Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Writing links

Here are some links to several entries on the Crowe's Nest blog -- the blog of agent Sara Crowe where her list of authors take turns posting articles about writing.

First, one from Mary Atkinson about the Controlling Belief of a character -- that which forms the background reason for all the character does. This is different from a character's goal.

Secondly, another post by author, Lisa Schroeder, from this same blog giving a writer's view of the American Library Association's Summer Conference. Yes, the same conference I wrote about last week.

Happy reading and writing.
-wendie old

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Nonfiction Monday

is on Tuesday this week.
Blame it on the Summer Reading Program. busy busy.
(and on the two weekends I was out of town at various librarian and writing conventions.)

This week I found a wonderful nonfiction picture book from National Geographic on our library's new book shelves -- One World, One Day by Barbara Kerley. Washington, DC, 2009.

It begins very simply with a two page spread of a child in a river taking a morning bath with another child leaping down the riverbank to join him : (left page) "At dawn, as the sun slips over the horizon, (right page) kids around the world (page turn) get up (kids jumping on their bed) wash up (another child at a different riverbank) and celebrate a new day. (leaving for school/ shadows of children jumping for joy)

In two double-page spreads we've seen the start of the school day for kids in India; USA; Guinea-Bissau; and Israel. (How do I know? I looked at the back matter where every photograph is identified and explained.) Once you reach the end of this beautifully photographed book, you've followed many, many children around the world to school and back again showing how different we are and yet how very much the same.

The backmatter also includes a map of the world showing the home countries of the children shown in the book.

I'm of two minds about this book.
One-- It's a beautiful picture book -- beautifully written and illustrated with beautiful photographs -- and should be in the picture book section of libraries so that everyone can enjoy it.
Two -- It's about children around the world and perfectly placed in the Dewey number of 305.2.
Three -- I've gotta keep pulling it out from the 300s and put it on display.
Right now.
It will go perfectly in the 'back to school' display that I just put up.

This is how National Geographic describes this book:
"One World, One Day uses exquisite, moving photographs and Barbara Kerley's poetic text to convey a simple yet profound concept: we are one global family. This is a sophisticated concept, presented as an elegant picture book with contributions from top international photographers. Through beautiful photographs, follow the course of one day in our world. Sunrise to sunset is captured in the essential things we all do daily, wherever we live in the world, and in the different ways we do them."

So true. -wendieO
(The rest of the Nonfiction Monday posts that were actually done yesterday (Monday) are at WrappedInFoil.

(added later) I just discovered that Barbara Kerley's book, One World, One Day, was selected by Indie Booksellers for the Summer 2009 Kids' List.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

ALA -- or What I did on my Summer Vacation

Okay, I've organized my notes and here are the highlights of what I did at ALA. Maybe I saw you there? Maybe you saw me there? (I was the person knitting in the back row of several presentations, or else one of the many frantically taking notes.)

ALA 2009
Thursday, July 9:
Wait! Wait! Don’t Tell Me! -- PBS radio show recording with 500 librarians in the audience. Many librarian jokes – that were cut from the actual Saturday broadcast. I tried to take some pictures with my I-Phone, but was too far away for good pictures. If I can figure out how to move them from the phone to this computer, perhaps I'll load them later.

Friday, July 10th
Preconference Workshop – "1,000 words: Taking Better Photos for Telling Stories in Your Library."
I learned a lot about taking pictures, some about loading pictures onto your computer and altering them/ improving them. Nothing about loading them onto blogs and websites. That will be my next project -- figuring out how to move them from the i-Phone onto my blog and maybe onto my poor, outdated website.

Saturday, July 11th
8 – 10 am
Beyond Storytime –
I Learned how to extend stories with songs, puppets, acting out, matching things, etc.
They suggested we not do THEMEd storytimes, but instead re-use the same story in many different ways
See Handouts on the ALA Wiki.
San Francisco Public Library holds Educator workshops
They Incorporate kindergarten standards
Workshops for day care providers, children’s librarians, or go to parent groups and other community groups
1 – serve food
2 – Everyone walks away with something to manulipate or a CD to listen to
3 – In the library – have play-based learning environments (our library has had them for years)
4 – The OLD goal of storytimes was to reach as many children as possible with as much as possible good literature.
The NEW goal is – Language Development from exposure to internalization.

10 – 12 Leap into Science Workshop
By the 3rd grade, children can distinguish between fact and fiction
Used Seven Blind Mice to show Scientific Thinking
Roll a tube of paper
With your left eye – look through it. Then put your right hand sideways to the middle of the tube.
You should see a hole in your hand, This shows Perspective

(Philadelphia Free Library presented their program of Leap Into Science)
Why Science in the Library?
Tub of water
Pile of things. Guess if it will sink or float
Toss thing into the water and observe
Does it sink or float?
How to use:
1 – Use 1 book with activities
2 – another program with parents – set up stations
3 – take home – free book/ handouts/ bookmarks also after school enrichment sessions
Books first This develops good observation skills and develop good descriptive language – use good books that have this. Use science words –like Infer…. Thinking/ exploring/ experimenting

What else can you do with this?
Listening walk (Too Much Noise by Ann McGovern )
Sound/ Rubber bands – vibration /
a Tuning fork is good to use – you can see it/ hear it/ feel it

Philadelphia will be making this a National program – They had no idea that our library, just a few miles south of them, also has a LEAP program

1:30 – 3 pm Books and Blogs. Made for Each Other?
(Booklist sponsored program) Mary Burkey (Audiobooker) ,
Nora Rawlins – was SLJ editor now running a BLOG and hoping to earn a living from it -- Early Word
John Greene (author) now living in India,
Katie Stover – head of Readers Services in Kansas City. Her blog is -- Likely Stories
Has Library 2.0 fulfilled its promise?

Blogs as a Platform?
-Nora – it has immediacy
- Katie – it’s more personal/ concise as possible/ short as possible
Affect on writing?
Choosing the best words because of the short entries
John feels he is writing more on his blog and less books
It’s a chance for immediate conversations that everyone learns new things.
John has a fan club called the Nerd-fighters
-Mary – it’s personal communication with the safety catch off. It matters. Recorded book narrators are reading her and quoting her. She likes the fact you can go back and revise/ edit/ change things. HOWEVER – Google reader picks up your Blog even when you just use Preview.
All noticed that people are commenting less and less.
-Katie doesn’t expect comments (hers is a suggested reading booklist) she finds herself writing more and more, giving more information.
All of them like' Ping Backs' – when another blog links to you.

Blogs – birth of a new kind of authority.
It builds authority – once people trust what you say, they will stay with you.
But there is no connection to a Big Authority (like reporters of NY Times have) which makes it harder to earn authority.
Publishers are confused as to where to send review books.
If you want to DO something, because you’d like to reach out to your audience and don’t want to do something Icky like pushing books – then use video trailers.
Book reviews on blogs – are you giving reasons why you would LOVE the books or are you just selling a book?
Can Bloggers earn money?
Some bloggers have ads on their site – clicking through these ads earns tiny bit of money for the bloggers.

Opens conversations. Is really hard to kill. Libraries are advertising programs on Twitter. Bloggers are twitting that a new blog is posted. Other parts of the world don’t have many computers, but everyone has a cell phone, so Twittering is BIG. They have jumped over computers. Can marketing people tweet others about “should I buy this book? Booksellers do.
Blogging has changed the life of author/
It never occurred to John Green to write to his favorite authors (snail mail), but nowadays kids follow favorite author’s blogs and converse. Students have access to publishing information, and even blog and do book reviews.

4:00 -- Attended a Publisher party ‘Fewel and Friends’ at the Omni
6:00 – Attended another Publisher party – ‘Albert Whitman’ (featuring me, and 10 other authors)

10:30 – 12 Nonfiction Book Blast
17 authors (including me) plus a moderator

2:00 – 3:00 -- Signing at the Albert Whitman Booth
Sold out of all copies of both my books

6:00 – 10:30 pm Newbery, Caldecott, Wilder Banquet
Speeches and good food

10:30 – 12
Presentation of the rest of the ASLC awards.
Afternoon – Walk the Exhibits
5:00 – 7:30 pm – 6th Annual Poetry Blast 2009.
Moderators/ organizers – Barbara Genco & Marilyn Singer

Tuesday -- I flew home and worked at the library that evening.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

more ALA

Actually, I'll be posting about ALA off and on for a while now, as I sort through my experience there.

Right now, here's the picture of me speaking, taken by my friend Mary Bowman-Kruhm (who was also one of the Nonfiction Book Blast speakers). The black smudge to the right is the coal-black WebKin kitten I take with me these days -- because it matches the black cat on the cover of my latest book. It took me a long time to figure out what looks like a black necklace in that picture. Ah yes, It's my conference nametag. We all wore them.


Sunday, July 19, 2009

ALA last Sunday

As you can see by the picture that Anastasia Suen took from the stage looking at our audience, the Nonfiction Book Blast last Sunday Morning at ALA was just packed. We think over 300 people attended. Four or five of us speakers (including me) were already on stage when this picture was taken, but you can see the rest of the 17 speakers sitting there in the front and second rows closest to the camera.

(If you click here, you'll jump to the active Nonfiction Book Blast Wiki. Feel free to add your own booktalks there to share. I know. Mine isn't there yet. I'll get around to adding mine, later.)

The Nonfiction Book Blast was from 10:30 to 12 noon. Many of us had book signings at our publisher's booths that afternoon. Since the two books I had talked about were Albert Whitman books (The Halloween Book of Facts and Fun/ plus The Groundhog Day Book of Facts and Fun), there I was at 2:00 signing copies of these books at their booth in the Exhibits area. I signed for a full hour without stop. In fact, several times a line built up. A-Maz-Ing! By the time the hour was up, all the copies of my books had been sold and signed. The Albert Whitman Marketing person was ecstatic. She went around saying, "You sold out. There are no copies left. You sold out!"

About an hour later I was walking down a nearby aisle in the Exhibits area when I heard someone shout out from one of the publisher's booths -- "There's Wendie Old! She sold out!" It was my Albert Whitman Marketing person. She had gone to talk to other Marketing people and couldn't resist giving me a shout-out.

That evening a huge group of librarians attended the Newbery/ Caldecott/ Wilder banquet -- which was amazing, as usual. Neil Gaiman gives a great speech. As did Ashley Bryan, who won the Wilder award for his body of work.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

RWA -- here I come

ALA was busier than expected.
Later I'll do a post all about my Sunday presentation and the wonderful signing that afternoon.
Right now I'm waiting for my ALA clothes to finish washing, so I can repack them to attend another conference this weekend -- The Romance Writers of America.

I fully believe in cross-fertilization. About 10 years ago I thought about changing from writing children's books to writing sweet romances. Since the RWA conference was in Washington, DC that year, I attended -- to test the waters. After a workshop about finances, I decided that romance writers worked twice as hard as I had been working, with about the same income to show for it. So, back to writing for children I went.

However, their workshops were great for the mid-list writer and many things they said could be applied to writing for children. Which is why I keep up my membership and do attend RWA National whenever it returns to Washington, DC.

I'll try to type up my ALA notes, later.
and tell you about some of my adventures in Chicago.
Meanwhile, I have to close this and go check the dryer. Time to hang up the 'good' clothes.
good night.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

ALA intro

I'm here at ALA and am much busier than I thought I'd be.
A short summary:

Thursday evening 500 librarians (including me) trooped down into the basement of the Chase building to become the audience for the PBS radio show -- Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me! Although he began with a lot of librarian jokes, (most of them centering around his amazement that 500 librarians would even want to buy out the place to be the audience for the show) I heard from someone who listened to the program when it was broadcast on Saturday that those jokes were eliminated.

As was the response from the librarians when he mentioned using Wikipedia as a trusted source. (gasps/ hisses/ and boos)

I tried taking a few picture with my I-Phone. hmm they are a bit out of focus. I guess I'll learn how to use it soon. (photos will be inserted just as soon as I learn how to move them from i-Photo onto my blog)

Friday I spent at an all day course about taking digital photographs and how to use them in blogs and websites.
Unfortunately, I thought the course would teach me how to actually insert them, but that didn't happen. I did learn a lot about cameras and 'correcting' pictures and legalities of using pictures found on the web. The afternoon was a blur of various things Flickr could do. My mind was reeling by the time we were done.

Today is/ was Saturday (It's still Saturday in Chicago, but it's past midnight for the East Coast. Who knows what day the computers with assign to this blog entry? ) I'll write more about Saturday on another blog. Three workshops with about an hour in the exhibits in between. Then two publisher's parties.

more later. -wendie old

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Nonfiction authors signing at ALA

Remember the announcement earlier about the Nonfiction Book Blast I'll be part of on Sunday (yikes -- THIS Sunday) at ALA?
Well a good portion of the panel will also be signing at various publisher's booths that same Sunday.

Here's a list. I hope it's complete. If any panel member discovers their signing time is missing, please mention it in the comments and I'll add it to this message:

Book Signing Times for Nonfiction BookBlast Authors at ALA
 All are Sunday, July 12

Bowman-Kruhm, Mary.  The Leakeys: A Biography. Promethesus Books. _____________
Halls, Kelly Milner, Tales of the Cryptids, Learner booth #1411, 12:15.
Halls, Kelly Milner: Dinosaur Parade, Sterling booth #1516, 3:30.
Kummer, Patricia K. The Great Barrier Reef and The Great Lakes. Nature's Wonders series.  Marshall Cavendish, booth 4315, 1:00-2:00.
Macken, JoAnn Early. Flip, Float, Fly: Seeds on the Move.  Holiday House, booth #2138, 1:30.
McClafferty, Carla Killough.  In Defiance of Hitler: The Secret Mission of Varian Fry.  Farrar, Straus and Giroux booth #1811, 12:30 -1:30.
Old, Wendie.  The Halloween Book of Facts and FunAlbert.  Albert Whitman booth #2123, 2:00 - 3:00.
Old, Wendie.  The Groundhog Day Book of Facts and Fun.  Albert Whitman booth #2123 2:00 - 3:00.
Sayer, April Pulley.  Honk, Honk, Goose: Canada Geese Start a Family. Henry Holt booth #1816, 2:00 – 3:00.
Sayer, April Pulley.  Trout Are Made of Trees.  Charlesbridge booth #1627, 4:00 – 5:00.
Taylor-Butler, Christine.  Sacred Mountain: Everest.  Lee and Low Books, booth #2260, 11:00 - 12:00 July 11, and 1:00 - 2:00.
Wohan, Becky.  Follow That Food Chain.  Lerner Publishing Group booth #1411, 12:15.

See you at ALA
-wendie old

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Fourth of July

Happy Fourth of July!
I hope you enjoyed parades and fireworks and food roasted over hot coals.

My family gifted me with some time alone today. They went to the pool's Fourth of July party while I stayed home trying to organize things for my trip to ALA next week.
(Speaking 10:30 am at the Nonfiction Book Blast and signing at Albert Whitman's booth from 2 to 3 pm -- all on Sunday)

I've searched all over. (and in the process have straightened up places that haven't seen daylight for months/ years/ eons) And still have not been able to find any sign of ALA having sent me my nametag and tickets to the various workshops and dinners I've paid for. It just supports what I've thought all along -- it never was sent.

So I e-mailed the organizers asking for an e-confirmation that I can use to get into things.
and e-mailed the workshop organizer asking where the workshop will be held.
Once the paperwork is in order, then onward to the packing.