Sunday, October 26, 2008

Recent article round-up

It's a bit of a sleepy Sunday; Harvard Square and the surrounding parks are full of people lounging about in the glorious late-October sunshine. Here are some great children's lit articles from all around the internet to enjoy with your Tealuxe (better known at the George as "Tealicious"), or your lazy fall day beverage of choice.

- Beacon Street Girls vs. Gossip Girl: Last week, NPR hosted a showdown between creators Addie Swartz and Cecily von Ziegesar regarding girls, reading, and morality. Will girls learn bad behaviors by reading about "bad" girls, and good behaviors by reading about "good" ones? Do the benefits of reading -- anything at all -- outweigh the value of content? And who determines the worth of a book's content? von Ziegesar, Swartz, child development specialist Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, host Tom Ashbrook, and various callers debated these questions for the full hour, and while a Mean Girls-style slap-fight never broke out, there was a lot of very heated discussion. Meanwhile, the New York Times seems to weigh in (no pun intended) on the Beacon Street side, with an article about BSG book Lake Rescue in a study on combating teen obesity.

- More bipartisan picture book reviews: In the New York Times, Bruce Handy worries that books like Barack Obama: Son of Promise, Child of Hope and My Dad, John McCain over-idealize candidates for young readers. He also points out that nobody's attempted a Palin picture book biography (yet).

- Gaimanfest, part zillion and three: Locus's review of Margo Lanagan's Tender Morsels, an intriguing new YA fantasy, includes a bit about The Graveyard Book. In the best Gaiman description ever, they call Neil "the Boss, the fantasy equivalent of Springsteen." NPR also has a great piece on Mr. G and The Graveyard Book, called "Parenting Neil Gaiman Style: It Takes a 'Graveyard'."

- Up-and-coming author alert: Kelly Link's creepy short story collection Pretty Monsters, with illustrations by the amazing Shaun Tan, is another book on our must-read list. She was recently in Boston on a book tour and did an interview with the Phoenix.

- And just for fun, the best books that never were: The Guardian asks, "Which are the best books that never existed?" Some children's lit-related suggestions that came up in Shelf Awareness were The Princess Bride by S. Morgenstern, Inkspell by Fenoglio, and Tom Riddle's diary from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. What other books do you wish were real? Arthur Spiderwick's Field Guide to the Fantastical World Around You? The Never-Ending Story? The Gossip Girl website? The Marauders' Map?

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