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1. Come Meet LEE & LOW BOOKS at TLA 2016!

The Texas Library Association Annual Conference is next week and we’re so excited to meet everyone! The conference takes place in the George R. Brown Convention Center and LEE & LOW will be Booth #1746!

See below for our signing schedule as well as a few other events that our authors and illustrators will be participating in:

TLA 2016

AUTHOR SIGNINGS

Wednesday, April 20

Guadalupe Garcia McCall (Shame the Stars), 11:30 AM-12 PM,  Authors Area Aisle 3

Guadalupe Garcia McCall, 12:30-1:15 PM, booth #1746

Frank Morrison (Little Melba and Her Big Trombone), 3-3:30 PM

Thursday,  April 21

Lulu Delacre (Olinguito, from A to Z!), 9:30-10 AM, booth #1746

Frank Morrison, 9-9:30 AM, Authors Area Aisle 11

Pat Mora Signing (Water Rolls, Water Rises), 3-3:30 PM, Authors Area Aisle 11

TLA 2016 Now Signing

 

OTHER EVENTS

Tuesday, April 19

Donna Bowman Bratton (Step Right Up) @ the What’s New with Texas Authors and Illustrators for Elementary Readers? panel, 2-2:50 PM

Wednesday, April 20

Guadalupe Garcia McCall @ Spirit of Texas Reading Program, 2-3:50 PM, 362 BE, Level 3

Lee & Low Publisher Jason Low @ We Need Diverse Books…In Texas! panel, 4-5:20 PM

Frank Morrison @ Children’s Book Illustrators Ultimate Sketch-Off, 5-6:20 PM, Convention Center 370 A-F

Thursday, April 21

Pat Mora @ Diversity In Action with Elementary Literature panel, 10-11:50 AM

Friday, April 22

Lee & Low Marketing & Publicity Associate Keilin Huang @ Diverse and Digital: Ebooks, Bilingual Books, and More panel, 10-11:20 AM

Hope to see everyone there!

 

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2. SCBWI New York Highlights

I’m finally sifting through all my notes and experiences from my trip to New York. It was a cold weekend to be in the big apple, with temperatures outside hovering in the single digits. Despite the frigid weather we were warm and safe inside the hotel, surrounded by a star-studded faculty of kidlit experts. Here are just a few of the highlights:

Watercolor and pencil sketch of a street in New York from the sketchbook of Jessica Lanan

From the sketchbook

Two-time Newberry Honor winner Gary Schmidt made everyone cry about five different times during his moving keynote about the importance of writing for kids. He emphasized that writing should be an expression of empathy and compassion: we must “show up” instead of leaving the reader behind. I can’t do Mr. Schmidt justice, so I’ll just encourage you to read all of his heartrending books and leave you with a quote:

“Writing should be an act of empathy in a broken world. What ails you? That is the question we ask.” – Gary Schmidt, author

If you’ve ever submitted a manuscript exactly one time and, upon receiving a rejection letter, decided to give up: William Joyce, Oscar winner and acclaimed writer and illustrator of dozens of books, received over 250 rejection letters at the beginning of his career. So maybe it wouldn’t hurt to keep revising and try again. He also offered this advice to illustrators on finding your voice:

“Find the artists you love, find out what you love about them, and then… steal.” -William Joyce, author/illustrator and filmmaker

William Joyce speaking at SCBWI NY 2016

William Joyce speaking at SCBWI NY 2016

Newberry Honor and Coretta Scott King award-winner Rita Williams-Garcia made everyone laugh during her keynote about the “Dos and Don’ts” of writing. Her witty anecdotes shed light on the hard-earned successes and naive missteps along the road to publication.

“Do live with gratitude. Do live in the plan. Do what you’re doing.” – Rita Williams-Garcia

The delightful Sophie Blackall inspired everyone with the story of how her personal project to illustrate the Missed Connections column on Craigslist helped to jump-started her career. She also shared stories and photos from her travels working with Save the Children and other humanitarian organizations, and gave us a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at all the research and love that went into this year’s Caldecott winner, Finding Winnie. She signed my copy of book and even drew a little sketch in it!

“Do that thing that’s just for yourself, because it’s almost always your best work.” -Sophie Blackall, author and illustrator

Sophie Blackall signs a book at SCBWI New York 2016

Getting my book signed.

The conference also featured several panels representing editors, art directors, publishers and agents who offered a broad perspective on the state of the industry. There was a lot of encouraging news about the health of children’s literature and plenty of sage advice for aspiring authors and illustrators. Here are a few quotes that stood out:

“You’re only as good as the people you work with.” – David Saylor, Creative Director at Scholastic

“Don’t take shortcuts. If you put everything you have in [your work], you can’t fail.” – Holly McGhee, Agent at Pippin Properties

“You have something that no one else has, and your job is to figure out what that is.” -Cecilia Yung, VP and Art Director at Penguin Random House

“Know your competition. […] Your competition is everything kids are doing other than reading books.” – Andrea Pappenheimer, Director of Sales at HarperCollins

 

 

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3. Off to New York

Watercolor illustration of a carrier pigeon wearing a red vest on a rooftop in New York, by Jessica Lanan

Well, the bags are packed, the portfolio is printed, and soon I’ll be on my way to the Big Apple to schmooze with a bunch of introverted, book-loving nerds. At this time tomorrow I’ll probably be hurtling through the streets on an ill-advised taxi ride or something. I’ll let you know how it all goes (if I survive.)

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4. The Introvert’s Guide to Surviving a Conference

The truth is, I’m kind of a fake introvert. On those ubiquitous personality tests I hover right on the line between the two extremes. Nonetheless, a big social event like a SCBWI national conference can be overwhelming, and all the networking can push a pseudo-introvert like me to the point of social burnout. I’ve collected some tips below that have helped me have the best possible experience at one of these events. (If you want to learn more about what a SCBWI conference is, click here.)

Photograph of promotional postcards and portfolio for use at SCBWI NY Conference

Promo postcards and portfolio page, ready to go.

1. Homework

The seeds of a great experience are sown long before you get to the conference.

  • Try to read at least one book by every speaker. It makes their keynote more illuminating.
  • To be a real overachiever, come up with a question or two you’d want to ask each faculty member. If you ever end up sharing a table with them or in a Q&A session, you’ll be ready to participate.
  • If you’ve been to prior conferences, go through the contacts you made back then and refresh your memory. For extra credit, check out their websites to see what new stuff they’ve been up to. There’s nothing worse than introducing yourself to someone only to hear “um, we met last year.” (Sorry about that, Rodolfo.)
  • If you’re attending sessions with assignments, make sure to do your homework ahead of time.

2. Stuff you should probably bring with you

In addition to your underwear and toothbrush and so forth, don’t forget the following:

  • Your portfolio/dummy books/whatever.
  • Postcards and/or business cards.
  • A sketchbook/notebook and something to write with.
  • A copy of any of your recently published books that you want to show to your friends.
  • Copies of other people’s books that you want to get signed.
  • Warm things (it’s ALWAYS cold in the hotel. Plus it’s New York in February.)
  • Earplugs for sleeping if you’re sharing a room with friends.
  • Sleep mask (ditto to above.)

3. Networking tips for introverts, or something

I probably shouldn’t be giving advice at all in this area.

  • Try to avoid looking at your feet while talking to people.
  • Resist the urge to apologize for your work.
  • Be genuinely interested in other people.
  • Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself.
  • Don’t be one of those annoying, pushy people who stalk the faculty members.
  • Sit in the front. You can see so much better. Actually, never mind. DON’T sit in the front, because I want to sit there.

4. Chilling Out

For an introvert, a big conference in New York City is remarkably taxing. While the whole point of the conference is to network and go to keynotes blah blah blah, it’s okay to take some time to get away from it all in order to survive.

  • Use the gym or pool if there is one to get away from people for a little while.
  • Have your own room if you can afford it. This helps a ton, but it’s like $400 a night so I get it.
  • Skip a keynote if you have to. Or two.
  • Leave the hotel and go somewhere else. Cafes are good.

Have you been a national conference or book fair? What tips would you suggest? Feel free to share in the comments!

 

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5. pictures mean business: author day 2015

I got to draw a lot of portraits on Monday! I was at a London conference called Author Day, hosted by The Bookseller magazine, representing the #PicturesMeanBusiness campaign to get illustrators properly credited for their work. So it only made sense to bring in some pictures.



Hope you enjoy them! I didn't draw all the speakers - there wasn't enough time - but I managed to capture a few. Here's book vlogger Leena Norms:



Some of the best news I heard all day came from The Society of Authors' Nicola Solomon. She'd visited Amazon and had a chat with them about why illustrators and translators keep getting left out of book listings. And it turns out that a lot of publishers don't realise that when they're filling in data, there's a drop-down menu to fill in names of illustrators and translators, too. So it's a problem with publisher data entry. Nicola and I are thinking we'd like to create a short photo tutorial for publishers, so they can teach staff how to enter their data to include everyone. This might mean some progress! Illustrators I know so often have to chase people for months to try to get this fixed.





Editor of The Bookseller Philip Jones:


















And here's Porter Anderson from Future Book, who programmed and organised the conference from Florida and came in to host it on the day. Thanks, Porter!





I didn't get to draw translator Louise Lalaurie, who'd flown in from France, because were were on the same panel together. But it was great connecting with her and showing publicly that translators and illustrators are standing together to say that, besides being fair and supportive, there are good business incentives for publishers to give proper credits. (Check out the parallel translator Twitter campaign at #NametheTranslator)



Great to meet everyone, and I wish I'd been able to have longer chats with more people! Some really good stuff covered, and look out for longer blog #AuthorDay posts and articles about everything that went on!



You can find out more about Pictures Mean Business on the website and follow the discussion on Twitter at #PicturesMeanBusiness. Here's a sheet I printed out very late the night before and handed out, which sums up what people can do to help:



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6. Artist-in-Residence at 'Under One Roof'


Last week, I took my sketchbook to Manchester Art Gallery, to do something slightly different as part of my residency. 



The 'Under One Roof' research project has been looking at all the different ways in which people live together in our modern society, whether as house-shares, families, lodgers, returning to live with parents, co-ops etc and how that impacts on the quality of their lives and their relationships. I know lots about it now, because last Wednesday, I spent the whole morning sketching the presentation which marked the project's end. 


On the train there, I felt like having a bit of fun to warm up so, instead of a normal sketch, I did a semi-blind contour drawing, which basically means that you don't let yourself look at the paper, only at the subject, except when you need to re-position your pen. I let myself look for adding the colour though:


I arrived a little early, so I had 10 - 15 minutes spare, to stand on the street and record the outside of the gallery before I went in. Luckily it wasn't raining:



Inside, there was stress in the air. The team giving the presentation were huddled around the computer at the front of the room. Something wasn't working! The audience began to arrive and were given coffee. I began to wonder if I would be drawing worried academics all morning...



Luckily it was sorted in the nick of time and we began. I originally found a seat at the front, then realised I was better further back, where I could see the audience as well as the speakers. 


I think this is my favourite one from the morning, for capturing the flavour. The man in the foreground arrived late, then kept changing position as he 'settled'. He did me a big favour by filling a pregnant space in the composition, but also by adding a sense of 'life' by his ghostly presence:



It was all really interesting. I tried to capture key points which stuck in my mind and weave them around the images. The graph in this part of the presentation was about how people use shared / private spaces: 



Some of it was quite funny, because it was based on case studies, so was often anecdotal. I remembered the issue of grime in bathrooms and kitchens, from when my brother once lived in a shared house. He got so fed up, he employed a cleaner, which only made things worse, since that completely stopped people cleaning up after themselves! Apparently lots of sharers leave each other notes complaining about mess, rather than deal with it face to face.



Some people embraced sharing though, actually choosing it over living alone, rather than being forced into it through financial necessity; others became prisoners in their rooms. There was also talk about the embarrassment of inviting visitors into a shared space, when the house is full of other people's drying underwear! 



It was a really intense morning: sucking up all this interesting information, but also concentrating really hard on trying to draw everything at the same time. I was delighted (and a little astonished) that I managed to fill an entire 2m sketchbook. 



I laid it out on one of the tables at the end, so people could see what I had been up to. They were all really interested and it definitely added something slightly theatrical to proceedings, bringing people together to interact with one another in a slightly less usual way. 

Here's what my book looks like, with all the work running together:



The morning was pleasantly rounded off with a very tasty buffet lunch. I probably should have drawn that too, but I was hungry! I reckon I earned it.


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7. Making It to Annual Conference: Financially Planning Your Trip

So, ALA Annual Conference to be held in Orlando is 7 months away.  Proposals for presenting have been accepted and presenters have been notified.  Keynote speakers, author events, and preconference workshops have been announced.  And now, reality has set in.  Can I afford to go? Let’s break down those expenses for a full conference attendance.

The expenses breakdown:

Travel

Airfare—Flights from select hubs can be as low as $200 round trip.  Plan to book at least four months in advance for the best rates.  Lower your cost with use of frequent flyer miles.

Hotel

5 nights--$160 to $400 per night depending how early you book and how close to the convention center the hotel is.  Remember there is a reservation deadline for the best conference rates through the ALA website.  Share a room to bring your cost down.

Registration

Register by the early bird deadline for the lowest cost.

Food

6 days—estimated $40.00 per day, for a total expense $240.00.    The average cost of a meal from the food vendors in the exhibit hall are $11-$15 and restaurants in the convention area may cost between $20.00 -- $100 per meal.  Lower your food costs by taking advantage of exhibitor presentation meal invites.  Visit the local grocery store (Publix or Walmart on Sand Lake Road) and pick up some inexpensive meals and snacks to keep in your hotel room refrigerator.  Most hotel rooms in the convention area have fridge/mini microwave combos and coffee pots.  Occasionally, giveaway snacks are offered to attendees. Have the snack or bag it for later.

Conference attendance is 7 months away, begin your planning now.  With a savings of $215 per month through June, a full conference attendance is within your reach!

Table

Some other tips to off-set your expenses.

  • Ask your school district or employing institution if there are professional development funds for use.
  • Seek funding from your school’s PTA/PTO or other parent organization.
  • Request support from a community-based organization such as your local Rotary Club, Chamber of Commerce, or other group that supports education.
  • Graduate students inquire about grants from your institution.
  • Remember conference attendance may be deducted from your taxes as a professional expense. Check with your tax professional.

Vandy Pacetti-Donelson is a Library Media Specialist. She is a library advocate and Board Director for the Florida Association for Media in Education (FAME). Find her online at www.eliterateandlevelingup.com or follow her on Twitter @VandyPD.

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8. President's Report - September 2015

Happy Fall!

Here is what I worked on in September:

Accomplishments

  • After board discussion, called for board to vote to approve location for the 2016 YA Services Symposium
    • The 2016 YA Services Symposium will be held in Pittsburgh, PA
  • Filled various strategic committee vacancies
  • Led second monthly chat with the YALSA Board, where we discussed YALSA’s Brand and Reputation
  • After board discussion, called for board to vote on Rachel McDonald’s board vacancy
    • The board vacancy will be left open until next YALSA election in Spring 2016
  • Met with colleagues at Wattpad, National Writing Project, Connected Learning Alliance, and DeviantArt to discuss possible design challenge partnership in conjunction with Teen Tech Week 2016's theme: Create It @ Your Library
  • Completed bundled registration for ALA Midwinter and ALA Annual 2016
  • RSVP'd to attend ALA Information Policy workshop at ALA Midwinter

Works in Progress

Stats & Data

  • Friends of YALSA raised $0 in September 2015
  • Membership: 5,088 (down -0.8% over this time last year)

Last, but certainly not least -

THANK YOU

  • All of our members for all that you do to support teens and teen library services in your communities, every day!

Until next time!

Respectfully submitted,

Candice Mack, YALSA President

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9. All the college kidlit conferences (as of October 2015)

Or, more formally, “A Comprehensive List of U.S. College- and University-Sponsored or -Hosted Children’s and Young Adult Literature Conferences, Festivals, and Symposia.” (All of them that I could find, anyway). A few years ago, I was looking for such a list, wondered why I couldn’t find one, and decided to just go ahead and make […]

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10. Boston Bound: Vegetarian, Vegan, and Gluten-Free Options Around Boston

Picture of Boston

Boston by Jeff Gunn. CC By 2.0.

Boston is a great city with a lot of great food options, but if you have special dietary requirements, it can still be difficult to find places to eat. That’s why YALSA has compiled information about restaurants that are great for vegetarians, vegans, and those who need to ensure that their food is gluten-free.

Vegetarian
Lucy Ethiopian Cafe - Located right near the Symphony T-stop on the Green Line, this is a small Ethiopian restaurant that offers tasty food and many vegetarian options.

Tanjore - If you find yourself near Harvard Square, Tanjore offers an extensive menu, including a range of vegetarian options. Their daily lunch buffet always includes vegetarian options as well.

Clover Food Lab - Including locations in Brookline, Harvard Square and Kendall Square, as well as a food truck, this restaurant has many vegetarian options. Most of their food can also be made vegan.

Vegan
Veggie Galaxy - Located in Central Square a short walk from the T-stop, this restaurant has a menu of entirely vegetarian and vegan dishes. They also have a vegan bakery.

Grasshopper - Offering an entirely vegetarian and vegan menu, this restaurant has been a long time staple on the vegan scene in Boston.

Gluten-Free
MJ O’Connors - This restaurant, which is very close to the convention center, offers a wide variety of food including pub food, salads, and a gluten-free menu upon request.

Boloco - Offering a wide range of wraps and smoothies, this restaurant offers something for everyone with vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options available. It also has locations dotted throughout Boston and Cambridge.

Bon Me - This Vietnamese chain has multiple locations and a food truck that travels around Boston and Cambridge. It offers vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options.

Hopefully these restaurants will give you some good lunch and dinner options during your stay in Boston. If you want to find out about more dining options (including restaurants that offer Halal or Kosher options) and other sightseeing information, check out the YALSA Midwinter 2016 wiki. (Note: While we will make every effort to keep the wiki up-to-date, restaurants change their menus frequently, so you may want to call in advance to confirm that they haven’t changed their options).

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11. YALSA Nonfiction: Action Required

Dear YALSA community

I have been a passionate advocate for teenagers, and for their reading, for decades. Being passionate means caring -- which thus may also mean advocating, questioning, disputing existing rules and structures. That is why, many years ago, I worked with Michael Cart to bring about the Printz award, and with the Los Angeles Times to create their YA award. If there is one area about which I am equally passionate it is the grand and glorious field of nonfiction for all ages. And so, I have taken the liberty of suggesting to the YALSA board that it is time for us, all of us, to take a look at what truly constitutes excellence in YA nonfiction -- what are the kinds, and types, and subgenres of nonfiction, and what criteria should there be for evaluating them. In this article I discuss what I have proposed to the board, and why.  The official board document (.pdf) is available on the YALSA web site in the Governance Section.  I hope you all will add your voices to the discussion here, or in SLJ -- or that we can discuss this in person at Annual, or any one of the many conferences and workshops where I get to meet you. Nonfiction is growing and changing, teenagers need for quality nonfiction is growing, and thus it seems to me time for all of us to weigh in on what makes for true YA Nonfiction Excellence. What do you think?

 

Marc Aronson has been an avid advocate for teenagers and their reading for many years. He served on the committee that drafted, and later evaluated, the rules for the Michael Printz prize, and he suggested the YALSA Excellence in nonfiction award. As an author of nonfiction he won the first Sibert award and, with Marina Budhos -- his wife -- was a finalist for the YALSA Nonfiction award. Their next book, which will be published in 2017, centers on another couple who were artists and collaborators: the photographers Robert Capa and Gerda Taro. Aronson is an Assistant Teaching Professor in the MLIS program at Rutgers University.

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12. YALSA Board @ Annual Preview: Selection & Award Committee Participation Policy

Have you ever submitted a volunteer application to express interest in serving on a YALSA selection or award committee--only to hear back that the President-Elect and Appointments Task Force were not able to find a spot for you this year? If so, you’re not alone. YALSA is fortunate to have many talented members who are eager to serve on our selection and award committees--nearly 600 applications were submitted for spots on 2015-2016 committees!--but each year, of course, there are only a limited number of committee spots available.

This is one of several reasons why the Board will be discussing the possible creation of a selection and award committee participation policy that would open up the committees for broader participation by the YALSA Membership at ALA Annual in San Francisco. The official Board doc is Item #29 on the YALSA Board’s Annual Conference Agenda.

The proposed policy outlined in the document would institute uniform guidelines for participation in selection and award committees, addressing topics such as as term lengths, maximum years of consecutive service, and frequency of award committee service. As you’ll see when you read the Board doc, this proposal follows up on a recommendation from the Selection Committee Evaluation Task Force that such a policy be explored and created. The proposal is also data-driven, based on an analysis of ten years of committee service records.

Take a look at the document and let the Board know if you have comments, questions, or concerns. We know that this is a proposal that, if adopted, could potentially impact many of our member volunteers, so we value your thoughts and input. There are lots of ways to share your feedback with us!

Thank you!

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13. Annual 2015: Check the Wiki!

Annual is almost upon us! We in the Local Arrangements Committee have been working hard to provide you with information on eateries, activities, neighborhoods, and more. You can find all this information on YALSA's Annual Conference wiki: http://wikis.ala.org/yalsa/index.php/YALSA_at_ALA%27s_2015_Annual_Conference

Some highlights include:

  • Notes on nearby libraries and bookstores, since we know the exhibits hall is only the tip of the iceberg
  • Recommended eateries close to the conference or its hotels
  • All the terminology to know so that you don't get on Caltrain when you mean to get on MUNI
  • Places to go shopping for off-the-beaten-track items
  • See you in San Francisco in just a few short days!

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    14. ALA Annual 2015 — How to Participate From a Distance

    Summer is here and at least in Illinois, it’s heating up fast! With June halfway over, we know that ALA Annual is on the horizon. And what says summer better than San Francisco, California? The theme this year is “Transforming libraries, ourselves.” With 25,000 library affiliated folks coming to town, it’s an event you don’t want to miss!

    Unfortunately, I’ll be diligently working in Illinois during ALA Annual, but that doesn’t mean I have to miss out on the conversations. If you’re like me and won’t be in San Fransisco, here’s a guide to staying in touch, from a distance.

    If you’re looking for a broad overview of the conference:

    1. Get on Twitter. One thing I’ve learned time and time again this past year is that librarians are active on Twitter. Follow the conference Twitter account @alaannual or the general hashtag for the event is #alaac15. Some sessions have specific hashtags, which you can find in the scheduler section of Annual’s website. If you have time to get on early, try to scout out some fellow librarians who will be at ALA Annual. They can be your eyes and ears during the conference.

    Note: It’s really hard to actively follow hashtags on Twitter’s general account. I suggest downloading Tweet Deck or use the website Tweet Chat to track the event. I’m partial to Tweet Deck because you can follow multiple hashtags while watching your feed and seeing who is replying to your tweets. It can be a lot of information but a great way to really stay in the loop.

    1. Check out ALA’s other social media platforms. Following #alaac15 on Instagram or ALA’s general account for visuals of the event. ALA also has an active Tumblr and Facebook. See this general handout for all the handles and account links.

    If you’re looking to dive a little deeper into ALA Annual:

    1. Look at the ALA Annual highlights to get an idea for what’s happening during the six days of the conference. So much is going on during those six days, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. This is especially good if you want to look at the big speakers during the conference.
    2. Next, take a look at the ALA Annual program book, which is in PDF form on the web. If you’re just interested in the various sessions, skip part I of the program book and jump to part II.
    3. In part II, the sessions are broken up program content areas (most revolving around the idea of transformation). I suggest looking for sessions either within a content area or searching (love Control F when searching PDFs) to look for keywords of topics you’re interested in.
    4. Once you’ve got a list of interesting sounding sessions, go back to the Scheduler and look up them up. Some sessions have a specific hashtag to follow. I also have been looking up the speakers on Twitter, both for me to follow right now and then during ALA.
    5. When looking on the Scheduler, see if any resources, handouts, or additional links have been posted. You might find access to great materials before the conference even begins!
    6. Put the session time in your calendar so you know when to be more actively checking Twitter and other social media sites.

    Hope that helps and here are some of the sessions I’m hoping to virtually check out:

    • DiverseZineties; Promoting Diversity and Self-discovery Through Making Zines with Teens, Saturday, June 27
    • Library of the Future—Learning with the Participatory Library at Cedar Rapids Public Library, Saturday, June 27. This was the public library I went to as an undergrad; their new library is gorgeous. Opportunity does arise from tragedy. 
    • Voices of Youth: Community partnerships for video production, Saturday, June 27
    • From Maker to Make-HER: Leveling the STEM Playing Field for Girls, Sunday, June 28
    • Seeing Through Walls: Library-Based Video Conferencing to Connect Kids with Parents in Jail, Sunday, June 28. I worked for The Director of Outreach Services at Brooklyn Public Library. He’s an amazing librarian and his team is doing incredible things with outreach and engagement at the Brooklyn Public Library.
    • Yik Yak and the Academic Library, Sunday, June 28 (Sunday Ignite Session topic)
    • Naked Truth: connect.create.contribute, Monday, June 29
    • What do LIS Students Really Think About Their Education?, Monday, June 29. These are my peers and I did attend the LIS Symposium on Education [it was awesome!]

    I’m excited about ALA Annual and the chance to participate virtually. I’ll be tweeting from @hailthefargoats and hope you’ll join the conversation too!

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    15. YALSA Board @ Annual Preview: Aligning YALS to the Futures Report

    heading for YALS
    One of the items on the agenda for the YALSA Board at Annual Conference in San Francisco is a discussion of YALS and how to make sure that the official journal of the association is in line with the findings and recommendations of YALSA's Future of Library Services for and with Teens: A Call to Action report. The Board document - under new business - presents some things for the YALSA Board to think about including:

    • A revised function statement for YALS that focuses on the YALS Advisory Board having an active role in developing an editorial calendar for the journal and to make sure that YALSA's resources and initiatives are successfully highlighted in the publication.
    • An updated task list for members of the YALS Advisory Board. Each YALSA committee and/or advisory board has a yearly task list. For 2015/16 the YALS Editorial Advisory Board (as outlined in the Board document) will work with the YALS editor to develop a new model for the publication including focal points for columns and features, as stated above work on an editorial calendar, and provide feedback on a new design for the journal.
    • Changes to the format of YALS which includes re-thinking the recurring theme issues and encouraging authors of articles to also submit digital content for inclusion in the YALSAblog.

    The YALS proposal for the Board is an action item which means that it is expected the Board will make a decision about the proposal at Annual Conference. If all or parts of the proposal are approved by the Board then it is expected that the changes will go into effect by early 2016.

    YALSA Board meetings are open to all so if you will be at Annual Conference in San Francisco, feel free to stop by and hear what the Board is talking about. You can find the full Board agenda and supporting documents on the YALSA website.

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    16. Annual 2015: Graphic Novels, Comics, and San Francisco

    This is a guest post from Trevor Calvert, a member of the Local Arrangements Committee for ALA 2015 in San Francisco.

    San Francisco is a literary city and as such a wealth of comic book stores merit a visit if you are eager to experience some of SF’s comic-book culture. Every year SF hosts the Alternative Press Expo highlighting local creators, and even has a Comic Art Museum which showcases both classics Golden Age shows all the way to hosting local-artist workshops. So let’s pack a light sweater (or maybe a cape?) and walk over to a few of these awesome spots!

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    Our first stop is Isotope: The Comic Lounge; not only is the design of the store sweet, the comic selection great, but you can stop by it’s lounge--the first of its kind--where you can relax, put your feet up, and feel free to read some sequential narratives from their on-site library. If that isn’t enough to draw you in, its Special Project Director, Kirsten Baldock, is an Oakland Public librarian! Also, the owner is both a real person and a comic character.
    Screen Shot 2015-06-25 at 8.45.18 AM

    As we continue our journey, brave adventurers, let’s visit Mission Comics and Art. Proprietor Leef Smith knows a lot about comics. He also knows a lot about San Francisco, has traveled the world, and has a passion for fine art. These facets help make his Mission Comics a definite on your list of places to visit.  From his site:

    “Leef’s intention is for “Mission: Comics & Art” to help facilitate a greater cross-pollution between the worlds of fine art and commercially produced sequential art i.e. comic books, re-contextualizing both and creating a new community focal point, both locally in the neighborhood, and in the larger artistic world.”

    That his store is in the Mission district should not be overlooked: the Mission is a fantastic area in which to wander around, eat delicious food, and see some of the best San Francisco has to offer. If on Friday at 7:30 you are looking for something to do, Mission Comics is hosting writers Jeff Parker, Mike Tanner and Jef Burandt--all with new books with Oni Press!

    Screen Shot 2015-06-25 at 8.45.25 AMIf your travels take you to the Castro district, be sure to check out Whatever: Get Your Geek On. They’re known not only for their great comic collection, but for their collectibles and figure collection. They’ve been around since 2006 and have a super friendly staff and, despite their non-committal store-name, completely love what they do.

    While this store is not named after this famous aardvark in comics, it does reference the animal, so can be none other than Aardvark Books, home of Owen the Cat and countless used and new books (mostly hardcover). And while this is not a comic book store, it’s been open since 1978 and much beloved by many. Aardvark’s staff is knowledgeable and friendly, and if wandering a good bookstore (because they’re not classified in DDC or LCS) and petting friendly cats is your thing, then this is a must.

    There are so many great bookstores, comic or otherwise, in San Francisco: Green Apple Books, City Lights, Booksmith, Borderlands (one of the best Science Fiction / Horror / Fantasy stores around--and in the Mission!) just to list a small few (not to mention across the bridge in Oakland). If you have the time, checking out the local bookstores (and maybe a few watering holes along the way) is one of the best ways to see this city. Be intrepid, curious, and inspired!

     

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    17. Annual 2015: Oakland PL's Youth Leadership Council

    This is a guest post from Perla Casas, a 2015 high school graduate. She will be part of the panel speaking on Sunday June 28th at 4:30 pm as part of "Empower Your Teens! Civic Engagement Strategies That Work."

    The Youth Leadership Council (YLC) is a youth-driven advisory board for the Oakland Public Library. The YLC creates support strategies to improve its service for patrons and promotes the library simultaneously. The YLC is made up of twelve individuals from the ages of thirteen to eighteen. I was sixteen years old when I first stumbled across the YLC application at the TeenZone in the Main Library. I have always enjoyed reading and I am passionate about libraries, so I thought this group would be a perfect fit for me. After a nerve wracking three month application process, I was finally accepted as a member.

    The YLC meets for two hours every third Saturday of the month at the Main Library. After my first official meeting, I was given the opportunity to facilitate the next meeting. I received training and multiple handouts on how to properly run a meeting while being respectful towards my fellow members and being an effective communicator. I became more comfortable with the other Youth Leadership Council members after I facilitated my second meeting and I had a better understanding of how we function as a productive team. I was able to identify and recognize the strengths and talents of my fellow members. It was a successful meeting.

    The third annual Culture Festival held by the YLC allowed my creativity and organizational skills to shine. I volunteered to be the decorations and activities director alongside my best friend, Julia. After seeing last year’s decorations, we knew we had to completely revamp them. We brainstormed all of our ideas and I created a decorations schedule in order to materialize all of our ideas. Recreating the Great Wall of China for the Oakland Public Library was our greatest accomplishment. Over 100 hours were spent on creating various cultural decorations and we made sure every culture was included. It was an arduous process but at the same time extremely rewarding. Being able to see how our decorations transformed the library was fulfilling and gratifying.

    During my time as a member I feel like I have formed a bond with the Youth Leadership Council members (some of which are alumni now), the supervising librarian of teen services, Lana Adlawan, and my amazing moderators, Amy Sonnie and Jeanie Austin. Amy Sonnie gave me the confidence to join the YLC and accomplish things that I thought I never could do before. She taught me how to prosper inside and outside of the YLC. Jeanie Austin, who I have only known for a short time, has become a good friend and has given me support throughout the entire process of my last few months with the Youth Leadership Council. I am thankful and truly blessed for these wonderful, dedicated, and hardworking people in my life. My experience with the Youth Leadership Council has been unforgettable and I am proud to become a YLC alumni in the fall.

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    18. Level Up Your Leadership Skills: Stop Doing Things

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    This post was based on my presentation at the ALA Annual Convention, What I Stopped Doing: Improving Services to Teens by Giving Things Up. Slides for the presentation can be found on Slideshare or HaikuDeck.

    In order to do improve library service to teens, we have to work differently -- and in order to do that, we have to stop doing some of what we’re currently doing.

    From discussion at Annual and among colleagues in my personal network, this is a topic that resonated with large numbers of staff -- not just the necessity of giving things up, but the importance of continuing to talk loudly and proudly about the things we stopped doing. In youth services this is especially important -- often we are solo practitioners who were hired to work with a broad range of ages -- 0-18 in some cases.

    Discontinuing or re-assigning tasks and services is challenging, but it’s critical to improving library services to teens -- and it’s an important leadership quality. While there is no one formula that will work for every library or community, when we’re ready to think about what we can stop doing, reflect again on YALSA’s Future of Library Services for and with Teens report - it sets a frame for the work that’s most important to consider discontinuing or doing differently.

    While within the report there are five areas for change, my presentation focused on two areas of the report---creating a whole library/whole school approach to serving teens and building partnerships outside the library walls.

    As library staff who work with teens, we are often hired to manage and deliver services to an age group that very few other staff members want to manage. This reality puts us at risk for feeling like we have to do it all -- that the entire future of teens in our library rests on our shoulders. And sometimes that can be an empowering feeling -- while there is a lot of we can’t control, it can be nice to be totally in charge of something. But this is not realistic or sustainable -- and doesn’t improve our library’s service to teens in the long term. We are generally able to act as a facilitator -- instead of an expert -- in working with teens in program settings -- but what we acted more like that with our colleagues and supported them in building relationships with teens, managing teen behavior and delivering services to teens? This will be slow work; we won’t necessarily see immediate change.

    In order to strengthen our services to teens, we also have to get out of our library and build partnerships with other youth-serving organizations in the community. While library staff serving teens are not always in control of their time, there are some things we can consider stopping in order to find more time for partnership building:

    * Lots of school visits. What would happen if we didn’t do them for a year? Would our participation or attendance decrease? What if we re-directed this energy into specific groups, schools or organizations we aren’t seeing but want to? We’ll never know what actions are effective and what actions we just assume are effective because we’ve always done them until we stop doing some of them and see what happens.

    * Teen programs where nobody comes or attendance is inconsistent. Without a more solid sense of community needs, partners to help co-create and promote and young people in leadership roles, our programs can be hit or miss. What if we took a break from programs and spent time strengthening an important partnership?

    * Stop working the desk. If we’re in a supervisor or manager role, think about taking our most experienced, talented and possibly-getting-bored teen librarians and stop wasting their time with auto repair questions -- set them loose in the community. Other library staff will definitely complain about this -- but fairness doesn’t mean treating everyone exactly the same, it means giving each individual what they personally need to be successful.

    * Stop putting together displays or booklists and delegate these to other staff members, volunteers or young people in our libraries.

    * Stop running book clubs in our libraries. Look instead in our communities for partners who say, “my kids hate reading” and wow them when we bring books their young people will enjoy.

    Some things session participants mentioned they changed or were considering changing:
    * Discontinued STEM programs because attendance was poor
    * Reduced the number of storytimes offered
    * Stopped preschool storytimes because 3-4 years olds were in preschool.
    * Quit supervising all the teen employees herself and divided their supervision among colleagues.
    * Stopped doing regular media classes in the school library.

    Since each library’s situation and community are different, not all of these examples will work for everyone and some will seem almost impossible. Before putting them all aside, we should take some time to reflect on our personal feelings about the examples above -- and about other things we’ve been thinking about discontinuing. What’s standing in our way of thinking differently? Are there really factors beyond our control - or is it ourselves getting in our way? We can’t give up everything we love doing, but often there are tasks we know we SHOULD stop doing, but don’t. Be kind to ourselves; take small steps, but keep going and give our change a chance.

    If we decide to meet with our Teen Advisory group every month instead of every week, think about the impact on teen patrons -- they will likely need a transition period. What other kinds of support will they need from us for this change?

    We’ll continue to need support for our work and may need support in prioritizing differently. Our colleagues or supervisor may be able to help, or we may need to find resources on our own. Some past Level Up Your Leadership Skills blogs that are especially relevant to this topic are:

    Ways to Prioritize Your Work
    Build Your Network

    Stopping current work is challenging in libraries, but it’s not an option, it’s a necessity. As communities and patrons change around us, we have to be able to let our old role go in order to embrace what’s next. What are you going to stop doing?

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    19. Alison Weiss: Editors' Panel

    Alison Weiss of Sky Pony Press
    Alison Weiss is an editor at Sky Pony Press (and was for six-and-a-half years before that was an editor at Egmont). She focuses on chapter books through YA. Her authors include Jessica Verday, the bestselling author of Of Monsters and Madness; Agatha Award winner Penny Warner; YALSA-award-winner Sarah Cross; Micol Ostow, and many more wonderful authors.

    A fun fact about Alison: She comes from Sleepy Hollow (for real!).

    Voice is essential to projects she takes on, but it's easier to sell a book if it has a killer plot.

    What would be your dream submission?

    She's looking for books that change her perspective on the world. It can be big or it can be small and subtle. This is the kind of book that has a long-lasting impact of readers.

    What she admires: 

    The best writing is effortless. It looks like it's so simple, and you can't see all of the hard work that's behind it all. She wants to be sucked into a world and feel lost in it.

    What tips the balance on submissions: 

    Editors get a lot of submissions. When she sees a problem and knows how she would fix it, that's more likely to be a project she'll take to acquisitions. If she loves it and sees problems that baffle her, it's less likely to go through.

    The relationship between writers and editors is vital, and writers shouldn't fear talking to their editor to work through manuscript challenges.

    The book she wishes she'd published:

    Ruta Sepetys's Out of the Easy.

    Follow her on twitter at @alioop7. 

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    20. SCBWI Retreat 2015: Workshops with Grown-Ups (and FOOD!)



    Last weekend I was away from home for 4 days in the historic village of Evesham, near Worcester, doing another of my dream jobs. It involved enormous amounts of eating (best rhubarb crumble I ever tasted), sketching in the sunshine, listening to stories, chatting into the night over glasses of wine... oh, and also delivering workshops and portfolio advice for members of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.

    I knew the SCBWI retreat was to be held in a lovely old house with pretty grounds, but I was completely gob-smacked when my taxi stopped outside a long, Tudor house, all timbers and thatch. I was shown up a big, wooden staircase into a lovely old room, whose floorboards sloped down into one corner. I unpacked with a smile.


    We kicked off about an hour later, with a brilliant getting-to-know-you exercise run by fellow author/illustrators, Loretta Schauer and Alexis Deacon. We paired up and had to draw or describe events from each other's past, stimulated by silly questions like: When have you injured yourself as a result of your own stupidity?

    Then I ran my first session of the weekend: teaching people how to make concertina sketchbooks. 




    SCBWI had provided a big pile of watercolour paper. We set to, cutting and sticking. We cut up old cardboard boxes for the covers - it worked a treat. Then we all filed into the dining room for the first feast of many.



    After dinner, we had a book review cum storytelling session, where we each read a favourite picture book to the rest of the group. There were 30 of us, so it took a while, but was a lovely way to spend the evening.

    Next morning was a workshop by Alexis. He taught us techniques for making narratives more interesting, looking at the potential for using dishonest characters with hidden motivations. We all tried to create a story, though mine ran out of steam half way through. After coffee and biccies, we had a bit of free time, so I took my newly-minted sketchbook into the grounds:


    Then it was lunch (yum), followed by an interesting talk by Andrea MacDonald, Senior Editor at Random House, about what makes a good picture book:


    I did a couple of one-to-one advice sessions next. I found a lovely little summer house tucked away at the foot of the garden, which was perfect for a cost chat. people had booked appointments with me and I did my best to be wise and helpful with first an illustrator, then an author:


    My 2nd workshop used the sketchbooks we made earlier. I wanted to explore the idea of finding a narrative in a place, of capturing the essence of a particular period of time using words and pictures, but doing it through close observation, recording what we could see, hear and smell. This is of course something which I am very used to doing in my sketchbooks, and I thought it might make a good source of inspiration.

    I sat under a big tree and rang a bell. People gathered from around the grounds. Some had been playing croquet on the lawn!


    We had expected mostly illustrators to take up the challenge, but a few authors went for it too. I showed the work I'd done since I arrived, as an example, and talked through easy techniques for getting instant results with watercolour (it was a revelation to most people that you could paint with clear water first, to control the colour), then everyone dispersed for an hour or so of experimentation.


    After dinner (yum), we gathered in the conference room and, in small groups, talked though our work-in-progress. Each group then chose the strongest 3 pieces of work for each person - a great idea, as your own favourite bits of work are not necessarily your best and a fresh perspective is very useful. All the work was then displayed for everyone to browse and the next thing I knew, it was midnight!


    Sunday began with my main workshop (after breakfast of course - yum). I devised a technique for drawing a journey, one piece at a time, to build up the elements of a story. Only, to put a fly in the ointment and get people out of their comfort-zone, many of the components were chosen randomly, by a neighbour. For me, the challenge was making it work, when about a third of the delegates were not illustrators. Still, it seemed to go extremely well. After coffee (and biccies) people took it in turns to pin up their drawing and tell their story.


    Some ideas were hilarious, some were quite dark, some narratives were in a bit of a tangle, which the group helped to sort out: the brainstorming of 30 creative minds, all focussed on progressing one story idea was fantastic to watch.


    The 'house cat' decided he wanted to join in. He demanded to be let in from the rain through the French windows, jumped up on the tables, walked across people's work, then took at seat near the front to listen:


    After this of course, it was time for lunch (yum). Then we had another talk, this time by Emily Lamm, once my editor at Gullane (who worked with me on Swap!), now working as Commissioning Editor at Hachette. She gave some excellent advice on what editors are looking for and things to try / avoid in your writing. I tried to capture her and highlights from what she was saying in the concertina sketchbook:


    I had two more mentoring sessions during the afternoon, sadly in the house this time, as rain was still bouncing around outside. Then Alexis did a demo session, showing how he draws with ink, using different kinds of brushes (in various stages of decay): 


    I had my final one-to-one session, then at 7pm the gong sounded and it was time for another glorious dinner. I was impressed with the fact that the veggie choice for every meal was just as adventurous and delicious as its meat counterpart. We were all so impressed as a group that we asked for the chef and kitchen staff to come out and gave them a huge round of applause.

    After dinner, we took a group photo in the garden:


    Then we were all given a postcard, onto which we had to write three achievable goals for the next 3 months. The illustrators decorated the front of their cards. We stuck stamps on and handed them back to Loretta, whose job it was to post them all back to us in three months time. Good idea, or what?

    We stayed up chatting and drinking and taking photos of each other until late, a gradually dwindling group. Finally, at 1am, the last dregs gave up the ghost and headed for bed.

    Next morning, I packed my suitcase then luxuriated over my final breakfast (yum):


    Then gradually, a few at a time, people had to leave (cue hugging...). It had been such a rich weekend, we all felt rather sad to be on our way. I was so sad that I had to buy myself a present from the gift shop (a VERY funky necklace).


    Thank you to Loretta and all the team at SCBWI for inviting me to take part. It was a joy. Thanks as well to Sue Eves and Paul Morton, for the photos.

    It was lovely to meet everyone, including the rather amazing Alexis Deacon, who's head is just stuffed with crazy story-stuff. And you know the really good news? I get to do it all again next year, as it's a 2-year invitation!

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    21. Looking forward to ESEB 2015

    My first experience of an academic conference as a biology books editor at Oxford University Press was of sitting in a ballroom in Ottawa in July 2012 listening to 3000 evolutionary biologists chanting ‘I’m a African’ while a rapper danced in front of a projection of Charles Darwin

    The post Looking forward to ESEB 2015 appeared first on OUPblog.

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    22. YALSA Conference Grants

    Are you a YALSA member who has never attended ALA Annual? YALSA and Baker and Taylor want to help send you to Orlando for ALA Annual 2016! We will be awarding three grants: one each for a public librarian, school librarian, and graduate student.

    Applicants for the Baker & Taylor Scholarships must be librarians with one to ten years experience working with teens. Two grants will be awarded of $1,000 each.

    The Dorothy Broderick Student Scholarship will be awarded to a graduate student currently enrolled in an ALA accredited graduate school of library & information science. The winner will receive $500 up front and must submit receipts following the conference to receive any additional funding.  

    Applications must be submitted online no later than December 1. The application includes short essay questions and requires a supporting statement from someone familiar with your work.

    More information and links to the application form can be found on the YALSA Conference Grants webpage

    Jenna Friebel is a youth services librarian at the Deerfield Public Library in Illinois and current chair of YALSA’s Conference Travel Scholarships Jury.

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    23. Preparing for Portland: YA Services Symposium 2015

    This year's YALSA Young Adult Services Symposium has an awesome program filled with presentations, panels, and papers covering many different aspects of YA services. Plus, there are over 30 YA authors that will be attending the symposium. I will be traveling all the way from St. Petersburg, Russia to Portland just for the symposium and there is one more aspect that absolutely makes it worth the trip: the attendees!

    As a solo librarian, I welcome every opportunity that I get to interact with other librarians in youth services. Through my involvement in YALSA and use of Twitter, I have had the chance to get to know quite a few librarians throughout the U.S. At last year's symposium in Austin, I got to meet many of these librarians in person for the first time. There is so much to be learned by spending time with other librarians in a social setting. After the panels ended for the day, our professional development did not end. Over drinks and delicious food, we discussed books, library programs, blogging, and life. It's awesome to find that your friends are just as awesome IRL as they are online.

    Don't worry if you are new to YALSA or the symposium either! In my experience, the community of attendees is incredibly welcoming. I attended the opening night meet-and-greet with one friend, but by the time we left for a taco run, we had grown to a group of ten - the majority of which we had never interacted with before.  By connecting with fellow librarians I got new ideas right away and also found ways to stay in touch throughout the year. I am able to regularly check in with YA librarians to see what programs they are running, what books they are promoting, and how they are making a difference for their patrons. I cannot wait to see who I will meet this year.

    The more pro-active you are, the more you will benefit from being surrounded by awesome librarians. It's never too early or too late to start. Get online before you leave for Portland and follow the Symposium's hashtag #yalsa15 to see who else will be attending. When you are there, don't be afraid to compliment someone on their cat-patterned cardigan or awesome haircut. Say hello to the person next to you in line for coffee. Ask someone which author they will visit first during the Book Blitz. I know how difficult these interactions can be for some people, but I promise they will be worth it.

    The 2015 YALSA Young Adult Services Symposium will take place November 6-8, 2015 at the Hilton Portland & Executive tower. Register today!

    -Jessica Lind, find me on Twitter before #yalsa15 and say hello! @sadrobot

     

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    24. Dhonielle Clayton @ #yalsa15

    The Young Adult Services Symposium is not only great for networking, broadening your horizons but as well as meeting great authors! The author I would like to talk a little about is Dhonielle Clayton. Clayton has recently released her first novel, which she wrote with Sona Charaipotra entitled, Tiny Pretty Things. Clayton will also be releasing a fantasy book series, The Belles, in 2016. I am certain that if you are a teen librarian, you have heard the hot topic about needing more diverse teen books. Well, that's where Dhonielle and Sona Charaipotra’s expertise comes in handy. They have cofounded CAKE Literacy. CAKE Literacy is described as a "commitment to creating delicious and diverse concepts for middle grade, teen and women’s fiction readers".

    Why CAKE? Well, usually when these two ladies would meet to discuss books and writing, they always had a slice of cake with their discussions. CAKE Literacy came about because they both shared love for the TV series The Vampire Diaries and Pretty Little Liars and noticed how there wasn't any diversity in those shows. Come to think of it, nearly all the fantasy genre books I have read, also lack diversity. With that in mind, I agree with Dhonielle and Sona and support CAKE Literacy! If you haven't check out their website, please do! It's visually stimulating. Don’t forget to visit Dhonielle Clayton at the 2015 YA Services Symposium.

    The 2015 YALSA Young Adult Services Symposium will take place November 6-8, 2015 at the Hilton Portland & Executive tower. Register today!

    --Annie Snell, YA Services Symposium Marketing and Planning Task Force

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    25. U.S. Publishing Mission to Cuba Launches in 2016

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