Though my timing may not be the best, I believe a lot of challenge-addicts ARE shopping around for 2008 Challenges beginning in January. (Yes, I am one of them.) And while it is true that I will already be hosting a challenge, the Cardathon Challenge, next year. I can't resist starting another one.
This is a twelve month challenge (January 1, 2008 through December 31, 2008).
The challenge is designed to "celebrate" author birthdays. Choose one author for each month of the year. Read at least one book a month. 12 authors. 12 birthdays. If you like, you can read MORE than that. If you're really obsessive, you might want to "celebrate" all 52 weeks of the year. (But even I am not THAT zealous!) The challenge is designed to 'celebrate' the special bond--the connection--that occurs between the author AND the reader as well as the connection between readers. It is very easy to "bond" with other readers over certain works, certain authors, etc.
There are several websites that will do the hardwork for you. Such as Kathy Schrock's Guide for Educators: Author Birthday List by Date and by Name. And Kidsreads.com. And Author/Birthday Web Directory. And Teen Author Birthday Index. You can search the internet for general birthday information. Or choose your authors, search the web for bio information, and see if you can work it all out that way. (Hint: typing the authors name, a "+" and the word 'birthday', tends to work if you assume that wikipedia gets such things right.)
You can choose picture books, poetry books, early readers, chapter books, fiction for middle grades, fiction for teens, adult reads, nonfiction, whatever you want. You could choose 12 picture books. You can read books in or out of your comfort zone.
You might want to make a list and choose alternatives for each month...that way you can narrow it down as you go. And you do NOT have to choose a book until the very moment you're ready to start reading. Just pick a handful of authors.
And here's the secret. If you change your mind, just be sure to change your list to reflect that change. I don't care how many times you change your list.
Edited to add: How does this challenge work? On the 15th of each and every month, I will post a Celebrate-the-Author Roundup. When you've read the book for that month, simply leave me a comment in the roundup post. I'll take everyone's links and write something up. That way you can visit other participants books and get a sense of what everyone else is doing for the challenge. The reviews might even begin to influence your to-be-read pile! At the end of the year, I will then do a roundup of all the months' roundups. I might ask--I probably will ask--you to write up a post summarizing your year, picking your favorites, etc. I'll link to those as well.
Edited to Add: This came up in the A Novel Challenge yahoo group, but I thought I'd post about it here as well. If you're signed up to participate, and you miss a month, I would encourage you to continue on with the challenge. I will allow (happily allow) you to play catch-up. So if it's June by you missed a month or two, then feel free to go back and celebrate those author birthdays now. If at any time you miss a month, you can play catch up whenever you have the time. But I don't allow you to read ahead of schedule. You can't "celebrate" author birthdays ahead of time. No celebrating August or December birthdays in July, for example. The goal is to have an author representing each of the twelve months.
Here's my list:
January: A.A. Milne
January alternatives: Rosemary Wells, Lewis Carroll, Lloyd Alexander
February: Laura Ingalls Wilder
February alternatives: Russell Hoban, Judith Viorst, Jules Verne, Susan Beth Pfeffer
March: Lois Lowry
March alternatives: Dr. Seuss, Patricia MacLachlan, Mem Fox, Libba Bray,
April: Beverly Cleary
April alternatives: Barbara Park, Lee Bennett Hopkins,
May: Scott O'Dell
May alternatives: M.E. Kerr, Arnold Lobel, Leo Lionni, Scott Westerfeld,
June: Carolyn Meyer
June alternatives: Laurence Yep, Chris Van Allsburg, Robert Munsch, Maurice Sendak, Eric Carle, Brian Jacques
July: E.B. White
July Alternatives: Patricia Polacco, Peggy Parish, Sharon Creech
August: Orson Scott Card
August Alternatives (like I'll need one)...: Patricia McKissack, Don Freeman, Walter Dean Myers, John Green
September: Roald Dahl
September alternatives: H.G. Wells, Taro Yashima, H.A. Rey, Tomie dePaola, Melissa de la Cruz
October: Lois Lenski,
October alternatives: Russell Freedman, Ursula LeGuin,
November: C.S. Lewis
November alternatives: L.M. Montgomery, Mark Twain, Frances H. Burnett, Holly Black,
December: Mercer Mayer
December alternatives: George MacDonald, Jan Brett, Avi, Eve Bunting, Stephenie Meyer,
If you're interested, please leave a comment telling me that you are at least thinking in joining the party. And when you have your list ready OR your announcement ready then you may join up via Mr. Linky.
The images above are 'free' clip-art from this site. You may use it to promote this challenge or pick another generic birthday-related image to post with your list.
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