Monday, November 26, 2007

Faeries of Dreamdark: Blackbringer


Faeries of Dreamdark: Blackbringer by Laini Taylor. Illustrations by Jim Di Bartolo. 2007. Copy provided by author.

The Plot: Magpie Windwitch is a faerie who likes adventure. She travels the world with her clan of crows, hunting for lost magics, trapping escaped devils. It's a lot more rough and tumble than the lives of most faeries, but she is the granddaughter of the West Wind, after all.

It's adventure, and it's exciting; and she thinks she is hunting just another devil. Except this one was trapped by one of the great Djinns, something unheard of. This devil is darkness and shadow; it dates back to before the legendary fighter Bellatrix, before the world began. Magpie is in over her head.

Or is she?

The Good: Taylor brings a fresh view to faeries. They know about us "mannies", but their world and lives are separate and apart from ours. The faeries are small, and winged, and most are content, with only a handful, like Magpie, wanting more and seeking more.

I was surprised by the twists and turns of the plot; surprised enough to not want to reveal too much of what transpires. Magpie's pre book life is intriguing, a mix of constant summer camp and Indiana Jones investigations and excitement. I almost wanted more of her childhood and pre-book life.

Magpie receives "the call"; you know, in fantasy? The "you are the only vampire slayer" type call. And I adore her response: "She chewed her lip and pondered it ... She decided finally that it isn't as bad to find out you have a destiny when it's something you want to do anyway."

I know from reading the author's blog that there is a sequel to this book; but this book works well as a stand alone. Actually, I was a bit surprised at that; knowing their was a sequel in the works, I had assumed that certain plots would not be resolved in this book. But they were! And I appreciate it; I love being able to pick up a book and actually have an ending.

At the same time, Taylor has created such a full world that there are many unanswered questions and hints of deeper mysteries to be solved. While it's not said in so many words, I feel that this is just the beginning of something big, something bigger than Magpie suspects.

While strong in plot and in character, the language itself is also beautiful and captivating (it's always nice to find a book that has it all):

Across the water in the hidden places beneath a vast city, a new thing was taking possession of the darkness. Legions of lesser devils had made their home here for centuries in the underbelly of the human world. Now they fled in panic on their cloven hooves and splayed toes.

A furious wind howled in the underground passages. Those creatures who paused to look back over their shoulders found themselves swept up by a terrible hunger and had scarcely time to wonder what was happening before they ceased to exist. Rats, imps, low devils, and quavering translucent spirits roiled up and out of the sewer grates and made for whatever scraps of shadow they could find in the world above.

Links:
Reading YA review
Shannon Hale interviews Laini Taylor
Check it Out review
Fuse #8 review
Miss Erin review
Wands and Worlds review

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Jacket Flap, Cybils, Widget

Wow!

JacketFlap (a one stop place for resources about children's lit) has been a great supporter of the Cybils, and look what they did: see that cool widget on the sidebar?

Yes. Tracy at Jacket Flap not only did it, but here is the page with the code that makes it easy to not only make, but, if you're on Blogspot (like me), super easy to put into your template.

Cybils have closed, and at some point I'll do some posts of the books that have been nominated.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Five Days


Five Days (miniseries). Joint production of HBO and the BBC. While not available on DVD (yet), it is still available on HBO on demand.

The Plot: A mother and her two children disappear in the middle of the day. A car abandoned for no reason, with bag and cell phone left behind. What happened? Where did they go? Is it a kidnapping, or did she run away?

The Good: Everything.

As I've said in the past, I love TV. And I love what a good miniseries can do. Five Days follows five different days in the investigation of the missing woman and her two small children; day 1, day 2, ending at day 79. I love that; not only does it require the viewer to "fill in" some of what has gone on in the jumps between days, it acknowledges that not everything is worthy of highlighting, of being shown to the viewer. It also reflects that an investigation may have lags and then flare up again.

The strength of a well done, well plotted mini series is that there is a clear story, defined story arc: beginning, middle, end; the pacing is constant; and it doesn't drag things out (to satisfy a need for a certain number of episodes) or speed things up (ooh, only a movie is acceptable, TV series are not!)

Five Days looks at everyone involved in the investigation; the husband, the parents of the missing woman, the police, reporters, even eyewitnesses. Somehow, it manages to show the perspective of each; we both sympathize with the main detective who just wants to get his job done, as well as get irritated at his poor handling of the media. We see the anguish of the husband, yet also doubt him. It's always someone close to the victims, isn't it?

This is as much about the people affected by the investigation as it is about the investigation itself; often, we get character sketches. While the crime itself is resolved, not everything is wrapped up and tidy at the end of the series.

The husband is played by David Oyelowo; he was Danny on MI-5 aka Spooks (another made of awesome BBC series.) David was brilliant in that, and he is equally fab here.

While made with HBO, this is set in Britain, using British actors. I like crime shows; and it's always interesting to watch how other countries investigate crime and how their legal system works. Here, there is the additional intrigue of race in the UK; the husband, Matt, is black; his wife is white; and, in terms of prejudices, the wife's ex-husband is French.

Um, no, I won't tell you what happens! Catch it on-demand while you can; add it to your Netflix Queue.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Nominations for the Cybils close at midnight central time TONIGHT. This is your last chance to have your voice heard. You may submit one title in each of the following eight categories. Nominations are for books published for children and young adults in 2007. If you haven't submitted your suggestions yet, tarry no longer:

Choose your category to nominate (links borrowed from Sheila):

Fantasy and Science Fiction
Fiction Picture Books
Graphic Novels
Middle Grade Fiction
Non-fiction: Middle Grade and Young Adult
Non-fiction Picture Books
Poetry
Young Adult Fiction

The entire above post was stolen borrowed from Jen R.

The Middle Grade titles nominated thus far have been listed over at Little Willow's. Is your favorite missing? Then go nominate while you have the time!

Monday, November 19, 2007

ALA Midwinter Philadelphia

I'll post about this again, but here's the thing. I'll be at ALA Midwinter in Philadelphia. I have no idea of my schedule yet. But, it's never too early to get the conversation started: will you be there? Can we arrange a mini kidlitosphere get together?

Buffy Quote of the Week

Buffy: I invited you into my home and you attacked my family. Why?
Angel: Why not? I killed mine. I killed their friends. And their friends' children. For a hundred years I offered an ugly death to everyone I met, and I did it with a song in my heart.
Ep: Angel

What is History?

Marc Aronson is discussing history and fictionalizing nonfiction over at his SLJ blog, NonFiction Matters.

I find this fascinating, in part because I read those Childhood of Famous Americans (or whatever it was called) series as a kid, and they were presented and placed as nonfiction; and all it took was reading one biography, and applying some common sense, to realize that things were made up (or, as Marc would say, fictionalized.) Still, it was a conclusion I came to on my own as a kid; and it didn't ruin the books for me. (I understand that some readers, even now, feel "betrayed" when they discover a book they read includes fictionalized history.) If anything, I still love historical fiction.

But, I do know kids who believe that Dragons are real because the Dragonology books are in the nonfiction section of the library. Yes, eventually they will "get it", but in the meanwhile, are libraries doing a disservice to kids by not shelving these books in the fiction section?

I read historical fiction and often then read the actual history books after. That said, I do know that I'll always feel more or less sympathetic to certain historical figures based on fiction books. Richard III, I believe you are innocent of killing the princes! And it's one reason I appreciate endnotes where an author shares resources and points out to what historical facts were altered to make the narrative better.

When history and fiction mix (in books such as Good Masters, Sweet Ladies, which I love) it can become difficult. I think GM, SL is a perfect book for using as a teaching resource, because the author is clear (so the teacher and students will be clear) as to what is real and what is made up; and it presents historical information in way that is easy to understand and fun to read. That said, since the village and villagers are not real, and their emotions and words are made up, I would not put this book in with history books and would not hand it to someone as a nonfiction book.

I'm very fascinated by Marc's posts, and he promises more to come.

To Read or Not to Read

Gail Gauthier points out a news report on an National Endowment for the Arts study, To Read or Not To Read. As she says, "ouch." When I went to comment on her post, I realized I was writing so much I should also post here.

I realize I should read the entire 99 page report. So, I've ordered my copy and in the meanwhile am musing over some of the highpoints (lowpoints?) that appear in the press release. I fully realize that even their own press release may not be accurate.

* This report does include nonfiction and "non literary" reading as reading. (To which I say, "yay" for recognizing reading beyond literary, but as is seen later, the report cycles back to focus on literary reading.)

* Daily reading has gone down. (My comment: I'm a big reader and I would answer "no" to the question of whether I read daily (excluding reading for work, of course!) so I wonder why daily reading is the measurement.)

* Reading scores have gone down. (My comment: I wonder what this means about how reading is being taught, as well as what is being tested.)

* "Nearly two-thirds of employers ranked reading comprehension "very important" for high school graduates. Yet 38 percent consider most high school graduates deficient in this basic skill." (My comment: the problem I have always had with "employers say..." is that, I was an A student in high school English and had great English teachers, but I was not taught to read and write for a work environment. If anything, business classes and writing classes in college and law school did that. Ditto for library school, where I learned an entirely different "right" way to read and write professional material. Should English teachers be teaching not how to analyze literature, but how to read and write for work?)

* How do they define "non reader"? I'm very curious to read the report to get this definition. And what are the causes? If a teen is over-scheduled or has a heavy "required" reading component for school, does that turn them into a temporary non reader? Since the report ends with talking about "literary readers," is that the only desired result? Am I, then, a non reader if I'm not reading literary works?

Is the desired result to have people realize that reading is fun and pleasurable? Or, is the desired result to have people reading the types of books listed at The Big Read?

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Robert's Snow: Paul Brewer


Robert's Snow: For Cancer's Cure : Seven Impossible Things... has a full explanation, including all posts to date.

The auctions start in November and continue until December. Go here to look at the artwork, and to bid once the auction goes "live."

Please consider bidding on a snowflake, and letting other art lovers know about the auction and this opportunity to own a unique work of art. And now, on to the featured artist of the day!

Paul Brewer has illustrated everything from chapter books to picture books. An assortment of his works can be found here. If you want to look at more of his artwork, here is an online gallery. Here is Paul's snowflake for the auction.

Paul agreed to answer some questions about his work and his and his snowflake.

Liz B:What children's book or children's book illustrator has most inspired you?

Paul: I was not a big reader as a child (I preferred doodling over reading) but do remember being drawn to the Dr. Seuss and Babar the Elephant books in particular. The illustrators that influence me the most these days are David Shannon, Henrik Drescher, David Diaz, Kathy Hewitt, Boris Kulikov, just to name a few. Their styles are all different, but they each have something in their art that helps to influence the direction I would like to see my work go in. Looking closely at other people's art to see exactly how they achieved the end result has always been huge in helping me to create my own style.

Liz B: How did you get involved with Robert's Snow?

Paul: I heard about Robert's Snow a couple of years ago and even followed the eBay auction they had to sell all the snowflakes. I thought it was a brilliant way to help out a charity, plus the opportunity to own an original piece of art from a children's book illustrator. A few months ago Grace Lin and Lauren Nash, from Robert's Snow, sent out a mass email to illustrators asking if we would like to be involved with the project. I said yes, and painted my "very cool" snowflake.

Liz B: What inspired your snowflake?

Paul: Two things. I am the illustrator for Barbara Seuling's "Robert series" of chapter books published by Cricket Books in hardcover (11 titles), and in paperback by Scholastic (20 titles). The first book was "Oh No, It's Robert" followed by many others; "Robert and the Attack of the Giant Tarantula," "Robert and the Great Pepperoni," "Robert and the Happy Endings," "Robert and the Practical Jokes," to name a few.

I have also written and illustrated three joke books for kids over the last ten years. My first was "The Grossest Joke Book Ever" followed by "You Must Be Joking!" and the newly released sequel "You Must Be Joking, Two!"

So my snowflake has Robert Dorfman and his friends from the series, laughing around a joke book. These are the two things that inspired my snowflake, which is appropriately titled "Joking Around."

Liz B: Could you tell us something about your most recent books, You Must Be Joking, Two and Robert Goes To Camp?

Liz B: The complete title of the first book is You Must Be Joking, Two! Even Cooler Jokes, Plus 11-1/2 Tips for Laughing Yourself into Your Own Stand-Up
Comedy Routine
. It has 239 jokes (I just counted!) in it, plus the tips chapter for kids who might want to learn to tell a bunch of jokes (with the help of the first book You Must Be Joking! Lots of Cool Jokes, Plus 17-1/2 Tips for Remembering, Telling, and Making Up Your Own Jokes) and then put on a stand-up comedy show at home or at the school talent show or wherever they want. In other words, basic training for kids on how to be funny. It was just released last month.

Robert Goes to Camp is the final book (just released) in the Robert series. This one has Robert off to summer day camp where he meets Zach, a prankster who proceeds to get Robert into trouble. He and his friend, Lester, get sprayed by a skunk, and Lester saves Robert from nearly drowning in a swimming pool. Robert Dorfman is always getting himself in some kind of fix, but almost always in a humorous way. I know I can relate to the problems Robert gets himself into, and I think many young readers can too.


I love illustrating funny stories, and Barbara's are brilliant. This series began in 1999, and I will definitely miss working on it.

Liz B: What is your "pop culture" area of expertise?

Paul: As for pop culture, my two greatest interests are music and humor. My wife and I continually listen to a broad range of music from several sound sources around the house. Funny books (I have a big collection of joke books in one of our bathrooms, along with a bunch of humorous toilet related stuff) funny movies and funny TV shows are a big hit around here, as well.


Next year they intersect in my new book, "Fartiste," about a famous French performance artist whose specialty was farting tunes - co-written with my wife Kathleen Krull, illustrated by Boris Kulikov and published by Simon & Schuster.

Liz B: Thank you!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

I Support the WGA Strike

As I made clear in my post, Strike, I support the WGA, the strike, and writers being paid fairly for their work.

I'd like to point out a few things:

Looking to offer support as a fan? Go check out fans4writers. I love it when the fans show this type of support! Yes, we don't want our shows to end... but c'mon, you know you're viewing episodes online. I know I am. Why shouldn't the writers get paid for that?

I was directed to fans4writers by a blog reader, Miss Kate (who, sadly, operates under the delusion that Colby Granger is her TV boyfriend. Silly girl, he's mine!)

Miss Kate explains, "Fans4writers.com started the day that the Writers Guild Association went on strike as a way for fans to support the writers of their favorite TV shows, and feature films. Originally, it was just to deliver pizza on the picket line for writers associated with Joss Whedon's shows, but it has evolved into a larger, umbrella organization that wants to provide information, resources and ways to help the writers as they picket."

She continues, "Fans4Writers own programs are Food for Thought through which they will organize food for each picket location at least once a week and the Postcard Protest. Using their forums, you can also find more show-specific ideas for supporting the writers that are organized by other fan groups. Fans4writers is committed to providing support through morale boosting activities, protests to networks and advertisers and educating others about the strike for its duration."

Where do you think the funny lines, the intriguing plots, the characters come from?

THE WRITERS. And what recognition do they get? What respect? Hell, even when I do my Buffy Quote of the Day I don't say, Joss Whedon wrote this, or Jane Espenson, or Tim Minear (oh, that's Angel. Sorry.) And these are the people who make the magic possible.

Stop thinking short term; stop thinking, oh, I want my show back on. Think, I want my show back on because the writers are being treated fairly.

YA Authors who support the WGA:

John Green
Justine Larbelestier
Celise Downs
Holly Black

Kidlitosphere Bloggers who support the WGA:

Apocatastasis
From the Shattered Drum
Gotta Book


Yes, I know I missed a bunch, and I'm sorry; add links in the comments. Next week I'll edit this to add you. In the meanwhile, after I pack, I'm off to NYC!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Thirteen Reasons Why


My first book review for Tea Cozy! Let's all toss confetti. In the spirit of the blog, I will structure my reviews the same as Liz's: plot synopsis, what's good about it, and links about the book/author.

Thirteen Reasons Why (also written as Th1rteen R3asons Why) by Jay Asher, copy from publisher, Penguin/Razorbill.

The Plot: Clay Jenkins spends the longest night of his life listening to a set of tapes he received in the mail. The tapes were made by his classmate and crush Hannah Baker, who committed suicide two weeks earlier. Clay doesn't know where on the tapes Hannah will talk about his role in her life. All he can do is listen to Hannah's voice, follow the map of the town she left in his locker, and learn how his classmates, some of whom he barely knows, factor into life-altering (and life-taking) events. Hannah's tapes shatter reputations and reveal secrets that could ruin people's lives. Those who are mentioned on the tapes are instructed to listen and pass the tapes on to the next person on the list, thirteen people in all. In the course of the night, Clay learns the profound effect that rumors and reputations can have on a person...and that not all good (or bad) reputations are deserved.

The Good: Convergence.

I'd really like to leave it at just that, because I can think of no better word to describe what goes on in this book. I think the only book I've ever read that illustrated the concept of convergence as well as Thirteen Reasons Why does is Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. I also loved the idea that the protagonist of this book is not the narrator. To me, there's no such thing as a reliable first-person narrator and Asher uses Hannah's unreliability brilliantly. Clay cannot argue with Hannah, cannot present an alternate viewpoint of Hannah's stories. All he can do is hear her side and try to reconcile her thoughts and actions with what he knows about himself and his classmates. Hannah is not the most likable of protagonists; I often found her grating, obnoxious, and proud of her victim status. At the same time, though, I found her, as Clay does, hypnotic. As Hannah ties seemingly unrelated people together, the larger picture of what led her to commit suicide grows more horrific. She knew many dark secrets but chose to keep them to herself, only revealing them on the tapes. The idea that one person could be in so many places at just the wrong...or maybe the right...times and gain the knowledge to destroy a lot of other people makes for a fascinating and bleak read. You're never sure who to root for, but that's half the joy of reading this book.

Links:

Thirteen Reasons Why
Jay Asher's MySpace
Author profile @ Random House


crossposted at my blog

Monday, November 12, 2007

ALA Elections

Please, renew your ALA memberships, including your YALSA memberships, because if you don't, they you cannot vote. And remember: you do not have to be a librarian to be a member.

The slate of people running for all offices and committees is up at the YALSA Blog.

Last year, you may recall I was a Printz candidate, and won! Which means starting soon I will be reading my little heart out (my reading is for 08 titles for the 09 Printz.) Which probably explains why I've taken a bit of a book break these past few weeks.

Anyhow, enough me. Check out the Printz slate: Carlie Webber is running!!! (Yes, they use her full first name, Carlisle, and have not corrected the typo on her last name. Sigh.)

Carlie is a contributor at Pop Goes the Library, originator of the awesome idea of the Supernatural stars on a READ Poster. She is also the Teen Coordinator for BCCLS (Bergen County Cooperative Library System), which runs a mock Printz every year. More info on Carlie can be found at her blog.

For Tea Cozy readers, here are the important things to know:

Carlie is the source of the most awesome "the plural of anecdotes is not evidence."

Carlie is a book goddess. She knows her stuff, and is very good at recognizing quality stuff.

Carlie is going to be a guest blogger here! I know! I've been trying to figure out how to get more reviews up, especially as my time is getting limited with other commitments, so Carlie said she'd help Tea Cozy out!

So, make sure your YALSA membership is up to date so when elections open, you can say "yes" to Carlie (you get to vote for 4 people, 8 are running.)

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Diana Magnuson: The Interview!

Diana Magnuson's snowflake was highlighted in the beginning of November. For more information on the snowflake auction, Robert's Snow, go here.

Diana agreed to an interview, so here is some additional insight into Diana's work, her process, and her snowflake. She reveals what the faerie is holding; and she gives the best answer, ever, to my stock question: what is your pop culture area of expertise!

Liz B: I blog not just about books; but about how important story is in our lives. What children's book or children's book illustrator has most inspired you?

Diana: Gennady Spirin inspired me. The Russian trained artists have amazing compositions.

Liz B: How did you get involved with Robert's Snow?

Diana: They contacted my online writers/illustrators group (PicBookArts) and asked for volunteers.

Liz B: What inspired your snowflake?

Diana: I wanted to do something 3-dimensional and love drawing fairies, elves, trolls...and stuck an earring of mine on there as I lost the other one.

Liz B: Could you tell us something about your most recent book, Home on the Range?

Diana: It hasn't really got a strong story line as it's an American heritage song. I had photos from Dayton Hyde's ranch in the Dakotas that rescues mustangs for the background. He actually grew up in our house by Lake Superior. He's a writer. The illustrations show a non-traditional family on a cattle drive. It's quite subtle but the little boy is learning to ride throughout.

Liz B: I also blog about pop culture. What is your "pop culture" area of expertise?

Diana: Mind-body health, organic foods, tai chi.....

Liz B: Thanks, Diana!

Robert's Snow: Week Five

As you know if you've been visiting any children's book blogs for the past few weeks, Robert's Snow is an online auction that benefits Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Over 200 children's book illustrators have created art on individual snowflake-shaped wooden templates. The snowflakes will be auctioned off, with proceeds going to cancer research. You can view all of the 2007 snowflakes here. Jules and Eisha from Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast have found a way for bloggers to help with this effort, by blogging about individual illustrators and their snowflakes. The idea is to drive traffic to the Robert's Snow site so that many snowflakes will be sold, and much money raised to fight cancer. The illustrator profiles have been wonderful so far - diverse and creative and colorful. And there are lots more to go.

Here's the schedule for Week 5, which starts Monday. As previously, this early schedule links to the participating blogs, instead of to the individual posts. You can find links to the posts themselves, and any last-minute updates, each morning at 7-Imp. Jules and Eisha have also set up a special page at 7-Imp containing a comprehensive list of links to the profiles posted so far. Also not to be missed is Kris Bordessa's post summarizing snowflake-related contests to date over at Paradise Found.

Monday, November 12


Tuesday, November 13


Wednesday, November 14


Thursday, November 15



Friday, November 16



Saturday, November 17



Sunday, November 18



Please take time out to visit all of these blogs, and read about these fabulous illustrators. And, if you're so inclined, think about bidding for a snowflake in the Robert's Snow auction. Each snowflake makes a unique gift (for yourself or for someone else), and supports an important cause.

See also the following note from Elaine Magliaro of Wild Rose Reader:

Note to Blog Readers about Blogging for a Cure: When Jules of 7-Imp put out her call in September for bloggers to interview/feature artists who had created snowflakes for Robert’s Snow 2007 at their blogs, a number of artists had not yet sent in their snowflakes to Dana-Farber. As time was of the essence to get Blogging for a Cure underway, we worked with the list of artists whose snowflakes were already in possession of Dana-Farber. Therefore, not all the participating artists will be featured. This in no way diminishes our appreciation for their contributions to this worthy cause. We hope everyone will understand that once the list of artists was emailed to bloggers and it was determined which bloggers would feature which artists at their blogs, a schedule was organized and sent out so we could get to work on Blogging for a Cure ASAP. Our aim is to raise people’s awareness about Robert’s Snow and to promote the three auctions. We hope our efforts will help to make Robert’s Snow 2007 a resounding success.



thanks to Jen Robinson for writing this post and doing all the code!

Friday, November 09, 2007

Strike!

The Writers Guild of America is on strike; their contract expired October 31, 2007.

Why are they striking? It's a brave new world; how we get our television has changed since the days of rabbit ears and a handful of stations. And, in a nutshell, the TV writers are saying, they want their fair share of the profits from their work product.

And all I have to say is ... four cents for each DVD sold? I'm shocked.

Jeff Gottesfeld kindly agreed to answer some questions for Pop (and agreed for this to be cross posted at Tea Cozy.) Those of you who read YA literature or watch daytime TV may be nodding your heads, recognizing his name. With his wife Cherie Bennett, is the associate head writer of The Young and the Restless on CBS. They are members of the Writers Guild of America (East) and are currently on strike. Working in TV, film (Broken Bridges), young adult fiction (Anne Frank and Me, Life in the Fat Lane, and A Heart Divided), adult fiction (Turn Me On, wring as Cherie Jeffrey ), as well as various other rumored pseudonymous projects, and stage (Reviving Ophelia, Searching for David's Heart), they live in Los Angeles with their son.

Liz B: I have to confess, one of my first reactions to the strike was selfish, oh, no, but my shows! Followed by, ah well, time to catch upon DVD watching. But then I wondered, hey, do the people who contributed to making the DVD get a fair share? (Seriously, even before the strike, I've wondered if the only people making money are the production company.)

I am also one of those people who think being a TV writer must be made of awesome. So, as I write these question, I'm both curious, and also a bit of a fangirl.

For the layperson, can you explain what exactly why the WGA (Writers Guild of America) decided to strike?

Jeff: Let me start with a caveat: I am not a member of my union's negotiating committee, and my understanding of these issues are a layman's understanding. The WGA offices in Los Angeles or New York, and particularly their websites http://www.wgaw.org/ and http://www.wgaeast.org/, have more and better details than I could possibly provide here.

The WGA decided to strike because the only thing that would be worse than striking would be not to strike. We came to this decision with the greatest of reluctance, when it became apparent to our negotiating team that the AMPTP (Association of Motion Picture and Television Producers), the major-producers consortium with whom we negotiate our writers' deal every three years, was not willing to tackle in good faith our major issue: what to do about payments to writers for materials streamed or downloaded on the Internet. We took important contract proposal after contract proposal off the table in an effort to create negotiating movement, as late as six hours before the strike deadline. We got nowhere.

Liz B: Which networks are affected? Not to be silly, but being as I have BBC America (yay Torchwood!) and watch DeGrassi (Canadian) on Nick at Night, I just wondered if all TV shows are covered or not.) What writing is affected?

Jeff: Our strike runs against WGA signatory companies, of which there are a few hundred. Not only does it cover the major TV networks and movie studios, but also a plethora of production companies. We had to put our pencils, pens, and computer keyboards down.

Scripts in development that had been acquired or optioned have to be shelved until the end of the strike. For us, Cherie and I wrote The Young and the Restless script #8796, which airs on the day before Christmas, and submitted it just before the strike deadline. A few more hours would have sunk that script. Not only that, writers can't negotiate with a struck company. We've had to tell our agents to stop. Here are the full strike rules: http://www.wga.org/subpage_member.aspx?id=2493 They are extensive.

Here's what is largely affected on the TV side: scripted material that has yet to be written. Sitcoms, late-night TV, Saturday Night Live, Heroes, daytime dramas like our own The Young and the Restless, etc. Animation depends on whether the contact is with a Guild signatory. The WGA press office can give you more particulars on all these details. Canadian writers have been told to put down their pens on all the USA work. British shows are not affected. Nor are shows that have already been filmed, nor shows for which scripts were finished before the strike deadline. DeGrassi is safe; at least those episodes have already been filmed.

Liz B: What is the current contract (if any) for streaming media and DVD sales?

Jeff: DVDs. Currently, writers get four cents US for each DVD that is sold. That's split amongst the writers of the episodes on that DVD, remember, if it's a television compilation like Lost. This is a small fraction of the cost of the DVD. We'd like to see that increased, but the DVD proposal was reportedly one of those that we would have been willing to shelve had the producers been forthcoming on the new media side.

On streaming videos? We get zip. Zero. Nada. Our dear friends at Heroes (we know a couple of the writers from our Smallville days) get to see their shows streamed at abc.com, complete with commercials. There have reportedly been 90 million (no, that is not a misprint!) downloads. Know what the writers get? Zero. If they got a a tenth of a penny per download -- a tenth of a penny! -- that would be $90,000.

What we're looking for, as the distinction between broadcast and broadband whittles down to zero, is this: if the producers make money, then the writers ought to participate.

Liz B: Do the writers get anything for shows made before DVD or Internet technology was available?

Jeff: Answer: yes. That's the basis of our whole residuals structure. Every time that an episode of, say, Smallville is rebroadcast on television, the writer gets a certain payment as residuals. Those episodes of I Love Lucy that are shown on Nick at Night? Residuals. These residuals are the difference for many writers between financial disaster and a middle-class lifestyle. As the move to content delivery shifts to broadband, this classic residual structure will melt away.

Liz B: I watch reality TV, from Amazing Race to Kid Nation to Survivor. Are those writers covered by the WGA?

Jeff: For the most part, no. And we'd like to have them. Big time. Don't let anyone tell you differently: these producers are writers.

Liz B: What's a fan to do? What's a fan to do? Speaking for myself, as someone who loves stories: Hell ya, the writers are important. And as a capitalist, Hell ya, they should be paid fairly for what they do. So, is there anything we can do?

Jeff: First and foremost, understand the stakes of this negotiation, and that the only thing worse for us than striking would be for us to do nothing. For three generations, our union's willingness to sacrifice in the short term for the long term benefit has meant that generations of writers get things basic to so many industries -- health care. A pension fund. A decent wage.

Second, keep half an eye on who the writers are for your fave shows. If you hear that the show has taken on scab writers, stop watching. The good news is, this probably won't happen.

Lastly, it can't hurt to write to the prez of your favorite network and say: "Make a fair deal with the writers. They want to get back to work, and I want quality TV."

For our part, we love writing Y&R. The show has an astonishing history, amazing actors, fine writers, and one of the best production teams I've ever seen. We want to get back to writing it, and to telling the compelling romantic and human stories that have made so many people around the world soap opera watchers for so long. (Take the Jeff and Cherie dare: Watch Y&R for three days, and you'll be hooked for life). We hope that our union and the AMPTP can reach a satisfactory settlement as quickly as possible.

Liz B: Jeff, thank you very much!

And thanks for the ideas of what a fan can do. As I said over at the blog of Gotta Book (by kidlitosphere blogger, poet, and screenwriter Gregory K), I would love a button or banner or some such Internet thingee that said, "this blog supports the WGA strike." Alas, I am not techy enough to do this. Anyone?

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Winter Blog Blast Tour: Ellen Emerson White

Ellen Emerson White is the author of Long May She Reign, a book I've included in my Best Books of 2007 (see sidebar). Readers may remember that I highlighted Ellen's books in my Under The Radar sequence this summer. You can imagine how happy I am that Ellen agreed to an interview for the Winter Blog Blast Tour!

As you read, you can see why I adore Ellen's books; as in her interview, they are a mix of serious and humor. I also found it interesting to think of Long May She Reign as a post 9/11 book, even tho 9/11 itself is not a factor in the book.


And someone who loves Buffy and Battlestar Galactica? And lives in New York City and is a Red Sox fan? How can you not love Ellen Emerson White? And it's not just me! Publishers Weekly included Long May She Reign in their Best Books of 2007. See the full PW starred review here.

Liz B: Your new book, Long May She Reign (October 2007), features Meg Powers, a character introduced in three books published in the 1980s, The President's Daughter (1984), White House Autumn (1985), and Long Live the Queen (1989.) Please tell us a bit about Long May She Reign.

Ellen: The book is very, very long--so, if you have orthopedic issues, please consult a medical professional before attempting to lift it.

It picks up approximately three months after Long Live the Queen ends. Since I am Not Very Bright, the earlier books are quite solidly set in the 1980s, or--to put it less politely--they are extremely dated. Which is why I am currently re-typing them, to bring them up to the near-future, since Long May She Reign clearly exists in a post-Bush world. All three of them are going to be reissued next spring.

As the book opens, Meg is not doing very well. (She said, with extreme understatement.) Her parents' marriage seems to be falling apart, her brother Steven is falling apart--and Meg has already fallen apart. So, all is not well at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Obviously, she's in tough shape psychologically, but she also hasn't healed from her injuries--and, it's clear, is never going to have anything close to a full physical recovery.

Everything is looking pretty hopeless, and since she really doesn't have any other options, or much prospect of ever leading a normal life, she ends up deciding to go away to college, after all--in lieu of staying in her bedroom permanently. And college turns out to be very difficult--but, interesting.

In case that all sounds too bleak, I must stress that there are jokes, also.

Liz B: Your fans have been waiting for a new Meg book since 1989. Why revisit Meg now? How did you get back into Meg's head?

Ellen: There are a lot of reasons. My own life took some unexpected twists and turns, which changed the way I look at things--and if you're a writer and you don't try to address that through art, you are in the wrong profession. Also, I'm a New Yorker, and I was here on 9/11--and there's no getting around the fact that the entire world as we know it is different now. I think this is a very much a book about people waiting, uneasily, for the next bad thing to happen--and I'm sure 9/11 plays into all of that, somewhere.

Plus, sometimes you want to write a book which is just too hard to write. It took me 3 1/2 years--to the exclusion of everything else--which was a great gift creatively, but maybe not the wisest choice from a practical "pay the rent" standpoint. As a reader, I am often frustrated by writers who seem to write the same book over and over--and I really enjoy writers who absolutely swing for the fences and try to be as ambitious as possible, even if the finished novel is--short of perfection. (The Virgo in me wants to faint when I type those words.) Long May She Reign was a tremendous challenge, because I wrote the best book that I am capable of writing. 110% effort. Left it all out on the field. All of those good sports cliches. But, it's a little disconcerting to realize that you have absolutely exhausted the full extent of your abilities--and that the book is still flawed. But, what can you do?

I thought I had grown out of Meg years ago--but, no, she popped right back into my psyche in about a second and a half. The voice, the rhythm, the mind-set--all of it. And she is just as grouchy as ever. I thought that Rebecca, the lead character in a couple of my other novels, was my true alter ego--but, writing about Meg just felt like coming home.

A character from my very first novel (not a great book, but I was only 18) is a major character in this novel, and to my surprise, Susan (a less well developed character originally, and certainly much less likeable and approachable) also came back as soon as I started typing. She and Meg are an absolutely combustible mix, and that aspect of the book was really fun to write.

Liz B: Politics have always played a big part in the Meg Powers books, what with Meg being the daughter of the first woman President. But the media is also a huge part of Meg's life, especially now that she is no longer famous just for being "daughter of." What are your thoughts on today's media, and teens caught in the spotlight?

Ellen: An eleven year old I adore refers to everyone over 18 as "an elderly dude"--and sometimes, I think she might be right. The Internet has changed everything--especially, it seems, people's grasp of the concept that there is such a thing as Too Much Information.

But, given Meg's inherent New England reserve--and the fact that she has always had to be so very careful every waking moment of her life--makes it easier to fit her into this new world, without having to change her at all, really.

The media has become omnipresent, and often, irresponsible--but, I can't really complain
since I read the New York Post regularly, and watch American Idol, and just generally participate in the fun of tabloidization. So, I'm nowhere near the moral high ground on this subject.

It's very sad that so many starlet types in the public eye (especially a Lindsay Lohan, who is
actually talented) are crashing and burning, but sometimes, I think they're so addicted to the fame and attention, that they're embracing the constant coverage and exposure, despite the fact that it mostly makes them look ridiculous. Even Andy Warhol might be flummoxed by today's media climate.

That said, I have to wonder where all of their parents are. A rich and famous teenager is still a teenager. It would be nice to see them get a little sensible, adult supervision.

Insofar as the book is concerned, I think Meg's father is a tremendous grounding force in their lives. He's a much more complicated (and sometimes less nice) man than he may appear to be, but there's no question that he is doing everything he can to try and help his children lead something reasonably close to normal lives.

Liz B: Let me be the first to say, I would vote for President Katharine Powers.* (I'd also vote for Laura Roslin, but I don't think they would be running against each other.) I love the insider look at politics; but I also am a bit in awe about the character that is Katharine Powers; meaning, not just who she is but how you portray her. Can you talk a bit about her as a character?

Ellen: Wouldn't Katharine and Laura have one hell of a debate? I'd pay to see that.

When I originally finished the President's Daughter, I was only twenty. The President is much easier to write, now that I'm very close to being her age. She makes sense to me, in a whole different way.

The irony is, that she's actually a wonderful, loving parent--although she gets no credit from anyone--including herself--for being one. I would love to write a book from her point of view, but there are only 43 Americans who would be capable of doing that effectively, and only four of them are still alive, so I guess it's not going to happen. Boy, I'd love to do that book, though. The only way I could ever use her as a main character would be if I wrote a book which takes place when she's Meg's age--and, I don't know. It would be a challenge, but the idea is not without appeal.

I'm blessed in Long May She Reign, since about twelve different characters would be capable of carrying their own books--and I can't imagine what it would be like to see Meg from someone else's point of view. Steven, and Susan, are both viable possibilities for that, though.

But, the President. Hmmm. I love the President. I love it that I genuinely believe that she would have no trouble running the world--but that she is also a very nervous and apologetic person. Well-meaning. Insecure. Sensitive. But, I also like it that she's arrogant, and short-tempered--and has that ruthless, ice-cold streak which surfaces every now and then.

I think that she and Meg mirror each other in so many interesting ways--and yet, Meg is also so very much like her father. Actually, all three of the children are such complicated mixes of their parents--and it was a happy surprise for me when Neal leaped out of his former "I am a cute child" persona in this book, and became a full-fledged, quite pivotal, character, in his own right.

This doesn't really answer any questions about the President, though, does it? She's--elusive. Even for me.

Liz B: Tea Cozy readers are fans; and as fans, they are curious about the creative process. You've written over 25 books, covering everything from picture books to adult mysteries. How does the writing process differ for the different books you write? While writing Meg Powers, for instance, was it a challenge that in earlier books Meg was drinking TAB and watching Hill Street Blues and now she's surfing the 'Net and has an iPod? (And as a total aside, I just saw that Hill Street is now available on DVD. Yay!)

Ellen: Sadly, only the first two seasons of Hill Street are out now, I think--but, maybe the others are coming soon.

I can't really explain my process, because I fall into the idiot savant category--with a very heavy emphasis on the "idiot" part. It's very similar to sports, really, because the minute
you start thinking too much about how you do it--you can't do it anymore.

If I suddenly became independently wealthy, I would spend the rest of my career writing an adult novel every two or three years (spending that entire period working; not lounging about, eating Doritos), and never do anything else. But, as a Buddhist once said in a book I read (I paraphrase), there's nothing wrong with living in the moment--but, you should still open an IRA. Which, in the early 21st century, sums up a novelist's life pretty accurately.

I like some of the books better than others, and some of them are written under pseudonyms--for a reason. And, in some cases, I regret the pseudonyms, so it's a complicated mix for me.

Liz B: Not to be all greedy, considering that the new book is a brand new book, arriving in stores in October. But, can you share with us any current writing projects?

Ellen: I just finished re-typing the President's Daughter, and am on a very short deadline
to do the same with the other two. Back in the day, I used an actual typewriter for those books, so they don't even exist on a floppy disk or anything.

It's very strange to revisit one's twenty-year-old writer self, I must say. I'm not changing anything at all--they are the exact same books), but some of the anachronisms just had to go. Sadly, Meg no longer drinks Tab--she drinks Coke. What can you do? And I assume Coke isn't going anywhere. I didn't feel like changing the TV shows--but now, she's watching them on DVD, and considers them "old." The Internet didn't exist in the first three books--but,
obviously, it does now. That kind of thing. And I think that the President is sort of a "Barack Obama with experience" type. Youngish, attractive "rock star" of a candidate, who you just know must have given the keynote address at an earlier Democratic convention--and leaped into the national spotlight. It makes perfect sense to me that she's someone the Party would have gotten behind--because I would, too.

After that, I'll be doing some less demanding works-for-hire (NYC is expensive!), and then, I have to do the long overdue second adult mystery. Around the time that the first one came out, my life was unexpectedly derailed for a few years--and it's been a challenge to find a way back to that group of characters. Many of my loved ones have said that they think Dana is more like me than any of the other characters I have ever written--but I disagree, since from a writer's perspective, she's so very polite and private that even I find her a bit impenetrable.

Liz B: On to the pop culture; and with this blog being named for a Buffy quote, you knew there would be some pop culture talk. Battlestar Galactica. I never expected to fall so in love with BG, especially since I loved the original. (In my defense, I was 12.) TV sure has changed since The Brady Bunch! What are some of your favorite shows?


Ellen: I don't even know what a tea cozy is--but I want one. (I pretty much have the entire series committed to memory--and think Giles may, in fact, be the Ideal Man.) Firefly never really worked for me, but I had a lot of fun with Angel, even though I think it was a mistake to turn Cordelia into an otherworldly being.

And, "Going Through the Motions" was the best song in the musical, I think.

I love Battlestar Galactica, and am delighted by the way to which gender is entirely irrelevant, insofar as the characters treat one another. I didn't find the show until its second season--but, I adore Laura Roslin, to the degree that I even (gulp) blogged about her.

Mostly, I watch the Red Sox (and the Patriots), and CNN, and C-Span--because I am very, very boring--but I never miss American Idol, to which I was introduced by two evil and manipulative children who got me hooked on what I consider to be television crack. (and yet, one does not want to hear an eight year old happily telling people in a crowded elevator precisely that--and realizing that he is directly quoting someone who should have let her inner-edit button
operate before popping out with that one.)

It was very wrong that Melinda Doolittle didn't win.

I thought Martin Sheen and Stockard Channing were wonderful--but had very mixed feelings about the West Wing. Once Buffy went off the air, I no longer had a show To Love--so I was very happy to find BSG. (actually, I thought the final seasons of Buffy were extremely problematic--and that no villain ever measured up to my beloved Mayor, but it was a great, great show.)

And I love, love, love the Emma Peel episodes of the Avengers. No one has ever been cooler--or ever will be.


Liz B: Thank you so much!

Winter Blog Blast Tour for Thursday:

David Mack at Chasing Ray
Paul Volponi at The Ya Ya Yas
Elizabeth Knox at Shaken & Stirred
Ellen Emerson White at A Chair, A Fireplace and A Tea Cozy
Jack Gantos at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast
David Levithan at Not Your Mother's Book Club
Micol Ostow at Bildungsroman
Laura Amy Schlitz at Miss Erin
Kerry Madden at Hip Writer Mama
Sherman Alexie at Interactive Reader

and as Wednesday somehow disappeared:

Lisa Ann Sandell at Interactive Reader
Christopher Barzak at Chasing Ray
Julie Halpern at The Ya Ya Yas
Micol Ostow at Shaken & Stirred
Rick Yancey at Hip Writer Mama
Jane Yolen at Fuse Number 8
Shannon Hale at Bookshelves of Doom
Maureen Johnson at Bildungsroman
David Lubar at Writing & Ruminating
Sherman Alexie at Finding Wonderland

*Meg's mother.
**The president in Battlestar Galactica.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Buffy Quote of the Week

Anya: "'I, Anya, promise to ... love you, to cherish you, ...to honor you, uh, but not to obey you, of course, because that's anachronistic and misogynistic and who do you think you are, like a sea captain or something? However, I do entrust you with...' What? Is something funny?"

Tara: "No, nothing, sweetie, just, just keep still."

Anya: "Okay. 'Blah, blah, blah, misogynistic. Blah, blah, I do however entrust you ... um, with my heart. Take care of my heart, won't you please? Take care of it because, it's all that I have. And, if you let me, I'll take care of your heart too. I'll protect it and tend to it, like a little stray.' Wait, no. 'Like a, a little mangy stray that needs a home.' No, that's not it either."

Tara: "Um... I think we're all set here. Let's ... take a look at you. Oh."

Willow: "Wow. You look lovely. Really... lovely."

Anya: "Thanks. It's probably the blush of imprudent spending. Do you think Xander will like it? Oh, I want to see Xander now!"

Willow: "You can't. It's bad luck for the groom to see the bride in her dress, remember?"

Anya: "Right. I can't keep all these ridiculous traditions straight. What if I'm not wearing my dress when I see him? Okay, no sex. Cuddling? Okay. It's just I'm so excited and I want to share it all with my best friend. (excited) I get to be with my best friend forever! Yay!"

Ep: Hell's Bells

The Brown Bookshelf and 28 Days Later

I heard about The Brown Bookshelf from Don Tate's blog: "I am pleased, honored, and proud to announce the launch of The Brown Bookshelf, a group of 5 authors and illustrators, brought together for the collective goal of showcasing the best and brightest voices in African-American Children’s Literature, with a special emphasis on new authors and books that are “flying under the radar.”"

Excellent! Seriously, you don't want to know the number of times people have asked me about blogs that are about African American kidlit. And, yes, The Brown Bookshelf has a blog.

They are also presenting 28 Days Later: "During the first twenty-eight days of Black History Month, we’ll be profiling a different children’s or young adult author here at thebrownbookshelf.com. We’ll have some great giveaways sprinkled throughout the month, and on February 29th, we’ll give out our grand prize–a gift basket featuring every book profiled during the month, donated to the library of your choice!"

We blog readers can make suggestions about who is highlighted: "We’ll be taking nominations from November 1st to December 1st. Just post a comment here at the website, or email us at email@thebrownbookshelf.com. You can nominate as many books as you like. And be sure to leave your email address, as each nominator automatically has the chance to win one of our great giveaways." Go here for more information.

More information can be found at this post (Can You Hear Us, Now?) at Blogging in Black: Blogging Books, Writing, and the Biz

Saving the best for last:
A giveaway! A signed copy of Jerry Pinkney's Little Red Riding Hood. Yes, it was tempting not to share this info with all of you and thus increase my chances of winning.

NCTE Reminder

I will be attending the NCTE Annual Convention next week.

And, I will be on a panel about blogging and the kidlitosphere. Also on the panel: Mary Lee from A Year of Reading, Jen Robinson from Jen Robinson's Book Page, and Susan T. from Chicken Spaghetti.

Session: I.12 - 1:15 pm to 2:30 pm 11/17/2007
Format: Panel
Room: Javits Convention Center
Topic: Multi-modal Literacy
Level(s): Elementary (K-5)
Title: WELCOME TO THE KIDLITOSPHERE: READING, REVIEWING, AND BLOGGING ABOUT CHILDREN'S LITERATURE Children's literature blogs are a fabulous digital resource for all who are interested in children's books. In this session, four bloggers will share how blogs and blogging enhance their work with children and their knowledge of children's literature. There will be time for questions, and handouts with web links and booklists will be provided.

I have never been to NCTE before, so I'm excited! And, all my prep has been for the panel presentation; I haven't glanced at anything else going on at the Convention. So, what do you recommend I do? Any suggestions?

And let me know if you'll be there!

WBBT: Tuesday

Today's Winter Blog Blast Tour stops:

Lisa Ann Sandell at Chasing Ray
Perry Moore at Interactive Reader
Christopher Barzak at Shaken & Stirred
Autumn Cornwell at The Ya Ya Yas
Jon Scieszka at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast
Gabrielle Zevin at Jen Robinson's Book Page
Judy Blume at Not Your Mother's Book Club
Erik P. Kraft at Bookshelves of Doom
Clare Dunkle at Miss Erin

UPDATE: Jared & Jensen & READ

Here's the Update on Carlie's campaign for the Supernatural stars to be on an ALA READ poster:

Rachel Johnson from ALA Graphics left this comment on the original Carlie post at Pop Goes the Library:

"Thanks for taking such a big interest in ALA's celebrity READ posters and contacting me to nominate Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles to appear on one. I agree they make a great choice. I'm happy to say that I will be soliciting their participation very soon. I can't promise they'll say yes, but stay tuned...Thank you."

So, now we just have to figure out how to get Jared & Jensen to say "yes". To being on the poster, of course! Get your mind out of the gutter.

Monday, November 05, 2007

WBBT: Monday

Monday, November 5th

Perry Moore at The Ya Ya Yas (Part One, Part 2)

Nick Abadzis at Chasing Ray

Carrie Jones at Hip Writer Mama

Phyllis Root at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast

Laura Amy Schlitz at Fuse Number 8

Kerry Madden at lectitans

Tom Sniegoski at Bildungsroman

Connie Willis at Finding Wonderland

Thanks to Little Willow for preparing this post & doing the code!

Winter Blog Blast Tour

The full Winter Blog Blast Tour schedule. There will also be daily posts here with all the links; and please check out Chasing Ray each day, as Colleen highlights a bit of each interview each day. It's almost become a game to me; as I read these various interviews, I wonder, hmm....which part will Colleen quote?

MONDAY
Perry Moore at The Ya Ya Yas
Nick Abadzis at Chasing Ray
Carrie Jones at Hip Writer Mama
Phyllis Root at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast
Laura Amy Schlitz at Fuse Number 8
Kerry Madden at lectitans
Tom Sniegoski at Bildungsroman
Connie Willis at Finding Wonderland

TUESDAY
Lisa Ann Sandell at Chasing Ray
Perry Moore at Interactive Reader
Christopher Barzak at Shaken & Stirred
Autumn Cornwell at The Ya Ya Yas
Jon Scieszka at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast
Gabrielle Zevin at Jen Robinson's Book Page
Judy Blume at Not Your Mother's Book Club
Erik P. Kraft at Bookshelves of Doom
Clare Dunkle at Miss Erin

WEDNESDAY
Lisa Ann Sandell at Interactive Reader
Christopher Barzak at Chasing Ray
Julie Halpern at The Ya Ya Yas
Micol Ostow at Shaken & Stirred
Rick Yancey at Hip Writer Mama
Jane Yolen at Fuse Number 8
Shannon Hale at Bookshelves of Doom
Maureen Johnson at Bildungsroman
David Lubar at Writing & Ruminating
Sherman Alexie at Finding Wonderland

THURSDAY
David Mack at Chasing Ray
Paul Volponi at The Ya Ya Yas
Elizabeth Knox at Shaken & Stirred
Ellen Emerson White at A Chair, A Fireplace and A Tea Cozy
Jack Gantos at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast
David Levithan at Not Your Mother's Book Club
Micol Ostow at Bildungsroman
Laura Amy Schlitz at Miss Erin
Kerry Madden at Hip Writer Mama
Sherman Alexie at Interactive Reader

FRIDAY
Loree Griffin Burns at Chasing Ray
Lily Archer at The Ya Ya Yas
Rick Riordan at Jen Robinson's Book Page
Gabrielle Zevin at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast
Dia Calhoun at lectitans
Shannon Hale at Miss Erin
Jane Yolen & Adam Stemple at Shaken & Stirred
Alan Gratz at Interactive Reader
Lisa Yee at Hip Writer Mama

SATURDAY
Blake Nelson at The Ya Ya Yas

Robert's Snow: Week Four


As you know if you've been visiting any children's book blogs for the past few weeks, Robert's Snow is an online auction that benefits Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Over 200 children's book illustrators have created art on individual snowflake-shaped wooden templates. The snowflakes will be auctioned off, with proceeds going to cancer research. You can view all of the 2007 snowflakes here. Jules and Eisha from Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast have found a way for bloggers to help with this effort, by blogging about individual illustrators and their snowflakes. The idea is to drive traffic to the Robert's Snow site so that many snowflakes will be sold, and much money raised to fight cancer. The illustrator profiles have been wonderful so far - diverse and creative and colorful. And there are lots more to go.

Here's the schedule for Week 4, which starts Monday. As previously, this early schedule links to the participating blogs, instead of to the individual posts. You can find links to the posts themselves, and any last-minute updates, each morning at 7-Imp. Jules and Eisha have also set up a special page at 7-Imp containing a comprehensive list of links to the profiles posted so far. Also not to be missed is Kris Bordessa's post summarizing snowflake-related contests to date over at Paradise Found.

Monday, November 5



Tuesday, November 6





Wednesday, November 7



Thursday, November 8





Friday, November 9



Saturday, November 10



Sunday, November 11



Please take time out to visit all of these blogs, and read about these fabulous illustrators. And, if you're so inclined, think about bidding for a snowflake in the Robert's Snow auction. Each snowflake makes a unique gift (for yourself or for someone else), and supports an important cause.

See also the following note from Elaine Magliaro of Wild Rose Reader:
Note to Blog Readers about Blogging for a Cure: When Jules of 7-Imp put out her call in September for bloggers to interview/feature artists who had created snowflakes for Robert’s Snow 2007 at their blogs, a number of artists had not yet sent in their snowflakes to Dana-Farber. As time was of the essence to get Blogging for a Cure underway, we worked with the list of artists whose snowflakes were already in possession of Dana-Farber. Therefore, not all the participating artists will be featured. This in no way diminishes our appreciation for their contributions to this worthy cause. We hope everyone will understand that once the list of artists was emailed to bloggers and it was determined which bloggers would feature which artists at their blogs, a schedule was organized and sent out so we could get to work on Blogging for a Cure ASAP. Our aim is to raise people’s awareness about Robert’s Snow and to promote the three auctions. We hope our efforts will help to make Robert’s Snow 2007 a resounding success.


Much thanks to The Miss Rumphius Effect for the above post & all the linking.
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