Peggy Hendershot, Youth Information Specialist at the Johnson County Library, Blue Valley Branch, has just been awarded the 2015 MAE Award for Best Literature Program for Teens with her program, the Young Adult Discussion Diversity Panel she formed with their Young Adult Advisory Council (YAAC). Peggy told me about her experiences.
What was the reaction to winning the award in your community? How did your students react?
Everyone has been very kind and full of congratulations. The Kansas City Star’s 913 (Johnson County section) requested an interview. It’s great positive publicity for the library.
We told the teens during our usual round of introduction questions at our February 7th YAAC meeting. We asked, “What was the most exciting thing that happened to you in the last year.” When it was my turn, I said, “Winning the YALSA Mae Award for the Diversity Discussion Panel!” Then we handed out a copy of the press release to the kids. They were very excited! There was quite a bit of whooping and hollering going on, along with plenty of high fives! We celebrated with cake, ice cream and confetti poppers. Then they wanted to talk about the next big event they could plan!
You mention in your application that your library’s YAAC takes advantage of the YALSA YA Galley program. Could you talk about how that works with your group?
The Johnson County Library YAAC groups applied to participate in the YALSA YA Galley/Teen Top Ten book project and were accepted into the program. Publishers sent out galleys and review titles of new and upcoming books. At our monthly meetings, the YAAC teens selected the titles that interested them from the selections sent out. The teens then read the books and completed reviews for them, which were sent back to the publishers. They also rated the books, nominating their favorites for the Teen Top Ten best books. YAAC members also discussed the books they did not select and why they chose not to read them. This information was also sent to the publishers. Our term was up the beginning of this year, but we plan to reapply to the program at the first opportunity!
Your library’s YAAC touched upon the issue of the lack of diverse titles in teen literature quite independently of our profession’s conversation about needing diverse books. How were you able to channel that frustration/energy to, as you wrote, “do something about it” for these teens?
The teens expressed their frustration with finding main characters in YA literature that reflected them. The discussion started with one comment from one of the teens in the group, but the discussion quickly grew and became very intense as it did. I let them talk awhile, guiding and facilitating the discussion. Then I asked them if they wanted to do something about it and they said yes. I asked them what and they didn’t know, so I suggested they brainstorm ideas and I would, too, and then we could discuss at our next meeting which ideas they particularly liked and which ideas were feasible to pursue. The teens were extremely excited about the idea of being able to talk directly with publishing representatives.
How will you use the MAE Award money at your library?
We plan to use it toward an author visit. The teens will be submitting their suggestions at the next couple of YAAC meetings.
Any advice to librarians or teachers thinking about applying for this year’s MAE Award?
Go for it! I didn’t expect to win and was taken totally by surprise. I told YAAC in December that I applied for the award because I was proud of them and the hard work they put into the panel. It was obvious that meant a lot to them. Whether or not you win the award, submitting their program is a wonderful way to reinforce to your teens that their programming is important and relevant. If you win, the publicity for the library system is also great.
Apply for the 2016 MAE Award for Best Literature Program for Teens! Deadline is December 1. Applications and additional information about the award are available online.
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The weather outside is frightful. In southern North Carolina, we have dealt this week with an ice storm and power outages. While this winter weather in no way compares to the months and months of freezing temperatures and blizzards in the Northeast and Midwest, it is safe to say that many of us all over the country are sick and tired of winter by this time of year. We long for warmer temperatures and blooming flowers. We long for spring. At work we are also anticipating the change in seasons as we prepare for all of the special programs we offer during the next few months. What special events or services are rolled out during the springtime at your libraries?
Spring in many ways allows us the time to finish our last minute plans for our busy summer reading program. We promote our summer reading schedule to the schools in May and are fine-tuning our programming plans during these last few months. Is spring your busiest time of year as you prep for summer reading or do you complete most of your program planning right before the programs begin in the summer? How will these next few months get you best prepared for summer reading?
Spring is also a special time of year for us as we participate in system-wide festivals. We anticipate the spring season with a Storytelling Festival at all eight library branches at the end of February. At the conclusion of the Storytelling Festival, we turn our attention from storytelling to science. During two weeks in April, library staff present interactive science programs as part of the North Carolina Science Festival. Spring is associated with science in our state. What special festivals, programs, or services are associated with spring within your library system?
School partnerships are also an important focus for public library staff during the spring. The highly popular Battle of the Books Competition is gearing up with county contests. Library branch staff have connected with public school teams to practice questions with students to help them prepare for their upcoming competitions. Other public library staff serve as judges or volunteer in various roles during these all-day events. Are there any special collaborations you enjoy with your school systems during these spring months?
In our library, spring is associated with summer reading planning, festivals, and special school partnerships. The cold, dreary weather may still be upon us, but starting this discussion may help us leave the ice and cold behind as we imagine warmer days ahead. What services or programs will be the focus at your library when the season changes? Please share your plans for spring in the comments below!Add a Comment
Well, this one took me completely by surprise. I had enjoyed The Bone Season, but with reservations, considering how long it took me to really understand the incredible world Samantha Shannon has built for us. It took me very little time at all, however, to disappear into the pages of this second installment of the genre bending series. At once futuristic and Victorian, The Mime Order is a fantastical, dystopian, paranormal murder mystery, and I couldn’t get enough of it. This a lush and opulent storyworld, one that unfolds in intricate detail and rewards the reader for their patience. It is perfect for character readers and for anyone who would love a series that offers a “crash course” in the nuances of its world (like me! I am one of those people!). Reading this, and even though it is third person, I felt like I was walking with Paige through... Read more »Add a Comment
Photo by David La Spina
The talented team behind The New York Times Magazine has been hard at work for four months overhauling and redesigning the publication, and if you’re like me you love any chance to peel back the curtain on a project like that. Thankfully, there’s a great in-depth look at the relaunch, including information about new columns, typefaces, page designs in print and online, and a whole lot more.
We have used the hammer and the tongs but perhaps not the blowtorch; we sought to manufacture a magazine that would be unusual, surprising and original but not wholly unfamiliar. It would be a clear descendant of its line. This magazine is 119 years old; nearly four million people read it in print every weekend. It did not need to be dismantled, sawed into pieces or drilled full of holes. Instead, we have set out to honor the shape of the magazine as it has been, while creating something that will, we hope, strike you as a version you have never read before.
Dynamite has had a lot of news this week in the busy Toy Fair/ComicsPRo period, including an exciting crossover event the return of two iconic heroes, and a new merchandise line. Here’s a digest version:
• Mark Waid is writing Justice, Inc.: The Avenger with artist Ronilson Freire. The series debuts in June and expands on the Justice, Inc., universe and vigilante industrialist Richard Henry Benson. variant covers include Alex Ross (Kingdom Come), Walter Simonson (The Mighty Thor), Francesco Francavilla (Afterlife with Archie), Marc Laming (All-New Invaders), and Barry Kitson (The Amazing Spider-Man).
In Justice, Inc.: The Avenger #1, Waid and Freire continue the adventures of Richard Henry Benson, a victim of a criminal attack that left his facial features forever deadened, gray in color and incapable of showing genuine emotion. And yet, the harsh stroke of fate gave him the ability to mold his face to match the appearance of anyone… a skill he could employ as the ultimate master of disguise. Driven to mete out retribution against those who would prey on the innocent, The Avenger finds himself on a collision course with a villain even more secretive, brutal, and unrelenting than himself: an Invisible Man.
Mark Waid’s participation in the Avenger launch fulfills a longtime writing goal; he says, “Moreso than The Shadow, moreso than Doc Savage, the Avenger has always, always been my favorite pulp hero, and I’ve been aching to write this story since I was eleven years old. What a blast! Having the opportunity to dive into the psyche of a crimefighter as unique as Benson has been a lifelong dream — I’ve been thinking about what his life and mind would be like ever since I read my first Avenger paperback back in the day. How does a man live his life when he has nothing to live for but justice? How does he navigate in a world of life and love and joy when his own features are frozen and stiff like putty, mirroring his cold, dead insides? There’s so much here to unpack.”
• Will Eisner’s The Spirit is coming back in a series written by Matt Wagner and covers by Alex Ross, Eric Powell, and Wagner. DEny Colt, a masked everyman crimefighter, was the center of an iconic series by Eisner and has been brought back most recently at DC.
“I discovered The Spirit via the black-and-white, magazine-sized reprints of the mid-70s. It was the first time that I truly perceived sequential narrative as a legitimate art form, of the immense creative power of a comic-artist in his prime,” says Wagner. “I can honestly say that seeing and experiencing The Spirit in my formative years ultimately led to my career as a comics author. It’s such an immense thrill and a professional honor to have the chance to contribute to Will Eisner’s legacy on the milestone 75th anniversary of his most influential and iconic character.”
• Joining the wave of female led titles that is changing the ace of the industry, in May Swords of Sorrow is a giant crossover event featuring Red Sonja, Vampirella, Dejah Thoris with an all-female writing team led by Gail Simone. The event kicks off with a Swords of Sorrow series by Simone, Swords of Sorrow: Vampirella / Jennifer Blood miniseries written by Nancy A. Collins (Vampirella, Swamp Thing); Swords of Sorrow: Chaos special by Mairghread Scott (Transformers: Windblade); and the Swords of Sorrow: Masquerade / Katospecial by G. Willow Wilson (Ms. Marvel) and Erica Schultz (M3). In later months, more projects by Leah Moore, Marguerite Bennett, Emma Beeby, and Mikki Kendal will debut. That’s a lot of female writers!
In keeping with the theme, variant cover artists include a main cover byJ. Scott Campbell (Danger Girl); variants by Jenny Frison, Emanuela Lupacchino; a subscription edition by Robert Hack available to fans placing preorders with their local retailers; and incentive editions by Joyce Chin, Tula Lotay, Nei Ruffino, Cedric Poulat. Swords of Sorrow: Vampirella / Jennifer Blood #1 and the Swords of Sorrow: Masquerade / Kato special both feature covers by Billy Tan, while the Swords of Sorrow: Chaos special spotlights Joyce Chin.
Gail Simone, who has been planning the project since her involvement was announced in July, says, “Here’s the thing: I love pulp adventure, always have. But as male-dominated as comics have often been, the pulp adventure world seems to be even more so. Most of the big name stars and creators are dudes, and that’s fine, it’s great. But it hit me… what if that wasn’t the case? What if adventure pulps had also been written with female readers in mind, and awesome female characters in the spotlight? That’s the scenario we are imagining, and it’s just been a blast. The key players are Red Sonja, Vampirella, and Dejah Thoris, but it’s such an epic-spanning, world-hopping event that we also have Kato, Jungle Girl, Lady Rawhide, Jennifer Blood, and so many more. It’s the crossover I dreamed of when I was a kid, and now we get to make it happen.”
Simone’s core Swords of Sorrow story serves as the starting point for a new universe of pulp adventure. Illustrated by Sergio Davila (Legenderry: A Steampunk Adventure), the series features the supernatural heroine Vampirella, Martian princess Dejah Thoris, crimson-tressed swordswoman Red Sonja, martial artist Kato (from filmmaker Kevin Smith’s reboot of The Green Hornet), primal warrior Jungle Girl, and many more. Drawn from a dozen worlds and eras to face off against a legendary evil that threatens their homelands, Dynamite’s fiercest females must overcome their differences to harness the power of mystical blades — the eponymous Swords of Sorrow — in final conflict.
Gail Simone also serves as the architect for all storylines tied into the event, providing direction to her personally selected team of writers. “We got the best writers around, gave them a fun combination of characters and just let them go wild,” says Simone. “It’s creators like G. Willow Wilson, Marguerite Bennett, Nancy A. Collins and more, with book titles like Vampirella vs. Jennifer Blood, Kato vs. Masquerade, and Red Sonja vs. Jungle Girl. More about these tag teams will be coming soon, but it’s just a ridiculous amount of fun to set these characters against each other, and I’m very proud of the astounding team of writers, who I hand-picked from among the very best of new female adventure writers. There’s never been a crossover event in comics like this, ever.”
• Finally, Dynamite has entered into a partnership with The Brewing Factory, the merchandise development company founded by former DC vp Georg Brewer. The line debuts with Women of Dynamite, a line of female figures including Vampirella designed by Jason Smith and based on the artwork of J. Scott Campbell), set for June release.
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“I’ve been really fortunate to work on some great projects these last few years, but my first love will always be comics,” says Georg Brewer. “Working with Nick and Joe at Dynamite, and their talented comics creators, has been a blast! It’s certainly been a fantastic way for me to get back to where it all started, and along with sculptor Jason Smith, we are creating an amazing line of statues.” ”We are extremely fortunate to work with someone of Georg’s knowledge, skill, experience, and sterling reputation,” says Nick Barrucci, CEO and Publisher ofDynamite Entertainment. “His passion and expertise in the development and manufacturing of cool fan collectibles is second to none, and our being able to work with Georg is going to help bring fans additional great product lines featuring Dynamite’s extensive library of characters. The debut product line resulting from our creative partnership will be Women of Dynamite statues inspired by J. Scott Campbell artwork, and from there, we will continue to delve into our expansive library of intellectual properties.”
This month on Five First Book Favorites you’ll find books that help kids understand civil rights and fair wages, explore different cultures… or even explore the moon!
Take Me Out To The Yakyu By Aaron Meshon
The narrator of this delightful book is a boy who loves baseball – in two different countries! He goes to games in the U.S. with his American grandfather (pop pop) and games in Japan with his Japanese grandfather (ji ji). Bold, colorful illustrations show, side-by-side, the trip to each stadium. It’s a wonderful invitation for kids to compare and contrast two different experiences and also reflect on the countries and cultures of their own families.
Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers’ Strike of 1909 written by Michelle Markel and illustrated by Melissa Sweet
Clara Lemlich immigrated to New York with nothing aside from her family, clothes, and a few words of English. When her parents were unable to find work, she took a job as a garment factory worker – earning a few dollars a month for countless hours bent over a sewing machine. With a blend of vivid watercolors and stitched fabrics, this book tells the story of how Clara led her coworkers on strike to protest their horrendous working conditions. Bosses of the factories paid for Clara to be beaten and arrested repeatedly, but nothing could stop this gritty, five-foot tall woman from securing a better life for millions.
Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11 by Brian Floca
The moment Apollo 11’s Eagle touched down on the Moon, it became a defining moment for a nation that had lived up to a President’s lofty goal. With stunning illustrations, this poetic story allows you to join Armstrong, Collins, and Aldrin as they prepare for liftoff, follows them at every stage of the mission, and doesn’t let go until they are safely back home. Brian Floca has created a work of art worthy of inspiring young readers to dream beyond what is easy, and strive for what is hard.
The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights by Steve Sheinkin
Loading 500-pound bombs into a Navy warship is, to say the least, a dangerous job. On July 17th, 1944, the fears of the untrained men who held this job became reality when an explosion claimed the lives of 320 men, the majority of whom were black. During this time, the Navy, like every other part of the United States Military, was segregated,frequently leaving black men to be treated as second class citizens serving menial roles. This masterfully crafted nonfiction book follows the fifty men who refused to go back to this life-threatening and degrading work, and the court case that followed.
Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt
There are few characters you will ever root for more than Doug Swieteck. On the surface, he is a good for nothing, skinny thug with a reading disability. Just ask his teachers and they’ll tell you. However in the depths of Doug Swieteck, where this book takes place, you find a boy who is trapped – one brother a bully, one a vacant shell of his pre-war self, and an abusive alcoholic for a father who has left a horrific mark on his youngest son. The secrets Doug is holding back from the reader are gut-wrenching, but with the help of a few strangers-turned-friends and a newfound passion for art, this fourteen-year-old will inspire every person lucky enough to pick up his story.Add a Comment
Having worked as a licensing illustrator for Snoopy for six years early in my career, I developed a serious passion/geekiness for line quality. So when POW!/PowerHouse sent me a copy of Laura Ljungkvist's A LINE CAN BE, I flipped. I'm thrilled to have her on today to talk about her latest book...
Author James Patterson has partnered with Barnes & Noble to promote the children’s book I Totally Funniest.
The I Totally Funniest Joke Drive centers around Jamie Grimm, the main character in the bestselling I Funny series. Middle schooler Grimm wants to become the world’s greatest stand-up comedian and land a TV deal.
Readers are invited to visit any Barnes & Noble location and submit their favorite joke, caption or one-liner in order to help him out. The Joke Drive Activity Sheets are available in stores at the I Totally Funniest Joke Drive Box, as well as at this link. Appropriate jokes will be posted inside stores throughout the month.Add a Comment
You’re outside shoveling your own driveway when you decide, as a kind gesture, to shovel your neighbor’s driveway too. Just then a group of teenagers with shovels show up and threaten you, claiming that this is “their turf.” What do you do?
Post your response (500 words or fewer) in the comments below.
Want more creative writing prompts?
Pick up a copy of A Year of Writing Prompts: 365 Story Ideas for Honing Your Craft and Eliminating Writer’s Block. There’s a prompt for every day of the year and you can start on any day.
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Yesterday we visited the Dinotopia show in Stamford, Connecticut in preparation for the events that are coming up in a couple of weeks.
Over 50 original paintings are presented in several big rooms of the museum. For those who saw the Lyman Allyn show in eastern Connecticut a couple of years ago, this is a completely different show—all different artwork.
This is Grace Lin’s first novel and she wrote it because ‘this was the … Continue reading ...
Summary: In a recent NPR interview, Joel Christian Gill said, "These stories are quintessentially American stories. I can't say that enough. It's not that I dislike Black History Month. I just don't think Black History Month is enough." I agree... Read the rest of this postAdd a Comment
Getting your book published is difficult, and unfortunately it tends to be much harder when you’re a Person of Color. While there are more diverse books being published, there’s still a lot of work to do!
Fortunately there are awards and grants out there help writers of color achieve their publication dreams.
We’ve created a list of awards and grants to help you get started!
New Voices Award – Established in 2000, is for the unpublished author of color for a picture book manuscript.
New Visions Award – Modeled after LEE & LOW’s New Voices Award, this award is for Science Fiction, Fantasy, or Mystery middle grade or YA novels.
SCBWI Emerging Voices Grant – This award is given to two unpublished writers or illustrators from ethnic and/or cultural backgrounds that are traditionally under-represented in children’s literature in America and who have a ready-to-submit completed work for children.
The Angela Johnson Scholarship from Vermont College of Fine Arts – This scholarship is for new students of color of an ethnic minority for VCFA’s MFA program.
Vaunda Micheaux Nelson Scholarship from Hamline College – “Annual award given to a new or current student in the program who shows exceptional promise as a writer of color.”
We Need Diverse Books Short Story Contest - This short story contest was inspired by Walter Dean Myers’ quote, “Once I began to read, I began to exist.”
The Scholastic Asian Book Award – This award is for Asian writers writing books set in Asia aimed at children 6-18 years of age.
Octavia E. Butler Memorial Scholarship Fund – This fund enables writers of color to attend the Clarion writing workshops where writer Octavia Butler got her start.
SLF Diverse Writers and Diverse Worlds Grants – These grants are new works and works in progress. The Diverse Writers Grant focuses on writers from underrepresented and underprivileged backgrounds, and the Diverse Worlds Grant is for stories that best present a diverse world, regardless of the author’s background.
Eleanor Taylor Bland Crime Fiction Writers of Color Award – This one time grant is awarded to an emerging writer of color of crime fiction.
NYFA Artists’ Fellowships – These fellowships are for residents of New York State and/or Indian Nations located in New York State.
Golden Baobab Prizes for Literature – These annual awards recognize emerging African writers and illustrators.
The Sillerman First Prize for African Poets – This prize is for unpublished African poets.
What other awards and grants do you recommend for authors of color?Add a Comment
This will the McGregor’s first time out behind the camera. McGregor will also star in the film along with Jennifer Connelly and Dakota Fanning.
Deadline.com has the scoop:
The story follows Seymour \"Swede\" Levov (McGregor), a legendary high school athlete who grows up to marry a former beauty queen (Connolly) and inherits his father’s business. Swede’s seemingly perfect life shatters when his daughter (Fanning) rebels by becoming a revolutionary and committing a deadly act of political terrorism during the Vietnam War.Add a Comment
Kevin was so fascinated by these planes in Vancouver. We watched several take off and land.
This was taken off the pier in Vancouver. Just another example of Kevin’s eye – I would have never have thought to take this picture.
Kevin is so cute – I don’t care who you are. (inside joke).
Jorge Gutierrez and Reel FX Animation Studios have teamed up again, this time to produce a "kung fu space western" film.Add a Comment
You know how sometimes you know God is speaking to you because you keep getting the same message, loud and clear? You know, first you read something that really strikes you. Then you hear the same idea in a sermon. Then you run across Scripture that seems to be saying the same thing?