Monday, January 28, 2008

Nonfiction Mondays

Some bloggers are now celebrating Nonfiction by doing reviews of nonfiction books on Mondays. One of them created this nice logo for all of us to use.

I'm planning to use this logo when I review nonfiction books, too.
Some will be new books -- as they come across my desk at the library. Some will be old favorites. And some will be those I really, really don't like.

Stay tuned.


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Carnival of Children's Literature features Book Awards

A special event is happening over at the Wizard's Wireless blog. She is hosting the January Carnival of Children's Literature. (It's in her January 21 message)

Her theme is Children's Book Awards and yours truely (me) is featured in one of them. Also, several nice discussions about the new ALA Media Awards. But I especially liked the Pen and Pencil Award -- in celebration of office supplies.

Go. Click on the links and enjoy the entries.

Monday, January 21, 2008

San Diego, I miss you already

(sign of a split personality?)

Friday I flew to San Diego, California. Saturday, I came back.
Why? Because the 8-year old had been invited to go skiing by her Aunt and Uncle.

It's been a thrilling weekend for her. When we landed in San Diego, we discovered we had flown from cold winter weather to balmy 65 degree sunshine. Lovely. And my youngest daughter was waiting for us -- for the 8-year old, actually. With a cry of, "Mommy!" the 8 year old threw herself into my daughter's arms. And spent the next two hours jabbering away at her.

Then my oldest daughter and her husband showed up to pick up the 8-year old and whisk her away to the mountains of California -- and back to winter, again. (Southern California is strange that way.) Meanwhile I had a lovely visit that afternoon with my youngest daughter.

Saturday, I flew back to winter in Baltimore. I had noticed many people watching DVDs and otherwise using their computers on airplane trips, so I decided to try doing that. However -- I got bumped off my computer (low battery) after less than an hour of working on a book project. grumpf. I wonder if that's normal for my laptop, or does it need fresh batteries? (these are the same ones that they came with when it was new, quite a few years ago.)

Now the weather here has really turned to winter here in Baltimore, with single digit temperatures at night. brrrr. So we finally began using the wood stove, along with the radiant heaters that have worked so well so far this year.

Yes, that is our house -- computers in the same room as the wood stove. Modern technology existing alongside ancient technology. What can I say? It's a 1740 farmhouse with stone walls 23 inches thick -- that absorbs the cold and radiates it into the house. The only thing that really can counter the cold walls during the winter is an open fire in a fireplace or a closed wood stove.

Tomorrow I will plow through a snow/ice storm to the airport to meet the 8-year old as she flys home. It'll be her first plane ride by herself. Since her Aunt and Uncle want her to come visit often, this trip will be a test to see if she can handle flying by herself. Wish us luck.


Sunday, January 20, 2008

ALA recap

Last weekend I attended ALA. (The American Library Association) Because my day job is that of a children's librarian, I try to get to as many of these national meetings as possible. And now that I have books published, I have two reasons to attend. This year the Midwinter session was held in Philadelphia -- the city of my birth.

The 8-year old often goes to conventions with me, but this year she decided that attending a friend's birthday party was more important -- so I was childless, for once.

I got there Saturday afternoon, in time to sit in on part of the meeting of the Notable Children's Books Committee and to see part of the exhibits. The Notable Children's Books discussion seemed to be heavy with picture books this year with few non-fiction or graphic novels considered.

Sunday I got to see the rest of the exhibits and more committee meetings. The exhibits are fascinating places to see the new books being offered by publishers, to learn more about library technology, and to get books signed by authors. Speaking of which, my own signing was scheduled for 3 - 5 pm that day.

I attended part of the Random House Librarian Spring book Review, but the absolutely best part of the day was the BBYA-Teen session. This happens every midwinter. Local teenagers volunteer to read from the list of potential Best Books for YA. Then, on Sunday afternoon, they speak up at this meeting and tell the committee (and the hundreds of librarians and people from the publishing world) exactly what they think about these books. It was extremely well organized this year. The committee chair would announce that discussion would begin for page one of the list and the kids who had thoughts about some of those books would line up behind two mikes and spend a minute each giving reasons why this book should be included on the final list -- or not. They were articulate and had excellent reasons. ("unrealistic" being one of the harshest criticisms)

I can't wait until the 8-year old is old enough to participate in a BBYA teen discussion during some Washington, DC or Philadelphia midwinter ALA.

Remember where I said that I was signing my new book, The Halloween Book of Facts and Fun? Late Sunday afternoon.

The exhibits had been mobbed with people earlier in the day, before BBYA began meeting. Then hundreds left the exhibit area for the BBYA. Hundreds more left to hear a speech by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar -- famous basketball player and author of 7 books. Which meant, from 3-5pm, very few people passed by the booth where I was signing. Although I only signed one book, I did manage to hand out over 30 pencils with the name of my book on it.

This summer, after the June ALA is over, I plan to hold a contest about the Halloween book on this blog. Anyone who sends me the correct answer will get copies of my books.

On Monday, I attended the Youth Media Awards Press Conference. A most exciting event. It's so neat to be in the room when these are announced. I was jumping up and down in my seat when several of my online writer friends won honors there. And it turns out that the winner of the Newbery is a school librarian at Park School in Baltimore! Wow!


Monday, January 14, 2008

And the winnah is....

Here's a link to the page on the Horn Book Magazine website to the ALA award winners.

Congratulations to everyone!


Sunday, January 6, 2008

ALA is a coming

I'm getting all excited about attending ALA in Philadelphia next weekend.
(ALA = American Library Association)

I go to these ALA conferences with two hats on.
1) I'm a children's librarian, so I go to attend book discussions, committee meetings that are open to the public, special programs for librarians, and of course the Exhibits -- for the new books and new technology.

2) I also go as a writer. Okay, I think of myself as a writer, but out in public, I wear the tag of "author." (It's hard to think of yourself as an author -- aren't authors dead people?) I look at all the books being offered at publisher's booths and take note of who is interested in what type of book. (and think about what I might have that might interest them. I'll take that information home with me and mail proposals out to them, later.) I also talk to the editors, marketing people, and other writers. Just small talk. By now, a lot of them are friends -- people I've worked with or know from online groups.

2) Also as a writer, I'm often signing my books at my publisher's booth. Or at a generic booth.
Next Sunday I'll be signing at the SCBWI booth #1058 from 3 - 5 pm.

4) Back to my Children's Librarian hat:
On Monday the Children's Media Awards are announced -- at 8:00 am. ouch! Will I or won't I be able to wake up in time to hear who the committees have picked for Newbery, Caldecott, and Sibert (non-fiction) awards?
This is always an exciting time for Children's Librarians. Have we read the book? Do we have it in our library branch so we can immediately put it on display? When I'm not at the midwinter ALA myself, I'm poised at my workplace computer, constantly refreshing the ALA/ ALSC webpage to see what books (and other media) won awards. But Monday I'll be there, in the room where the announcements are made.

Hope to see you at ALA.

-wendie O

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Hoppie New Year

It's 2008 already?
Where does time go?

It seems it was just yesterday that my oldest daughter mentioned that she might be in our area around Christmas -- and now she and her husband have come and gone.
But not far.

When I e-mailed them yesterday to thank them for coming and asked, "how was their trip?" I got four words back.
"Stuck in Atlanta airport."

I woke up yesterday morning to bright skies and temperatures in the 40s. (okay, I slept in and woke up at 9 am.)
However, I soon learned that during the night a small ice storm hat hit -- causing accidents all over. And delaying the take-off of their plane for three hours. (from 6:30 to 9:30) Since they had been taking off from here the very minute they were supposed to be boarding a plane in Atlanta to fly to California, naturally they did not make connections. And since planes are overbooking these days, the likelihood that they were able to continue with their trip was nil.

Therefore, the message from Atlanta last evening.
Poor kids.
I hope they were able to either catch another plane or get a hotel room. Sleeping in airports is for the birds.

New Year's Resolutions --
Keep sending out manuscripts to publishers.
Keep working on the Works in Progress and send them out when they are ready.

Publishing news --
Charlesbridge. the publisher of my books Busy Toes and Busy Fingers (under the pen name of C.W.Bowie), has bowed to the sign of the times and is now saying that, they will no longer return manuscripts, nor send rejections. However, they still ask to be your sole submission for three months. If they haven't responded by three months, you can safely assume they may be rejecting your manuscript and you are free to send it elsewhere.