Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Amazon Listmania

If you're a regular browser or shopper at Amazon.com, you may have noticed many Listmania lists of Sydney Taylor Book Award winners. The chair of the awards committee usually puts up a list soon after the winners are announced... but some eager readers can't wait that long! "Unofficial" Sydney Taylor Listmania's include:

Sydney Taylor Lives On--In Book Awards, 1993-2004, a list by Sherry York, librarian, reviewer and author from Ruidoso, NM

Lists of Award Winners and Notables from 2006, 2007 and 2008 by Jennifer Wardrip, owner and operator of the site TeensReadToo.com

Sydney Taylor Book Awards 2008 a list by Anatidae Ling, a reader, parent and librarian in Pittsburgh, PA

There's also an All-of-a-Kind Family list by J. Nichols of Arvada, CO

Beyond Sydney Taylor-related items, there are a number of Listmania's for Jewish children's literature and even for music:

Jewish Children's CDs with (at least some) songs in English, a list by Rabbi Yonassan Gershom in Minnesota

My Favorite Jewish Children's Books, a list by Rabbi Fred Greene in Atlanta, GA

Great Jewish Children's Books, a list by Rabbi Phyllis Sommer in Highwood, IL

Jewish Children's Books, Grades 5-10, a list by parent Steven R. Eisen

Children's Books and My Jewish Heritage, a list by Mr. Dave K., a librarian in Boston, MA

Time to go shopping!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Reading Guide for "Confessions"

Confessions of a Closet Catholic by Sarah Darer Littman was the Sydney Taylor Book Award gold medalist for Older Readers in 2006. Despite the funky title, it is totally a Jewish book, featuring a girl who explores her spirituality in a way not often seen in kidlit.
I found a great reading guide for Confessions online. It's by Tracie Vaughn Zimmer, author of Reaching for the Sun (a Schneider Family Book Award winner), and writer of over 200 reading guides for other books.

The reading guide includes:
  • author interview ("The book is hilarious! How did you develop your comedic writing?")

  • comprehension questions ("Who is Bubbe? What happens over the course of the novel to Bubbe?")

  • discussion questions (" “I decided if my family was going to make fun of me for trying to be Jewish, I might try something else.” (p. 6) What spurs this decision? Would you be tempted to do the same thing? Why or why not?")

  • projects related to different curricular areas ("Music: Listen to at least one piece of music from the religion that you’re assigned. What does it celebrate? What types of instruments are used?")
This reading guide is great for teachers, book clubs, or for helping librarians come up with booktalking materials!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The View from Down Under

Bookawardsonline.com is project born out of Kevin Parker's passion for fine literature. It is his personal goal to publicize books that receive recognition from literary peers and that deserve to be widely read. Kevin lives in Australia, and his web site is international in scope, covering news, longlists, shortlists, winners, and reviews from around the English-speaking world.

Kevin wrote a beautiful article about the Sydney Taylor Book Awards in general and about the 2008 winners at www.bookawardsonline.com/sydneytaylor.html. He also included an extremely cool Amazon widget that displays all the books and allows you to click-and-buy.

The Sydney Taylor Book Award is included amidst such wonderful awards as the Kate Greenaway, the Golden Kite, the Cybils, the Americas, and of course those familiar ALA awards. Thanks so much to Kevin for including us!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Multimedia and the Dybbuk

The Entertainer and the Dybbuk, this year's Sydney Taylor gold medalist in the Older Readers' Category, is getting a lot of techno-attention. Have you noticed the widget at the bottom of our right-hand menu bar? HarperCollins offers a "browse inside" widget for this title!

I also found a very funky audio review of this title at Revish, the book review site. Along with the text of a very nice review by RJ McGill (blogger at 3Rs Reading Den), there's a flash player that reads the review aloud. The thing is, I think it's a robot doing the reading. The words have that unconnected, pre-recorded sound to them, and "dybbuk" is incorrectly pronounced as "DIE-bock." (For the correct pronunciation, click here and then click "Hear it.") Even funkier, the robot has an accent that sounds sort of Scottish to me. And when I clicked on the player, which is provided by ReadSpeaker, it took me to a foreign-language page of the service that, in my ignorance, I'm guessing is a Scandinavian language.

I took a look at ReadSpeaker, and found that it is an online service for speech-enabling website content. What an interesting idea!
The Mission of ReadSpeaker is to make the "miracle of the Internet" accessible for dyslexics, people with learning disabilities, low literacy level, people with English as a second language, elderly with impaired vision and others that like to listen as well as read.
I thought that was pretty cool. Almost as cool as possession by a spirit of the dead!