105 Ways to Give a Book

ForeWord and Booklights and ALSC

I’m so excited about the things I have to share with you today. Not in a braggy way (well, not entirely), but because they all would greatly benefit from your participation, contributions, and opinions. So rev up your commenting power to eleven and let’s go.

Yesterday I posted a new article at ForeWord about saving time, money, and energy at your library during this difficult economic climate. I’m psyched about this post for two reasons. First, because I think it represents an ultimate community venture, where the post will pick up more value as more people share their own saving tips in the comments. So please pass it on to your colleagues. The second reason I’m excited is that the article gave me one of those Magical Moments in writing. See, I had the bones of it for a week, but I couldn’t get happy about what I had written. Then I wrote a new opening paragraph, and it changed the whole feel of the piece. Now I totally love it and I’m reminded how cool writing is.

Now over at Booklights, I’m taking on the Color Me Brown Challenge with three picture books featuring children of color. If you’ve profiled a book for the younger set this month, leave a link in the comments at the post and add to the list. Since I wrote about the opportunities available by leaving comments, I realized that I myself was missing the opportunity to highlight other blogs of the kidlitosphere. I had been leaving that task to Jen because she does it so well. But from now on, I’ll be asking myself What Would Jen Do? and I’ll be working harder to showcase more of your work. So let’s say that we all learned something.

Last, but certainly not least, my proposal for a book blogs session at the ALA 2010 Summer Conference in Washington, DC, was accepted!!! The session will be within the track for Association for Library Services for Children. I was in a rush for a clever name, so went with Book Blogs: Not Just for Geeks Anymore. Honestly, I’m not crazy about the title and I’m pretty sure that I can change it. Do you have any suggestions? Keep in mind that the concept of the session is to introduce librarians to using book blogs in their collection development, reading selection, program planning, and book clubs. I’ll be talking more about it after...

KidLitCon 2009 - Washington DCKidlitosphere Conference! You didn’t really think we were getting out of this post without a mention of KidLitCon09, did you? I have to give a shout-out to Liz Burns for the best title, the best post I’ve seen on the grassroots nature of our gathering, but I’m so appreciative to all of you who’ve written about and promoted the Kidlitosphere Conference on your blogs. Our collaborative effort is what made the YA/KidLit bloggers the first group to be able to put together a book blogging conference three years ago, and now our continued support can make this year’s meeting another great success. With the extra posts and Twitter reminders, I’ve received some more registrations in the last few days, including one from the amazing Young Adult author Elizabeth Scott. Next week I’ll have an updated list of participants and activities. We need to get everyone signed up by the time we lose our fantastic hotel rate on September 16th. But since it is possible that we could fill up our available participant slots before then, please register for the conference soon. Or like, now.

So to summarize: saving tips for libraries, profiles of POC books, book blogging session names, and promotion of KidLitCon. Now go forth with your contributions, comments, opinions, and tweets.

KidLitosphere Happenings

Posts for the August Carnival of Children’s Literature are due today at midnight. Pick your favorite post of the month and use the submission form at Blog Carnival. The Carnival will arrive on Saturday at In Need of Chocolate.

The Cybils are back for 2009 and looking for judges. Make sure you read the requirements throughly before you sign on for a panelist or judging role. It’s a big time commitment — especially in the Young Adult categories — but a lot of fun. Like last year, I’ll be organizer and panelist for Fiction Picture Books.

There is still time to participate August’s Color Me Brown Challenge, which asks bloggers to profile books featuring characters of color. Having pulled together more than eighty reviews so far, Color Online is looking for a last-week push to one hundred titles.

How much time do you spent online in book blogging mode? Liz Burns wants to know, and has put together survey so we can all find out the answer. (I’m afraid to know.)

Liz also answered the wonderful questions for a reader asked by Shannon Hale. Finding Wonderland applied the questions specifically to Lani Taylor’s new book. Who’s next?

Justine Larbalestier is sharing some great thoughts on the wrong questions regarding writing, and Alvina Ling gives up the back story on Geektastic over at Blue Rose Girls.

Meanwhile, I’m getting psyched for the upcoming KidLitosphere Conference in Washington, DC, and hoping to get you excited too. Make reservations now before time runs out.

Book Promotion: A Conference Scenario

Suppose you’ve written a Young Adult or children’s book that is being published this fall and are looking for promotion opportunities. You may plan on doing a few signings, and are hoping people will come. You’re probably talking about the upcoming release on your blog, but you’re not sure anyone is reading it. Your publisher is sending out copies or press releases to journals, newspapers, and bloggers, but you don’t know how your book will stand out in the many books that come out each season.

What’s an author to do?

KidLitCon 2009 - Washington DCWell, if you’re an author living on the East Coast, you should be signing up for the KidLitosphere Conference on October 17th in Washington, DC. With the $100 registration fee, you’ll spend the day on Saturday learning how to improve your blog — or start a blog — in ways that can help your book. You’ll bring along a few copies to show off at the Meet the Author session, where you’ll tell a bunch of Kidlit/YA book bloggers about your latest title. You’ll spend the dinner (paid for with the registration) socializing with these book bloggers and other authors. Some may call it networking. Perhaps on Sunday you can go arrange a book signing, particularly if you contact the organizer, who is looking for some committed authors to do such a thing. And maybe with a signing, your publisher might pay for some or all of your expenses.

If you live in New York City, you can take the bus to save money with a round-trip bus ride on Washington Deluxe costing only $40. (I’ve taken it three times, and loved it.) Sharing a room with an author friend would put you at $110 for both nights at the Sheraton Crystal City Hotel, or come with family and make a mini-vacation. If you’re here Friday afternoon, you can join the group for a free tour of the Library of Congress, or you can visit any of the Smithsonian museums on your own, also free. Of course, if you live near Washington, DC, you don’t even have the hotel expenses.

So, what are you waiting for? Register now for the KidLitosphere Conference.

Problem solved.

Poetry Friday: Human Lyrics

This song has been on my mind since my fifth grader danced to it in her summer camp lyrical performance. I had never heard it before then and the lyrics were haunting. I thought that it might be new to some of you as well, and works as poetry — at least in my opinion. In any case, it’s certainly a better choice than the other song that she danced to — Fire Burning on the Dance Floor.
by The Killers

I did my best to notice
When the call came down the line
Up to the platform of surrender
I was brought but I was kind
And sometimes I get nervous
When I see an open door
Close your eyes
Clear your heart...
Cut the cord

Are we human?
Or are we dancer?
My sign is vital
My hands are cold
And I’m on my knees
Looking for the answer
Are we human?
Or are we dancer?

Pay my respects to grace and virtue
Send my condolences to good
Give my regards to soul and romance,
They always did the best they could
And so long to devotion
You taught me everything I know
Wave goodbye
Wish me well...
You’ve got to let me go

Are we human?
Or are we dancer?
My sign is vital
My hands are cold
And I’m on my knees
Looking for the answers
Are we human?
Or are we dancer?
Listen to and see the video of Human. Sweet, huh? Poetry Friday round-up is over at The Boy Reader.

Also, look for your best piece of blog writing to submit to a gallery sponsored by A Year of Reading for The National Day of Writing. Here’s what they’re looking for:
Members of the Kidlitosphere are invited to submit stories from their reading lives. Your submission can be an anecdote from childhood, a recent experience around books or reading, a memory from school (good or bad), a vignette about learning to read, the impact of a particular book — anything about your life as a reader.
I’m excited about this wonderful opportunity to contribute as a community. I’m sending this article I wrote for ForeWord about being a Mother and a Reader. It contains one of my favorite stories about my kids when they were little:
When my oldest daughter was five, she asked me to play house. “I’ll be the mommy and you’ll be the little girl,” she said. I agreed and prepared myself for my role. Meanwhile, she sat down on the couch, opened a book to read, and looking over the top said, “Go play with your sister.”

When Opportunity Knocks, Are You Too Busy Twittering To Answer?

I can’t say that I love Twitter, but I’m beginning to use it better and see some applications in my Online Social Media Approach (OSMA). However, I do see that Twitter appears to be sucking the blog commenting right out of us, and that’s a shame. It is definitely easier to reply on Twitter, where brevity is a virtue. Commenting on a blog post can feel daunting, with its space to write using as many characters as you want and its chance to add something of value to the conversation. But people, we  — and by we, I mean you — are missing out on some incredible opportunities to network by commenting.

For the past few months, I’ve been writing at Booklights, which is a blog at PBS. Every time I put up a post there, I mention it here. Jen Robinson does the same with her posts. Sometimes we get a fair number of comments. Occasionally we really strike a chord, like with Susan’s First Time Reads post about the children’s books you wish you could read for the first time. We certainly like it when we get comments, but this isn’t about us. It’s not even about me (as surprising as that may seem to those of you who know me best).

This is about you. Because you have the opportunity to write a comment on a blog at PBS where other thoughtful people might read it and take a look at where you blog, who you are, and what you’ve written. Maybe the PBS blog will need guest bloggers and look in the comments for bloggers who’ve shown interest in the blog and topic areas. Maybe parents or teachers or librarians are reading the comments after a post and might see your insightful addition — perhaps to Back to School picture books that I’ve posted about today — and then might follow the link back to your blog for other ideas.

Yesterday, I posted at ForeWord about summer reading programs, reading lists, and prizes. I know book bloggers have opinions about these topics. It seems like a good idea to share some of those thoughts in the comments of a respected online journal. One that obviously employs — and by “employs” I mean “gives money to” — guest bloggers, one of whom you could be if ForeWord knew about you. I’m just sayin’.

I don’t want to come off as angry or peevish, and I hope that those of you who follow me understand that. I do think commenting is important and is something that we are losing in our community to the detriment of all. Lee Wind and I even ran a Comment Challenge to that effect in November. Certainly, we’d all like more comments. But my point here is for the bloggers who wonder how to get their blog noticed, how to get it to the next level... well, sometimes opportunity isn’t tweeting.

Of course, if you’re busy twittering about how hot it is in August — clearly an underreported topic — well, I don’t want to interrupt you.

ForeWord and BBAW

Today I’m guest blogging over at ForeWord, talking about library summer programs, reading lists, and prizes. Come by to talk about what your library does to promote reading in the summer. Share your thoughts on prizes as incentives for encouraging reading or trinkets that devalue the book experience. Or somewhere in between. How about reading lists? Does your area have required reading for summer or lists of suggested books? Head to ForeWord and unload your Summer Reading angst.

Today I’m also deciding what blog posts to submit for consideration for Book Bloggers Appreciation Week. It’s been very interesting going back over this calendar year of posts while thinking about what writing best defines me and my blog. Honestly, I’ve learned so much in forcing myself to select my favorites and get a good sampling of what I write. It was a great exercise in seeing what direction I’ve been taking, what books are driving my best writing, what features are filling my pages.

I realized how few book reviews I’ve been doing lately. Now, part of this was a conscious choice — I was feeling overwhelmed by keeping up with the books, and rather than let myself burn out, I backed off for a while. But I think I backed off from reviews more than I thought I had, which surprised me.

I stumbled on posts that I thought were great only to find that they had no or few comments, making me question whether I know what my readership is looking for. If I know what I’m looking for. And yes, along the way, I also cracked myself up with my own little bits of funny or whole posts.

KidLitCon 2009 - Washington DCWith some new insight under my belt, I’m more excited than ever for the KidLitosphere Conference. I can’t wait to talk to other bloggers in person, and with more than 140 characters. I always come away energized and ready to try new things, and I’d highly suggest the conference to anyone in children’s or Young Adult literature who blogs or would like to learn about blogging. More information and the registration are available at KidLitosphere Central.

A Pearl in the Storm

Life in the “real” world is hazy, and it is piled full of superfluous things that have little bearing on survival. Modern conveniences equate with disposability. When things break, we throw them away. When friendships break, we throw them away. After all, there are so many people. We don’t watch the weather; we change the thermostat. We don’t take care of ourselves; we leave that to the doctors and the lawyers. We don’t take care of the people around us; we pay taxes and expect the government to do the caretaking. We place our trust in our locks and alarm systems. People come and go at dizzying speeds, and most encounters are frustratingly superficial. When I remember to ask someone, “How are you?” I seldom slow my pace to listen to the response. Reality is sometimes difficult to find in the “real” world.
A Pearl in the StormA Pearl in the Storm: How I Found My Heart in the Middle of the Ocean, by Tori Murden McClure, is an amazing story of endurance, strength, drive, tenacity, pride and humility. This book was recommended by a patron at my library, and by the time my hold came up, I had forgotten all about it. I almost put it back, because I couldn’t imagine why I had wanted to read about the first woman to row across the ocean. I’m glad I gave it a try, because it was interesting and inspirational. An adult biography, it would be perfect for high schoolers as well.

In 1998, Tori McClure rowed across the Atlantic Ocean in a custom rowboat with a tiny cabin. She charted her journey in hours and miles rowed, in the lessons learned, and in the insights discovered. She rowed alongside whales and playful dolphins, through storms and rogue waves. When things broke, she fixed them. When things broke beyond repair, she did without — even when those things were considered essential.

She starts her story with a strong statement of will: “I felt proud not to be searching for life in the absent corners of weekends.” She ends her story with a realization: “Our helplessness makes us human. Love is what makes our humanity bearable.” And in between those two points, she shares the remarkable story of her life and ocean journey. Not to be missed.

Nonfiction Monday is hosted today at All About Children’s Books.

Poetry Friday: Sand Art

Thanks to Kathleen Duey for pointing out this amazing and unique artist from the Ukraine. At eight minutes, the video is a bit long by today’s short-attention-span standards, but commit to watching the whole thing. You won’t regret it.

Okay, it’s not a poem, but I can’t say that it’s not poetry. You’ll find the real stuff at today’s Poetry Friday, hosted by A Wrung Sponge.

Booklights and More Booklights

Today my Booklights post is about my three favorite summer books. Can you guess them? Pop over to see and add your own suggestions in the comments. Usually I put a bonus book here, but this time I’ll refer back to an earlier post on Jenny Han’s book The Summer I Turned Pretty:
Belly measures her life by summers when she stays in a beach house with a family friend. While Belly’s mom and her friend Susannah spend time together, Belly tags along behind her brother and Susannah’s boys. She takes on the role of younger sister to Jeremiah and Conrad, and sometimes it chafes her like the sand in her swimsuit. But this summer is different, because Belly has finally come into her own. She’s grown up now and things are changing.
Wow. There’s something about quoting your own blog that’s a little unnerving. But perhaps not as much as an ego trip as pointing out your own interview. Terry of The Reading Tub put together a wonderful interview talking about PBS Booklights with the team. Check it out.

And while we’re still talking about Booklights, take a look at Susan’s post about which children’s book you wish you could enjoy for the first time all over again. Her writing is lovely and insightful, and has inspired a wave of thoughtful comments. Go add yours.

One Shot Southeast Asia: When Heaven Fell

Today Chasing Ray hosts the One Shot World Tour, focusing on books set in Southeast Asia. It gives me the perfect opportunity to mention a book I received a while ago, and then forgot. Which happens more than I’d care to say.

When Heaven FellLooking over this region would be woefully incomplete without including books by Carolyn Marsden. She’s written about girls from and in Thailand, China, and Vietnam. When Heaven Fell is set in present-day Vietnam with a girl, Binh, who sells fruit and sodas from a cart instead of going to school. Her family can’t afford the cost of the uniform and books, and her tiny earnings make a difference in how much the family can eat that day. She looks enviously at the girls heading to school and longingly at her older cousin’s dress — which she’ll receive as a hand-me-down. Her family lives life on the edge, dependent on the smallest amount of money.

When Binh’s grandmother announces that her long-lost daughter is coming for a visit from America, all the relatives begin to dream about all the gifts that will flow their way. Knowing that America is a land of riches, they expect to find themselves saved from their abject poverty by this woman that Ba Ngoai gave up after the war with America. But after all their expectations, can this lost child of Vietnam be the person they want her to be — especially when she is there looking for the mother and childhood that was ripped from her?

Written for elementary school students, When Heaven Fell is a wonderful view of life in Vietnam. The characters are engaging and real, all with their own flaws and blind spots. While not focusing on the war with Vietnam, the author gives a look into the conflict from the point of the innocent victims. The reader also gets to see an impression of America from afar.

For many more books on Southeast Asia, head over to the One Shot Round-up at Chasing Ray.

Getting Stuff and Making Money

The Federal Trade Commission is expected to vote this summer on new ethical guidelines for bloggers. While the revised guidelines will apply to all bloggers, FTC public affairs specialist Betsy Lordan told CNN, “Some of the bigger challenges include the mommy blogger issue and the extent to which the blogger must disclose a relationship with an advertiser.”
This CNN article talks about a Public Relations Blackout challenge that Momdot is holding this week in an effort to return to the spirit of community, sharing, and stellar writing that has been taken over by controversy, jealousy, and product reviews. I am concerned that we aren’t taking the meltdown that’s occurring there and learning the lessons so we can avoid it here.

Over the past few months, I’ve seen several discussions about review copies, free bookshelves, advertising, professionalism, and making money. I could write a week’s worth of posts on any of the topics, but in the interest of being direct, I’m presenting the core of my thoughts on each issue. I’ve included links to posts that expand on each topic.
  1. Free books and ARCs aren’t at issue for book bloggers, given the necessity and history of review copies distributed to reviewers in print and online. However, being transparent about the books received from publishers makes it easier to recognize and avoid further problems with receiving other products. [More on bloggers and commercialism at Boston Bibliophile.]

  2. Many things can’t really be “reviewed,” no matter how it’s phrased in the pitch, which makes it closer to being paid in product to write about it. There are two issues here — whether you can objectively analyze something of value that was received at no cost and if an analysis of the product would truly be of use to your readers. [Also, watch for jealousy: J. Kaye’s Book Blog.]

  3. Publishers Weekly and other journals can take ads because there isn’t a direct benefit to the reviewers. The wall between sales and writers is what helps prevent a conflict of interest. As a blogger, you are both writing the reviews and taking the money from advertising, which makes it much harder to retain objectivity. [Read more on publishing and blogs at Tea Cozy.]

  4. For the most part, blogging should be approached as a creative outlet, writing practice, or networking opportunity. There shouldn’t be an expectation of free stuff or making money, no matter how much time and energy you put into it. [Read more on publishing and blogs at Tea Cozy.]

  5. However, that doesn’t mean that bloggers shouldn’t act professionally. In the book world, there are so very few “professional bloggers” and they make so little money that the phrase is practically meaningless. If you are getting free books or ARCs on any sort of regular basis, you have a responsibility to act in a professional manner. [Professionalism at Chasing Ray.]
When I was alerted to the upcoming PR-Free week by Bloggasm, I didn’t see the need to mention it, because I felt like our community was immune to such things. Obviously, as book review blogs we can’t be free of reviews. However, it can be a week where we spend some time educating ourselves about the issues, discussing the possible implications, and drafting our personal policies. What does it mean to you to Blog with Integrity?

Nonfiction Monday: Round-Up & Pandas

How Many Baby Pandas?Pandas must be the only animal whose adult evolutionary strategy is cuteness. (Well, other than Ashton Kutcher.) They live on bamboo — and only bamboo — which apparently has all the nutritional value of pork rinds. They also weigh two hundred pounds, need a decent-sized range, and sport highly visible markings. No doubt this species would have died out long, long ago if people didn’t protect them because they were just so darn adorable.

How Many Baby Pandas? by Sandra Markle, is a young readers’ introduction to pandas and how people are helping them at Wolong Giant Panda Breeding Center in China. We start with one panda at birth — about six inches long, weighing four ounces, and looking like a pink rat. We follow pandas’ growth in the center and learn facts about the animals along the way. The photographs of pandas wrestling with each other and holding their own baby bottles are as sweet as they sound. Regardless of the title, the counting aspect of the book is certainly secondary. At the end, there are extra facts, glossary, bibliography, websites, and donation information. Good for early elementary school readers or preschoolers who want to learn about animals. Especially cute animals.

Nonfiction Monday Round-up is here today, so leave links in the comments and I’ll update throughout the day.

Edited to Add: Funny story — I told my teen the Ashton Kutcher line yesterday, and she didn’t think it was that funny. I explained it, telling her that it’s only because he’s cute that he has a career, because he hasn’t really done anything. So, today I see an article in The Washington Post about celebrities who are famous for being famous. At the end of the article the primo example is named: Ashton Kutcher.

9:00 a.m. Round-Up
Noon Round-Up

4:00 p.m. Round-Up
  • Life in the Boreal Forest at Bookends. (Doesn’t that sound pleasantly cool during an August heat wave?)

  • A round-up within a round-up with Finding Truth, Then and Now, 14 Cows for America, Truth You Can Trust, and Save This Superstar! all at I.N.K. — Interesting Nonfiction for Kids. (Sorry I missed you earlier.)

7:00 p.m. Round-Up
  • The Frog Scientist at Biblio File, who adds, “MR! You live in DC! Baby pandas don’t look like a pink rat, they’re THE SIZE OF A STICK OF BUTTER!”
HA! (I respond.) I actually had that phrase instead of the pink rat, but I didn’t think anyone would get it! Of course, four years ago everyone in the DC area heard that the new baby panda was the size of a stick of butter so many times that “ButterStick” was one of the suggested names. (They went with Tai Shan.)

New Cover for Liar

LiarAs reported in Publishers Weekly, Bloomsbury has replaced the controversial cover for Liar, even going through the trouble and expense of a new photo shoot. Victory is ours!

I’d like to thank the academy...

No, but really I would like to give a tip of the hat to many participants in this campaign.

First of all, us. Bloggers brought the issue out to the forefront with posts like that of Editorial Anonymous. As the controversy became known, bloggers wrote about the problem with support for the author’s honesty and distaste for publisher’s decision. Chasing Ray collected a long list of excerpts from blog posts to make it absolutely clear that this was, indeed, a Big Deal. Now, we’ve proven that bloggers matter — and quite a lot.

Justine Larbalestier wrote an amazingly honest and brave post about the cover, saying that she argued for a different representation but ultimately had no say in the decision. I was awed by her courage in speaking out, and appreciated her dilemma in challenging her own title and publisher. With the support she’s received, I know that she will enjoy a best-selling book that is true to her vision. I also suspect that she’ll be branded with a lifelong reputation for the greatest integrity.

Authors win a second look from publishers as a voice on book covers. I don’t expect a final say to be on the table for writers. Not at all. But I do think that publishers may listen a little bit harder when authors speak out about their covers, especially when it involves the color of the character’s skin, or say, a cover that by its very being affects the interpretation of the book to the point where it tears the narrative to shreds. Or something like that.

The victory also goes to authors and illustrators of color who have been fighting against racial bias in cover art for far too long. This particular battle was fought by many amazing book bloggers who focus on books with diversity, but I’m giving the win to Color Online. Through it all her voice was ever present and ever engaging, challenging us to write more, fight harder, and change sooner.

Many, many authors, illustrators, bloggers, and readers contributed their messages, opinions, and support. It made a difference, and hopefully one that will reach even farther than this one book.

Booklights and Whining

Today at Booklights I’m sharing reading readiness games to play with your preschooler. Easy activities — not the ones involving macaroni, wooden dowels, and a glue gun. Though if you have a suggestion for using those three items, it can be today’s bonus feature.

I’m not in the mood to write much more, and I do want to limit my computer time today. I spent too much time online yesterday. It was actually kind of helpful that Twitter was down this morning. I know, crazy talk. But my Facebook page is getting hit with everyone’s Tweets — especially with all the authors heading to SCBWI. I’m thinking if folks are going update Twitter every twenty minutes, perhaps the connection to Facebook could be turned off. Maybe it’s just me. I am a little tired and cranky.

KidLitosphere Conference 2009

KidLitCon 2009 - Washington DCIt is officially time to sign up for the KidLitosphere Conference, taking place on October 17th, 2009, at the Sheraton Crystal City Hotel. The conference is open to bloggers — and wannabe bloggers — in children’s and young adult literature. Yes, this includes YA/Kidlit authors, illustrators, editors, and publishers who blog or would like to blog.

So what’s the conference like, other than awesome? The day starts with breakfast from 7:00 to 8:00 a.m, where you can catch up with old friends or meet new ones. The sessions go from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and will cover:
  • The Blog Within: An Interview With Your Inner Blogger
  • Building a Better Blog: Best Practices, Ideas, and Tips
  • Split Reviewer/Author Sessions:
    It’s All About the Book: Better Book Reviews
    It’s Not About Your Book: Writing Ideas for Blogging Authors
  • Split Reviewer/Author Sessions:
    Social Networking for Fun (and Profit?)
  • Authors, Publishers, Reviewers (and ARCs): A Panel Conversation
  • Coming Together, Giving Back: Building Community, Literacy, and the Reading Message (KidLitosphere Central/PBS/RIF/Literacy)
There will also be a “Meet the Author” time at the end, where writers and illustrators can bring their books. A fun dinner to mix and mingle is scheduled for 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. with the continuing party moving to the hotel bar. The registration fee for all of this — including the breakfast and dinner — is only $100. It’s a total bargain.

Informal outings will take place on Friday and Sunday. We’re hoping to arrange a Library of Congress tour for Friday afternoon and we’ll gather for dinner near the hotel around 6:00 p.m. Sunday’s expedition may involve a local DC bookstore, Politics and Prose. If I can get some authors to register soon, we may even be able to arrange a reading.

Rooms are currently on hold at the Sheraton Crystal City Hotel for the amazing rate of $109 a night. They will only be held until September 16th, and if our block is filled before then, that low rate may not be available. Book soon. Since I’ve held rooms with two double beds, you could bring your family along to visit DC or share with a blogger buddy.

It should be noted that the hotel is a mile from National Airport and free shuttle service is available. A Metro Station is on the same block, allowing travel to Washington in minutes. In fact, downtown DC is only two miles away. The hotel is right next to the Crystal City Shops and a few blocks from the upscale Fashion Center at Pentagon City. If you want more information about the hotel, visit the website of the Sheraton Crystal City Hotel.

The registration form is available at KidLitosphere Central. There are a limited number of spaces available, so please sign up soon. Here are some of the bloggers who will be coming to the conference:

Carnival of Children’s Literature and Music Video

Man, I’ve been so lazy this summer. I can’t seem to get anything done. The garden is a mess, the house is a disaster, and the blog needs work. Yet I’ll read in bed or watch TV with the family or head to the pool — anything but do the chores. Omigod, I’m a child.

To be fair, it’s my first summer without working for ten years. And even ten years ago, I had a newborn, so that shouldn’t even count as a summer off. So really it’s my first work-free summer since... I was a child. Huh.

Today, instead of writing, I’ll be enjoying the wonderful Summer Carnival of Children’s Literature. Melissa Wiley pulled together a great collection of posts that are not to be missed.

Also, here’s a little video I saw on Library Stew. Being musical (and with a musical daughter), I particularly enjoyed it, and would love to find out more about this session on Notes & Neurons.