Children

Toronto's Sick Kids Hospital Loses Public Librarian

From The Star: Toronto Public Library is pulling its part-time librarian from the Reading Room at the Hospital for Sick Children.

"We’re worried, but we understand that Toronto Public Library has been hit with a budget that doesn’t allow them to continue their services across the city at the same level,” says Dr. Bruce Ferguson, the hospital’s director of community health systems. “The first thing we (will) do is talk about how we can maintain services for patients and families.”

Sick Kids is one of three Toronto hospitals losing its part-time library staff because of city budget constraints.

The reading room has a collection of 13,500 materials that includes books, CDs and curriculum material that supports schoolchildren from kindergarten to Grade 12. Some Toronto public board teachers work permanently in the hospital, holding classes for students of the psychiatric ward, epilepsy patients, and kids in the substance-abuse program. Teachers also school patients who are at the hospital for more than five days to ensure they don’t fall behind.

“The Toronto Public Library is an incredibly valuable contributor and we will miss that librarian,” said Ferguson. “But we will sit down with our partners and the woman’s auxiliary and volunteer services and figure out how they’ll cope without the part-time staff member.”

Boys prefer to read simpler books, survey suggests

Boys prefer to read simpler books, survey suggests
Boys choose to read less challenging books than girls and this gets more pronounced as they get older, according to a UK-wide survey of reading habits.

The study of 100,000 five to 16-year-olds found for most age groups the difficulty of books chosen by girls was "far ahead" of those chosen by boys.

Separated by Distance, But Reading Together with Readeo

Shelf Awareness children's editor Jennifer M. Brown is working with Readeo's CEO and founder Coby Neuenschwander to launch the new service, which promotes shared reading over the Internet.

Readeo (try it for free) allows two people who are separated geographically (such as a grandparent and grandchild or a military parent and his or her child) to share books together in real time while connected in a BookChat (in which they can see each other via a video connection). On the screen, they see the same digitized picture book and turn the pages together.

Readeo is launching with well-known titles from four publishing partners: Blue Apple Books, Candlewick Press, Chronicle Books, and Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing. In her role as editor on the site, Brown works with Readeo's publishing partners to select the titles she believes best enhance the read-aloud experience.

Casper the Commuting Cat to be Immortalised in New Children's Book

Dewey was a great one, but he will not be the only cat to be remembered in a book. Such a fellow was Plymouth U.K.'s Casper, who sadly was run over by a car while crossing the road to queue up for his daily bus ride last month.

Casper was an amazing cat who fancied himself a daily commuter. His life on the buses came to international attention last year. It turned out that for four years he had been riding the no 3 bus, passing the Devon city's historic dockyard and naval base, en route. He tended to curl up on a seat or sometimes purr around fellow passengers' legs, all the way to the final stop, stay on and make the return journey. Drivers got used to letting him off at the correct stop.

Owner Susan Finden, 65, said she would be donating any money she makes from the book to animal charities. She said: 'It's lovely to think he will go on in memories - and with this book his story will live on forever. The book will be published by Simon & Schuster next summer.

More on Casper in The Guardian and The Bookseller UK.

Bigger kids striving to get their younger peers to read

Bigger kids striving to get their younger peers to read
The K is for Kids Foundation was started by Karen Clawson as a county-wide spin-off to Laurel Oak Elementary School’s Bring a Book, Bring a Friend Fun’raisers. Parents and supporters of the school would bring books to an event to help stock the school’s media center.

“We started by telling our friends and telling our families and it grew from there,” said Clawson. “What we did for one school, we were able to do for eight school libraries last year.”

Huffington Post: Press Freedom

Check out The Huffington Post's Press Freedom Page ("some news so big it needs its own page"), with stories on how schools in Culpeper County VA have decided to stop assigning The Diary of Ann Frank; and several other stories on banned books and censorship.

Stricken Dictionary Now Back at California School

MENIFEE, Calif. - A California school district that pulled a 10th edition of Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary from classrooms because it defined oral sex will now allow it back on the shelves (here's our previous story on the incident).

However, parents can opt to have their kids use an alternative dictionary (a creationism dictionary?). Story from MSNBC.

A Big Oops by Texas Bd. of Ed.

FORT WORTH, Texas -- What do the authors of the children's book "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?" and a 2008 book called "Ethical Marxism: The Categorical Imperative of Liberation" have in common?

Both are named Bill Martin and, for now, neither is being added to Texas schoolbooks.

In their haste to sort out the state's social studies curriculum standards, the State Board of Education recently tossed children's author Martin, who died in 2004, from a proposal for the third-grade section. Board member Pat Hardy, who made the motion, cited books he had written for adults that contain "very strong critiques of capitalism and the American system."

Have Children's Classics Been Forgotten?

Interesting discussion in The Scotsman about how today's children are no longer reading classic novels such as Wind in the Willows, Moby Dick and Oliver Twist. The bestseller lists are dominated by Harry Potter, The Twilight Series and other recent titles.

"Sometimes it can be a little daunting to be given a 600-page classic and told it is a classic if you are a young kid, so maybe it's about how you present books and talk about them."

To get hung up on whether children are reading "the classics", though, is to miss the point, says Ali Bowden, director of Edinburgh's Unesco City of Literature Trust .

"I think the most important thing is that kids read, rather than being overly prescriptive on what they read. "I think the classic novels are still being taught in schools and I suspect most kids are being given contemporary books rather than classics at home. A lot of kids are reading a whole range of books, including classics.

"Nurturing a passion for reading is really important, rather than giving kids a really strict book list."

And the Winners Are...

Profiled in the New York Times, winners of the Newbery and Caldecott Awards, Rebecca Stead and Jerry Pinkney.

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