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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Newbery Medal, Most Recent at Top [Help]
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1. Register for Summer 2016 Online Courses

Register for a Summer 2016 ALSC Online Course!

The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) encourages participants to sign up for Summer 2016 ALSC online courses. Registration is open for all courses. Classes begin Monday, July 11, 2016.

One of the three courses being offered this semester are eligible for continuing education units (CEUs). The American Library Association (ALA) has been certified to provide CEUs by the International Association of Continuing Education and Training (IACET). ALSC online courses are designed to fit the needs of working professionals. Courses are taught by experienced librarians and academics. As participants frequently noted in post-course surveys, ALSC stresses quality and caring in its online education options.

NEW! Engaging Readers and Writers with Interactive Fiction
4 weeks, July 11 – August 5, 2016
Instructor: Christian Sheehy, Digital Initiatives Librarian, Xavier University

The Newbery Medal: Past, Present and Future
6 weeks, July 11 – August 13, 2016
Instructor: KT Horning, Director, Cooperative Children’s Book Center, University of Wisconsin- Madison

Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Programs Made Easy
4 weeks, July 11 – August 5, 2016
CEU Certified Course, 1.2 CEUs
Instructor: Angela Young, Head of Children’s Department, Reed Memorial Library

Detailed descriptions and registration information is available on the ALSC website. Fees are $115 for personal ALSC members; $165 for personal ALA members; and $185 for non-members. Questions? Please contact ALSC Program Officer for Continuing Education, Kristen Figliulo or 1 (800) 545-2433 ext 4026.

Images are courtesy of ALSC.

The post Register for Summer 2016 Online Courses appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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2. Notes: Native imagery in books that have won the Newbery Medal

Today, a colleague asked me if I knew of an article that looked at Native imagery in the Newbery Medal winners. I don't know of such an article and thought I'd just start making notes here. No analysis, yet. I'm using Google Books, Amazon's "look inside" feature, Project Gutenburg... whatever I can to compile these excerpts. The first medal was awarded in 1922. The first one that is about Native people of North America is Waterless Mountain, published in 1932.

1922: The Story of Mankind by Hendrik Willem van Loon:


They had tried to use the Indians as labourers in the fields and in the mines, but the Indians, when taken away from a life in the open, had lain down and died and to save them from extinction a kind-hearted priest had suggested that negroes be brought from Africa to do the work.

1923: The Voyages of Dr. Dolittle by Hugh Lofting:

"He is a mysterious person," said the Doctor--"a very mysterious person. His name is Long Arrow, the son of Golden Arrow. He is a Red Indian."
"Have you ever seen him?" I asked.
"No," said the Doctor, "I've never seen him. No white man has ever met him. I fancy Mr. Darwin doesn't even know that he exists. He lives almost entirely with the animals and with the different tribes of Indians--usually somewhere among the mountains of Peru. Never stays long in one place. Goes from tribe to tribe, like a sort of Indian tramp."

1924: The Dark Frigate by Charles Hawes, p. 188:

Miles Philips was his name and the manner of his suffering at the hands of the Indians and the Spaniards may serve as a warning. For they flung him into prison where he was like to have starved; and they tortured him in the Inquisition where he was like to have perished miserably; and many of his companions they beat and killed or sent to the galleys; and himself and certain others they sold for slaves.

1925: Tales from Silver Lands, by Charles J. Finger
Note: It is a collection of 19 folktales of the native peoples of Central and South America. Can't see anything on line.

1926: Shen of the Sea by Arthur Bowie Chrisman
Note: Nothing that I can see online.

1927: Smokey, the Cowhorse by Will James

All the stars was out and showing off, and the braves was a chasing the buffalo plum around the Big Dipper, the water hole of The Happy Hunting Grounds.

1928: Gay Neck, the Story of a Pigeon by Dhan Gopal Mukerji
Note: Nothing that I can see online.

1929: The Trumpeter of Krakow by Eric P. Kelly
Note: Nothing that I can see online.

1930: Hitty, Her First Hundred Years by Rachel Field, page 28:

They were sure the Indians had carried me away and I think this made Phoebe even more distressed about my loss.

1931: The Cat Who Went to Heaven by Elizabeth Coatsworth
Note: Nothing that I can see online.

1932: Waterless Mountain by Laura Adams Armer

Uncle told Father to ride to the trading post for help. At the post the Big Man was very busy trying to do something for everyone. A party of tourists was asking questions about every little thing. One wanted to know if the Indians still scalped people.
"I have never seen it done," said the Big Man as he went on addressing envelopes on his typewriter.
Note: the Big Man is a white trader. The Navajo father wants him to heal his son, who is sick, and calling out for the white trader.

1933: Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze by Elizabeth Lewis
Note: Nothing that I can see online.

1934: Invincible Louisa: The Story of the Author of Little Women, by Cornelia Miggs
Note: Nothing that I can see online.

That's it for now... More later.

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3. You Need To Watch: Caldecott-Newbery-Wilder Awards Speeches

I’ve attended the annual conference of the American Library Association every year since 2010, when the conference was in Washington, DC. For whatever reason (probably because it required an expensive banquet ticket), I never attended the Caldecott-Newbery-Wilder Medals banquet, even when the winner was a graphic novel. This year changed that. I was staying at the AYH hostel […]

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4. Newbery! Caldecott! Librarians Honor Graphic Novels including El Deafo and This One Summer

The American Library Association announced their 2015 youth media award winners at its Midwinter Meeting in Chicago.

Covering a diverse range of titles and readers, graphic novels were among the honorees!  First…  The big news…

9781419712173 Newbery!  Caldecott!  Librarians Honor Graphic Novels including El Deafo and This One SummerEl Deafo, Cece Bell’s memoir of her hearing loss and fitting in at grade school was selected as a Newbery Honor Book, as an outstanding contribution to children’s literature!

While already a bestseller, with long autograph lines this weekend at the conference, this honor will encourage more libraries, especially school libraries, to shelve and promote this title, a great book which just happens to be a graphic memoir!

Then there’s the Caldecott Medal, for most distinguished American picture book.  This is another “instant bestseller”, generating instant sales among libraries and bookstores.  This year’s winner was Dan Santat, for “The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend”, which is a regular picture book.  But…  Santat has also written a graphic novel, titled “Sidekicks”, and his picture books are geeky and fun, so I’m claiming him!

Also… there were SIX honor books announced.  One of which was…  “This One Summer“, illustrated by Jillian Tamaki, written by Mariko Tamaki.  Yes… it’s awarded to the illustrator, but many times, the story is essential for a title rising among the many amazing books being published today.

Don’t feel sory for Mariko… she received a Printz Honor for excellence in literature written for young adults!  This is the Newberry for YA literature, with a similar explosion in sales expected!  (Graphicologists will recall that Gene Luen Yang won the award for American Born Chinese in 2007.)

What… you want more?  Okay…  How about an outstanding children’s book translated from a foreign language?

The Mildred L. Batchelder Award honored “Hidden: A Child’s Story of the Holocaust“, published by First Second.  Written in French by Loic Dauvillier, illustrated by Marc Lizano, color by Greg Salsedo, and translated by Alexis Siegel, it chronicles a young Jewish girl in 1942 Paris.  I confess… I overlooked this title last Spring. (Hey… they have an amazing list, and there’s lots of great stuff from other publishers too!)  Here’s a friendly reminder, and an enjoyable one at that!

9780525426813M Newbery!  Caldecott!  Librarians Honor Graphic Novels including El Deafo and This One SummerOne more title of note…  YALSA (the Young Adult Library Services Association) gave an award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults.  This year’s winner:

Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek by Maya Van Wagenen

If you’d like to know more about these and many other winners (many in multiple categories), visit the Youth Media Awards website! You can read our 2014 coverage here.

Me, I’m off to discover more great titles, and to help librarians use graphic novels to encourage literacy and a life-long-love of reading!

6 Comments on Newbery! Caldecott! Librarians Honor Graphic Novels including El Deafo and This One Summer, last added: 2/3/2015
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5. ALA Youth Media Awards Have Been Announced!

Earlier today the American Library Association announced the 2013 Youth Media Awards Winners. Click here to read the press release.

Highlights include:

John Newbery Medal Winner (for the most outstanding contribution to children’s literature):

The One and Only Ivan written by Katherine Applegate (HarperCollins Children’s Books, 2012)

Randolph Caldecott Medal Winner (for the most distinguished American picture book for children):

This Is Not My Hat, illustrated and written by Jon Klassen (Candlewick Press, 2012).

Coretta Scott King (Author) Book Award Winner (recognizing an African American author of outstanding books for children and young adults):

Hand in Hand: Ten Black Men Who Changed America, written by Andrea Davis Pinkney, illustrated by Brian Pinkney (Disney/Jump at the Sun Books, 2012).

Coretta Scott King (Illustrator) Book Award Winner (recognizing an African American illustrator of outstanding books for children and young adults):

I, Too, Am America, illustrated by Bryan Collier, written by Langston Hughes (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2012)

Pura Belpré (Author) Award Winner (honoring a Latino writer whose children’s books best portray, affirm and celebrate the Latino cultural experience):

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, written by Benjamin Alire Sáenz, (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2012)

Pura Belpré (Illustrator) Award Winner (honoring a Latino illustrator whose children’s books best portray, affirm and celebrate the Latino cultural experience):

Martín de Porres: The Rose in the Desert, illustrated by David Diaz, written by Gary D. Schmidt (Clarion Books, 2012)

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6. Names All Children’s Writers Should Know

qwen conneleyCard-2012small

This Christmas card was sent in by Gwen Connolley.

Even before the recent nightmare in Connecticut, the spirits of many seemed a bit dampened for the holidays this year.  Sometimes it can require effort, at least for us grown ups, to see beyond our troubles and discover that simple joys can be found even in dark or stressful times.  I think most holidays were created by and for those who need to find reason to be joyful in otherwise dire times.  I would like to encourage others to seek and to find that life and light and love perpetually surround us.  You can find more of my illustrations at www.gwenconnolley.com
Best wishes to you for the holidays and in the coming new year!

Names All Children’s Writers Should Know How To Spell: A Tribute to Kidlit Greatness 

Though the below descriptions/explanations are mine, this list is from a lecture by Shelley Tanaka, an award-winning nonfiction children’s author, Canadian children’s book publisher and editor (link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shelley_Tanaka). 

In preparation of starting my studies at the Vermont College of Fine Arts in pursuit of an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults in less than a month from now, I came across a handout from one of my teachers, Shelley Tanaka, which, with her gracious permission, I would like to share with you. This list is more than a checklist of names with tricky spellings – although it’s that too. It is a reminder of our roots as children’s writers. These are the names of the great kidlit warriors, whose shoulders we are all trying to stand on.

(Note: Don’t feel bad if you don’t know all of them. I had to look up a couple!)

  1. Newbery Medal. Named after an  English bookseller John Newbery, the medal aims to recognize excellence in      young people’s literature.
  2. Hans Christian Andersen. Yes, we all know the wonderful andwhimsical storyteller from Denmark – author of  numerous fairytales, novels, poetry and more — but some of us sometimes confuse his name with Anderson, as in M.T. Anderson, another name to know in young people’s literature, by the way).
  3. Noel Streatfield. A Carnegie-medal winning English author.
  4. Katherine Paterson. The beloved author of many young adult and children’s novels, including my personal      favorite, Newbery-winning “Bridge to Terabithia.”
  5. Stephenie Meyer. Some in kidlit circles like to look down on this author of the wildly popular “Twilight” saga. But she has definitely proved herself a force to be reckoned with, luring millions of girls to her romance with a vampire. Did you know that in addition to writing, Meyer is a film producer?  Her production company is behind a movie based on Shannon Hale’s adult work, “Austenland.” (Yes, Shannon Hale’s another great one.)
  6. Kate DiCamillo. Best known as theNewbery-winning author of  sometimes tender, sometimes whimsical fiction for children, DiCamillo has also written picture books, early chapter books and published stories for adults.
  7. Diana Wynne Jones. Born in London in 1934 and having passed away just last year, Jones was best known for her numerous fantasy novels for children and adults.
  8. Ursula K. Le Guin. This author of  several popular children’s series (as well as standalone stories), was a huge influence on many of the fantasy and science-fiction novels we read today.
  9. Kenneth Grahame. This Scottish author wrote such children’s classics as “The Wind and The Willows,” and “The Reluctant Dragon,” both of which became Disney films.
  10. Rosemary Sutcliffe. This British novelist was best known for her exciting historical fiction for young readers – especially her Arthurian stories (some of which were for adults).
  11. Arthur Ransome. Another Englishman, considered one of the classic children’s authors, best known for his “Swallows in Amazons” adventure series set in between two world wars.
  12. J. R. R. Tolkien. Though he didn’t write for children specifically, one could easily call him one of the founding fathers of fantasy, influencing such modern works as the “Harry  Potter” series by Tolkien’s fellow Englishwoman J. K. Rowling (and yes, I trust we’ve all heard about her, and know her name’s spelling). Though of course fantasy was written before his time, it seemed his “Lord of the Rings” series resurrected the once-dying genre.
  13. Madeleine L’Engle. Much beloved and missed, this American Newbery-winning author passed away in 2007. In her obituary, the New York Times described her work as “childhood fables, religious meditations and fanciful science fiction” that “transcended both genre and generation, most memorably in her children’s classic ‘A Wrinkle in Time.’”

(link: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/08/books/08lengle.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0)

I love the quote on her website: “You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.” 

  1. Horn Book. This magazine publishes articles about trends in children’s and young adult literature in print      and online, including its influential reviews. Each year, the staff chooses a list of what they considered to be the very best titles from among 500-plus books they have reviewed. (link: http://www.hbook.com/2012/12/choosing-books/recommended-books/2012-horn-book-fanfare/)

There are two more I’d like to add to this list:

15. Laurie Halse Anderson. Another great author name with literary spelling, this versatile YA giant writes books on difficult subjects spanning from rape and anorexia, to slavery.

16. SCBWI! Founded in 1971, by several Los Angeles writers, including the versatile Stephen Mooser, author of more than 50 works, including picture books and chapter books, and the middle-grade series author Lin Oliver, our beloved Society of Children’s Writers and Illustrators is a source of knowledge and support, organizer of conferences and forger of great ties, and a promoter of children’s literature all around the world.

Of course this list only barely scratches the surface, and if she chose to Ms. Tanaka could probably have come up with a book filled with names of importance. But if there is anything you’d like to add to the list, please post a comment, below.

Katia Raina is the author of “Castle of Concrete,” a young adult novel about a timid half-Russian, half-Jewish teen in search of a braver “self” reuniting with her dissident mother in the last year of the collapsing Soviet Union, to be published by Namelos. On her blog, The Magic Mirror, http://katiaraina.wordpress.com Katia talks about writing and history, features interviews, book lists and all sorts of literary randomness.

Katia will start her MFA program in January 2013 at the Vermont College of Fine Arts, pursuing a degree in Writing for Children and Young Adults. (link: http://www.vcfa.edu/wyca)  

Talk tomorrow,


Filed under: article, Author, list, need to know Tagged: Gwen Connolley, Horn Book, Katia Raina, Newbery Medal, Shelly Tanaka, Vermont College of Fine Arts

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7. Dead End in Norvelt

Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos, Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2011, 352 pp, ISBN: 0374379939

Jack Gantos is grounded for the summer. The whole summer. The only way that he can get out of the house is to write obituaries for Miss Volker, because her arthritis is so bad she can't hold a pencil anymore. 

At first, this sounds like even worse torture than helping his dad dig the bomb shelter in their front yard, but once all of Norvelt's old ladies start dropping dead, things get downright interesting.

Initially, Dead End in Norvelt suffered because I read it immediately on the heels of Okay for Now - both "funny books" with strong male narrators. And in a direct heat between the two, Okay's Doug would win out over Dead End's Jack every time - not that the Newbery Committee seemed to notice. (And have you noticed that the two covers are strangely similar?)

But once I got about a third of the way through Jack's story, I warmed up to him. I think this had less to do with Jack himself, and more to do with the hilarious people in his life - particularly Miss Volker, his best friend Bunny, and the tricycle riding Mr. Spizz. Bunny was aggravated that Jack would rather spend his summer examining bodies and writing obits with Miss Volker than playing baseball with her, but I was just thankful. A summer with Miss Volker surely makes for better reading than a summer of baseball!

Dead End was even more appealing because it is partially a reflection of author Jack Gantos' real life. I mean... the main character is named Jack Gantos! All throughout I kept trying to figure out which pieces of the fiction might actually be fact. Here's one bit of trivia that happens to be true: Norvelt is a real town which was named after First Lady EleaNOR RooseVELT, the town's planner and supporter throughout the Great Depression. Evidently, Mrs. Roosevelt planted a string of these towns across the United States.

Dead End in Norvelt goes up against Daughter of Smoke and Bone in the BoB tomorrow. I am now officially a fan of Dead End, but I'm holding out hope that Laini Taylor wins the round!
4 Comments on Dead End in Norvelt, last added: 3/16/2012
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8. Learning From Mistakes

It’s a fact that I’ve learned a whole lot more from my writing mistakes than from my writing successes. Take, for example, the chapter book debacle.

The first manuscript I wrote was an 8,000-ish word chapter book called, "Eddie’s Chance to Dance." Except that I didn’t really know it was a chapter book. I just thought it was a charming tale that might be a tad short for juvenile fiction.

Then somebody told me it was a chapter book. Well, okay, no need to be all smartypants about it. It wasn’t like I hadn’t heard of chapter books. I’d bought a ton of them for my kiddies. I just hadn’t…what’s the word again? Oh, yeah. Read many of them. So I thought I’d better brush up on chapter books.

I checked out shelves full of these slim books from my local library and read every single one. And what I realized, after all that brushing up, was that my chapter book was not very good. Or to put it another way, Eddie didn’t stand a tap shoe's chance of getting published.

I’d made a big mistake. I dashed off a chapter book before I knew much about what makes a good chapter book. It seems like an obvious concept, to research before you write, but you’d be surprised how often writers (and I’m including myself here) will write something willy-nilly and expect the world (and I’m including mostly editors here) to love it.

I figured out a few things after all that reading, and not just about chapter books. For example, if I want to write for a market, say a webzine like WOW!Women-on-Writing, I’ll read a ton of issues before making a pitch. If I have a mystery novel in mind, I’ll read a couple Edgar Award winners before pounding out 50,000 words. And now that I write fiction for the kiddies, I’ve read picture books on the Caldecott Medal list, and chapter books and middle grade on the Newbery Medal list, and young adult novels on the Printz Award list. These days, I do my reading research.

Lesson learned.

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9. 2012 Children’s Book Award Winners Announced


This morning I got up at 5 a.m. to see (via webcast) the 2012 winners of the biggest awards in children's publishing--the American Library Association (ALA) awards.  The film industry has their Golden Globes® and their Oscars®, and we have the Caldecott and Newbery Medals, the Coretta Scott King Award, and the Michael J. Printz Award.  Unlike most other book awards, the major children's book awards given by the ALA have no lists of finalists or nominees.  It's a surprise every single year (with plenty of speculation beforehand) and I kind of love the secrecy.  This year's announcement had both the unexpected and the "ah, of course" books on the lists (including some 2011 Best of the Month titles)--you just never know who is going to win what. Congratulations to this year's winning and honored authors and illustrators:


2012 Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished American picture book for children:


2012 Newbery Medal for the most outstanding contribution to children’s literature:



2012 Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in literature written for young adults:  

10. 2012 Children’s Book Award Winners Announced


This morning I got up at 5 a.m. to see (via webcast) the 2012 winners of the biggest awards in children's publishing--the American Library Association (ALA) awards.  The film industry has their Golden Globes® and their Oscars®, and we have the Caldecott and Newbery Medals, the Coretta Scott King Award, and the Michael J. Printz Award.  Unlike most other book awards, the major children's book awards given by the ALA have no lists of finalists or nominees.  It's a surprise every single year (with plenty of speculation beforehand) and I kind of love the secrecy.  This year's announcement had both the unexpected and the "ah, of course" books on the lists (including some 2011 Best of the Month titles)--you just never know who is going to win what. Congratulations to this year's winning and honored authors and illustrators:


2012 Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished American picture book for children:


2012 Newbery Medal for the most outstanding contribution to children’s literature:



2012 Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in literature written for young adults:  

11. New Edition of Neil Gaiman’s ‘The Graveyard Book’ Omits Newbery Medal

Neil Gaiman‘s The Graveyard Book has been been reprinted with a new paperback cover. One noticeable difference between the 2008 cover and the new one? The new one does not flash the Newbery Medal the book won in 2009.

According to Publishers Weekly, the golden award is “one of the few surefire ways” to increase sales in the children’s market. However, William Morrow associate publisher Jennifer Hart said that Gregg Kulick‘s design was meant to attract adult buyers.

Inkwood Books owner Leslie Reiner had this comment, in the article: “I can definitely say that a Newbery Medal on the cover would not be a selling point [for adults] and if I were in marketing I would not put it on the cover. Covers sell books, and I think of [Markus Zusak's] The Book Thief and how the cover works for adult and teens.” What do you think of this new cover?


New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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12. The 90-Second Newbery Film Festival

Thanks to author Grace Lin (whose book Ling & Ting was just awarded the prestigious 2011 Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor by the American Library Association!) for alerting me to The 90-Second Newbery Film Festival. Perhaps a PaperTigers reader can make one of Grace’s dreams come true!

Librarians, teachers, parents & kids–here’s a fun project! Take any Newbery award-winning story and make into 90 second movie. Then enter it into this contest to get it shown at the 90-second Newbery Film Festival at the New York Public Library!

I was particularly excited when I heard about this contest as I’ve dreamed for Where the Mountain Meets the Moon to be made into a movie. Unfortunately, so far, Hollywood has not called but if a reader makes a 90-second Where the Mountain Meets the Moon movie I think I would consider that a dream come true!

So much so, that if you do happen to make a 90-second Where the Mountain Meets the Moon movie for this film festival, I’ll send you a print from the Grace Lin Gallery (my etsy shop)! Is that bribery? So far, there’s nothing about that in the rules… Read all about the contest HERE.

Deadline for the contest is Sept. 15 2011 and if you do enter a 90-second Where the Mountain Meets the Moon movie, please send me the link too! Your Oscar awaits.

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13. December 2010 Events

(Click on event name for more information)

2011 PBBY-Salanga Prize Winner Announced~ Philippines

Dromkeen National Centre for Picture Book Art Exhibits~ Riddells Creek, Australia

Making Books Sing Presents a One-Woman Play Based on The Storyteller’s Candle/La velita de los cuentos by Lucía Gonzalez~ New York, NY, USA

Doha International Children’s Book Festival~ ongoing until Dec 2, Doha, Qatar

2010 Bologna Illustrators Exhibition~ ongoing until Dec 5, Nanao, Japan

Off the Page: Original Illustrations from NZ Picture Books~ ongoing until Dec 5, Ashburton, New Zealand

Guadalajara Book Fair~ ongoing until Dec 5, Guadalajara, Mexico

2011 Canadian Children’s Book Centre Awards~ submissions accepted until Dec 17, Canada

Scholastic Asian Book Award~ submissions accepted until Dec 31, Singapore

Hedwig Anuar Children’s Book Award 2011~ submissions accepted until Dec 31, Singapore

An Exquisite Vision: The Art of Lisbeth Zwerger~ ongoing until Jan 9, Hannover, Germany

Monsters and Miracles: A Journey through Jewish Picture Books~ ongoing until Jan 23, Amherst, MA, USA

Drawn in Brooklyn Exhibit of Original Picture Book Art by Brooklyn Illustrators~ ongoing until Jan 23, Brooklyn, NY, USA

National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature Presents From Houdini to Hugo: The Art of Brian Selznick~ ongoing until Jan 29, Abilene, TX, USA

Fins and Feathers: Original Children’s Book Illustrations from The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art~ ongoing until Jan 30, Raleigh, NC, USA

Summer Reading Club: Scare Up a Good Story~ ongoing until Jan 31, Australia

2011 Frances Lincoln Diverse Voices Children’s Book Award

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14. The Higher Power of Lucky

The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron, Atheneum/Richard Jackson Books, 2006, 144 pp, ISBN: 1416901949

Oh la-la, la-La, la-LA, la-LA! In all of our talks about our future-unborn babies, I always try to convince my husband that we really need to name the first girl Scout, Katniss, Hermoine, or Viola. I think I might have just added Lucky to the list.

The Higher Power of Lucky is about a ten-year-old girl named Lucky. Lucky's mother has died, she only knows her father as "the crematory man," and her guardian Bridgette may or may not be on her way back to France. Before she is left all alone in the world, Lucky needs to find her Higher Power. Unfortunately, while eavesdropping on all of the "Anonymous" meetings outside Hard Pan's Found Object Wind Chime Museum and Visitor Center has taught Lucky a lot about hitting rock bottom, it still hasn't told her how to find, or where to look for, her Higher Power. But that doesn't mean she's going to give up...

I don't typically read or review a lot of middle grade fiction. MG books just often don't have enough of a hook to keep me reading, but I picked up The Higher Power of Lucky for two reasons. First, I just made a hugely exciting job change (moving from a 6-12 library to a PreK-8 library), so I really need to brush up on my books for little kids. Second, I vividly remember all of the drama surrounding this book a few years ago, and I was interested to discover how scandalous a children's book could really be.

I ended up falling in love with a little girl named Lucky. Lucky is a scientist, a question-asker, a loyal friend, a ward, and a creative spirit. Author Susan Patron brought out all of Lucky's heartache over the loss of her mother in the most creative of ways: through the survival backpack that she carries at all times "because of the strange and terrible and good and bad things that happen when you least expect them to," and through the urn that she keeps on a shelf, "with her mother's remains and her own dried-up tears inside." Through Patron's deceptively innocent phrasing, I could actually feel all of Lucky's emotions, as vividly as if she were sitting right next to me.

Lucky, along with her friends Lincoln and Miles, experiences a

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15. Teaching with Historical Fiction

Whether we are reading it or writing it ourselves, historical fiction is an amazing classroom tool. Rather than slogging through page after a page of a textbook (although textbooks have their place!), historical fiction allows students to absorb the facts, faces, nuances, and varied perspectives of the past from characters who they can relate to. The books below are just a few of the ones that my students have particularly enjoyed (and learned from!).

Copper Sun by Sharon Draper is one of my all-time favorite books, and I have yet to find a student - male or female - who hasn't also been drawn in by its magic. Copper Sun is the story of Amari, a fifteen-year-old girl growing up in a small village in Africa. But then one day the "milk-faced visitors" arrive, and shatter the only world Amari has ever known. The pale-faced men kill many of Amari's friends and family as she watches. Then the survivors are chained together, forced to walk through miles of jungle, shipped across the ocean to America, and sold to the highest bidder.

After Amari is bought as a birthday present for a wealthy farmer's son, she meets Polly, an indentured servant. From that point on, Amari and Polly take turns narrating the rest of the story. Through their voices, the horrors of life on a southern plantation are given a human face. Although there is no shortage of cruel, white stereotypes, Amari and Polly learn that nothing is completely black and white. After a failed attempt to help cover up their mistress's scandalous secret, the two girls must work together to find their way to freedom.

I honestly cannot say enough good things about Copper Sun. Sharon Draper is an incredible storyteller, and as the granddaughter of a former slave, her depiction of the past is something that no reader will soon forget.

47 by Walter Mosley is a very, very different kind of story about slavery in the south, blending together both historical and science fiction. Fourteen-year-old 47 is a slave on the Corinthian Planation, going through the motions of every-day life, believing Mama Flore when she says, "White peoples gots as many ages as you can count, but slaves on'y gots four ages. That's babychile, boy or girl, old boy or old girl, an dead." But all of that changes the day he meets Tall John, a man who portrays himself to the master as a runaway slave. To 47, Tall John reveals that he can "read dreams, fly between galaxies, and make friends with any animal no matter how wild." He explains that he has come to the planet to defeat the evils of the Calabash, who have manifested themselves through 47's master and others like him. In order to win against them, he needs 47.

As he prepares for the ultimate war against the Calabash, Tall John works to re-train 47's mind, to show him that all people are meant to be equal, frequently repeating the refrain, "Neither nigger nor master be." I love the way this passage reveals how the young boy's perceptions were slowly transformed:

"...back th

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16. On Fire for Reading with Linda Sue Park

Guest blogger Linda Sue Park is the author of A Single Shard (Newbery Medal winner), Kite Fighters and her latest book, Keeping Score . In addition, Linda Sue has published several other novels, as well as picture books, poems and short stories. Linda Sue recently visited a First Book school and kindly agreed to share her impressions.

I recently visited a Title I school in Washington state to share some of my books with students there. I met with 83 fifth-grade students in the library.  It was clear to me from the moment I arrived that the students and the staff took pride in their school and were eager to welcome me.

The librarians and teachers had done some wonderful preparation before I arrived and the kids were already familiar with my picture book THE FIREKEEPER’S SON. I talked to them about my own family background; my love of reading; my early efforts at writing; and of course showed them photos of my dog. Then I booktalked a few of my titles, including KITE FIGHTERS, and finished up by talking about revision and rewriting, rejection, and the importance of reading. After that we had a few minutes of Q&A.

The kids were terrific. I didn’t see a single one of them wiggling or acting distracted–it felt like all their eyes were on me every minute. It is a K-8 school, and several eighth-graders were studying in the library at the time; I was tickled to see that by about halfway through, they had all abandoned their carrels and were standing at the back listening to my presentation!

At the very end I talked about First Book, and when I advised the assembled group that individual classrooms could register in addition to the school as a whole, I was encouraged to see the teachers and librarians in the room scribbling down the web address.  I then brought out boxes of books and told the kids I had made arrangements with First Book to provide each child with a copy of KITE FIGHTERS. I wish you could have heard the squeals in the room! Then I told them that I had already autographed the books for them and got a second chorus of squeals. We did a round of applause for First Book, then we handed out the books as the kids left the library.  The best part was that as the students went down the hall, most of them already had the book open, reading as they walked!

I hope everyone involved with a school or program serving children from low-income families will visit www.firstbook.org/register to connect  with your great organization!

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17. Celebrate the Year of the Tiger with Grace Lin

We have blogged quite a bit about Grace Lin lately as her book Where the Mountain Meets the Moon was chosen as one of seven books in our Spirit of Paper Tigers Book Set and was also named a 2010 Newbery Honor Book, one of the most prestigious awards for children’s literature in the United States. Be sure to check out  Grace’s blog to read about and see photos from  “the Newbery call” .

One thing that I really admire about Grace is that she is so accessible to her fans via her regularly updated blog and her full schedule of book signings and school visits. This Saturday, February 20th, she will be at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA, USA hosting Learn How Books Are Made with Grace Lin where she will show the many steps of publishing, read one of her books, answers questions, draw some of her book characters and sign books. After a lunch break, she will talk about Lunar New Year customs, referencing her books Bringing in the New Year and The Year of the Rat.  Perhaps she will share some of the special lunar crafts that she has been making to help celebrate the Year of the Tiger (and have you made our Paper Tiger yet?).  Of course, all of us at PaperTigers have a special affinity for the Year of the Tiger and so does Grace:

In my book, The Year of the Rat there is the story of the 12 animals of the Chinese Zodiac, which tells of the great race of the animals to win the the honor of a year named after them. The winning animals had their own characteristics as you can tell by how they they competed

The Tiger won his place by sheer strength, courage and nerve. That is why they say people who are born in the Year of the Tiger are risk-takers and brave. So, this year, the Year of the Tiger, is the year where we all have to be strong, brave and ready to take risks. It might be a bit unpredictable and surprising.

Now, I was born in the Year of the Tiger so this is MY year. But, it doesn’t mean it will be a lucky one. When it is YOUR year, it means it will be a year of important and possibly life-changing decisions. It’s the year where big things happen that change the course of your life.

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18. Odds and Bookends: January 29

An Interesting Approach to Exciting Youngsters About Reading
What better way to get kids interested in reading than to make them the star of their very own personalized book?

Mixtape: 10 Songs About Libraries and Librarians
Check out these fun songs about libraries and librarians, including artists such as Frank Zappa and Green Day. You can even listen in to discover why these songs made the list.

Little House on the Prairie Continues to Wow Audiences
Everyone’s beloved story is back with a new musical twist. Be sure to check out this new musical, based on Laura Ingalls Wilder’s treasured classic storyline.

Baby-Sitters Club: Life After 30!
The acclaimed teenage gang gets a new twist as we ask the question: Where are they now? From Kristy Thomas to Stacey McGill, these projections will certainly bring back cherished memories.

The Caldecott, Newbery and Printz book awards go to…
John Pinkney’s exceptional illustrations were awarded the Caldecott Medal for capturing the true spirit of a classic fable. The Newbery Medal as well as the Printz Award were also given to some special talent for excellence in both children’s literature and young adult literature.

Books to Film: Martin Scorsese Continues the Trend
With the release of some truly spectacular new films based on classic children’s books, Brian Selznick’s “The Invention of Hugo Cabret” appears to be next in line.

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19. Eleven Days or Thereabouts

posted by Neil
Dear Diary

right. When last heard of I was putting on fancy clothes to go to the Newbery Caldecott Alcott Awards Dinner, and receive the Newbery Medal.

I wrote the speech back in April, and recorded it then, so that it could be given out to people at ALA as a CD and printed in The Hornbook. Then I didn't look at it again, figuring that way it would be new and interesting to me when I got to it at ALA.

This did nothing to decrease my nervousness; neither did wearing a suit.

Beth Krommes gave her acceptance speech for the Caldecott Medal for her book The House in the Night, written by Susan Marie Swanson. I gave my speech and somehow wasn't nervous any more when I gave it. Then Ashley Bryan was given the Louisa May Alcott award, and had a thousand librarians singing and reciting poetry together. It was pretty wonderful.

Here's a Scripps report on the evening, my editor Elise Howard writing about the experience of getting The Graveyard Book a chapter at a time over three years; and at http://wowlit.web.arizona.edu/blog there is a multi-part interview with Nick Glass, who was on the Newbery Medal Committee.

So I won the Newbery Medal (or did I? At http://jameskennedy.com/2009/07/13/i-win-the-newbery/ James Kennedy tells a very different story.)

The following morning was a signing that went on for a very long time. As I walked away from it I got two phone calls: the first to tell me that a dear friend, Diana Wynne Jones would be going in for an operation. I called Diana, and I'm not sure whether we reassured each other (although the operation was a success, and by the time you read this she should be back at home). As I put down the phone on her the phone rang again, and I learned that my old friend Charles Brown of LOCUS Magazine had died, peacefully, asleep on the plane on his way back from Readercon, one of his favourite SF conventions.

Charles was irreverent, astonishingly well-read, opinionated, funny, and he knew where pretty much all the bodies were buried in the world of science fiction and fantasy, or fancied he did. I enjoyed his company from the first time I met him, in the UK, in around 1987, enjoyed and was frustrated in equal measure by his interviewing technique from about 1989 on (he would ask opinionated questions and make statements and really have a terrific conversation with you - then, when he wrote up the interview he would leave himself and everything he had said out, as if it was a long monologue). (Here's an extract from one of those with me in 2005.)

He had been expecting to die for a long time - his health was not great - and had put various mechanisms in place to make sure that Locus Magazine continued after his death. Having been dragooned into being part of one of these mechanisms, I wound up seeing Charles every few years at meetings which existed, as far as I could tell, solely so that he could see a bunch of his friends once a year and point out to them, with a delighted chortle, that he was not dead yet and had no need of their help: have a bagel.

(I suspect, by the way, that the Locus Special Offer for readers of this blog still applies, seeing the webpage is still up.)

This is his placeholder Obituary in Locus.

The last time I saw him we had brunch in the Hotel Claremont in Berkeley. He told me delighted stories about the 1968 Worldcon there, of the intersection at that con of the SF old guard and the (then) young hippies, told scandalous stories and named names. I have forgotten all the stories and all the names, except for the information that convention attendees used the laundry chutes as a quick way to get downstairs, which was the least scandalous thing I learned.

Then I did a CBLDF panel, during which I took pleasure in pointing out that the same Nick Bertozzi comic, The Salon that had almost got Gordon Lee imprisoned in Rome, Georgia, last year, was in this year's Lynda Barry edited Best American Comics 2008.

Home from Chicago. Signed hundreds of book jackets with Miss Amanda Palmer for her Who Killed Amanda Palmer book. Then, in company with Miss Maddy and Maddy's friend Claire, we set out on a mad adventure (which we are still on).

In San Francisco we stayed at the Hotel Union Square, which was amazingly convenient and nice. Visited Google, got to be backstage at the Fire Festival, dined with Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman and their marvellous family (I suspect Michael and Ayelet of having acquired their children from some amazing Madeleine L'Engle-like Wrinkle in Time kit)(also they have a drumkit for their kids in the lounge), saw Wicked because the girls wanted to se it, and they loved it utterly (my mini-review? love Gregory Maguire's book, liked the book of the show, was sort of unmoved by the songs which seemed no better than they had to be), lunched with Daniel Handler and Lisa Brown, and generally tried to be on holiday, except for Sunday Morning.

Sunday Morning I did a reading and a signing for Brian Hibbs (and a hundred people) at Comix Experience. It celebrated Brian's Twentieth Comix Experience Year. Brian describes the signing here. (He also describes the problem with Twitter and signings and suchlike in a fascinating essay here.)

On Tuesday evening, as I blogged at the time, we found ourselves in Las Vegas, where an improvisational Tarot comedy troupe had much fun interviewing me and then making comedic theatre, and a great time was had by all... ( my card was the three of cups)

Neil was amazing and so was the Tarot troupe. Thanks @neilhim... on Twitpic
Picture by Tarot show producer Emily Jillette.

And now I am in San Diego, where tomorrow, Friday, I will be doing a Coraline panel (room 6A at 10:30) and an autographing (turn up in the autographing area at 9.00am and pull tickets from a hat. 100 of you will get in).

Tonight I had dinner with Henry Selick and friends, and bumped into Mr Miyazaki and the Studio Ghibli crew outside the restaurant, so got to introduce Henry Selick to Mr Miyazaki, which made Henry happy. A wonderful San Diego moment.

and that's all




This brought me joy: The Independent newpaper in the UK put the Graveyard Book audiobook second on their list of Year's Best audiobooks (and the first was a Doctor Who audiobook).

This made me smile too, Wired's list of unfilmable comics and books: http://www.wired.com/underwire/2009/07/after-watchmen-whats-unfilmable-these-legendary-texts/

On the other hand, my appearance on Kevin Smith's list of the five coolest people I've met at the San Diego Comic-Con http://popwatch.ew.com/popwatch/2009/07/kevin-smith-comic-con.html put me in mind of the time I encountered Kevin Smith. It was round the back of the San Diego Convention Centre, near the loading bay. I was on my way to a panel when a gentleman with a kerchief-mask covering his lower face, holding a brace of pistols and wearing a rakish tricorn hat leapt out and demanded my wallet, and to dance a measure with my female companions. Obviously, I was having none of it, and with a cry of "Never, miscreant!" I stumbled into the fray. During our struggle the kerchief-mask slipped and I was shocked to see that our attacker was in fact director, writer and raconteur Kevin Smith himself. He fled, dropping my wallet and also several of the original Graphitti Buddy Christ and Jay & Silent Bob toys.

I can only presume that Mr Smith's description of me in EW as "a sweetheart" was due to the fact that I did not turn him in that day to the San Diego magistrates that day to be hanged and gibbeted as a common highwayman or footpad.

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20. It's All About the Backlist

A Drowned Maiden’s Hair: A Melodrama
by Laura Amy Schlitz
Candlewick Press, 9780763638122

We try so hard to keep up with all of the new children’s books being published that it really surprises me when one slips through. Somehow that happened with this book, published in 2006. I had never read it until Elise from Candlewick (one of my favorite people in the industry!) told me I should give it a try. Then, of course, it sat on my “to read” pile for a few months – but I am so glad it finally made its way to the top!
I admit to a certain predisposition for orphans, and bad girls, and the main character of this book is both. When Maud Flynn gets adopted from the Barbary Asylum for Female Orphans by two elderly sisters, I was very happy for her, until I found out that they wanted her to join the family business – spiritualism. Maud is trained to help the sisters hoodwink a wealthy woman whose daughter has died.

At first she is happy to be included, and she is certainly clever enough to do the work, but as time goes on and it becomes evident that the sisters are using her, I was very pleased when she started making some friends who eventually help rescue her from her situation.

I am in awe of those authors who can weave together many small elements and end up with a big, glorious finish that will make you cheer and cry (but the good kind of cry). Laura Amy Schlitz is in that exclusive group – but of course last year’s Newbery committee figured that out too, didn’t they?

Sigh. I SO dislike it when I’m not on the cutting edge.

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21. (Insert amazed and delighted swearing here)

posted by Neil
The great thing about having a dead day in a hotel after a long junket, and this Monday was one of those, is you have nothing to get up for. So I had a very long late lazy bath in the small hours of the morning, and then stayed up talking to a friend on the phone, and then I read...

I drifted off to sleep with a Jack Benny show playing on the iPod around 3:30 am. I set the alarm for 11.00 am because I didn't have anything to get up early for, and planned to wake a little before the alarm, and start writing. I closed my eyes...

And then the phone was ringing. I think it may have been ringing for some time. In fact, I thought as I surfaced, it had already rung and then stopped ringing once, which meant someone was calling to tell me something. Probably the hotel was burning down. I picked up the phone. It was my assistant, Lorraine, sleeping over at my place with a convalescent dog.

"Merrilee called, and she thinks someone is trying to get hold of you," she told me. I told her what time it was (viz. five thirty in the bloody morning here is she out of her mind some of us are trying to sleep here you know.) She said she knew what time it was in LA, and that Merrilee, who is my literary agent, sounded really definite that this was important.

I got out of bed. Checked voicemail. No, no-one was trying to get hold of me. I called home, to tell Lorraine that it was all nonsense -- "It's okay," she said. "They called here. They're on the other line. I'm giving them your cellphone number."

I was not yet sure what was going on or who was trying to do what. It was 5:45 in the morning. No-one had died, though, I was fairly certain of that. My cell-phone rang.

"Hello. This is Rose Trevino. I'm chair of the ALA Newbery Committee..." Oh. Newbery. Right. Cool. I may be an honors book or something. That would be nice, "and I have the voting members of the Newbery Committee here, and we want to tell you that your book..."

"THE GRAVEYARD BOOK," said fourteen loud voices, and I thought, I may be still  asleep right now, but they probably don't do this, probably don't call people and sound so amazingly excited, for Honors books....

"...just won..."

"THE NEWBERY MEDAL" they chorused. They sounded really happy. I checked the hotel room because it seemed very likely that I was still fast asleep. It all looked reassuringly solid.

You are on a speakerphone with at least 14 teachers and librarians and suchlike great, wise and
good people, I thought. Do not start swearing like you did when you got the Hugo. This was a wise thing to think because otherwise huge, mighty and fourletter swears were gathering. I mean, that's what they're for. I think I said, You mean it's Monday?

"You can tell your agent and your publisher, but no-one else," said Rose. "And it will be announced in about an hour."

And I fumfed and mumbled and said something of a thankyouthankyouthankyouokaythiswasworthbeingwokenupfor nature.

Then I phoned my agent and my publisher, both of whom seemed to have intuited my news already through secret methods, but it may have just been that I was calling them on this particular Monday morning (and, in retrospect, someone must have phoned someone to get my home phone number). (Merrilee-my-agent: "You didn't start swearing, did you?" Me: "No." Her: "Oh good.")

I called Maddy, spoke to her, and she was beyond delighted, and I told her to try not to tell anybody about it, and told her lovely mum, who was thrilled for me.

Then I got a phone call from Elyse, Harperchildren publicist, wanting to know if I could fly in from LA to New York to be on the Today Show tomorrow morning. I said sure. I mean, what else was I going to say?

So I'm checking out of this hotel two days early, and I'm typing this with the ALA webcast playing in the background. They haven't got to the Newbury award yet. I'm not sure that they're actually going to say The Graveyard Book when they get to the Newberies bit. I might have imagined all of this, or they may have to do a sudden recount or something. But I think it probably happened. I mean, it's now 7:20 am and I'm drinking tea and blinking happily at the world. Spoke to Holly. Spoke to Mike. 

Okay. They just said it. I can post this.

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22. ALA Youth Media Awards Announced Monday January 26

The American Library Association (ALA) will provide a free live Webcast of its national announcement of the top books and media for children and young adults on January 26 at 7:45 a.m. MT. You can also twitter the awards, and receive live updates on award winners as they are announced during the ceremony. In addition, the Youth Media Awards has a home on Facebook which features the RSS feed from the Youth Media Awards Twitter site as well as has videos, photos, and information about the awards.

Awards announced on January 26, 2009 include:

  • Alex Awards for the best adult books that appeal to teen audience
  • Coretta Scott King Book Awards honors African American authors and illustrators of outstanding books for children and young adults that demonstrate sensitivity to “the African American experience via literature and illustration.”
  • John Newbery Medal honors the author of the year’s most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.
  • Laura Ingalls Wilder Award honors an author or illustrator whose books have made a substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children.
  • Margaret A. Edwards Award honors an author’s lifetime contribution in writing for young adults as well as a specific body of his or her work.
  • Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in literature written for young adults.
  • Pura Belpré Award recognizes Latino/Latina writers and illustrators whose work best portrays, affirms and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in an outstanding work of literature for children and youth.
  • Randolph Caldecott Medal honors the illustrator of the year’s most distinguished American picture book for children.
  • Robert F. Sibert Medal honors an author, illustrator and/or photographer of the most distinguished informational book published for children.
  • Schneider Family Book Award for books that embody an artistic expression of the disability experience.
  • Theodor Seuss Geisel Award is presented annually to the author(s) and illustrator(s) of the most distinguished book for beginning readers published in English in the United States.
  • William C. Morris Award begins in 2009, honoring a debut book published by a first-time author writing for teens and celebrating impressive new voices in young adult literature.

The press release announcing all of the winners will be posted in the Youth Media Awards Press Kit prior to 10:30 a.m. MT. These award announcements are made as part of the ALA Midwinter Meeting, which brings together more than 10,000 librarians, publishers, authors and guests in Denver, Colorado from January 23 to 28.

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Illustration by Robert Byrd from “Good Masters! Sweet Ladies!”

The winner of the Randolph Caldecott Medal for most distinguished picture book for children was announced this morning at the American Library Association’s annual midwinter meeting...

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24. T-Shirt of the Week.

Mvc005x_1You know.  Because a shirt that says "I am Turtle Wexler" would have just been too obvious.  (I'm sure that won't stop me from making one at some point, though.)

I have The Westing Game on the brain due to the upcoming sequel -- found out a co-worker hadn't read it (the freaking horror!), and stomped down to the Children's Room, checked it out, and gave it to her.  Then I was informed that another one of my co-workers hadn't read it, so I'll be assigning it to her next.  Will my work never end??

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