Thursday, August 14, 2014

What is normal?

Thought for today.

After I retired from being a children's librarian in a public library, I happened to be getting books for my own reading and ran into a child, a 'slow' reader that I had helped for many years find books that he would could read and enjoy  

He wondered where I had been. When I told him that I had retired he looked so sad and said,  "nobody else treats me like I'm normal -- like you do."

Made me feel like I'd been successful with at least one person there.

Monday, August 11, 2014

ALA in June

I just found the information I had meant to post about my adventures in Las Vegas with the American Library Association last June.  (I tend not to post about vacations while they are happening)

I ran into Soooooo many Vermont College of Fine Arts people at ALA that weekend (last June). Some at banquets, some at presentations, and so many more seen in the exhibits aisles and at events! This is one of the reasons I love going to ALA -- besides all the books, books, books, and masses of book people.

And here I was thinking that Las Vegas was so huge that I wouldn't see anyone I knew.  But before I even got onto the bus that would take me to the convention center, I ran into retired school librarian and book speechifier extrodinaire --Judy Freeman!  Hugs! She was so excited because her brother was in one of the Cirque du Soleil shows in town and that I MUST go see it. 

Walked a little bit of exhibits then returned to my room at Caesar's Palace. Unfortunately the early show of "O" was sold out, so I went to Judy Freeman's Brother's show -- Zarkana.   I arrived late. I apologized to the ticket person and explained that my friend's brother was in the show and that my friend had insisted that I Must See the Show, and could I possibly still get into the show?  No problem.  He sold me the cheapest seats, then printed out tickets for the most expensive area of the theatre !!!  Yes, the show was great.


These casino hotels are huge. I must have walked 10 miles today, in the Exhibits,  in Caeser's, and to and from the publishers party (Holiday House)  in the Bellagio.   I very foolishly walked home from it.  (It's only a block -- how far can that be?  Pretty far, it turns out.)
I'm tired.   


Attended the Corretta Scott King breakfast this morning and got to sit at a publisher's table. That was fun.  One of the Vermont College faculty, Rita Williams-Garcia, had been awarded the Coretta Scott King Medal. It was fun to see her dance her way to the podium to receive it and give her speech. (you=all know how she is when she gets excited.)
Both Coe Booth and Trent Reedy were great at their Reader's Theatre. 

Sunday evening I attended the Newbery/ Caldecott Banquet at the Paris Hotel and accidentally got to sit with the Calkins Creek/ Boyds' Mills Publisher's table.  How did this happen?  I was looking for a seat and was amazed at how many tables were Marked Reserved for publishers and groups. I had just about given up finding a seat anywhere close to the front when people in a table in the third row invited me to join them -- only to discover it was an unmarked publisher's table!

The two authors at the table were excited to learn that I wrote under the pen name of C. W. Bowie. (a pen name for three authors writing together.)  One of them, Anna McQuin, had talked about our two picture books -- Busy Toes, and the companion book, Busy Fingers -- during her speech that afternoon as the best example of an outstanding book using Diversity showing a universal subject that will never go out of style-- or hopefully out of print..  Of course I was thrilled to hear this.  Here is a link to a picture of her speaking.  Of course I had to TEXT this information to my co-author.


In the morning I had breakfast with two other authors --   Christine Rhodeback Kohler and Alexis O'Neill and then (so sad) had to fly back home.   It had been lovely to enjoy the over 100 degree heat compared to the usual 60 and 70 degrees here in San Diego.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Do you remember the Card Catalogue?

This was me in the 1960s, complete with the long hair.

The only way we underclassmen could access the ten story tall college library was to use the card catalog, write a request slip, and send a page to find the book.  No browsing allowed.
But when I took some library science courses I was allowed in the inner domain -- and could browse.
As a grad student I was allowed in, no question.
And then I took a part-time job at the archives. What fun, spending all day working with Civil War Documents and running up and down the different levels of the stacks.

When I finally graduated with a masters in library science, Baltimore County public library was on the cutting edge --they had Book Catalogs. (but they kept the card catalogue as back-up.) What a pain. It was out of date the minute it was printed and we ended up searching through the main book and three supplements before the next year's catalogue was printed.

Then Microfische catalogues -- in a long strip a foot wide, instead of individual microfiche cards. Suddenly there was this huge machine between us and the person needing help. We turned a huge handle and they could see that we were working hard to find what they wanted.
That quickly morphed into reel to reel microfiche. To move the microfiche to find the catalog information, all we needed to do was press a little button. Less work than the larger machine, but the patrons couldn't see that we were searching and complained that we were sitting there doing nothing to help them.
 (and the teens would sit at the public catalogs, racing each other to see who could get to the end of the reel faster -- making it jump off the reel and we had to call for repairs.

Then the original first computer was placed in the library (300 baud)  It was meant only to be a check out system, but we librarians grabbed it, pointed out that it was perfect to help us find books and library material, and computers as search tools in the library was born.  The year later we got a faster computer catalog -- 900 baud. That was when we discovered that 300 baud was slow. (it had seem so speedy to us, compared to the microfiche.) Every year or two the computers became faster and faster.

Somewhere along in here the catalogue department decided that it would finally be okay to get rid of the card catalogue, which had been used as back up all this time.  Each library branch then used all those old cards as scrap cards -- to write the computer information down and carry with us to the shelves to help patrons find the material they needed.
What a shock 10 years later when we finally ran out of old catalogue cards and had to (oh no) cut sheets of paper into catalogue card size pieces for our scrap cards.

S0 -- do YOU remember the card catalogue?

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Writing a Synopsis

yes, I'm parking links here on my blog so that I can find them again when I need them. (no searching my whole computer for the file -- the file whose name I have forgotten.)

Here's How to Write A 1-Page Synopsis  by Susan Dennard.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Thoughts about Fantasy from Lloyd Alexander

I'm working on a fantasy story and happened upon this article by Lloyd Alexander written for the Horn Book Magazine in 1965 when he was halfway through his five book tale of Taran, the assistant Pig-keeper who becomes King in the final book, The High King.  (Newbery Medal winner, 1969)

Alexander declares that his goddess of Fantasy is a Flat Heeled Muse.  
(I'm linking it here because it's true, and because I want to go back and read it again and again.

Monday, July 28, 2014

KidLitCon 2014

Jen Robinson, who blobs at Jen Robinson's Book Page,  invites you-all to come to the next KidLitCon to be held in Sacramento, CA. on October 10th and 11th.
General information about the conference is here.  Click on over to see why this is a must-see for blog readers/ blog writers/ and children's book writers.

If you'd like to present a lecture/ workshop/ or propose a panel discussion, those proposals are due by next Friday (August 1st).

Tanita Davis has written a great article today about what it is that we're looking for in proposals, and why people should consider participating in KidLitCon as speakers.  Or even just as attendees.

The theme this year is diversity.
Tanita also discusses the broadest of definitions of diversity at this same link.

Click here for the registration form for the conference.

Twitterites can follow the news on the KidLitCon Twitter feed.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

VCFA Class Names

I've been thinking lately about college. (probably because my teen is entering high school and we should begin looking at colleges -- eventually)

Recently, I've been attending a graduate school where I am studying writing.  The wonderful thing about this college is that the class groups become very close and have a tradition of adopting a name for themselves.

July 2008, I began a picture book certificate course at Vermont College of Fine Arts in the school of Writing for Children and Young Adults.  This is a correspondence course with the requirement that students spend 10 days on campus attending lectures and readings from 8:30 am to after 9:00 pm.  Then we go home and write (at least 25 hours a week, often more), sending our work to our advisor about every 4 weeks in an email packet.  At the next residency, in January 2009, our picture book group gave a lecture about what we had learned.

In 2010, I read One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia.  Instantly, I realized that I needed to go back to Vermont College of Fine Arts and take the full course (4 semesters) that would result in an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults.

Names of the classes I have been a part of are:
July 2010 - Thunder Badgers  (they began their study the semester I did the Picture Book Certificate program)
January 2013 - Dystropians
Then I had to take a break because of family events.  I came back and joined:
July 2014 - Allies in Wonderland
Another break in attendance
January 2015 - Darling Assassins 
July 2015 -  The Craftographers

I hope to graduate at the July 2015 Residency.

All these groups contain wonderful writers and it's been my privilege to have known them.
Look for their books coming out in the next few years.