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Beth Cox Report: February 2016

Dear Loyal Readers, Authors, and Publishers,

At the request of independent publicist Karen Villanueva, it is my pleasure to spread word of the opening for submissions for the Southwest Book Design and Production Awards, hosted by the New Mexico Book Association. This event is open to submissions from publishers, book designers, and authors in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah and West Texas; all books must have a 2014 or 2015 publication date.

Winners will be announced at the SWBDA Awards Gala in June, 2016 (date TBA). More information, including instructions for submitting entries, is available on the New Mexico Book Association website

And at the request of nothing but my own desire to share the joy of books with the next generation, I would also like to link to the online article "5 Ways Parents Can Inspire Children to Love Reading":

In addition to helpful suggestions for stimulating children's interest in books, there are also tips on what not to do. For example, excessive nagging tends to be universally counterproductive, and rewards for reading should not be relied upon too heavily; reading is its own reward!

One more way to encourage children to read is to expose them to a wider variety of books. There is a notable story in recent news about sixth grader Marley Dias, who was tired of being assigned to read books about "white boys and their dogs" in her school classroom. Books such as "Where the Red Fern Grows", "Old Yeller", and "Sounder" are not bad; they're considered classics for a reason. But they are all similar to one another.

Marley wanted to experience different books, including books with characters that she, a black girl, could more directly relate to. She started the campaign #1000BlackGirlBooks in November, to raise awareness of books with black girls and people of color as protagonists. Her efforts brought book donations to schools and libraries, and publicity for overlooked yet worthy titles. This CNN article has more details:

Marley's official drive has concluded by the time of this writing, but the spirit of library donations and spreading the word about good books that can engage, excite, and inspire the young people of tomorrow continues!

February's Link of the Month is a little unusual. It's not a typical website, but rather the website for the smartphone app HelloTalk

This truly amazing piece of smartphone software is designed to make learning and practicing a new language fun. The idea is that one can engage in quick foreign language chats with other people; the VoIP calls are free of charge and not necessarily longer than a few minutes. Over 100 languages are supported, and native English speakers are in high demand! (Note that on HelloTalk, flirtation or "hooking up" is strictly prohibited; this app is expressly for the purpose of learning languages, and helping others learn).

Now for February's Book of the Month. When I structured the February issue of the Library Bookwatch, I deliberately placed it at the top of the Reviewer's Choice column:

The Well-Armored Child
Joelle Casteix
River Grove Books
9781632990396 $12.95 pbk / $6.99 Kindle

The Well-Armored Child: A Parent's Guide to Preventing Sexual Abuse is a book that absolutely every parent, caregiver, or professional who works with children must read. Child predators are not always strangers who abduct children off the street; sometimes they are charming sociopaths respected within a community, who "groom" children with gifts and psychologically pressure them not to talk about their abuse. Chapters discuss how to talk to young children about human sexuality in ways that will teach them how to protect themselves without destroying their innocence; how to communicate effectively with preteens and teens; common myths and stereotypes to beware of; child pornography; problems unique to the modern digital era, such as how "sexting" can all too easily morph into abuse; and more. "Tell your child that doors should always be open, unless he or she is alone in the bathroom or changing clothes. Explain to your child that he or she should never be in a room alone with another adult when the door is closed. Then tell your child that if anyone does or says anything that is definitely wrong or does not feel right, it's okay to say no and to call home right away." The Well-Armored Child is worthy of the highest recommendation, especially for public and community library collections.

That's all for the February 2016 Beth Cox Report. Keep your eyes and ears open!

Bethany Cox
Managing Editor
The Midwest Book Review

James A. Cox
Midwest Book Review
278 Orchard Drive
Oregon, WI 53575-1129
phone: 1-608-835-7937

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