Monday, March 31, 2008

New Element to Sidebar: WorldCat

I've added a WorldCat search feature to the sidebar of BlogJoy, under Books in My Library. WorldCat lets you search the collections of libraries in your community and thousands more around the world. When you type in the title of a book in the search feature, you will be taken to a page with a list of all libraries in your local area that has the book in their collection. It's like one stop shopping! I use several local libraries and now, rather than searching for a book on each library's website, I can use WorldCat to find which library has the book. But, that's not all you can do at WorldCat! Here's a list of resources available:

  • Search many libraries at once for an item and then locate it in a library nearby

  • Find books, music, and videos to check out

  • Find research articles and digital items (like audiobooks) that can be directly viewed or downloaded

  • Link to "Ask a Librarian" and other services at your library

  • Post your review of an item, or contribute factual information about it

You can also make lists, search for other peoples' lists, or create a bibliography. Enjoy!

Friday, March 28, 2008

StoryTubes 2008 National Contest

From the website:

StoryTubes is here! From New York to California, kids in Grades 1-6 are talking up their favorite books. You can too! Along with your parent or guardian, follow these simple steps: Make a 2-minute video about your favorite book; Upload the video to YouTube; and Come to this StoryTubes website and send in the link to your uploaded YouTube video using the online Contest Entry Form. Beginning April 1, your video becomes part of a national contest!

Voting mania will then begin and happen each week in May! At the end of each week, one lucky contestant will win $500 in books. Their sponsoring organization (school, library or designated organization for home-schooled youth) will receive $1,000 in books.

Four Video Categories:
Hair-Raising TalesFrom or For the HeartOf Heroes and HeroinesFacts, Fads and Phenoms Tell the story about your favorite book today. When entering, please don’t use your last name in the video. Entries will be evaluated on creativity, content and performance. Everybody wins when kids get excited about stories. Help get the word out! Posters and flyers are downloadable here.

Monday, March 24, 2008

CBC Announces Finalists for the First Annual Children’s Choice Book Awards

The Children's Book Council is an assoication of publishers of trade books for children and young adults in the United States and is the official sponsor of Children's Book Week.

The CBC has just announced the nominees for the First Annual Children’s Choice Book Awards. The Children’s Choice Book Awards program was created to provide young readers with an opportunity to voice their opinions about the books being written for them and to help develop a reading list that will motivate children to read. There are 25 finalists in 5 categories:

Favorite Book for Grades K-2

  • Dino Dinners, by Mick Manning and Brita Granstrom (Holiday House)
    Five Little Monkeys Go Shopping by Eileen Christelow (Clarion)
  • Frankie Stein written by Lola M. Schaefer, illustrated by Kevan Atteberry (Marshall Cavendish Corporation)
  • Three Little Fish and the Big Bad Shark written by Ken Geist, illustrated by Julia Gorton (Cartwheel Books/Scholastic)
  • Tucker’s Spooky Halloween by Leslie McGuirk (Candlewick Press)
Favorite Book for Grades 3-4
  • Babymouse: Camp Babymouse by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm (Random House for Young Readers)
  • Big Cats by Elaine Landau (Enslow Publishers)
  • Monday With a Mad Genius written by Mary Pope Osborne, illustrated by Sal Murdocca (Random House for Young Readers)
  • The Richest Poor Kid written by Carl Sommer, illustrated by Jorge Martinez (Advance Publishing, Inc.)
  • Wolves by Duncan Searl (Bearport Publishing)
Favorite Book for Grades 5-6
  • Beowulf: Monster Slayer written by Paul D. Storrie, illustrated by Ron Randall (Lerner Publishing Group)
  • Encyclopedia Horrifica by Joshua Gee (Scholastic Paperbacks)
  • Ghosts by Stephen Krensky (Lerner Publishing Group)
  • The Short and Incredibly Happy Life of Riley by Amy Lissiat and Colin Thompson (Kane/Miller Book Publishers)
  • When the Shadbush Blooms written by Carla Messinger with Susan Katz, illustrated by David Kanietakeron Fadden (Tricycle Press)

2007 Author of the Year

  • Anthony Horowitz, Snakehead (Alex Rider Adventure) (Philomel/Penguin)
  • Erin Hunter, Warriors, Powers of Three: The Sight (HarperCollins)
  • Jeff Kinney, Diary of Wimpy Kid (Abrams)
  • Rick Riordan, Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Titan’s Curse (Disney Book Group)
  • J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Scholastic)

2007 Illustrator of the Year

  • Jan Brett, Three Snow Bears (Putnam/Penguin)
  • Ian Falconer, Olivia Helps with Christmas (Simon & Schuster)
  • Robin Preiss Glasser, Fancy Nancy and the Posh Puppy (HarperCollins)
  • Brian Selznick, The Invention of Hugo Cabret (Scholastic)
  • Mo Willems, Knuffle Bunny Too: A Case of Mistaken Identity (Disney Book Group)
Children will be able to cast their vote for their favorite books, author, and illustrator at bookstores, school libraries, and at until Sunday, May 4, 2008.

The Children’s Choice Book Award winners will be announced live at the Children’s Choice Book Award gala on May 13 in New York City as part of Children’s Book Week (May 12-18, 2008), the oldest national literacy event in the United States. This initiative is a new component of Children’s Book Week and follows on the heels of the appointment of the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, a national program initiated by the Library of Congress and Children’s Book Council.

"My Dog May Be a Genius:" Prelustsky and Stevenson Together Again!

If you are a book geek like me, a trip to the bookstore on a Saturday night is your idea of fun! Last night, my son and I went to the bookstore and I bought My Dog May Be a Genius written by Children's Poet Laureate Jack Prelutsky and illustrated by James Stevenson. This infamous duo also brought us The New Kid on the Block and It's Raining Pigs and Noodles. Publisher's Weekly gave My Dog May Be a Genius a starred review, stating, "The "reigning czars of silliness" have once again teamed up to bring readers an irresistible collection of poems that will have tongues twisting, imaginations soaring, and sides aching with laughter. The result is genius, indeed." But fans of Prelutsky and Stevenson don't need a starred review to know that this book will be terrific!

Here's a little teaser from My Dog May Be a Genius...

The View from Here

The view from here is very strange,

the porcupines are flying.

The crocodiles are laughing,

and the kangaroos are crying.

A bobolink is bouncing

on a tiny trampoline,

a panda's flipping pancakes--

it's no ordinary scene.

An elephant is singing,

and a donkey does a dance.

An octopus is juggling

a variety of plants.

A centipede is sneezing

in an armadillo's ear,

and storks are turning somersaults--

I like the view from here.

Jack Prelutsky's website has poems from many of his poetry books as well as author information, activities for the classroom and home, and a poetry contest. The Poetry Foundation is an invaluable resource for poetry and has a plethora of information on Jack Prelutsky. Watch an interview with Jack Prelutsky on the Reading Rockets website and a webcast of him presenting at the 2007 National Book Festival. Scholastic's Writing with Writer's feature gives children the opportunity to write poetry with Jack Prelutsky through an online writer's workshop and publish it!

I'll post more poetry resources this week as we get ready for poetry month!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Review: The Willoughbys by Lois Lowry

This is my first book review on BlogJoy and, unfortunately, I'm in a dilemma. Why you ask? Because Lemony Snicket's starred review of The Willoughbys by Lois Lowry that appears in Publisher's Weekly is just so good, there is nothing I can add...Lemony said it all and he said it so darn well! So, I'm just going to post his review below. Enjoy!

Lois Lowry, who casts her noble and enviable shadow wide across the landscape of children's literature, from fantasy to realism, here turns her quick, sly gaze to parody, a word which in this case means “a short novel mocking the conventions of old-fashioned children's books stuffed with orphans, nannies and long-lost heirs.” These clich├ęs are ripe if familiar targets, but Ms. Lowry knocks off these barrel-dwelling fish with admirable aplomb in The Willoughbys, in which two wicked parents cannot wait to rid themselves of their four precocious children, and vice versa, and vice versa versa, and so on. The nanny adds a spoonful of sugar and a neighboring candy magnate a side order of Dahl, if you follow me, as the book's lightning pace traipses through the hallmarks of classic orphan literature helpfully listed in the bibliography, from the baby on the doorstep to the tardy yet timely arrival of a crucial piece of correspondence.

The characters, too, find these tropes familiar—“What would good old-fashioned people do in this situation?” one asks—as does the omniscient, woolgathery narrator, who begins with “Once upon a time” and announces an epilogue with “Oh, what is there to say at the happy conclusion of an old-fashioned story?” This critic even vaguely recognizes the stratagem of a glossary, in which the more toothsome words are defined unreliably and digressively. (He cannot put his finger on it, at least not in public.) Never you mind. The novel does make a few gambits for anachronistic musings (“Oh goodness, do we have to walk them into a dark forest? I don't have the right shoes for that”) and even wry commentary (“That is how we billionaires exist,” says the man who is not Willy Wonka. “We profit on the misfortune of others”) but mostly the book plays us for laughs, closer to the Brothers Zucker than the Brothers Grimm, and by my count the hits (mock German dialogue, e.g., “It makesch me vant to womit”) far outnumber the misses (an infant named Baby Ruth, oy).

There are those who will find that this novel pales in comparison to Ms. Lowry's more straight-faced efforts, such as The Giver. Such people are invited to take tea with the Bobbsey Twins. Ms. Lowry and I will be across town downing something stronger mixed by Anastasia Krupnik, whom one suspects of sneaking sips of Ms. Lowry's bewitching brew. Tchin-tchin!

Lemony Snicket is the author of A Series of Unfortunate Events.

CNU's Writer's Conference

If you have a copy of The Joy of Children's Literature, you'll notice that my son, Derek, is in the "author" picture with me. There are many reasons for including him in the picture (read the acknowledgement section), but there is something else that I would like for you to know about him: he is writing a young adult novel (and I must say, unobjectively, it is brilliant!) So, when I found out that a writer's conference was to be held this past weekend at Christopher Newport University, I signed us up. It was a day I'll always remember!

The keynote speaker was Carolyn Kreiter-Foronda, Poet Laureate of Virginia. The topic of her presentation was revision and research in the writing of poetry. She eloquently and persuasively discussed the importance of revision and research in the poetry of greats such as Sylvia Plath and William Yeats, as well as her own poetry. She showed the audience examples of original works by Plath and Yeats in which they had crossed out, scribbled across, and rewrote words, lines, and entire phrases of some of their most well known poems. For many, revision is the hardest part of writing, and I think seeing a visual of some of the greatest poems in literature marked up provided a powerful example of why revision is so important.

An example of revision I use in my classes that is relevant to children is the book Hooray for Diffendoofer Day! by Theodor "Dr. Seuss" Geisel. The book is based on verses and sketches created by Seuss before his death in 1991, and was expanded to book length and completed by writer Jack Prelutsky and illustrator Lane Smith for publication in 1998. In the back of the book is the entire original manuscript in which you can see where Seuss marked out, rewrote, scribbled on the sides, etc. Children can see that even the great Dr. Seuss put lots of work into writing his books!

After the keynote, we attended two sessions by Sara Lewis Holmes, who wrote Letters from Rapunzel (HarperCollins, 2007). I recently found her wonderful blog, Read, Write, Believe, so I was excited about attending her sessions -- I was not disappointed (and neither was Derek). Let me say, before I forget, that you must visit her blog and read her poem (which she read to us) 39 Reasons to Write--brilliant!

Her first session was titled, "Growing a Novel: How to Keep Ideas, Manuscripts and Hopes Alive" and the second session was titled, "Would Somebody Please Tell Me What to Say?" I could write on and on about the content of these sessions, how engaging and meaningful they were for me and my son, but what clearly came through about Sara Holmes is that she is a passionate reader who cares deeply about writing. It was obvious how much time and how much of herself she put into preparing these presentations and I know that everyone who attended walked away with new insight into the process of writing, if not into themselves.

After leaving the conference yesterday, my son came home and started reading one of the books Sara suggested (Looking for Alaska by John Green) and today he is writing. Thank you, Sara!

More Newsletter Resources

Electronic newsletters can be a great way to stay up on what's happening in the world of children's literature. Usually, newsletters are brief and sent out monthly so even if you have subscribed to several (like me), they don't clutter your in-box and and you can read through them quickly. Recently, I posted about a new newsletter published by Horn Book Magazine. Below are a few more that you might be interested in checking out.

Read Alert is a monthly electronic newsletter sponsored by Booklist Online, a magazine published by the American Library Association. The February issue of Read Alert has an article, reviews, and author interview on graphic novels. Also included are a few other book reviews of adult and young adult books and reference and media resources. Booklist also has two blogs to which you might be interested in subscribing, Likely Stories and Book Group Buzz. Links for subscribing to the newsletter and the blogs are provided from the February issue (link provided above).

The Children's Literature Comprehensive Database (CLCD) is an acquisition, research, and reference fee based service. However, they provide a free monthly newsletter that always has great monthly features and author features. This month, the newsletter features book reviews for Adopt-a-Rescued-Guinea Pig month (I didn't even know March was adopt-a-rescued-guinea pig month!), St. Patrick's Day (which is today!), and National Women's History Month. The authors featured in the March newsletter are David Lubar (in which he talks about some of the short stories in The Curse of the Campfire Weenies, and Other Warped and Creepy Tales), Carolyn Reeder (in which she talks about her recently published trilogy of Civil War stories titles, Before the Creeks Ran Red), and Carmella Van Vleet (in which she answers questions about Ben Franklin and why she wrote about him in Amazing Ben Franklin Inventions You Can Build Yourself). I always look forward to the CLCD newsletter because it has timely and informative book reviews and author interviews. You'll can subscribe here.

Last, but not least is the Curriculum Connections newsletter published by and School Library Journal. is a fee based service that provides online video interviews of most of the major children's book authors and illustrators. School Library Journal is a well respected children's/YA book review journal. The February issue of the Curriculum Connections newsletter offers a reviewed book list for Black History Month and Immigration and an author interview with Kadir Nelson . For each book list and interview, dozens of multimedia, online materials about the authors and illustrators of these books are provided. Seeing and hearing an author talk about his or her work adds to everyones' enjoyment and understanding of the work. This newsletter will give you lots of ideas for books and also media to enrich the experience. A link for subscribing Curriculum Connections is available from the February issue link provided above.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

New Features from Reading Rockets

If you don't know about the Reading Rockets website, you are in for a real treat! If you do know about it, then you'll be thrilled to know they have a new feature, Raising a Writer. There are many resources including articles and a new webcast titled Teaching Writing. From the website:

"Dr. Steven Graham, Dr. Louisa Moats, and Dr. Susan Neuman discuss teaching writing. These three renowned reading and writing experts address why writing is important, what the latest research tells us, and what educators and parents can do to support our children's development as writers."

The webcast is about 1 hour and 15 minutes in length. An interactive conversation between the host and the three presenters is engaging and and includes a brief video clip of instruction in the classroom.

Another wonderful feature of the Reading Rockets website is the Books and Authors section. Here you'll fiind interviews with many of your favorite authors along with book lists by theme, holiday, and award winners. The newest author interview is with Jack Gantos. I have heard Jack Gantos speak at a conference and he is hilarious! He did a wonderful job of talking about his own writing process as well as how to help children learn to write. From the website:

Jack Gantos' interesting life has provided the raw material for many of his books. Rotten Ralph, for example, was inspired by an aggressive red cat that Gantos once owned. The Jack Henry middle-grade fiction series was based on Gantos' own adventures as a boy. The award-winning Joey Pigza books resulted from Gantos' interactions with children with ADHD. And Hole in My Life, a book for teens, tells the true story of the time Gantos spent 18 months in prison.

I think you will really enjoy this video interview with Jack Gantos. Additionally, the author interviews on Reading Rockets are perfect for sharing with children. They are broken into short segments according to the topic. For instance, the first segment of Jack's video interview is onlly 1:06 minutes long in which he discusses events in his childhood. The second segment is 2.17 minutes in which he discusses keeping a diary as a child. He discusses the ever so popular Rotten Ralph in the third segment (2:44 minutes) and the final segment is about how he sold his first manuscript (1:41 minutes).

While you are exploring the Reading Rockets website check out the new podcast section. Podcasts are divided into three categories: meet the author (inteviews with top children's book authors and illustrators), meet the experts (prominent professionals in the field of education), and watch and learn ("in the classroom" video clips of best practices in teaching reading).

There is so many great resources on the Reading Rockets website that I have no doubt it will quickly become on of your favorites.

Webinar Series: Every Teacher, A Teacher of English Language Learners

The School Improvement Network is offering a free webinar series on succeeding with English language learners. Part one: Knowing the Learner is this Thursday, March 20th at 2 pm MST (4 pm EST, 3 pm CST, 1 pm PST). From the website:

Join fellow educators for the first webinar in a comprehensive series about succeeding with English language learners. Examine a research-based model for teaching English language learners and learn why equity is central to the success of any ELL program. Investigate why teachers must know and understand the background and culture of every learner in their classroom and explore strategies for getting to know each student. Finally, gain a stronger understanding of what research proves works with English language learners.

Registration is required and space is limited so hurry to sign up now!

Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K–12: 2008

Pretty cool picture of a dustmite, huh? This picture is from Sneeze! written by Alexandra Siy and illustrated by Dennis Kunkel and it's just one of the many wonderful books selected by the National Council of Teachers of Science in their list of outstanding science trade books for 2008. From the website:

In this year’s collection, which is our 35th anniversary, you can fly Over the Mountains or peer down from a Satellite to explore the Earth from far above. With professional researchers, readers can puzzle the mysteries of A Dinosaur Named Jane or follow the Tracks of a Panda. The important new facts about personal health in Sneeze and Breast Cancer Update can help readers make better personal decisions. Even the youngest students can become apprentice scientists as they listen to the lyric prose of Here Is the Wetlandor Guess What Is Growing Inside This Egg.

Check out all of the wonderful books on the list!

Are you going to be in NY on April 1st?

Thanks to Fuse #8 for the link.

Friday, March 7, 2008

I Love a Good Sequel... I thought I would share the titles of some that I am highly anticipating! I've provided a synopsis of the first (second, etc.) book in the series (from the Library of Congress).

Brisingr by Christopher Paolini, the third book in the Inheritance series--Eragon (book 1), Eldest (book 2).

Synopsis of Eragon: In Alagaesia, a fifteen-year-old boy of unknown lineage called Eragon finds a mysterious stone that weaves his life into an intricate tapestry of destiny, magic, and power, peopled with dragons, elves, and monsters.

Due to be released by Knopf Books on September 20

The Magician: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel by Michael Scott is the second book (in a series of 7). The first book, The Alchemyst was brilliant!

Synopsis: While working at pleasant but mundane summer jobs in San Francisco, fifteen-year-old twins, Sophie and Josh, suddenly find themselves caught up in the deadly, centuries-old struggle between rival alchemists, Nicholas Flamel and John Dee, over the possession of an ancient and powerful book holding the secret formulas for alchemy and everlasting life.

Due to be released by Delacorte Books on June 24

Ink Exchange by Melissa Marr, the sequel to Wicked Lovely.

Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Aislinn, who has the rare ability to see faeries, is drawn against her will into a centuries-old battle between the Summer King and the Winter Queen, and the survival of her life, her love, and summer all hang in the balance.

Due to be released by HarperTeen on April 29

The Last of the High Kings by Kate Thompson, sequel to The New Policeman

Synopsis: Irish teenager JJ Liddy discovers that time is leaking from his world into Tir na nOg, the land of the fairies, and when he attempts to stop the leak he finds out a lot about his family history, the music that he loves, and a crime his great-grandfather may or may not have committed.

Due to be released by HarperTeen on May 27

City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare, sequel to City of Bones
Synopsis: Suddenly able to see demons and the Darkhunters who are dedicated to returning them to their own dimension, fifteen-year-old Clary Fray is drawn into this bizzare world when her mother disappears and Clary herself is almost killed by a monster.

Due to be released by Margaret K. McElderry on March 25

Clementine's Letter by Sara Pennypacker, sequel to Clementine and The Talented Clementine

Synopsis of Clementine: While sorting through difficulties in her friendship with her neighbor Margaret, eight-year-old Clementine gains several unique hairstyles while also helping her father in his efforts to banish pigeons from the front of their apartment building.

Due to be released by Hyperion on April 1

The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey by Trenton Lee Stewart and Carson Ellis, sequel to The Mysterious Benedict Society.

Synopsis: After passing a series of mind-bending tests, four children are selected for a secret mission that requires them to go undercover at the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened, where the only rule is that there are no rules.

Due to be released by Little, Brown May 1

The Penderwicks on Gardam Street by Jeanne Birdsall, sequel to The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and A Very Interesting Boy

Synopsis: While vacationing with their widowed father in the Berkshire Mountains, four lovable sisters, ages four through twelve, share adventures with a local boy, much to the dismay of his snobbish mother.

Due to be released by Knopf Books for Young Readers on April 8

A Little Info on the Kidlitosphere

I often find that my students do not know what a blog is. Even if you do read a few blogs, you may not be familiar with the kidlitosphere--the world of blogs about children's literature. I'm relatively new to the whole experience myself, but over the past couple of years, I've learned a few things that might also be of interest to you.

First, you should take a look at an article written by Betsy Bird, a NYC children's librarian and blogger magnifico, titled: Blogging the Kidlitosphere. You will also want to subscribe to her blog, A Fuse #8 Production.

Another fabulous thing about the kidlitosphere is that they have their own annual awards, The Cybils. Anyone can submit nominations for books in the categories of fantasy/science fiction, graphic novels, middle grade and YA fiction and non-fiction, fiction and non-fiction picturebooks, and poetry. Children's and YA bloggers volunteer to serve on the selection committees. This year, the awards were announced on Valentine's Day. Take a look at all of the finalists as well as the winners and I'm sure you find great books to add to your reading list.

The kidlitosphere also has it's own online magzine, The Edge Forest, edited by Kelly Herold, a wonderful children's literature blogger (subscribe to her blog, Big A little A). The Edge Forest is published monthly and is full of book reviews and interviews with bloggers and authors of children's literature. You must check it out!

The Children Book Reviews wiki is place where you can find dozens of children's book reviews in a variety of categories by children's literature bloggers all in one place.

Another interesting happening in the blogging world is blog carnivals. The children's literature carnival is "a collection of posts about children's books: book reviews, interviews, stories from parents and teachers about their kids' adventures with books, peeks into the studio of children's book authors and illustrators, and more." You can find a list of previous carnival posts and where the next one will be held at A Carnival of Children's Literature.

As you look at these blogging resources, you'll find a group of very dedicated authors, teachers, librarians, parents, and others working together to bring current news and information along with their own thoughts and insights to all of us who are interested in children's literture.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Big Universe Launches World of Free Online Children's Books

Big Universe, Inc., today formally launched, a unique website where kids, parents, teachers, librarians and authors can read, create and buy quality children's picture books.

The announcement describes the site as: "the first company of its kind to offer the many popular features it combines in its one website: a powerful and fun book-creation tool for aspiring authors, hundreds of children's books readable for free on the website, a virtual mall of online children's bookshops, blogs by professional authors and many other features designed to maximize interest in children's reading and creativity."

What a wonderful resource! Take a minute to check it out and share with your friends.

Notes from the Horn Book

Good News! Horn Book Magazine, one of the leading journals in the field for book reviews and articles on children's literature, has just published its first electronic newsletter, Notes from the Horn Book. According to the announcement, the newsletter will "provide brief recommendations of new children’s books, interviews with writers and illustrators, and news from the children’s book world."

The first issue is full of great information. First, up is a review the winners of the the Newbery Medal (for writing) and the Caldecott Medal (for illustration), the biggest prizes in American children’s literature, both awarded annually by the American Library Association. Then, there is an interview with children's author Jon Scieszka (The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales and many more) who was recently named by the Library of Congress as the first National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature.

There is also a review of "three books to get you outside,": The Brook Book: Exploring the Smallest Streams by Jim Arnosky, Pale Male: Citizen Hawk of New York City by Janet Schulman, and A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever by Marla Frazee. Familiar charaters from the picturebooks, Not a Box and Dog and Bear return in two new sequels that are also mentioned. Fun!

To receive the monthly newsletter, click here, sign-up, and enjoy!

Monday, March 3, 2008

You're Invited to a Virtual Birthday Party...

for The Joy of Children's Literature Blog (BlogJoy)! The birth of BlogJoy coincides with the publication of The Joy of Children's Literature (Houghton Mifflin) and will be a way for me to provide additional reviews, resources, ideas, and news about children's literature along with a way for us to talk about books.

Unfortunately, I can't offer you a slice of cake, but I can offer you something even better--birthday books! Children of all ages (and secretly, even adults) love their birthday. Give them the gift of reading. What better way to celebrate than reading books by favorite authors? Below are 10 of my favorites:

Oscar's Half Birthday by Bob Graham (Candlewick, 2005). To celebrate his half birthday, Oscar, his parents, and his sister go out for a picnic to their urban park party.

Happy Birthday to You! by Dr. Seuss (Random House, 1959). Describes a birthday celebration in Katroo presided over by the Birthday Bird.

The Secret Birthday Message by Eric Carle (Crowell, 1972). By following the instructions in the coded message, Tim finds his birthday present.

Margret and H. A. Rey's Curious George and the Birthday Surprise illustrated in the style of H. A. Rey by Martha Weston (Houghton Mifflin, 2003). When the man with the yellow hat tells George that he is planning a surprise, the curious chimp finds a hat, noisemakers, decorations, and games and sees that it must be a birthday, but whose?

A Birthday for Frances by Russell and Lillan Hoban (Harper & Row, 1968). Frances is jealous of her sister’s birthday, but birthday spirit moves her to reluctantly give her coveted gift.

Birthday Presents by Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by Sucie Stevenson (Orchard, 1987). An almost six-year-old girl listens as her mother and father describe her six previous birthday celebrations.

Lyle and the Birthday Party by Bernard Waber (Houghton Mifflin, 1966). Mrs. Primm fears Lyle the crocodile is terribly sick, when in reality he's just "green" over Joshua's birthday party.

A Birthday Basket for Tia by Pat Mora, illustrated by Cecily Lang (Macmillian, 1992). With the help and interference of her cat Chica, Cecilia prepares a surprise gift for her great-aunt’s ninetieth birthday.

The Birthday Tree by Paul Fleischman, illustrated by Barry Root (Candlewick, 2008). When Jack goes to sea, his parents watch as the tree planted at his birth reflects his fortunes and misfortunes.

Some Birthday! by Patricia Polacco (Simon & Schuster, 1991). On her birthday Dad takes a young girl and her brother to see the Monster at Clay Pit Bottom.

Celebrating A Quinceanera: A Latina's 15 Birthday Celebration by by Diane Hoyt-Goldsmith, photographs by Lawrence Migdale (Holiday House, 2002). Describes the customs and traditions connected with the celebration of a Mexican-American girl’s fifteenth birthday, marking her coming of age.

I hope you enjoy this brief list and let me know your favorite birthday books. Come back tomorrow and I'll give you a tour of BlogJoy.