Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Children's Book Week, Red-Hot Flamingnet

More on Children's Book Week, which began yesterday and runs through Sunday. I got a wee bit fired up about kids books and new technology when stumbled across Flamingnet, which the rest of the world out there might already know about. I tend to come late to things -- discovered The Sopranos in season three, got my first countertop mixer after a good 10 years of baking, and I still haven't gotten around to rollerblading yet. But Flamingnet represents more than just another website with a book angle. It's a wonderful virtual world of and for book nerds! A vast community of readers who speak and celebrate children's lit. How cool is that?

Flamingnet was begun by Seth Cassel back in 2002, when he was but a wee fifth-grader! It is devoted to promoting reading and writing among teens and tweens and includes reviews of children's books written by kids from all over the world -- in the United States, England, and Australia. And as if this weren't enough, Seth has developed a charity angle as well, donating books and money to organizations in need. Here's what they have to say about themselves:

Flamingnet is currently a growing young adult book website, and my father and I are kept very busy spreading the word about our site and working with all the reviewers, underwriters (adult volunteers that assist our student reviewers with their writing), Flamingnet members, authors, publishers, and publicists that have become part of our Flamingnet community. My grandfather in Florida is also very busy sending out letters to libraries telling them about my website.

Even Grandpop is in on it? I'm getting misty! What a wonderful family affair. It's an organic outgrowth of this boy's interest in books, supported and fostered by his father (a computer programmer) and grandfather, and now shared with the rest of the virtual reading world. Flamingnet's formula of having kids review books online and participate in the greater book community brings so many people into the conversation -- teens and tweens, classrooms, teachers, librarians, parents, and even grandparents. It's a wonderful digital age success story, and makes for another exciting chapter in the history of Children's Book Week.

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