Saving Zasha over at The Fourth Musketeer. Margo describes Saving Zasha as ” a good dog story, [with] a terrific dog heroine (and no, she doesn’t die at the end!) … perfect for middle schoolers“.

  • April Halprin Wayland presents an interview with folksinger/songwriter Bob Reid who teaches kids how to write their own songs in her post March is Music In Schools Month! And Happy Poetry Friday! over at Teaching Authors–6 Children’s Authors Who Also Teach Writing. This post will get you toes tapping – do click through to hear an example of Reid’s music.

  • Catherine Nichols presents An Interview with CYBILS Winner Jacqueline Jules posted at The Cath in the Hat. Jules was winner in the Short Chapter Books category for Zapato Power: Freddie Ramos Takes Off. In the interview she talks about her reaction to winning a Cybil, how she started writing and what she’d like as her own personal superpower!

  • In her post Let’s Continue Reading for the Joy of It – Simcha/Joy posted at forwordsbooks Kathy Bloomfield presents a round up of books that have brought her joy and kept her up into the small hours. Whilst she doesn’t want us to loose any sleep, she’s happy to provide “a note to your teacher/boss explaining why the book kept you up so late that you overslept and were late for school/work” should we be swept away by the books she’s chosen!

  • Books inspiring fun projects

  • I only own 3 pairs of shoes (and one of them is for the garden) so I’m not exactly a shoe person, but I loved Roberta Gibson’s activities and review of Shoes for Me Book posted at Wrapped in Foil.

  • Eric Van Raepenbusch presents Happy Birthday Steve Light – March 19 posted at Happy Birthday Author. In this lovely post Eric and his kids are inspired by Steve’s book The Shoemaker Extraordinaire to get up to a really fun crafty project after my own heart – go check it out!

  • Valarie Budayr has uncovered a secret chocolate ball recipe which can turn a witch into a mouse and she shares it with us alongside her review of The Witches by Roald Dahl posted at Jump Into A Book. The recipe sound divine and very easy for kids to make themselves.

  • Cheryl Rainfield presents Edible Books posted at Cheryl Rainfield:. This look wonderful! I want one for my birthday 🙂 If Cheryl’s post literally whets your appetite, you might like to look at the flickr account for the Seattle Edible Book Festival, or take inspiration from this post at The Guardian, with instructions for making a Gruffalo cake.

  • My own contribution to this month’s carnival is a review of The Race of the Birkebeiners by Lise Lunge-Larsen, illustrated by Mary Azarian as part of my Reading Round Europe project. Take a look at how my girls transformed themselves into Birkebeiners complete with birchbark armour!

  • March saw the birthday of one of the biggest names in books for young readers and listeners – Dr Seuss. Nichole and her child made a fantabulous birthday card a fantabulous birthday card to wish “Happy Birthday” to Dr. Seuss! over at Just Children’s Books.

  • Maggy at RedTedArt has reviews of two picture books and presented a really fun salt dough project inspired by them in her post Kids Get Crafty – Coloured Saltdough Dinosaurs & Pooh.

  • Holly presents The Trouble With Chickens posted at LitLad. Check out the very cute chicks in eggs Holly made with her kids! A perfect read and activity with Easter just around the corner.

  • What it’s like being an Author or Illustrator

  • Mary Ann Rodman has written a great piece, The 29 Minute Picture Book posted at Teaching Authors–6 Children’s Authors Who Also Teach Writing. It’s all about the process and time it takes to write a picture book.

  • Fantasty writer Stephanie Burgis shares her joy in unwrapping copies of her latest book in her post The Great Unboxing. She’s like a kid on Christmas Day – check out her beaming smile!

  • Bethanie Murguia presents 30 Lessons Learned, #22: It’s More Than Just 32 Pages posted at Bethanie Murguia: Sketchpad. She muses on how once an author’s book is being published, the hard work doesn’t stop there; an author has to throw themselves into marketing and publicity.
  • Analisse Reyes presents Judged by the Cover posted at Publishing 101. Analisse recently received the Preliminary Cover Proof for her new picture book. “It seems as if my publishing journey is coming to an end, but this (marketing) is only the beginning.”

  • Ruth Sanderson presents Picture Book apps – shorter is sweeter posted at e is for book. In her post she writes about how some of her out-of-print books have been translated into iPhone apps.

  • Picture book reviews

  • Susan Stephenson presents Children’s Book Review, Feathers for Phoebe posted at The Book Chook. The front cover illustration is so inviting! Definitely a book I’ll be on the look out for.

  • Rachel from Even in Australia has a round up of rain and umbrella themed picture books in her post A Torrent of Good Books. Have you got any umbrella picture book recommendations you could add to Rachel’s list?

  • Janelle has a pair of Tooth Fairy Books – Silverlicious by Victoria Kann / April and Esme Tooth Fairies by Bob Graham posted at Brimful Curiosities for us to enjoy.

  • If you’re yet to be won over by Mo Willems’ books head on over to Chris Singer’s review of I Broke My Trunk posted at Book Dads. His enthusiasm alone will make you want to get hold of this book!

  • Jennifer Wharton reviews You can do it! and I can do it too! by Karen Baicker, illustrated by Ken Wilson-Max at Jean Little Library. Jennifer says of these books “I’m so pleased I bought these for our library, I see years of love ahead of them!

  • Just in time for Easter Amy Pertl-Clark presents a review of Emily Gravett’s wonderful book The Odd Egg posted at Emmy’s Book of the Day.

  • Lynda Appuhamy presents World Book Day: A Book to Inspire your Children to Garden posted at Out2play in the garden. In her post she introduces us to one of my all time favourite picture books – click on through and find out what it is!

  • Kerry Aradhya presents Give the Gift of Reading…Dance Books! posted at Picture Books & Pirouettes. A part of 2011 Share a Story-Shape a Future this question was posed to participants: “If you were asked to create of package of five books to gift to a child, what books would you include in your gift? Include one book for each year (infant to age 5).” Kerry’s response to this question is what her blog post is all about.

  • In answering the same question as Kerry above, Jen Robinson presents Giving the Gift of Literacy to New Parents posted at Jen Robinson’s Book Page. What books do you give to new parents and their newborns? If you’re stuck for ideas go and get some inspiration from Jen’s post.

  • As part of a month long look at picture books that have been made into films, Sandie Mourão presents And the winner is … The Lost Thing posted at Picturebooks in ELT. Of Tan’s film The Lost Thing, Sandie says it is “goosepimply brilliant,” and made her return to the picture book with fresh eyes, aware of new, previously overlooked details.

  • Nonfiction

  • Regular readers of Playing by the book will know that I love to use books to travel around the world, and so it will come as no surprise that I particularly liked Amy Broadmoore list of 10 Books About Children From Around the World posted at Delightful Children’s Books.

  • If you liked Amy’s list you’ll definitely want to check out Katie Sorene’s list of 8 Books to Teach Your Kids About the World posted at Tripbase. There is a some overlap with Amy’s list but also some different books suggested. What book would you have included in the list?

  • Tammy Flanders presents Lives torn apart posted at Apples With Many Seeds. With all that is happening in the Middle East at the moment Tammy’s review of Out of Iraq: refugees’ stories in words, paintings and music by Sybella Wilkes is very timely.

  • Shirley Duke presents ELEPHANT TALK posted at SimplyScience Blog. Shirley writes “This is a book sure to please budding scientists, reluctant readers, nonfiction lover, and anyone interested in animals–and it’s a fun read. This book belongs in every nonfiction collection.” That’s a pretty ringing endorsement!
  • Now that spring has sprung in our neck of the woods, barely a day goes by with me being on my bike, so I was particularly interested to read Lori Calabrese’s post The bicycle’s effect on women’s lives – a review of Wheels of Change: How Women Rode the Bicycle to Freedom over at Lori Calabrese Writes!

  • Fiction for older readers

  • Mary Ann Scheuer presents Dogtag Summer, by Elizabeth Partidge (ages 10 – 14) posted at Great Kid Books. All about a 12 year old called Tracy who knows that her mother was Vietnamese and she was adopted when she was six, just after the Vietnam War ended, this interesting review reminded me of this fascinating radio programme I heard on the BBC (and which you can still listen to).

  • Marisa Wikramanayake presents two reviews of books for older children, Terry Pratchett’s I shall wear midnight (2010) and a pair of less well known Lewis Caroll books, Sylvie & Bruno (1889) and Sylvie & Bruno Concluded (1893) posted at Jacket & Spine.

  • Amitha Knight presents her review of Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan at her blog Comments for Monkey Poop. Amitha admits that she had been reluctant to pick up this book, but in the end was won over “by its authenticity, by its courage, and yes, by its heart“.
  • Anastasia Suen highlights Bobby The Brave (Sometimes) on her blog Chapter Book of the Day.

  • Poetry

  • Kathy Stinson shares a poem with us – An Ancient Child by Lynn Davies, posted at Turning the Pages: Kathy Stinson’s Blog.

  • Gregory K. announces the 2011 Edition of 30 Poets/30 Days! at GottaBook There will be at least one previously unpublished poem each day each by a different poet for the entire duration of this poetry celebration – what a treat!

  • Illustration

  • 6 year old Lili sent the following question to Frances McKay Illustration: “Am I like David Hockney?” Do take a look at the lovely responses in the post submitted by Elena Gomez at Frances McKay Illustration.

  • A few more gems…

  • Liz presents Reading Magic by Mem Fox: Book Review and Information posted at Children’s Books to Love. Reading Magic isn’t a children’s book, but “it’s an amazing book for parents about reading aloud to kids. A must-read!

  • Marjorie presents Mongolia: Dashdondog Jamba and the Mongolian Mobile Children’s Library posted at PaperTigers Blog. I thought the mobile library we visited as part of our Librarithon was pretty special, but the Mongolian Mobile Children’s Library sounds amazing!

  • One of my favourite posts this Carnival is from Kate Coombs who writes about Secret Weapons: Choosing the Right Books at Book Aunt. Kate talks about choosing “The right book for the right child” and gives plenty of interesting examples.

  • Ali at Fantastic Reads shares what she got up to for World Book Day and World Book Night in her post for the Carnival. Anthony Horowitz, Book Crossing, Unhooking the Moon and an exhortation to “Buy fewer books, but from independent shops, and use your library more” all feature in her post.

  • Kelly from The Lemme Library brings two posts to the carnival – Book Talk Tuesday, part of a weekly series where she invites teachers, parents and librarians to link to a recent book talk or book review that can be used by others and Tween Fiction, “the best Tween Fiction from the last 12 months.

  • Brenda Kahn muses on learning something new everyday at Proseandkahn. All about collaborative learning with her students whilst working on podcasts, it makes me wish I had had a teacher like Brenda!

  • Laura Grace Weldon presents a moving and profoundly personal post about the impact one particular book had on her as a child. How The Secret Garden Saved Me, posted at Laura Grace Weldon, is all about the power of a book to provide solace and hope even during the darkest times.

  • Katie Davis presents Day 6: Give More Than You Get and You’ll Get More Than You Give posted on her blog, the eponymous Katie Davis. It’s all about Twitter Book Parties and the generosity that exists in the Kidlitosphere.

  • Natasha Worswick brings this month’s carnival to a close with a post all about children’s books featuring only children, ie children with no siblings: Does only have to mean lonely? Lots of books feature three children in a family, lots of books help prepare a child for the arrival of a sibling, but are there any books which celebrate a child who has no brother or sister?

  • It’s been an honour to host this month’s carnival. If you submitted an article but it hasn’t appeared here, please leave me a comment and I’ll update the post – it’s been so busy that there is a chance one or two submissions may have slipped through the net.

    30 Responses

    1. Kelly

      Thank you so much for this thoughtful, organized carnival! I found and subscribed to at least 5 new blogs- and that was on my 1st read through! I know how much work this takes, and I appreciate it so much!

    2. Zoe

      Hello Kelly, Christ, Amy, Liveotherwise and Jennifer, Hope you find something new to savour. It’s a large carnival and I hope people won’t feel it inappropriate that I’ve highlighted some posts in particular – I just wanted to aid navigation and make reading the carnival enjoyable rather than daunting!

    3. Gregory K.

      Wow! What a lot of work…and what a great looking carnival. Breaking things into categories was very helpful for me as a reader. No way I could do all the links at once, but one category at a time? Absolutely!

    4. Elena Gomez

      Thank you so much for all the hard work in hosting this carnival. We are delighted to be included, and we’re in pink! Just wonderful!

      I’m off to enjoy all the other entries now.

      Many thanks,

      Elena Gomez

    5. Tasha

      Wowzers! Such an amazing list… I have lots of reading to do and lots of new blogs to explore. How exciting! Thanks so much for including me 🙂

    6. Jeff

      Zoe, the Carnival looks terrific! I like the categories and have no problem with you highlighting particular posts. This is very easy to navigate. I do feel bad for the hosts since this looks like a ton of work. Is the Carnival getting too big?

    7. Kathy Bloomfield

      What an excellent job you did, Zoe. Not only did you include all of these extraordinary blogs, but you read them all as well. This must have kept you up until the wee hours. Your organization is brilliant and your design beautiful. Thank you so much for all your hard work.

    8. Ali B

      Thank you for this, Zoe. I’m steadily enjoying the list, and have already ordered Nnedi Okorafor’s Akata Witch- no doubt there will be many more!

    9. Shirley

      This is a wonderful–and comprehensive–job! Congratulations for taking this to a new level.
      Thank you. It’s lovely!

    10. Carmela Martino

      Thanks so much for compiling this, Zoe. I especially like the way you highlighted your favorites and first-time contributors. The HAUNTED BY HISTORY post is now one of my favorites, too.

    11. Library Mice

      So much inspiring stuff to read, it’s overwhelming!
      Thank you for compiling this Zoe, I was really chuffed to take part :0)

    12. Laura Grace Weldon

      What a rich offering. I’ve got a glass of wine and a fire in the fireplace, so I’m ready to start clicking and savoring each one. Thank you for not only including my post but honoring me with the coveted pink highlight. That’s why I’m celebrating with this glass of wine!

    13. Liz

      Wow, great carnival Zoe, and so much work with all of these posts! I really like the way you have organized them. The categories are brilliant and I don’t think the highlighting is divisive, it’s a great way to highlight your favorites!

      I am always humbled reading through everyone’s wonderful posts about children’s books, very inspiring.

    14. Sandie Mourão

      Your carnival is goosepimply brilliant 🙂
      So many posts and so nicely presented. Thank you for all yr hard work and enthusiasm for everyone’s work. And thank you for making me pink, I’m very proud.

    15. Sheila Ruth

      Lovely job with the carnival! I can see you put a tremendous amount of work into it. It looks beautiful and your organization and highlighting makes it easy to navigate.

    16. Valarie

      Thank you so much for hosting such a wonderful carnival. I’m enjoying visiting everyone’s sites and getting to know them better. I’ve really been enjoying your site and look forward to coming back often. Be well and thanks again.

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