Tuesday, June 29, 2010

ALA Monday (Day 3)

Monday was figuring to be another hot, hot day. (Have I mentioned that Washington, DC's temperatures were in the high 90s all weekend and went over 100 degrees on Sunday?)
Luckily the hotel, the convention center, and the ALA buses taking us to and fro were all air conditioned. So much so that almost everyone had Pashinas in their bags to toss around them in the cold rooms.

No early breakfast meetings scheduled today. Another banana and oatmeal cookie in the room. My roommate made me hot tea, then shivered when she realized that I preferred the cold tea I had in my cooler. (I plan to do a post of "funny things that happened at ALA soon to tell you of our adventures together on Sunday.)

Although I had planned to arrive at the conference early enough to see more of the exhibits, didn't happen. I did get there in time for the ALSC Awards Presentation. (ALSC = American Librarians who Serve Children, or something like that.)

It kinda gripes me that, when the Sibert Award was created to be given to the best Nonfiction Book of the year, it was supposed to be equal to the Newbery/ Caldecott. In fact it was awarded at the Sunday N/C banquet. Yea for Nonfiction Writers, I had thought. And then it disappeared. Several years later I finally discovered it was being awarded at this ALSC meeting on Monday morning -- at 8 am in the morning. No wonder I kept missing it. I, and most of the people who had been at the N/C banquet, usually slept in on Monday Morning. But recently they moved the meeting to 10:30 am, much to our relief.

I kept meeting people I knew (or wanted to know) or who wanted to know me, in the line for coffee. (me, I was in line for the juice bottles at the end of the table, but it seemed polite to stay in line and take my turn at the table, instead of simply bypassing the coffee people.) I even, literally, bumped into Mo Willems. Not my fault. He was going one way and suddenly turned around and crashed into me. It seems he was showing up at almost every event I attended. His daughter, Trixie, has become a lovely 8 or 10 year old and an old hand at these ALA gatherings.

Why was he here? (again)
Not for the Geisel Award (easy readers), although Cat the Cat books would certainly have qualified him for this.
This time he was accepting the Carnegie Medal. His book, Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, had won the Carnegie Medal. Naturally, he did the voice of the Pigeon, but his good friend Jon Scieszka gave voice to the bus driver. I'd love to see it over again because I missed a good part of the give and take between pigeon and bus driver that takes place as the credits roll -- all newly created by the two of them, just for fun.

The Geisel was won by Geoffrey Hayes for Benny and Penny in the Big No-No!

Scholastic again won an honor Batchelder award for the second Moribito book. The winner was the Swedish book, A Faraway Island.

Tanya Lee Stone won the Sibert Medal for her Almost Astronauts: 13 Women who Dared to Dream. She's a member of the blog, I.N.K. Interesting Nonfiction for Kids where she often talks about her Passion for the subjects she writes about.
The other fantastic winners of this nonfiction award were
-- Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice. Phillip Hoose brought Claudette up to the speaker's podium to accept the award with him!
-- Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11 by Brian Floca, who didn't use photographs, but also illustrated it.
-- The Day-Glo Brothers: The True Story of Bob and Joe Switzer's Bright Ideas and Brand-New Colors. Since Charlesbridge is one of my publishers, I stopped by their booth in the exhibits later to congratulate them. And to tell them about my own problems with Day-Glo. I'm one of those people who can't look at Day Glo papers. The color overwhelms my eyes and I can't see anything printed on that type of paper. I have to put the message onto a copy machine and reproduce it onto white paper before I see the message printed there.

When I left this meeting, I ran down to get into line for a signing of the Caldecott winning book, The Lion and the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney at Little Brown, but he had just finished. So i wandered the exhibits, stumbling onto exhibitors selling off their stock. By the time my bags were full of (two for $5.00) books, I found another long line -- another line for, you guessed it, Jerry Pinkney signing the Lion and the mouse. Hurrah! I got into line. The looooong line. By the time we reached Jerry, all of us were best of friends. (and I had handed off one of the heaviest books I was carrying to another librarian who had found that title all sold out. Which meant I could buy two or three more books before my back began breaking, again. It was a Win/ Win situation.)

Why did I stay in Washington for Monday evening? To attend the Poetry Blast. Hosted for the 7th year by Barbara Genco and Poet/Writer, Marilyn Singer. I've known Marilyn since the old days on AOL when she ran discussion evenings and celebrations there. Even if you don't like poetry (and I'm finding that I do. Especially since a lot of the speakers tell funny poetry.) you'd love this presentation.

And off to bed. -wendie Old

Monday, June 28, 2010

Nonfiction Monday -- More reports from ALA

Instead of reviewing an easy reading nonfiction book, i'm going to continue my report of What I Did On My Summer Vacation, otherwise known as Day 2 (Sunday) of the ALA Conference as seen by me. (Other ALA reports can be found at Betsy Bird's SLJ blog, A Fuse 8 Production, and Susan Kusel's blogs Wizards Wireless or PBS Booklights.

Sunday morning I actually got up early -- early enough to make it to the Scholastic Breakfast. (something I've often missed because I'm so slow to get going in the morning.) My husband would have loved the mushy eggs they served, but I prefer scrambled eggs to be cooked hard and dry. Oh well. Lovely apple smoked bacon, though. yum. and banana bread? Hold the muffins, I'll take the banana bread, thanks.

After an intro to various electronic database offerings, from the Grollier branch of the company, the featured speaker, Brian Selznick (yes he IS related to that Hollywood producer) described the difficulties of converting his huge Caldecott winner to an audio book. He added sounds to replace the drawings that told part of the story. He also added a Bonus DVD. Can't wait to take a look at it. If it has the presentation he made at the Newbery/ CAldecott banquet several years ago, I'll be in seventh heaven.
(We also got a scholastic mousepad)

Then on the the exhibits.
I only got to visit a few more aisles when it was time to attend the Fall Book preview of Random House Books. I plunked myself down in an empty row next to somebody's pile of papers/ envelopes/ whatnot. It wasn't until the session was done and nobody appeared to claim this pile that I realized it was MY goodie bag (not in a bag) from Random. WOW. Posters and activity guides and the new Patricia Reilly Giff series replacing the Polk street kids series, and, were they reading MY MIND? There was a complete set of bingo cards to be used for Summertime Bingo. It just so happens that I plan to have a summertime bingo program at my library and I can reallly use this. WOW.

Grace Lin has a new picturebook coming out. Another folktale illustrated by Paul O Zelinsky, also painted on boards. I can't wait to get my hands on Anita Lobel's newest -- Nini Lost and Found. (a cat story)

One of the packets holds supplies for a Magic Tree House club and there are several more Magic Tree House books coming out, this time a variation of Dicken's Christmas Carol. Plus, you can't be without the Modern Fairies, Dwarves, Goblins, and other Nasties, a practical Guide by Miss Edythe McFate.

Then back to the Exhibits. As I was rushing to catch the bus back to my hotel, where my next meeting was to be held, I passed a group of Star Wars Storm Troopers entering the Exhibit area. I shouted to them -- "Watch out guys, remember the Star Wars outtakes!" I heard several giggles from their 'helpers.' Obviously some of them had also seen the outtakes, where every time the Storm Troopers rushed around a corner, they slipped, and fell and crashed into each other.

No time for lunch. I grabbed some peanuts to munch and took the elevator to the terrace level, where I met up with the group -- Managing Children's Services Discussion Meeting. Only three others showed up, so the discussion was wide-ranging. Each of us had different ways to measure Summer REading program. One was 20 hours of reading plus 10 other activities (out of a longer list), another pushed 'Develop the Reading Habit' and gave credit if they read for 15 minutes for a certain number of days in a row. The third library system had kids set their own goal. And my own library system insists the Elementary read 10 books and the Middle and High schoolers read three.
--The three other library systems did all their registering online. We were the only system that still had the child fill out a card which the librarian then input into an online database.
-- All of them agreed that it seemed there were many more children registering this year. My own theory is that the economy is making parents look for fun FREE things and they are discovering the library fits the bill.

When this group broke up, I joined the other discussion group in the room, the Preschool Services Discussion Group. Once I was in this group, I discovered it was the same group I had joined online last year. I hope they don't end up sending me double the e-mails.

The Newbery/ Caldecott Banquet is always a time of good food, good conversation, and often entertaining speeches. This year Susan Kusel invited me to sit at her table. No, correction, one of her tables. She ended up organizing a group of 7 tables of her closest friends. My table mates were very interesting -- all of the people who run the Through the Tollbooth blog, plus others. Because of the noise, I was only able to converse with the people on either side of me. Cynthia Olson, a graphic designer, and an illustrator, Joan Waites.

Once Susan arrived, I helped her place pads of papers and colored markers on each table. That's what she is talking about on her blog -- she actually shows some of the artwork and signatures of the table people. Evidently, then she moved these markers and pads of paper all over the banquet hall, trying to get signatures of everyone! amazing. (Life is always interesting around Susan.)

This was the first year that it hit me that the people who won the 'Honor book' place for these, only got a piece of paper, much like the paper I got when my TO FLY was an Orbis Pictus Honor Book. It's only the winner who actually receives a metal medal. Darn. I always thought the Honor Book writer/ illustrators got silver medals and the winner -- a gold one, just like the stickers on their books. (please correct me if I'm wrong. I want to be wrong here.)

And then to bed.
The Real Nonfiction Monday posts are over at Bookish Blather. -wendie Old

Sunday, June 27, 2010

ALA Saturday

While I"m waiting for the Newbery/ Caldecott banquet to begin, I though I'd jot down some notes about yesterday at ALA. (which might be added to as I remember other things.)

Although I live just an hour and a half from DC, I decided to stay at a hotel. (because the last time it was in Washington, DC, I tried commuting and ended up too tired to drive back, once I got home.) Arrived Friday, late. Long story. Maybe I'll tell it later.

After Saturday breakfast (banana and oatmeal cookie in the room), the first session for me was MOVE OVER DICK AND JANE: Reconsidering Books for Beginning Readers.
--Loved Neal Porter's, editor at Roaring Brook Press, and Laura Vaccaro Seeger's, author/illustrator, presentation, "How to create an early reader without really trying. It was fascinating to see the decisions they made about the book, First the Egg. and other books. Their contention is that many picture books are 'easy readers.' and here's why.
--Alessandra Balzer, from Balzer & Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers talked about Mo Willems's Cat the Cat series, which he is writing for the very, very, very early reader.
-- Geoffrey Hayes demonstrated his very easy reading graphic novels from Toon Books
-- And Cindy Woodruff, Director of Libraries at Gilman Lower School Library in Baltimore rounded out the panel with the school librarian's viewpoint of these books.

The next session was harder to juggle, since it overlapped the luncheon I wanted to attend.

The Harper Collins Children's Books Fall 2010 title presentation was suddenly interrupted by a surprise appearance of MO WILLems, himself. The Last, Final Knuffle Bunny book is coming out -- and it makes him cry. I'm not going to tell you the ending of the story (I got to read a F&G later on the Exhibits floor), but he did say that this book contained his hopes Trixie's future. Plus -- there are references to every one of his book characters (the Pigeon, etc.) hidden in this book. Go find them when you read this book.

Other neat books you should keep a lookout for are--
I'm Big! by that great boy-book team who brought you I'm Dirty, about a garbage truck.
Rescue Bunnies by Doreen Cronin and Scott Menchin
The 25th anniversary edition of If You Give A Mouse a Cookie, with new endpapers
A picture book by Lemony Snicket called 13 Words. (maybe it won't be as offensive as his other picture books. I haven't seen it yet.)
Amelia Bedelia's First Apple Pie by Herman Parish with a new illustrator, Lynne Avril.
A new Little Bear story ! can you believe it? Little Bear and the Marco Polo by Else Holmelund Minarik.
Of course, new Fancy Nancy books -- Fancy Nancy and the Fabulous Fashion Boutique, And the Delectable Cupcakes, and Fancy Nancy: my Family History.
Big Nate Strikes Again -- surprise = NOT an I Can read, but a younger middle grade.
And a reissue of Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. They only showed two of them, but I assume that all three are being reproduced.

Luckily, I'm most interested in the younger Harper books, because at 12 noon, the doors opened to the Margaret Edward's luncheon and I abandoned HarperCollins to attend it. It was important to me because this was the first time the award has been given to a NONFICTION author. And what a great pick it was! I have loved Jim Murphy's books forever.

If you want to read a great interview of him, get the June 2010 issue of School Library Journal, written by the great Anita Silvey. Parts of his wonderful speech came from this interview. By the time he listed four out of the five things he thought a good writer should have, I was kicking myself for not writing them down. They were funny -- and sooo true. (number 3 is 'dumb luck.')

After the luncheon, I ran through part of the exhibits, examining the new books being offered by publishers and trying to find some free swag. (very little free swag handed out this year. Almost all of the books being signed by authors there needed to be purchased -- at a good discount, but still.) Not many bookmarks, my favorite swag, available either.

Soon it was time to meet my friend Cyndy Cotten (author of many fab books) and try to find Tami Lewis Brown's house in Georgetown. She was holding a Tea Party in honor of Katherine Paterson, the current US Library of Congress's National Ambassador for Young People's Literature.

If that was a Tea Party, I'm the Queen of England. She had it catered and the variety and amount of food was amazing. Iced Tea, Lemonade, and cucumber water (and later, champagne) were the 'tea' part of the party. Cheese and sliced veggies inside the house. (and a crowd of people watching the Soccer World Cup in the den.) Small stuffed croissants and desserts on tables in her small, paved yard. (this IS in the city, so no large lawns here.)

Tami is a graduate of and a Trustee of the Vermont College of Fine Arts in Writing for Children and Young Adults. So, naturally there were a lot of local (and not local but here for ALA) VC students and graduates. Major librarians rounded out the crowd.

Afterwards, we packed my car with authors and took M street east until we ended up back at the Washington Convention Center where they decamped to find either their hotel or a subway entrance to go home.
I was a teeny bit tired by the end of the day. Went to bed early. Gotta get up early for a 7:30 breakfast at another Hotel.

Friday, June 25, 2010

On my way to ALA

Too busy packing and such to write a post, but the wonderful Susan Kusel has lots of good conference-going advice at her blog, Wizards Wireless.

The next few posts will be my notes from the various meetings I attend at ALA


Sunday, June 20, 2010

Sunday, Father's Day, Birthday

Lovely day.
The 10-year-old's piano recital (she did GREAT!),
plus Father's / Grandfather's day (we got him his favorite ice cream),
plus a sweet necklace from the 10-year-old, lots of cards, and cake with coconut frosting. (which we ate with the ice cream about 8 pm.)

Friday, June 18, 2010

Writing Friday

Did I do housework today?
Did I work at the library today?
Did I cook up a storm?
Did I do things with the 10 year old on her last day of school?
(she made arrangements to go to the pool with a group of friends and had an enjoyable day off from everything. Okay, a half-day, since she is in the special choral group that sang in the morning during the 5th grade graduation.)

Actually, I had a very productive day printing out manuscripts and getting them ready to send out.

One that I'm especially proud of is the manuscript that I sent to the Hunger Mountain Katherine Paterson writer's contest. I finally managed to get the first page of that manuscript to say what I had visualized. Every time I had revised that page before, it still sounded clunky. But today I figured out the words and phrases I needed to make it sparkle. Yippee!

The Deadline for the Katherine Paterson Prize for YA and Children’s Writing is June 30th! And I got mine into the mail, today. How about you?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Why do we have a Summer Reading Program at Public Libraries?

Susan Kusel, another children's librarian, just sent me this message. New on her PBS blog is her take on why Children's Librarians are sooooo tired in the summertime.

She says:
"It's summer reading time!
Why does every library in the country have one of these programs?
Is it because the librarians enjoy repeating themselves about 3,000 times? Or, could there be another reason? Find out today at Booklights."

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


So much for Nonfiction Monday.
Monday was the first day of Summer Reading. We figured (okay, I figured) that, because school is still in session, the day wouldn't be as busy as a normal beginning day of the Summer Reading Program.

In the morning we were busy registering preschoolers.

They tell me that there was a lull of a few hours in the afternoon, but all h*ll broke lose once school let out. I wasn't there. I was at the 4th grade picnic as the representative parent for the 10-year-old. My husband couldn't make it because his library system was closing a branch and moving it to a new building, which meant the computer department was in charge of unwiring and packing up the computers. (at the picnic she was embarrassed when a boy came over to tell me how much he LOVED her. She doesn't even like him! Oh my, what a catty discussion she and her friends had when he moved away. It turns out that he's not very nice -- he gropes girls. In fourth grade? Yuck.)

When I returned to the branch at 5:00, the person on the children's desk was sooooo glad to see me. A few minutes there, I could see why. Busy, busy, busy.

We have a table set up in the Children's Room with several middle schoolers registering the elementary students for the Summer Reading Program and giving them string backpacks and nice coupons. All their younger siblings get registered over at the Children's Information Desk. Me. (ooops, the desk is now called the "Ask a Librarian Desk.") These little ones are being given a yellow tote bag plus the coupons. It was fun, but exhausting.

Meanwhile, my husband had taken over Kid-duty Monday evening and was the representative parent at her first Swim Meet of the summer. Last year my husband would e-mail me after every event she was in to tell me how she did. Monday I didn't have a moment to look at my e-mail, so I had no idea what had happened. Amazingly enough, this year she was in the first heats, which meant that her second place in breaststroke counted for the team total points.

But most amazing of all, the coach put her in IM. (Individual medly -- one length each of the four strokes) It was her first time doing this and my husband says she looked practically dead when he pulled herself out of the pool. But, She managed to complete it. We're so proud of her for even attempting to do this.

Why did I tell you all this? To explain why I didn't do Nonfiction Monday on Monday. Too busy/ too tired.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Busy week

This week I booktalked all grades at an elementary school -- my last for the year. Then spent the rest of the week getting ready for the first day of the Summer Reading Program which begins ( Yikes!) tomorrow --on Monday, June 14.

Saturday, the 10 year old had stroke practice. It also was the last day of her gymnastics. Then we went to the library branch to decorate the place. You should see it. The national summer reading program theme is -Make a Splash! Read!
And we now look as if the library is under water.

Afterwards, we had a cookout at a librarian's house. Yummy!

(this message typed on an iPhone. Now to see what it looks like on my blog.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Nonfiction Monday -- The Smash! Smash! Truck

The Smash! Smash! Truck, Recycling as You've Never Heard it Before! by Professor Potts. London: David Fickling Books, 2010.

Who is Professor Potts? Beats me. I've gone to his website and still am not sure. This seems to be a comic book writer/ artist, possibly named Aiden Potts, who is branching out into children's books.

Easy reading? yes.
Boy appeal? yes -- lots of Smashes and Bangs.
Recycling? yes -- down to the last atom.

From the creation of everything with the Big BANG, the atoms that make up our universe are constantly being re-used.
The water cycle is quickly mentioned.
As is the plant cycle.

But since this book is narrated by a glass bottle, naturally the GLASS cycle takes a prominent part. Gathering used bottles/ smashing them/ melting them down/ to make -- more bottles. With lots of smashes. (and day-glow print) (There are even coloring pages on his website from this book, with instructions to use day-glow markers.

A fun look at recycling. It's too bad that it will be lost in the 363s when so many preschoolers and early elementary kids would enjoy it. Try putting it on display so they can find it.

More Nonfiction Monday posts can be found at Charlotte's Library.
enjoy. -wendieO

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Being a Medicine Cat is a Dangerous Job

I've discovered that being the Medicine Cat for a tribe of Warrior Cats is a dangerous job. The 10-year-old has completed reading the third book of the series, and yet another Medicine Cat has been killed.

Now, normally characters in a book don't worry me. But she's so wrapped up in this story that she named everyone in the family for one of the cats in the book. So far my husband's cat is still alive. But me? I die in every book.

She finally took pity on me and let me choose my own name. Being a grandma, I chose to be a Queen cat called Goldenflower. (for you non-cat owners, a Queen is a female cat with kittens.) Nice name. I just hope that I haven't jinxed this poor queen. Does she survive in the fifth book, or will SHE die, too?

What's the series that has my granddaughter enthralled?
Warriors, by Erin Hunter. (which turns out to be a pen name for four writers.)