Violet Raines Almost Got Struck by Lightning: Danette Haworth
Review Reissue: Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist

Friday Night Visits: Baseball, Banned Books, and Being Bloggled

CybilslogosmallIt's been a tough week for me to keep up with the blogs, between the Cybils and the start of the baseball playoffs (how 'bout those Red Sox!!). And I never really caught up after being away at the Kidlitosphere conference last weekend. Which means that I have many pieces of news to share with you.

But first, a mildly funny word thing. Earlier I tried to email someone about something "boggling the mind", but my fingers really wanted to type "bloggling" instead. Shouldn't bloggled be a new word? As in, to be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of blog posts in one's Google Reader. I am bloggled!

IheartyourblogOK, back to the blog news. First up, my thanks to Kristine from Bestbooksihavenotread and Bill and Karen from Literate Lives, both of whom were kind enough to give me the "I (heart) your blog" award. I also got kind of an honorable mention from Esme Raji Codell. I already passed this one along last week (though I neglected to go around and comment, so some people might have missed it), so I'm just going to say THANK YOU! These awards have come at a particularly nice time, when I've been struggling to keep up, and I especially appreciated a bit of validation.

Newlogorg200There's a new issue up at Readergirlz. "In celebration of YALSA's Teen Read Week™ Books with Bite, readergirlz is excited to present Night Bites, a series of online live chats with an epic lineup of published authors! The five themed chats will take place at the rgz MySpace group forum, October 13-17, 2008, 6:00 pm PST/9:00 pm EST." This month, Readergirlz will also be featuring Rachel Cohn, co-author (with David Levithan) of Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist. This choice is quite timely. Not only is there a recently released motion picture based on Nick and Norah, but the book also won the first-ever Cybils award for Young Adult Fiction in 2006. You can find more details about this month's Readergirlz activities at Bildungsroman.

Speaking of Readergirlz, Diva Lorie Ann Grover was featured this week on GalleyCat. She spoke of the passion for reading that she sees within the Readergirlz community. GuysLitWire, focused on teen boys and reading, also got a positive mention. The GalleyCat piece even inspired a followup at the Christian Science Monitor's Chapter & Verse blog. Thanks to Mitali Perkins for the links. 

Also in time for Teen Read Week, Sheila Ruth shares a couple of very detailed lists of Books with Bite at Wands and Worlds. The lists are based on input from teen members of the Wands and Worlds community. One list is focused on animals, the other is focused on "creepy creatures". Sheila has generously prepared pdf, text, and widget forms of the lists, so that other people can use them.

Jill will be hosting the October Carnival of Children's Literature at The Well-Read Child. Jill says: "In my part of the world, we're finally starting to experience the cool, crisp air of Fall - the kind of weather that makes me want to snuggle up with a good book and read all day. So, this month's theme is "Snuggle Up With a Good Children's Book." Submit your posts here by Friday, the 24th, and I'll post the Carnival on the 26th. Happy reading and snuggling!"

Jenmheir_4I never got my post up about the Kidlitosphere conference last weekend. Honestly, so many people have written about the conference, that I'm not sure that I'd have anything useful to add. But I did want to share a photo that Laini Taylor took late on Saturday night. I was wiped out from the conference, and Mheir (who kindly accompanied me on the trip) had tired himself out hiking to Multnomah Falls, and we were just beat. Here are a couple of posts about the conference that I particularly enjoyed, by Mark Blevis, Lee Wind, Greg Pincus, and Laini Taylor (who had great photos). Also not to be missed are Sarah Stevenson's live-action sketches from the conference.

Speaking of conferences, Sara Lewis Holmes recaps that National Book Festival. She made me want to attend, one of these years (perhaps next year, when the Kidlitosphere Conference will be held in Washington, DC...).

There's been quite a lot of discussion on the blogs this week about a piece that Anita Silvey wrote for the October issue of School Library Journal. The article is called "Has the Newbery Lost Its Way?" In light of some critical comments about the Newbery Award, Silvey asks "Are children, librarians, and other book lovers still rushing to read the latest Newbery winners? Or has the most prestigious award in children’s literature lost some of its luster?" She interviewed more than 100 people, and shares statements like "School librarians say they simply don’t have enough money to spend on books that kids won’t find interesting—and in their opinion, that category includes most of this century’s Newbery winners." Of course, as has been pointed out on many blogs, popularity isn't a criterion for the Newbery in the first place. I particularly enjoyed Carlie Webber's post about the article.

Speaking of the Newbery Awards, blogger WendyB recently decided to read all of the Newbery winners that she hadn't read already. She then prepared a detailed three-part post about her experience. I thought that the most interesting was part 2, in which Wendy shares some statistics about the winners, like the stat that " 59%, of the Newbery winners are either historical fiction or plain historical" and three books are about "orphaned or semi-orphaned boys traveling through medieval England and meeting colorful characters typical of the period." Fun stuff!

Lisa Chellman has a useful post about ways to offer "better library service to GLBTQ youth". She recaps a conference session "presented by the knowledgeable and dynamic Monica Harris of Oak Park Public Library", and includes suggestions from the session attendees, too. For example: "Don't assume that because books aren't circulating heavily they're not being used. Books on sensitive topics often see a lot of covert in-library use, even if patrons aren't comfortable checking them out to take home."

Colleen Mondor and Lee Wind are organizing a non-partisan effort to encourage people to vote. "The plan is to run a One Shot event on Monday, November 3rd where all participants blog about why they personally think voting matters this year. You can write a post that touches on historical issues or policies of significance today. Anything you want to write about that expresses the idea that voting matters is fair game. The only hard and fast rule - and this is very hard and fast - is that you do not get to bash any of the four candidates for president and vice president."

TitlesupersistersPBS Parents recently launched a parenting blog called Supersisters, "Three real-life sisters sharing their kids' antics, milestones and adventures through this crazy journey called motherhood". Supersister Jen had a post recently that I enjoyed called "seven sensational things to do when you're not feeling so super". My personal favorite was "Create your own personal chocolate stash and stock it." 

Shannon Hale has another installment in her fascinating How To Be A Reader series, this one about morals in stories. Her main question is "Is an author responsible for the morals a reader, especially a young reader, takes from her book? I can say, I never write toward a moral. But then again, some writers do." She also asks (about morals in books): "Is the book powerful in and of itself, the carrier of a message that can change a reader’s life? Or is it just a story, and the reader is powerful by deciding if and how the book might change her life." Ultimately, as a writer, Shannon comes down on the side of telling the story.

I'm not a big fan of memes (which are basically the blog equivalent of chain letters). However, I can get on board with this one from Wendy at Blog from the Windowsill. It includes this final step: "Carry the secret of this meme to your grave". So, that's all I can say about it, but it's my favorite meme so far since I started blogging. So go and check it out.

Poster2007And finally, this past week was Banned Book Week. The ALA website says: "Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read is observed during the last week of September each year. Observed since 1982, this annual ALA event reminds Americans not to take this precious democratic freedom for granted. This year, 2008, marks BBW's 27th anniversary (September 27 through October 4). BBW celebrates the freedom to choose or the freedom to express one’s opinion even if that opinion might be considered unorthodox or unpopular and stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of those unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints to all who wish to read them. After all, intellectual freedom can exist only where these two essential conditions are met." I did not, alas, read any banned books this week, but I've appreciated the people who did. The poster to the left is from last year, but I like it.

And that is quite enough catching up for one evening. I'll be back with literacy and reading news over the weekend.