Monday, November 28, 2011

November's Carnival of Children's Literature

Every month one of the Children's Lit bloggers hosts a roundup of the best blog offerings for the month and calls it the Carnival of Children's Literature.

Today the Carnival of Children's Literature is at Wrapped in Foil.
Click on over and enjoy.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Handling Social Media when you have Too Much To Do

Here's an interesting article about writers using Social Media for the best effect,
It's a post by Darcy Pattison called, "Emily Dickinson Would Have Tweeted!"

Networking and keeping up with friends takes time. People, especially writers, have done this for ages -- only the media we use has changed.  Many 18th Century writers scheduled time to write letters, a half a day or more.  It just takes time. You have to find the balance between the need for marketing and networking and the passion for creating.

One way to keep up is to use places that gather links, like  or  which lists blogs.

Thanks to Darcy Pattison for all these ideas.  And check out the writing resources she has collected by clicking on the links to the right of her Emily Dickinson article.

Back to preparing that turkey and trimmings.
Happy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

RIP Anne McCaffrey

Here's a note about one of my favorite authors, from her son, Todd:

At about 5 p.m. Monday November 21st, 2011, Anne McCaffrey passed away. 
Mum was getting ready to go back to the hospital because she was feeling "puny" and collapsed while she was moving into her wheelchair. Her daughter, Georgeanne Kennedy, and son-in-law, Geoffrey Kennedy were with her. She was in no pain and it was over in an instant. 

She first had a heart attack in late 2000 and a stroke in 2001, so we were well-prepared and knew that we were on "golden time" with Mum these past ten years and more. She leaves behind an incredible legacy of marvelous books and a huge legion of fans. She won practically every major award in available to authors of science fiction and fantasy, including both Hugo and Nebula Awards, the American Library Association's Margaret A. Edwards award for Lifetime Literary achievement in Young Adult fiction, was an inductee into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame, and was a SFWA Nebula Grandmaster. 

She was also a great cook, magnificent mother, doting grandmother, ardent quilter, knitter, bridge player, horsewoman, fencer, actress, singer, and all-around nice person. 
We are blessed to have known her, just as we are blessed with the knowledge that she has touched so many lives and made such huge changes in them. Mum always said, "Don't just pay back a favor -- pass it on!" 

In light of that spirit, we ask that, instead of condolences or flowers, that commemorators make a donation to their favorite charity. 
We know that we haven't lost Mum -- that she has truly passed on her legacy of love and honor to all those who were touched by her -- and that we have only to open one of her books to find her again. Rest well, Mum, you've earned it!

Fun Ways to give Books for the Holidays

Pam Coughlan, over at Mother Reader, has collected not 100, but 150 ways to give a book as a gift this holiday season.  Click on over and check out all her great ideas.  She has combined MotherReader- approved titles with toys, trinkets, ideas, and various little extras to make gift-giving fun.

Also more suggestions by Susan Stephenson can be found at the Book Chook.
Enjoy.   -wo

Monday, November 21, 2011

Nonfiction Monday

Nonfiction Monday can be found at Books Together blog today.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Nonfiction Monday

Nonfiction Monday is at Playing by the Book blog today.
Click on over and enjoy while I figure out what I want to write in the essay for Packet 5.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Counting the days until the National Book Awards

I'm getting more and more excited about the happenings next week.

Hey everybody.  set your browser for the homepage of the National Book Award on Wednesday evening to listen to/ watch the webcast of the event!
It's at 8 pm Eastern Standard Time, but I'd suggest that you get online at least 15 minutes before that.

Actor/ author/ musician John Lithgow will host the event.
(I LOVE John Lithgow.  I've used his picture books and CDs in storytime. What fun!)

And several writer friends of mine are finalists for the Young People's Literature Award:
Franny Billingsley ("Chime") 
Debby Dahl Edwardson ("My Name Is Not Easy"), 
Thanhha Lai ("Inside Out and Back Again"), 
Albert Marrin ("Flesh and Blood So Cheap: The Triangle Fire and Its Legacy"), 
Gary D. Schmidt ("Okay for Now")

Ummm, one of them looks like a nonfiction book. Great! Is this the first time a nonfiction book has been up for this award?

Have you read any of these books, yet?  
Most of them are also probably being discussed for the Newbery Award. (to be announced in January)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

What kind of Hershey's Chocolate are you?

I'm a cross between a Mr. Goodbar and Hershey's Special Dark.

Check out the Hershey's Miniature's Personality Indicator to see what kind of chocolate YOU are.
(thanks to David Elzey at Fomagrams for the link.)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Why Picture Books are Important

Why Picture Books Are Important,
And Why They Are for Everyone
(A guest post by picture book author and all around great guy,  Rick Walton )

Picture books are often seen as literary baby food, the stuff we feed children until they have the teeth to eat real food.

I would argue, however, that picture books are not baby food. They are not just for young children.

In fact, I would argue that picture books are perhaps the most important literary format that we have.

Here are 10 reasons why I believe this:

1. They are the first books that children fall in love with, that turn children into lifetime readers. Lifetime readers become lifetime learners. Lifetime learners become lifetime contributors.

2. Picture book language is often more sophisticated than the first chapter books that children read, and therefore an excellent way for children to learn language. It is here that children, and others, can learn vocabulary, imagery, rhythm, shape, structure, conciseness, emotional power.

3. The picture book is the most flexible of all literary formats. You can do almost anything in a picture book. This flexibility encourages creativity, in both writer and reader. It broadens the mind, and the imagination. And given today's challenges, we desperately need more creativity, broadened minds. Imagination.

4. The picture book, with its interaction between text and illustration , with its appeal that the reader analyze that interaction, helps develop visual intelligence. It helps us look for meaning in the visual. And since most of us are surrounded by, and inundated by visual images our whole lives, visual intelligence is an important skill.

5. Some of the best art being created today is found in picture books. Picture books are a great resource for art education.

6. The picture book appeals to more learning styles than any other format. It is read out loud for audible learners. It is written and illustrated for visual learners. It often asks you to interact with it physically for kinesthetic learners.

7. In fact, the picture book, of all formats, is probably the best format for teaching an idea, getting across a point. Because picture books are short, all messages, knowledge, ideas expressed in a picture book must be boiled down to their essence. They must be presented in a way that is impossible to misunderstand. If you want to learn a difficult subject, start with a picture book. If you want to express a powerful message, a picture book is one of the most powerful media for doing so. Many middle, upper grade, and even college instructors have recognized the value of using picture books in their teaching.

8. The picture book does more than any other literary format for bonding people one with another. As a child sits on a lap and is read to, as a parent, a grand parent, a teacher, a librarian reads to a child, extremely important connections are made, bonds are formed, generations are brought together.

9. The picture book also has the broadest possible age range of audience. Few four-year-olds will appreciate a novel. But many grandparents enjoy a good picture book. I have read picture books for upwards of an hour to groups including toddlers, teens, parents and grandparents, where all were engaged.

10. The picture book is short, and can fit easily into the nooks and crannies of our lives. Five minutes here, 10 minutes there, plenty of time for a complete literary experience.

Picture books are poetry, adventure, imagination, language, interaction, precision, and so much more.

Picture books are not books that children should be encouraged to "graduate" from.

For picture books have something important to say, to give, to all ages, all generations.

Picture books are not just books for young children.

They are books for everybody.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

November is National Picture Book Month

Here's a press release I just received, and as a picture book writer, I highly endorse:

*Authors and Illustrators Team to Create Picture Book Month*


"I have always believed that literature begins in the cradle -- the poems we say to the babies, the stories we tell them -- prepare them to become part of the great human storytelling community. We humans are the only creatures in the known universe who make and remake our world with story."
--Jane Yolen from her Picture Book Month essay

The New York Times declared, "Picture Books No Longer A Staple for Children" in an article published in October 2010. The controversial article incited a barrage of responses from the children‚s book industry, many in defense of the venerable picture book. In addition, the digital age has ushered in an unprecedented amount of ebooks and, with devices like the
iPad, the color Nook, and the Kindle Fire, picture books are being converted to the digital format.

Thus, Picture Book Month was born. Founder Dianne de Las Casas decided it was time to celebrate picture books in their printed format so she created an initiative to designate November as "Picture Book Month."

Katie Davis, Elizabeth Dulemba, Tara Lazar, and Wendy Martin came on board to champion the cause and spread the word. A logo was designed by Joyce Wan. A website was created to feature essays from "Picture Book Champions," thought leaders in the children's literature
community. Each day in November, a new essay will be posted from such notable contributors as Suzanne Bloom, Peter Brown, Jarrett Krosoczka, Leslie Helakoski, Eric A. Kimmel, Tammi Sauer, Dan Yaccarino, and Jane Yolen.

Better World Books and organizations like Scholastic Book Fairs Philippines are lending their support. The website will also feature links to picture book resources, authors, illustrators, and kidlit book bloggers. In addition, parents, educators, and librarians can download the theme calendar to help them plan their picture book celebrations and access
picture book activities.

Join the celebration! Visit
The website officially opens on November 1, 2011.

"Picture books are important because they are with us for life. They are the most important books we'll ever read because they're our first. No matter how many books we've read since, they will always have a place in our hearts." 
--Dan Yaccarino from his Picture Book Month Essay. 

*Read ***** Share *** **Celebrate!*

November is Picture Book Month
Join the picture book party. Read * Share * Celebrate!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

numbers !

Today is

11 / 1/  11

National Book Awards Teen Press Conference Live!

If you'd like to see the National Book Awards Teen Press Conference Live!
on Tuesday, November 15th at 12:30 pm, streaming live from Scholastic in New York City, click on the link for more information and to register.
All five of the Young People's Award finalists will be reading from their books and fielding questions.

(This is 9:30 am Pacific time and  8:30 am Alaska time)

Why do I mention the time in Alaska?  Because it was Debby Dahl Edwardson, the author of My Name is not Easy (one of the finalist books) who sent me this tidbit and she lives in Alaska.
(Oh, that last link it to the book trailer for her book.)