Saturday, June 30, 2007

E. Lockhart host virtual author visit

Wouldn't you love to attend an autor visit with E. Lockhart?  Well, to promote her new book "Dramarama", she will be the guest of the Book Divas. 

The leading online book club for young adults and college readers, Book Divas welcomes E.Lockart to host a virtual author visit July 15th, 2007 until July 22nd, 2007. This will be Lockhart’s second time promoting a upcoming book on the site and this time members of Book Divas will get to chat with her exclusively for an entire week.

To join the discussion you must first become a Book Diva member, which is completely free, signup at An author visit is when a specialized forum is created to discuss a young adult novel for a period of up to three weeks. Author visits are unique to Book Divas because the members have free reign to directly interact with their favorite authors, such as E.Lockhart. 

Lockhart will login to the message board everyday for a week, where she will answer questions, read comments and discuss her newest novel, Dramarama. Members will be allowed to personally speak with Lockhart by signing in and leaving messages for the YA author.

Pretty cool, eh?  I know I'll be logging on!

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Friday, June 29, 2007

Schooled by Gordon Korman

Cap has never been in the town before.  Sure he's been there with his grandmother when they had to pick up supplies, but for the most part, Cap has spent his entire life alone with his grandmother.  Back in the 60s, Rain had founded the commune and it had been a lively place.  But as the people got older and times changed, everyone had left to resume their lives in the real world.  But not Rain.  When Cap's parents were killed, Rain raised him in the ways of the commune.  But now Rain is in the hospital and Cap is in foster care and forced to go to the public school.  With his long hair and homemade sandals, Cap really sticks out.  But his naiveté is what really sets him apart from the others.  He really believes that he has been elected 8th grade president because the kids have faith in him.  Not because they have a tradition of terrorizing the poor soul that occupies this office.

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Back from ALA

I had every intentions of blogging from ALA so I could keep up with everything going on but the unthinkable happened.  My hard drive crashed on Friday!!  I'm so glad I brought my old laptop and not the one with all my "stuff" on it!  I was totally out of touch after that. 

On Friday, I had the pleasure of working at Harris Elementary School as part of the Librarians in the Community project.  The library had been closed for four years and been used as a makeshift storage area.  Thanks to Audrey, a dynamic librarian who has taken on the challenge of resurrecting the program, we had a great day getting things organized.  While others weeded the collection, I cataloged the small collection that was left.  I have never used the system before so probably make a few mistakes.  Sorry Audrey :-)

I attended AASL Affiliate Assembly as the NH delegate.  We spent Friday evening reviewing our concerns that will be brought to the executive committee.  This was my first Affiliate Assembly and I was very charged by the energy in that room.

I spent Saturday at the exhibits and getting autographs.  I admit that I spend too much time getting signed books.  But who can resist "meeting" John Green, Mary Downing Hahn, Nancy Garden, Sherman Alexie, Lois Lowry, Gail Giles, Laurie Halse Anderson, Marcus Zusak and Judy Blume.  There were so many more that I just didn't have a chance to meet.  I did manage a program or two also.  I tried to get to the Reader's Theater program but there was just no room.  The Graphic Novels program was very crowded also but I did manage to get it.  The last program I went to was Picture Books for Older Readers.  Great info although people were fighting over the handouts.  Saturday night I went to dinner with the folks from Boyds Mills and authors Marilyn Nelson and Carolyn Coman..  How cool is that!?

Sunday started with the YA Authors Breakfast.  What a great time.  It was managed a bit like speed dating with the authors moving from table to table every 10 minutes or so.  There was certainly not enough time to meet all the authors but it was fun to meet so many Printz award winners.  Our table hosted Garret Freymann-Weyr, Gary Schmidt, Walter Dean Myers, Alan Stratton, Marilyn Nelson, Ellen Wittlinger and David Almond.  I was absolutely speechless sitting next to David Almond!!!  After the breakfast, I hurried over to the AASL Affiliate Assembly that had started earlier.  Sunday was more time at the exhibits getting signed books.  Tracie Vaughn Zimmer, Cecil Castellucci, Carolyn Mackler, Sonya Hartnett, Karen Beaumont, Jane Dyer, Sara Zarr, Barry Lyga, Garret Freymann-Weyr, Dana Reinhardt, and Ellen Wittlinger.  I was too late to get into the Judy Blume program:-(

Monday I went to the YALSA program on popular paperbacks. The YALSA President's Program, A Day in the Life of a Teenager, featured young people doing readings from the past years of YA lit.  They were very good.  Then a panel of YA authors spoke about how YA lit has evolved since the 1960s.  On the panel was David Almond!  Oh yeah, Robert Lipsyte,  Nick Hornby and Joanna Cotler.  Michael Cart moderated.  I also went to the DVDs for YAs program.  On the exhibit floor, I finally got David Almond to personalize some books for me.  I also got signed copies from MT Anderson, and Sharon Draper

Tuesday I went to the closing session with Garrison Keillor.  What a treat.  I then dropped by the exhibits one more time.  I was able to get a signed copy from Gene Luen Yang without waiting in those horrible lines from the past couple of days!  I then headed out to Capitol Hill for the Library Day on the Hill.  Very exciting.  I was unable to speak with either of my Representatives but I left my message and know they are both supporters.  I don't know it they ever took me up on the invitation to star in a Read poster!

Wednesday I went site seeing and then headed off to the airport.  My plane was over 6 hours late.  I finally got into NH at about 4:00 am.  I really wished I hadn't signed up to go to a workshop on Thursday but I made it through the day on minimal sleep.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Off to ALA

I've spent the day packing and tying up loose ends getting ready to head off to Washington bright and early tomorrow morning.  I'm going early so I can have some site seeing time before the conference gets into full swing.  On Friday I'll be volunteering at an elementary school and then attending the AASL affiliates assembly Friday night.  There are so many programs I want to go to and so many author signings in the exhibit area, I will be going like mad through the next few days.  I am skipping the banquets this year but may sneak in to hear the speeches.  Whatever I end up doing, I know I'll have a blast.  When I first starting going to ALA a million years ago, I was a bit intimidated by the size.  But now, I love spending hours walking around the exhibits talking with vendors and meeting authors.  And I always bring something back from the programs. 

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Presenting with BER

Wahoo!  I just found out that I will be presenting with BER next year!  How cool is that?  I'll be presenting a seminar on Best Children's Books of the Decade.  I have four dates but don't know the cities yet.  This is so great.  I am seriously looking forward to working with such a prestigious organization.  Wish me luck!

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Monday, June 18, 2007

The Robot Olympics by Victor Appleton

Appleton, Victor.
New York : Aladdin Paperbacks, c2006.
IL 3-6, RL 5.9
ISBN 1416913610
Swiftbot leaps to make the basket. He's coming along nicely but young Tom Swift is still wishing his robot could play just a bit better. After all, the robot Olympics will be starting tomorrow. He really wanted Swiftbot to win. Especially against Andy Foger's entry. When the kids arrived at the event, they were greeted by protesters from the TRB -- a terrorist group who rejected technology. But that didn't discourage Tom. Security was really tight and there was no way that TRB could get into the Olympics. So he concentrated on Swiftbot and the games. But what was really going on around here? More than you can imagine.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Summer Vacation!!!

Summer vacation at last!  The last day for students was Wednesday and we had to attend workshops on Thursday and Friday.  It was fine though as I spent the two days in planning a major unit that will integrate technology and library skills for a year long project.  Very exciting.

I have so many projects I'm working on this summer, I don't know if I'll have a lot of time to read.  This is usually when I can catch up on my reading.  Yesterday, I spent the better part of the day working on a project for the public access channel that highlights the children's choice nominees.  All that work for a 30 minute broadcast..  But if it gets the kids to pick up a book, it will be worth it.  I can also run it in kiosk mode in my library this year.

But, I am managing to get in a few books on the side.  I am back in my biography mode and have a stack of middle school biographies to read.

Meyer, Flora.
Washington, DC : National Geographic, 2007
IL 3-6, RL 6.8
ISBN 1426300638
Mao Zedong was always a very ambitious man.  From his teenage years, Mao decided that rules that others lived by didn't apply to him.  He was egotistical and had a sense of importance.  He also had very little regard for others.  He had a hunger for knowledge and spent many years in study.  He also had a hunger for power and spent many years trying to achieve his goal.  And he did.  In 1949, Mao seized control of China and ruled with an iron fist until his death in 1976.  These were dire years in China.  Find out about this amazing man in Mao Zedong : the rebel who led a revolution.

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Sunday, June 10, 2007

The Night My Sister Went Missing

Whenever I have a student looking for a mystery book, my first recommendation is The body of Christopher Creed by Carol Plum Ucci.  This is a really popular read in my library.  The kids come back looking for more by the same author.  And now I have another good mystery to recommend.  Plum Ucci's latest is a real page turner again focusing on a missing teenager and the secrets the come out.

Plum-Ucci, Carol. 


A shot shatters the familiar sounds of the teen party.  A splash?  Not really.  A scream?  Or was it laughter?  There are so many questions but one thing is certain -- Casey is missing.  And her brother Kurt is desparate to find her.  But the night is pitch black and the police want all the kids to come to the station for statements.  Kurt and his friend are ushered into a small room and left there while the police questione the other teens.  But what the police have forgotten is that this new room looks into the interrogation room.  So while the police parade the other kids into the room for questioning, Kurt and Drew are able to hear what is being said.  And what they hear is not always pretty.  It turns out that there are a lot of secrets on the island of Mystic.

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Monday, June 04, 2007

Shout out to Mrs. Lovett’s 5th grade class

I got a great note today from Mrs. Lovett's 5th grade class in Moorestown New Jersey.  The kids have been listening to my podcasts and using them to select their summer reading.  How great is that??!!  It just made my day.

If any of the kids from Mrs. Lovett's class are reading this, send along a comment and let me know what book you are reading!

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Saturday, June 02, 2007

June update

Spent the day finishing the June update to Booktalks Quick and Simple.  This month features many state lists.  I love seeing the similarities and differences among the state selections.

Also had the time to finish up Todd Strasser's new book.  Very grim and makes you think about what really goes on in boot camps for kids.  The media portrays them as a good alternative for unruly kids.  But are they?

Strasser, Todd.
New York : Simon & Schuster Books, 2007
ISBN 141690848X
This is for your own good.  How many times have you heard that but were not sure that it was true?  Parents tend to say that when they know something unpleasant is about to happen.  But what if your
parents hire people to kidnap you and send you to boot camp?  I've seen reports about these places on television.  They are touted as being the answer to unruly teens.  That's what happens to Garrett.  Now, Garrett is not a bad kid.  He's a rich kid who is a bit spoiled.  And he is dating his teacher.  But it's not like he's in a gang or failing school or anything.  But his parents don't like his choice of girlfriend so they sign him up for Lake Harmony.  They've done their research and are sure this is for Garrett's own good.  What they don't know is what really goes on behind the walls of Lake Harmony.

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