Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Pick on an Award Your Own Size!

Our own Pajamazon reacts to the recent Washington Post article about the Newbery turning kids off reading over at Slate.com. Have a look-see.

Monday, December 29, 2008


Dare you to look at that picture and not be freaked out. Eurghhhhh! Thanks a lot, Liz B.!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

More of the S-Word

Interesting. Marianna over at Crowe's Nest writes about writing sex scenes in YA novels. She dissects a number of scenes in novels such as Melvin Burgess's Doing It and Daria Snadowsky's Anatomy of a Boyfriend, among others, and shows how the best ones aren't there for titillation, but reveal what's going on for the characters at the time. (Which is basically Rule of Good Writing Number One.)

I have to say, the best sex scenes I've ever read were in Pop! by Aury Wallington. They weren't Teh Sex-ay by a long shot, but they were incredibly honest, even a little clinical (which worked for the book and the character). I kinda loved it.

What's the most memorable sex scene you've ever read in a YA novel?

Thanks to Lisa Chellman for the link!

Morris Awards

Hey now . . . this is pretty snazzy. Liz B. over at A Chair, a Fireplace, and a Tea Cozy tells me that the ALA Youth Media awards have a newbie among their ranks. The Morris Award will be given to
a book written for young adults by a first-time, previously unpublished author.
Coooooool. Not only a new YA award, but one that focuses on first-time authors? Veddy nice. Not only that, they're one of the few (in fact, I think the only) award on the ALA list to release a shortlist, which will spread the buzz about new authors even farther. Check out the shortlist at the link above--it's chockablock with Kidlitosphere faves, including Graceling and A Curse as Dark as Gold. Good show, ALA.

There's plenty of chatter around the Kidlitosphere about it, about the concept of the award itself, the idea of releasing the shortlist, and the nominees. Liz B has links at her humble abode.

It being almost the New Year, Award Speculation in general is fast and furious. Check in here on the 26th for my Incredibly Early in the Fricka-Frackin' Morning List of Winners.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Maybe It's Me

But does anybody else look at this pic from the Astronomy Picture of the Day blog and think of Madeleine L'Engle's Echthroi? No? How 'bout this one?

I am assured that the dark splodges are caused by the presence of something (dust and molecular gas) rather than the absence of things. Still. Yikes.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Millions of Cat(egorie)s

Here's a blog post for writers about the many, many different categories out there for children's books. I can understand how it's a little crazy-making for authors, who write what they write, but as a librarian, having these categories helps. Kids slide all over the spectrum, of course, and often so do the books themselves, but you know how librarians are for order.

I have to say, though, they seem to be a little behind on their concept of YA novels. While it's accurate, that's not the whole story of the current state of YA, for me. For one, I would call this another "golden age" for writers of kids' books.

What think'st thou?

Thanks to Gail Gauthier at Original Content for the link.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve!

Have you been naughty or nice?

In the old days, before I had the money to buy my own books (or the knowledge of such websites as PaperBackSwap.com . . . ooooohhhh, PBS.com, how I love thee), my Christmas list was all books. I knew, looking at the packages under the tree for me that were all rectangular and went "thump" when I smacked my little brother in the head with them, that I'd gotten doorways to a new world (or a familiar one). I just didn't know which ones.

I kind of miss that these days. Barnes and Noble cards just go "thwip!" against my brother's head.

For those of you who celebrate it, Merry Christmas Eve!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Like You Needed It . . .

. . . proof that I'm a gigantic dork: Pride and Prejudice told via Facebook updates.


Hey, Look Who!

Why, it's the Kidlitosphere's own Barbara Shoup, all profiled in the newspaper! Coolness, Barbara. Yeah, it's a bit late, but congrats!

I'm Ba-ack . . .

Boy, did I miss a lot of good stuff in the kidlitosphere over the past couple of weeks. The flap over Newberys in the Washington Post (or reflap, really, since the original Anita Silvey article is old news), various best-of lists, and all the stuff I'm still catching up on in my blog reader.

So what do I choose to post?

from Maggie Stiefvater. Abso-freakin-lutely. Just what I needed to reestablish my reputation as a serious blogger who makes serious comments about the serious issues of the day. Seriously.

Thanks, Bookshelves of Doom!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Coming Attractions

A few weeks back, I asked folks on the Kidlitosphere listserv to post what they were looking forward to for 2009, but I've been so caught up in moving that I never got the chance to post my own list. Here it is . . . some of it at any rate.

The School For Dangerous Girls - Eliot Schrefer (January 1)
I saw this mentioned on the adbooks listserv and went, "OOooooooooo," for the title alone. Oh, like you didn't.

From Russia With Lunch - Bruce Hale (January 1)
I actually read this in ARC form, so I can't really say I'm looking forward to it. Maybe what I'm looking forward to is being able to hand this to the little boys at my library. "Here ya go, kid. More Chet Gecko delight. Have at it."

Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed - Mo Willems (January 6)
BeCAUSE. It's Mo WILLems.

Wintergirls - Laurie Halse Anderson (March 19)
See Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed and replace with appropriate author name.

Radiant Darkness - Emily Whitman (April 28)
I met Emily at the Kidlitosphere conference in Portland and was really interested to hear the plot of this book, which is a retelling of the Hades/Persephone/Demeter story. I love retellings. Love.

The Treasure Map of Boys - E. Lockhart (July 29)
The fourth Ruby Oliver book! Huzzah!

Al Capone Shines My Shoes - Gennifer Choldenko (Fall)
Moose is back! Actually, I've only seen this in an author sig on a listserv. Amazon and the author website have both failed me. Can anyone confirm? Pleeeeease?

All right, that's what I've got right now. What are you looking forward to for 2009? Please share!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Book Review: Undercover by Beth Kephart

Book: Undercover
Author: Beth Kephart
Published: 2007

Elissa is the quiet one of her family. While her mother and sister attend to being beautiful and popular, she is content to watch the world go by and think her thoughts. Sometimes, these thoughts get turned into scraps of poetry which can be sold to hopelessly unpoetic boys at her school, with which to woo the girls of their choice.

But she encounters trouble with her latest client, the fascinating Theo, who wants words to gain and keep the (possibly mythical) heart of Liza. Elissa can write beautiful verses for him, but she’s starting to wonder if Liza is really the one Theo wants. At the same time, she realizes that her family is starting to crack apart from the top down, and discovers an unsuspected joy in ice-skating.

Her life is changing. She could go back to her safe, quiet existence on the sidelines, but what would she sacrifice if she did?

This is the kind of book that makes you want to walk in the woods and write poetry. (You’re lucky I didn’t--my poetry is terrible.) Beth Kephart has a dreaminess and a gift for describing the little glories of nature that allow you to step right into Elissa’s mind. On the surface, Undercover is about a girl who loves a boy who loves somebody else (or possibly not). But that’s only the very surface. It’s also about taking your own place in the world, about stepping out into the limelight for the first time and taking both the glory and the risk that comes along with it.

Friday, December 05, 2008

The Ultimate Exception

So I was at Target today, and I had given myself strict instructions. Self, I said, you are not to buy anything that is not a container for packing things in. You are here for things in the Rubbermaid family. No cute shoes, no Christmas shirts, no makeup, no plants, no candles, none of that.

Yes, ma'am, I replied meekly.

Did anyone notice the one huge, towering weakness I subconsciously left out of my self-lecture? I went home with two not-really-but-close-enough Rubbermaid tubs and one copy of The Tales of Beedle the Bard.

Books are always an exception.

Also, this was waiting for me in Google Reader when I got home:

funny pictures of cats with captions
more animals


Monday, December 01, 2008

Reading Roundup November 2008

By the Numbers
Teen: 13
Tween: 12
Children: 11

Teen: Trigger by Susan Vaught
Tween: Breathe: A Ghost Story by Cliff McNish
Children: The Adventures of Sir Lancelot the Great by Gerald Morris

Because I Want To Awards
Weirdest Confluence of Book Life to Real Life: The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume II: The Kingdom on the Waves by M.T. Anderson, finished the evening of November 4, 2008*
Most Frickin' Awesome Nonfic: Albino Animals
by Kelly Milner Halls
Great Book but So Needs an Updated Edition: The Planet Hunters: The Search for Other Worlds by Dennis Brisell Fradin
Sweetest Main Character: Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things by Lenore Look

*I read my books in a strange and arcane order that has a great deal to do with when I put it on my list, how fast the library gets it, the publication date, and possibly the phases of the moon. Nevertheless, that's when this book came up. Cue Twilight Zone music.