Cold Coffee and Comic Books

I was a little distracted yesterday (there’s a surprise) and accidentally made my coffee strong enough strip paint. So I refrigerated it and found that with mucho milk and sugar it is quite tasty. That is my housekeeping tip of the day.

Bored? Take this comic book selector. What was your answer? Do you read comic books/graphic novels? Why or why not?

For those truly in the know (srtajustice and kzookev) what do you think of the choices offered by this quiz?

Attention, teachers…

Sorry to bother you. You are supposed to be in the middle of a well-deserved rest. In reality, I know you are preparing lesson plans, taking classes yourself, and trying to recover from last year’s 60- and 70-hour weeks.

On the off chance you might be using one of my books with your students next year, I’d like to draw your attention to the following.

I finally started the CATALYST teacher resource page and the THANK YOU, SARAH teacher resource page. Take a peek, please. (You don’t have to be a teacher to look!)

I’d love feedback from anyone who has additional discussion questions or activity ideas. I couldn’t do vocab words because all of my copies of all of my books are already packed. I was pretty tired by the time I finished, so if you see any typos, or sentences that don’t make sense, please let me know.

A teacher from New York State emailed me a link to her incredible curriculum guide for FEVER 1793 the other day. Along with all kinds of activities, it details which NY State standards are met. I have written back to her asking permission to put the whole thing on the website. I’ll let you know when it is up.

Are you shocked?

So – Madonna’s children’s books?

Not Madonna-written, according to some.

Why am I not surprised?

I do not loathe all celebrity-written (or in Madonna’ case “celebrity-written”) books. I like Jamie Lee Curtis’ a lot. But let’s be honest – most of them are awful. They dishonor the trees that were sacrificed for the pulp upon which these atrocities are committed.

And people buy millions of copies.

There actually is an important role for “celebrity-written” books in children’s publishing. Celebrity books make massive profits. This allows publishers to take a gamble on new authors, or continue supporting the career of mid-list authors, whose books are not yet raking it in. We cannot forget that publishing is a business, and for a business to exist, profits must be made. No profits, no books.

The other positive side to even the crappy celebrity books is that they lure new readers and book buyers into stores. While most readers of this LJ are probably comfortable in libraries and bookstores, a lot of people are not. They find libraries and bookstores alien and intimidating. I think it is very important to understand and respect this, and support anything that helps them. If Ma-tuna’s, I mean Madonna’s new book, brings them into a bookstore for the first time, and opens their minds to literature, then All Hail Madonna.

What celebrity books do you like? Which ones bring out your evil, catty self? (When I worked in a bookstore, the books by Dolly Parton and Princess Fergie made me howl.) Is there a celebrity you would like to see write a children’s book? What’s the title?

I’ll start. I want Steve Tyler of Aerosmith to write “Tucking Little Girls Into Bed: night-time stories for the innocent.”

Dawn Patrol

Up earlier than usual to help Mer off to college orientation. If you haven’t gone or sent anyone to college in the last 20 years, you might not realize how smart colleges are getting about the orientation process. Many now hold it for a 48-hour period in the summer, weeks before classes begin. It is a toe in the water. You take any necessary placement exams, meet your advisor, sign up for classes and begin to morph from a bored-out-of-your-mind high school senior to bright-eyed-and-nervous college freshman. This way that first weekend has fewer stresses and fewer chances for the freshman to screw up. It’s a great idea

I’ve been having a hard time sleeping – very unusual for me. I think it’s a combination of life stress and writing. The life stress (see paragraph above & I’m moving & I’m moving my parents soon) is understandable. But why would writing make it hard to sleep? I don’t know for sure, but here’s a caffeine-deprived theory. I prefer long, intense writing days (10 hours or more) to the “everything in moderation approach”. (I suck at moderation in writing.) It makes it easier to stay consistent in voice and hold all the details about a character in my head. The downside is it is very hard to turn my head off. Friday night I kept getting back out of bed to write down ideas. Don’t worry. Another day or so and it will catch up with me and I’ll crash. I am known for marathon sleeping sessions as well.

Are you a fan of Kevin Hawkes?

Jane Yolen, one of my long-time heroes, is keeping an online journal that is inspirational and comforting.

What do you think about my new LJ icon? PROM has been out for four months now, so I figured it was time for that commercial break to be over. And I hugely identify with Xena. I wish I could carry my sword with me everywhere…

Time to nudge Mer again. Wake-up world, it’s Monday!!!

Gotta love NYC – SPEAK DVD commentary taping

Yesterday was just what the doctor ordered – a day in New York City.

I don’t think I could ever live there, but I do love visiting it. I love the crush of people, the hundreds of languages, the thousands of combinations of faces, clothes, walks, eyes, the little dogs, the business – all of it. Energizing. I took the train from Trenton to Penn Station. No, I was not afraid to take the train. To be afraid is to let the bad guys win. They won’t win anything with me.

Why did I take a day out of the craziness that is life right now and head for Manhattan? To do one of the coolest things ever!

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