Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Conferences.......I Like Them

HI!! So, I have recently returned from the annual conference of the "Children & Young Peoples' Division of the Indiana Library Federation"....or CYPD 2010. Now, I know some people dread conferences, but I like them. I always have a good time, and glean plenty of information and ideas to make it worth my while. Plus, my library pays for it, I get to "escape" from the everyday for a little while, and hey, who doesn't like a night in a hotel? (Unless you travel constantly, which I have heard people complain about.....I can't relate....) There are always workshops/sessions with interesting topics, authors, and sometimes an illustrator even. Fun and interesting stuff....for me and others like me all around the state.

This year, the event was held at the Indianapolis Marriott North. I cannot say enough about this hotel. This was my 5th CYPD conference, and by far the swankiest hotel. The bed was heavenly! OH! Don't get me started on that king sized, fluffy, cloud-marshmallow of a bed.......let me wipe away a little tear for the bed-of-my-life that I was forced to leave behind. With much sadness and reluctance did I leave this bed. Did I mention that it was really comfortable? And the food......pretty yummy, and multiple desserts.....oh yeah....

Where was I? OH. Sorry. I drifted away.

Sunday, after the brief welcome, there was a talk given by Fredrick McKissack Jr. on the subject of Profanity in YA Literature. I found Mr. McKissack to be very articulate and entertaining. His book Shooting Star has apparently already been challenged in relation to this very subject. To sum up what most of us already know, he was writing about boys. Teenage boys, especially on a football (or other sport) team, away from "grown ups".....well, they use profanity. Often profusely. In fact, one young reader commented to his parents that he thought Mr. McKissack actually toned things down. I believe that what he said about finding the voice of your character and being true to that is very important. That is how teenagers talk, especially among their peers. I don't see the need to sugar coat the language of teens in books meant for teens. It just doesn't make sense. Teens only sugar coat their language (mostly) when talking to parents, teachers, pastors, and such.

That evening, after attending sessions on Anime/Manga clubs and Guys Read...and a delicious dinner, we heard from author Jack Gantos. This was painful a couple of times as only a rich belly-laugh on a full stomach can be. This guy is funny! Mr. Gantos is also full of interesting stories, as any good author should be. I have decided to read more of his work. I'll keep you posted, of course. I bought my son one of the Jack Henry books to have signed. (another first, I have previously not stood in line for author signings at these things)

The next morning, after a very pleasant night's sleep in a really good bed (did I already mention that?), the general session was on Gaming at the Library with Beth Gallaway. She discussed many types of games, and program options. Later, I attended a session on using art in children's programs. This was fun, nothing revolutionary, but good ideas. Also, she brought up some excellent points on not squashing a kid's creativity.

Our lunch speaker was author April Pulley Sayre. I had seen her a few years ago, but she is very fun, and writes non-fiction.....two things that don't always go together. Her books are very entertaining though. Yesterday at a program I read Bird, Bird, Bird, and it was a hit! I also had her sign a couple of books for the library. I really enjoy meeting authors....especially the fun, friendly type. I am a bit sorry that I didn't have Mr. McKissack's book to get signed. I did request that we get it for our YA section though.

That leads me to another reason that it has taken me all week to get this post done. Blog reading. Yes, it is great, and I get a lot of great book ideas to request that we get, but it does take time. I'm keeping current with YA and children's books though, so it is sort of work.....I know, I know, I need balance. I also need to clean my office. Soon. And my house....don't get me started. I am going to be a fabulous procrastinator someday.

Back to the conference. I also attended a session on making book trailers. Super fun, I think I may have to try it sometime. If you aren't familiar with book trailers, here is a link to one. Oooh, and this one too!

And I'll leave you with those. Hope everyone is having a wonderful end-of-summer. Also, hope to post again soon......I have Books.....multiple books that I still want to tell you about! : )

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Again? Already?

As you may have noticed, I started blogging on Monday after a long intermission filled with much non-blogging activity. Then, another new post yesterday....ok, that was Stephanie Perkins' fault...mostly. Now, another new post. Three days in a row? What is up? Apparently something is up. Last night I even picked up the ol' story and started working on it after a couple of months. (Lisa, you'll be happy, I know!) Who knows, at this rate, I may actually finish the thing someday! Wouldn't that be something?

The topic of the day seems to have been censorship. Here's some links to things I've been reading, which could be a big ol' rabbit hole that might take hours to drag yourself out of. You have been warned. This all started with a trip to BookMoot, which is one of my favorite book blogs. Which then led me to Pete Hautman's blog. Later, I clicked a link on FaceBook that led me to Ellen Hopkin's live journal. In a nutshell, here's what happened. A school system in Texas was planning a "Teen Lit Fest". As one of several authors invited they chose Ellen Hopkins, author of such books as Crank, Burned, and others. Later, after she had accepted, she was un-invited. (You'll have to read the linked blogs if you want more details than that.) Rude. Censorship? Apparently that is debatable. I personally think that if you un-invite someone because a couple of people complained that her books might be unsuitable for some of the kids that will be attending.....kind of sounds censor-y to me. I like the idea of making a panel to discuss the issue a part of the "Teen Lit Fest" instead of attempting to sweep it under a rug. Teens are pretty savvy, they have also heard and seen a lot in this day and age and deserve a chance to make up their own minds. I know that at "our" library Ms. Hopkin's books are very popular. I personally haven't read them, but maybe I should. Also, anyone who thinks to advise others on the potential dangers of a particular book must first read the book in question and form their own opinions. Not solely rely on the word of others.....even if you trust and admire the person who is telling you. They may not have actually read it either.

Ok, that was closer to a rant....but it was about books!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A Fun New Thing

So, Stephanie Perkins, whom I love to blog stalk....that isn't creepy, right?....has her first book Anna and the French Kiss coming out later this year!! Yay for new authors!! Stephanie's blog is such fun to read, that I am sure her book will be wonderful! In fact, she is having a give-away right now for her last Advance Reading Copy!! Not that that is the only reason I am blogging about her book, but.....sure, I'd take a look at it if she sent me one. (and be pretty excited to do so!!!) There is a neat-o countdown thingy off to the side.....see it? It is my Fun New Thing. Cute, huh?

I am liking the new look of my blog.....are you? I sure hope so!

Monday, August 16, 2010

New Look

Hi! It is "Back to School" time here, and I'm feeling a little old with my son starting 5th grade, my nephew starting middle school, my niece starting high school, and my daughter starting college! But, that is what kids do, they keep growing and changing and getting older. Guess we all do, and hopefully we keep learning.....and reading great books.

Recently, I finished Dragon Flight, by Jessica Day George. This is the sequel to Dragon Slippers. There is a third book called Dragon Spear, which I have yet to read, but hope to do so soon. I love stories about dragons, that is no secret. Dragons who have not only intelligence and wisdom, but a sense of humor, and real personality are the best. Ms. George does a fantastic job of creating a fascinating story of humans and dragons existing together, or trying to. The main human character, Creel, is an interesting young lady who is independent, determined, and a very talented seamstress. I don't know that I've ever read anything that so successfully tied together embroidery and dress-making with dragons and impending wars. You have to read them in order to understand, I guess. (I don't want to tell you the whole story.) The issue of prejudice between the humans and dragons as presented here is very interesting as well, and can easily translate into real-life situations.....without seeming like it is a lesson at all.....who wants to be taught a lesson while reading a great story? But, we are influenced by what we read.....so in that way everything we read contains a lesson, I suppose.....

Maybe I'm rusty.....did any of that make any kind of sense? I hope so. If not, don't give up on my yet. I'm trying to get back into the swing of things.