Answer to a good question

Janelle writes: I am a student currently taking Children’s Literature course at a Community College in Maryland. I was wondering if you had a moment to answer a question regarding your book “Speak.” The question that was on most of our minds as we were discussing the book in class yesterday was this:

Do you think that Melinda’s life will get easier as she enters 10th grade and so on? I personally think that it would, and that eventually all of the nasty things such as rumors may eventually fade out. But our teacher suggested that we write you to and ask you what your thoughts on the matter would be.

Great question.

The rumors will always be there, and the ignorant people who whisper and say hurtful things will always be there. But by the end of the book, Melinda has changed. When she found the strength to speak up for herself, she grew.

Because she is a more confident young woman, the whispers and rumors won’t bother her nearly as much. And when you don’t let the whispers get to you, they tend to fade away on their own.

I suspect that by the time she graduates, Melinda will have gone from “The Weird Girl” to “The Artistic Girl Who Doesn’t Put Up With Stupid Stuff.” If you really want to know how her peers see her the year following SPEAK, pick up a copy of CATALYST and turn to page 76.

Making busy before the snow flies

Many thanks to all you librarian-types for answering yesterday’s plea, both in the Comments section and via email. You’ve given us a lot of information and it is very much appreciated.

Last BH and I went into the Big City (Syracuse) for the first Rosamond Gifford Lecture of the season. Last night’s speaker was Henry Petroski, an engineer who writes for non-engineers about things like pencils and bookshelves. Attending a “lecture series” made me feel like a grown-up, which is rare.

Today I have to get ready for the Florida trip Friday, deal with email that is clogging my computer, brainstorm the next round of revisions, and figure out where to order curtains for the windows I’ve been working on. Oh, and go to the gym. This is Week 4 of my Get the Middle-Aged Spread Under Control Program. I think it’s beginning to work.

A question for librarians

One of my kids is considering various library schools for her graduate degree. The long list includes Syracuse, Rutgers, Simmons, Seattle, (and another one I can’t remember, but if she really cares about it, she’ll remind me what it was.)

The short list is Syracuse and Rutgers.

She is most interested in becoming a YA/childrens librarian, though I’m encouraging her to keep her options open.

So I figured we’d throw it open to youse guys who have already lived through this. Which one of those schools offers the best program? Which one would you encourage your daughter (assuming you had one) to attend? Should any of those schools be stricken from the list because the professors are all trolls? Any hints about getting through library school without going into millions of dollars of debt?

Rocky Mountain Kidlit Conf Rocked

Well, thank you Colorado!

The conference was one of the best I’ve ever had the good luck to attend. The organizers were organized (yay!) and the conference-goers enthusiastic and really nice, in a Mid-West kind of way, but this was Colorado, so they were nice and ecologically sound all at the same time.

Along with my pal Kimberly Willis Holt, I got to hang out with Chris Raschka, Jaime Adoff, his dad, the poet Arnold Adoff, and illustrator Steve Jenkins. They are all funny, fascinating people and we had a great time. It felt more like sleepaway camp than a conference.

They do things in a very hip way in Colorado. The food for example: chicken fajita wraps and black beans for lunch. One of the author signings/receptions was a cookies and milk reception. (I kid you not.)

And then there was this.

Image hosted by The dessert spread for the other author signing. But check out the close-up.

Image hosted by That is a CHOCOLATE FOUNTAIN!!!! They had bowls of fruit and cookies to dip in it.

I wanted to put my whole face in it. But that would have rude, so I didn’t. But I sure thought about it long and hard.

Image hosted by Me and Hilary, my author wrangler for the weekend.

If you get the chance to go to next year’s conference you should. Rumor has it that Richard Peck will be there. I don’t know about the chocolate fountain, but you should go just for that alone, if you ask me. It is held in Greeley, CO, which is up near Wyoming and Nebraska, and only an hour away from Denver.

This is a short week for me because I leave Friday for Orlando, for the Florida English Teacher’s Conference. (No, this is not autumn, this is Conference Season.) I spent most of the day catching up on paperwork. Tomorrow I dive back into the next round of revisions of my WIP. My editor liked what I sent her, and we agreed on which areas need expanding to even out the pacing issues. We’ll be making some website updates, stay tuned for those.

BH is calling… the chili is ready.

Past my bedtime

Sorry for not posting earlier. The day ran away with me. Mostly I spent it sanding and painting more window frames, but a good chunk was taken up preparing for tomorrow’s trip to Colorado (yay!!!) where I’ll be speaking at the Rocky Mountain Children’s Literature Conference. Yeah, I know – not too shabby. I love, love, love Colorado and the teachers are really nice out there, so as long as the plane doesn’t fall out of the sky, it should be a great weekend.

I’ll try to take photos. Not sure if I’ll have an Internet hook-up, but if I do, I’ll let you know how it’s going. My speech is all done and the last load of laundry is in the dryer. Almost time for bed.