Bloggers and reviewers are busy making their best lists for 2013, so I thought I would return the favor and share some of my favorite blog posts from 2013.

“The Heartbreak Kid” by Laurel Snyder for The Medium:

In this frank and thoughtful post, Snyder decries the seemingly pervasive feeling that books for children should not be sad.

I can’t help wondering if maybe kids today are becoming extra sensitive because we aren’t letting them learn about sadness, and really process it.

As a childhood lover of sad books such as The Velveteen Rabbit and The Steadfast Tin Soldier, this post hit a soft spot with me. It also made me regret steering a middle school boy away from Where The Red Fern Grows. Sadness in books helps our children cope with sadness in life; it’s as simple and vital as that.

“Reviewing Humility” by Vicky Smith on the Kirkus Reviews blog:

Vicki Smith explores the danger of reviewers becoming jaded, and the importance of remembering that children are still new readers:

The children and teens on whose behalf we read these books and write our reviews do not bring years or decades of reading, do not bring classes in literary history and theory, do not bring a comfortable familiarity with tropes to the next books they open. Even the most ravenous among our child readers have had a lifespan-limited exposure to their literature.

As a writer for children, this raised an interesting question for me: is it our job to teach these tropes and norms to our young readers?

“A Closer Look at the New York Times Bestseller’s List” by Kelly Jensen for Stacked:

Part 1 gathers and lays out all the data, while Part 2 goes into a deeper analysis. This post kick-started a conversation that needs to be on-going, and raises the essential question of why, in an industry dominated by women, do men seem to get so many of the accolades? The subsequent discussion on Twitter was fascinating. As Jensen concluded:

But it should also be clear that in discussing this issue, there are even messier, sometimes more problematic, knots to untangle.

And speaking of gender . . .

Anne Ursu’s Tumblr post “On Gender and Boys Read Panels”:

In this post, Ursu deconstructs the problem with the crisis in boy reading, and what message this sends both boys and girls about books and reading.

And in all of this, we’re telling boys that we don’t expect a lot from them.

And in this conversation, the girls are rendered invisible.

As a librarian, it’s easy to get caught up in the short hand of “boy books” and “girl books”, as well as the notion that boys are reluctant readers. And while it might be statistically true that more boys than girls fall into that “reluctant reader” category, that means those girls who don’t like to read are doubly disadvantaged: they feel like something is off about them, and teachers and librarians are less-equipped to help them.

Blogs of the Year

Nerdy Book Club: The blog is great, all the Nerdy Book Clubbers behind it are even greater (couldn’t resist). Book reviews, author posts and interviews, insights into using books with kids: this blog has it all.

Coming of Age in the Middle by Jessica Lahey: Is Jessica Lahey in the Nerdy Book Club? She should be! An English teacher and writer in New Hampshire, Lahey tackles both the practical and the philosophical issues of teaching. A few of my favorites of 2013 were:

Can’t wait to see what’s coming in 2014!

Best Blog Posts 2013
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2 thoughts on “Best Blog Posts 2013

  • December 22, 2013 at 7:24 pm
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    Wow! Thank you so much, Megan, for including me! I could not be more delighted, and I promise, there’s a lot more to come in 2014 about lifelong learning, intrinsic motivation, allowing kids to fail and the random musings of this writer and middle school teacher. Thanks again!

  • December 23, 2013 at 5:47 pm
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    I can’t wait to read it, Jessica!

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