Tuesday, July 31, 2007

badge Which PLAIN Jane Are You?

Brain Jayne

You're the brain of your BFF operation, but don't feel cornered into being just a smarty pants. You've got way more to offer the world (and your crush!).

Take This Quiz More Quizzes

Friday, July 27, 2007

Poetry Friday: The Raggedy Man

The Raggedy Man by James Whitcomb Riley

O the Raggedy Man! He works fer Pa;
An' he's the goodest man ever you saw!
He comes to our house every day,
An' waters the horses, an' feeds 'em hay;
An' he opens the shed—an' we all ist laugh
When he drives out our little old wobble-ly calf;
An' nen—ef our hired girl says he can—
He milks the cow fer 'Lizabuth Ann.—
Ain't he a' awful good Raggedy Man?
Raggedy! Raggedy! Raggedy Man!

The rest of the poem is here.

This week's Poetry Friday round up is at Check it Out (Jone/ Ms Mac).

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Junie B

I have not read a single Junie B. Jones book. I know!

But, I am well aware of the dispute about Junie B.; the grammar, the misbehaviour, what kind of role model is she? All I have to say about that is, if every character in kids books were good all the time, it'd be pretty boring.

Anyway, The New York Times examines Junie B. in Is Junie B. Jones Talking Trash? I think the NYT does a pretty good job; because they talked to people on all sides of the issue (pro, con, and librarian), including Elizabeth Bird (sadly, the NYT does not identify her as Fuse) and the brilliant Jill Ratzan, a PhD student at Rutgers SCILS.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

YA Romance

Trisha (the Ya Ya Yas) and I discussed YA Romance in the comments to this post and she explores the question further at More Thoughts On YA Romance.

So, please, let me know: How do you define YA romance?

I pretty much see the definition as being not that much difference from adult romance, meaning that the end, the couple are together.

I actually get a little annoyed when people call books "romances" (whether YA or not) when it doesn't end with the couple together. Because part of what I want and expect out of a romance is a happy ending, by golly; and when you hand me something that doesn't have that happy ending, I feel misled.

This actually makes it hard to find decent YA romance. So, I thought, being a librarian and all, let's make a list!

What books would you recommend to a teen who wants romance?

Edited to add:

Go over to Reader's Carousel for some more conversation on YA Romance.

Books suggested to date (without links)

Twilight, Stephenie Meyer (Becky) (And while, as I said above, I like my HEA, I am convinced that this trilogy will end with the couple together. So I agree with this one.)

The Truth About Forever, Sarah Dessen (Becky) (Liz)

Sorcery & Cecilia by Wrede/ Stevermer (Liz)

The King of Attolia & The Queen of Attolia by Turner (Liz) (hey, I think the romance between Gen & Irene is hot.)

Dramacon by Chmakova (Liz) (Again, as with Twilight, the actual individual books don't have the HEA but I'm sure that's how it all ends).

I'd Tell You I Love You But Then I'd Have to Kill You by Carter (Liz)

Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist by Levithan/Cohn (Liz) (This is a hot, hot, hot book) (Trish)

This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen (Trisha) (Liz)

Just Listen by Sarah Dessen (Trisha, Liz)

All's Fair in Love, War, and High School by Janette Rallison (Trisha)

East by Edith Patou (Trisha)

The Hollow Kingdom by Clare B. Dunkle (Trisha) (Liz agrees, and adds the other 2 books in the series, Close Kin & In the Coils of the Snake)

most Meg Cabot books (Trisha) (Liz agrees)

most Shannon Hale books (Trisha) (Liz agrees)

The Vampire Diaries series by L.J. Smith (vols. I and II being reprinted by HarperTeen) (Trisha)

Tithe and Ironside by Holly Blackum (Trisha)

Amazing Grace by Megan Shull (Trisha)

The Beet Fields (2nd Gen Librarian)

My Heartbeat (2nd Gen Librarian) (I think this has romantic elements, but I wouldn't call it romance...no HEA or promise, just an older but wiser girl.)

Romeo and Juliet (2nd Gen Librarian) (heh, I was the annoying girl in high school who said Romeo was annoying and didn't love Juliet any more or less than Rosamund or whatever the girl was he was interested in at the start.)

True Believer (2nd Gen Librarian)

Rainbow Boys (2nd Gen Librarian)

Thwonk (2nd Gen Librarian)

If You Come Softly (2nd Gen Librarian) (Liz is forced to agree despite the lack of HEA.) (Trisha: I LOVE If You Come Softly, but I doubt I'd feel the same way if I had picked it up under the impression that it was a romance.) (Liz: I'd give it to the ones who want a sad story romance.)

Dating Hamlet (2nd Gen Librarian)

Princess Diaries (2nd Gen Librarian) (note a general Meg Cabot, above)

Angus Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging (Liz finds herself contradicting herself, because she very much agrees with the inclusion of Angus despite little HEA)

Dairy Queen (2nd Gen Librarian) (I disagree; I think it's much more a coming of age and friendship story)

Sloppy Firsts (and series) (2nd Gen Librarian) (Liz)

Boy Meets Boy (2nd Gen Librarian) (Liz)

The Changeover: A Supernatural Romance--Margaret Mahy (Alkelda)

Annie on My Mind--Nancy Garden (Alkelda) (Liz)

Constance--Patricia Clapp (Alkelda) (Liz says OMG, I LOOOOVVEEEE this book.)

Hawksong by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes (Trisha) (Liz)

On Fortune's Wheel by Cynthia Voigt

Anatomy of a Boyfriend (Sheryl)

A Certain Slant of Light (Sheryl) (Liz)

The Order of the Poison Oak, Hartinger (Liz)

Empress of the World, Ryan (Liz)

OK, Keep the titles coming! And, if you agree/disagree with a titles inclusion, please comment!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

1st Annual Kidlitosphere Conference

So, want to get together and talk?

Then come to the 1st Annual Kidlitosphere Conference!


What: First annual Kidlitosphere Conference

When: Saturday, October 6, 2007

Where: Chicago, IL, Radisson Hotel Chicago O’Hare, 1450 E. Touhy Ave., 1-847-296-8866. (To get the room discount, tell them you’re with “Kidlit.”)

Cost: $40

Robin Brande is organizing this; go to here to get the full details including the current RSVP list. Click here for all the posts at Robin's blog that give info on the conference.

Yes, I'll be there! I'm really looking forward to sitting down with everyone and chatting and sharing ideas and talking books and blogs. The couple of times I've met people from the blogosphere has been great, but usually rushed because it's after a long day at BEA, or in between appointments for ALA. How cool that there will be just a day for kidlit bloggers to connect and network and be energized!

Buffy Quote of the Week

"Things used to be pretty simple. A hundred years just hanging out, feeling guilty. I really honed my brooding skills. Then she comes along..."
- Angel, Ep: Lie to Me

Sunday, July 22, 2007

This Friday? Next Monday?

You know, I can't believe we didn't discuss this before!

Now that I've finished the book (and all I want to do is start at Book 1 and reread them all), here's the question:

When is it OK to post reviews of the book, especially reviews that discuss spoilers? Not, you know, to spoil it but to discuss it.


Saturday, July 21, 2007

What Harry Means To Me

Yeah, I like Harry Potter.

So, as I head off to the bookstore, afraid that some mean hearted person will shout a spoiler at me, I give you a retro post: How I Found Out About Harry.

At another time will be discussed why some people fill it is their right and duty to ruin something for someone else.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Poetry Friday: How We Are Smart

How We Are Smart by W. Nikola Lisa, Illustrated by Sean Qualls. Copy supplied by publisher, Lee and Low Books.

It's About: The many ways people are smart: book smart, art smart, nature smart, body smart. Or, as is explained in the back of the book, "multiple intelligences".

The Good: I like that it recognizes that there are many ways of being "smart" with no one "smart" better than another; often, people are a blend of several intelligences.

I also like that no matter what the intelligence, the person achieved because they worked at it; no one is just smart without studying. Marion Anderson sang; but she worked, too, at developing that talent. Thurgood Marshall became who he was because he attended law school; Matthew Henson made personal sacrifices as an explorer. It's summed up best in the following quote by astronomer Annie Jump Cannon: "My success, if you would call it that, lies in the fact that I have kept at my work all these years. It is not genius or anything like that, merely patience."

Reasons I appreciate the multiple intelligences approach to people. First, as I noted above, it still includes having to work to succeed; second, kids are so different, that this provides multiple avenues for achieving success; finally, it is respectful of the diversity of talents and strengths that people have.

Individuals are highlighted with an illustration, a quote, a poem, their name, and a short biographical paragraph. At the end of the book, there is additional material on multiple intelligences including activities and resources for teachers and parents and caregivers. I like this because it makes things so much easier for adults working with kids, whether it's a parent or a librarian or a teacher or whatever.

This also works well with children up to middle school; the poems are short enough that younger children will enjoy it, but there is enough depth that it's good for older kids, also.

Qualls' artwork focuses on the face of the person portrayed, with items in the background showing more about their life. For Matthew Henson, arctic exploration with snow capped peaks and dog sleds; Tito Puente, drums and a couple dancing.

Since I'm a former lawyer, I'm including the poem about Thurgood Marshall (background showing the US flag, scales of justice, and the Supreme Court).

Please note that I contacted the author and the publisher for permission to use this poem in its entirety for this post; and that permission was kindly granted.

Thurgood Marshall

Hats off to Thurgood,
good-natured and kind,
who listened to everyone
with his razor-sharp mind.

He thought about people.
He thought about law.
He thought about everything
he witnessed and saw.

He stood up to lawyers,
no matter their wealth.
He stood up to judges,
though a judge himself.

He stood up for freedom,
for the poor and oppressed;
and when he stood up,
the world was impressed.

Yes, Thurgood was smart --
he reached for great heights,
used the power of the courts
to protect people's rights.

Are you smart like Thurgood?

Text copyright (c) 2006 by W. Nikola-Lisa

Permission granted by LEE & LOW Books Inc.

Note: The 2, 3 and 4 lines of each stanza are supposed to be indented and blogger refuses to keep the spaces! Any advice on how to fix this?

Edited to add: Kelly, for some reason what you have wasn't working; but I did find & nbsp (but without the space) via Blogger Tips & Tricks and that seems to work. Thank you!

Edited to add: Blogger hates me. OK, I did add some html and it did work and now all that html code is gone and it's back to not indenting.

People included in the book are:

Luis Alvarez, physics
Maria Tallchief, dance
Thurgood Marshall, law
Annie Jump Cannon, astronomy
Tito Puente, music
Patsy Takemoto Mink, congresswoman
Matthew Henson, explorer
Georgia O'Keeffe, artist
Alexander Posey, poet
Marian Anderson, singer
I.M. Pei, architect
Ynes Mexia, botanist

Today's Poetry Friday is at Mentor Texts & More (NYC Teacher).


Sean Qualls also illustrated The Poet Slave of Cuba.
Lee and Low Books page for the book, including a preview.
The Planet Esme Review. (which also includes a big "thumbs up" for an author visit)
An author interview at The Prairie Wind, Newsletter of the SCBWI-Illinois Chapter. Very good information, including how he picked the people included in How We Are Smart.
2007 Christopher Award, Books for Young Readers.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Congratulations, Caridad Ferrer

Adios to My Old Life by Caridad Ferrer is the 2007 RITA Winner for Best Contemporary Single Title!

The RITA Awards are sponsored by the Romance Writers of America, and it is the romance-publishing industry's highest award of distinction.

And, Adios to My Old Life is a YA title. How cool is that?

Thanks to Smart Bitches, who posted about this book winning. And, apparently, in the Romance world there is a bit of discussion about whether a YA title should have won. I don't know the history of the award or the criteria, but I found the comments very interesting. A lot of discussion (most of it polite & respectful) about what is YA? and what is romance? And is it possible or impossible for a book to be both YA and romance?

I haven't read the book yet; but overall, I think yes, a book can be both YA and romance. I am disappointed by many YA books called "romance" because there is no HEA (that's a new acronym I just learned, it's the Happy Ever After. Love it!) and I think a romance needs HEA. I think YA is a big umbrella, and contains romance, science fiction, horror, etc. Any possible genre can be found in YA (which, btw, is why I don't like using the word "genre" for YA; I don't see it as a genre, but as an age range.)

So I'm looking forward to reading this book, especially since this win makes me strongly suspect I'll get my HEA!

Smart Bitches Who Love Trashy Novels review
Latina YA review
Little Willow/Bildungsroman review & interview

Monday, July 16, 2007

Harry Potter

As I read the various articles about Harry Potter, the book, the movie, etc., I think, huh, it's rather funny; Harry Potter is not only expected to defeat Voldemort, he's also expected to single handedly change the reading habits of the entire world.

And while there is more about the reporting on & reviewing of HP that I want to post about it, I'll hold off for now. For example, why is it OK to so totally bash HP, JKR, and the readers? I've read comments and posts and articles that treat the book, the author, and the readers in a way that I rarely, if ever, see other books & authors & readers treated. It's as if they're the Paris Hilton of the publishing world (except, with panties and no arrests.) Meaning, JKR is so rich that it's OK to bash her, her work product, and her readers.

But, what motivated me to comment was this great post over at The Longstockings. My favorite line, to the bashers? And in the name of all I cherish, stop trying to ruin the fun for the rest of us. Which is ANOTHER odd thing; rarely have I seen people so intent on ruining the reading pleasure of others, by both talking down about what they read and getting read to spoil the ending out of meanness.

My favorite point, because I totally agree: Who cares if people don't read novels? (*Ducks under desk to avoid flying objects*) Okay, clearly I do, because my friends and I write them and I'd like that to be an economically viable profession. But honestly, no one is suffering a deficit of fiction or stories, thanks to this handy little moving-picture machine we all have in our homes.

As you know, I don't play sports. So, whenever I read about what people do or don't do for pleasure and entertainment, about their own personal choices, I try to imagine, what if they were talking about me and what I choose. So, instead of all the cries about people not reading novels, imagine the complaints about people not playing sports. Here's the thing: WE CANNOT FORCE PEOPLE TO ENJOY DOING SOMETHING THEY DON'T ENJOY. There will always be a percentage of people who don't like doing what I like doing; in this case, read novels.

But guess what? We're not going to convince anyone that reading novels is great! fun! if we bash their reading choices. And, of course, as it becomes clear with all these "people don't read enough novels" nonsense, what the writers really mean is that we are supposed to "read novels that are literary and worthwhile and not Harry Potter or chick lit or science fiction." So, not only are these writers insisting that readers must enjoy reading novels, they must enjoy reading a certain sort of novel.

And, speaking of novels, what's wrong with people reading nonfiction for enjoyment?

And, as you know from my intro at the top of the blog, I'm more about the story than the books (tho I don't post enough about the movies & TV I watch.) So I loved the nod of respect to other ways that people get story.

Anyway. Enough of my Monday Morning Rant. Time to get ready for work.

Cross posted at Pop Goes the Library.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

How Many Times Can I Play?

My first result:

Find out your Harry Potter personality at LiquidGeneration!

Not too happy about that.

So let's try again:

Find out your Harry Potter personality at LiquidGeneration!

The Dark Is Rising Movie

Two reactions: I am sobbing, quietly, at the fact that this is so far from the actual book and that it's highly unlikely that another, truer, film will be made. Who knows, maybe if there is enough "but it's not the book and the book would make a damn fine film" reaction, there may be hope. Personally, I think it would work better as a miniseries.

And, to be honest, if I was seeing this and it was not titled "The Dark Is Rising" -- if I knew nothing and was shown a trailer for "Fight For the Light" or "Seek the Signs" or some such nonsense -- I'd be thinking, hmm, that looks interesting.

What are your thoughts?

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


Carnival of Children's Literature is being hosted this month by Saints and Spinners. Please submit posts as instructed here so that Saints and Spinners gets the info. Deadline is July 20, 2007.

Children's Picture Book Carnival, started by Literacy Teacher at Mentor Texts & More.
More info at Mentor Texts & More; and here's the link to submit an article (that is, a post.) You have until July 31, 2007 to submit -- so go thru some of your posts about picture books, pick one and submit it!

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Singing Shijimi Clams

Singing Shijimi Clams by Naomi Kojima. Copy supplied by publisher, Kane/Miller. Originally published in Japan.

The Plot: A witch takes home some shijimi clams to cook for supper; but when they sing, she cannot bring herself to cook them. It changes her life.

The Good: I like the language: "Once upon a time, there lived a witch. When she was younger, she was a mean and feisty witch, and she liked nothing better than making fun of people and picking fights. But, now, perhaps because she was older, her sparks were gone and she was simply miserable." Right away, you have a picture of who she was, and who she is.

What is this about? Well, I think it's a story about a happy retirement; a bit odd to look at a children's book that way, I guess, but that's how it struck me. Because the witch moves with the clams to the beach and enjoys the rest of her days by the sea. The first pictures shows the witch, alone in a city, bundled up, carrying her groceries; the last picture shows a happier witch, relaxing in the sun, surrounded by her cat and the singing clams.

I really liked the illustrations; simple black and white, they add to the story.

Between this and Charlotte's Web, kids will want to be vegetarians.


The Edge of the Forest review.
Kane/ Miller Play Pages (pdf).
Here and There Japan blog with photos of Shijimi Clams plus a review plus some photos of the author.
Jen Robinson's Book Page review.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

What Does Tea Cozy Sound Like?

What does Tea Cozy look like? My photo is at my seldom used MySpace page. Well, this is me at BEA; and scroll down the link at Laura Bowers' LiveJournal for another photo of me.

The photo on the sidebar is of my maternal grandmother as a child; and those of you on GMail? That artwork is by Cheetah. Let me do a little bragging; at Cheetah's school, each year the school picks one work of art by one child in each grade. That one artwork by grade is then mounted and put on display; when the child graduates, they can take it with them. The child selected for first grade? Cheetah! She, of course, is cooler than cool about it. "What is it," I ask. "I forget," she said. "C'mon, I want to play."

But what does Tea Cozy sound like? Now that can be answered! I am in a YALSA Podcast, talking about the ALA preconference. I have to say, it was fun. I may just buy a microphone and start podcasting.

And what does Tea Cozy look like when she dances? Mitali Perkins made sure that question would be answered! But thanks to my being behind Fuse # 8, you can barely see me; I'm in the white shirt and green pants. And yes, they are baggy. And yes, I have to lose a few pounds. And yes, you can tell it's me because I'm waving my arms at all the wrong times.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Monday, July 02, 2007

Blog of the Day: American Indians in Children's Literature

Blog of the Day: American Indians in Children's Literature

About the Blogger: From the blog: "Debbie Reese, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Illinois, US. I am tribally enrolled at Nambe Pueblo, in northern New Mexico. A former school teacher, I'm currently teaching in American Indian Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign."

About the Blog: Again, from the blog: "Critical discussion of American Indians in children's books, the school curriculum, popular culture, and society-at-large."

Whether you're a reader, a teacher, a parent, a librarian, this is a must read blog. Debbie Reese discusses everything from Native poets to the American Girl Doll industry. She also reviews books (or, with permission, includes reviews by others.) Don't forget to click over and look at her other blog, Images of Indians in Children's Books.

Sunday, July 01, 2007


So, ALA was great, met awesome people, was way too busy, and now I have to do laundry and sort books.

I'm not sure if I'll be able to post a decent round up of the DC Fun.

So, while you're waiting, check out the following posts from the bloggers, many of who I met up with. It was great to actually meet people and say hi; I just wish there had been more time to sit & talk & chat.


Mitali Perkins


Reader's Carousel

OK, that's it for now. If I missed you, please let me know in the comments & I'll edit.

Is it too early to plan for a get together during MidWinter? It's in Philly!

Edited to add:

Zee Says recaps her DC trip


Everyone Has A Blue Castle

Laws Every Blogger Needs to Know; And Comments

I found this via Librarian in Black: 12 Important US Laws Every Blogger Should Know.

And, of course, there is the Electronic Frontier Foundation's Legal Guide for Bloggers.

There's a lot to think about and I'll be revisiting these sites in the future. In the meanwhile, I've decided to add the following language about comments to my sidebar: "Comments are great. They add to the conversation. But it's my blog, so I reserve the right to delete any comment. Reasons for deleting comments may include offensive or abusive language or behavior, spam, advertising, trolls, flaming, personal attacks and the like."

What language, if any, do you have on your blog about comments? Have you ever deleted comments, and why?

Since adding word verification to my comments, I've cut down drastically on the spam but every now and then one gets thru. And once or twice I've deleted a duplicate comment.

In terms of offensive language, I'm talking offensive; I don't mean we disagree. Some of the best conversations arise over disagreement.

Here is an example of what I think warrants deletion. It is a comment that was made when this blog was only a few months old; and yes, I deleted it.

Harry Potter is tripe written for children. You and half the adult population should grow up. If you like fart and snot jokes then just say so, don't hide behind a kids book. There are much, much better science fiction or fantasy or magic.witch craft books around but they usually require an intellect so I guess you are out of luck there. Then again you also like Buffy so I'm pushing [word removed by Liz B] uphill here.

edited to add: also being discussed in the comments in the lee & low post, below