Who is still in the Dance?

George Mason. George Mason?

::sighs deeply::

OK, this is the hand we’ve been dealt. I’m hoping for UCLA vs. Florida. (If that happens, cousin Sue, I’ll bet you a cup of tea that UCLA will win.) Big shout-out to my Georgetown boys for making us all proud to wear blue and grey again.

Is there life after basketball? Not really, unless you count the reading and writing stuff. I made it home from CA in one piece and will post photos of the gorgeous Cerritos library later. Today I’m writing WIP2 and when the right patch of shade hits the front lawn, I’m going to rake dead leaves and pick up sticks. BH says we might have a bonfire tonight. That will be cool.

Good news about Oklahoma – the concept of parental freedom to choose for their children might not be dead! Here is an update from an Oklahoma librarian, which I took from the ASIF blog:

“HB 2158 has been assigned to the education subcommittee of the appropriations committee of the State Senate. This committee has until April 7 to take action on the bill. If the measure comes out of committee and is scheduled for Senate debate, then we’ll be doing another letter/e-mail/phone call campaign to state senators. The good news is that the Senate leadership has assured our Oklahoma Library Association lobbyist that HB 2158 will not come out of committee — it may not even make it on an agenda for discussion. Administration tells us to remain “watchful” though, as the issue is far from over. While the bill might be dead, it is possible that another piece of legislation could be amended with the language of HB 2158.”

If you live in Oklahoma, please research this bill and contact your state representatives and senators with your opinion!!

Quote du jour: “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Edmund Burke (1729-1797)

Green Friday

I’d like to take this moment to say thank you to my Donovan and Foley ancestors for leaving Ireland, braving the Atlantic Ocean, and coming to America. Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all! I’ll be playing Celtic music and scaring the dog with my poor imitation of an Irish jig all day.

My friend (and awesome writer) Susan Campbell Bartoletti, and noted author Patricia Reilly Giff both have excellent books about the Irish Potato Famine.

I’ve been working on pictures books and shoveling the mountains of correspondence that precede a school visit trip. I woke up this morning and watched the sun crawl across the ceiling and came up with the opening lines of this new picture book that’s been nipping at my heels. (Details on next week’s adventure tomorrow.) It’s really nice when new stories start to talk to you.

The Oklahoma House of Representatives passed the bill that forces libraries to remove all books with sexual or homosexual themes (like SPEAK) to the “adults only” section of the library. The vote? 60 for, 33 against. The OK House of Reps doesn’t trust families to choose books for their children. Let’s see – wiretapping without a warrant is legal, book banning is legal… how long will it be before these fringe groups succeed in burning our Constitution to ashes and installing cameras in our homes to monitor our behavior?

If this upsets you, then ask yourself what you have done in the past month to participate in our democracy. If we do not take our government back, this is just the beginning.

And if any of you reading the above two paragraphs feel inclined to make assumptions about my faith or politics based on those opinions, let me state for the record that I am a Christian and I am more conservative than liberal. I am fed up with both political parties. Please let me know if you hear of a political leader who has common sense, who won’t take money from lobbyists, and who has a clue about our country’s history. I haven’t found one yet.

OK, end of rant.

Gerry MacNamara, hold your head up high. We love you and are proud. Did you see Adam Morrison at the end of the Gonzaga game??? Wow. Georgetown plays at 2:35pm on CBS…. might…have…to….wander….by…the…TV…

What is up with Oklahoma?

A bow in appreciation to boricuababy1119 for pointing out my shameful neglect of Women’s History Month. (Check out the poem she posted on my LJ yesterday.) It is the kind of thing we should all be celebrating!!

And appreciation to all of you for sharing your Cat 4 books with yesterday. I suspect a lot of us will be going to the library to check out some new titles.

Speaking of libraries… there is a problem in Oklahoma. The state legislature is very close to passing House Bill 2158. The bill would take away money from Oklahoma libraries unless they move all materials that have “homosexual or sexually explicit subject matter” that were written for kids or young adults into a special “adults-only” section of the library. That’s right – they want to take YA books that contain references to sexual behavior, and the books written for children that explain reproduction, and lock them away in a section of the library that kids cannot access.

You can read more about this, including newspaper editorials and librarians responses at AS IF.

This is ridiculous. If parents don’t want their children to borrow a book like SPEAK or PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER then it is the right and the responsibility of that parent to say “no” to their kid. Is the Oklahoma Legislature implying that parents are incapable of supervising their children? A public library is PUBLIC – it is the sacred space of democracy wherein people are free to learn. Are the people of Oklahoma going to let the government take over the parenting of their children?

I suspect that there has been some clever manipulation going on there. I suspect that someone said “let’s protect the children.” Who wouldn’t support a statement like that? I certainly want to protect children. In fact, my career is based on it. I try to provide stories for kids and teens that will help them look at the confusing world they live in and (I pray) make healthy, moral decisions when they are confronted with difficult choices.

Do any of you know more about this situation that I do? What do you think of this? What would you do if you went to the library and asked for a YA book and was told it was off-limits for anyone under 18 years old? Is it American to censor libraries?

Email beast tamed and shhhh! a secret

It took half the night, but I finally sent the email beast cowering into submission. Ha! Take that!

Web God Theo Black has updated my website to reflect the change in seasons again. As he emailed me about it, snow was falling outside my window, diamond dust snow that looked alive. It was very cool, serendipitous. We added a new page with just contact information. Let me know what you think about it.

I am very proud to announce that PROM has been named an Amazon Top Ten Best Book of 2005 for Teens. Check out the whole list if you are looking for something good to read.

I am also proud to announce that I have joined AS IF!, Authors Support Intellectual Freedom, a group for YA authors who are taking a stand against the censorship of YA novels. It was organized by author Jordan Sonnenblick. The group’s blog has an LJ syndication feed, asifnews.

Are you looking for a great curriculum guide for SPEAK? Look at what Dawn Hogue put together. If you are an English teacher, you will also want to look at their CyberEnglish page and be sure to read through her blog.

And a hint of a forthcoming announcement (consider this your reward for reading to the end of today’s post). We are going to have a contest at the end of the month. Shhhhhhhhhh! Yes, there will be prizes. Stay tuned.