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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: voting, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 43
1. #828 – President Squid by Aaron Reynolds & Sara Varon

President Squid Written by Aaron Reynolds Illustrated by Sara Varon Chronicle Books    3/01/2016 978-1-4521-3647-9 44 pages       Ages 5—8 “President Squid hilariously explores the ideal qualities of a President. Squid knows he’s perfect for the job because he lives in a big house, does all the talking, bosses people around, and wears …

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2. Calling Caldecott 2016 ballot #1 now open

The voting booths were filled with voters at Memorial Hall in Independence, Kan., Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2006. (AP Photo/The Independence Daily Reporter, Nick Wright)

As promised, here is a link to the ballot. It will be open until 9 a.m. (EST) Tuesday. That’s tomorrow. Around noon Tuesday, Jan. 5 we will post the results of the first ballot AND a link to the second and final ballot.

For those who want to think some more before voting, here (below) is the list again. Please go ahead and lobby for your favorites in the comments. You are also allowed to mourn for the books that didn’t make it onto the ballot. But even if you are mourning, please do go ahead and vote! (And also please remember our plea from last Wednesday not to use social media to drum up meaningless votes.)

Calling Caldecott 2016 first ballot titles:

Here are the 25 titles we have chosen to appear on our 2016 Mock Caldecott ballot:

  1. The Bear Ate Your Sandwich (Julia Sarcone-Roach)
  2. Bird & Diz (Ed Young)
  3. Boats for Papa (Jessixa Bagley)
  4. Drowned City (Don Brown)
  5. Drum Dream Girl (Rafael López)
  6. Finding Winnie (Sophie Blackall)
  7. Float (Daniel Miyares)
  8. If You Plant a Seed (Kadir Nelson)
  9. In a Village by the Sea (April Chu)
  10. It’s Only Stanley (Jon Agee)
  11. Last Stop on Market Street (Christian Robinson)
  12. Lenny & Lucy (Erin E. Stead)
  13. My Bike (Byron Barton)
  14. My Pen (Christopher Myers)
  15. The Night World (Mordicai Gerstein)
  16. Out of the Woods (Rebecca Bond)
  17. Tricky Vic (Greg Pizzoli)
  18. Two Mice (Sergio Ruzzier)
  19. Voice of Freedom (Ekua Holmes)
  20. Wait (Antoinette Portis)
  21. Waiting (Kevin Henkes)
  22. Water Is Water (Jason Chin)
  23. When Sophie’s Feelings Are Really, Really Hurt (Molly Bang)
  24. The Whisper (Pamela Zagarenski)
  25. Wolfie the Bunny (Zachariah OHora)

The post Calling Caldecott 2016 ballot #1 now open appeared first on The Horn Book.

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3. Pre-voting instructions + ballot 1 choices

This year, Calling Caldecott has zoomed by! It’s not just our imagination. Last year there were 22 weeks between Labor Day and ALA; this year, only 18. But it feels rushed every year because there are so many good books out there. Even posting three times a week — and sometimes two books to a post — will leave us with books left out.

After looking back over the comments and at which books made it onto your Top Five lists, Martha and I have come up with a ballot of 25 books. Don’t think for a moment that it was easy. We worry that whatever eventually wins the real Caldecott might not be on our ballot, and we both had moments of sadness when we realized that a favorite wasn’t likely to be a contender. This stage is just as difficult for the Real Committee. I remember those pre-vote moments when it felt as if I was saying goodbye to a best friend who was moving away. The fact that it is inevitable doesn’t make it hurt any less.

Here are the 25 titles we have chosen to appear on our 2016 Mock Caldecott ballot:

  1. The Bear Ate Your Sandwich (Julia Sarcone-Roach)
  2. Bird & Diz (Ed Young)
  3. Boats for Papa (Jessixa Bagley)
  4. Drowned City (Don Brown)
  5. Drum Dream Girl (Rafael López)
  6. Finding Winnie (Sophie Blackall)
  7. Float (Daniel Miyares)
  8. If You Plant a Seed (Kadir Nelson)
  9. In a Village by the Sea (April Chu)
  10. It’s Only Stanley (Jon Agee)
  11. Last Stop on Market Street (Christian Robinson)
  12. Lenny & Lucy (Erin E. Stead)
  13. My Bike (Byron Barton)
  14. My Pen (Christopher Myers)
  15. The Night World (Mordicai Gerstein)
  16. Out of the Woods (Rebecca Bond)
  17. Tricky Vic (Greg Pizzoli)
  18. Two Mice (Sergio Ruzzier)
  19. Voice of Freedom (Ekua Holmes)
  20. Wait (Antoinette Portis)
  21. Waiting (Kevin Henkes)
  22. Water Is Water (Jason Chin)
  23. When Sophie’s Feelings Are Really, Really Hurt (Molly Bang)
  24. The Whisper (Pamela Zagarenski)
  25. Wolfie the Bunny (Zachariah OHora)

We’re assuming that you all have New Years events to attend, so this is our last post for the week. When our vote goes live at 9 a.m. Monday morning, this blog truly becomes a Mock Caldecott.

Since Robin is temporarily sidelined, I get to be the heavy who pleads with you all to vote, but please do not make this a popularity contest by sending the ballot link to all and sundry with instructions to vote for your favorites. We want all of our voters to be serious about books. If you haven’t read every single title, that’s okay. But do try to read as many as you can before voting. Please DO send this list to others who know this year’s picture books but haven’t necessarily been following the blog.

As you revisit your favorites, remember that you will vote exactly as the real Caldecott Committee does: you will vote for three books: your first, second, and third choices. When the ballot closes, we will weight them differently. The number of first place vote will be multiplied by 4, second place by 3, and third place by 2. So it’s important to decide not just your top three, but what order you want them to be on the ballot.

Here’s the schedule. All times listed are Eastern Standard Time.

Right now! Discussion of books on ballot
9 a.m. Monday, Jan. 4 Ballot 1 open for voting
9 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 5 Voting on ballot 1 ends
Noon Tuesday, Jan. 5 Ballot 1 results announced on Calling Caldecott
Noon Tuesday, Jan. 5 Ballot 2 opens
9 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 6 Voting ends
Noon Wednesday, Jan. 6 Calling Caldecott mock vote results posted


At this point the Real Committee is busy rereading all their nominated books, making notes on what they appreciate and what concerns them. (Experience tells me that a lot of time will given to the concerns. Each member has to be ready to defend against others’ concerns and to lay out their own concerns in a way that the others can hear. Minds will have to be changed!) The Real Committee starts face-to-face deliberations on Friday, January 8, so they are down to the wire, just as we are here.

And now we would love to hear pleas for your favorite books in the comment section below. Have a happy New Year and we’ll see you Monday when you vote.

The post Pre-voting instructions + ballot 1 choices appeared first on The Horn Book.

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4. The 5th Annual Holiday Contest Finalists - Vote For Your Favorite!!!

The 5th Annual Holiday Contest!!!!

I must apologize!

Just look what I've done to you!

You look haggard!

Bags under your eyes!

Hair in a disarray!

Nervous tics and twitches popping up at every turn!

And chocolate of all kinds being consumed in an uncontrolled fashion!!!

(Well, okay, I admit that around here the chocolate thing is pretty much par for the course, not confined to anxiety over waiting for contest finalists to be posted... uncontrolled chocolate consumption is a good thing :))

But I do sympathize!

Bad enough that I always make you wait the weekend to find out who the contest finalists are, but this time I made you wait a WHOLE EXTRA DAY!  I'm so sorry!

Is that a jam stain on your blouse?


Go take a shower and put on clean clothes.

We'll wait. . . 

. . .

. . .

. . .

There now.

Isn't that better?

And now, at long last, the waiting is over!

Almost :)

Because as always, we must begin with a few words from the people in charge around here.

First, I want to thank EVERYONE who found time in their busy holiday season schedule to write an entry for this contest - all 96 of you!  The overall quality of the entries was amazing!  There were no easy cuts.  My assistant judges and I found something to like in every story and hated having to cut anyone!

Second, I want to thank EVERYONE who took the time to go around to as many of the 48 different blogs as you could, as well as the 48 entries posted in the comments here, and read and leave supportive comments for the writers who worked so hard on these stories.  In this business where rejection is a common and unavoidable part of the process, it means a great deal to writers to know that their work was read and enjoyed, and to receive a few kind words about their writing.  It is one of the best things about this community - that people are so generous and kind to each other.

Third, before I list the finalists, I want to say again how really difficult it was to choose.  There were so many fabulous entries.  The sheer volume meant that many great stories had to be cut.  So if yours didn't make the final cut please don't feel bad.  There was a huge amount of competition.  Judging, no matter how hard we try to be objective, is always subjective at a certain point - we all have our own preferences for what makes a great story.  And the fact that you didn't make the final cut DOES NOT mean you didn't write a great story.  Everyone who plonked their butt in a chair and worked hard to write a story for this contest is a winner!  You showed up.  You did your best work.  You practiced your craft.  You wrote to specifications.  You bravely shared your writing with the world.  And you have a brand new story that is now yours to hone and tweak if you like and maybe submit at some point to a magazine or as a PB manuscript.  So bravo to everyone who entered!

Finally, I'd like to be very clear about the voting process.  Due to the large number of entries, there are 12 finalists listed below.  I have deliberately listed them by title only, so as to help with objectivity.  Please read through them and choose the one you feel is best and vote.  You are MOST welcome to share a link to this post on FB, twitter, or wherever you like to hang out and encourage people to come read ALL the finalists and vote for the one they think is best.  Please do that.  The more people who read and enjoy these stories the better, and the more objective votes we get the better.  HOWEVER (and I want to be very clear on this) please do not ask people to vote for a specific number or title, or for the story about Mrs. Claus dancing the makaraina with Rudolph or whatever.  Trolling for votes or trying to influence the outcome is counter to the spirit of this competition which is supposed to be based on merit.  I thank you in advance for respecting this.

Now, without further ado, here are your finalists.  There is a mix of poetry and prose, funny, cute, and poignant - quite a spread!

Remember that the judging criteria were:

1. Kid-appeal! - These stories are intended for a young audience, so entries that were well-written but lacked child-friendliness or whose humor or content felt more appropriate for an older or adult audience did not make the cut.
2.  It (hopefully) goes without saying that you must follow the contest rules - there were very specific instructions about the opening line which almost all of you followed to the letter... but a couple of strong entries did not.  I thought the instructions were clear because of the multiple examples given... but one entry in particular caused serious debate among the judges as to whether the rules had been followed or not - the opening line was clearly modeled on the song but did not follow the pattern spelled out.  In the end, we did not add that entry to the finalist list because some people who weren't sure emailed for clarification and this author did not, and about 90 of the 96 entries followed the correct pattern flawlessly.  So... executive decision... although we weren't entirely happy about it.
3. Quality of story - the rules stated that entries were to tell a story, so if they appeared to be more of a description or mood piece, they didn't make the cut.  We looked for a true story arc, and unfortunately there were quite a few lovely, well-written entries that failed to meet this criteria.
4. Quality of writing - use of language, correctness of tense, spelling and grammar, quality of rhyme and meter for the poetry entries, and overall impression of writing were factored in.
5. Originality and creativity - because that is often what sets one story above another.

We cut 84 entries to leave you with these 12.  It was very hard!  We did the best we could.  T
here were a number of stories where the judges loved the concept, but the rhyme/meter needed too much work to make the finals.  And there were some that modeled the song beautifully with perfect meter and rhyme that failed to tell a story.  In any case, I hope you'll all find at least one of your favorites on the list below.


Soaring over skaters at the Rockefeller Rink,
Pigeon spies a Christmas tree and stops to have a think.
Perched upon a frosty branch that twinkles red and blue,
he wishes that the holidays were meant for critters, too.

Dashing through the Christmas tree in front of 30 Rock,
Squirrel bumps into Pigeon and he stops to have a talk.
"Why so sad?" he asks the bird. "It's Christmas Eve, you know."
"Not for critters," Pigeon says. "Hey, look who's right below!"

Trudging home from Macy's (where he worked a double shift)...
it's Santa Claus! He slips, he slides, he winds up in a drift!
Squirrel and Pigeon watch him fall—it's not a jolly sight.
They scurry down the Christmas tree to see if he's all right.

Twisting on the sidewalk while the critters yank his boot,
Santa Claus begins to yell, "Lay off my Santa suit!"
"We'll help you up," the critters say. "We know you're in a rush!
You should be heading to your sleigh, not stuck here in the slush!"

Getting to his feet as shoppers shop and skaters twirl,
Santa grins at Pigeon, then he turns and grins at Squirrel.
"Thanks," he tells the critters, gently wringing out his hat.
"I'll give you both a Christmas gift!" They like the sound of that.

Sharing roasted chestnuts Santa purchased on the street,
Squirrel and Pigeon sit upon their Christmas tree and eat.
They look out at the city, filled with angels, while they chew,
agreeing that the holidays are meant for critters, too.

#2 Red Berries in the Snow

Hopping along the twisty trail in the quiet, wintry woods,
Rabbit spied red berries poking through the snow. “The Giver will be here
soon,” he squealed. Then a heavy branch dropped snow on his head. Rabbit’s
whiskers froze into tiny icicles.
He hopped to Mole’s house and thumped his foot on the cold
ground near the door. Thump, Thumpity-Thump, Thump. “I saw red berries in the
snow!” Rabbit hollered down the hole. “Please tell the Giver that I’d like a warm
scarf this year. I’m going home to thaw my whiskers.”
Mole was dizzy from Rabbit’s wild thumping, but he clawed
his way through his dark tunnel and popped out next to Mouse’s tidy nest. “Red
berries in the snow,” Mole announced. “Kindly tell the Giver that Rabbit would
like a scarf to keep his whiskers warm. And I would like a lamp for my tunnel. I’m
going to sit in my favorite chair until my aching head feels better.”
“Oh dear, oh dear,” stammered Mouse as she pulled on her boots.
“Rabbit and Mole are so impatient. Red Berries in the snow! Scarves and lamps!
I’ve no time to waste.” She scurried up an oak tree and teetered on a tiny
branch. “Good evening Owl,” she said. “It’s the sharing season and we must send
the Giver a message. Tell him that Rabbit would like a warm scarf and Mole would
like a bright lamp. Since I never seem to have enough time, I would like a
Owl listened carefully, then he lifted his strong wings and
flew North until he saw the tallest evergreen in the woods. He circled it three
times and landed deep within its boughs.
In the warmth of the morning, Rabbit found his scarf. Mole
switched on his lamp and Mouse admired her watch. Beside each present lay a
note that read: Your greatest gift will be found just outside your door. “Hooray!”
said Rabbit, and he threw open his door. Mole and Mouse were staring back at
him, and he knew the Giver’s words were true.
#3 The Incident

Fleeting through the crowded aisles 
Of the mall - both hands held tight,
'Cause Mom and Dad are really mad 
About "the incident" tonight.
It all started with a fun-filled trip 
To sit on Santa's knee
So I could tell him all the things 
I hoped he'd bring for me.
But when I saw the line of kids 
Went far past Santa's sleigh,
I knew somewhere, someway, somehow, 
I had to get away.
So I thought up an escape route,
'Cause I think it's so unfair, 
For kids to wait instead of play
When toys are everywhere.
Quick - I bolted up the steps,
Down aisles, and through a store.
I figured it was better than 
that long line - what a bore!
But the store was NOT a fun one. 
It was filled with frilly things,
Stuff that grown-up ladies wear, 
NO TOYS like Santa brings.
And then . . . my parents found me.
I knew it wasn't good.
So I hid inside a clothes rack 
Like any smart kid would.
Then without so much as looking, 
Mom reached in and grabbed my collar
While Dad stood with his lips pinched tight, 
trying not to holler.
They yanked me from that clothes rack, 
Past holiday displays,
Down the escalator, 
And 'round people like a maze.
And as we fled past Santa, 
I thought I saw him grin -
I guess I'll send a letter 
About how good I've been.
#4 The Hanukkah Elf

Tapping on the window pane at the Klein family home was Max, Santa’s hungriest elf.  He was waving a jar and a letter.  It read:

Dear Santa,
Potato pancakes, jelly donuts, games and light.  Please come to my house on Hanukkah.
Love, Joe

“Santa has to deliver presents tonight,” the elf stepped inside.  “So he sent me, Max.  And this oil.  When do we eat?”

“After we light the menorah,” Joe said.  “Bring the jar.”

Max filled each of the eight cups with Santa’s gift.  The boy and the elf lit the wicks.

The menorah glowed bright, but Santa’s oil was gone.

Joe frowned.  “We need more to make the latkes and sufganiyot.”

Max’s stomach growled.  “Time for a little elf magic.”

Twinkle.  Wiggle.  Clap.

The jar refilled.  “Okay, Joe.  Let’s get cooking.”

Max flipped the potato pancakes.  Joe fried the donuts.

The boy and the elf devoured their feast.

Bellies full, faces sticky with applesauce and jam, Max and Joe settled their stomachs with a game of dreidel.

“I think I’ll save my chocolate winnings for the ride home,” Max said.

Joe read the letters on the top.  “Nun.  Gimel.  He.  Shin.  In Hebrew that stands for A Great Miracle Happened There.  Thank you for the oil.”

“I came for the food and made friend,” Max smiled.  “I hope we can celebrate Hanukkah together again.  Santa will be flying by soon.  I should get to the roof.”

But Max didn’t move.

“What’s wrong?” asked Joe.

“How will Santa know where to find me?  This isn’t one of his usual stops.”

“Yes it is.”  Joe grinned and pointed to the stockings on the mantle.  “We celebrate Christmas too.  Merry Christmas, Max!”

“Happy Everything, Joe!”

#5 The Christmas Seed

Circling round the planet Mars on their space craft RV-3,
the children begged and pleaded for a real live Christmas tree.
“There is no way,” cried Maw and Paw, “for that to come about.”
So Sue and Lou and Baby Boo would have to do without.
No Christmas tree? That cannot be…they vowed to find a way.
Sue climbed up high and searched the sky, but only saw a sleigh.
And Lou got tangled in the lights while looking in a drawer.
And Baby Boo picked up a seed as he crawled on the floor.
“Take that away,” cried Maw and Paw, “that’s not for Boo to eat”
But Boo skedaddled like a flash to the ejection seat.
Maw screamed! Lou tripped! Sue scrambled down! Paw reached to
save his kid.
They heard a BOOM! It shook the room! The spaceship blew its lid!
They watched as Boo flew through the air; it was a fearful sight.
This wasn’t quite the way they’d planned to spend this Christmas
And Maw, she moaned, and Paw, he groaned, and Sue and Lou,
they cried.
But then they heard a HO! HO! HO! and Santa slid inside.
He opened up his big red sack – plucked out a doll for Sue,
a watch for Paw, a book for Maw, a bat and ball for Lou.
But Maw and Paw, their faces drooped, and Sue and Lou, they
until they heard, deep in the sack, a most familiar sound.
Then Santa reached way down inside and pulled out Baby Boo.
“I saved the best for last,” he said. “This one’s for all of you!”
And scrambling up onto his sleigh, he pointed straight at Mars
The seed Boo found had grown into a Christmas tree with stars.
And Santa’s booming voice rang out as he rode out of sight,
“May peace and love and joy be yours on this and every night.”
So if you get a telescope, please aim the lens towards Mars,
and you might see Boo’s Christmas tree, adorned with twinkling

#6 Randolph, Not A Reindeer

“Packing up the presents at the North Pole workshop.” The elves and reindeer sang the traditional Christmas song. But Randolph couldn’t sing. Tears made the words stick in his throat.
Randolph was thinking about when Santa had told him that Randolph had not been chosen to pull the sleigh. “It’s not that you’re not fast enough, Randolph,” Santa had said, his eyes sad. “It’s…”
“Yes, I know, Santa,” Randolph had said, blinking back the tears. He had heard the rumours already. How all the children had cried, because Randolph had melted all the snow as he flew by.
Because Randolph was not a reindeer, but a raindeer, it rained wherever he went.
So instead of singing with the elves and reindeer, Randolph was doing what he did best: cleaning.
The elves started to chatter about the snowstorm that had taken place the night before in Canada.
“I’ve heard the snow is all the way to the rooftops,” said one elf.
“Santa is bringing extra food along,” said another.
The Christmas sleigh flew off , and everyone listened to the radio as it gave updates on Santa’s progress. All was well.
Then Santa hit Canada. The radio crackled, “Santa here, over. We’ve got an emergency, over. Send over everyone, over.”
Santa wanted everyone? Even Randolph?
Randolph flew high in the sky. Faster, faster, faster until he reached Santa and his sleigh.
Snow was not only up to the rooftops, but it was also covering the chimneys. That meant that Santa could not deliver the presents and food!
Elves were digging out the chimneys as fast as they could, but it was not fast enough. Randolph knew what he must do.
He flew over a house. The rain from the raindeer’s clouds melted the snow from the roof. Soon the chimney was exposed.
“Ho ho ho, well done, Randolph,” laughed Santa.
Santa went down the chimney, and then Randolph flew to the next house. And the next one.
“Packing up the presents at the North Pole workshop.” The elves and reindeer sang as they worked, and this time Randolph sang along.

#7 No Peeking!

Sneakin’ around the present stash
At the bottom of the tree,
In stealth mode, got my ninja on,
Look how black-ops I can be!

I shouldn’t look, but too late now,
Hey, I think this one’s for me!
Later I might regret this choice,
But right now I’ve got to see.

Santa, please forgive me sir, it’s awfully hard to wait.
Voices saying, “It’s not Christmas – put that present down right now, Miss!”

Sneakin’ around the present stash
Is the most fun thing to do.
Parents are at their office bash,
If you were me, you’d peek too!

Here I go, I’m gonna open just one little gift.
Peel the tape slow, careful – don’t tear…
Jokes on me now, I got UNDERWEAR!

Wrap it back up, no time to waste
Hide this sneaky thing I did.
I’ll call St. Nick and plead my case,
“Please remember, I’m a kid!”

#8 The Gift Of The Magpie (And Friends)

Flitting around the birdfeeder at the tiny woodland house, birds of all kinds shared the feast that appeared like magic when winter arrived. Chickadee dipped and swooped while spreading his dee dee dee cheer. Goldfinch called po-ta-to-chip. Titmouse tap-tapped his seed. Magpie noticed Sparrow whose feathers slumped as she stared in the window.
“What’s wrong dear friend? In this season of chill, these people feed us from their goodwill. You should chirp, you should sing, you should eat your fill.”
“It’s the boy,” Sparrow cried.
The birds loved the boy. He watched them whenever he was home, and he spent his allowance on birdseed.
“His mom said there isn’t enough money to buy a Christmas tree this year.”
Magpie peered into the house. The boy was drawing birds, but Magpie saw him wipe his eyes.
“We’ll help him smile, I do decree. We’ll get our friend a Christmas tree.”
The closest trees to the house were maples and oaks whose leaves had fallen for the winter. Squirrel nibbled the stem of a young cedar tree so they could take it to the boy. But the whole flock of birds couldn’t lift one tree.
“Plan B is better, this I know. You’ll still need your muscles though,” Magpie enthused.
They practiced making tree-shaped pyramids, but the bottom birds got tired or hungry before the star-bird could settle on top. On their third attempt the neighbor’s cat almost got her own Christmas treat! Feathers flew; Cat missed, but Magpie got an idea!
“Who says we need an evergreen? Come all my friends, it’s time to preen!”
On the dawn-quiet of Christmas morning, the boy donned boots and a coat. He went to the closest maple by his window to hang birdseed ornaments for his friends. He gasped and smiled. From it’s naked branches hung colorful, delicate feathers gleaming with the new day’s light. He sang out loud as he added his ornaments. “Merry Christmas my woodland friends!” The morning air filled with bird song in reply.
#9 A New Classic?

Waiting in line for Santa’s knee
At the mall we always shop.
Suddenly, someone nudges me.
It’s an undercover cop!
You will not believe this crazy story when you hear…
He’s dressed like an elf, by golly!
In my shock, I drop my dolly.
The cop asks for my help, you see.
This is what he has to say:
“Three bullies have been on a spree.
For their stunts they now must pay!”
“They must be stopped,” I do agree
“What kind of help can I bring?”
He replies, “Teamwork is the key.
We will organize a sting.
“Those creeps are smashing candy canes swiped from little kids.
Wait ‘til you get to Santa’s chair.
Then get your cane, and I’ll be there.
“They’ll grab your treat and try to flee.
It will really make my day
To catch them in the act—all three—
And propel them on their way.”
Our plan works out just perfectly.
We make an unlikely team:
An elf cop and a little girl.
Sounds just like a wacky dream!
The mall’s now very safe, you’ll find;
So hop up on Santa’s lap.
Watch out if mischief’s on your mind,
For we’ll set another trap!

#10 Clucking Christmas

Sneezing around the reindeer pen on the night before Christmas… AAAAACHOOOO! HOOONK! Santa blew his nose for the 50th time that Christmas Eve. “You’re done with your bath, Donner. Now you’re sparkling clean for our big… ACHOOO! HONK! …night.”
Mrs. Claus, with Agnes, her favorite backyard chicken, clucking behind her, said, “Santa dear, you’re allergic to those reindeer. There’s no way they can lead your sleigh tonight.”
A triple sneeze shot out of Santa and onto Donner. “Hogwash,” Santa muttered weakly.
Agnes scurried back to the henhouse. “Santa’s allergic to the reindeer. We have to help him!”
“Poor Santa! He’s a good egg,” Beaker moaned.
“Should we buy him allergy pills?” Lovey asked.
“This is our big chance!” Dixie flapped.
“Everyone in favor say ‘squawk,’ ” said Agnes.
“Squawk!” It was unanimous.
The chickens bustled outside and took a place in front of the sleigh.
Santa sighed. “I guess I have no choice. Reindeer, you get the night off.” He grabbed the reins. “On Agnes! On Bertha!”
The chickens weren’t listening. “Agnes! Why did he call your name first?!” Dixie clucked.
“Jiminy Christmas! You chickens don’t rule the roost,” Santa sputtered. “On Lovey! On Beaker!”
The chickens frantically flapped their wings. The sleigh crept forward, then moved faster and faster. It lifted a foot off the ground and Santa breathed a sigh of relief.

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5. #719 – Monster & Me #5: Monster Needs Your Vote by Paul Czajak & Wendy Grieb

Yesterday was “National Friendship Day.” To all my cyber-friends and fantastic readers, I am thrilled to know you! I also have a new friend in my life. Her name is Molly, she’s eight-years-old, and her four paws follow me everywhere. (The kitties are adjusting fine to a dog that pays them no mind—except for the occasional nose-to-nose greeting.)


Welcome to the “Monster Needs Your Vote” Campaign Tour!

Plus, I have wonderful character-friends in Boy and Monster who—with Paul Czajak and Wendy Grieb—have a new picture book in their award-winning Monster & Me series. This new, relevant picture book is entitled Monster Needs Your Vote. So forget about Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton and . . . 


#5 needs your vote
Monster & Me #5: Monster Needs Your Vote

Written by Paul Czajak
Illustrated by Wendy Grieb
Mighty Media Kids         8/25/2015
32 pages         Age 2—6 +

“Today’s readers are tomorrow’s leaders. Election season is finally here, and Monster can’t wait to run for president. But getting voters to care about his campaign is harder than it looks—until he finds a monstrous cause worth fighting for. Show your kids that whether you’re blue, red, or 9 feet tall and furry, real change can come from the most unexpected places (even if you’re not technically qualified to run for office).” [publisher website]

The Monster & Me series has been one of my favorites since Monster needs a [Halloween] Costume. Always fresh, humorous, and on point, Monster & Boy give children young and old enjoyable stories for anytime of the day, not simply at bedtime. But, if you enjoy giggles, smiles, and sweet Monster dreams, each of the Monster & Me books are perfect for a bedtime reading—night, after night, after night . . .(how many editions are there?)


Monster Needs Your Vote, the 5th Monster & Me picture book, is a timely story given the beginning of the presidential nominations and soon the 2016 election. Monster runs into a few Presidential candidates while at the fair. He decides he must vote in this election. Boy nicely tells Monster he is not old enough to vote—he’s not yet eighteen! Undeterred, Monster decides if he cannot vote he will participate in the election by running for President of the United States. Boy, Monster’s constant companion, tells Monster he needs a “platform.” (One of many larger-election terms that will have children learning new words.) Monster’s platform is one kids will love and understand but, voting adults just do not comprehend the importance of Monster’s platform—or his next.

Monster’s second platform, a black and white illustration, with period clothes, will remind most adults of the 1930s and a famous election quote. Only when Monster sees a closed sign does he find the issue/platform with the potential to propel Monster to Mr. President Monster. The other Presidential contenders begin to look discouraged, until . . . dear Monster receives horrible news from two dull-looking men—government types. In the end, Monster wins . . . just not the Presidency.

It is clear to me that Monster makes the perfect candidate, given his persistence, comic antics, and Boy’s unwavering support. Like most candidates, Monster runs into a few problems along the way. With each problem, Monster rallies back stronger and more determined. He learns to take a stand for things he believes in, despite all those set-backs. With Boy’s campaign advice and encouragement, Monster finds the courage he needs to persist. Monster is infectious on the campaign trail and is adorable in his organic presidential blue suit.


Wendy Grieb’s illustrations have remained consistent between books, helping to endear the Monster & Me brand. Her palette is bright when needed, like the stunningly red full-page background that makes Monster and Boy POP! I enjoyed all the wonderful details on each spread. Boy is not the only kid to have a Monster pal. One young girl rides upon an ostrich-like bird with Big Bird-ish legs; an oval, purple body with green feathers; a giraffe-like neck; and a prehistoric-like pelican head. I love this highly imaginative monster, along with all the other new, maybe-old-enough-to-vote monsters that stand among the adults. Sadly, a few monsters are kidless, so I hope there is a matching service for kids and monsters somewhere on the Internet.

Paul Czajak’s newest Monster & Me picture book is perfect for the upcoming elections. Though written for preschool children older kids will enjoy Monster’s political career while learning the basics of U. S. Elections. This means Czajak often used an election-related higher vocabulary: cast, platform, issues, oratory, grassroots, and mission to name a few. Grab a dictionary kids—one you must flip through to find a word—it’s time to expand your vocabulary. Which brings me to what is probably the first negative thing I have ever said about this humorous and often educational Monster & Me series. Given the number of election and campaign words Czajak so deftly included in his story, a glossary would have been a welcome addition.

new no 3

Monster Needs Your Vote is written in rhyme with the sing-song quality I love. Parents won’t mind multiple reads thanks to Czajak’s strong voice, and the words and verses which leave your lips like a perfect melody. Grieb’s art captivates readers’ and their young listeners. Her humor is infectious. Czajak and Grieb are the perfect collaborators for Monster & Me. I hope the pair continue telling Boy and Monster’s story. Is there another Monster political caper coming soon?

“And  Monster’s roar in politics had only just begun.”

Monster Needs Your Vote meets Common Core and many state curriculum standards. Teachers, parents, and librarians can download a free Monster & Me Series Educator’s Guide and Event Kit. Monster Needs Your Vote is appropriately dedicated to “all the librarians in the world.”



MONSTER NEEDS YOUR VOTE (Monster & Me #5). Text copyright © 2015 by Paul Czajak. Illustrations copyright © 2015 by Wendy Grieb. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Mighty Media Kids, Minneapolis, MN.

Purchase Monster Needs Your Vote at AmazonBook DepositoryIndieBound BooksMighty Media Kids.

Learn more about Monster Needs Your Vote HERE.
Schedule a Skype in the Classroom Campaign Stop with Paul Czajak HERE.
Find Monster’s Campaign Kit HERE.  (contains the reviewer’s apology, um, a glossary of election terms)
Download Coloring Pages HERE.

Check out what Monster dreams about HERE.  (short animated story)

Visit Boy & Monster’s Twitter Page:  https://twitter.com/MonsterandBoy

Meet the author, Paul Czajak, at his website:  http://paulczajak.com/
Meet the illustrator, Wendy Grieb, at her twitter page: https://twitter.com/boodlewink 
Find more Monster & Me books at the Mighty Media Kids website:  http://blog.mightymediapress.com/

Mighty Media Kids is an imprint of Mighty Media Press.

AWARDS for the Monster & Me series
A Mom’s Choice Awards® Gold Recipient—2011
A Mom’s Choice Awards® Gold Recipient—2013




Monster & Me series
#1: Monster Needs a Costume (review HERE)
#2: Monster Needs His Sleep (review HERE)
#3: Monster Needs a Christmas Tree (reviewed soon)
#4: Monster Needs a Party (Unfortunately, I missed this edition—”AW!”)
#5: Monster Needs Your Vote (Well, go to the top and read again!)

#1 - needs a costume

#2 needs his sleep

#3 - needs a christmas tree#4 - needs a party





Also by Paul Czajak
Seaver the Weaver (illustrated by the Brothers Hilts)




Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved

Full Disclosure: Monster Needs Your Vote (Monster & Me #5), by Paul Czajak & Wendy Grieb, and received from Mighty Media Kids, (an imprint of Mighty Media Press), is in exchange NOT for a positive review, but for an HONEST review. The opinions expressed are my own and no one else’s. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


The Preceding Review was an Unpaid Announcement from KLR. — Boy, Campaign Manager

Filed under: 5stars, Books for Boys, Children's Books, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Picture Book, Series Tagged: campaigning, civics, humor, Mighty Media Kids, monster, Monster & Me, Monster Needs Your Vote, Paul Czajak, politics, United States Presidential elections, voting, Wendy Grieb

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6. Calling Caldecott 2015 second ballot is open

Here it is: Monday. In exactly a week, all of our Mock Caldecott awards will be a memory, and children’s book chatter will turn to the Real Committee’s books. So, while each real committee member is organizing notes, putting together last-minute arguments, and imagining that the books she or he nominated will wear medals for the rest of their lives, we continue to find out what YOU like. So, whether the books you voted for last week are still on the list or not, we hope you will vote your heart and got back to the voting booth one more time. Will you vote for The Farmer and the Clown and other front runners, or will you boost a book with less support? Check back on Tuesday around noon to see when happens!

For now, I am returning to the discussions with my second graders, who are full of love for their favorites…until someone points out a dreaded concern.


Here’s a link to the second ballot


and here, again, is the list of books under discussion:


The Adventures of Beekle (Dan Santat)
Blizzard (John Rocco)
Draw! (Raúl Colón)
The Farmer and the Clown (Marla Frazee)
Gaston (Christian Robinson)
The Iridescence of Birds (Hadley Hooper)
Josephine (Christian Robinson)
A Letter for Leo (Sergio Ruzzier)
The Right Word (Melissa Sweet)
Sam & Dave Dig a Hole (Jon Klassen)
Viva Frida (Yuyi Morales)



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7. 2014 Halloween / Día de los Muertos

Denver's dead trick-n-treatin'. Students dead/Mexico rising from the dead? Not-voting suicide. Latino/a Rising will live.

The two holiday observances ironically portray death from two opposing perspectives, as Flo Hernandez-Ramos explained yesterday. Today's post relates to different news bits about "death." It ends with good news.

Denver's dead trick-n-treatin'

We're such a nation of scared sheep, I'm not surprised. For over a month the Colorado press and media, politicians, police and fear-mongers have been sensationalizing a Non-threat: "Denver Police Warn Parents About Pot-Laced Candy During Trick-or-Treat Season." Give me a break, with more than a Snickers.

We're a richly self-medicated nation, abusing a lot of prescription drugs. For decades we've had bathroom shelves of Oxycodone and Hydrocodone, given out for pain, so much that some is usually left over. Those are cheap compared to what THC spray costs. Were warnings issued every year about codone-laced candy?

When Denverites complained about the police's fear-mongering, the cops made a video posted on Facebook! They got slammed for that, too, but it was too late. At least in some Denver neighborhoods, on a Halloween night warmer than many previous, we had the lowest turnout ever. I'm guessing why. People in other areas report similar low turnouts, though not everywhere.

What will we hear next year to make us keep kids "safe" and inside and not walk the neighborhoods? ISIS terrorist sympathizers giving out hand-grenade treats! Disgruntled African immigrants giving out Ebola-licked gummy bears! Listen in to your fave shock-brained radio jock to find out. And be scared. It's as American as apple pie laced with GMOs. Oh, that's right--that's a real threat.

43 Students dead / Mexico rising from the dead?

U.S. drug habits and drug laws, gun mania and shipments into Mexico are now responsible for the likely murders of 43 students from Ayotzinapa Normal teacher-training school, missing since Sept. 26th. Big deal. Drugs, drug lords, killings, kidnappings, decapitations, "disappearings", cartel-bribed politicians, police and soldiers are always in the news. That's the Mexico the U.S. helped create and we're not surprised to hear more. However, this time, more than mierda has hit the fan.

"Most of the students were in their teens, in their first semester, and from impoverished communities that a majority of Mexicans identify with. The voids in Mexico’s government are all too obvious now. The country seems to be trembling at the edge of a terrible cataclysm or, for the hopeful, an inspiring transformation.

Mexico City rally for the 43
"There will be a march in Mexico City on Oct. 31st, coinciding with the Day of the Dead, and a “mega march” is scheduled for Nov. 5th, the day Mexico’s universities and colleges are planning a national strike. How many universities, colleges, and institutes will stick with it, and for how long? Will it spread to other areas of society, to the high schools, for example, as recent student strikes in Chile did, bringing about significant changes in the country? When masses of students boycott classes, it fills a country with an air of emergency and danger.
"What many Mexicans have been telling me is this: It’s either now or never."

Chicanos, mexicanos, latinos from the U.S. will no doubt support as they can whatever arises from the probable deaths of the 43. A new Revolución, across the river from El Paso, San Diego and Brownsville? It wouldn't be sci-fi or fantasy to imagine how our government, politicians and military would react to that. Or the gun lobby and industry, anti-immigrant racists and radio shock-jocks. I can hear them now. But for the rest of the country, it would be a true gauge of a "commitment" to democracy. Maybe they'd be spared the agony of having to decide. Yo espero que no.

Not-voting suicide

Earlier this year, I was among those advocating NOT voting. I was wrong. "We" are not united enough for that to have an effect. A discussion about when that time might come doesn't matter at the moment.

In the meantime, I'm voting because the Koch brothers, the anti-science crazies, the pro-oil conglomerates and the anti-immigrant racists are trying to elect their kind. They're even going after judgeships so justifiable claims against corporations will be more frequently overturned by "their" judges in the future.

Wherever I look on the Internet, TV or the press, and whoever I talk to, I could almost believe Armageddon is here, and Dystopia is our only future. Many people (including me) are negative, bitter, even reverting to political hermits. For that reason, I have been Facebooking the points below--one per day--trying to answer typical reasons you hear about why somebody won't vote next week. Use them, elaborate and improve them, if you want.

Many idiots, but make sure they're yours
#1 - Why you don't have to vote: Because you don't believe in the lesser of 2 evils.
What! Satan's not worse than a demon?
Frostbitten's not worse than shivering?
The 1% has robbed us of plenty. Did they steal your vote yet?

#2 - Why you don't have to vote: Because you think corporate ads already bought yours.
What! You think the 1% can control and even predict the future?
Hiding your head in the sand is smarter than sticking it in a voting booth?
Yes, the 1% has bribed most politicians. But you go alone into the voting booth.

#3 - Why you don't have to vote: Because the polls already canceled out your vote.
What! You think pulling one lever matters less than 1,000 opinions?
Ask the condemned man who he fears more--the hangman or the mob out front.
No, you might not have much to pick from. But which end of the rope do you prefer?

#4 - Why you don't have to vote:  Because there's only a few hours left, and you've got too much to do.
What! You don't want to spend a few minutes to avoid years of suffering?
Only terminal cancer patients (my apologies) could say voting does them no good.
No, you never have enough time. But voting could make the future, worth living.

#5 - Why you DON'T have to vote: Because you only care about who the President is, not a bunch of politicians.
What! You think if your President is elected, he/she will take care of everything?
Congress or your state legislature make the laws. The Prez and governors sign them, or not.
Your vote next week adds or detracts from the next President's or governor's power; that's the math.

Latino/a Rising will live!

I apologize to everyone who this week received too many bits from me about funding and supporting the anthology, Latino/a Rising, the first collection of U.S. Latino/a science fiction, fantasy, and other speculative genres. I do believe it is worth supporting and buying copies of once it's published. And I did have a personal stake in it, since a story of mine might be included. Even if it's not, I expect it to be a precursor of latino contributions to come. Echando más salsa en la literature Americana.

The good news is that the Kickstarter campaign surpassed its $10,000 goal but there's still time, until midnight, for you to kick in and get some cool perks, like autographed copies, T-shirts and swag.

I was just one of many who participated in reaching that goal. At times, I felt ambivalent: Why do we Latinos have to ask for money for a first-ever anthology when so many are produced in the U.S. every year? That's a because that I won't get into. What made me feel better were the non-latinos who responded, sometimes directly, letting me know they had contributed. It made me remember that we're not alone. There are some progressive Anglos, and others, out there. We just need to re-educate more of them.

Es todo, hoy, ni un treat más,
RudyG, a.k.a. Rudy Ch. Garcia, Chicano spec author with too much left-over candy

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8. Time is running out . . . Vote!

So, remember when you got that email from ALA that gave you the link so you could vote? Yeah, you’re right; that was a month ago. But you still have three days left to vote: voting closes on Friday, April 25. Now is the time to dig through your email, find that link, and go ahead and vote.vote

As of yesterday, 16.6% of ALA members had cast a ballot in this election. That’s a pretty low voter turnout. We don’t have numbers for YALSA members specifically, but in the past, voter turnout for YALSA has been around 20%. Still, that means fewer than 1000 people are making the decisions about things that might matter to you: who serves on YALSA’s Award committees (Printz, Edwards, and Nonfiction), and who serves on YALSA’s Board of Directors.

In March, this blog had a whole series of posts to give you information about the candidates. Every weekday, starting February 26 and running through March 19, there was at least one (and usually two) interviews each day with the candidates. You can find them easily by going to the drop-down menu labeled “Categories” on the side of this page and selecting “Election.”

For even more details, including complete biographical information on all of the candidates, check out the sample ballot.

YALSA is a member-driven organization. That means it’s up to YOU to vote for the people who will be representing you over the next few years.

Don’t let any more time go by. Vote.

Sarah Flowers, Chair, 2014 Governance Nominating Committee


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9. Look beneath the vote

OUP-Blogger-Header-V2 Flinders

By Matthew Flinders

Hands up if you’ve heard of National Voter Registration Day? And in the somewhat unlikely event that you have, did you realise that it took place last month?

If this momentous milestone passed you by, you’re not alone. Whatever 5 February means to the people of the United Kingdom, it’s safe to assume that electoral participation doesn’t figure prominently. This is not a surprise; it reflects a deep-seated public disengagement from politics, as indicated by the fact that only two thirds of eligible voters in the 2010 general election actually voted. Throughout the twentieth century, general election turnouts almost always exceeded 70%, but that’s a level of participation that has not been seen since 1997. Incidentally, the highest turnout since 1900 was 86.8% in January 1910, though only rate-paying men over the age of 21 could vote.

Low voter turnout is clearly a problem, but arguably a much greater worry is the growing inequality of that turnout. As a recent report from the Institute for Public Policy Research makes clear, the United Kingdom is very much a ‘divided democracy’, with electoral participation among the young and the poor declining dramatically. In the 1987 general election, for example, the turnout rate for the poorest income group was 4% lower than for the wealthiest. By 2010 the gap had grown to a staggering 23 points. A similar pattern is observable in relation to age groups. In 1970 there was an 18-point gap in turnout rates between 18–24-year-olds and those aged over 65; by 2005 this gap had more than doubled to over 40 points, before narrowing slightly to 32 points in 2010. ”If we focus on participation within these age-groups,” the IPPR report concludes “we can see that at the 2010 general election the turnout rate for a typical 70-year-old was 36 percentage points higher than that of a typical 20-year-old.”

If this isn’t bad enough there is little evidence that young people will simply start voting as they get older. On the contrary, the IPPR’s research suggests that “younger people today are less likely than previous generations to develop the habit of voting as they move into middle age.” These trends mean that politicians tend to address themselves to the older and richer sections of society – the people, in other words, that are most likely to vote. This, in turn, reinforces the views of the young and the poor that politicians don’t care about them. And that, naturally, leads to even greater political estrangement.

So what’s the solution? How do we re-establish a connection between ordinary people and politicians? In particular, how do we persuade the young and the poor that the political system really does have something to offer them?

Blue checkmark on vote checkbox, pen lying on ballot paper

The answers lie not in quick fixes or technological solutions – such as the introduction of compulsory voting, changing the ballot paper or promoting ‘digital democracy’ – but in adopting a fundamentally deeper, richer and more creative approach to democratic engagement. People will only vote – be they young or old, rich or poor – when they understand why democratic politics matters and what it can deliver. Therefore, to increase electoral participation we must focus on promoting the public understanding of politics from all perspectives (conservative, traditional, radical, etc.) in a way that demonstrates that individual responses to collective social challenges are rarely likely to be effective. It’s this deeper understanding, this notion of political literacy promoted by Sir Bernard Crick and defined as ‘a compound of knowledge, skills and attitudes’ that citizens can use to navigate the complex social and political choices that face us all. Political literacy can be seen as a basic social requirement that empowers people to become politically aware, effective, and engaged while also being respectful of differences of opinion or belief.

In this regard, the message from survey after survey is a dismal one. Large sections of the British public appear to know very little about the political system. Even relatively basic questions such as “What do MPs do?” or “What’s the difference between Parliament and the Executive?” tend to elicit a mixture of mild embarrassment and complete bafflement.

Given that levels of political literacy are so low, it’s little surprise that many people choose not to vote. They’re unaware of the very real benefits the political system delivers for them (clean water, social protection, healthcare, education, etc.) and they no longer believe that they can become the engine of real social change. And yet they can. Worse, by opting out of elections they risk diminishing their representation as politicians focus their messages on the groups that do vote. Young people are constantly reminded that to be “uneducated” – let alone innumerate or illiterate – is to risk deprivation and vulnerability, but in many ways to be politically illiterate brings with it exactly the same risks. Moreover, the impact of declining political literacy isn’t only felt at the individual level. With so many people in society alienated from politics, democracy itself is weakened

Such arguments are by no means abstract concerns. On 7 May 2015, a General Election will be held on the basis of individual voter registration rather than the previous system of household voter registration. Research suggests that although this transition is likely to increase electoral security it may also result in a considerable decline in levels of electoral participation amongst – yes, you’ve’ guessed it – the young and the poor.  This is not a reason to turn back from individual registration but it is a reason to step-back and acknowledge that if we’re really serious about healing a divided democracy, then we need to focus on promoting engaged citizenship through different channels and processes. We need to take some risks and stir things up, but most of all we need a long-term plan for fostering political literacy.

Matthew Flinders is Founding Director of the Flinders author picSir Bernard Crick Centre for the Public Understanding of Politics at the University of Sheffield and also Visiting Distinguished Professor in Governance and Public Policy at Murdoch University, Western Australia. He is the author of Defending Politics (2012). 

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Image credit: Blue checkmark, photo by NFSphoto, via iStockphoto.

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10. “A man without a vote is a man without protection.”

Don’t forget to vote! The lines may be long, the community centers may be crowded, the ballots may be old fashioned, but it’s a small price to pay for a right many gave their lives for.

from John Lewis in the Lead

In the words of Lyndon B. Johnson, “A man without a vote is a man without protection.”

I Voted sticker

Happy Election Day!

Filed under: Holidays, Musings & Ponderings Tagged: democracy, voting

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11. President Obama: Shareholders, Workers — Let Everyone Vote

By Edward Zelinsky

In recent remarks to the leadership of the AFL-CIO, President Obama and Vice President Biden affirmed their support of the Employee Free Choice Act. The Act is a priority of labor unions, a central element of the Democratic coalition. If enacted into law, the Act would effectively eliminate union recognition elections. Instead of secret ballot elections in which workers choose whether to belong to unions, the Act would amend federal law so that unions can achieve recognition based solely on public “card counts.”

Ironically, at the same time unions disfavor secret ballot elections in the workplace, many unions and their Democratic allies have aggressively advocated expanding the voting rights of corporate shareholders.

A similar paradox befalls the Republican Party. While the GOP has been stalwart in supporting workers’ right to vote in confidence on whether to join unions, the GOP has defended with equal fervor the efforts of corporate management to neuter shareholders’ voting rights. These efforts have been particularly troubling as corporate managers and quiescent directors have moved executive compensation packages into stratospheric levels and have denied shareholders the ability to vote their shares in protest.

No one has done a good job of explaining why workers should vote but not shareholders or vice versa. The underlying issue in both contexts is the same: the right of persons to vote confidentially on matters of importance to them. The secret ballot is the accepted method by which Americans exercise self-determination. Both as shareholders and as workers, Americans should enjoy a robust right to vote.

Just as President Obama’s endorsement of the Employee Free Choice Act highlights the issue of workers’ right to vote on unionization, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (known to most Americans as “the stimulus bill”) underscores the question of shareholders’ voting rights. Under this Act, firms receiving federal funds from the Troubled Asset Relief Program must permit their shareholders to cast advisory votes on managerial compensation. But why just these firms? And why just advisory votes?

The limited voting provisions of the stimulus bill reflect the Obama Administration’s marked disinterest in giving shareholders the ability to vote on important matters, including questions of executive compensation.

Plausible arguments can be advanced both by those who would deprive workers of the right to vote on union representation and those who oppose shareholders’ right to vote on corporate policy. The procedures of the National Labor Relations Board, we are told, are so cumbersome that employers can delay union recognition elections inordinately and can create coercive environments when such elections are finally held. Shareholders, we are similarly told, often focus on short-term profits, rather than the long-term welfare of the corporation.

In the spirit of bi-partisanship advocated by President Obama, federal law should be amended to affirm the rights of Americans, both as workers and as shareholders, to vote. In the work place, unions seeking to represent workers should be required to obtain a majority vote by secret ballot of such workers. Similarly, important issues of corporate policy, most obviously the compensation packages of corporate managers, should be subject to binding shareholder votes by secret ballot.

While affirming the voting rights of workers and shareholders, Congress and the President should also address legitimate concerns raised by opponents of these voting rights. In response to the complaint that employers inappropriately delay votes on union organizing campaigns and create coercive environments, Congress should adopt administrable rules to prevent such delays and coercion and should appropriate the resources to enforce such rules effectively. In response to the complaint that shareholders ignore long-term corporate interests, Congress should similarly restrict voting rights to those shareholders who have owned their stock for a reasonable holding period and have thereby demonstrated a concern for the corporation’s long-term well-being.

With these protections in place, Democrats and Republicans alike should simultaneously affirm the rights of all Americans, both as workers and shareholders, to vote.

Mr. President: At the most basic level, the secret ballot is the American way.

Edward A. Zelinsky is the Morris and Annie Trachman Professor of Law at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law of Yeshiva University. He is the author of The Origins of the Ownership Society: How The Defined Contribution Paradigm Changed America.

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12. Voting and Corporate Governance: Having a Say

Chris Mallin is Professor of Corporate Governance and Finance & Director of the Centre for Corporate Governance Research at the University of Birmingham. She is the author of Corporate Governance and she blogs with fellow OUP author Bob Tricker at Corporate Governance. The below post is an adapted version of one found on that blog, and is about the important of votes in corporate governance. Her previous OUP posts can be found here and here.

Voting ones’ shares is seen as one of the main tools of corporate governance. In recent times, votes have been cast against adoption of the annual report and accounts, against the appointment, or re-appointment, of certain directors, and against certain proposed strategies. Votes can also be used via the ‘say on pay’ to signal displeasure at executive remuneration packages. Although the ‘say on pay’ is an advisory vote, it may nonetheless be quite effective at making boards think twice about the proposed pay packages for executive directors.

However companies do not always take as much notice of the votes cast as one would like. For example, the recent annual general meeting of Marks and Spencer is a case in point as regards the use of voting as a (vociferous) voice. Andrea Felsted and Samantha Pearson in their article ‘M&S chief defiant amid revolt by investors’ highlight that nearly 38% of votes cast backed a resolution seeking the appointment of an independent chairman within the next year. Sir Stuart Rose, who has been the centre of much criticism since taking on the roles of both chairman and chief executive, did not seem overly bothered by the investors’ views on this matter. There was also much shareholder dissent over the re-election of the chairman of the remuneration committee and over the adoption of the remuneration committee report.

Withheld votes
Whilst the importance of the vote is universally accepted, let us consider what happens in the UK when a vote is withheld. A withheld vote may signal that an investor has reservations about a resolution, or it may be a stronger expression that an investor is unhappy about a resolution, whilst falling short of actually voting against the resolution. However when the ‘vote withheld box’ is ticked on proxy forms in the UK, the withheld votes are not counted as part of the votes cast. For example, after its annual general meeting in May 2009, Shell published the voting results on its website. On Resolution 1 : Adoption of Annual Report & Accounts, there were: ‘votes for’ 3,301,631,965, ‘ votes against’ 3,394,595, and ‘votes withheld’ 16,026,721. However when indicating the percentage split of the votes, ‘votes for’ are shown as 99.90% and ‘votes against’ as 0.10%. The votes withheld were nearly 5 times that of the votes against but nowhere are they reflected in the percentage totals of votes cast. Similarly, on Resolution 4 : Re-appointment of Lord Kerr of Kinlochard as a Director of the Company, there were ‘votes for’ 3,161,974,849, ‘votes against’ 77,443,311, and ‘votes withheld’ 77,876,289. The percentage allocation indicated 97.61% ‘votes for’ and 2.39% ‘votes against’. The ‘votes withheld’ which again exceeded the ‘votes against’ were not reflected at all in the percentage totals. It should be said that Shell does clearly state that “a ‘vote withheld’ is not a vote under English Law and is not counted in the calculation of the proportion of the votes ‘for’ and ‘against’ a resolution.”

The Combined Code on Corporate Governance (2008) under Code provision D.2.1, states that ‘For each resolution, proxy appointment forms should provide shareholders with the option to direct their proxy to vote either for or against the resolution or to withhold their vote. The proxy form and any announcement of the results of a vote should make it clear that a ’vote withheld’ is not a vote in law and will not be counted in the calculation of the proportion of the votes for and against the resolution. However it’s interesting to note that a decade ago, the Report of the Committee of Inquiry into UK Vote Execution (1999), published by the National Association of Pension Funds, stated that whilst it was initially attracted to the idea of adding a third box (being an ‘abstention’ or ‘vote withheld’ box), it then decided that there were several arguments against the inclusion of such a third box. Firstly it might provide investors with an ‘easy option’ so that rather than voting against, they withheld their votes; and secondly since withheld votes are not counted, and have no legal effect, then it could drive down the level of recorded votes.

However as we have seen, the Combined Code does advocate the inclusion of a ‘vote withheld’ box on the proxy form. Therefore, it could be that in practice the addition of a third box which allows a withheld vote but which is not counted, may lead to the understatement of the level of dissatisfaction with some resolutions. Given that institutional investors are coming under more and more pressure to be seen to be active owners of shares, it may be that a ‘vote withheld’ will increasingly become seen as sitting on the fence, rather than taking a decision to vote against. In the US, it would seem that abstentions do have a legal effect under a majority voting system. For example, in a director election if there were more votes withheld than were voted for the candidate, then the candidate would not be elected, hence the abstentions (votes withheld) would have a legal effect.

Broker votes
Turning to US issues, the SEC has recently made some important changes to proxy voting. Weil, Gotshal and Manges (2009) report that ‘the SEC approved a change to NYSE Rule 452, eliminating broker discretionary voting of uninstructed shares in uncontested director elections, which will have the effect of reducing the number of votes cast in favor of the board’s nominees in the election of directors and strengthen the influence of institutional investors and activist shareholders.’

Blank votes
However James McRitchie has brought to our attention the problem of blank proxy votes which go to management. He highlights that fact that the broker vote issue that the SEC took care of is ‘where retail shareowners don’t submit a proxy (or voter information form) at all. When that happens, the broker or bank can vote within 10 days of the meeting. The “blank vote” issue arises when the shareowner votes at least one item on their proxy but leaves some other items blank……..[the voting] platform for institutional investors doesn’t allow submission of blank votes, [but the] platform for retail holders does and the SEC allows them to fill in the blanks as instructed by brokers and banks (always with management)’. Furthermore he states that ‘As shareowners who believe in democracy, we have filed suggested amendments to take away that discretionary authority to change blank votes, or non-votes, as they might be termed. We believe that when voting fields are left blank on the proxy by the shareowner, they should be counted as abstentions.’

Clearly the area of voting is a complex one and changes are being brought in over time to remove barriers to voting and to help ensure that votes are cast in a way which fairly reflects the owners’ intentions. A decade ago it would have seemed highly unlikely that many institutional shareholders would publish their voting levels in individual companies and on individual resolutions but many institutional shareholders now do this. In the US a number of institutional shareholders have gone a stage further and disclose their voting intentions prior to a company’s AGM. Hopefully institutional shareholders in other countries will adopt this approach in future.

0 Comments on Voting and Corporate Governance: Having a Say as of 7/16/2009 4:11:00 AM
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13. please help me get more library content into SXSW

I have proposed two presentations for the SXSW conference in Austin Texas next March. There is a complicated series of steps to determining which of the proposals will actually get picked. Part of this determination (30%) is a very basic voting thing where you can thumbs-up or thumbs-down a particular presentation. Voting is now open. We are encouraged to use our powers of persuasion to get you to vote for our ideas. I would like you to vote for my ideas. Here is a link to all of the proposals. There are over 2000 of them and 300 or so will get chosen.

My two proposals are linked here

- How The Other 1/2 Lives – Touring The Digital Divide
- Curating Cultural Content – Libraries Save Your Ass & Etchings

Voting involved signing up on the website and then clicking the thumbs up. I’d appreciate it if you’d consider doing this. I’m pretty into both topics but the first one is nearer and dearer to my heart, while the second one seems to fit in more nicely with the SXSW gestalt. A few other library-themed things you shoudl check out

- David Lee King presenting on Designing Your Customers Digital Experience
- Heath Rezabek’s Connected Youth: Austin Public Library Teens Get Mobile
- Cecily Walker’s Can I Reserve This Book With My iPhone?
- Jason Schultz’s Reading ReInvented: Can You Steal this Book?
- Tiffini Travis’s Librarian Glasses or Stripper Heels about information fluency.
- Brian Rowe’s Digital Accessibility on Ebooks and Phones : #[email protected]^ Kindle
- Bill Simmon is also proposing a panel which I may be on: Hyperlocal Focus: Growing A Vibrant Community Media Ecosystem

And a few presentations about books more generally…

- Allen Weiner’s Publishers Look To E-Reading to Reach Digital Consumers (curious about this one)
- Travis Alber’s The Future of Reading: Books and the Web
- Dharmishta Rood’s Networked Reading: Viewing as an Act of Participation
- Aaron Miller’s Books and the Twenty-First Century – The New Realm of Reading
- Bradley Inman’s Too Busy To Read? The Future Of Books
- Two related seeming panels: Kindle 2020 and The Book in 2050

Please vote early and often and for as many ideas as you like. There are a lot of great ideas in there on related topics like gaming and accessibility and web standards. Even if you’re not even considering going to SXSW, please take some time to vote up ideas you think should be getting exposure at a web geeks conference. Thanks.

3 Comments on please help me get more library content into SXSW, last added: 8/22/2009
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14. Help us reach the top 3 in Good Earth Cares

Good Earth Cares list of top voted organizationWhat could be better than curling up with a book and a cup of your favorite tea or coffee? Well, thanks to Good Earth Cares, a great campaign from Good Earth, you can have both.

First Book is in the running to receive a cash prize (up to $30,000) by being one of the top 3 vote-getting charities on GoodEarthCares.com. We’re currently #4 – will you also help us make it to the top 3 by voting daily?

Voting is simple: all you have to do is go to www.goodearthcares.com, enter your email address and click vote!

Please encourage all your friends and family to vote for First Book.  Email, post on Facebook, tweet and announce on LinkedIn. Thanks so much for helping us spread the word!

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15. YOB: Jessica Brody: My Life, Undecided

First of four posts from YA author Jessica Brody!

Our society votes on everything. Why? Because we’re a democracy! We like to have a voice. We’re born expecting to have one. That’s why we cry as soon as we emerge from the womb. We’re screaming out, “Hear me! Hear me!  I want Audrina Patridge to win Dancing with the Stars!” Seriously though, with information sent and delivered at lightning speed, these days we expect to be able to choose everything. From presidents to pop stars to People’s choice awards. So what’s the next logical step?

How about voting on someone’s life? As in, what they wear, who they date, even what they eat for breakfast.

Sounds fun, right? I know your little brain synapses are firing right now. Going, “What? Where? Whose life? I wanna vote!” While your multi-tasking fingers are probably pulling up google on another page and entering possible search terms that are sure to lead you to this polling goldmine.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me back up a year and a half. There I am sitting on the couch in my living room. What am I doing? I’m watching TV, of course. When I probably should be writing. Or staring at my computer screen, waiting for the words of my manuscript to write themselves. Because that method has worked so well in the past.

But TV is research right? Of course it is. So there I am…researching.

I’m embarrassed to admit that the show I’m watching is some cheesy reality show which shall remain nameless in a vain attempt to preserve my “serious writer person” reputation (that was probably already tarnished from the Audrina Patridge reference in the first paragraph) But let it suffice to say that this specific reality show featured a set of beautifully groomed young twenty-somethings gallivanting around a highly-populated city, griping about their catastrophic life problems.

So anyway, I’m sitting there while my boyfriend importantly pursues the latest issue of Entrepreneur magazine, pretending not to be paying attention to my “pointless show” and I think (aloud), “Wouldn’t it be cool if

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16. Hot Topics: Vote!

There are some key places and activities I remember very clearly from my earliest days — going to the library every week; sledding down the biggest “hill” Long Island could manage; waiting at the bus stop in the near dark; and…voting on election day!

No, I wasn’t sneaking in on a very well-made fake ID. My parents, who now vote early in the morning (or even earlier in the week), waited until evening so they could bring us. We’d wait on the line (which, in retrospect, must have driven my mother crazy) and then I’d go into the booth with one parent and my sister with the other. We’d get to pull the big red lever and then watch and listen as they voted. I don’t remember specifics, but I’m pretty sure they always cancelled each other out – Carter-Ford, Reagan-Carter, etc. But I thought it was amazing.

My first big election was in 1988. I was in college and we had all sent in for absentee ballots. In early October, a large group sat around the big table in the common area and filled in our ballots together — for Dukakis (I should mention that we were the creative and performing arts dorm and only allowed one or two Republicans per semester to live there.). It was fun and then very exciting to join an even larger crowd in the TV room on election night.

Over the years, there have other election days and other election night parties. I’ll be going to one tonight in the hopes of celebrating a “Yea” vote on my local library referendum.

My point: just as readers beget readers; voters beget voters. My sister and I are readers, in large part, because our parents are readers. They “modelled” reading, as the experts say. And they modelled voting as well. They didn’t make it seem important and fun; They made it important and fun. It wasn’t a right or even really a duty. Voting is something you do as a member of society and you should have joy in doing so.

As an adult, when I try to talk people into voting (rarely, since I tend to hang out with like-minded people), I talk about it as a duty, but also that if you don’t vote – shut up for the next 2-4 years! I do believe that an abstention is a legitimate vote. However, to abstain, you must go to your polling place, sign in, and walk into the booth. You can leave everything blank. Or maybe just vote “Yes” on that library referendum and leave the — I’ll admit — sometimes sickening choices at Senate and House blank. Your choice. And isn’t that great!

If I Ran for PresidentIf I Were PresidentAlbert Whitman & Company publishes a couple of election related picture books: If I Ran for President, by Catherine Stier, illustrated by Lynne Avril; and If I Were President both by Catherine Stier, illustrated by DyAnne DiSalvo-Ryan.

1 Comments on Hot Topics: Vote!, last added: 11/2/2010
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17. A Little Dribble Drabble Voting

I have a dilemma. When I went to judge the Drabble contest this morning, I found that there were two stories that I liked best, the ones by Estela and BN Lippy. That happens all the time in contest entries, but in this case I found that I didn't find myself leaning more to one than the other. In fact, I like them both equally, a rare occurrence. Normally, I would then just award 2 prizes and say, "Yeah!" But this weekend I truly only have time for one critique and to try to do 2 would either result in 2 lesser critiques or 1 just not getting done. So, I find I have to award only one winner.

And that's where you come in. I'm going to open the contest up to voting. I'm going to post both stories here, and then you, dear readers, will vote for the winner. Now, I've limited voting to once a computer (although if you have multiple computers I suppose you can pack the pot), and voting is only open through 11:45 Tuesday night.

Presenting my two contestants (in order of their posts):


I opened the carton and groaned. "One egg is not enough."

I prayed to Recipe, the Egyptian goddess of the kitchen. Just then, the doorbell rang. My neighbors. "We're leaving town. Could you use some eggs?"


Then I couldn't find chocolate chips. I prayed to Recipe again.

"Cool." yelled my brother a moment later. "A chocolate bar under the sofa cushions!"

"I need that."

I mixed, put everything in the oven, and turned on the TV.

"What's that burning smell?"

Suddenly, Recipe appeared. "You are hopeless, even for a mortal. Here's some money. Go buy yourself an ice cream."



Ryan is drawn to a worn leather book with no publisher or author listed.

Under the title on the first page he reads the following, “Ryan opens the book and sees no publisher or author. Curious, he watches as each word appears.”

“Ryan, this book is not for you,” says the librarian quietly. “It’s mischievous and from a different time.”

Ryan looks up with glazed eyes.

She takes the book.

“Here’s a book about Omm Ali Cocoa you’ll enjoy.”

The spell is broken when the book leaves his hands

He won’t remember the mysterious book; until it finds him again.

To vote, click the button by your favorite below.

<a href="http://polldaddy.com/s/0CF9DC2EA0F165BF">View Survey</a>

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18. Ypulse Essentials: ‘True Life’ Occupies Wall Street, Student Debt Rises (Again), Disney’s Deal With YouTube

MTV aired the latest episode of its ‘True Life’ documentary series over the weekend (focusing on the young people protesting in Zuccotti Park. The episode seems to have the same issues as the Occupy Wall Street movement itself: a lack of... Read the rest of this post

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19. YALSA 2012 Election: An Interview with Michael L. Printz Award Candidate Rachel McDonald

In February we are posting interviews with each of the 2012 Candidates for YALSA Award Committees. This week we are focusing on Michael L. Printz Award Committee.  Each day this week we’ll post an interview with one of the candidates for that committee. We are posting alphabetically by candidate’s last names.

The YALSA Nominating Committee for 2012 has been working hard to select candidates for this year’s election.  The Printz Committee is charged with selecting from the previous year’s publications the best young adult book (“best” being defined solely in terms of literary merit) and, if the Committee so decides, as many as four Honor Books. The Committee will also have the opportunity for input into the oversight and planning of the Printz Awards Program. Committee size: 9, four to be elected, plus a consultant from the staff of Booklist, and an administrative assistant if requested.

This is your chance to get to know this year’s candidates that have been nominated to serve on the Printz Award Committee.  Polls are open from March 19 to April 27.

Today we have an interview with Rachel McDonald.

What experience do you have that makes you a good candidate for the award position for which you are running?
Since becoming a teen librarian in 2007, I have served on multiple YALSA book selection committees, including Best Books for Young Adults, Morris, and beginning in 2012, the Alex Awards committee. In addition to my YALSA commitments, I have been active in the Washington State Young Adult Review Group (WASHYARG), which meets quarterly to review both fiction and nonfiction titles for young adults. My participation in WASHYARG has exposed me to a wide variety of title beyond what I might normally read, as has my involvement in my library system’s Mock Printz Award.

Why do you want to be a member of this awards committee?
The Youth Media Awards have been described as the “Oscars” of the children’s and teen literature community, and since its inception in 2000, the Printz Award has stood at the pinnacle of those honors. As a teen librarian who each year is consistently impressed and amazed by the quality of teen literature and its willingness to tackle life’s difficult questions, I would be honored to help choose the next Printz Award winner and honor books, and, more importantly, learn from other committee members about how they determine literary excellence in a young adult novel.

What are you most looking forward to in being a part of this award decision process?
I’m excited to work with advocates for teen literature across the country to choose the winner of the Printz Award. My favorite moments from previous committees have been when one person believes very strongly in the attributes of a particular book that s/he has fallen in love with. The debates that result are eyeopening and often reveal people’s assumptions about what makes a good book.

What do you feel are the key factors for decision-making for this award?
When considering titles for the Printz Award, I feel that the committee must come to a consensus on how it will define excellence in young adult literature. I feel it’s helpful to have a discussion as a group before getting too focused on the nominations process, as we did during my tenure on the Morris Award committee. Since the parameters for the award are narrower that many other selection committees (literary excellence and not popularity), I would expect myself and other committee members to read and re-read carefully, keeping in mind our discussions about our charge. Because our face time is minimal, using email and ALA Connect to discuss nominations is a must.

The reading load for awards committees is very high, how do you plan on managing the work load of award committee life?
Since I’ve already served on t

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20. YALSA Election 2012: An Interview with Michael L. Printz Award Candidate Patti Tjomsland

In February we are posting interviews with each of the 2012 Candidates for YALSA Award Committees. This week we are focusing on Michael L. Printz Award Committee.  Each day this week we’ll post an interview with one of the candidates for that committee. We are posting alphabetically by candidate’s last names.

The YALSA Nominating Committee for 2012 has been working hard to select candidates for this year’s election.  The Printz Committee is charged with selecting from the previous year’s publications the best young adult book (“best” being defined solely in terms of literary merit) and, if the Committee so decides, as many as four Honor Books. The Committee will also have the opportunity for input into the oversight and planning of the Printz Awards Program. Committee size: 9, four to be elected, plus a consultant from the staff of Booklist, and an administrative assistant if requested.

This is your chance to get to know this year’s candidates that have been nominated to serve on the Printz Committee.  Polls are open from March 19 to April 27.

Today we have an interview with Patti Tjomsland.

What experience do you have that makes you a good candidate for the award position for which you are running?
I’ve always read numerous YA books, however I’ve been reading over 350 teen books a year since 2006 for a seminar, What’s New in Young Adult Literature that I present for the Bureau of Education and Research. I present this six hour seminar in about 40 places around the country annually, discussing about 100 of the best teen books from the current copyright year. One of the great things about working for BER is the opportunity to talk with teachers and librarians around the country. I hear about new books other people have found, and get a broad range of opinions from those who work with teens in all parts of the United States.

I just finished two years on Best Fiction for Young Adults, with year two as Chair. I have extended experience reviewing, writing, reading and working with groups of people. For the past three years, I’ve had over 30 students participating in a lunch-time review group. They have ignited an interest in reading and discussing books in our school. I’ve been a high school librarian for over 25 years and before that I taught high school English. Most of the English classes I taught focused on writing. I’m still in the trenches, working with teens and talking to them about books on a daily basis.

Why do you want to be a member of this awards committee?
I think it will be a demanding and unique experience to select a book based on the quality of the writing without worrying about the title’s popularity.

What are you most looking forward to in being a part of this award decision process?
The whole process is exciting! I am most looking forward to the discussions with committee members. It is energizing to talk with other people who are passionate and enthusiastic about books and reading and committee works provides this opportunity. I think the fact that the award is secretive will be delightful! I must admit coming home and finding a box or envelope with brand new books inside is incredibly smile inducing.

What do you feel are the key factors for decision-making for this award?
I think being ready for anything is important. Over the past few years, we’ve seen authors experimenting with format, presentation, voice and more. It is important to be non-biased. Of course there are all of the suggested items listed in the award criteria and I do like books with strong characters and a great voice. I think those books where you have the “Wow!” reaction are the ones I’m hoping the committee finds.

The reading load for awards committees is very high, how do you plan on managing the work load of award committee life?
I’ve just

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21. YALSA Election 2012: An Election Guide

It’s just about time for you to cast your vote in the 2012 YALSA election. The association’s 2012 Nominating Committee wants to make it as seamless as possible for you to make your selections and cast your ballot. Over the past few week’s we’ve worked to do that by providing information on candidates, the process, and the positions up for a vote. Now, we’ve put together a handy 2012 election guide for you to use as you continue to prepare. In the guide you will find all of the posts from the past few months on the election. You’ll also find a sample ballot which includes an example of the actual ballot along with the biographical and professional information for each of the candidates running for a YALSA position. You can read through before going online to cast your ballot. That way you’ll be all ready for voting day.

In just under two weeks you’ll receive an email from ALA with your voting information, it should arrive in your email as part of a 48 hour email blast between March 19 and March 21. The polls are open from March 19 through April 27.

Remember, by voting in the election you have the opportunity to help guarantee that YALSA is the association you want it to be. By the way, there is more information on candidates still to come. Over the next few days audio interviews with each of the candidates running for governance positions will be posted on the YALSABlog, stay tuned.

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22. Don’t Forget to Vote!

One of the great things about participating in YALSA is knowing that you can make a difference.  No matter what your level of experience, if you are passionate about serving teens in libraries, we can find a way for you to contribute.  And while not everyone has time to serve on the Board or take part in a book committee, one thing each and every one of us can do is vote in the YALSA and ALA elections.

Don’t forget you can learn about the candidates by checking out YALSA’s posts on this Blog, reading through the handy 2012 YALSA Election Guide, and going through the sample ballot.

YALSA is fortunate to have what is considered by many to be the most innovative, resourceful, and vibrant membership group in all of ALA.  Today I challenge you to make YALSA stand out in a new way:  let’s see if we can’t get the highest election participation of any association in the entire ALA.  Take the time to vote this week, and remind your friends to take part, too!

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23. All about the ladies

According to The Ladies Home Journal, 34% of American women do not vote.  What is THAT all about?  Ladies, you have to vote.  A lot of the talk in this presidential campaign is about you - your health, your employment, your family and who gets to make decisions about your life.  You might be fine with letting the men have the final say.  But you still need to VOTE!!!  I have to say, I think the men should listen to the women in the world.

Like that Pope Benedict.  What is he doing, ordering the Nuns on the Bus about?  And not just the more outspoken nuns, either.  Benedict wants to take over the whole Leadership Conference of Women Religious.  What these nuns seem to be saying is the world needs more kindness.  When you ask a group of people - nuns in this case - to work with the country's most marginalized people - the poor, the sick, the troubled, - well, you have to expect them to want to HELP the people they work with.  American nuns are just taking their Christian gospel to the streets, admonishing law makers to remember all the citizens of the United States, not just the rich, the white, and the male.

Here's what the Huffington Post reports on how the LCWR responded to Pope Benedict at their annual conference. The ladies are behaving like ladies and offering to keep the lines of communication open.

Now, I went to parochial school, and I KNOW just how scary a determined sister can be.  Maybe Benedict ran into one or two of those determined nuns back in his younger days.  But he's a grown-up now.  And if the best he can do, when negotiating with committed members of his flock, is to threaten them with take-over, he might not be the World Leader he thinks he is.  I'm just saying.

So back to voting.  If you have two X chromosomes, are over 18 and have not registered to vote, do so tomorrow.  There are laws about being registered at least a month before an election in many states.  In Pennsylvania, until the law is overturned, you will need a photo ID and possibly another form of ID to register.  And you will need a government issued photo ID to actually cast a vote - unless fairness prevails.  Take a lesson from the sisters.  Get involved.  Work to make things better.

I try not to get political on this blog - much.  I don't care if you vote R or D or I or L or G or even, gasp, C.  I DO care if you vote.  Register.  Vote.  Here's a site that will tell you what you need to know.  Registertovote.org.

Do it.  Now.

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24. SundayMorningReads

Without a doubt, things change and sometimes, we even know why. I haven’t heard mention made of it, but I’ve noticed this year the conventions are much later than usual. I can remember when I was little we’d take vacations to visit family in Chicago and the outings would always be planned so that we would return in time to watch the convention. I know I didn’t want to watch them, but I knew they were important and exciting because my parents, aunts and uncles were all glued to the screen following and discussing every detail. Of course, that was when more of the convention was actually televised and the American public wasn’t pandered to with events meant to be more glamorous.

Perhaps having students back in school during this year’s convention will give teachers the opportunity to highlight the events in class. Even if students are too young to vote, they’re not too young to get excited about the process. I don’t remember ever being involved in a mock election but they sure do get young people to pay attention to the process!

Rock the Vote does too.

Election years are also good times to teach students about information literacy: how to find good sources of information

primary vs. secondary and tertiary sources

create information products

credit sources

analyze information

It can be difficult to find sources without bias, sometimes we just have to be able to recognize what the bias is. Factchecker.org can help with that. Politico tries to be unbiased and I’m going to believe NPR does, too. Students might want to follow the campaign of both candidates on Twitter and FB. It can’t hurt to know what the other guy is saying!

Not often political in natural, but a good place to get the conversation started is the Sociological Images blog. Click for an interesting piece about Oprah’s hair and another about the racializing impact of Romney’s welfare ads.

The more politically involved college students might be interested in learning how it all works by getting involved in their state legislature as an intern. I was reminded of the ones here in IN when I received a very informative newsletter from one of my congressmen. Students can apply for Republican or Democratic internships.

Finally, if you’ve moved be sure to update you voter’s registration!

I think I’ll work on a list of books featuring teens of color that relate to voting and politics. Any suggestions?

Filed under: Sunday Reads Tagged: election, sundaymorningread, voting

1 Comments on SundayMorningReads, last added: 9/8/2012
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25. Why I Vote

Today’s post is part of a blogosphere event, Why I Vote. I have to thank Colleen at Chasing Ray for inviting me to participate in this event and causing me to really think about somethings I’ve really taken for granted. This is why I vote. Here is why others vote. Why do you?

Why, indeed do I vote? I suppose I do because my parents did and the question then becomes: why did they vote? Why, indeed!

When my dad decided to fight for this country, he passed for White in order to get a more active role in combat. I guess the joke was on him though, because he ended up working in the morgue. After the years he spent providing final honors to his fallen “brothers” in arm, he came back to his hometown of Toledo, OH and got married. He and my mother soon found a nice little home in which to raise their children. My dad would study the banks to find the best rates and terms. He always kept his finances well organized and from his diligence, he would quickly be accepted for a mortgage loan. But, when he took my brown-skinned mother into the bank to sign papers, the loan would suddenly be denied. I never remember either of my parents missing a day of work. My dad rarely took a vacation, went to church every holy day and Sunday, never did anything in excess yet, it seemed he would never get a house for his family.

My mom grew up in the Mississippi Delta. Life was rough in the Delta, still is. The poverty her family faced was so difficult that my mom barely spoke of it.

My mom and dad knew they wanted their children to have a better life and they made sure we got an education. They gave us everything they believed we needed and sent all three of us children to college.

You would think that people back in the 60s and 70s would be less informed than people today, but those were times when new sources weren’t competing 24 hours for viewers and they were able to deliver real information. My parents always watched the evening news. No matter how much we children complained. they watched the news! They read the Toledo Blade daily, discussed politics at the union hall and always voted. Even with all that they lived through, they couldn’t lose their faith in America.

Like me, my mom and dad never, ever imagined they would see a black president in their lifetime. My dad passed away long before Pres. Barak Obama even came onto the political scene. Dad was a diehard Republican and I have no idea how he would have voted, but mom was a lifelong Democrat. She had moved to Indiana to live with my sister and during the campaign mom was glued to CNN! But, you know what? My mom couldn’t vote for him.

She came from the Delta, that ragged ol’ Delta and in one of the may fires in the churches, courthouses and other public buildings down there, her birth records burned. I remember as a child going with her when she tried to get a birth certificate re-created so that she’d be able to get a social security card, but it couldn’t be done. Consequently, when she moved to Indiana she couldn’t get a driver’s license and without the driver’s license, she couldn’t vote for that black man she never thought she’d see become president in her lifetime. She didn’t live to see him inaugurated, but she lived to see him get elected. For that matter, she lived to see her children do fairly well for themselves.

So, for her, and for my dad, for all they endured so that their children could have a better life, for my children and for the grandchildren I hope to see in my life time, I will vote. America may only be a dream, but I’m part of that dream. My parents let me know that.

Filed under: Me Being Me Tagged: Chasing Ray, family, voting

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