'Poop fiction' big hit with kids

CNN has a
into the recent phenomenon of "Poop fiction." Books such as "Walter the Farting Dog," the Captain Underpants series, The Day My Butt Went Psycho," and its sequel, "Zombie Butts from Uranus!" have become a big hit with kids (Can't imagine why). Some quotes below:

Glenn Murray blushes a hearty shade of red when a cashier at a Chicago deli recognizes him: "Heyyyyyy!" the young man shouts gleefully -- and loudly. "You're the fart-man!"

"For many, many kids, this is the first book they read that starts them on a path of reading," says Barbara Marcus, president of Scholastic's children's books division.

Librarians call such stories "book hooks," says Barbara Genco, immediate past president of Association of Library Services to Children.

Gail Glover, a mom from Port Crane, New York, bought the latter book for 9-year-old son Robbie, but later wondered if she'd made a mistake.
Among her objections were "descriptions of bodily functions that made my hair curl."
"But of course, they solicited howls of laughter from my son," Glover says, chalking it up to "a rite of passage in the development of his sense of humor."


Children's health and reading

nbruce writes "Yesterday's Wall Street Journal (April 27) had 2 articles about reading and children in the health section. Those interested in either might take a look.

One reported on a story that poor readers show changes in brain activity after highly intensive reading intervention. Underuse of the left hemisphere results in poor reading skills. After 105 hours of tutoring, the children read more accurately and fluently.

The other reported on a parent training program, designed to save Medicaid costs. The parents of children in HeadStart programs were taught to use research material instead of the emergency room for help for minor illnesses. Prior to training, 69% chose ER as a first source; after training, that was down 32%.

The research training gave the parents confidence to 1) first go to a reference book, 2) learn to define symptoms in reporting it, 3) taught them to use a thermometer, 4) taught them to use OTC medications, fluids and sponge baths, and 5) to call to consult with a medical person.

What to do when your child gets sick is a book designed for readers with low literacy. The goal of the pilot project is to educate 12,000 families by the end of 2005. The program also reduced days missed from work by the parents, which went down by 41%."


ABC kids

nbruce writes "ABC became the first broadcast network to contribute to the Internet domain, which was created by federal law to establish a safe haven for children using the Internet.
Story here. I tried a few of the options--not terrific, but a start in the right direction."


"Petting zoo" of machines at California library

An anonymous patron dropped by and murmured: "Fun Story on a rather different display at the the new Martin Luther King Jr. Library in San Jose CA."

"A couple of Bobcats, a backhoe, a roller and maybe a cement mixer are joining a campaign to get books into the hands of young children. ... The massive machines are a perfect fit with this year's Book Circus theme of "Building Blocks for Growing Minds" and, organizers hope, a way to draw kids, moms and dads to the library."


Military Intelligence - Success in School

A very interesting article posted in U.S. News about military schools. According to Anna Mulrine, not only are minorities integrated more successfully than many civilian institutions, but schools run by the Department of Defense do well by all of their students.


Boys & Books

Is there a difference between the way boys and girls approach books? "Yes" says Michael Sullivan, of the Weeks Public Library in Greenland NH, and author of a new ALA book "Connecting Boys with Books," in a story in today's Seattle Times.

His advice is essentially to let boys choose the subjects they like, even if they're "full of action, gross stuff and silly humor. Boys' brains are wired different from girls; they learn differently {they} need multiple stimuli to get their brains going — noise and color and motion." Boys have to read "like boys."


At a Poor School, Time Stands Still on the Library Shelves

February was Black History Month and students at the Mount Vernon NY Edward Williams Elementary School, which is 97% black, were assigned to do reports on their own personal African-American heroes. They ran to the school library looking for biographies of Oprah Winfrey, Josephine Baker, Alex Haley, Ossie Davis, Rosa Parks even...none were available.

Apart from two books on Frederick Douglass and Duke Ellington, which were quickly grabbed up by students, the only book remaining was "Negro Pioneers" published in 1967. Story here from the New York Times.


Editorial Supports AK Bill Giving Parents Access to Records

Here's an editorial from the Juneau Empire supporting Alaska Senate Bill 269 which would give parents the right to see their minor children's library records. According to the commentator, the bill arose not out of a desire for parents to snoop, but because "some parents simply complained that they couldn't find out when their children's books were due and couldn't pick up books that had been put on hold by their children."


Libraries and privacy

It's tough being under age 18. There's no privacy.

That's just the way it is--and should be if it isn't--when raising a child. Parents should know what their child is doing, who their child is hanging out with, what their child is reading. It's that last one, though, that has drawn a bit of attention lately in the Legislature. Read the full story reported by news-miner.



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