Simply Sunday Catch-Up

This week’s Simply Saturday comes to you on Sunday. It’s been that kind of week!

 The first piece of news is for anyone who teaches Speak! Victor Malo-Juvera, who has taught Speak for years, researched and wrote his dissertation about how using Speak in the classroom changed his students’ attitudes about rape myths. He has generously written a summary for my website, and allowed me to link to his full dissertation. If you need data to take to your curriculum director or the chair of your English department, Victor has it waiting for you.

   We’ve had a Barred Owl hooting in the Forest this week.

   I prefer to call it a Bard Owl and imagine that it is composing sonnets.

 

 

 Sheila May-Stein, the new librarian at Pittsburgh’s Manchester PreK-8 school, was horrified to learn that her library had a grand total of 40 useable fiction books. She is using the power of social media to make sure that her students have the number and kinds of books that they deserve. I’m putting a box of books for them in the mail tomorrow. If you want to donate, send the books to Sheila May-Stein, Library, Pittsburgh Manchester PreK-8, 1612 Manhattan St., Pittsburgh, PA 15233. Even easier, you can order books to be sent directly to the school via Sheila’s Amazon Wish List. A longer blog post gives more information.

 You guys know that I have a very good relationship with my first husband, Greg. He runs a software company that makes patient management software for pediatricians. As part of his company’s charitable mission, Greg coordinates free health clinics in Jamaica, bringing down doctors, nurses, and medicine, and working with local medical teams to take these resources to where they are most needed on the island. Greg made this brief video about this year’s trip that I thought you might enjoy. We’re all very proud of him and the good work that he does.

I’m headed West on Thursday so I can speak to the Arizona English Teachers Association. Will I see you there?

Congratulations!!

Congratulations to all of the winners of the American Library Awards announced yesterday!

Moon over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool won the Newbery

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Sick Day for Amos McGee, illustrated by Erin E. Stead, written by Philip C. Stead won the Caldecott

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Dreamer, written by Pam Muñoz Ryan, won the Pura Belpré Author Award. (Yay Pam!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grandma’s Gift, written and illustrated by Eric Velasquez, won the Pura Belpré Illustrator Award.

 

 

 

 

 

 

One Crazy Summer, by Rita Williams-Garcia won the Coretta Scott King Author Award. (Yay Rita!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave, illustrated by Bryan Collier and written by Laban Carrick Hill won the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award.

 

 

 

 

The Printz Award went to Ship Breaker, by Paolo Bacigalupi.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jonathan Hunt has posted a list of all of the award winners (including Honor books!) at his SLJ blog. Go forth, enjoy, and read.

 

The Power Of Speaking Loudly

When I sat down on Sunday morning to write my blog post about the book banning  in Republic, MO, I had no idea what I started.

You – my readers – changed the world this week.

It started when Paul Hankins, an English teacher in Indiana, started a dedicated Twitter feed, #speakloudly, to spread the word about the banning.  The word spread quickly and it became one of the most Tweeted topics of the weekend.

EVERYONE spoke loudly. Thousands of people linked to my post and recommended it on Facebook and on their own blogs. One social media expert said that based on the Facebook recommendations alone, he estimated that 350,000 heard about the banning.

Then Jezebel.com resyndicated by blog. Huffington post wrote about it. Twice. So did Salon.com.

As if all of that weren’t astounding enough, many readers posted their own stories about being silenced, about being sexually assaulted, about speaking up, about being a Christian tired of seeing other Christians invoking the Bible as justification for censorship, and about how Speak changed their lives.

The Reclusive Bibliophile has compiled a list of some of these posts. Want to feel better about the state of the world? Read a couple of them. There is even one for Spanish speakers. And Swedish.

If I said “thank you” every minute for the next hundred years of my life, it would not be enough gratitude for this outpouring of support and for your loud defense of the freedom to read, to think, and to speak up. I will hold that gratitude in my heart forever. And probably burst into tears whenever I meet one of you. (Please bring Kleenex if you’re coming to hear me speak on my next tour.)

(For the record, as all of this has been happening, I’ve been traveling for meetings and a bookseller trade show. Thank goodness for wireless connections!!)

Here is the latest from Republic, MO.

The local newspaper ran an article in which Scroggins, the book banner, claimed he never called the challenged books “pornography.” This, despite the fact that he clearly did in both his editorial and his original complaint to the school board.

The newspaper also ran my editorial, in which I set the record straight about Speak, and Sarah Ockler’s editorial, in which she defended her book, Twenty Boy Summer, and said some very smart things about the freedom to read. AND the editors of the newspaper ran a wonderful editorial encouraging their readers to use this kerfuffle as a teachable moment for their community. I am sending twenty copies of each of the challenged books to the libraries down there.

I feel bad that I have not been able to spend more time advocating for Twenty Boy Summer and Sarah Ockler. Sorry, Sarah!!! So let me do that now. Read Sarah’s blog and send her lots of love and huzzahs for defending our rights. And for writing great books. Sarah is running a contest on her blog. The winners get a Filthy Books Prize Pack, which includes copies of all three challenged books.

Kurt Vonnegut is not in a position to actively blog about this. But this essay will give you a sense of what he might say if he were with us today.

So it goes….

You Can Come to the Best BookFest ever

One of the stops I am most looking forward to on this fall’s book tour takes place in New York City on Saturday, October 30th.

It’s much, much, MUCH more than one silly author excited about her new book.

It is an extravaganza for teachers, librarians, educators and other people who care deeply about books for kids and teens. It’s a bookaganza. A day-long festival with authors, illustrators, editors, children’s literature experts, librarians and reviewers. (And lunch!)

It’s BookFest @Bank Street!!!!

A short list of guests:

Leonard Marcus, author of Margaret Wise Brown: Awakened by the Moon

Wendell Minor, illustrator of Nibble, Nibble

Diane Muldrow, Editorial Director, Golden Books

Stephen Savage, illustrator of The Fathers are Coming Home

Mac Barnett, author, Oh No!: Or How My Science Project Destroyed the World

Jon Scieszka, author, editor, Guys Read: Funny Business

David Yoo, author, Stop Me If You’re Heard This Once Before

And me! I’ll be talking about FORGE!

Check out the entire, earth-shaking schedule!!

This is how the official website describes it: “BookFest @ Bank Street is an event devoted to the celebration, discovery, and discussion of books for children and teens. This event, designed for adults, features luminaries from the children’s literature community. Authors, illustrators, editors, reviewers, and scholars will take part in panel discussions and breakout sessions.”

Personally, I think the word “bookaganza” should have been used in there.

But here’s the thing. You must pre-register. And the registration deadline is this Friday, September 17th.

Do it now, OK? And spread the word!

WFMAD Day 25 – great books to read & vote for

First – congrats to my friend David Macinnis Gill on the publication of his new book, BLACK HOLE SUN!!

I got to read an early copy and here is what I said about it: “Black Hole Sun grabbed me by the throat and didn’t let go until the last page. In the best tradition of Heinlein and Firefly, Black Hole Sun is for readers who like their books fast-paced, intense, and relentless. Buy it, read it, pass it on!”

I hear Mockingjay is awesome, too.

Yesterday was the first day in a long time I was able to write for hours and hours and hours. It was heaven. Am trying to sneak in even more writing today!

But first, a short speech.

Teens! Parents! Teachers! Librarians! Friends! Romans! Lend me your ears! (no, wait…. wrong speech…)

(here it is)

The voting is now OPEN for the YALSA Teens’ Top Ten “teen choice” list! Click through and vote for up to three of your favorite titles! Voting is open Aug. 23 through Sept. 17, 2010. Winners will be announced in a webcast at www.ala.org/teenstopten during Teen Read Week, Oct. 17-23.

(And if one of those titles should happen to be, um, I don’t know, like maybe WINTERGIRLS, that sure would make my day!)

Ready… “I’ve been doing scriptwriting for 27 years and books for maybe 10 years now. I think I started the first Gregor book, Gregor the Overlander, when I was 38. I’d be clicking along through dialogue and action sequences. That’s fine, that’s like stage directions. But whenever I hit a descriptive passage, it was like running into a wall. I remember particularly there’s a moment early on when Gregor walks through this curtain of moths, and he gets his first look at the underground city of Regalia. So it’s this descriptive scene of the city. Wow, did that take me a long time to write! And I went back and looked at it. It’s just a couple of paragraphs. It killed me. It took forever.Suzanne Collins in an SLJ interview

Set…. Less than a week of WFMAD left – can you stick with it?

Today’s prompt: Identify your strengths and weaknesses as a writer. Which is easier for you – plot or character? Dialog or description? Writing about sound or writing about smell or taste? First person or third person POV? Skimming the action along quickly or slowing down to savor the smallest and most significant detail?

Once you have identified what you are good at and what you are not quite good at yet but will be soon, you are going to develop a scene. First pass, use only only your great tools. Revise it using only your soon-to-be-better tools.

Need a scene? How’s this: your teenage character comes home hours after curfew. Everyone is sleeping. Except the skunk that is eating the garbage in the kitchen.

Scribble…Scribble… Scribble!!!