Have I mentioned that censorship makes me cranky?

What a way to start the month. First, John Green’s LOOKING FOR ALASKA is under fire for being “pornographic”.

And now, some parents are going after SPEAK. The teacher involved has asked me not to name the school because she wants the process and policies of the district to unfold away from the glare of any spotlights. I respect that. I am allowed to say that it’s a middle school in suburban Detroit. For the record, this has also happened in New Hampshire, Florida, Ohio, Washington, New York, Maine, and California. (As a result of the challenges, the book was embraced, not banned. Which does make an author feel good and a teacher feel even better.)

I sent her a note with teen sexual assault statistics and shared the feedback I’ve had from readers and their parents, who are grateful for a story that allows them to broach a difficult subject.

This teacher could use some professional support. If you teach SPEAK, can you please leave a note in the comments section for her? Tell her why you use the book. Tell her about your classroom experiences and your professional opinion about the place of the book in the curriculum. Or just give her a pat on the back. If you are a teen, tell her what the book meant to you.

Thank you very much and spread the word.

Now for something positive! Join the brilliant people at The Brown Bookshelf for 28 Days Later – an awesome, wonderful, joyful concept: a black history month celebration of children’s literature. They are highlighting an African-American author or illustrator every day this month. Today’s honoree is Rita Williams-Garcia, whom I met at NCTE back in November. If you’re looking for some great authors, start with this list.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic This is my editor Sharyn November with the lovely and talented Rita Williams-Garcia.

Our Team In Training effort is going strong. Between the two of us, BH and I have already raised $1755 of our goal of $5000. Yeah, that means we’re still standing here, in the snow, shivering, with our hands out. Please donate to the goose or donate to the gander. We’re raising $5000 and running a half marathon for the National Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Come on. Give a little!

(I ran 5 miles on Saturday and 4 miles yesterday. BH ran 5 miles both days. We didn’t have any trouble sleeping this weekend.)

Thank you to the Giants and Patriots for a great game last night!!! All hail the Giants defense – even though I wanted the other guy to win, you gotta respect the job they did.

And now the countdown to March Madness…

Along with the countdown to my deadline. scribblescribblescribble


Yesterday was a very, very intense day. Wonderful, every single minute of it, but wicked intense. I feel like an apple that was peeled with a dull knife and left on the counter overnight.

It’s weird because I used to be a profoundly shy person, and then I learned how to be brave and extroverted, and now I actually love hanging out at conferences and meeting hundreds of people, but then I have moments like this when I feel shy again. Balance, I guess, is the key.

The highlight of yesterday was booksignings, an hour at Anderson’s Bookstores booth, and then an hour at the PermaBound booth, where the line stretched forfreakingever.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic I was thrilled when Ms. J. from Hawaii showed up! I met her on my MySpace page when she wrote asking some questions her students had about the symbolism in SPEAK. Her MySpace photo has her sticking her tongue out, so it seemed appropriate.

Old friends, strikers, and desserts

For your reading pleasure

It’s time to close tabs, back up the hard drive, and get ready for the train. I don’t want to leave you stranded so here are some reading noshes.

Jen Robinson’s Book Page (excellent, excellent resource) is now sending out a Growing Bookworms email Newsletter. It is very easy to read – you should probably subscribe to it.

Two great announcements via Cynthia Leitich Smith:
1. The Brown Bookshelf showcases the “best and brightest in African-American Children’s Literature, with a special emphasis on new authors and books that are “flying under the radar.”” Be sure to check out their wonderful blog and their 28 Days Later project. I don’t do this very often, but I bookmarked the blog for my daily reading.

2. The Texas Library Associations YA Tayshas List is out.

It sure sounds like Christopher Hitchens made last night’s NBA readings more interesting than usual. And Sherman Alexie was the voice of reason. (scroll down a bit to find the conflict.)

Oh, duh. It’s Children’s Book Week. (I am glad they are moving it to May!)

And this in from our Plains reporter, Aunt Barb: Oklahoma celebrates its centennial on Friday. Happy Birthday!