Saturday, December 31, 2011

December Carnival of Children's Literature

The December Carnival of Children's Literature is up!

I hope you'll all take a moment to check it out at the Jean Little Library's blog.
That's the blog of --Jennifer Wharton
Youth Services Librarian
Matheson Memorial Library

Friday, December 30, 2011

Research or Plagiarism?

Is it research or plagiarism?
Nancy Sanders in her book,
Yes!  You Can Build a Successful Writing Career, says:
"The general rule of thumb is to use three resources for each fact you state in your manuscript. 
A rule to remember is:  If you just use one source, it's called plagiarism.  If you use three sources, it's called research."
Do check out her blog, called Blogzone. There's a link to it on her website! It's full of good advice -- currently she's doing a series about internet marketing.

Another nonfiction writer reminded me that even three sources can be reporting the same erroneous fact. She advises people to research deeper, as close to primary sources as possible -- and avoid using quotes from sources of questionable reliability, like Wikipedia.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

100 Magnificent Books

Here's your reading assignment for the rest of the year. (It's going to take me part of next year, too.)

The 100 best books of 2011 according to Betsy Bird at her blog, A Fuse #8 Production.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Books, books, books, and Festivus, too

No need for me to write a post today -- too busy with Christmas cooking. (pies/ cookies/ etc., etc., etc.) What kind of pie? Pumpkin, of course.

So rush on over the MotherReader and catch up on all her holiday ideas.
How to wrap a book.
Recommended book gifts.  (yes, you still have time)
The Airing of the Grievances

Friday, December 23, 2011

Happy what?

Happy Holidays
Happy Festivas
Merrie Christmas
Happy Hanukkah (spelling optional)
(you don't pronounce the CH, so why write it?)
Happy Solstice
Happy Yule

Happy Whatever beginning-of-winter festival you celebrate.

Oh, and do check out GOOGLE today and enjoy the flashing lights and the song.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Fun with Science

Science Writer, Claire Earner wrote:
 A bunch of Canadian kids' science writers have a blog called Sci-Why. It currently features a holiday quiz and book give-away. To play, promote, or just have fun, click on the link.
Happy Holidays, everyone!
Claire Eamer

Monday, December 19, 2011

Thought for the Day -- Definition of a Human Being

The science fiction author Robert Heinlein once said 
"A human being should be able to -- 
change a diaper, 
plan an invasion, 
butcher a hog, 
conn a ship, 
design a building, 
write a sonnet, 
balance accounts, 
build a wall, 
set a bone, 
comfort the dying, 
take orders,    give orders, 
cooperate,    act alone,
solve equations, 
analyze a new problem, 
pitch manure, 
program a computer, 
cook a tasty meal,
 fight efficiently, 
die gallantly. 

Specialization is for insects."

How many of these can YOU do?

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Christmas tree is up!

With the help of the 12-year old and her friends, our Christmas tree is up, a week before Christmas. In the traditional place -- in front of the window.  It's always the main and usually the only house decoration people can see from the road.  It's too difficult to put lights on a 17th century stone building, so we don't bother.

(the tree in this illustration isn't ours.  It's a generic one borrowed from the internet.)

On the other hand, we could have put up a tree like this one (below), considering all the books we have in our house:

Monday, December 12, 2011

Activate your Story!

Agent Jill Corcoran gives wonderful advice on her blog.

Last year one of her posts talked about your book's beginning chapter. She says, "I have been doing a lot of first 10 pages critiques lately, and I find myself writing…START YOUR STORY and ACTIVATE YOUR STORY on almost 100% of the manuscripts. Choosing where to start you story is so very important in grabbing your reader and willing him to keep reading, captivating him so he cannot put your book down."
To read more of this blog entry, click here on Jill Corcoran Books.  

To read her latest blog entries, click here.  
Don't be dismayed by her advertising the publication of her authors' new books, there's also a lot of great writing advice in between the book notices.  (and you might find leads to books you might want to read. I did.)

Friday, December 9, 2011

Interested in Graphic Novels? This Webinar might be of Interest


Graphic Novels and Tween Readers - Dec. 15 2pm Eastern

Searching for age-appropriate graphic novels for the your tween readers? Don’t miss YALSA’s webinar, Graphic Novels and Tween Readers presented by Robin Brenner.

Brenner will discuss publisher age ratings and how the savvy librarian and library worker can demystify the variety of ratings that exist. She will also touch on where to shelve graphic novels in a library’s collection. Participants will receive a core list of available tween graphic novels as well as some up and coming titles.

Webinars cost $39 for individual YALSA members, $29 for students and $49 for all other individuals. Register here:

Thursday, December 8, 2011

See the Newbery/ Caldecott Award Announcements Live!

Catch the Youth Media Awards

ALA Midwinter Meeting in Dallas!Live from the ALA Midwinter Meeting in Dallas, Texas, it's the 2012 Youth Media Awards! On Monday, January 23 at 7:45 AM CT, the American Library Association gathers together to give out the most prestigeous awards in youth media including the coveted Newbery and Caldecott Medals. You have a front-row seat waiting! ALA will stream the awards live online.

Also, you can follow all of the news and events at Midwinter ALA via the ALSC Blog. The Association of Librarians who Serve Children staff will be live-blogging the conference between January 20 - 24, 2012.
You can visit the ALSC Blog right now by just clicking on that link.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Students Respond to Picture Book Biographies

At the blog, Words Not Taken, Author and elementary school teacher, Bruce Frost, is using Picture Book Biographies in his 4th grade classroom.So far they have only examined one: Wilma Unlimited, by Kathleen Krull and illustrated by David Diaz, but do check back to see what they think of others.

(Dare I hope that he'll use my Wright Brothers' book?  Other classes have.)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The last Packet of Writing (for this year)

Packet 5 is SENT!
My second semester at Vermont College of Fine Arts Writing for Children and Young Adults is done.
Done, done, done.
(except for the end of semester reports, but that's no problem.)

This has been a wonderful, eye-opening experience, this learning to write fiction. It's so very different from writing nonfiction. Writing wonderfully descriptive passages? No problem. Nonfiction writers are good at that.

On the other hand, creating a personality who is pursuing a goal and staying inside that person's head, feeling/ showing his reactions to events, etc. That's hard. (I tend to pull out into omnipotent view too often.)
Being too nice to your hero -- easy.
Putting your hero up a tree and throwing apples at him -- hard.

I could go on, but it's been an exhausting two semesters and I'm going to take a small break, now.

What did you learn you could or couldn't do when you began writing fiction?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Katherine Paterson to Speak Today

I have no idea how these phone in things work -- but you could try it:

Authors Guild announces two-week preview of its Booktalk Nation initiative to support traditional booksellers

Children’s book author Katherine Paterson, selected by the Library of Congress as the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, will answer questions from writer Tanya Lee Stone at 7 p.m. tonight in a live, national, phone-in event hosted by the Flying Pig Bookstore in Shelburne, Vermont. Readers can sign up for the call at
A two-time winner of the prestigious Newbery Medal and the National Book Award, Paterson is the author of more than 30 books, which include contemporary and historical fiction, in settings that range from realistic to fantastical. She is best known for Bridge to Terabithia.
Paterson’s latest title, The Flint Heart, is a retelling of the 1910 fairy tale of the same name by Eden Phillpotts. Paterson’s husband, John, first tried to get publishers to bring the original back into print. But Phillpotts’s style was deemed too long-winded for modern audience, so husband and wife collaborated on a new version, picking up the pace but preserving Phillpotts’s plot, characters and tone.
“It still has that sort of old-fashioned voice,” said Paterson “It’s a charming voice; it’s a storyteller’s voice.”
In the book, a Stone Age man demands a talisman that will harden his heart so he can rule his tribe. The tribe’s magic man creates the Flint Heart, which leads to the destruction of the tribe. Thousands of years later, the Flint Heart reemerges, threatening to cause trouble all over again.
Readers from across the country can order personally-inscribed books including Paterson’s The Flint Heart, Bridge to Terabithia, Brother Sun, Sister Moon, and The Great Gilly Hopkins through The Flying Pig Bookstore will fulfill the orders after Paterson inscribes the books next week.
Booktalk Nation is a new series of phone-in author interviews sponsored by the Authors Guild, which seeks to support traditional, physical booksellers and highlight the key role they play in promoting a vibrant literary culture. Each talk in the series will be hosted by a local bookstore with ties to the featured author. The Guild is previewing the service over the next two weeks and will formally launch it in January. A few additional events for the two-week preview will be announced on Monday, along with more details on the program.
“I just hope everybody will support their independent bookstores,” said Paterson, who lives in Vermont. She said she was eager to participate because she’s seen first-hand how knowledgeable, committed booksellers help readers find just the right book.
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