Ahoy, fellow Scholastic bloggers!

Today the On Our Minds team had the pleasure of meeting some new Scholastic bloggers, and we’re sharing the bounty with you.

Scholastic’s Kid Lit Kit is a new blog with book reviews, book pairs, and a whole host of book-related ideas for K-8 teachers and librarians. Check it out! (Get it? Check it out, like you would a… oh, never mind.)

Ink Splot 26 is like Gawker for kids who totally love books. Exclusive book news, juicy behind-the-book items, author and celeb interviews and something called “Character Confidential.” Sounds hot. Or fierce. Or whatever the youngsters are saying these days. I have one question, though: why 26?

And last but not least, for more in-depth thinking on children’s literature, sail on over to self-described “lifelong text addict” Librarian Mom.

More fodder for your feeds, mateys! (Because every day can be Talk Like A Pirate Day 😉


Scholastic Book Clubs turns 60

When I tell people I work at Scholastic, by far the most common response I get goes something like this:

“Like the flyers I used to get in elementary school? I loved those!!”

“Yeah, that’s us,” I say. Then I usually mention Harry Potter, magazines, Goosebumps, Book Fairs and a handful of other brands they might recognize.

They know those too, but it’s Scholastic Book Clubs they want to linger on. “I used to get so excited when my teacher would hand out the colorful flyers!” “I remember carrying bags full of change to school to give to my teachers.” “I used to love Book Day!”

So have millions of kids for 60 years now.

The good news today is Scholastic Book Clubs is still growing — and we think some recent changes will make the experience even better for students, teachers and parents for years to come.

I’ll be posting about Book Clubs occasionally over the next few months, but I wanted to mention today what I think is the most exciting recent change for Clubs — online ordering. We call it COOL, which stands for “Clubs Ordering OnLine,” and it’s already getting a fair bit of attention.

The power of the Web has allowed Book Clubs to offer more books through a system that is more user-friendly and provides far more information about each title, series and author. Teachers give parents a username and password, and parents can go online with their kids, browse flyers and make orders with a credit card. There are plenty of other great features, including a way for teachers to make book recommendations to parents on the system and create wish lists. Parents can also order anytime from some of the most popular book series — like Harry Potter, Captain Underpants and Clifford the Big Red Dog.

The colorful flyers haven’t gone away, and many teachers still prefer the old system. However, more than half of all Book Clubs orders are now received online at Scholastic. The orders still go through the teacher, teachers earn valuable bonus points they can use to get free books and classroom materials, and the books are still delivered to the schools. Most importantly, the books are still carefully chosen by editors at Scholastic, and the prices are kept low.

We’d love to hear your memories of Scholastic Book Clubs from when you were a kid! And if you’re a current Clubs parent, teacher or student, are you using COOL? What do you think?

Vote, baby, vote!

Of course kids are too young to vote in the actual U.S. election, but at Scholastic, we want them to go to www.scholastic.com/vote and make their voices heard!

Since 1940, the outcome of the Scholastic Election Poll has mirrored the outcome of the general election, in every election but two! (In 1948 students chose Thomas E. Dewey over Harry S. Truman, and in 1960 more students voted for Richard M. Nixon than John F. Kennedy.)

In the 2004 election, more than half a million students in first through eighth grades participated in the poll, casting their votes online at the Scholastic News Election site or with paper ballots in the fall editions of their Scholastic classroom magazines.

The election poll will be closing soon, so tell your kids, their teachers, your colleagues, your school librarian, or anyone else who has young people with an opinion.

CONTEST ALERT: The first three people to tell me which First Kid carried her pet snake in her purse will win a copy of First Kids: True Stories of All the Presidents’ Children by former Scholastic Kid Reporter Noah McCullough. Comment or email with your educated guesses now!

Harry Potter Cover to Cover Day update

It’s Harry Potter Cover to Cover Day here at Scholastic, as many of you probably know, and we’re planning to post some videos and photos of the action and from behind the scenes.

Here’s the first of hopefully a few videos from the day. This is Melissa Anelli from The Leaky Cauldron talking about her site, which is one of the largest communities of Harry Potter fans on the Web. She came by to cover it for her site, and to read too.

Apologies for the poor audio, but you should be able to hear OK if you turn your volume up.

Great meeting you today, Melissa!

[blip.tv http://blip.tv/play/Ac78a4+gVA%5D

Calling all Tom Snyder Productions fans!

If you’re a teacher, administrator or tech coordinator looking for new classroom tools to enhance all content areas, beef up your social studies curriculum, or help your students develop 21st century skills, then check this out.

This Thursday (and most every Thursday in October), Tom Snyder Productions is offering free 20-minute Webinars to show off their newest iteration of Timeliner XE— built using Adobe AIR and Flex technology– and to share ideas about how to use the multimedia software with your students, including lessons about the presidential election.

Go here to find out more and sign up to participate.
P.S. All attendees will receive a $25 gift certificate from Tom Snyder. Win-win!