Saturday, October 31, 2009

Just Like Fandom

The November / December 2009 issue of Horn Book Magazine has an article about fanfiction:

In Defense of Fanfiction by Becca Schaffner

As you may remember, Carlie Webber and I wrote an article about Fanfic called When Harry Met Bella for School Library Journal in August. Schaffner references that article: "On the other hand, more well-intentioned efforts like School Library Journal’s August 1, 2009, article on fanfiction cover the mechanical basics of fanfic writing and culture and try to relate them to something more traditional and tangible — that is, the print world whose value we take as a given." Schaffner's piece is more of a personal essay than the SLJ article. Whatever your level of participation in fandom (not at all, "hey so that's what I was writing in High School," or you're a BNF), it's a great article to read.

On a kinda related point: Schaffner makes the point that fandom is about the community.

And I've had a few real life conversations with people about the similarities between fandom and book bloggers. And I've seen others online who see this also. At YA Fabulous, Renay wrote: A big part of the book community is that it’s still a very new fandom, and the fandom I am a part of is definitely not young anymore, so half the time I see the drama llamas flying through the tubes and I’m like, “Oh! How sweet! ALL GROWN UP AND HAVING ITS FIRST WANK!” Or I’ll watch BNFs throw hissy fits or bribe readers with giveaways because they’re not The Center of Attention and Worshiped By The Masses and I think, “Boy, this reminds me of something! Oh right, wait, I’ve seen this before….10,000 times.” It's part of a footnote at a post at YA Fabulous.

Thoughts? Is it like a fandom? Or is it just like any other community, especially a community with no real rules?





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© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy

The Haunting of Derek Stone


City of the Dead (The Haunting of Derek Stone, Book 1) by Tony Abbott. Scholastic 2009. Brilliance Audio, 2009. Read by Nick Podehl. Reviewed from audiobook donated for review.

The Plot: Derek Stone, 14, lets you know, up front. He doesn't make stuff up. It's important for you to know that, because what he's about to tell you is hard to believe.

It's about ghosts. And dead people.

It all started when Derek and his family were in a horrible train wreck; his father's and brother's bodies aren't found. Weeks later, a miracle. His brother Ronny shows up at their home in New Orleans, alive! But he's acting odd. Acting, instead, like someone else.

Derek finds out the hard way: ghosts are real. Except instead of haunting people, they take over their bodies. Ronny isn't the only one.

The Good: It was difficult writing the plot for this book because a lot happens and it's very information-heavy, explaining back-story and world-building a place where ghosts are real. This is the first in a paperback series; so far this year, four books in this series have been published. In addition to City of the Dead, they are Bayou Dogs; The Red House; and The Ghost Road. More may come.

It's one of those paperback series that kids eat up like popcorn; frequent new books, short (barely 100 pages), and action-packed. In a way, they remind me of those movie serials they used to have, pre-TV. Lots of action, barely time to breathe, ends on a cliff-hanger.

So, here, we bounce from train crash to recovery to funerals to OMG Ronny's alive to finding out that there are ghosts, and in certain situations they can enter other people's bodies and live in that other body. So, Ronny's body, someone else's spirit. And then we find out that there are a bunch of ghosts of murderers/arsonists/criminals who have also come back and are after Ronny and Derek.

Derek has a lot on his hands - trying to figure out this ghost-business, finding out whether his brother is in Ronny somehow or if its just the ghost, realizing his place in it. There are lots of hints of other mysteries: where is Derek's mother, who is supposedly somewhere in Paris? Why did she leave ten years ago? What happened to Derek when he was four? Why does Derek hear ghosts? Why do the ghosts want Derek?

Abbott does a great job of pacing the action in this series; every now and then the information dumps are a bit much. Derek does research on his own, and discover things on his own, which is good; Derek, like the reader, is only just starting to understand things. But Ronny clearly knows more than he's telling, and it's frustrating that the action stops these two from sitting down and Ronny just spilling the beans on what is going on. But he cannot because BAM more action, running, bad guys! Derek is likable; and I want to find the rest of the books to see what happens next.

For an adult reader, it's a bit frustrating because there are no answers. Or, rather, for each question answered, two new questions pop up. But this is the type of story that isn't told in one book, but in several. It's for the readers who want that action, even want that frustration, and want the next book ASAP. It's for readers who want serial storytelling.

How does this work on audio? Excellent. I grabbed it because I wanted something short; I didn't realize it was the start of a paperback series and when it got to the end, I didn't believe it. Nick Podehl does a brilliant job with the narration, capturing Derek's voice with a slight New Orleans accent. I'm also pleased to see that books like City of the Dead are being turned into audiobooks; it's fun, escapist reading.

Audience: Whether in paperback or audio, this is a great addition to a library where you have fans of Goosebumps and other horror. Derek is fourteen, but the audience is younger than that; and while there is action and creepy gross stuff and violence (the train crash, ghosts, deaths) it's not overly explicit. The publisher's age range is 9 to 12, and I agree with that. Your middle grade and middle school readers will enjoy it. Plus, the short chapters and constant action is a plus for reluctant readers.



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© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy

Friday, October 30, 2009

Another FTC / Blogger Post; But a Must-Read

I know; there has been a flurry of posts about the FTC and Bloggers, especially about the FTC at the kidlitcon. Including my report.

Why read one more report?

Because it's the actual transcript. Olgy Gary wrote it up, and then fact-checked the contents with Mary Engle of the FTC to ensure accuracy in reporting.

So if you have questions; or wondered about how our reports varied; or just want to be on top of this matter; go to the Children Come First website for the New Federal Trade Commission Regulations Discussion.


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© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy

Cynsations

Cynsations is Cynthia Leitich Smith's blog, along with Spookycyn.

Cynsations has been around since July 2004. Five years of blogging!

If you're reading children's and young adult books; writing them; reviewing them; or just want to know more about what is going on this part of the book world? Read Cynsations. If you're not, you're ignoring one of the best children's literature blogs.

First, she has some of the best interviews in town, with authors, illustrators, agents, editors, all sorts of industry people.

Second, the in-depth posts about authors.

Third, the news. What's being published, what's been reviewed, awards, just about everything. Which sometimes includes giveaways.

Fourth, while this is an author blog and the author, of course, talks about her own work, the focus of her blog always remains true: "a source for conversations, publishing information, literacy and free speech advocacy, writer resources, inspiration, news in children's and teen literature, and author outreach" (from sidebar at Cynsations). It's not about the author, it's about the community and Leitich Smith is very embracing and open, including everyone. She highlights new and old voices; just look at this news post.

I constantly save the many posts and interviews to reread; her coverage is in-depth; and it's nice to read about book culture outside of New York City.

Leitich Smith also has an official website, Cynthia Leitich Smith, that includes must-read resources: Cynthia Leitich Smith's Children's & Young Adult Literature Resources.


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© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy

Thursday, October 29, 2009

November 7. NYPL. Be There Or Be Square.

Come to the Children's Literary Cafe!

I'm doing a cut and paste from Fuse #8's post/ press release:

We've a simply magnificent gathering here at the library in November, and it's all about The Cybils. Join if you can!

The Children’s Literary Café at the new Children’s Center at 42nd Street is pleased to announce our event on Saturday, November 7th at 2:00 p.m.:

Cybils Kick-Off: Blogging in Style

Pam Coughlan of the sublime MotherReader children's literary blog (www.motherreader.com) headlines a panel of representatives from the greater Kidlitosphere. Each year the online children's literary community bestows child and teen novels their own awards: The Cybils. Pam and other bloggers will discuss the state of children's literature online today including ethics, publisher/blogger relations, transparency, influence (or lack thereof) over published titles, and what it means to represent an online community of children’s literary enthusiasts.

Elizabeth Burns in the Youth Services Consultant for the New Jersey State Library Talking Book & Braille Center. She blogs at A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy (yzocaet.blogspot.com). She is the co-author of Pop Goes the Library: Using Pop Culture to Connect with your Whole Community. She blogs about children's and young adult books, television, and movies.

Susan Thomsen writes about children's books at her blog, Chicken Spaghetti (http://www.chickenspaghetti.typepad.com). A freelance writer and onetime editor, she is the mother of a fifth-grader.

Anne Boles Levy is the co-founder and director of the Cybils Awards. Her day job is as a news writer on the National Desk for Metro Networks, a radio newswire based in Scottsdale , AZ. She's married to another starving journalist and they're raising two bookworms.

The Children’s Literary Café is a monthly gathering of adults who are fans of children’s literature. Professionals, librarians, authors, illustrators, publishers, booksellers, teachers, and anyone else interested in the field are welcome to attend our meetings. The Literary Café provides free Advanced Readers galleys, a rotating series of talks with professionals in the field, and great conversation. This program is for adults only.

New York Public Library
Children's Center at 42nd Street
Room 84
42nd Street and 5th Avenue
New York, NY 10018

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I'm looking forward to November 7th!


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© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy

Genesis

Genesis by Bernard Beckett. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 2009. Audio: Brilliance Audio, narrated by Becky Wright. 2009. Reviewed from audiobook supplied by Brilliance.

The Plot: Anax is facing an incredibly difficult examination. She wants to enter the Academy; and is now facing three examiners, in her area of choice, history. Not the far history of the 21st century and the conflict, wars, plagues; not the founding of the isolated island, the Republic, but later, as society tried to adjust to its new way of living, a new civilization. In particular, her speciality is Adam Ford. Every schoolchild knows about Ford; but Anax believes she has a new, unique viewpoint. Will the Academy accept her?

The Good: A entire book that is one character's test to get into school?

Wow, exciting.

Except -- it is. Because it's a history none of us know, even though Anax knows it fully, and we are eager for each detail of her past, our future. An eccentric millionaire who knows enough to buy, populate, and control a remote island and who is called Plato! Can society really be changed by one man? And who is Adam Ford, why is he so important? Is Anax right, to see him in an entirely new light? Why does Ford's imprisonment with a robot matter?

If Anax questions the official history, is she proving herself worthy to the Academy? As we find out about the past and present, and try to figure out what is happening in this world -- discover a past where children would be killed if they weren't going to grow up the right way -- an isolated land that killed the refugees who tried to get there -- we begin to wonder, does Anax's different viewpoint put her at risk? Can she talk her way out of the danger?

Is Adam Ford a hero? A rebel? A murderer?

The entire book is Anax talking to the examiners; weaving bits of history, and her own story, together. Using original documents and holograph recreations to show her view of history. Battling anxiety and fear as the five hour examination continues.

A science fiction book that my be set in a utopia or a dystopia. It's hard to tell, as new things emerge in Anax's story. Along the way, philosophical and ethical questions are raised.

The narration is brilliant; Wright perfectly captures Anax's mix of confidence and questioning. When Anax plays back tapes, sound effects add to the overall mood.

Watchalike: because this is about Anax talking, I was reminded of My Dinner with Andre

Possible spoiler: the ending was extremely satisfying; I had my suspicions, as time went by, as to what Ford did and his impact on Anax's world. Your SF watchers and readers will be very satisfied, not only with the world Beckett creates but also the questions he raises. Also? While chock full of wonderful things, questions answered and unanswered, it is very short, just 150 pages. Short doesn't mean easy; it means concise, and each word, thought, statement matters.






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© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Dollhouse


Dollhouse: Season One. Twentieth Century Fox/ Fox Broadcasting System. 2009. Via Netflix.

The Plot: Echo (Caroline) is a "doll" in the "dollhouse." High paying clients pay to hire a doll to be anything the client wants. This isn't acting or pretending; the "dolls" original personality has been removed, and depending on the assignment, a new personality is downloaded into the doll and the doll becomes -- the perfect girlfriend. Hostage negotiator. A singer. Whatever you want.

It's not exactly legal; so FBI Agent Paul Ballard is investigating, looking to find Caroline with only a photograph, a first name, and rumors as a lead. How far will the Dollhouse go to stop Ballard? And does the Dollhouse have any limits in what it will -- and won't -- do to fulfill a client's wishes?

The Good: As you know, I began watching this last season with some reservations. I'll address them in a bit; first, what I liked about this show.

Dollhouse works great as a "sit down and watch all 12 episodes over 4 days" TV show. In many ways, it's stronger when you can see one episode after the other, the character development, the multi-episode story arc. Each Dollhouse episode works as a standalone; but there is also a season-long question (Who is the mysterious Alpha doll who went crazy and killed or mutilated several people before escaping the Dollhouse?) and a series question (What is the Dollhouse, really?)

As a viewer, it can be a bit hard to connect with the dolls who are a different person each week, reverting to a child-like state between jobs. For this reason, perhaps, the Dollhouse staff, despite the fact that they, well, treat people like dolls, are more sympathetic -- or at least easier to know -- than the dolls. If a person changes every week, how can I get to know them? How can I like them? Despite this limitation, or maybe because of this, Enver Gjokaj (doll Victor) and Dichen Lachman (doll Sierra) give stunning performances and show an incredible range of character. You actually look forward to them being someone different each week because they bring their A game each time.

If you read my prior posts, you'll see I'm a bit pissy at Joss for saying these shows are about yadda yadda yadda. What is the Dollhouse metaphor? Is this show about feminism? About employers wanting an unquestioning workforce? About acting, with "meat puppet" actors manipulated by directors and producers and writers? I've flirted with all ideas (well, except for the feminism one. That is Joss's idea and I don't agree). Ultimately, I think its a reflection of today's world wanting only to talk; never to listen; to say they want communication and relationships, but the truth is they only want that when it's one-sided, convenient, and easy; and ultimately, to always be in control and not have to compromise.

What didn't I like? Joss's talk before hand about the show yadda yadda yadda was a bit turn off; I much prefer discovering the truths about the show by myself, not for it to be hammered at me. Also, I'm a bit tired of Joss having his cake and eating it, too. He says he is a feminist; but the amount of short skirts and skin shown actually gets tiresome. I also have an inherent distrust of a show with a built-in rewind/eraser; i.e., when in doubt, say it's programming and a doll! It gets a bit tiring knowing that nothing can truly be trusted. But please note that sometimes I do like that type of storytelling, such as with Justine Larbalestier's Liar.

DVD Extras: there are two bonus episodes. One is an epilogue, of sorts, set ten years in the future (or, at least, one possible future). I LOVED the epilogue; and truthfully? Would have loved to see more storytelling like that. The other is the pilot that was deemed not a good pilot. What's funny is that some scenes from the pilot made it into other episodes; and an actress who was featured returned in a different role for a different episode. I do admire Joss's loyalty to actors and staff and crew.

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© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Betsy and the Great World and Betsy's Wedding

by Maud Hart Lovelace. Harper Perennial Modern Classics Edition, 2009. Copy supplied by publisher. My love of these books was made known via twitter & that is how these lovely volumes came into my hands.

I reviewed Betsy's twentysomething books earlier. Exploring Europe on your own, setting up your own life, focusing on career, getting married -- Betsy's life isn't so different from anyone today; tho (as we know from the excerpts from The Betsy Tacy Companion, included as backmatter in this book) Lovelace shifted the "real" timeline.


Anna Quindlen's foreword is her 1993 speech to the Betsy-Tacy Society. It focuses on the feminism in Betsy's world, where Betsy's writing, her talent, her future success is never doubted by her family or friends. Betsy gets to have her cake and eat it, too; as Quindlen points out, "the most important thing about Betsy Ray is that she has a profound sense of confidence and her own worth." Hopefully, knowing Betsy helps her readers have those things. As I watch Mad Men, set in the early 1960s, I think of these last two volumes, written in the mid 1950s. And I think, I bet Peggy Olsen read these books; I'm sure Betty Draper did not.

Once again, the backmatter contains excerpts and photographs from The Betsy Tacy Companion; along with a brief "what happened to so and so" chapter.


© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy

Monday, October 26, 2009

GalleyCat: People of Color

GalleyCat (The First Word On the Book Publishing Industry) has a feature called People of Color, focusing on books by people of color: it "feature authors, agents and other book publishing professionals who are at the top of their game and happen to be people of color."

Yes, cool -- but why is this cooler than cool?

Sometimes -- they feature books for kids and teens. I know! Recently, the highlighted
Secret Keeper by Mitali Perkins. Other authors highlighted include Laurence Yep and Paula Chase Hyman.

In case you're just starting to explore the online world of books, reading and publishing course, GalleyCat is a must-read for any book blogger, with tons of posts about the publishing industry, from news, to authors, to books.


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© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Saturday, October 24, 2009

I Will Never Know Why

Today's must-read, bring your tissues is I Will Never Know Why by Susan Klebold, mother of Dylan Klebold; it's at O, The Oprah Magazine.

When something like Columbine happens -- when a child becomes a killer -- it is very easy to point at the people who raised him, or her, and pass judgment. Why? I think it's so we can tell ourselves that it will never happen to our child, our loved one, because we will do a better job. I also think our society, as a whole, as a huge belief in ourselves being able to control our own destiny and the destiny and others, whether it's "I'll eat healthy foods and never get cancer, those who get cancer are those who did something wrong with life/diet/exercise" or that a parent can raise a perfect child.

My heart breaks for Susan Klebold. She has exposed herself terribly in this article; I dread reading the comments there, or the commentary that will be elsewhere. When someone goes public with something personal, it's easy to judge them as a Gosselin, doing something only for fame. Because her son isn't here to be the target of hate, it's easy to turn that hate onto her.

Klebold's very personal, very revealing article is the opposite of someone seeking fame. It's words on paper, not a paid trip to a big city to sit before an audience. It's a parent's anguish over both the loss of a child and the damage that child has done. Her words about Dylan's actions are never excuses. And her description of a young Dylan, an elementary school Dylan, describes many children we know.

Klebold asks herself, how could I have not know this? Her answer, and the reason she writes this, is that she agrees with the diagnosis that Dylan was suicidal. She is now involved with educating people about suicide, so that people can recognize the signs in others and in themselves; and the link between suicidal behaviour and violent behaviour. Which is why she writes this; but even then she cautions against thinking that we will always be able to prevent such a tragedy.



Related books I've reviewed: Columbine by Dave Cullen, which explains in much more detail Dylan Klebold's suicidal thoughts; and Hate List by Jennifer Brown, a novel, which does a stunning job of looking at the post-attack lives of those who loved a high school shooter.

Dave Cullen writes about Susan Klebold's essay at his blog, Conclusive Evidence of My Existence.

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© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy

Friday, October 23, 2009

Technology: The Engine Driving Pop Culture-Savvy Libraries or Source of Overload?

Are you going to the Internet Librarian 2009 Conference?

Then you have two chances to meet me, you lucky person, you!

First, on Monday, October 26? I'll be at a Meet the Authors program.

Second, I'll be giving a presentation on Wednesday October 28 with Sarah Houghton-Jan, Digital Futures Manager, San Jose Public Library author of LibrarianInBlack.net, called Technology: The Engine Driving Pop Culture-Savvy Libraries or Source of Overload?

Technology often drives pop culture trends like iPhone mania and texting addictions, and it can also be used to improve all kinds of library services when we embrace the idea that information technology is everyone’s job. By establishing a tech-friendly atmosphere, libraries can harness the latest real-world and web-based techno tools to engage customers in an ongoing discussion to identify and meet the pop cultural & life-learning needs of their communities. Find out how to use trendspotting, experimentation, and continuous training to create a technological sandbox at your library and hear about creative strategies and practical, imaginative solutions from the field for you to use in your community. Then hear how to deal with information load through ten principles including organizational techniques, how to filter your input, time and stress management, managing overload in different media: email, RSS, interruptive technologies, the telephone, print media, multimedia, and social networks. Come away with a plan for tackling your own mound (physical or virtual) of overload!

Stop by, say "hi." Tell me I sent you.


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© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy

Coming Together, Giving Back: Building Community, Literacy & the Reading Message, Kidlitcon 09

The final panel.

The final panel after a chock-full day.

Who were these lucky bloggers?

The Reading Tub; Ernestine from Reading is Fundamental; Gina from PBS Booklights; and Jen from Jen Robinson's Book Page.

The topic: coming together, giving back. Individual bloggers, acting as individuals, can only do so much. So "coming together" can be as simple as a multi-blogger targeted blog, such as Guys Lit Wire. It can be about a book blast tour, like those organized by Chasing Ray, which is driven by bloggers.

Then there are the various literacy initiatives that different bloggers have either started or joined or promoted. Share A Story, Shape a Future is a literacy blog tour; "to encourage each other to reach beyond ourselves and do it in a way that we are neither judging nor instructing others." Mark your calendars; March 8 to 14, 2010, is the next Literacy Blog Tour. And, by the way -- this event is in Chase's.

Gina spoke of the history of Booklights and PBS; how it was started and pulled together. Just another great example of how blogging can be more about "me." (says the blogger who is all about me.)

I loved hearing Ernestine talk about RIF and Carol Rasco's entry into blogging (Rasco from RIF) and tweeting. RIF is as old as I am (um, actually, I'm a few months older, lol); and it's a great reminder to all of us that blogging and social media is not about the new kids on the block. They have provided "4.5 million children with 16 million new, free books and literacy resources each year." Yep, that's millions.

Finally, Year of Reading reminded us of the National Day of Writing. Which was two days ago; and because I knew my timing would be off, I blogged about that a few days ago.






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© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy

Authors, Bloggers, Publishers: A Panel Conversation, Kidlitcon 09

Authors, Bloggers, Publishers (and ARCS): A Panel Conversation.

I cannot say much about this one -- because I was on the panel/moderating it.

Instead, I'd just like to thank the panelists for making this such a great panel and so much fun!

So thank you to Laura Lutz, Paula Chase-Hyman, and Sheila Ruth.


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© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Twitter This! Kidlitcon 09

Gregory K of The Happy Accident has posted the twitter kidlitcon transcript from kidlitcon 09.

In other words -- it's the tweets of those who used the tag #kidlitcon during the conference, in an easy to read, first to last format.

Since many of us tweeted the names of sessions as they started, you can read this in two ways. Either just read through for the conversations we were having; or find our posts about individual sessions, read them, and read the tweets going on during those sessions.

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© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy

Social Media With Gregory K, Kidlitcon 09


So, if you're looking for someone to speak at your organization about not only the power of social media, but also the right way to use that power? And how we don't have "luck" but we make "luck," through work and awareness and putting yourself out there?

Ask Gregory K of Gotta Book & The Happy Accident to speak.

Wow, wow, wow. Once again, I did such a good job of listening and absorbing that I didn't really take a lot of notes. But overall, I'll say this: Greg is brilliant.

Really.

Because he shows that things just don't happen; we make them happen. We create our own luck by putting ourselves out there, networking, knowing our priorities and keeping to them, being smart and mindful, having a goal and working towards it. And that one can be that assertive and positive and dedicated and do it in a graceful way that is not all "me me me." And that things take time and understanding and work. Work, work, work. But smart work.

Anyway, back to topic. Have I mentioned Greg's brilliant? Cause he is also a terrific speaker.

Greg used his personal story to illustrate the power of social media; but also lifted the curtain to show that it didn't "just happen." He wasn't just sitting at the drugstore soda fountain.

So, anyway, can I do any justice to Greg's presentation?

Social media is about celebrating -- ourselves and others. We all want to celebrate good news.

Listen to the wisdom of your network.

There is no one key to using social media because we all use it differently; what do we have in common? Connection.

The name may go away -- but social media itself will not. So don't worry about "will twitter last" -- social media will last.

How to be successful? Prepare; find your home; filter; and travel.

Online: trust and your reputation is EVERYTHING. (my aside: so, so true! And what those who don't understand the Internet don't get; they think it's a way to hide and pretend when it's just the opposite.) You are what you say and do; we are what we say and do. Best way to build trust online? Transparency.

Also: manners! Bring your manners. There is a difference between promotion and celebration.

Supporting your friends and your industry is important; being supportive does not mean that you never criticize or say anything negative.







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© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Got Research?

If you do, YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association) has money for you! And it is just a grant application away.

Someone has to be awarded the grant; why not you? And by "you", I mean any member of "YALSA, including student members, although the research project may be undertaken by an individual, an institution, or by a group."

Anyway, here are the details (YALSA's wording):

The 2010 Frances Henne/YALSA/VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates) Research Grant

The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), the fastest growing division of the American Library Association (ALA) is offering the Frances Henne/YALSA/VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates) Research Grant for 2010. This grant of $1000 provides seed money for small-scale projects that will encourage research that responds to the YALSA Research Agenda.

Details regarding the applications for the 2010 Frances Henne YALSA/VOYA Research Grant are available from the YALSA Web site at http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/yalsa/awardsandgrants/franceshenne.cfm

Applications for the grant are due in the YALSA Office by Dec. 1.

For more information please contact us via e-mail, yalsa@ala.org or by phone, 800-545-2433 x 4387.
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So go, check out the requirements, print out the application!

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© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy

Split Session: It's All About the Blog, Kidlitcon 09


This was a split session; one for writers, one for bloggers. I went to the blogger one, It's All About the Blog by Book Nut, Biblio File, Miss Rumphius Effect, and A Year of Reading.

A variety of things were discussed:

Book Nut: Participate in weekly memes (Sunday Salon, Weekly Geeks) and challenges to be a part of the bigger book blogging community.

Biblio File: Talked about how to get into reviewing for places like School Library Journal. She spoke about doing this by having that goal in mind; so in other words, if you have a goal and want to work towards it using your blog, be mindful of that goal.

Miss Rumphius: talked about Poetry Friday, NonFiction Monday, Timeslip Tuesday. Miss R also gave a shout out to doing round-ups the old fashioned way; not relying exclusively on Mr. Linky, but rather putting together a post with a sentence or two for each blog that participated and how they participated. She also mentioned the Carnival of Children's Literature.

A Year of Reading: championed co-blogging, as Year is two bloggers. Also discussed opportunities made available via blogging and blog connections, and mentioned how this in part led to her being on the NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English) Notable Children's Books Committee. She has also written professional books about teaching for Stenhouse Publishers.

Some general discussion followed; seriously, some of my favorite parts about the whole kidlitcon is just the discussions that sprang up, over breakfast, breaks, lunch, after dinner. I got so caught up in the conversation I stopped taking notes. Long posts versus short posts, ratings versus no ratings, how much (or how little) plot summary.



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© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Is that what I sound like?

Is that what I look like?

Huh.

A Year of Reading has a great video of interesting, articulate bloggers talking about A Lifetime Of Reading. Oh, and I'm there, also. At least I didn't mispronounce anything!




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© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy

The National Day of Writing

Today is The National Day of Writing!

What is this NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English) initiative? From the website: "Writing is a daily practice for millions of Americans, but few notice how integral writing has become to daily life in the 21st century. To draw attention to the remarkable variety of writing we engage in and help make writers from all walks of life aware of their craft, NCTE has established October 20, 2009 as the National Day on Writing."

Also? The US Senate passed a resolution designating October 20, 2009 as the National Day of Writing.

Not quite sure what to do? Look at NCTE's Tips for Writers. Then submit what you've written (or your students or patrons) to NCTE's National Gallery of Writing.

While that is the national gallery, there is also a local kidlitosphere gallery. A Year of Reading explains at their website, at Submit A Piece About Your Reading Life to our Local Gallery. Plus, a direct link to the A Lifetime of Reading Gallery.

What am I going to submit? I'm still not sure; I'm looking up old posts, trying to decide. Yes, it's a little last minute but I'll find the perfect post! What about you?

Affiliate. If you click from here to Amazon and buy something, I receive a percentage of the purchase price.

© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy

Monday, October 19, 2009

Norma Fox Mazer

Norma Fox Mazer passed away this weekend.

ShelfTalker, a Publishers Weekly blog, has a lovely post up: In Memory of Norma Fox Mazer.

My favorite Norma Fox Mazer book? I'll have to go with one of her books I read as a teen, Taking Terri Mueller. What about you?

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© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy

In Which Fuse Points Out the Real Problem With Adults Reading Middle School/ YA Books

From Fuse #8: "I was, however, mildly freaked when I saw the photograph of Oliver's parents and came to the startled conclusion that if their prom was in 1995 (theme: "Jungle Fever") then Oliver could easily be my son too. *shudder*"

Word.

What's even scarier is when I am older than the parents in the YA books.


Amazon Affiliate. If you click from here to Amazon and buy something, I receive a percentage of the purchase price.

© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy

The Blog Within & Building a Better Blog, Kidlitcon 09

The first two sessions on Saturday were The Blog Within: An Interview With Your Inner Blogger by MotherReader and Building a Better Blog: Best Practices, Ideas and Tips by GalleySmith and MotherReader.

The Blog Within: MotherReader helped us all focus on why we blog, why we were at the con, and what we were looking for (for our blogs and for the conference) by leading us through a series of questions such as "why are you blogging" and "where is your blog among blogs".

In Building a Better Blog, MotherReader spoke about "purpose, passion, professionalism." "Professionalism" was used over and over during the day, by different people, meaning not "this is my profession and I get paid for it," but "how do I act? do I write responsibly? do I act like a professional?"

By the way, what was the proof that we are not getting paid? In addition to the comfortable jeans most of us wore, very few people had netbooks. Yes, we had technolust for those who had them, but you'd think bloggers would have the sexy technology toys! Nope, not so much.

Back to MotherReader -- in talking about professionalism, she mentioned such things as how your content is out there, perhaps forever, for people to read and judge. She talked about giving credit to others, whether for a news source or inspiration. She talked about disclosure -- not from any FTC or other rule/law/regulation/guideline, but from respecting our readers and wanting them to respect us. Disclosing things like when you're friends with the author. Or conflicts of interest.

MotherReader talked about the importance of having a review policy online, which I don't have and I know I should write up and put up one of these days.

GalleySmith spoke about the technical nuts and bolts of blogging and blogging successfully. You don't have to be all things to all people; readers connect with your personality; asking questions invites answers and draw people into the discussion. She also mentioned she's a multitasker, having fifteen tabs open at one time. (I totally do that! So I skip between gmail, bloglines, twitter, revising posts, etc.)

Great point made: about being calm, cool, and collected while being passionate. Don't blog/tweet angry!

Reciprocal linking was encouraged -- again, give credit. GalleySmith spoke about optimizing anchor links; MotherReader noted that Greg/ Gotta Book has said links are currency. Don't waste it! MotherReader and GalleySmith had a handout with some specific links to help explain this.

GalleySmith recommended using select memes to grow your blog and your community and your role in the blogosphere. These memes can both help a blogger focus and inspire the blogger; but it also builds connections and provides a way to join in discussions. She recommended both Sunday Salon and Weekly Geeks.

Next, SEO - search engine optimization. Using a title; description; tags for posts to help people find you. Technorati was mentioned, and conversation also turned to content and GoodReads/ LibraryThing (should you duplicate content?)

Next: marketing, branding. Do you use the same icon for all your social media sites (blog, twitter, facebook). (Sigh; I don't. I'm not sure what I would use.) Sidebars, organization of blog, using plain language.

And the final two points: participation. perseverance.



Amazon Affiliate. If you click from here to Amazon and buy something, I receive a percentage of the purchase price.

© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The C Word


Comments.

I've posted about comments before; and BookNut also had a great conversation about comments, On Comments and Commenting. And at Kidlitcon 09, comments were brought up again, by MotherReader and Gotta Book and others.

Listen; I'm not disagreeing with Melissa and Pam and Greg. Comments are a valuable, important way to be involved in discussions; and it's equally important to go out to other blogs and talk as it is to foster comments at your own blogs.

Here's the thing. I think I downplayed some of my issues about commenting (or not commenting) in my other post, so I'm just going to say it.

I cannot comment on blogs at work.

When I see comments being given such a big emphasis, to the point where the emphasis has shifted from "commenting is good!" to "not commenting is bad" with a side helping of "you can judge a blog by its number of comments" with a twist of "you can judge a blogger by how many times they comment elsewhere," my back gets up.

I cannot comment on blogs at work, so to the extent I do comment, it's after work hours or a day off (or, perhaps, during lunch or a break).

You know what that means? Sometimes the conversation is over at that point. My point has been made by someone else, and I'm not a "me, too" fan, not to mention that reading and finding those blogs to comment on cuts into my limited time to do my own blogging and reading (and other real life things.) And if a person's question is particularly interesting where I would find myself leaving a long comment, I think a post at one's own blog (properly linking to another's blog) is just as valuable as comments.

I, and other bloggers, talk about how we do this on our own time. This means different things for different people; we each have our own lives, that are full, with jobs, work, family, friends, school, classes, etc. And we balance it in different ways.

And that's all well and good that some people have more freedom to comment than others. Or when they look at their hour to do blog stuff, they take that time to comment. That people are doing that is great.

I'm not saying I don't comment; I'm not saying there isn't value to comments. It's great advice to say, "you cannot sit at your blog waiting for people to come to you, you have to go and engage with people."

But I don't like seeing the number of comments used as a way to judge a blog or posts or blogger; and it's why I don't like seeing the number of comments being made such a focal point. Because, frankly, it becomes a matter of privilege; some of us do not have the privilege of posting comments as frequently and quickly as others, and those of us who don't will always be behind those who do.

I cannot comment on blogs at work. And in all honesty, one of the reasons I say to readers, "I understand if you don't comment, don't feel pressured to do so" is I know some of my targeted readers are teachers and librarians, and, like me, cannot comment at work and then don't have the time (or for some the Internet access) to come comment after work. I don't want those readers to feel like they are unwelcome because they cannot comment.

That others have the time, and use that time, to comment is wonderful. But please, as discussions are made about the importance of some things -- commenting, twitter, frequency of blog posts, number of reviews per month, number of memes participated in, etc. -- please include not the quantity of what someone does, but the quality.



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© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy

FTC Rules, Regs and Guides from Kidlitcon 09


What better way to start my posts from Kidlitcon 09 than with a report on the FTC?

Mary Engle, Associate Director for Advertising Practices, from the Federal Trade Commission spoke at the Kidlitcon on Saturday.

Engle began with a brief explanation of the FTC and the difference between rules, regulations, and guides. What is currently being discussed among the blogosphere are the guidelines, not rules or regulations.

The FTC's concern is about endorsements that are really an advertising message; so when there is an advertiser and endorser, there is a need to disclose. Engle's specific examples were about pills (i.e., "this pill cures cancer!" or your doctor prescribing a medication and not disclosing he/she is receiving money from the drug company) and pay-for-post or pay-for-tweet situations. It's not so much that these things cannot be said -- as when they are, the relationship with the marketer must be disclosed.

Engle then specifically said there is a difference between a product review place and a place that is part of a marketing review program. So reviews are not endorsements as the FTC sees it. (Also? the way the FTC uses the word "compensation" is not the way the IRS uses it. Sadly, or happily, I totally understand that, being the former lawyer. It's not just words that matter; it's how we use them and what our definitions are.)

Again -- the types of reviews here are not endorsements so under the FTC guide no disclosure is needed. (On a personal note, I will continue to say where I got the book I review for the same reasons I always have -- transparency and readers who are unaware that publishers provide such copies). It was specifically asked if receiving review copies had to be disclosed. The answer? No, not if you're an independent reviewer.

Now, as for Amazon Affiliates....

Before I get to that, Engle noted she is not giving legal advice but explaining things. She noted that the book blogs were part of an "unintentional sweep," almost; and that FAQs are coming. They don't want to be patrolling the blogosphere; and should something arise, the FTC's concern is with the ADVERTISER. NOT the blogger.

Engle further noted that the FTC looks at an industry, industry practice, what consumers think and believe, etc., in making its determinations about advertiser, endorser, and necessary disclosures. Such things are dependent on the industry; and also on the facts.

Back to Amazon Affiliates and other instances where a blog gets money if a book is purchased through the site. While the FTC would need to examine the industry, Engle said she believed that, if the consumer didn't know the blogger was making money off the sale, this type of thing WOULD have to be disclosed to the consumer. Later, when I spoke with her a bit more about this, she noted that the FTC does not just look at the majority of consumers but also considers a significant minority of consumers. It is NOT "buyer beware." She was very open and clear about this -- so, if 24 of 100 consumers would read your blog, not know that link to Amazon/other bookseller meant you received money, and thought that was material? Then yes, you would need to disclose and do so prominently. So the fact that a blogger is making money via book sales, even if it is a small amount, should be disclosed to the consumer; and such disclosure should by per post. Information in a sidebar or "about" section would not be enough. (Paragraph edited because I don't think I was clear enough. Significant additions are in italics.)

While I'll do my best to answer any questions, Engle only spoke for a half hour. Also, she made clear that the FTC would examine industries, understand how that industry works, and things would be fact and industry specific. So, in other words, it's going to be really hard to respond to "what if ... unique fact unique fact unique fact".

In a nutshell:

Independent reviewer? No requirement to disclose.

Part of a marketing program? Need to disclose.

Part of a book sales program? Disclose in posts.

Please note that this is my report to the best of my recollection. Nothing in this post is intended to be legal advice.

Links:

For some reason, I have trouble with my browser scrolling down the FTC homepage. Here is the information at its website About the Endorsement Guides.

GalleySmith's post about the FTC guides and the Kidlitcon session.

Charlotte's Library post. And WriterJenn.

Adding Colleen/ Chasing Ray's post asking, "but how do we know who to listen to."

Amazon Affiliate. If you click from here to Amazon and buy something, I receive a percentage of the purchase price.

© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy

Friday, October 16, 2009

Semicolon: Saturday Review

Semicolon began the Saturday Review of Books on July 29, 2006 with 16 contributors. As she explained a few days earlier, "Saturdays are slow days around the blog world, but Saturday would be a great day for catching up on book reviews by various bloggers that were posted during the week. So, this Saturday, if you have a review of a book that you posted sometime this week, and you would like to get more attention for that book review, come to Semicolon and add your link."

Three years later, the Saturday Review of Books is going strong. Two weeks ago, on October 3, 103 bloggers left links to their reviews. Basically, "find a review on your blog posted sometime this week of a book you’re reading or a book you’ve read. The review doesn’t have to be a formal sort of thing. You can just write your thoughts on a particular book, a few ideas inspired by reading the book, your evaluation, quotations, whatever. Now post a link here to the specific post where you’ve written your book review. . . . In parentheses after your name, add the title of the book you’re reviewing. This addition will help people to find the reviews they’re most interested in reading."

But it's even better than that. Because Semicolon has all these Saturday Reviews archived, in alphabetical order by the title of the book reviewed. For example, here are the reviews for all books beginning with the letter "F."

And one more thing -- Semicolon began her blog in October 2003. As a matter of fact, October 28th is her six year anniversary. So since this is her anniversary month, why not head over and say "congratulations" and "thank you"! And don't forget to add your review tomorrow!




Amazon Affiliate. If you click from here to Amazon and buy something, I receive a percentage of the purchase price.

© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy

Thursday, October 15, 2009

National Book Awards

National Book Awards Finalists for Young People's Literature were announced on October 14. The winner will be announced on November 18 (which, by the way, is the day the judges get together and decide who that winner will be. So no taking the judges out for a drink to get them to spill the beans so you can make money in Vegas by betting on the winner!)

Deborah Heiligman, Charles and Emma: The Darwins' Leap of Faith (Henry Holt) (Gr. 8 plus)

Phillip Hoose, Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) (Gr. 6 plus)

David Small, Stitches: A Memoir (W. W. Norton & Co.) (Gr. 10 plus)

Laini Taylor, Lips Touch: Three Times (Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic) (Ages 12 up)

Rita Williams-Garcia, Jumped (HarperTeen/HarperCollins) (Gr. 8 plus)

Judges:

Kathi Appelt

Coe Booth

Carolyn Coman

Nancy Werlin

Gene Luen Yang

As usual, there are opinions!

Stitches: Wait, isn't this adult? On one listserv, I saw people argue that teens only read manga and comics and don't pick up graphic novels like this; on another, I saw people say this was a very teen-friendly/popular with teens title. Which one is right? I think both; different communities, different readers.

And overall, it's been pointed out how old this entire list is; not much representing children's literature.

Also of interest? Three non-fiction books; and one short story collection.

Plus, it's a very visual year even if it is all teen. Stitches is a graphic novel; and Lips Touch is illustrated, and while the stories work if the text only is read, the pictures add to the stories so that they make it a richer reading experience. The Colvin book includes photographs and reproductions of papers; and the Darwin book also includes several pages of photographs.

Once the kidlitcon is over, I'll be putting holds on those titles I don't have and eagerly reading so I can fully second-guess the judges. As is, I'm already going "what, no Going Bovine?" But that's uninformed second-guessing; I want to be informed.

Plus, I want to try to figure out who is going to win. They do make it hard, not having the guidelines easily available. The submission process is here; it only offers the cryptic, "The judging panels change every year. Juries develop their own criteria for awarding the National Book Award and discussions are held independent of the Foundation. The National Book Foundation Board and staff take no part in these deliberations, except to help determine a submission’s eligibility in conjunction with the submission guidelines." Maybe that is it?

Meanwhile, some Interesting facts about entry, guidelines:

Guidelines for this award are mailed out only to the publisher; and only publishers can nominate books.

Books must be published between 12/1/2008 and 11/30/2009.

Authors must be U.S. citizens.

Entry forms were due in June; with copies of books due by mid August.

The entry fee is $125.

Publishers have to contribute to a PR campaign; and finalists have to attend the ceremony.

More here.

Another thing? It's "by writers to writers."

EDITED TO ADD:

Colleen at Chasing Ray shares her opinion on the shortlist, especially Stitches. That is so unusual for her, to speak up like this! All I know is that when the "what is YA" discussion starts, I want to know there is either wine in the fridge or ice cream in the freezer. Preferably both.

And Betsy at Fuse #8 (also a quiet, shy, retiring gal, who rarely speaks her mind ) addresses the National Book Award shortlist.




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© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy

Jin Jin and Rain Wizard


Jin Jin and Rain Wizard by Grace Chang; illustrated by Chong Chang. Enchanted Lion. 2009. Review copy supplied by publisher.

The Plot: Jin Jin, the water dragon, wakes up one day, just like any other day. Except today - he cannot breathe water. Usually, he can breathe out water, giving his friends a fun shower. Not today! Can he figure out why he's lost this ability?

The Good: As explained in the end notes, this original story uses some classic Chinese influences (water dragon, rice, Rain Wizard) about this story about a young water dragon who discovers that being a glutton and being wasteful can have consequences.

Add this to the "books to make you hungry" list. For this one, obviously, the food you're going to want to rice (steamed rice, rice pancakes, noodles, bread -- take your pick). Jin Jin learns about the importance of rice; and while you'll be hungry, you'll also know not to waste this important food. I can easily see this being used in school, along with tie-in lessons about China, food, and rice.

The illustrations, by the author's brother, include a lot of details for children to pour over. The pictures add to the story; Jin Jin's friends, his world, and the past he has to travel to where he can redeem his error (and have some fun, also).

Grace Chang was born in Beijing into a family of entertainers; she herself was both an illusionist and ringmaster in a Chinese circus. She now lives with her family in America; I'm jealous of the children who get to have a school visit from her! Chong Chang, her brother, an artist and graphic designer, still lives in China.

Sequel to last year's Jin Jin the Dragon.

Enchanted Lion is a small publisher; they only recently started a website. They are small; independent; and highlight original books that often were first published outside the United States. From the website: "We have published books from Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, and The Netherlands. In 2010, we will publish our first books from Germany and Canada."

And from the submission guidelines: "[W]e publish books for children and young adults that aim to be fun, engaging and inspiring, while never losing sight of the fact that children are endowed with vast resources of intuitive awareness that make them highly sensitive detectors of emotional honesty, as well as very open to the enchantments of animals of all kinds. We are happy to explore your work. We are interested in hearing what you are up to whether that is in Brooklyn or Iowa, Tbilisi, Ireland or Detroit."


Amazon Affiliate. If you click from here to Amazon and buy something, I receive a percentage of the purchase price.

© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Discovering Children's And Young Adult Literature: Listservs

Last week, I posted about how new readers of children's and young adult books can find out about print reviews. This week, let's talk about listservs.

Blogs and websites are not the only place people talk about children's and young adult literature. There are also listservs; electronic mailing lists that you subscribe to. Each listserv (also called a discussion list) has its own policies. Often there is conversation there that is not duplicated elsewhere. For each of these, I'll use the description the listserv itself provides.

My short list:

Child-lit. "Child_Lit is an unmoderated discussion group convened for the express purpose of examining the theory and criticism of literature for children and young adults. The list exists for anyone interested in discussing aspects of these broad fields, including authorship, illustration, publication, promotion, readership, reception, criticism and literature's changing social functions and implications. child_lit is specifically conceived to foster the sharing of ideas by researchers engaged in original scholarship. The 'purpose' per se is to be occasionally revisited and possibly revised to meet the evolving needs of the discussion group, but discussants are instructed to keep the prevailing version of the purpose in mind when posting discussion topics. Topics off the point are discouraged." I've learned a lot lurking at this listserv, but take the "research" part seriously. This is where the academics hang out -- but there are also non-Ph D'ers, too!

Yalsa-Bk. One of the many listservs offered by ALA (American Library Association) and its divisions. "This open list for book discussion invites subscribers to discuss specific titles, as well as other issues concerning young adult reading and young adult literature. Subscribers will also learn what has been nominated for Best Books for Young Adults, Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults and Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers and be able to discuss those books. Young adults, especially those who belong to book discussion groups, are also welcome to subscribe and to discuss books they are reading." Check out YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association)'s other discussion lists. And the listservs available via ALSC (Association for Library Services for Children).

adbooks. "Adbooks is a group of people of all ages. Our purpose is to discuss books written for adolescents, or young adults (YA). Our members include teachers, parents, librarians, students, writers, and others. In addition to informally swapping recommendations and discussing topics related to books, reading, and teaching, we read and discuss selected books together, and sponsor an annual book award, the JHunt. Our atmosphere is warm, supportive, inclusive, and stimulating. We welcome new members of all ages and backgrounds." In a nutshell, a great online discussion of YA books. There is a monthly schedule of specific titles, but members can, and do, talk about a variety of books. Plus, there is the annual book award, JHunt, which is tons of fun.

CCBC-Net. "CCBC-Net is a listserv encouraging awareness and discussion of ideas and issues critical to literature for children and young adults. CCBC-Net members explore a wide range of topics in contemporary literature for youth, including multicultural literature, translated books, outstanding, and award-winning books, equity themes and topics, the book arts and book publishing, and more." There is a new topic each month.

If you've think I've left out a must-join listserv about children's or young adult books, please let me know. Also, if you want to add something about these lists, please do!

© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Betsy Was A Junior and Betsy and Joe


Betsy Was a Junior/Betsy and Joe by Maud Hart Lovelace. Harper Perennial Modern Classics Edition, 2009. Copy supplied by publisher. My love of these books was made known via twitter & that is how these lovely volumes came into my hands.

As I explained earlier, yes, I posted about Betsy: The High School Years; but with the opportunity to see what was being done with the reissued books, well, I had to post about the new forewords or back matter.

Meg Cabot (who, like me, came to Betsy as an adult reader) writes the introduction to Betsy's junior and high school years. "Slipping into a Betsy book is like slipping into a favorite pair of well-worn slippers," she writes, and we sigh and agree and open up the book once more. A foreword like this is meant for those who have already read the books; to say, let's sit together one more time. Cabot explains Betsy's appeal in that Betsy is not perfect. She makes mistakes. Good lord, the Okto Deltas! A terrible decision, but what a wonderfully illustrated example of why to not have "your friendships fenced in by snobbish artificial barriers." (Tho Cabot being Cabot, she is quick to tell us that Elle Woods teaches us that not all sororities are bad). Cabot reminds us what a whole and satisfying journey Betsy makes, in moving from girl to woman, from a girl who writes to a writer.

Once again, the backmatter contains excerpts and photographs from The Betsy Tacy Companion, a must-read for fans.


© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy

Monday, October 12, 2009

YALSA 2010 Slate

YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association, a division of the American Library Association) has announced its slate of candidates for the 2010 election next spring. As usual, the list is a who's who of people who give a lot of time and effort into making YALSA what it is.

Remember: you need to be a member of YALSA to vote! And you do not have to be a librarian to be a member of YALSA.

YALSA President
Sarah Flowers
Sarajo Wentling

YALSA Board of Directors
3-year Term

Shannon Peterson
Chris Shoemaker
Priscille Dando
Alexandra Tyle Annen

1-year Term
Jerene Battisti
Gail Tobin
Angela Carstensen
Jack Martin

Printz Committee
Joy Millam
Todd Krueger
Patricia J. Campbell
Erin Helmrich
Elizabeth Saxton
Drue Wagner-Mees
Ian Rosenior
Gail Zachariah

Edwards Committee
Susan Fichtelberg
Dawn McMillan
Amy Chow
Jonathan Hunt
Walter Mayes
Emily Dagg

Nonfiction Committee
Mary Burkey
Jennifer Hubert Swan
Megan Fink
Diane Colson
Michael Cart
Mary Anne Nichols
Elizabeth Burns
Eva Volin

Yes! There are some great blogosphere names, including Jonathan Hunt, of adbooks and the Heavy Medal blog at SLJ; Jen Hubert from Reading Rants; Mary Burkey from Audiobooker.

I'm sure I missed someone..... Let me know in the comments. I know many of the candidates blog at the YALSA blog.

Who else has their own blog?

Oh yeah! There I am. "Elizabeth Burns," running against a hell of a lot of very brilliant people up for the Nonfiction Committe.

This is the type of thing with no campaigning. YALSA has a "meet the candidate" at Midwinter, and ballots are sent electronically with information about the candidates, so I'll keep you up to date on that type of thing.



Amazon Affiliate. If you click from here to Amazon and buy something, I receive a percentage of the purchase price.

© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy

Great Stories Club

I am on the Outreach to Young Adults with Special Needs Committee (YALSA, Young Adult Library Services Association).

One of the projects I've worked on is the Great Stories Club; below is the information from ALA (American Library Association).

********************

Connect with hard-to-reach, underserved teens by conducting a Great Stories CLUB (Connecting Libraries, Underserved teens, and Books) reading and discussion program in your library. Online applications will be accepted through November 2 at www.ala.org/greatstories.

The Great Stories Club reaches underserved, troubled teen populations through books that are relevant to their lives. Libraries located within or working in partnership with facilities serving troubled teens (including juvenile justice facilities, alternative high schools, drug rehabilitation centers and nonprofits serving teen parents) are eligible to apply.

Following the application process, 265 libraries will receive 11 sets of three theme-related books to provide to members of the book club to keep, along with online resources to plan and implement the program. Additionally, up to 50 libraries will receive cash grants of up to $200 to assist with program related expenses.

YALSA's Outreach to Young Adults with Special Needs Committee selected "New Horizons" as the Great Stories Club theme, along with the following titles:

One of those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies by Sonya Sones (Simon & Schuster, 2005)

The Afterlife by Gary Soto (Harcourt, 2005)

The Rules of Survival by Nancy Werlin (Speak, 2008)

(Edited by Liz B to add: here are Booklist reviews for all three titles)

For tips on preparing an application, guidelines and the online application, visit www.ala.org/greatstories. With questions, please contact the ALA Public Programs Office at publicprograms@ala.org.

ALA Public Programs Office
50 E. Huron, Chicago IL 60611
(800) 545-2433, ext. 5045
www.ala.org/publicprograms


© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy

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