Indianapolis launches literacy-promoting "Big Free Libraries"

Chris writes, "Indianapolis has just launched a great new series of art installations intended to promote both art and literacy." Read the rest

Cory at Reno's Grassroots Books this Friday!

I'm doing a Q&A and signing at Reno's Grassroots Books -- a local, indie store with an emphasis on affordable reading for all -- this Friday, Aug 28 at 6:30PM -- just a quick stop on the way to That Thing in the Desert. I hope you'll come by and say hello! Read the rest

Funky librarians

The librarians of Vernon, Illinois want you for their summer reading program, and they're not shy about it! (Thanks, Sharpchair64!) Read the rest

School bus driver bans little girl from reading

The school bus driver in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec told 8 year old Sarah Auger she wasn't allowed to read on the way to and from school because she might poke herself in the eye with a corner of the book. Read the rest

XKCD vs hand-wringing about what texting does to kids' literacy

It's great, and the tooltip's even better: "I'd like to find a corpus of writing writing from children in a non-self-selected sample (eg handwritten letters to the president from everyone in the same teacher's 7th grade class every year)--and score the kids today versus the kids 20 years ago on various objective measures of writing quality. Read the rest

Painted "bookbenches" spring up across London

The National Literacy Trust has dotted London with painted benches that celebrate classic works of literature from Paddington to The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe to The Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy. Read the rest

Who reads books in America, and how?

The Pew Internet and American Life project has released a new report on reading, called E-Reading Rises as Device Ownership Jumps. It surveys American book-reading habits, looking at both print books and electronic books, as well as audiobooks. They report that ebook readership is increasing, and also produced a "snapshot" (above) showing readership breakdown by gender, race, and age. They show strong reading affinity among visible minorities and women, and a strong correlation between high incomes and readership. The most interesting number for me is that 76 percent of Americans read at least one book last year, which is much higher than I'd have guessed.

E-Reading Rises as Device Ownership Jumps (via Jim Hines) Read the rest

Auctioning a conceptual copy of Banksy's thrifted "Banality of the Banality of Evil" to benefit 826 Valencia

A San Francisco artist commissioned a Chinese artist to make a copy of "The Banality of the Banality of Evil" -- a painting that Banksy thrifted, added a Nazi to, and shop-dropped back into the thrift store. The copy, called "The Banality Of The Banality Of The Banality Of Evil," is now being auctioned to support 826 Valencia, a literacy for kids program in San Francisco.

Read the rest

Canada Reads top-ten voting ends this weekend

As I mentioned last week, the CBC's Canada Reads list of top 40 Canadian books is up, and it's got a really commendable, wide-ranging variety of titles in it (including my own novel Little Brother). The CBC is asking for readers to choose their favorites by tomorrow, at which point they'll release the top ten list.

It's a great exercise for energizing the nation about reading, and I'm immensely flattered and excited to have a small part in it.

Canada Reads Top 40: Explore the books Read the rest

Raising a reader: how comics can help kids learn to love reading

The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund -- tireless free speech crusaders who fight for comics' legitimacy -- commissioned a great educational resource about comics' role in literacy called Raising a Reader (PDF).

This new resource is written by Dr. Meryl Jaffe, with an introduction by three-time Newbery Award honoree Jennifer L. Holm (Babymouse, Squish) and art by Eisner Award winner Raina Telgemeier (Smile, Drama) and Eisner Award nominee Matthew Holm (Babymouse, Squish). Raising A Reader! was made possible by a grant from the Gaiman Foundation.

You can get print-ready digital files from the Foundation, and they'll have print copies at at San Diego Comic-Con.

CBLDF Releases RAISING A READER, a Resource for Parents and Educators Read the rest

Kids' soap opera, with a cameo by Nick Hornby: "Dead Ends"

Best-selling author Nick Hornby has a cameo role in a new soap opera, written by young people at the creative writing centre he co-founded in Hackney.

Knuckles that promote literacy

Spotted today at a Toronto restaurant: a great, pro-literacy set of knuckle-tatts.

READ MORE knuckles, Fresh, Crawford Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada Read the rest

Upside Comics: UK charity that uses comics to promote literacy

This weekend, I took my daughter to the Kapow! comics fair in Islington, London, and happened on the Upside Comics booth. Upside is a charitable trust that promotes literacy using comics. They run comics-creation workshops for kids, produce pro-literacy comics, and bibliographies of great kids' comics. They're looking for donations of comics and graphic novels, as well as cash, time and expertise.

Upside Comics use comics and graphic novels to promote literacy for children and young people. We support reading, creative writing, design and illustration.

Upside Comics is a small charity with support from the Big Lottery. The organisation was started by people working in schools and youth charities who love comics. We believe that literacy is the key to childrens' future success and happiness.

Upside Comics Read the rest

Seattle library hides 1,000 books around town for young people to find

The Seattle Public Library system's annual Summer Reading Program is called Century 22: Read the Future, and is tied in with the 50th anniversary of the Seattle World's Fair. Young people are encouraged to scour the city's landmarks for 1,000 books hidden throughout town, and then to re-hide them for other kids to find. Among the books in this summer's program is my own YA novel Little Brother, which is a source of utter delight for me. Read the rest

Daniel Pinkwater explains his role in the mystery of the NY State reading test pineapple race kerfuffle

Absurdist kids' literature hero Daniel Pinkwater is at the center of an appropriately absurd kerfuffle. An eighth-grade New York reading test published by Pearson republishes an edited (and much less funny) version of a fairy tale told in his novel Borgel (reprinted in this outstanding omnibus). In the original, an eggplant challenges a rabbit to a footrace and a group of spectator animals bet on the eggplant (figuring it must know something they don't). But eggplants can't run, so it loses. Then the animals eat it.

The test version changed the eggplant to a pineapple, and rewrote the passage so it is in "test-ese," then asked the kids to explain the "meaning" of the scene. Lots of students are mystified by this, and so is Pinkwater, who gave a gracious interview with the WSJ on the subject (who didn't do him the favor of mentioning that he has a tremendous new book coming out next week called Mrs Noodlekugel, which I'll be reviewing when it's out).

It’s a nuclear little family, a mother, father and three kids. An old man shows up at the door and says, “Hello, I’m your relative, I’m 111 years old.”

“You’re our relative how?”

He said, “I’m not quite clear about that. I know we’re related. I’m moving in.” And he brings in all his valises and moves into the back room. He becomes great friends with his great-great-great nephew.

In this particular passage, they’re on a bus, and Borgel, the old man, is telling him one of these fractured fables after another.

Read the rest

Mule-based bookmobiles for remote Venezuelan communities

Proyecto Bibliomulas is a Venezuelan initiative to improve literacy in remote and rural areas, by turning mules into travelling bookmobiles. Srsly. And how awesome is that?

Anyone who was not out working the fields - tending the celery that is the main crop here - was waiting for our arrival. The 23 children at the little school were very excited.

"Bibilomu-u-u-u-las," they shouted as the bags of books were unstrapped. They dived in eagerly, keen to grab the best titles and within minutes were being read to by Christina and Juana, two of the project leaders.


Venezuela's four-legged mobile libraries (BBC)

(via Bookshelf) Read the rest

UK library lending down, generation of readers to go missing?

Charlie Stross looks at some leading indicators of library decline in the UK, which he attributes to cuts and closures, and notes: "if the drop in my PLR loans reflects library closures, then we have just slammed the door in the face of a new generation of readers. I got my start reading fiction from my local library; the voracious reading habits of a bookish child aren't easily supported from a family budget under strain from elsewhere during a time of cuts. I hate to think what the long term outcome of this short-term policy is going to be, but I don't believe any good will come of it." Read the rest

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