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It's been a while since I've seen a new book about my profession. When I learned that Scholastic was putting out a new book, I asked to see a copy, and they obliged. Shepherd. Jodie. 2013. A Day with Librarians. New York: Scholastic.
Part of the Rookie Read-About Community series, this small (roughly 7"x7") "easy reader" contains basic facts about librarians, their varied duties, and their workplaces. Information is conveyed in simple black font on a white background with a photograph on the facing page.
The "front desk librarian," the one described as using a scanner to check out books and noting when they need to be returned, isn't too common in the public library system in which I work, but I imagine she may be more common in school media centers or smaller libraries.
Statistically, the photos depict a greater diversity in our profession than actually exists, but reflect the change that librarians (and other forward-thinking professions) are striving to create - a more diverse membership. Hopefully, young readers will see themselves in these pages and think about librarianship as a career (no, we're not becoming obsolete).
In addition to five small "chapters," A Day with Librarians includes tips on being a community helper, an index, additional facts, and an "about the author" section.
From the "Meet a Librarian" chapter,
Librarians have important jobs. They can help you find a good book to read or some information about almost anything.
That about sums it up. I'm good with that.
Other professions featured in the series are doctors, firefighters, mail carriers, paramedics and police officers.
The one thing everyone wants to know when they find out I work at the Stranger is how to get a job at the Stranger. Weird-smelling people at parties want jobs at the Stranger, people in bands who think they'd be good movie reviewers want jobs at the Stranger, people who don't get to look [...]
Have you ever met a barista with a college degree? What about one with a master's degree? Spend time in Portland, or likely any other major city in North America, and this experience is not uncommon. Between those who are completely unemployed, those who are underemployed, and those who have just gone off the grid, [...]
If you’re like us, you can’t wait for the next Maggie Stiefvater book (to hit the shelves. We still have several months to wait for “The Raven Boys,” the first in a four book series called the Raven Cycle, which follows... Read the rest of this post
A local school has planned "Career Week" for their fourth graders. The premise is to help students learn more about opportunities and career choices beside the favorite ones like firemen, nurses and doctors. I've been asked to talk about being a writer and librarian, and give the kids a chance to explore what a career in books might hold for them. I'll also be doing a writers workshop with them.
The workshop should be fun. We'll break down a fairytale and talk about characters, plot and the action that moves a story from beginning to finish. We'll also talk about illustrators since so many children enjoy drawing. What I'd be interested in hearing from you, is what made you realize storytelling was the career choice for you. Kids love to hear how "real" people decided on a career.
The other question, other than becoming writers, editors, publishers, and librarians, etc. what are some careers that utilize wordsmiths? If you know of a career that involves writing, please share with us today. I'm sure the kids would be interested in hearing about those too.
Please take a moment to share your thoughts! Thanks ~
Do you love technology? Do you love books? Do you have great interpersonal and communication skills? Do you live to build and support great software teams? Do you thrive in a fast paced e-commerce environment? If the answer is yes please read on.
If you are a software engineer and want to live in the Pacific Northwest BookFinder.com is currently looking for two positions. 1) Software Engineering Manager and 2) an experienced Software Engineer to be a part of a small agile team in our Vancouver B.C. office
If you are interested take a look at the job postings which are located on our parent company’s website. All of the qualifications and contact details are listed there however please feel free to contact us with any questions you might have about the positions. We hope to hear from you.
Today’s post comes from Youth Advisory Board member Camilla Nord, who has noticed a trend among her friends and classmates. After they graduate, they take on careers that are often, at best, loosely tied to their college studies. They make for... Read the rest of this post
Scroll all the way down to read the awesome comic strip Gene Yang and Thiem Pham created exclusively for us about the origins ofLevel Up!
Level Up, the forthcoming graphic novel written by me (Gene Yang) and illustrated by Thien Pham, tells the story of video game addict who is compelled by angels to go to medical school. It started with stories from my medical doctor brother, but it ended with my dad. As I made my words into a story, my relationship with my father came to mind over and over again.
My father is a pretty typical Chinese immigrant of the 1970’s: hard-working, practically-minded, and frugal to a fault. Throughout my life, we’ve had this constant conflict. I wanted to draw funny pictures. He wanted me to become a productive member of society—specifically, a doctor, a lawyer, or an engineer.
This conflict seems to be universal among the children of immigrants, especially as we come of age and begin making life decisions. Should I follow my heart or my parents’ wishes?
I love watching The Deadliest Catch (even though I’m not a huge reality TV show person). If you’ve never seen the show, it’s about a bunch of guys that go crab fishing in the Bering Sea. Doesn’t sound too bad, does it? Except that the Bering Sea, in the middle of winter is the last place that most people would want to be. Most of the time it’s freezing cold, add to that ice, snow and storms. Working on a crab boat in those conditions is not easy, or at least it doesn’t look easy. I’ve never tried it. Sometimes the guys work for 50 hours (or more) straight, without sleep. Oh yeah, and people yell at each other a lot (you would too, if you were stuck on a small boat in the middle of the sea for months at a time).
There’s a reason they call this show The Deadliest Catch. It’s a dangerous job and people die doing it. Boats sink in clam waters and rough seas. During storms, waves wash over the deck drenching the guys that are out there pulling pots (metal traps used to catch crab). A huge wave could knock them off their feet, dragging them off the boat. It’s so cold in the water that they can only last a few moments, and that’s if they are wearing survival suits. Without them, people don’t usually survive a dip in the Bering Sea.
Why would anyone want to be a crab fisherman on the Bering Sea? Some of the guys that go crab fishing say they love it. Others say that if someone says they love it, they’re lying. It’s all about the money. The crab fishermen make decent money for a few months of work, and they should. Every time they go out to fish, they’re risking their lives.
Every time I watch this show, I’m happy that I’m an author and artist and not a crab fisherman. Every time. In this illustration, the fish is writing and illustrating children’s and YA books, the crab is, me, if I had to go crab fishing.
Which one are you, carpe diem or crabe diem?
Do you watch the show? Whether you do, or not, would you want to be a crab fisherman on the Bering Sea?
I think it might be fun to try it … not the real thing, but the video game, which can be played in the middle of winter, from the safety of your nice, warm house.
Update: Sig Hansen (captain of the Northwestern) was on Leno tonight! And he wants to be on Dancing with the Stars!! OMG! Ha! Go here to help (FaceBook page to show fan support).
p.s. Sig and Edgar Hansen are my favorites on The Deadliest Catch.
During last week, which was National Library Week, I got to thinking about a book I had read recently about libraries and librarians. It was Marilyn Johnson’s This Book Is Overdue! How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All.
Witty and Provocative.Who would have thought that a book about libraries could be both thought-provoking and funny? I must admit that I had expected the book to be humorous since I have met the author (www.marilynjohnson.net) several times, and she is hilarious in person. I have also read her only other published book, The Dead Beat: Lost Souls, Lucky Stiffs, and the Perverse Pleasures of Obituaries, a witty take on writing obituaries.
Are Librarians Obsolete?Ms. Johnson has often been asked if librarians are obsolete in the Age of Google. Her answer is “Are you kidding? Librarians are more important than ever.” She points out that there are many people who do not have computers, do not know how to do research on the Internet, and do not know how to compose and send e-mails. When they show up at the library, they have to be taught how to do those things. Most librarians are busy keeping up with changing technologies so they can at least be a step ahead of their patrons. Some librarians are way ahead of others, thus the author’s use of the term cybrarians in the subtitle to her book.
Websites.The author shows how many of the Web sites that we use or should use when we go on the Internet are library related. WorldCat.org (www.worldcat.org) connects to more than 10,000 libraries worldwide. It tells you which libraries have which books. The New York Public Library (www.nypl.org) Web site is humongous. The British Li
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Nothing speaks louder than a good role model. As a teacher and a father, I absolutely believe that. That's also why I love picture books which retell the lives of men and women who, from their very childhoods, proved themselves to be innovative, independent, and incredibly resolute.
So while this post (and the next) might be seen as my "doing the Women's History bit," I truly believe that these biographies can serve a universal role in helping students realize that childhood dreams and interests can determine the paths they follow as adults.
Take, for example, Julia Morgan, who as a child loved to build. To her, buildings were huge puzzles, and she wanted to know how all the pieces fit together. Greatly influenced by her father, an engineer, and her cousin Pierre LeBrun, an architect who designed many of Manhattan's stone churches and its first skyscrapers, Julia dreamed of becoming an architect.
The book Julia Morgan Built a Castle, written by Celeste Davidson Mannis and illustrated by Miles Hyman, chronicles Julia's dogged determination to first enter the prestigious Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris, and to then be accepted as a competent professional (unlikely for a woman in the early 1900's). Her success in both endeavors is inspiring to read; the glowing, sculpturesque forms in Miles Hyman's gorgeous images make this book a satisfying journey through the life of one remarkable woman. Morgan was a tireless architect who completed hundreds of projects while simultaneously working on William Randolph Hearst's incredible San Simeon estate (the "castle" of the book's title), which required twenty eight years to complete. In her design, Morgan ingeniously suspended the estate's massive 345,000 gallon Neptune Pool from steel reinforced concrete beams so that it would sway, rather than buckle, during California's frequent earthquakes.
A question I'm often asked when conducting picture book workshops is, "Do you think that e-readers will someday replace picture books?" I've always answered, "Never," perhaps too emphatically, hiding the bit of doubt that I actually felt. But then along comes a picture book that defies the possibility that this literature form will be replaced anytime soon.
The Best Family in the World, written by Susana López and illustrated by Ulises Wensell, is such a book. Young Carlota anxiously awaits the arrival of her new family, and in her sleep imagines the possibilities. What will they be like? Will they be pirates, or tiger tamers, or pastry chefs? None of the above, as it turns out. But her new, ordinary family, while not as fascinating and adventurous as any she imagined, is in many ways even better.
The Best Family in the World is what a picture book is meant to be. It first of all is slightly oversized, just begging to be shared aloud. Its saturated illustrations fill the pages, to the very edges in most cases, with purposeful blank spaces playing their roles in others. And its theme of possibilities is fully realized by the illustrator's generous use of whole page spreads. Reading this book on an electronic reader would be akin to viewing the Mona Lisa on a postage stamp, and arguing that the latter experience was equally satisfying and edifying.
But it doesn't stop there. Like all excellent picture books, this one works on a number of levels. As Carlota imagines each possible family, author Susana López describes that family in a lyrical paragraph, the language pattern of which is repeated throughout the book. When considering her future pirate parents, for example, Carlota imagines that
She'd live on a pirate ship! She'd sail the seven seas, decorate flags with skulls and crossbones and look for treasure troves of gold doubloons. She'd carry a monkey on her right shoulder and a parrot on her left. She'd have a patch over her eye and a wooden leg. Yes, a family of pirates would be the best family in the world!
Students could use these same sentence patterns to create their own imaginary "best family." In fact, I liked that simple idea so much that I created a student activity sheet for that very purpose. Either individually or as a class, students imagine a new family for Carlota, and write about the things she'll be doing and wearing. If every student creates their own, this same activity could be turned into a guessing game. Each student in turn reads aloud what Carlota will be doing with her new family, and then classmates guess the identity of that family.
On August 5th, I posted the blog “The Play’s the Thing,” by Henry I. Christ. When he first submitted it, he had no clue what acting had once meant to me. Believe it or not, this Amsco English Language Arts editor, this “cutting edge” writer, was once an aspiring actress!
As a kid, I floored grownup audiences with my dramatic readings. As a teen, I was obsessed with movies from the 1930s and ‘40s, and even silent films. Once “discovered,” I would be the greatest film actress—and Oscar winner— of all time. I’d beat even Katharine Hepburn’s three Oscars (since then she earned a fourth, for On Golden Pond)!
Of course, my only real brush with acting were class plays and “The Treasure at Bentley Inn,” with St. Mary’s Teenage Theatre Guild. Though my bit-part of Binnie Binns stole the show, I turned my nose up at “secondary leads.” I was better than that! Me, I was destined for great leading roles, and instant stardom! Or so I thought. I was insanely jealous of Maureen McCormick, “Marcia Brady” on The Brady Bunch. Hey, she was my age! How’d she get to be somebody, already? Recently, a TV history of TheBrady Bunch said that back in the early 70s, teen girls identified with Marcia, and wanted to be like her. Not me. I would rather be like Cher, than Marcia. Still, I would’ve taken long, shiny blonde hair over my own short dark frizz. But I had no cheerleader aspirations. It was Marcia’s (actually McCormick’s) fame I wanted!
Mind you, I had no desire (Forget money!) to go to acting school. Why should I, when I already knew how to act? Plus the big schools were in L.A. and New York City. Like my folks would ever move to L.A.! They hardly ever left the house. We lived in Jersey, but to my overprotective parents, California and New York were both off-limits to me. I felt trapped.
All those years spent “not acting” were devoted to my other love . . . writing. Creating stories and poems was completely different from interpreting somebody else’s scripts. Writing was empowering, but it took me a long time to realize how much.
At Jersey City State College (now New Jersey City University), I’d planned to be a Theater Arts major, but somehow, that didn’t happen. To please my mother—the one person who I’d longed not to please—I was going to be a teacher. But it wasn’t my calling. I majored in English, to be closer to writing, and literature. And maybe, if a good play came along . . .
One did. Even now, thirty years later, my stomach tightens when I remember that awful audition. I’m not sure which play State put on that year—I think it was Tobacco Road—but I recall the audition from hell very well.
In my head, I’d practiced my lines over and over, while feeling zilch for the character. It’s a test, I told myself, to see if I could do it! To see if I still had it, whatever it was.
I trembled as the tall, arrogant director handed me a different script: something I’d never read before! If the stage opened up beneath me and swallowed me, I would’ve been glad. The guy I read with knew this new script real well. He was a star, probably the star of the actual play State was putting on.
It felt like a setup. Like I was doomed to fail, and both the director and this gifted actor knew it. One look at me had convinced them. How the actor spoke his lines intimidated me. I tripped over mine, stuttering, as I tried desperately to breathe emotion into those alien, empty words.
“Thank you!” the director told me. “That’s all.”
"Why?" I asked myself, later. Why did it happen that way? Because I was fat? (By senior year, I’d gained so much weight that I had no self-esteem.) But if I was any good at acting, maybe weight wouldn’t have mattered. Maybe a character role was out there for me . . .
"No," I thought. Not for me. “Second lead” wasn’t good enough. From that moment on, my acting career was history. I knew I would never waste my time speaking another writers’ lines.
Playful, edge-to-edge illustrations and cheerily worded nuggets of history, mystery, physics, and biology paint a thrilling picture of a brilliantly curious and creative man that will tickle the scientist in all of us.
Playful, edge-to-edge illustrations and cheerily worded nuggets of history, mystery, physics, and biology paint a thrilling picture of a brilliantly curious and creative man that will tickle the scientist in all of us.
In the current economic climate, with unemployment rates rising, who worries about what math courses high school students take? One group, KnowHow2GO.org, is sponsoring an advertising campaign for--of all things--algebra. I saw this poster in my neighborhood and was puzzled: why would you advertise algebra, a required course for virtually all American high school students? It turns out that KnowHow2GO is concerned that students from low-income families, or who are the first in their families to pursue higher education, don't make it to college. Research shows that these students often lack the guidance they need to prepare for college.
Advertising mathematics is not a new phenomenon, as illustrated by the WPA Federal Arts Project poster above (c. 1935), which points the way to a list of math-related careers that are still relevant today (though the title "calculating machine operator" has gone out of fashion.)
The American Mathematics Society maintains an excellent Web resource of careers for recent graduates who hold a Bachelor's degree in mathematics. Students who think that sounds totally boring should check out the "What Can I Do With a Math Career?"poster and the "Career Information for High School Students" brochure. Does being an animator, a pollster, an air traffic controller, an urban designer, or a climate analyst sound boring? (Comment below if it does.)
My last stop in this reverie about careers in mathematics was the job-search site Monster.com, which returned 4,209 postings for the key word "math."
I am a firm believer that American children need to be exposed to career information from any eary age. There are so many choices out there that it is mind boggling! Today I thought it would be fun for parents and kids to learn what different “ologists” do - you know, scientists with “ologist” at the end of their titles. These are worth researching further with your kids. Here are the more unique ones:
apiologist - one who studies bees
bacteriologist - one who studies bacteria
cartologist - one who makes maps
cetologist - one who studies whales
entomologist - one who studies insects
eschatologist - one who studies death and judgement, as it pertains to theology
ethologist - one who studies animal behavior
etiology - one who studies causes or origins of disease
graphologist - one who studies handwriting
herpetologist - one who studies reptiles
hippologist - one who studies horses
ichthyologist - one who studies fish (a branch of zoology)
morphologist - one who studies the form and structure of organisms (a branch of biology)
mycologist - one who studies fungi (a branch of biology)
myrmecologist - one who studies ants
nephologist - one who studies clouds and cloud formation (a branch of metoerology)
ornithologist – one who studies birds
ophiologist - one who studies snakes
otologist - one who studies the anatomy of the ear (a branch of biomedicine)
paleoanthropologist - one who studies ancient humans as found in fossils
paleozoologist - one who studies animals fossils and ancient animal life
petrologist - one wo studies rocks to learn about past climates and geography
phenologist - one who studies biological phenomena as it relates to climatic conditions
philologist - one who studies historical literature or the classics
phonologist - one who studies sounds and patterns in a language
phytosociologist - one who studies the relationships of plants and their characteristics and classifications
pomologist - one who studies and grows fruit
pyrologist - one who studies the properties of heat and fire
seismologist- one who studies earthquakes and the earth’s properties
somatologist - one who studies the anatomy of the human body
Growing up, I always pictured my favorite writers Doing Nothing But Writing. Can you see them too? There's Lois Duncan, bent over a manuscript at a small attic desk, ghostly whispers swirling around her. Or Ellen Emerson White, tucked in a DC rowhouse overlooking the Washington Monument and penning her next story about living in the White House. I have no idea if that's what their lives or writing spaces were, or are, like, really--but that's how I always pictured it. Nothing but words and romance and... fantasy.
I'd like to say I've gotten more realistic, now that I'm a writer. But sometimes I still imagine everyone else is spending oodles of time at their desks, churning out books, while my life is spent juggling, and juggling, and juggling.
But I think my life is actually far more typical of a children's book writer than many realize. Yes, I do spend lots of time writing books for teens. But I also am a mother to a four year-old, and I work full-time for an educational publishing company doing non-writerly things. I have a beautiful old house that is always demanding attention--patch! renovate! paint! mow!--and an ever-supportive husband who barely ever complains about the huge queue of shows to be watched on our DVR.
I know writers who are accountants, teachers, media specialists, public librarians, stay-at-home parents, and attorneys. They all struggle to find the time--and energy--to write.
Don't get me wrong: I am grateful for my writing career and it's always worth the struggle to make time for it. But the next time you picture your favorite writer lavishing six, seven, eight hours per day on their manuscript... odds are, their desk is empty during most of that time. it's amazing what we all DO get done, given that nobody's found a way to fit more hours into their day (and if you have... will you please share?).
Gilded, stylized illustrations, scads of stats and lilting, laid back narration present an inspiring tale of persistence, power, poise and prevalent potential in this intimate look at the short but striking career of one of baseball’s greats.
But there’s one writer whom I’ve known most of my life, who has inspired me personally: my cousin, screenwriter/director Chris Solimine.
Busy as he is, he always finds time both to encourage me in my own writing and to “burst my bubble” when necessary. On my recent trip to L.A., he put me up for four days, even though Ben Franklin said, “Guests and fish stink after three [days].”
And, busy as he is, Chris was kind enough to grant me this interview about his past successes and most recent film,Moscow Chill.
Cindy:Cinema-Russia magazine said “you made a film that is not loaded with Western (meaning American) banality, but filled with Russian color and flavor…”
What brought you to Russia, originally? And why did you set your film there?
Chris: I became deeply interested in Russian literature in college and grad school: the big names like Dostoevsky and Tolstoy,but also lesser-known Soviet-era writers like Platonov. When I met and began collaborating with the Russian director Andrei Konchalovsky, I was able to travel to the world of Crime and Punishmentand Notes from Underground. I learned that Dostoevsky did not invent those people who animated his works from thin air. They were taken from his real-life experiences, and similar characters still lived in and around Moscow. I found Russia to be a rapidly evolving, breathing culture that was combining old ways with new, struggling with keeping parts of its past while attempting to enter “modernity.” This seemed like the perfect place to make a film about an American tossed into a fascinating world.
Cindy:Cinema-Russia called you “the most interesting filmmaker to emerge from the ‘Konchalovsky School’ of Russian Cinema.” What is the “Konchalovsky School” all about?
Chris: Andrei Konchalovsky is a giant of Soviet and Russian cinema. As a filmmaker, he loves to explore the medium’s visual nature. Imagery and visual details are used to enhance the narrative; not simply landscapes and beautiful shots, but also the human face. Konchalovsky is a master at displaying emotion and inner life through the actor’s face. I don’t agree with all his artistic principles—I’m fonder of dialogue—but learning how to deal with actors, and make them comfortable before the camera, is a huge part of this method.
Cindy: When did you first get serious about writing, and screenwriting in particular?
Chris: I’ve always liked to write stories and also loved to draw and paint as a kid. I found, and still believe, that movies are just moving paintings with people inside them telling stories. So screenwriting is the perfect combination of both. I began to study film seriously in college, but since the art form is only 100 years old, I studied literature and creative writing, in order to better understand storytelling and human behavior.
Cindy: What other careers have you had where your writing skills came into play?
Chris: I was a high school English teacher; not a very good one because I was always dreaming of my own work. I’ve helped advertising directors put together campaigns on products I found uninteresting, so imagination and wordplay were essential. Other times, I took manual labor jobs to support my writing habit, until I was paid to put my film ideas down on paper. But if you consider studying human behavior part of the writing process, all work is part of writing, and understanding people is important in every job. Cindy: What were the challenges of adapting a classic like Homer’s Odysseyfor the screen?
Chris: First was reverence for the text. Since it’s basically the work on which the Western canon is founded, you can’t fool people by making things up or altering them too much. There was the length: You have to choose what episodes are most important; otherwise the film would be more like 6–8 hours. Then there was the challenge of audience. While the network appreciated the material, it wanted the maximum viewership possible. So you’re trying to walk the line between great literature and mass appeal. I’m sure the script would have been much different if we were making The Odysseyfor Masterpiece Theaterinstead of Hallmark and NBC. Finally, since imagination played such a huge role in Homer, it was extremely difficult to render certain portions of the text in realistic, visual ways. What may have been emotional on paper or in speech, might seem ridiculous when portrayed onscreen. A few scholars gave us grief for leaving some things out, but I believe they have no grasp of visual storytelling and could not envision what certain “essential episodes” would have looked or felt like.
Cindy: What advice would you give to teenagers who are interested in screenwriting?
Chris: Well, if they want to write blockbusters based on comic books, the answer is obvious— Learn the formulaic rules taught by all Hollywood screenwriting “experts.” But then they will be contributing to the end of movies. If they want to write quality scripts, they should read a lot of short stories to learn concision. If something is worth being included in a script, it must be worth putting a crew in a certain place, taking tremendous effort to get it on film, and then be part of a movie that usually lasts less than two hours. They should also read great novels to learn about fully-formulated characters that are also worth putting onscreen. For me, it’s most important to study human behavior: listen to the details of people’s lives and how they talk. It will surprise them how much great material is right at their fingertips.
Cindy: What are you working on now?
Chris: We just completed a big production of a musical based on The Nutcracker. I’m trying to convince several production companies that there is still room in the film world for projects based on history and literature. I am now writing a satirical comedy about Henry David Thoreau’s turning his back on society and going to live on Walden Pond. I’m also doing a contemporary version of Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov.
[To sample Chris Solimine's work, watch the Cyclops scene below from The Odyssey.]