Friday, July 31, 2009

Read for Change

Hey Storytime givers, parents, volunteers... - log your hours as part of Read for Change, sponsored by Reading is Fundamental and part of Obama's United We Serve program.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Inside Look at the Newbery Process

I just discovered (via a post from SLJ on Twitter) a blog from the University of Arizona, Worlds of Words: Currents. It is "a blog dedicated to current events, research, and issues pertaining to the use, publication, and reviews of children's and adolescent literature."

They recently had a 4 part interview with Nick Glass of, about his experiences on last year's Newbery Committee.

Part 1: What's it like serving on the Newbery Committee? What is the process?
Part 2: About The Graveyard Book and the "popular v. distinguished" Newbery discussion.
Part 3: At this year's Awards Banquet, and thoughts on Neil Gaiman's acceptance speech.
Part 4: Is there a "Newbery" type of book?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Day in the Life

Are you interested in what a day in the life of a library worker looks like outside ALD? Check out this wiki with links to almost 100 different posts.

Bobbi Newman started this idea last year with a post on her blog about her weekly routine. This year staff from all over the country recorded what they did on Monday, July 27.

What do you think? Any surprises?

Lighter Side of YA covers

Bridget has brought us the serious side of cover selection issues. Now check out 100 Scopenotes for a fun automatic YA book cover maker. My effort is pictured.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Of books and teens and covers

I follow a lot of YA authors' blogs, but Justine Larbalestier's is one of my favorites because of the way she picks at politics and digs at social issues and is generally charming and witty all the while. She has a new book coming out in September called Liar, and there's been some discussion on her blog lately about the US cover image. In Larbalestier’s words, “Liar is a book about a compulsive (possibly pathological) liar who is determined to stop lying but finds it much harder than she supposed.” And Micah, the lying narrator, “is black with nappy hair which she wears natural and short.”

The controversy that’s sprung up lately centers on the picture of a white girl with long hair pulled about her face that Bloomsbury chose to use as the book’s cover art here in the US. Larbalestier’s blog post addressing the controversy offers a wealth of links to other discussions of race and YA lit and visual representations of non-white characters, and it's worth the time it will take you to explore them. Shortly after her post went live, Publisher's Weekly also posted a short piece about the debate.

And in a related vein, I was chatting with a friend of mine who works in publishing (this was before the current debate made it onto my radar) about Suzanne Collins' YA book The Hunger Games, and part of that conversation stuck with me. My friend mentioned that she'd heard through Scholastic's grapevine that Collins works hard to create characters that are defined by who they are rather than what they look like, and she prefers her covers to leave visual representations of the characters to readers' imaginations. Certainly, The Hunger Games and Catching Fire are indicative of that desire, but like Larbalestier explained, authors don’t usually have any say in their books’ covers and some of the The Underland Chronicles books do have kids on their covers.

So what's your take on all this? Are Larbalestier's arguments about the way teens will perceive Micah after viewing the cover valid? And would it be worth starting this conversation with teens in our libraries about book covers and white washing in the publishing world?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Here's a super site if you are working with Hispanic/Latino kids or Spanish books: Children & Libraries en Espanol! CHILES!

If you are a children's librarian looking for help in better serving your Spanish-speaking patrons, but you don't speak Spanish yourself, have no fear! This site will provide resources to help you communicate, learn more about latino and hispanic cultures, find great children's books in Spanish, and network with other librarians who serve Spanish-speaking children, so that we can all benefit from each other's great ideas!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs

The movie opens September 18th. This adds to the questions about Where the Wild Things Are that Melissa asked in her post:
"How do you adapt a quintessential work from its original media to another? Just how problematic is it to try to stretch a picture book into a full-length feature?"

Check out the trailer.
It will be interesting to see how this goes over.

Friday, July 17, 2009

First ACPL Mock Newbery List!

Allen County has published their first Mock Newbery list!

ACPL Mock Newbery List # 1:

Anything But Typical by Nora Raleigh Baskin
All the Broken Pieces by Ann E. Burg
Wild Things by Clay Carmichael
Happenstance Found by P.W. Catanese
Girl Who Threw Butterflies by Mick Cochrane
The Problem with the Puddles by Kate Feiffer
The Year the Swallows Came Early by Kathryn Fitzmaurice
Emmaline and the Bunny by Katherine Hannigan
Scat by Carl Hiaasen
The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly
Traveling the Freedom Road by Linda Barrett Osborne
Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg by Rodman Philbrick
When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
Peace, Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson

I've only read one book on this list! It's time to get cracking. What are the strongest titles you've read this year?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

New Award?

The folks over at readertotz would love to see an award created for the best board book for babies! Read a little more about why and vote for what it should be called...

Do you think there are too many awards? How do having awards fit in with the reality of publishing today? Do you like awards?

I have a "Beyond the Newbery" class scheduled for August 19--if you'd like to learn more about youth literature awards and see some recent winners, ask your supervisor for time to attend!

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Wall Street Journal has a short article recommending YA historical fiction to older readers who don't want to get bogged down!

Getting Boys to Read

From American Libraries direct: Holly Jennings writes: “Getting Boys to Read is a website dedicated to supporting parents, teachers, and librarians who want to help boys learn to love reading. The site was founded by Mike McQueen, a teacher-librarian at McLain Community High School in Lakewood, Colorado. The site provides informative articles, interviews, and a forum for discussion about all topics related to boys, reading, writing, and other literacy-related topics. It tackles national issues, like the serious literacy gap between boys and girls in the United States, strategies to help get boys reading, information about Jon Scieszka’s Guys Read Group, and informative book reviews."...Rochester (N.Y.) Examiner, June 21

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Older, Wiser, Sadder?

Here's a heads-up to Anne of Green Gables fans! LM Montgomery's final book in the Anne series will be published for the first time in its entirety this fall. The book is set before and after the first world war, and uses short stories, poetry, and dialogue.

The book looks set to reveal a darker side to the author, with its publisher promising themes of "adultery, illegitimacy, misogyny, revenge, murder, despair, bitterness, hatred, and death – usually not the first terms associated with LM Montgomery". [from the Guardian story]

An abbreviated version was published in 1974.

I only read the first Anne and the Emily of New Moon trilogy, and didn't see any of the TV or film versions, so I'm not a die-hard fan. What do you guys think of this? If you are fans, will you read this?

Thursday, July 9, 2009


Breaking news! Apparently YALSA is going to consider whether to stop publishing the Best Books For Young Adults annual list, in favor of a more reader's-choicy type of award or list.

This is so alarming! There is no other list, in ALA or elsewhere, that seeks to publish such a robust collection of the best and the brightest from the wide spectrum of what is published for teens. (The Printz and Horn Book only highlight a few books, Quick Picks is concerned only with reluctant readers, etc; BBYA general cites up to 100 great books of all genres for all readers.) It is an incredibly valuable tool for librarians and teens alike!

Read this great defense of BBYA from YA author Alix Flinn, as well as commentary from Booklist. And if you feel really strongly, you can add comments for the committee to consider here.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Wish List for Publishers

Diantha McBride wrote a great little "open letter" to children's book publishers in SLJ this month, full of 10 things she'd love to see publishers do with or add to their books.

The list includes such items as "Thanks, But No Tanks" (no more WWII books, please, what about ALL THE OTHER HISTORICAL TIME PERIODS?) and "Out of Order" (PLEASE put series number information on the spine!).

What do YOU wish publishers would do or stop doing? What would help you help kids?

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy Fourth!

Hope everyone has a super weekend!

I'm passing on a tweet from The Tattered Cover: "Celebrate by exercising your right to read freely."

(find them at

PS: My new favorite float ever:

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Family Fun

Disney puts out a magazine called FamilyFun that's full of neat ideas for parents, but I use it all the time to plan programs here at the library, and have used their printables for crafts or storytime components.

Here's an example of the type of stuff they pull together: check out their Fourth of July activities!