Monday, October 16, 2006

SLJ articles of interest

In my mailbox this morning was the October issue of School Library Journal (v. 52, no. 10). Beyond the children's book reviews; two articles in particular garnered my attention. The first, The Unreal Deal, by Anita Silvey, discusses young adult literature and a recent trend within the genre towards fantasy, away from realistic fiction.
"In fact, there’s been such a shift in young adults’ reading tastes that all of us are scrambling to figure out what truly appeals to teens. Of one thing I’m certain: instead of craving realistic stories about people like themselves, today’s teens are crazy about characters (and scenarios) that have little in common with their own everyday lives. As one young reader put it, his peers are hunting for novels that will “take them away to another world, not like this one.” (Silvey, SLJ, 10/1/2006).

As someone who buys children's and young adult literature for a library, I agree with many of Silvey's points, especially noting the shift taking place within the genre. This article was a topic of some debate at Read Roger, Horn Book Magazine Editor Roger Sutton's blog last week. The post, Cheering the Home Team, refers not only to Silvey's article, but also to the upcoming publication The Children of Hurin, a work edited by Tolkien's son David (be sure to read the comments, they add to the post).

The second article of interest in this issue of SLJ is Making Waves: With Podcasting, anyone (yes anyone) Can Create Their Own Radio Show, by Will Richardson. Anyone interested in learning beginning steps for creating podcasts should read this article. Richardson defines podcasts in simple terms, details how educators are utilizing the technology, prepares novices to create their first podcast, and discusses how libraries can "harness the power of podcasts," many of which are adaptable to academic libraries. For example:

"Podcasts can also be used to highlight featured books or new additions to your library’s collection. Care to record an interview with a children’s book author or another classroom across the globe? Skype, a free Internet telephone service, can help you do just that. The potential of podcasts is limited only by our own imaginations." (Richardson, SLJ, 10/1/06)

Richardson is the author of Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts and Other Powerful Web Tools for the Classroom (ISBN 1412927676) and Weblogg-ed. The book is a must read, I have a copy as does the library, for anyone wanting to know about these continually emerging web technologies.

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