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Jen Robinson: April 2009 Archives


Picture Book Contests

Posted by Jen Robinson on April 30, 2009 at 6:00 AM in Picture Books
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In light of our recent posts about favorite picture books (Pam's, Susan's, and mine), I wanted to bring to your attention a couple of picture book-related contests.

LittlePigs.jpgFirst up, at A Fuse #8 Production, Betsy Bird just announced a contest for people to name what they think will be the top 10 in the 100 Picture Books poll (currently at #14: The True Story of the Three Little Pigs, by National Ambassador for Young People's Literature Jon Scieszka). Betsy says:

"I have a whole bunch of lovely Advanced Readers Galleys just itching to make their way in the world. Send me your predictions for the Top 10 and if you're right then I'll send you one of my precious galleys. Not old ones from two or three years ago either. Awesome ones."

See the full post for submission details. Hurry, though. You must submit your guesses by Sunday night, May 3rd.

ShiningStar.jpgAnother contest that caught my eye is being organized by Paula Yoo. Paula has declared May 1st to 7th to be National Picture Book Writing week. Here's part of the announcement, taken from Anastasia Suen's Children's Book Biz News blog:

"In the spirit of National Novel Writing Month ("NaNoWriMo") where people across the country try to write a complete novel in one month, the fine folks at have decided to start the first ever National Picture Book Writing Week, affectionately nicknamed "NaPiBoWriWee."

The goal? To write 7 picture books in 7 days.

All NaPiBoWriWee participants should register on my website ( and comment on my blogs every day with your own progress. For those of you who participate in the first annual NaPiBoWriWee, I will select a winner at random on the 7th day - that winner will receive an autographed copy of my latest picture book,"SHINING STAR: THE ANNA MAY WONG STORY" (Lee & Low Books, 2009)."

You can find more details at Anastasia's, or at Three Silly Chicks.

ShareAStoryLogo2.jpgHere's another picture-book related tidbit, though it's not a contest. At the Share a Story - Shape a Future blog, Terry Doherty recently shared a tremendous list of picture books and easy readers recommended during the recent Share a Story literacy blog tour. The list includes several recommendations from Booklights' own MotherReader. Don't miss it! (Image credit Susan Stephenson, The Book Chook.)


Favorite Picture Books: Jen

Posted by Jen Robinson on April 24, 2009 at 2:13 AM in Picture BooksRecommendations
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200px-Where_The_Wild_Things_Are.jpgRecently, fellow blogger Betsy Bird (aka A Fuse #8 Production) asked a variety of children's book fans to each share their top 10 picture books of all time. Betsy has compiled those lists to come up with a Top 100 Picture Books list (starting here). Here is my personal top 10 list, not previously shared anywhere else. I tried to keep it a mix of older and newer titles.

  1. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. Where the Wild Things Are is a true classic, the ultimate tale of the strength of the imagination. Plus the illustrations are amazing! This was my favorite book as a child, and it holds up well.
  2. Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey. This choice is a nod to my childhood in Boston. The ducklings are part of many people's cultural heritage. They deserve a place on my list.
  3. A Visitor for Bear by Bonny Becker (ill. Kady Macdonald Denton). My review. A Visitor for Bear is a book that simply cries out to be read aloud. It is pitch-perfect for toddlers, and my favorite new picture book in years.
  4. Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst (ill. Ray Cruz). This book captures essential truths about life, in a humorous package, and is unforgettable.
  5. The House Takes a Vacation by Jacqueline Davies (ill. Lee White). My review. This book has gorgeous illustrations, and spot-on humor for preschoolers. It offers new tidbits on every re-read.
  6. Scaredy Squirrel by Melanie Watt. My review. Scaredy Squirrel is a fabulous character - the books are funny and creative, and validating for young readers nervous about the world around them.
  7. Click, Clack, Moo: Cows that Type by Doreen Cronin (ill. Betsy Lewin). This is one of my favorite gift books for computer-savvy parents - a reminder to celebrate the ridiculous.
  8. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin (ill. Eric Carle). Brown Bear is a book that toddlers want to have read read and re-read. The rhythm is excellent for read-aloud.
  9. Duck and Goose by Tad Hills. This is a modern favorite, with gentle humor, bright illustrations, and engaging characters. A must-have for any preschooler's library.
  10. Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems. What can I say that hasn't already been said? The Pigeon, though relatively young, is already a cultural icon. Kids LOVE these books.

978076145331402.jpgOf course I can name lots of other wonderful books, and even now I'm tempted to replace some of these with other favorites. But these are all books that have stood, or that I feel will stand, the test of time.

How about you? What are your favorite picture books?


Introduction: Jen

Posted by Jen Robinson on April 17, 2009 at 12:42 PM in Introductions
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JenAtALA.jpgHi, I'm Jen Robinson, and I'm thrilled to be here blogging at Booklights. A bit of background: I'm originally from outside of Boston, but have lived in the San Jose area for the past 9 years. I'm a fan of the Red Sox, chocolate in all forms, and complex television dramas like LOST and 24. I have a Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering, and I co-own a small software company.

But here's what you really need to know about me: I was a tremendous bookworm as a kid. I would read anywhere - up in a tree, on the roof, on a raft in the middle of the lake - you name it! As I grew older, I never stopped reading whenever I could, and I never stopped reading children's books (though I've been known to also read grown-up titles from time to time, especially mysteries). I think that many of the highest quality titles available today are published as children's books.

I've always felt compelled to share the joy of reading with children. To that end, I started my own blog, Jen Robinson's Book Page, in late 2005. I write about children's and young adult books, children's literacy, and raising readers. I'm an active participant in the community of people who blog about these topics, commonly known as the Kidlitosphere, and am the Literacy Evangelist for the Children's and Young Adult Bloggers' Literary Awards (Cybils). Here at Booklights I plan to share children's literacy and Kidlitosphere news and ideas, along with book recommendations. I welcome your feedback!

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