Wednesday, October 31, 2007

A Year of LibraryThing

A year ago, I started keeping track of my reading via LibraryThing. Now it's time to see what I read:

By the Numbers
513 books in all (however, this isn't an accurate count because I didn't start recording picture books until September). That's about 1.4 books a day.

257 teen books

182 tween books

182 children's books

54 preschool books (since September)

It doesn't add up quite right because some books I put in multiple categories. Very few books were only tween, for example. But you have to admit, that's a heck of a list. Even I didn't know I read that much.

Read-iest month:
September 2007 (84)
Adjusted for inclusion of picture books
November 2007 (45)

Top five tags:
friendship (113)
love (80)
funny (75)
historical (71)
danger (40)

Most surprising tag:
Spanish Inquisition. Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition. (Oh, come on. You totally would have made that joke too.)

Interesting. I always knew that I loved YA books the most, but I expected tween and children's books to be much further behind than they were. I also always knew I liked that mushy stuff, but the importance of friendship in the books I read was another surprise.

I even find that I remember books better if I've entered them into LT, as if stopping and thinking through the strongest themes or conflicts has impressed them deeper into my brain somehow. Of course, the very best need no LT reminder, but it's good to have a record of the mid-list, so to speak.

Now I'm just waiting for them to put Boolean operation in the tag search field, so I can figure out how many funny books I read in December, for example. Oh my god, I'm such a library geek.

This was kind of neat. I'm going to try and do one of these at the end of each month, just to see what I read.

How do you keep tabs on your reading? Do you?

Jamie Lee Curtis

I got to see Jamie Lee Curtis talk about her books and her life at the California Library Association's Annual Conference this past weekend. Now we all know how MotherReader feels about celebrity authors, and on the whole I agree with her, but I do like Jamie Lee Curtis.

The stupendous part of this piece of luck was this: she read her brand-new manuscript to us, one that's not even in the hands of the artist yet. I didn't record it or anything, which would have been unethical and plus a pain to transcribe. But it's called Big Words for Little People, and it glories in words like "Stupendous! Absurd! Intelligence! Consequences!"

I love language, especially big words, which are often expunged from children's books on the basis that they're too big. Pfft. Try singing Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious with a four-year-old and you learn that no word is too big for them to pronounce. And the beef with words being too big for them to understand . . . well, that's what context is for. Seriously, ferreting out the meaning of words from context clues is a skill they're going to need as they go into school. Let's have more big words, shall we?

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Chet Gecko Cuteness!

I'm a tad late on this one . . . the book came out on October 1. But nevertheless, this is a very fun trailer (made by a teen, according to Hale) for Bruce Hale's new Chet Gecko mystery.

Doesn't that music make you want to go make bathtub gin and dance the Charleston?

Time is Ticking Away . . .

. . . you've only got until November 21 to nominate for the Cybils! Run like bunny! Make sure that my fellow judges and I have some really freakin' good YA books to read!

All you hafta do, folks, is jump over to the Cybils blog and leave a comment nominating just one title. The number shall not be two, nor shall it be three. Five is right out. If thou nominatest more than one, both nominations shall be naughty in the sight of the Cybils, and shall be snuffed out.

Oh, yeah, and I guess you can nominate in a few other categories too. You know, while you're over there.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Review: The Book of ZZZs by Arlene Alda

Book: The Book of ZZZs
Author: Arlene Alda
Published: 2005

Some people sleep during the day. Some people sleep at night. Some people sleep late in a pile of blankets, and some take afternoon naps in a hammock. This book was made for bedtime or naptime lulling, even for the stubborn kids that refuse to close their eyes no matter what you do. They’ll get so intrigued by the flamingo, sleeping one-legged, and the twin infants (one sound asleep, one clearly fighting it) that the urge to copy the subjects of the photos will sneak up on them before they know it.

Arlene Alda (wife of actor Alan) uses photographs that feature human and animal sleepers of all ages to accompany simple, almost lullabyish prose. Not only kittens and puppies, but also flamingos, meerkats, a toddler on Daddy's shoulders, and grown-ups in hammocks populate these pages. My personal favorite was the cover shot which featured a baby seal, his chin propped up on a smooth boulder as he snored away. Everyone looks so comfortable that it tempted me to lay my head down and catch a few winks myself. Pick this up the next time you need a bedtime story for all ages.

E. Lockhart Interview!

Check it out over at Cynthia Leitich Smith's blog.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Picture Book Meme

A couple of weeks ago, 2nd gen librarian came up with a meme that's taken me this long to finish. Why?

Umm . . . I don't really remember any picture books from when I was little. I don't know why this should be, except that I jumped into longer stuff very, very early.

This is very embarrassing.

I had to call my mom. Here's what she said:

The Popcorn Book by Tomie dePaola
I remember this nonfiction book very vividly for some reason. I remember the way that popcorn exploded all over the page, and the illustration of the little demon in the popcorn getting madder and madder as he heated up. The story not so much, but I still love Tomie dePaola's artwork.

Miss Nelson is Missing by Harry Allard, illus. James Marshall
Oh my gosh! I felt sooooooooo smart because I knew that Miss Nelson and Miss Viola Swamp were the same person. That crafty Miss Nelson!

Corduroy by Don Freeman
Now reminded, I vividly recall my envy of Corduroy. He got to wander the department store on his own, at night! Even if that ol' security guard did catch him when he tried to pull the button off the mattress and knocked a lamp over.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
I don't remember adoring this book but my mom swears I did. Her theory is that it was the holes and the different sizes of page, and the huge variety of the caterpillar's meals. I still like reading it today.

Amelia Bedelia series by Peggy Parish
Loved the humor of this. (Mom again.) I still have a real soft spot for Amelia Bedelia, and the language play inherent in the books. I talk to people about idioms and figures of speech, but I think it's the same thrill I got when reading Miss Nelson is Missing, that I knew something the character didn't. Of course, I enjoy a good havoc, and Amelia Bedelia brought the havoc.

So that's it. Thanks for tagging me! It brought back memories. I tag anyone who's reading this who hasn't done it yet.

Finally, a Library Sitcom!

Unfortunately, it airs in Australia. Dang. Anyway, here's the commercial:

Anyone living in Australia? Anyone? Bueller?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

News Flash - Teens Still Read!

Good thing too, or a lot of cool people would be out of a job.

Check out the article over at the Roanoke Times.

Jane Yolen, Kids Lit, and ABC books

Anne Boles Levy over at Book Buds has a great interview with Jane Yolen, who's been called the American Hans Christian Andersen by somebody whose name I'm not recalling at the moment.

This interview isn't about her fairy tales, however. It's about alphabet books, the kids lit biz, and her position as Children's Ambassador for the Winterthur Museum. She's also judging a contest for kids' writing! How cool is that? I'm off to alter my birth certificate now.

Still Snowing!

Hey folks, don't forget about the Robert's Snow for Cancer's Cure auction. That's still on, and so is the tangential project, Blogging for a Cure. Check out this post from A Chair, a Fireplace, and a Tea Cozy for a list of this week's blogger/illustrator interviews.

Don't miss your chance to own some amazing art and support a great cause, all in one.

Monday, October 22, 2007

More Reactions to J.K. Rowling's Bombshell

Check out this post from Worth the Trip for an international listing of breathless newspaper articles reporting on the Headmaster's private life.

One can't help feeling that Dumbledore himself would watch the furor with twinkle-eyed amusement.

Kidlit Reference or Pure Coincidence?

You decide.

Really, it took me a moment. The strip is only middling funny if you don't factor that in, kind of under-par for the normally amusing Patrick MacDonnell. But once I remembered Twilight, I practically fell off my chair.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

J.K. Rowling, Dumbledore, and AfterElton

So apparently JKR outed Dumbledore in one of her author visits last night. I read a fair smattering of coverage about it on the blogs, including reactions from Fuse #8 and Wizard's Wireless. But I really wanted to see what AfterElton, the website about gay men in the media, had to say.

Was I surprised?

Yes, partly because of our culture's heteronormative trend, but partly because of Dumbledore's role in the books. He's a wise mentor, and those characters are essentially sexless. It's very difficult to think of them having lives outside of dispensing advice.

Am I pleased?

Yes. Gay (and lesbian) kids need to see more gay and lesbian characters in books where the books aren't all about the terrible, terrible angst of their life as someone who loves the "wrong" sex. And to have one of the most beloved and revered characters in recent children's literature be gay . . . that's a very positive message.

Do I think that the message is diluted?

Yes. By staging the revelation outside of the purview of the books, JKR seems to have tacked it on. Oh, by the way, he's gay. On the other hand, the books are not about Dumbledore, and while you could argue that his sexual orientation is such a central element of his character that it shouldn't have been left out . . . well, see question number one up there.

Boy, are they gonna be talking about this one.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Willems Speaks!

Dude, you guys! Video interview with Mo Willems!

Transcribed from a bit where he talks about his characters, who are not blissfully happy rodents:
"The characters in my books don't realize they're funny. They're taking their lives very seriously. The pigeon who wants to drive the bus, he doesn't think that this is a funny book. He thinks it's tragedy."

And don't click out when they say bye, because there's a little after-credits treat that is so distinctively Mo Willems.

Found via Mo Willems's (Willems'? Willemses?) blog.

Books are Healthy!

I ran across an article in Madison, WI's Capital Times about a pediatrician/librarian (yes, you read that right) who stresses literacy in checkups as much as physical indicators of child health.

Key quote:
If the patient shows interest and curiosity, he can tell if books are a natural part of their life. At a certain age, if the child holds the book right-side up, opens it and turns the pages, the doctor gets a quick read on motor skills.

And if children begin talking about what they see in the book, Navsaria can see if they are building social skills.

"This is part of the tools we use to assess children's health."

The article goes on to talk about his efforts to encourage literacy in hospitals and among the parents of his patients.

I love it! Can we get this to spread, please?

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Library Meme

Okay folks, here's another Teen Read Week meme. I can't claim credit for this one, though. I found it at E. Lockhart's blog, and she found it through MemeGirls.

1. How old were you when you got your first library card?
I think I must have been about ten. At any rate, after the age of ten is when I remember losing my library card. And again. And again. Aaaaaaaaaand again. The family joke is that I paid for my hometown's new library with the lost-card and overdue fees.

2. What's the first book you can remember reading from a library?
That is lost in the mists of time. Knowing my mother (a teacher who fed us all the books we would consume), something really good for kids. Possibly Seussian in nature.

3. Did you ever participate in a summer reading program or other kids' event at a library growing up?
Oh, heck, yes. I was that annoying one who finished first every year.

4. Do you remember when card catalogues weren't computerized?
I do, actually, although I don't remember using them much. It was a Big Hairy Deal when they did get computerized, so much so that my entire class was marched about a half-mile down the road to visit the library and learn how our lives would be changed by computer catalogs. At which point we whined about how far we were gonna have to walk back.

5. When was the last time you went to the library?
Since I'm a children's librarian . . . today.

6. How many books do you usually check out of the library at one time?
I allow myself two per workday, or my library-book-shelf would collapse from the weight. It's groaning now.

7. Name one great author you've discovered at your library.
Just one? Puh. Ooookay. Although this will sound like sucking up . . . E. Lockhart.

8. What was the librarian at your elementary school like?
I had three elementary schools because of moves. The first was unmemorable. Possibly she did not exist. The second was a strange one . . . while she was cool enough to lead me to Nancy Drew in second grade, she made me read them in order. ??? The third was made of awesome. Hi, Mrs. Robb from Bird School in Plymouth, Michigan! You are AWESOME!

9. How many times a year do you go to the library?
I'm guesstimating 250. See answer to #5.

10. If you could change on thing about your library, what would it be and why?
It needs to be bigger. Way bigger. And have all the books I want to read in it. As long as we're dreaming.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Book Review: Tiger Can't Sleep by S.J. Fore

Book: Tiger Can't Sleep
Author: S.J. Fore
Published: 2006

. . . and neither can the little boy whose closet Tiger is hiding in. Every time he starts to drift off, he hears another noise . . . the bonk-bonk of a bouncing ball, the crunch-crunch of potato chips, even the tap-tap, oompah, boom-boom-crash of a one-tiger band. Will Tiger--and more importantly, the little boy--ever get to sleep?

I love to use this at music or bedtime storytimes. It's always a hit for two reasons. Kids identify with the mischievous tiger, who is always surprised and contrite at the amount of noise he’s making. They also get to take a parent’s part through the little boy with such lines as “TIGER! That does it! Don’t make me come back over there!” Any parent--and any kid--knows what it will finally take to get the tiger to sleep.

More Nick and Norah News

Anyone in New York City? Anyone? Bueller?

So they're having an open casting call for extras to work on "Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist." In spite of my aforementioned doubts about Michael Cera in the male title role, I would love to go to this. If, y'know, I weren't all the way across the country.

Key Quote:
Mohawks, piercings, liberty spikes, tattoos are all plus!

Dang it. I knew I should have gotten a lip plate when I had the chance.

Plus, I really like the fact that they're using the real NYC and real indie bands for the movie, instead of plastic Los Angeles versions.

Story of a Phone Call. And a Migraine.

So apparently Sara Zarr, author of National-Book-Award-nominee Story of a Girl, was not having her most wonderful day ever when she got The Call about her nomination. Check out her blog for the full story. No wonder this woman got nominated on her debut novel . . . she describes her migraine pain so skillfully that I'm having sympathy twinges.

Thanks to Fuse #8 for the link.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Teen Read Week

It's Teen Read Week! Yay! In honor of this once-a-year event, here's a meme for y'all:

What were your three favorite books as a teenager? Doesn't need to be a teen book necessarily, just what you read between the ages of 12 and 18ish. I'll start.

3) The Blue Sword - Robin McKinley
The danger! The romance! The horses! The sword(s)! How can any teenage girl not eat this book up?

2) A Ring of Endless Light - Madeleine L'Engle
My love for this book has been documented elsewhere in this blog. Vicky's confusion abut the Big Questions certainly spoke to my lost and floundering teenage mind, and helped me explore some wounds that had been raw and open for years.

1) Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
I'm counting this because I was eighteen when I first read it all the way through, and I still read it today. Sly, funny, dry, so veddy veddy British, and most of all? To quote Bridget Jones: Mr Darcy. Phwoar.

Hmmm. Interesting. Between the ages of 12 and 18, my reading matter was almost 100% romance novels, yet when pressed I come up with three non-romance novels. Don't get me wrong, I still love 'em, but no romance novel that I read at that age comes to mind anymore.

Okay, I'm tagging 2nd gen librarian and Wizard's Wireless. This is revenge for the picture book meme, which I still haven't finished. Go to!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Blogging for a Cure

Don't forget about the Robert's Snow auctions and 7-Imp's accompanying brainchild, Blogging for a Cure.

The Robert's Snow auctions were created to raise money and awareness for Ewing's sarcoma, the cancer that recently took the life of Robert Mercer, husband of author Grace Lin. Children's book illustrators are painting wooden snowflakes and auctioning them off to some lucky bidder.

But wait! It gets better! During the auctions, the artists will visit various blogs and talk about their art, Robert's Snow, and their books. Today's guests:
Randy Cecil at ChatRabbit
Michelle Chang at The Longstockings
Kevin Hawkes at Cynthia Lord's Journal
Barbara Lehman at The Excelsior File
Grace Lin at In the Pages

Check out the sidebar over at In the Pages for a comprehensive list.

Thanks to Fuse #8 for the reminder.

Mean Girls

Here's an article on what Maclean's calls the "mean girl" books . . . stretching from Sweet Valley High to Gossip Girls. It has the usual blah-blah-blah corrupting our children blah blah blah valourizing viciousness (oo, I like that phrase, nicely alliterative) blah blah blah burn 'em all and break out the Scarlet A's. Then it turns to a different point of view.

Girls, in other words, seem to already understand the Darwinian social dynamics of junior high. And the books may actually serve as a tool for them to attempt to make sense of it all.

And later . . .

And the books also give the girls who are not necessarily perched on the top social rung a risk-free context in which to play out various social hypotheticals. "I think the reason girls like to read the books is because they make you feel like you're actually part of a really important clique," says Anthi. "It gives you a feeling of power." Adds Kristen: "And you know the secrets." At the same time, they can judge and reject the bad behaviour from the safety of their room.

Hmmmm. I do remember the viciousness of middle school, although I was so far down the ladder that I didn't come in for much more than mockery, instead of the high-stakes shark fights this article presents. I haven't read any of these books (I didn't even read Sweet Valley High). Can someone who has chip in on this one?

Jan Brett Interview

An interview with children's author/illustrator Jan Brett.

"I love to tell stories, but the actual craft of writing still is something I have to tie myself into the chair (to do)," she said from her home in Norwell, Mass. "It is such hard work for me. But the drawing, I can't help myself. Like right now, I'm like, 'Don't start drawing, you have to concentrate on your phone conversation.'"

My favorite one of hers is The Mitten, with all the gorgeous Scandanavian details in the home and all the details of the winter woods outside.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist . . . the Movie Extravaganza!

Oh, god, I hope not.

Apparently David Levithan and Rachel Cohn's ode to New York City, teenage love/lust, and the punk scene is on track to become a movie. Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist is supposed to hit screens sometime in 2009.

Now here's where it gets weird. Apparently, Michael Cera is attached to play Nick.


Michael "George Michael Bluth" Cera?

Don't get me wrong, I think he's a good actor. But I've only seen him in a certain kind of adorkable role. I want to cuddle a plush doll of Michael Cera and pinch its cheeks. He just doesn't scream "Nick" to me.

But who knows? All I've seen is "Arrested Development" and some trailers for "Superbad," and I know how easy it is to get typecast, especially if you do a good job.

I have never heard of the girl who's supposed to play Norah. Her IMDb photo, however, looks pretty Norah to me.

P.S. Badly named? Grr, zap2it. Grrr, I say.

Thanks to Kid Lit for the link.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Review: Journey to the Blue Moon by Rebecca Rupp

Book: Journey to the Blue Moon
Author: Rebecca Rupp
Published: 2006

Alex has a problem. More and more lately, he’s been obsessed with the idea of all the time that gets away from him while he sits through boring school classes and toils through chores. What’s the point of it all, really? Of course, his parents don’t see it that way.

Now he’s in even deeper trouble because he’s lost his grandfather’s watch. Fortunately, a weird little old lady at the library tells him there’s a way to get it back . . . go to the moon while it’s blue, which only happens once a century. This is where all the lost things reside. Lucky for Alex, the blue moon starts that very night. His way up lies with scavenging rats, a cobbled-together spaceship, and a token to ADMIT ONE. But Alex has to find his grandfather’s watch before the moon turns white again, or he’s trapped until the next time it turns blue.

I kept recalling The Phantom Tollbooth and Alice in Wonderland as I read this book. It has some of the same feel, a journey through a kooky and slightly dangerous land, with lots of linguistic treats (like the Cavern of Lost Tempers, where Alex and all his new friends wake up in very bad moods). Some parts verge on the didactic, but overall Rupp keeps it light. Check this out for a clever adventure story about all the things we lose, from hearts to ways to time.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Going on Record with my Whuh?

Okay, I'm blinking.

St. Louis Library Accuses Patron of Creating Controversial Display

I'm still detangling, but they believe that a patron came in, pulled books on sex and homosexuality off the shelf in the teen area, arranged a Make-Your-Own Display, took pictures, and sent them to a website that's against nasty, nasty books in libraries. Presumably this was to fan flames of outrage that were already crackling merrily.

Kudos to the St. Louis Library for two things:
1) Declaring that no books would leave the library.
2) Reviewing the books with the reconsideration committee to see if any should be moved to another section. (In case you're interested, so far 15 out of 17 have been determined to be suitable for the teen area and they are still reviewing the last two.)

ETA: Thanks to Bookshelves of Doom for the link.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

National Book Award finalists!

So they posted the finalists for the National Book Award today. In the Young People's Literature category, there's two of the kidlitosphere's favorites, Brian Selznick's The Invention of Hugo Cabret and Sara Zarr's Story of a Girl. Congrats to these authors and all their fellow finalists!

On a side note, may we all take a moment to appreciate how 1950's the term "Young People's Literature" is? I feel like we should go to the malt shop and gossip about how Betty Ann let her boyfriend Joe pet below the neck.

Thanks to Ally Carter's blog for the news.

Mo Willems on Reading With Your Kids . . .

. . . like that guy knows anything about it.

Susan over at Wizard's Wireless caught this article by Mo "Don't Let the Knuffle Monster Have a Hot Dog" Willems. In it, he suggests a few simple ways to turn your kids on to reading. I like the insto-book report idea he throws out (although I can see it being abused by overenthusiastic parents). Still, here's a valid point about its benefit for the parent:
Often the book my kid has chosen to read is more exciting than mine, particularly if mine is another one of those reports by the Institute, laboriously pointing to reams of statistics about kids who (just like me when I was young) don't like reading. They call these children "Reluctant Readers." (Back when I was a kid, they were called "boys.")

I'm doing parenting workshops at my library right now, and this is totally getting printed out and forced upon my hapless victims--uh, I mean, parents.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Book Review: The Perilous Gard by Elizabeth Marie Pope

Book: The Perilous Gard
Author: Elizabeth Marie Pope
Published: 1971

Kate Sutton has always existed in the shadow of her lovely sister. When she earns the Queen’s disfavor for something Alicia did, it’s just business as usual. But this time, she gets exiled to the wilds of Devonshire. Her new home is a strange place called Elvenwood, haunted by a mysterious Lady and legends of merciless Fairy Folk under the hill. More recently, it’s haunted by Christopher Heron, the younger brother of her new guardian, whose sudden disappearance is taken as just another uncommon event in Elvenwood.

When Kate is taken by the Fairy Folk and held prisoner under the hill, things look bad. They’re worse when she realizes that Christopher Heron is being held for a human sacrifice on All Hallow’s Eve, just a few weeks away. Now all Kate’s got is her wits and her nerve. It’s not much to save both their lives, but it might be just enough.

Kate is the kind of person who would be difficult to like in real life, but whom you can’t help rooting for in a story. Tough-minded, stubborn, practical in the face of whatever horrors the Fairy Folk can throw at her, Kate’s strength and charm lies in her contrariness.

Elizabeth Marie Pope herself was an academic specializing in Elizabethan England, and you can see the influence of various theories regarding fairy folk tales in her portrayal of the cruel Fairy Folk. They seem mostly to be regular mortals, practicing an ancient and barbaric religion, although the origins of the Lady are more in doubt. However, readers can take the Fairy Folk whatever way they want to and enjoy this story of a damsel who’s more than capable of getting herself out of distress.

P.S. For the ludicrously romantic out there, the last few pages are worth reading multiple times. They’re so true to character that it makes me grin maniacally every time.

Kidlitosphere 07

What do I say about this day?

I could gush about the warm and friendly faces-of-blogs that I met (too many to list), or thank Robin endlessly for all the hard work that she did, or even gabble about the authors that I forced to sign my Planet Esme poster (ironically, only Esme Raji Codell herself was left out, as she was circulating the room with cookies rather than being parked at her spot signing books and chatting like everyone else).

But I figure that a majority of the people reading this blog were there, so they don’t need a reiteration of what are sure to be their own feelings. Instead, I’ll talk about what I came away with.

Link, baby, link
One of the discussions was on how to promote your blog without being completely obnoxious, led by MotherReader, arguably the queen of self-promotion and blog community in this sphere. She pointed out that not only should you thank other bloggers for heads-up on neat stuff by linking to their websites, when someone does the same for you, you should go thank them.

Various sites were thrown around to help keep track of linkiness. Technorati, Statcounter, and an RSS-ized Google search are all ones I’m going to put into use.

Turns out that getting ARCs (advance reader copies) is basically a matter of writing publishers or authors and begging. I practiced on PJ Haarsma, Ellen Klarges, Julie Halpern, and Micol Ostow and others . . . and it worked! Also, when you’re at conferences, if you let people know you have a kidlit blog, they are much more responsive now than they would have been even a year ago.

Just Keep Writing
Finally, the good blogger (like the good writer in general) just has to blog every day. Whether it’s writing more reviews, joining in on stuff like the 48-hour Read or the memes that go around constantly, or just putting up fun stuff that you’ve found on other blogs, you’ve got to keep cranking out the content.

This is by no means everything I took away. Not by a long shot. It's just the most important stuff.

Special "HI" to all the people I hung out with the most, like Ellen Klages, Brian Mandabach, Fuse #8's Betsy, Susan of Wizard's Wireless, Kristen from 2ndgenlibrarian, a really cool chick with "Celery Soda" written on her nametag (I don't remember your name and Google is failing me on your blog! Comment if this is you), and Barbara Shoup.

Super-special thanks to Jen Robinson, who lent me her brand-new copy of Robin McKinley's Dragonhaven when I begged and whined, and Kathy, who gave me a ride to the train station at 11:00 at night.

I loved meeting you all and thank you everyone for a fine, fine conference. See you next year in Portland!

ETA: So apparently, Celery Soda is one Lisa Chellman, which proves that Barbara Shoup is much more observant than I am, as she noted the name in her report, hosted over at The Flux Blog. Sorry about that, Lisa!

Set Your TiVo - Phillip Pullman on "Today"

Loved His Dark Materials? Slavering for the movie? Phillip Pullman will be on the "Today" Show on November 2nd, and the show already has a form up so you can email your questions. What are you waiting for?

Thanks to the Child_Lit listserv for the heads-up.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Mitali Perkins and Sparrowblog

Okay, I promise I'll write up an account of Kidlitosphere 07. In fact, I have the beginnings of my thoughts organized on my computer. (Yes, but that doesn't do us any good, you say. Tough cookies.)

I ran across something on the Child_Lit listserv that intrigued me because I recently finished Mitali Perkins' First Daughter: Extreme American Makeover. (Good book, by the way.) In it, Sameera/Sparrow's blog is very important to her retaining her voice and sanity amidst the madness of a presidential campaign.

Well, this being an election year (Yeah! I know! I was surprised too!), Mitali Perkins has set up a blog where "Sparrow" comments on the ongoing campaign and the children of the frontrunners. Definitely interesting to check out if you liked the book or are into politics.

Friday, October 05, 2007

KidLitosphere 07 Eve!

Just typing a quick line to y'all because I'm in the Windy City (a little outside of it actually) for the 1st annual Kitlitosphere Conference! I'm so excited I may pass out. Or go to sleep. At this time of the night, and considering how early I have to get up in the morning because my brother lives a considerable distance from the hotel (isn't mooching on relatives grand?), going to sleep is probably the better option, if less attainable.

To those I will meet tomorrow: can't wait!

To those I won't meet tomorrow: maybe next year?

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

That steady thumping sound . . .

. . . is me kicking myself for missing last night's chat with Meg Cabot and tonight's with Tiffany Trent over at Readergirlz. Gah! Gaaaaaaaaah! However, there's a month of great authors to go, so I hope to see us all there. Including me.

Banned Book video

Your stroke for today is sponsored by the challengers of And Tango Makes Three.

Okay, folks, seriously, check out the comments on this video over at YouTube. Reading them makes it clear to me that for all our righteous rage over banned books, many non-librarians don't have a clear idea of whether we're actually for or against this practice, and just what a banned book is. When you're doing displays or programs on censorship and Banned Book week, how do you make this clear?

Monday, October 01, 2007

The Five Lost Aunts of Harriet Bean

Book: The Five Lost Aunts of Harriet Bean
Author: Alexander McCall Smith
Published: 2007

Harriet Bean has always thought it was just herself and her absent-minded dad. But one day he happens to say, “Your aunts would like to hear about that!”

Uh . . . what aunts?

Undeterred by years of lost time, Harriet Bean is off, tracking her brand-new aunts down across the country. And what marvelous aunts they are . . . a circus strongwoman, a ventriloquist opera singer, two mind-reading private detectives, and the bossiest teacher ever.

There’s an off-kilter feel about this book (like the names of the aunts: Veronica, Majolica, Harmonica, Thessalonika, and Japonica) that reminds me of Roald Dahl at his poker-faced dottiest. It’s also a very fast-moving story, great for reluctant readers, fans of Roald Dahl, and reading aloud.

Alexander McCall Smith is best known in this country for his Number 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency books. I’ve never read those, but if they’re anything like as sly and charming as The Five Lost Aunts of Harriet Bean, I’m putting myself on the list now.

Fan-girl time

Next up in my mission to break your blog aggregator, a conversation between Megan Whalen Turner and Shannon Hale, two women who wrote blow-your-hair-off fabu series, neither of which have actual catchy series names. But this is okay, because everybody knows about Attolia and Kildanree.

Well, you should.

Monday Funny

Why does this make me giggle?

I don't know. But it does.

More Cybils News

Okay, people, it's October 1 and you know what that means.

No, it's not time to buy mammoth bags of candy and pretend that you're stocking up for Halloween. Psshh. Don't you know the proper time to start that is July?

No, it's time to nominate for the Cybils! You don't need to be a blogger, a librarian, or a kid to nominate. You just have to read and love children's and YA lit. Go to!