Science fiction scholar and critic Farah Mendlesohn's latest book, The Intergalactic Playground: Children and Science Fiction is a keen-eyed, affectionate, insightful and cranky look at science fiction novels aimed at kids. Mendlesohn starts with some of the earliest kids-lit, from the thirties, and surveys all they way up to the present day, looking at how changes in work, adolescence and science education have changed the sort of work that gets published for young people.
In particular, Mendlesohn looks into the way that "extreme sport readers" -- kids who devour books at the rate of one or two a day -- have dropped out of the modern conception of how kids read (and how many of today's adult science fiction fans were that kind of reader in their childhoods). She also takes issue with the idea that books have to sneak up on kids in order to teach them things -- that kids never read fiction with the explicit goal of finding out how and why the world works -- an idea that has hammered a stake through the didactic traditions of science fiction.
Intergalactic Playground combines reader surveys, extensive literature review, and a distillation of the fights waged on kids-literature mailing lists, synthesizing them into a deep, intelligent, and engrossing read.
Anthony Gulino writes, "Los Anarchists Junior Derby is a nonprofit that takes a DIY approach to teaching roller derby to kids. It runs programs for all levels from the youngest, newest skaters to the highest level of competitive junior derby at its dedicated facility, Anarchy Hall, in Sun Valley, CA. Los Anarchists' travel team is […]
Every year around this time, our friends at Sparrow Lockpicks (previously) come out with a incredibly clever, giftable addition to your locksport arsenal; I always buy a few of these for Christmas gifts (often for younger people on my list) and they're universally well received.
20 years ago, Illinois was rocked by a scandal after the widespread practice of locking schoolchildren, especially those with disabilities or special needs, in small, confining boxes was revealed. The teachers who imprisoned these children argued that they did so out of the interests of safety -- that of the imprisoned students, of the other […]
This holiday season, give the delivery man a break. Who needs the extra cost and uncertainty of shipping anyway? Here are 10-holiday gifts that cut out the middleman and go straight to the nicest ones on your Christmas list. Winc Wine Delivery Okay, we might be cheating a little with this first one, but a […]
For some folks, writing notes by hand is just plain easier, but having to re-type them later can be a huge bore, not to mention time-sink. The guys from Rocketbook successfully merged the best parts of analog and digital note-taking with their Everlast notebook awhile back. And now, that tech just got a lot more […]
There are fast-paced card games, and some of them even require enough dexterity for a mini-workout (like Skip-Bo or Snap). But there’s nothing quite like the Mokuru® Card Game, which uses an already addictive fidget toy as the centerpiece for a cutthroat game of tabletop challenges. The game is named for the toy that gets […]