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1. sea monkeys invade worth abbey

This weekend the Federation of Children's Book Group conference had an infestation! Two Oxford University Press publicists, both named Charlotte, both have mothers who can knit and both mothers made wonderfully cheeky Sea Monkeys. Here's Charlotte Armstrong, with the Sea Monkey who kept cracking jokes, asking how to get this lady off its bum.

We had several people ask where they could get a Sea Monkey, and the answer is... you can knit one yourself! Or find a friend who can! Free pattern on my website, developed by my studio mate Deadly Knitshade; do click over if you want your very own Sea Monkey.

When Philip Reeve and I first started doing Oliver and the Seawigs events, we focused more on how we met, and decided to start writing books together. But these days we're having more fun talking about the actual story. Here we are, enacting the scene when Mr and Mrs Crisp meet at the top of Mt Everest.

Photo tweeted by @FCBGNews

Now I saw this 'Going Down' advice in last Saturday's Guardian, and I'm setting out to prove them wrong.

Anyone can rock glasses and a frock if they can draw, they're wearing a squid on their head and playing a ukulele. True fact.

One of the great things about the conference was getting to hear other authors give presentations. Here's a drawing I did in pen of illustrator and writer Cressida Cowell, talking with Caroline Horn about her book series, How to Train Your Dragon.

Cressida also talked about having big films made of her stories, and how she was offered the chance to write the screenplay, but turned it down so she could focus on her books. You might have seen the first film already, and here's the trailer for the second film, coming out this summer:

Another fascinating thing was listening to her talk about her childhood holidays on an uninhabited island in Scotland, where they were able to run completely wild and encounter weird and wonderful wildlife:

The next day, after our event, Philip and I got to hear writer Meg Rosoff talk about writing, about how our brains are a sort of colander; we experience lots of things, and most of the things we forget. But some of the things mash down inside and begin to form something as they liquify and ferment, and start to create something new. She said she took comfort, years back, in something Philip said about writing books and throwing many stories away before hitting on the one he's happy with; she'd struggled with periods where she just couldn't get a book to work. But looking back, she'd realise that this time was important, is was when the story she really wanted to tell was quietly arranging itself in the back of her head. I should add that Meg also has a recent film adaptation of her book, How I Live Now, which I definitely want to see:

I didn't manage to get a photo of Meg, and the drawing didn't really turn out (I drew a colander on her head and it didn't look like her at all.) But I bought a copy of her latest book, Picture Me Gone, which I'm very much looking forward to reading. Marilyn Brocklehurst was running a great bookshop on site, so I also picked up a copy of Alex Milway's brand-new Pigsticks & Harold illustrated book, which is a lovely cross between a chapter book, picture book and comic. And Letters to Klaus, which is going out of print and contains a lovely gallery of illustrated envelopes by Satoshi Kitamura, David McKee and others. (You can have a peek at it over on Booktrust's website.)

Thanks so much to FCBG for inviting Philip and me, to Louise Stothard and Damian Kelleher for introducing us, to Marilyn Brocklenhurst for selling our books, to Hattie Bayly and Charlotte Armstrong from OUP for looking after us, to the monastery for yummy food (Worth Abbey's a gorgeous place; I'd wish I'd had more time to explore), and to everyone who made our visit so much fun!

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2. Connected Learning: Connecting with Coaches

energyOver the past two weeks, the YALSA President’s Program task force has been meeting with connected learning coaches who will facilitate discussions in Las Vegas to discuss their experience with and use of connected learning ideas. The diversity of these discussions cemented the feeling that connected learning comes in all shapes and sizes and we can’t wait to hear from you at our program at ALA Annual.

As we dove into discussion with the coaches a few themes kept recurring and we wanted to share them with you. Connected learning is already happening in many libraries, some just don’t have that term in their vocabulary to label what they are already doing. Libraries are poised to be the place where passion-directed learning happens. Already a community hub, we can help connect teens with the resources, mentors and spaces that will help them follow their passions. Now that we know what connected learning is and can see it already happening in our libraries, we can begin to foster it with intention.

As we begin to plan programs, services and classes with connected learning in mind, we have to stay flexible. Self-directed and passion-based learning is difficult to direct without derailing the learners enthusiasm. This is an easier goal for public libraries, who likely do not have to prove the learning happening at their programs, and can let the process take as long as it needs to. Schools face the challenge of identified outcomes to every class or program, but there are some great examples of librarians using the concepts of connected learning to add additional value to their testable outcomes.

Connected learning is happening in all types of libraries, as evidenced by the diversity of our coaches. At A Burning Need to Know: How Passion Connects to Learning they will help participants identify connected learning already happening in their environments, and as a group we will discuss ways to level up what we are already doing. There are small things we can do to bring big rewards to our teens.

If you want to find out more about connected learning please start with the wonderful posts on the YALSA Blog, starting with this one. Don’t forget to mark your calendars to attend the YALSA President’s Program, A Burning Need to Know: How Passion Connects to Learning, Monday, June 30,  1-3 pm.

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3. Las Vegas on the Big Screen . . .

. . . (and sometimes the little screen too)

With Las Vegas’ colorful history of mobsters, swanky hotels, and famous entertainers, it’s no surprise that the big screen (and sometimes the little one too) are attracted to Sin City. There is a lengthy list of films and television shows that have graced our 24-hour town. Some feature actual locations in Las Vegas while others are happy to simply use our city to set the story.

During your conference downtime, check out some of the locations that appear or inspire your favorite films and television shows. Don’t take your directions straight from the silver screen though; be sure to consult a map, GPS, or even a friendly local for the best way to visit these movie hot spots.

How many of these movie and television locations do you know?


  • Ocean’s Eleven (1960) – The closing shot shows the main cast walking away with the Sands Hotel marquee behind them.  The Sands Hotel is no longer around, but if you go to the Venetian Hotel & Casino you’ll be standing in part of the stomping ground of the infamous Rat Pack.
  • Rain Man (1988) – Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman play blackjack at Caesar’s Palace.
  • Honey, I Blew Up the Kid (1992) – Filming took place at well-known places around Las Vegas including the Hard Rock Café, Mirage Hotel, and even the original Wet ’n Wild water park (which closed in 2004).
  • Casino (1995) – Filming took place at the Riviera Casino (which served as the fictional Tangiers) but used the entrance of the nearby defunct Landmark Hotel as the entrance.
  • Mars Attacks! (1996) The demolition of the Landmark and the Luxor make a cameo in this comical science fiction film!
  • Austin Powers: International Man Of Mystery (1997) -This one was filmed at the Riviera Hotel and Casino on the Strip.
  • Con Air (1997) John Malkovich and Nicholas Cage land at McCarran Airport and later take out the Sands (and a few other landmarks along the Las Vegas Strip).
  • Vegas Vacation (1997) – This film is also known as “National Lampoon’s Vegas Vacation”. The Mirage Resort was a major location for this film, but Wayne Newton’s Shenandoah also made an appearance.
  • Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998) – Circus Circus Hotel & Casino and Flamingo Hotel both make a cameo in this cult classic.
  • Rush Hour 2 (2001)- This film took place in the Desert Inn, which no longer exists, but if you stand in front of the Wynn Hotel, you will be standing over the ashy remains of the Desert Inn.
  • Ocean’s Eleven (2001) – Danny Ocean plots to rob the Bellagio Hotel & Casino and the MGM Grand Resort & Casino.
  • The Hangover (2009) The Hangover was mostly filmed on location at Caesars Palace, including the front desk, lobby, entrance drive, pools, corridors, elevators, and roof, but the suite damaged in the film was built on a soundstage
  • Get Him to the Greek (2010) – Planet Hollywood, Red Rock, PURE, and the Ultra Sports Lounge in the Plaza all make appearances in this box office film.
  • Last Vegas (2013) Last Vegas takes place at the Aria Resort and Casino and at Binion’s Gambling Hall and Hotel.


  • American Restoration (2010; History Channel) – I was surprised to find out that this History Channel favorite is a based in Las Vegas AND is a spinoff of Pawn Stars.
  • Bad Ink (2013; A&E) – Bad Ink has been filmed in various locations in Las Vegas, but the show is based out of the Pussykat Tattoo Parlor off the Las Vegas Strip.
  • Criss Angel Mindfreak (2005; A&E)
  • CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (2000; CBS) – CSI often visit “The Rampart” Hotel and Casino, but viewers may not know that it’s far from the bustling Strip.
  • Heroes (2006; NBC)
  • Las Vegas (2003-2008; NBC) – Set in fiction, but the show is said to be inspired by the Mandalay Bay.
  • Lucky (2003; FX)
  • Pawn Stars (2009; History Channel) – This show is filmed on location at the Gold and Silver Pawn Shop in Downtown Las Vegas, only minutes away from the Fremont Experience.
  • The Real World: Las Vegas (2002, 2011; MTV) – Las Vegas was so awesome that The Real World filmed here twice. They filmed at the Palms Casino & Resort for the 2002 season, but returned to the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino for the 2011 season.
  • Vegas (2012; CBS)




Submitted by Natalia Tabisaura, YALSA Local Arrangements

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4. ALA Annual 2014: Working the Exhibit Hall

If you’ve never been to a convention before, the Exhibit Hall can be a bit overwhelming. Trust me, I’ve done ComicCon’s enough to know how to get the most out of the time you have and, really, the strategy can be applied to any convention or conference you go to. Here are some of my tips on being as efficient as possible when navigating the exhibits at Annual this year:

What Is the Exhibit Hall?

At any conference or convention there are hundreds of companies renting out booths to try and pitch their products to you, and with thousands of people rushing by, many will try almost anything to get you to stop at their specific booth. Some will offer freebies, some have raffles for awesome items like iPads and free airfare to next year’s conference and others will have author signings with some big-name people. In between all the speakers, panels, division meetings and professional development trainings you’re interested in going to, how do you manage to make the most of your time in the Exhibit Hall?

Make a Schedule

Check back on the official webpage for Annual about a month prior to the conference to see the Scheduler. You can browse, search, and select the specific programs you’d like to see and make a nice list of everything you’re interested in. The Scheduler can be a little hard to sort through but if you use the limiters such as Meeting Type, Sponsoring Divisions, and Subject you can find what you’d like to see. Once you know what your days will look like, take the time in between to visit the Exhibit Hall. And don’t feel like you have to see everything all at once. Stagger your time in the Hall throughout the conference so you have time to visit all the booths you’re interested in.

All the Free Swag

You won’t understand just how much free stuff there is until you see the Exhibit Hall when it opens. It can make librarians go mad, so use your head. At the 2013 conference, there were people with book trucks literally running inside to be the first to grab all the awesome freebies. I got caught up in it too, blindly grabbing things from each booth as I passed by, though I learned from my experience that it’s a good idea to take an extra moment to determine if you really want or need what you’re picking up or you might end up with more stuff than you’re able to get home. Be sensible, and you’ll be fine.

There are limited quantities of the best swag and those tend to disappear quickly. The booths limit how much product they put out each day though, so if it’s “sold out” when you go, ask the representative at the booth what time they’ll put out the next batch of items. It’s usually at opening the next day, so if you’ve got some time before your panel, I suggest stopping by early.  Also, if you can make it to the ribbon-cutting ceremony on opening night, you’ll see exactly what the booths have to offer.

Author Events

Every publisher you can think of will be at the conference hoping to sell you their books and to pull you in. The best way of doing this is to bring the authors for book signings, a great ploy because it gets you to buy their book and you get to meet some of your author celebrities. For example, last year I met Laurie Halse Anderson, Marie Lu, Patrick Ness, Veronica Roth, Tamora Pierce, Francesca Lia Block, and David Levithan, and my mind was blown! I mean these are rock stars in my opinion! You can use the Scheduler to see who’s coming this year and plan ahead by buying your own books, though usually the publishers will have their books discounted for the signing. Be sure to carry cash on you though, just in case they don’t accept cards.

Some of the big, big name authors have limited spots, so you have to pick up a wristband or a ticket to attend their signing.  It’s at the publisher’s discretion and is not always listed on the Scheduler so if there is someone big you want to see, find out which publisher they’re going to be with and on opening night for the Hall, visit their booth ASAP to see if you need a ticket to attend.

Raffles and Giveaways

A lot of the booths will have other incentives to get you to stop by, including raffles and giveaways.  This usually requires your filling out an entry form or leaving a business card so they can contact you, but this also means they have your contact info and will be sending you emails throughout the year. Do keep in mind, if you don’t want a million spam emails, that you can unsubscribe from their mailing list when you get back home. One of the easiest ways to find out what booths are raffling off is to look at the ALA Conference Guide handed out at registration. There is a coupon book with most of the Exhibit Hall promos that you can complete before you go so you can quickly submit your entries for all of the drawings you’re interested in.

Networking Opportunities

If you are in a position high enough where you have the purchasing power to actually invest in publishers, new technologies, or furniture then do take advantage of talking with the reps at each booth to see what they have to offer. You might get some deals if you chat them up and make a new associate.

Getting Everything Home

So you went crazy and picked up way too much swag to actually take back home. What do you do? Brilliantly, there is a USPS Post Office in the Exhibit Hall for all your shipping needs. And the best part about shipping books is that you can use Media Mail which is infinitely cheaper than regular postage. Just make sure you only have books in those boxes and pack your posters, stuffed animals and other trinkets separately because the mail carriers do open up Media Mail to check that only books are inside and will charge you the difference if you have any other items in it.  Also, to avoid long lines don’t wait until the last day to ship your loot.

One Hidden Small-but Fun-Activity

While walking around last year’s conference, I noticed that many attendees had these cool ribbons on their badges saying what division or round table they were in, if they were a first-timer, or even cute funny ones like “Library Superhero,” and I wanted to know where these ribbons were coming from! ribbonsThe division and round table ones are almost all located in the ALA Membership Pavilion in the Exhibit Hall, or sometimes near registration, and you can pick and choose which ones you’d like.  Then there are the fun ones put out by different booths and it’s like a random scavenger hunt to find them. If you see someone with one you like, the best way to find it is to ask them where they got it.ribbons close Otherwise while you’re exploring, take a second to see if the booths have any quirky ones that you’d like. My friend and I made it a goal to see who could get the most and the coolest ones and ended up with five-foot long ribbons.  (photo from facebook.com/farm4.static.flickr.com)

Having Fun and Relaxing

To be honest, I was exhausted by the end of the conference last year.  Between running around to all the panels, joining up with colleagues and meeting new ones, and finding time to eat and rest, hanging out in the Exhibit Hall was actually quite relaxing and fun after the free-swag madness was over. Sometimes just taking some down time to stroll around and browse or wait in line for author signings was a nice little break from everything. I definitely advise taking time visit the Hall and enjoy what’s going on. Overall, don’t stress, have a good time, and try to pick up some good freebies or meet some authors if you can!

Submitted by Soraya Silverman, YALSA Local Arrangements

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5. The Seminar on Jewish Story

Temple Emanu-El

On May 18, 2014, The Seminar on Jewish Story will take place at Temple Emanu-El in Manhattan, New York. This day-long event will be a celebration of Jewish literature in its many forms, from fiction to memoir, poetry to children's books. I spoke to organizer Barbara Krasner, who told me some of the exciting highlights of the Seminar, which is a co-production of the Whole Megillah and the Association of Jewish Libraries.

Click here to learn more about the Seminar on Jewish Story, or email Barbara directly at barbarakrasner [at] att [dot] net. Act soon, because she's running a $99 special on registration! I'll be at the event, and I hope to see you there....


Press the Play button to listen to the podcast now:

Or click on MP3 File to open your computer's media player. 


Produced by: Feldman Children's Library at Congregation B'nai Israel 
Supported in part by: Association of Jewish Libraries 
Theme music: The Freilachmakers Klezmer String Band 
Facebook: facebook.com/bookoflifepodcast 
Twitter: @bookoflifepod 

Your feedback is appreciated! Please write to bookoflifepodcast@gmail.com or call our voicemail number at 561-206-2473. 

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6. “Lucky” Vegas


noun \ˈlək\

  1. : success or failure apparently brought by chance rather than through one’s own actions

St. Patrick’s Day is drawing nigh, and talk of luck, leprechauns, and pots of gold abound. Luck (both good and bad) is also commonly associated with Las Vegas, and of the millions of people who visited Las Vegas last year, those who spent time in the casinos were most likely hoping that luck would be on their side so that they could leave town with their own pot of gold. Many bring their own lucky charms with them when they visit, but if you don’t have your own or happen to forget it at home there are a few places in town you can visit that will reportedly bring good luck your way.


Photo courtesy of blog.vegas.com

The Blarney Stone in Ireland is reported to bestow the gift of gab to those who kiss it, but Las Vegas has its own version. At the D in downtown Las Vegas (formerly known as Fitzgerald’s) you will find a piece of the Blarney Castle, which has reportedly brought good luck to those who give it a kiss, or if you’re more germ-conscious, a rub.

The Crazy Girls show at the Riviera is a topless revue, but it’s best known for a racy ad campaign with the slogan, “No ifs, ands, or …,” accompanied by a picture of a row of showgirls showing their bare derrieres. The ads were so popular that the Riviera erected a bronze statue of the lovely ladies at the front entrance to the casino, and for years hence those shapely buttocks have been polished to a glowing shine by the large numbers of tourists that rub them for good luck. Many other statues around town are also believed to bestow good luck when given a rub, but the highest concentration of them are found at Caesars Palace, including the Caesar Augustus statue at the entrance (hand), the Joe Louis statue outside of chef Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill (boxing glove), the Cleopatra statue at Cleopatra’s Barge (bosom) and the replica of Michelangelo’s David located within the Appian Way (big toe).

BellagoPhoto courtesy of vegas.com

If your lucky charms don’t seem to be working, you can always make a wish for good luck, and what better place to do so than the famous Fountains of Bellagio? So many people make wishes into this man-made lake with its famous “dancing fountains” that the Bellagio collects thousands of dollars in coins each month, which are then donated to charity. While you’re there, don’t miss the opportunity to take in one of the amazing water shows. Other popular fountains/water shows include the volcano at the Mirage, the indoor rainstorm at the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood, the animatronic fountains of the Forum Shops as well as the famous main fountain at Caesars Palace, and various water features at CityCenter (namely at Aria and Crystals).

Whether you stick to the Convention Center or take your chances in the casinos, may your trip to Las Vegas for ALA Annual 2014 bring you nothing but good luck!

For more information:

Fight Friday the 13th with these lucky charms in Las Vegas- http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2013/sep/13/friday-13th-thirteenth-las-vegas-lucky-places-char/

Kiss the Blarney Stone and get lucky at the D- http://blog.vegas.com/las-vegas-hotels/kiss-the-blarney-stone-and-get-lucky-at-the-d-29154/

Crazy Girls at the Riviera- http://www.rivierahotel.com/las-vegas-entertainment/crazy-girls.aspx

Caesars Palace- http://www.caesarspalace.com/

Fountains of Bellagio- https://www.bellagio.com/attractions/fountains-of-bellagio.aspx

Volcano at the Mirage- http://www.mirage.com/attractions/volcano.aspx

Indoor Rainstorm (Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood) – http://www.miraclemileshopslv.com/entertain.php?id=19&row=4

CityCenter Las Vegas- http://www.citycenter.com/

That’s Aquatainment! -http://www.lasvegasweekly.com/news/2010/mar/17/how-wets-water-features-give-gravitas-vegas-strip/

Submitted by Jennifer Jost, YALSA Local Arrangements Committee





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7. One More Pre-KidLitCon Post

KidlitCon2013As many of you already know, the 7th annual Kidlitosphere Conference is taking place this coming weekend, in Austin, Texas. This weekend,  published a lovely article about KidLitCon on the YA Interrobang site. The article includes quotes from this year's keynote speaker, Cynthia Leitich Smith, as well as from Charlotte Taylor, Sheila Ruth, and Allie Jones. And from me, representing this year's organizing committee. 

I especially liked what Sheila said about KidLitCon:

"It’s different from other conventions: the relatively small number of attendees and the close-knit nature of the Kidlit community make this more like a family reunion than a convention. I’m looking forward to seeing people that I’ve known for years and meeting new people, all of whom share a passion for children’s and YA books, literacy, and infecting young people with the reading bug,”

I love "more of a family reunion than a convention." So true! And that quote ended up going well with something that I said, about KidLitCon "turning virtual friends into real world friends" (here I was somewhat paraphrasing Leila's post at Bookshelves of Doom).

Pam Coughlan posted about the YA Interrobang article this morning at MotherReader. She said:

"It's too important a conference for our online community to not have it. Even if it's difficult or running behind schedule. Even if room selections fell through, leaving us wondering if maybe we could just quietly set up shop on the grounds of the capitol. Even if arranging a block of hotel rooms was more like getting an IRS audit. Even if we found that we were conflicting with another event in the morning targeting our exact potential attendees. It hasn't been easy.

But this week, I hope that I'll have a chance to turn more virtual friends into real world friends. We're keeping registration open, and I hope that you'll consider joining us. Visit the KidLitCon website for more information and register today."

And there you have it. Attend this family reunion of a conference. Even if you've never attended KidLitCon before, you'll find friends there. I know that it's tough to book flights on short notice, but if you are in or near Austin, and have some time to spare this Friday and Saturday, we would love to see you at KidLitCon. 

Many thanks to Meredith Maresco for her well-researched piece on KidLitCon. See you all in Austin!

© 2013 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook. This site is an Amazon affiliate. 

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8. Southwest Texas SCBWI Workshop with Richard Jessie Watson

SCBWI workshop assignment. Not for resale or download

SCBWI workshop assignment.
Not for resale or download

On October 19-20,  I went to the workshop, “The Exquisite Act of Balancing Text and Art with Richard Jesse Watson.” hosted the SCBWI SWTX chapter.


In the weeks prior to attending the workshop the  attendees where given an assignment. We were asked to illustrate a paradigm shift featuring the beloved  A. A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh characters.

“What day is it?”
“It’s today.” squeaked Piglet
“My favorite day,” said Pooh.
I decided to send them to the future… to a land were there was a shortage of honey!  “Oh Dear!”
Here in this illustration, they’re beginning their quest to find the land of Abundant  Honey.  No more tummy grumbles!
The workshop was really fun and inspirational.
Richard Jesse Watson, is a great speaker, a kind and encouraging person, and of course an amazing artist!
Check out his beautiful books and other works here!


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9. Keynote Speaker for KidLitCon Announced

KidlitCon2013I posted last week about the registration and call for proposals for the 7th annual Kidlitosphere Conference. Today, I'm happy to share the news that the keynote speaker for the conference will be the fabulous Cynthia Leitich Smith, children's and young adult author and long-time blogger at Cynsations. Cynthia will be speaking on Saturday morning to kick off the main conference, and she's sure to be a hit. 

KidLitCon will be held November 9th in Austin, TX, with a precon event in the works for Friday. You can register for KidLitCon here. If you register by October 11th you'll receive a $10 discount off of the already quite reasonable $65 registration fee. We're also accepting sessions proposals for KidLitCon here. The deadline for proposals is this Friday, October 4th, so please get yours in soon. 

Here are links to other posts about KidLitCon from:

Don't miss out on all the fun. Register for KidLitCon today. Or, as Tanita said in her post:

"Once upon a time, this was an idea - then a potluck - and now for seven years running, a place where many people meet up with Their Tribe. Will you be there?"

I will!

© 2013 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook. This site is an Amazon affiliate. 

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10. Register Now for the 7th Annual KIDLITCON!

Kidlitosphere_buttonIt's official. Here is the announcement from MotherReader at the KidLitosphere Central website:

The seventh annual KidLitCon on November 9th in Austin, Texas is officially accepting registrations!

While we would love to be ahead of schedule with well, a schedule, we invite you to register now to help your organizers plan for attendence. Registering early will also give you a chance to suggest topics that YOU would like to see at KidLitCon 2013. Register before October 11th for $10 off the registration fee and a chance to win a prize package of books and goodies!

Once you register, you will receive a confirmation email with instructions for sending your check or money order. Hotel information will also be available, hopefully with a discount for our group. 

We are still accepting proposals for workshops and panel discussions. Past KidLitCon sessions have included topics such as ethics of reviewing, diversity in children/teen literature, effective marketing, kidlit social media, and online community building. If you are interested in presenting at KidLitCon, please submit a proposal soon. 

Look to this website for updates to the schedule, including our Friday evening event. 

Lots more info to come. For now, start spreading the word! Be a fan on Facebook! Follow us on Twitter! And best of all register to attend KidLitCon 2013.

And now back to me. Why should you sign up now to attend KidLitCon 2013, when there isn't even a schedule posted yet? Because attending KidLitCon is one of the most rewarding things you can do as a children's and/or young adult book blogger. KidLitCon is not like other big, monetization-focused, swag-focused conferences that you may have heard about. KidLitCon is a small conference (between 50 and 100 attendees), populated by children's book bloggers and authors. KidLitCon is:

  • A chance to meet face to face people you have interacted with only online, and confirm that yes, you are really friends. 
  • A chance to be surrounded by people who share your passion for children's literacy and literature. 
  • A chance to learn more about blogging if you are new, and to recharge your energies if you've been doing this for a long time. 
  • A chance to talk about things like the ethics of blogging, the relationship between authors and blog reviewers, blogging new releases vs. backlist titles, and much more. (If you register now, you can give your input into which specific topics should be discussed this year). 

I wasn't able to attend last year's KidLitCon due to illness, though I had attended the prior five. I missed it terribly. KidLitCon is where I connect, face-to-face, with my peeps. It's a place where everyone around me knows what the Cybils are, and when the next Divergent book comes out, and who the National Ambassador for Children's Literature is. KidLitCon is home. 

The registration fee is $65, plus $20 for the Friday precon. This is a very reasonable conference fee indeed. If you can at all swing travel to Austin in early November, and you love blogging about children's books and encouraging kids to be readers, you should come. You won't be disappointed. Submit a proposal if you like, but no pressure on that front. The important thing is to come. Register now! The dealine to register is October 24th. 

I hope to see you all there. 

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11. SCBWI LA Conference 2013

I have been meaning to post about my experience at my first SCBWI LA conference all month, but between a tight deadline with very cool steampunk novel cover project(which I will share in a post soon) and squeezing in some summertime fun with the kiddos before the summer comes to an end, the poor blog had to come a distant third on my priority list. Now that the final art is in, we have all our back-to-school shopping complete and sneaked in a few family fun-day treks, I am finally able to post  few pictures and some take-away moments.
Overall I felt my first SCBWI LA conference was a very positive experience. But I must say I was blown away by the sheer size of the event. It was enormous! Just look...this is a snapshot of about 1/3 of the grand ballroom where all of the keynotes took place- humongous!

And being my shy self, it took me a few stomach churning moments every morning to thrust myself back in there. But I am proud to say that I pushed myself to talk to my neighbors and not keep my head down. I was so pleased to met up with new friends that I had met over the years via Twitter- that was indeed a highlight.

Priscilla Mizell, Alvina Kwong, and me

I also met most of the Simply Messing About Blog and a bunch of the #kidlitart Tweet chat crew in person finally- Tracy Bishop, Laura Zarrin, Christina Forshay, Diandra Mae, Jannie Ho( who was also on the faculty this year)... gosh, I'm sure I must be missing a few. It was so hectic I am embarrassed to say I barely took any pics. 

A major highlight for me was attending David Wieser's keynote and breakout sessions. I have been a huge fan for years, and it was a thrill to hear him speak about his craft and share his process, from idea generation to thumbnails, all the way to finished art. It was reassuring to hear that even he takes a long time(often years) to "get it right", for the story to come together. He reminded us all to " follow the story" and let it take you where it needs to go. Love it! He even shared his newest book, Mr.Wuffles, due out this Fall! 

I brought some of Skink on the Brink to sell at the PAL book sale. I sold a few, which was indeed a nice surprise, and met some other authors and illustrators at the book sale. :) As an interesting aside... apparently nobody has heard of plasticine in the US. So, until I started saying " modelling clay" I got a look of confused looks. Huh? Who knew...

I participated in the portfolio showcase as well. The caliber of art was just incredible.  I also attended some great breakout sessions with US art directors, like Laurent Linn, and Giuseppe Castellano.  And it was very cool to see Laurent discuss our friend, Debbie Ohi's fun book I'm Bored. Yay, Debbie! I just happened to be sitting beside her at this breakout session when this image came up-*quiet squeals of delight* came from our general direction, LOL.

Laurent Linn

The only drawback I found with attending SCBWI LA was that, due to the large volume of attendees, I found it very hard to find a moment to approach an AD, to give them my business card/postcard, or have any sort of chat. I didn't want to be one of those people who swarmed the speaker after their talk, or jumped into an elevator convo- that just isn't my style. So I think for me anyway,  I will aim to attend a smaller conference next year, where there may be a better chance to make more connections. 
Speaking of conferences, the SCBWI CanEast Montreal Conference( Oct. 4-6th) is coming up. I reeeeeally wish I could attend this year because the line-up and illustrator stream looks fantastic. To find our more about it, check out all the SCBWICanEast "The Art of Story" conference details

Stay tuned, tomorrow I will be posting my  Sept. 2013 desktop calendar. :) 

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12. Meet Editor Karl Jones and Agent Dawn Frederick

2013 GradeReading.NET Summer Reading Lists

Keep your students reading all summer! The lists for 2nd, 3rd and 4th, include 10 recommended fiction titles and 10 recommended nonfiction titles. Printed double-sided, these one-page flyers are perfect to hand out to students, teachers, or parents. Great for PTA meetings, have on hand in the library, or to send home with students for the summer. FREE Pdf or infographic jpeg. See the Summer Lists Now!

It started innocently enough. When Scholastic editor Nick Eliolpos spoke at a local conference, he talked about his love of Spiderman. So, I dubbed him the Peter Parker of children’s literature. And now, it’s a tradition that speakers at our conference must be tagged with a popular super-hero or super-character.
Read about these figures in the children’s publishing world:

  • The Peter Parker of children’s publishing.
  • The young Bill Gates of children’s literature.
  • The M of children’s literature, as in 007′s boss
  • The Snow White of children’s literature.
  • Glinda, the Good Witch, of children’s literature.
  • Karl Jones, the He-Man of Children’s Literature

    Karl Jones, editor at GP Putnam/Penguin

    Conference sessions can get repetitive and stuffy, but Karl Jones, Assistant Editor at G.P. Putnam/Penguin, kept the 2013 Arkansas SCBWI conference attendees laughing and working at the same time.

    We had writing exercises with provoking questions: what character has traditionally been left out of children’s books and can you find a way to add that character to your WIP?

    We had group Pitch sessions: “From the great state of Arkansas, we have Darcy Pattison to regale us with a pitch specially crafted by her group.” It was a take-off on a Pitch session that Jones regularly holds at venues in NYC. Only there, the GPPutnam Editor in Chief gives the winner his business card! The funniest pitch was when Robin Burrows walked on-stage and accidentally tripped and lost a shoe–then pitched a modern version of Cinderella. Yeah, right, Robin! That wasn’t an accident!

    P.K. Pinkerton and the Deadly Desperados

    Karl Jones has been with GP Putnam for three years and is now starting to acquire. They do everything from picture books through middle grade (no YAs), with many licensed properties that are done as work-for-hire. He’s interested in middle grade novels, in particular.

    One of the topics that came up was gender and how it is treated in novels today. He recommended P.K. Pinkerton and the Deadly Desperados as a recent novel that walks a fine line on this issue. Jones said he didn’t know if the main character was male or female until the very end.

    Karl Jones

    "By the Power of Gray Skull! I have the Power (of the Pen)!"

    In that vein, he talked about He-Man, Master of the Universe and She-Ra, Princess of Power. He noted the irony that He-Man called power from his castle, “By the Power of Gray Skull?” However, She-Ra didn’t get power from her own castle, but had to refer to He-Man’s castle, “For the honor of Gray Skull.” And for that reason, we’ll dub him the He-Man of children’s literature.

    Dawn Frederick, the She-Ra of Children’s Literature

    Dawn Frederick, Agent & Owner of Red Sofa Literary

    Dawn Frederick, agent and owner of Red Sofa Literary, is a roller derby ref and a social media guru. Her list of social media book-related sites was the longest, most comprehensive I have ever seen. Are you on RiffleBooks.com, yet? Are you a Pheed.com addict? Read anything lately on BookCountry.com (a Penguin company)? Will these be the next place that people will discover new books? Maybe. Personally, I am keying in on Pinterest.

    Frederick as She-Ra

    "For the honor of Gray Skull! I have the Power (of the iPad)!"

    Frederick holds a B.S. in Human Ecology, and a M.S. in Information Sciences from an ALA accredited institution; she has been department head for children’s books at a couple bookstores. And yet, she began her career representing adult nonfiction. In that genre, she’s got some quirky titles about zombie tarot cards, roller derby and Yiddish with Dick and Jane. But two years ago, a children’s book editor–astonished at the depth and breadth of her knowledge of kids’ books–insisted she should represent that genre, too. She has since acquired clients who write middle grade and YA novels. Frederick was approachable and enthusiastic, passionate about her clients. And the banter between Jones and Frederick made it an easy decision. If he was He-Man, then she is the She-Ra of children’s literature.

    Thanks to Phyllis Heman, Regional Advisor for the AR-SCBWI, for a great conference.

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    13. Will you be attending the Less Than Three Event this Fall?

       If you haven't yet heard of the Less Than <3 event, I hope to shed some light on it and here.
    encourage you to attend. It will be held this Fall on October 19th. It will run from 9am-2pm in St. Peters Missouri and it will be held at the Spencer Hill branch of the St. Charles City-County Library. For even better directions go

      This event is to have authors, librarians, bloggers, book lovers, book sellers, teens, tweens, parents, teachers, and whoever else that would love to attend and join together.

      This is a YA Lit event focused on bullying. There are several bestselling authors currently on the list and the list is still having authors added to it. The authors will host their own panels and each will specialize in different strategies and positive approaches. To see the list of authors, visit here.

       The Less Than Three event was created by Heather Brewer in hopes to rally against and help put a stop to bullying. This event does have limited availability and tickets are being sold for a mere $10  each. For more information and to purchase your tickets, check it out here. As of now, only 202 tickets are still available.  Hope to see you there!


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    14. Conference Homework


    At the Houston SCBWI conference, we were given a homework assignment. A choice of one of two prompts that we as attendees could choose from. One was a double page spread from a picture book and the other was a YA cover.  I started both prompts and then went with the one that appealed to me the most.  The sketches were sent to the Art Director for comments and direction, then we all brought back a full color illustration with the changes suggested. Above is  my sketch and  then my finished illustration.  Later, I was decided to finish the other prompt on my own. Below you see  a “Mock” cover for a young adult novel that is currently out. This is just a mock cover.


    Mock cover

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    15. Drawing Workshops in Barcelona - Hurrah!

    I have been trying to do too many things at once (again). All a wee bit stressful, but I can't complain, because it's all fun stuff and I would so much rather be too busy than not busy enough. 

    One of the jobs I've had to get done was some high-res scanning of these drawings from my sketchbooks. They are needed as publicity images for 3 days of sketching workshops I am doing this summer in Barcelona. Yes, I know - I told you it was good stuff! 

    I was thrilled to bits when, a couple of weeks back, I got the fantastic news that I have been selected to be one of the instructors to deliver on-location sketching workshops at this year's Urban Sketching Symposium. The competition was fierce this year so I put in my application, but really didn't expect to be accepted.

    My workshop will be Sketches That Sing: Creating Drawings with a Life of Their Own. It is one of 20 workshops being delivered by some of the top on-location sketchers in the world! As you can imagine, I am awed and honoured to be amongst them. You can read about all the workshops on the symposium website as soon as everyone's info has been uploaded by the Urban Sketchers team. 

    Anyone can attend the symposium and take part in 5 different workshops, as well as lots more. As long as you enjoy live, on-location sketching, you can register for a place. Registration opens in March and will cost $395 but, if you fancy it, you will need to be quick - places are expected to go like hot-cakes.

    If you have not heard of the Urban Sketchers Annual Symposium before, you can get a pretty good idea of what it's all about by reading my posts after last year's symposium in Santo Domingo:
    Just back
    Sketching in the Mercado
    Workshop with Nina Johansson

    Colour-Games workshop with Jason Das

    or even from the year before in Lisbon

    Maybe see you there..?

    3 Comments on Drawing Workshops in Barcelona - Hurrah!, last added: 2/18/2013
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    16. Join the Youth Media Awards Live Blog!

    One of my favorite parts of any Midwinter Meeting is the announcement of the Youth Media Awards. There’s an Oscar-like buzz in the room. I love the pride and enthusiasm from juries and selection committees (many of whom dress up for the event). I get chills at the emotional outpouring for beloved authors and titles, and it’s a particular thrill when a dark horse title wins.

    But if you can’t be in the room for the announcements, have no fear–YALSABlog and The Hub will be jointly covering the YMAs with a live blog, complete with streaming video! Join the session here or on The Hub to watch the video, answer reader polls and add your own commentary live. We’ll also be pulling selected hashtags (like #yma13, #printz, #alexaward and #morrisaward) to bring you thoughts and reactions from Twitter.

    If you miss the live session, you can replay the whole thing (including the video) at any time after the live session ends. Don’t miss out on one of the best parts of Midwinter!

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    17. Join the BFYA Teen Feedback Session Live Blog!

    Not in Seattle but wishing you could hear what local teens have to say about this year’s Best Fiction for Young Adults nominations? In Seattle but stuck in another meeting or session on Sunday? Have no fear–you can join the BFYA Teen Feedback Session live blog here or on The Hub!

    We’ll be streaming live video from the session, pulling tweets with the #bfya hashtag, polling readers about nominated titles and publishing your comments LIVE. The live blog will start shortly before the session opens at 1:30 PM Pacific, and you can join at any time. You can even log in with your Facebook or Twitter account to include your gravatar with your comments.

    If you can’t make the live session, have no fear; the complete session, including video, will be available to replay at your leisure as soon as the live blog closes.

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    18. YALSA Forum: It’s All About Relationships

    Bring together a group of energizing professionals from different backgrounds who have devoted their talents to serving teens and prepare to be inspired. The Summit on Teens & Libraries was a part of YALSA’s National Forum on Libraries & Teens funded by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and these two days of creative thinking about missions, opportunities, aspirations and connections was simply dazzling. After a series of speakers and small group discussions, I took away a powerful word: relationships. So often we go about our daily routine, and we take time to think of the best library programming or instructional ideas or focus on our technology and book offerings. Those things are key to our success of course, but none of that matters if teens don’t feel connected.

     A teen panel took questions from YALSA President Jack Martin, and in our discussions we kept referring to what they said brought them to the library and what they wanted from their experience. It was clear that connecting with interests, friends, and the library staff kept them coming back. As studies show and our speakers stated throughout, learning driven by teens and their interests is most meaningful. Two powerful statements from the panel that resonate with me are “The library gave me a community” and “I leave with new ideas.” What could possibly be better than that?

     Cultivating positive, non-judgmental relationships with teens and helping them form meaningful connections with others is something we may think we do already, but as closing speaker George Needham from OCLC reminded us, “Question everything. Including yourself. Especially yourself.” My group’s wild aspiration at the conclusion of the summit was to bring these  passionate conversations back to our local environments and have everyone immediately buy-in. Yes, we’ll encounter the regular eye-rollers, but the potential connections we can make in our communities, with each other and with our teens is too important to be derailed. But our first step is to look at ourselves. My immediate action when I return home to my school library world is to ensure that my favorite instructional practices and ideas for engagement outside of academics are truly student driven. That I creatively seek partners who share my mission of youth engagement. That I learn more about how to bring Connected Learning into school libraries, and that I spread the word of all I’ve learned in these two days to strengthen current relationships and forge new ones.

     Interested in exploring further? Check out the prolific #yalsaforum hashtag and make plans to be a part of the first virtual town hall on teens & libraries March 19th.

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    19. Kidlitcon 2012: The Bloggers Take Manhattan

    This past weekend was one of my favorite weekends of the whole year. It was KidlitCon, in which bloggers gather to talk about books, blogging, and the intersection of the two. There's also many hijinx and some drinking of alcoholic beverages.

    Every year, a different city is selected and different bloggers organize it, making each KidlitCon a unique experience. This year, it was New York City, and it was put together by Betsy Bird of A Fuse #8 Production and Monica Edinger of Educating Alice.

    On Friday, we were treated to publisher previews, which were apparently Monica's brainchild, as well as her blood, sweat, and tears. No word on the proportion of tears to blood and sweat. I attended the Simon and Schuster preview in the morning, and the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt one in the afternoon. I heard about a lot of exciting books coming up, and got a few advanced reader copies to take home. More valuable than that, however, was meeting publisher peeps and talking with them.

    At Simon and Schuster, we got the chance to see the research and art that goes into one of Megan McCarthy's appealing nonfiction picture books. She shared with us some of the things she had to do in order to get the pictures and info she needed for her next opus, coming out Summer of 2013. (Hint: illicit photography was involved.)

    At the Houghton Mifflin, we discussed Common Core and how books can be used in the classroom. For those of you not in the know, Common Core is the newest thing in education circles. Basically, it's an upgraded set of standards for teachers to plan their lessons by. Of particular interest is that it emphasizes nonfiction reading in language arts, which means librarians get to haul out all the incredibly awesome nonfiction on our shelves. We also briefly chatted about e-galleys vs print ARCs. I was interested to hear that they limit their e-galley distribution just as they do their print galleys, and they were interested to hear that I actually prefer e-galleys.

    By the bye, I've since heard from others that they prefer print, so now I'm interested in the topic. How many of you like e-galleys better, print ARCs better, or don't really care as long as you get to read a good book? I may actually do a blog post. Craziness, I know.

    On Friday night, the bloggers en masse descended on a midtown restaurant, decimated their sushi bar (Actual quote from a blogger who would prefer to remain anonymous [me]: "Oh, I'll try this one, it's pink!"), and heard Grace Lin speak about her journey from art school to children's-book-illustration. I hear tell that she came into the city with a very small baby and a very large Sasquatch (also in attendance) just to talk to us, and I can't help but feel flattered. We also got the chance to purchase Starry River of the Sky a few days before it was officially on the shelves. If you think we were all over that, you would be right.

    Next time: How All The Bloggers astonished Maureen Johnson, and this particular one creeped her out a little bit.

    2 Comments on Kidlitcon 2012: The Bloggers Take Manhattan, last added: 10/5/2012
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    20. ALA Midwinter: Best Places to Find a Seattle Souvenir

    Looking for a Seattle souvenir?  Check out these places to find fun and interesting gifts with Seattle flair for family, friends, and yourself.  All shops are located within walking distance or a short bus ride from the Convention Center.

    FriendShop at the Central Library (Downtown)

    Ye Olde Curiosity Shop(Waterfront)

    Simply Seattle (locations near Pike Place Market and the Waterfront)

    Made in Washington (locations Downtown and in the Pike Place Market)

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    21. ALA Midwinter: Not the Cheesecake Factory – Walkable Eats

    Do you consider yourself a foodie?  Then you probably will want to skip the Cheesecake Factory and try out some of these unique Seattle spots for enjoyable conference eats:

    • Blue C Sushi – 1510 7th Ave – quick, yummy, close to convention center
    • Taylor Shellfish Farms- 1521 Melrose Ave – awesome oyster bar, get fresh local seafood and wine
    • Le Pichet – 1933 1st Ave – delightful French food – if you aren’t hungry, just get the chocolat chaud, it is to die for.
    • Ristorante Machiavelli - 1215 Pine St – great Italian place, a relatively short uphill walk from the convention center
    • Alibi Room – 85 Pike St (in Post Alley) – a lovely hide-away, perfect break from tourist crowds at the Pike Place Market.

    For many more suggestions of places to eat in Seattle, the Local Arrangements Committee invites you to check out YALSA’s Midwinter wiki.

    ~ Sarah Evans & Dawn Rutherford, YALSA Local Arrangements Committee, Midwinter Seattle 2013

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    22. YALSA @ Midwinter 2013: What’s Going On

    I’m en route to Seattle even as I type this! What will the board and I be up to at the 2013 Midwinter conference? Keep reading to find out.

    It’s going to be an awesome conference. We’ve got programs, meetings and activities everywhere. We’ll be talking about advocacy, collaborations, books and reading, the future of teen services in libraries and more.

    First, I’ll be helping YALSA host the first National Forum on Teens & Libraries on January 23 and 24. This is the first summit of its kind, and we’ll be bringing leaders on youth development, libraries, technology, publishing, everything. The goal is figure out where teen services is going and where it needs to be in the 21st Century. ALA President Maureen Sullivan will be the lead moderator, and we’ve got some amazing special guest stars, including Lee Rainey, head of the Pew Internet and American Life Project, Mizuko Ito, Professor in Residence and MacArthur Foundation Chair in Digital Media and Learning at the University of California, Irvine, Renee Hobbs, Director of the Harrington School of Communications & Media at the University of Rhode Island and George Needham, Vice President for Global and Regional Councils at the Online Computer Library Center. We’ll be talking lots of teens, literacy, library, technology and more. I’ll even be leading the Youth Panel portion of the forum with special awesome teens from YALSA President-Elect Shannon Peterson. We’ll be tweeting, blogging and posting the entire time, so check out our social media channels to find out what’s going on.

    The YALSA Executive Committee will also be meeting with the executive committees of our sister divisions, AASL and ALSC. The three divisions traditionally meet every Thursday before Midwinter and Annual conferences. This time we’ll be talking about our Joint School/Public Library committee, a new Common Core taskforce and a whole lot more.

    The YALSA Board will also be pretty busy this conference. Not only will you see us at Leadership Development (coffee and carbs!!!) and the YALSA Happy Hour (free drinks and apps!!!) on Saturday, feel free to drop by our meetings from 1:30-5:30 on Saturday, 4:30-5:30 on Sunday and 1:30-3:30 on Monday, all in room 309 of the convention center. You’ll also see us at the Youth Media Awards and the Morris and Non-Fiction awards ceremony on Monday.

    What will the Board be talking about? Lots of stuff. In thinking about how YALSA can help its members advocate for teen services in libraries, the Board will be having a major discussion on how to reach library administrators to help them understand the importance of teen services.

    We also know that members want to learn more about teen programming in libraries. So we’ll be voting to establish a new taskforce of programming best practices and replicable program examples for members. Interested in serving on the taskforce? Hit me up after Midwinter!

    We also know how much everyone loves our biennial YA Lit Symposium. In fact, we know ya’ll love it so much that we’re going to be considering whether or not we should do it every year as opposed to every other year. Got an opinion? Let us know what you think.

    Also back by popular demand is the YALSA Road Trip. We know from the member survey and from my virtual town halls that members really want to find better ways to connect to one another on a regional or state-by-state basis. The board will be brainstorming new ways that YALSA can reboot this exciting project.

    We’ll also be exploring lots of other new ways for members to connect with one another, both virtually and in-person. We’ll be talking about a new student chapter proposal as well as a cool new idea on how members who love teen books can better connect with one another.

    Finally, we’ll be at the Coffee with the Candidates, which is a great opportunity for members to meet this year’s candidates for President-Elect as well as the Board. This is your chance to get up close and personal with the candidates and let them know your concerns and ideas. I know I’ll be there with plenty of questions of my own.

    All in all, it’s gonna be a super busy conference, and I’m looking forward to seeing everyone there. I’ll be the guy with the crazy socks. Over and out. See you there.

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    23. ALA Midwinter: YALSA Movie Night – “Fat Kid Rules the World”

    How far would you go to promote a book you really loved?  Actor Matthew Lillard went to amazing lengths to share one of his favorite teen stories (which also happens to be a Printz Honor Book!):

    “OK. So, I first stumbled across FAT KID RULES THE WORLD when I was hired to record the audio version of KL Going‘s award winning novel.  The book blew me away. It was funny and true, and it told the story of a lost kid – Troy Billings, alienated and alone – who finds his purpose in life through the magic of punk rock music.  The book rocked my world.  It was crazy!  It spoke to me, in a deep way because I had been my own version of Troy Billings in high school. I was lost and an outcast and didn’t really fit in anywhere… that is until I found acting, which pretty much changed my life forever.  After I read the book I knew I had to tell THIS story.  I made this movie for everyone who has ever felt like they just didn’t belong… the misfits, the outcasts. the kids that are lost… this movie is for you! “

    He raised over $150,000 on Kickstarter to get this movie distributed.  Start to finish is is a true labor of love.  And thanks to the producers, we have a special screening of the just-released-this-week DVD just for YALSA members attending ALA in Seattle (where the movie was filmed!)

    Join us at the wonderful Elliott Bay Book Company Sunday January 27th at 7pm to watch the movie I’ve been dying to see all year!   We also have door prizes: Listening Library is providing two CD sets of the audiobook; the movie producers are supplying bumperstickers; and Random House is sending some extra goodies for everyone who attends!  Please feel free to bring a snack or beverage to share.  But just like the public library, we need to clean up after ourselves, and be out before they close the store at 9pm!

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    24. Podcast Episode #110: Carol Tilley and the Trends in YA Presentation

    The guests for this episode are Carol Tilley, this year’s Trends in YA presenter, and Denise Agosto, organizer for the event. The Trends in YA Presentation is an event that occurs each year at the Midwinter Conference. This year’s presentation will be on Saturday, January 26th at 4:30 in room 213 in the Seattle Convention Center. Tilley will read from her research paper, which explores the history of comic books and their relationship with libraries.

    Trends in YA Presentation

    For more information on Carol Tilley and her various projects, please visit her website at www.caroltilley.net/.

    You’ll find the schedule of other YALSA-related events on the YALSA webpage.

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    25. YALSA Forum: We’re Not Alone!

    I feel so privileged to have been at the IMLS-supported YALSA Forum on Teens and Libraries the past two days in Seattle – right before Midwinter starts today.

    It’s hard to know where to start, but one of the most powerful parts of the Forum was that it wasn’t just library folks talking about our work with each other — like we often do– partners and supporters were intentionally included and asked about how we can continue to engage them.

    We have to reach out and partner with other organizations that value youth—we can’t do it all ourselves. We need to attend coalitions or collaboratives in our communities to make sure libraries are included in new projects or initiatives – that we are key players at important tables. While I’ve been here at Midwinter I just learned there is now a Twin Cities Career Readiness Collaborative that I was not aware of – I’m going to find out who’s in charge and see if it could be meaningful for my Library.

    A number of current and future partners were at the table – the Search Institute (if you’re not familiar with their great Assets work, it’s a foundational element of youth development that you should know). They also have newer family assets that I’ve been thinking about how to incorporate into our library work, GLSEN, the Science Museum of Minnesota, DC Children and Youth Investment Trust Corporation, the Afterschool Alliance, and others.

    Partnership doesn’t have to look like program offerings – it can be making partners aware of library services or tools that can help their work – did you know we have a database that can help your clients prepare for the GED? Did you know our library has an app?

    Partners can help libraries improve or add to services, as well. At the forum, all partners expressed their support for libraries and interest in staying engaged in this work. In particular GLSEN and the Search Institute reminded us of the resources available on their websites.

    If you’re the only youth services librarian in your library, it can sometimes feel lonely, but other people who care about youth are everywhere in your community — we just need to find them and work together.

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