Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Congrats!

. . . to Maureen Johnson, whose truly fab book Devilish has been nominated for an Andre Norton Award.

Clearly, people with this name rock. And how much do I love that people besides the librarians are finally starting to recognize YA?

Also check out Maureen's blog. For someone who writes such deep, heartfelt, almost-angsty books, MJ is a very silly person. If you don’t crack a grin at least once an entry, you are made of stone. STONE I TELL YOU.

The Cool Kids

Now I want to be a super-cool NYC YA author, just so I can hang out with these people.



But they already have a Maureen. Poo. Okay, people, I need you to come up with a frickin' cool, YA-author-sounding name for me.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Clementine

From a terrible paucity of choices last week (or, okay fine, maybe I was just being lazy) to an embarassment of riches this week . . . I've read some great books this weekend. This one, however, really stands out.

Book: Clementine
Author: Sara Pennypacker
Published: 2006

Everyone's always telling Clementine to pay attention. She doesn't understand this, because she pays great attention, better than anyone else in the class. Does anybody else notice the janitor and the lunch lady smooching outside during the Pledge of Allegiance? No! So, see, she pays attention really well.

When her sometimes-best-friend, sometimes-evil-nemesis Margaret tries to cut glue out of her own hair and ends up with a big bald patch, Clementine just does what anyone would and helps out--by cutting all the rest of it off. But really, this is not such a big deal, because she fixes it by giving Margaret new hair with her mother's permanent markers. But she still gets in trouble . . . oh no! Will Margaret's mother ever allow Clementine to play with her again? Will Clementine's parents get tired of her and just trade her in for an easier kid? Will Clementine ever, ever stop getting in trouble?

(The answer to that last is an unqualified no, for anyone who's curious.)

This book is the latest entry in what I call the "Ramona" genre--spunky, funny, clever, warm-hearted little girls who get in and out of as much trouble as the pages will hold. (Other recent examples of Ramona girls include Ruby Lu, Junie B. Jones, and Clarice Bean.) Pennypacker's story is a shining example of what makes these books charming and enduring--an authentic child voice, lots of thoroughly believable and well-meant mischief, and a sunny tone in spite of all the mayhem.

Due to Clementine's narration, this book is destined to be read aloud by teachers and librarians all over the country. Some pages were like reading a train wreck (the moment Clementine borrows her mom's markers, for instance, you know this isn't going to be good), but in a good way. I'd like it if Pennypacker decides to make this a series as so many other Ramona-style books have become. Even if she leaves it a single title, however, it's a great one. Go meet Clementine today.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Fame at Last!

C-List Blogger

According to this website, I'm a C list blogger. This amazes me. I thought I would be considerably further on down the alphabet. Q, perhaps.

Of course, I am just barely in the C range. C-? Can you be a C- list blogger?

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

President's Day

This blog celebrated President's Day too. Mostly by spending large amounts of money at JoAnn Fabric (although ironically, not on Fabric) and cleaning the apartment. Conspicuously absent from this list, you will note, is posting a Monday review. I have some great books logged in LibraryThing that I tagged "will blog." For some reason, I don't have the energy to actually do so. Hmm. Maybe this week. Or maybe I'll just blog a really good book next week.

However, I am looking at my stack o' stuff from the library and going, "Dang, I've got some good books to look forward to." So that's a good sign.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Head, meet Desk *THUD*

Doesn't this just kill at least 75% of your faith in society?

Thanks to E. Lockhart, Lisa Yee, and the AS IF! (Authors Supporting Intellectual Freedom) blog for the link.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The Cybils are Here!

Yep, that's right, you heard it here first.*

The First Annual Children's and YA Bloggers' Literary Awards (Cybils!) have been awarded. Click here if you want to know who got the awards. Congrats to everyone who was nominated and shortlisted.

*Or maybe you didn't. But couldn't you pretend? Just because I've always wanted to say it.

Monday, February 12, 2007

His Majesty's Dragon

Book: His Majesty's Dragon
Author: Naomi Novik
Published: 2006

Captain Will Laurence of the Royal Navy couldn't imagine doing anything else with his life. With the Napoleonic Wars raging, he and his crew have plenty to do on the high seas. But when they find a dragon egg about to hatch aboard a French ship they've taken, he knows somebody will be chosen by the newly-hatched dragon as a handler and partner, and that someone will find their life changed forever.

To his amazement and horror, that someone is him.

Now Laurence is a Captain of the Royal Air Corps, not the Navy, and has to start from the bottom, learning aerial maneuvers instead of nautical ones, attempting to win the respect of resentful aviators, and dealing with the fact that he's suddenly a social pariah, as no respectable woman wants to marry and settle down with a man who must needs give more attention to his dragon than his wife.

Luckily, he's got his dragon, Temeraire--brilliant, inquisitive, and wholly extraordinary. Laurence couldn't hope for a better companion in this discomfiting new world. Now if only they can live through their next battle.

Okay, okay, this alternate history isn't really a YA book. But come on. It's the Napoleonic Wars with dragons. I imagine that's about all that you'd need in the way of a booktalk, especially for an older teen who's already a history or fantasy buff. Novik's research is sterling--it really feels like the Regency era, in social structures, speech, and interpersonal relationships.

While Laurence may be a little too upstanding and duty-bound for some, his warm and loving relationship with Temeraire provides an emotional anchor (ha! unintentional naval pun) for the events of the story. Great characters (human and dragon) , carefully constructed world, and a compelling storyline--you gotta try this book.

Note of interest: I heard about this one from an unusual source, Father Roderick's Daily Breakfast podcast. He mentioned it because it's going to be made into a movie. I'm already in slavering fangirl mode, and as my first act, I'm going to reserve the next two books in the series from my local library. To the OPAC!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Free Books!

Free books, huzzah! As far as I can tell, all you have to do is sign up to Chronicle Books mailing list.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Brett Hartinger Interview

I'm catching up on my entire Blogroll, which is why you got two posts tonight.

Another interview link! This time it's with Brett Hartinger, author of GLBT teen classic Geography Club, about his new book, Attack of the Soul-Sucking Brain Zombies/Bride of the Soul-Sucking Brain Zombies.

Mmm. With a title like that, it's gotta be good.

ETA: Thanks to Bookshelves of Doom for the link!

Justine Larbelestier Interview

Rather spiffy interview with Justine Larbalestier, author of the really quite neat YA trilogy, Magic or Madness, which is about the choice between rationality and magic. If you don't do magic, you go gaga. If you do, you die young. In a nutshell. Great books, and I'm slavering for the last one. I'll accept an ARC. *she says hopefully*

Anyhow, Justine yaks over at Bookslut mostly about women and gender in SF/F, although she does have some nice stuff to say about her YA career and colleagues. Check it out.

Thanks to (who else?) Blog of a Bookslut for the link.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Maybe This Year I'll Get Some

I haven't gotten a valentine since elementary school (and even then, it was those cheesy ones with, like, Michael Jordan on them. Bleah. Although I was quite touched by the Daffy Duck ones. I really felt some thought went into that choice).

Anyway, this year, I wanna get some valentines, and off to the side is your chance to fulfill my dream. Just click the "send a valentine" button and follow the directions. You don't even have to be a member of Wishroll. And you don't have to attach a Hershey's Chocolate Kiss to the envelope either.

Not that I'd turn it down, of course.

ETA: so, what does this have to do with children's or YA literature?

Uh . . .

Give me a moment. I'm thinking.

E again TA: I actually forgot about the people who read this in syndication. I'm sorry! I'm sorry!!! Click here if you still love me.

Sex Kittens and Horn Dawgs Fall in Love

Book: Sex Kittens and Horn Dawgs Fall in Love
Author: Maryrose Wood
Published: 2006

Girl loves boy. Boy is baffled by girl's affection. Girl and boy . . . create a science project?

This is love in New York City. At least if you happen to be Felicia, who loves Matthew, who is a scientist creating genius bunnies. The way to his heart, she reasons, is through science. So she comes up with the perfect recipe for love . . . the ultimate science project. The question of the ages. What is love?

For that, they need a hypothesis, experiments, observations, data of all kinds. So Matthew and Felicia set out to get them. Along the way, they and the minor solar system of friends that orbit them hear some great love stories and muddle through a few of their own. What exactly is love? What makes some people attracted to some other people, who are almost always attracted to some other other people? Why is it different for everybody? And why does it have to be so confusing??

In spite of its provocative title, this book is about as racy as The Princess Diaries. (Sorry, Meg, if you're actually reading my little blog! I know you're trying your darnedest to get banned and all, but face it, PD1 is never gonna be a match for, like, Lady Chatterly's Lover.) It is, however, funny, warm, and sensitive to the turbulent ups and downs of first loves, and second and third, and what happens in the times both in between and overlapping. Science may never solve this question, but that doesn't mean the answer isn't out there.




Saturday, February 03, 2007

Just In Case You Needed Something *Else* to Waste Time On

. . . today we have The Daily Monster.

What this guy does, see, is he takes some ink, blobs it on paper, sprays air at it to make it all pretty and feathery and fanny, and then he makes a monster out of it. On camera. As if that's not enough joy, he then animates the sucker and asks for a story from us, the blogosphere.

It's really neat because clearly he does not start out the project with something in mind--there's no way. So all these monsters are off the cuff. Plus you get to see the creative process, with different kinds of pens and stuff, and even times when he draws some detail, then changes his mind and colors it in again. (Which in the case of Monster #74 and his lovely background of mountains and trees, I thought was a mistake, but then, I'm not holding the pen, AM I?)

This guy so needs his own picture book. It doesn't even have to have words.

Mr. Stefan G. Bucher, you are a sick, sick monkey. And I hope you will take this for the praise it is, from a person who shocked her entire library by begging them buy a copy of The Book of Bunny Suicides. They think I'm a sweet little children's librarian . . . boy are they wrong.

Muaha.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Oh Harry . . .

. . . I thought I was getting over you. I haven't re-read you in a year. I haven't even seen your movies.

But then I hear your last book goes on sale July 21st, and I'm sucked right back in.

I have to face the facts. I just can't quit you.