Sunday, June 29, 2008

Sunday at ALA

Started the day out as AASL Affiliates Assembly. I ducked out for a bit to attend the YALSA author coffee. This year was a bit more organized than last year. There were no gaps between authors. They should seriously consider doing away with that whistle though! If you haven't been to this, it is a little like speed dating. An author sits at your table for about 7 minutes before moving on to the next. We didn't get to talk with all the authors but seated next to me for a few minutes were John Green, Dana Reinhardt, Amanda Jenkins (she gave me a book!), Adrian Fogelin, David Levithan (he's teaming up with John Green on a new book!), Terry Trueman, Eleanor Garner, Jay Asher, and Stephanie Hemphill. What a great time it was!!

Back to Affiliate Assembly to finish the morning. I hit the exhibits a bit during the lunch time. I got to meet Susan Beth Pfeffer and gush embarrassingly. Also went to Cornelia Funke's signing and got a free copy of her new book!! Also Suzanne Collins, Tor Seidler (he's from New Hampshire!),n Coe Booth and Norton Juster. And free books for each!! I loved that Scholastic reserved the ARCs of Inkdeath to those who waited in line!

The afternoon was spent in a session on privacy. Cory Doctorow, Dan Roth (Wired) and Beth Givens (Privacy Rights Clearinghouse) presented a very interesting and paranoia evoking program on privacy -- or the lack thereof. Very good discussions about what we should allow and how we cannot go back. Our info is out there for anyone to use. Pretty scary stuff. Discussion of how people willingly give their info out in order to save money -- eg store membership cards that give you a few cents off an item. At this point, there is so much info on us that business and government has. It's just a matter of time before they figure out how to use it. Beth encouraged everyone to push for legislation to prevent the data mining. As librarians, we need to teach our patrons -- kids especially -- to guard their privacy. They have to be shown that it is worth it.

Saturday at ALA

No wireless in the hotel this morning. Boo! So I’m writing now and will post later. [Finally able to get on but boy do I hate it when I have to wait.]

Saturday at ALA was full of interesting people and events. I started the morning at a program on graphic novels and popular culture books for reluctant readers. The speakers were Holly Black, Barry Lyga and Kazu Kibuishi. Two other authors couldn’t make it. It was a great panel discussion with lots of give and take. Interesting discussion on genre blending in YA. The panel thinks that we will see more of that in YA but it wouldn’t work in adult fiction.

I then went to All Committee to meet up with the YALSA Tech for YA committee. Our program is on Monday morning -- a poster session on best practices. I can’t wait. Then we discussed our program for the 2009 conference. I think we pretty much have it fleshed out. We just have to find speakers!

Got to the exhibits a bit after noon time. It turns out you can have a rolling bag if you ask. So now my bag has a cute little pink tag and no one hassles me! By the time I got there, there were very few ARCs left. Pretty disappointing. I did talk to a couple of vendors who took pity on me and brought out the stash for me. I just can’t get to the exhibits before noon any day.

I got into the science fiction program in the afternoon. Vernor Vinge, Brandon Sanderson, Eric Flint and Cory Doctorow. Very interesting discussion on copyright issues. Also how fantasy and science fiction are similar and have similar aims. Cory was amazing. We were all hanging on his every word. Fortunately I have read Little Brother. TOR gave us free copies of the books and we were able to get them signed afterwards.

I then went to Disney for the ProQuest event. I am not too big on theme parks like that but I certainly couldn’t come to Anaheim and not go. It was fun. The fireworks were amazing. And everything ran like clockwork. The ProQuest people know how to get us where we need to go. Came back to the hotel exhausted and reading to sleep. Another long day on Sunday awaits.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Friday at ALA

Friday at ALA was a busy day for this jet lagged woman. The morning was spent at Doug Johnson's Eating Elephant 2.0. He really is a good speaker. He went over several web 2.0 applications. I have used most of them and heard of others. But the real juice for me was the sharing portion. We were able to interact with the other participants and hear their stories and concerns. I got a lot out of those discussions. Some points I had not thought of since I have not encountered them. We also talked about ethical considerations and concerns. This part is usually left out in the workshops I've attended before. Good stuff.

I went to YALSA's Turn Teens onto Reading workshop in the afternoon. I finally got to meet Joni Bodart. What a thrill. She shared a couple of booktalks with us. Wow, from the pro!! Walter Mayes was on the panel and it was great catching up with him again. He did an awesome presentation about what booktalking is like in a middle school. So true!! The other presenters were great as well. I finally got to see one of the digital picture frames in action. Cool stuff. I doubt I'll ever get one for my library but what you can do with it is awesome!

Ran into Linda Braun between sessions and said a quick hello. We got to talk about some interesting stuff. And then she videotapped me for her Simmons class. Just a quick video. She is doing some quick interviews for her class. Boy do I wish I had brought my Flip. I can't believe I forgot it. Should I run out and buy another?

Last night was AASL Affiliate Assembly. We mainly worked on fine tuning action plans to be voted on during Sunday's meeting. The east coast crowd was fading fast (especially me) but we got the work done.

Today I start out with a workshop on collaboration. I am then going to All Committee for the YALSA Tech meeting. Then off to the vendors. I haven't decided what to attend this afternoon but I am definitely going to the Disney bash tonight. If I can stay awake long enough!!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Arrived in Anahem

That was one long plane ride. Next time I think I'll take a plane that stops along the way. Five and a half hours -- not counting all the time on the ground waiting to take off -- was a bit much. I took a pass on the inflight movies. Nothing I wanted to see. Going back I just might buy those headphones though. It's Spiderwick!! I had planned to read the whole way anyway. But I was sitting next to a couple of chatty teen girls who kept me from concentrating on my book. Their conversation ran the gambit from typical teen talk -- music, boys, etc. -- to the origins of World War I. They also discussed science and debated the most important invention of the 21st century. From what I could tell with my eavesdropping, they were sisters --probably one finishing her first year of college and the other going into her senior year of high school. Now if I were an author and put two teens of a long plane ride, I doubt that I would have them discussing historical events.

I did finish my book though. Sucks to Be Me by Kimberly Pauley. She's doing a reading at ALA so I'll get a chance to read her. I liked the book and know that teens will as well. It examines the age old question "what will I be when I grow up." Of course, this is a bit different as the teen has to decide if she will become a vampire or not.

Tried to record a podcast last night with no luck. I have my junker travel laptop with me so I don't know if it is the computer or the mic I brought. I should have tested it before I left. I had to totally reformat the harddrive on this laptop after it crashed in a hotel room in DC so I thought everything would be fine. I'll play with it some more and see. I don't want to go out and buy a new mic if that isn't the problem.

I'm off to two half day preconferences today and then have the Affiliate Assembly meeting tonight. Hope I can make it. I may have to come back a grab a nap before assembly. I'm still on east coast time!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Leaving on a jet plane!

I'm packing my bags getting ready for a very early flight to ALA tomorrow. As I write this, the house is being torn apart. Well, not totally. I am having vinyl siding put on the house. I finally gave in and decided to get rid of the rotting clapboard and get vinyl. Well, they are doing it while I'm in California. So, I don't have to listen to day after day of pounding. Although right now they are right outside my window pulling off the clapboard. Should I feel guilty that the rest of the family has to listen to this while I'm in sunny California? No, I didn't think so. They said they should be finished by the time I get home!

Trying to decide which book to bring with me on the plane. It is a long flight so it should be a big one. But I'm in the middle of a short one. So, I'll probably bring a big one also. I know I'll be coming home with lots and lots of new books so I don't want to bring too many. I'll bring a book on mp3 also just to be sure I have something if I finish the others. Do other people worry about being without a book?

Today's podcast is for yet another Great Stone Face award nominee. Roland Smith's Elephant Run is a great read. I know the kids have loved his other books and will love this one as well.

ELEPHANT RUN is an exciting, historical adventure novel by the author of the popular high-
altitude adventure book, “Peak”. In 1941, Nick Freestone joins his father at the family plantation in Burma to escape the bombs falling on England. Instead of finding refuge, he is plunged into the Japanese invasion of Burma. With the help of his young friend, Mya, Nick tries to learn more about the timber elephants trained on the plantation. Mya, a girl who hopes to become an elephant trainer, or "mahout," barely has time to show Nick around the plantation before Nick's father is taken prisoner by the Japanese. With Japanese soldiers in charge of the family home, Nick becomes an unwilling servant of the Japanese. But there are hidden passageways in the house, and soon Mya and Nick have found a way to escape into the jungle, riding on the back of a much-feared rogue elephant named Hannibal. Will Nick and Mya reach safety and what will become of Nick’s father? Read ELEPHANT RUN and find out for yourself. (New Hampshire Great Stone Face nominee, 2008-2009)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Summer reading

Yesterday was the first day for kids to sign up for summer reading at the city library. What a mob scene!! It was so great to see all those little kids so excited about being in the library. My daughter and I took the grandsons so they could sign up. They weren't all that interested in signing up -- they just wanted to look at all the books. They finally tore themselves away from the books long enough to tack their koalas into the outback. Now they are working on getting their bears some leaves to eat. If kids are less interested in books, please don't tell Aiden and Jordan. They love books!!

Today's podcast is Sarah Thompson's Dragon's Egg.

“I am Damien Damerson,” the man said, bending forward slightly in what seemed a courtly little bow, even from his seat on a low stool. A pendant around his neck, what looked like a narrow arc of white ivory on a golden chain, swung loose, and he tucked it back inside his shirt. “Knight of the Order of Defenders.” “Defenders?” Da asked skeptically. “Defenders against what?” Damien lifted one eyebrow. “Against dragons, of course.” In Mella’s world, dragons are commonplace—but who would need defending against them? They are small, domesticated reptiles raised to produce eggs. Of course, there are the old tales that describe the dangerous, fire-breathing monsters of old, but no one really believes they existed---or did they? After stumbling across a large egg-shaped object, and the enormous winged reptile that lies dying to protect it, Mella is forced to reconsider her beliefs, and makes a promise that will propel her into adventures and dangers she never dreamed of. Join Mella in her quest to return the Dragon’s Egg to its rightful place in the kingdom. (New Hampshire Great Stone Face nominee, 2008-2009)

Sunday, June 22, 2008


On the last day at our school, the 8th grade holds a huge talent show. It is a fun morning of showcasing the talents of our kids. Some kids read poems, some danced, some sang, we even had a unicyclist. Some may have been better than others but the one thing they all had in common is their desire to perform -- to show the rest of the kids what they could do. Through the years I have seen kids that barely spoke for their three years of middle school put themselves out there on the last day. I've seen kids rise to the occasion and I've seen kids who just couldn't. But every year, we know that we will have a group of kids get up on that last day of middle school and go for it.

In Linda Urban's A Crooked Kind of Perfect, we meet a young girl who dreams of becoming a pianist. And she is willing to put in the work to make her dreams come true.

Zoe Elias dreams of being a concert pianist and performing in Carnegie Hall but when Zoe asks for a piano, she gets a Perfectone D-60 organ. The Perfectone D-60 is a “wood-grained, vinyl-seated, wheeze-bag organ”. Her Mother is always working and her Dad is afraid to leave the house. Her Dad spends most of his time doing home study courses with “Living Room University”. Then there is Wheeler, the cute boy on her bus who hits it off so well with Zoe’s Dad that he ends up spending more time at Zoe's house than his own. After weeks of practicing, Zoe gets the chance to enter the Perfectone Perform-O-Rama. What will happen to Zoe and her dreams at the competition at the Birch Valley Hotel and Conference Center? (New Hampshire Great Stone Face nominee, 2008-2009)

Saturday, June 21, 2008

First full day of summer!

Summer is here. It has been a long time coming but it has finally arrived. This was a long school year and having to make up 6 days at the end didn't help things. But summer is here, the Sox are winning, the Celtics are champs and I have lots of books to read. I am off to ALA next week and life is looking good.

Today's podcast is for another GSF nominee -- THE BOOK OF LIES by James Moloney.

Marcel is brought to an orphanage in the dead of night to a Wizard who wants to erase the boy’s memory. Fortunately fate intervenes and he is able to remember his name. Because of this advantage he is able to help a brother and sister at the orphanage and they are plunged in to court intrigue when they find they are related and of royal blood.
The major force in the story is the Book of Lies which reveals a speaker’s lies when he or she is near the Book. BUT THE BOOK IS RUNNING OUT OF PAGES. What will happen then… (New Hampshire Great Stone Face nominee, 2008-2009)

Friday, June 20, 2008

New Hampshire Great Stone Face nominees

The 25 nominees for the 2009 are my latest focus on my podcasts. I've uploaded the booktalks onto my site and am now recording the booktalks for my podcasts. The booktalks were written by members of the GSF committee but they have allowed me to post the booktalks and record them as well. I've already added a few of the podcasts and will keep going until I've done all 25. I hope to work on the NH Isinglass nominees as well.

Today's podcast is for Higgins, F. E. BLACK BOOK OF SECRETS. I love the look of this book as much as the story. The book has all black edges and gives you the feeling of hiding secrets that maybe should not be revealed!

Ludlow Fitch’s diary begins thus: “When I opened my eyes I knew that nothing in my miserable life prior to that moment could possibly be as bad as what was about to happen.” This is because he was strapped in a chair, while the loathsome Barton Gumbroot was preparing to pull out all his teeth, to be sold by his greedy and unfeeling parents. Ludlow’s dramatic escape put him in league with mysterious pawnbroker Joe Zabbidou, who traded people’s deepest, darkest secrets for cash. As his apprentice, Ludlow’s job was to scribe these confessions into the “Black Book of Secrets”. But the most disturbing secrets of all may have been the apprentice’s own… (New Hampshire Great Stone Face nominee, 2008-2009)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Last day of school!

Well, we made it through yet another school year. I was a judge for the 8th grade talent show today and what a great experience it was. For the first time we had student judges as well and these kids really took it seriously. Judged on talent instead of just popularity. There were so many talented kids though!! It was a really tough decision. And I loved the way the audience supported all the contestants. This is why I love middle school!

I've been adding podcasts again now that my computer is home. But today, the wireless seems to have bitten the dust. I hate being attached with this blue wire but at least I can still get online. I'll probably just go buy a wireless adapter tomorrow.

Podcasts loaded this week:

Sunday, June 15, 2008

lots of messages to sort through

Well, I have most of my hard drive reconstructed. I am so glad I save a lot of my "stuff" other places. Hopefully I'll get to some podcasting today.

Saw this on twitter and liked it. You can turn your tags into art. I used my tags and created an interesting art piece. At least I think it is interesting!!

Give it a try at You can put in any words you want. Fun stuff.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Connected again!

I got my computer back last night!!!! Wow, 10 days without my lifeline. I can't believe how hard that was. Sure I had access here and there but it just isn't the same. I didn't have my files or my software. I felt I couldn't get anything accomplished. Coincidently, I also had a wicked stomach bug so I didn't want to get anything accomplished. That worked for me. I wonder if both of us got the same bug :-)

Beehive Computers couldn't fix my hard drive so I now have a brand spanking new (twice as big) hard drive. They were able to salvage my data but not a lot of my programs. So this weekend will be spent trying to reinstall all my programs. They did put Office back on so that works out.

So, look for podcasts to be resuming soon. I'll record some today as I sit out in the yard enjoying the nice day. We have survived our heat wave with no air conditioning. By Friday both staff and students were pretty testy.

Only four more days of school. On Wednesday, I am a judge on the mock World Court. On Thursday, I am a judge for the 8th grade talent show. I'm just so judgemental this week! And the rest of the week will be spent trying to get those 350+ overdue books back :-(

Saturday, June 07, 2008

more computer woes

OK, so my computer crashed with all my files on board and now it is in the shop for who knows how long. I'm in withdrawl now so grab a quick peak at my email on another computer. Well, it seems that ipower (my hosting site) is down. Yesterday, it was down and I lost about 16 hours of email. But it came back up and seemed to be fine this morning. But not so now. And my webpage is down too. I'm wondering if I should be changing hosts! Maybe I should at least change my email but it is such a hassle. Just thinking about how much I'd have to change boggles my mind. I guess I have to call ipower and see if I can get a human to talk to me. Not my idea of fun when it is 92 degrees out! Or any other time either.

Computer crashed!!

I cannot believe this. My computer crashed. Of course I hadn't made backups in awhile. I took it into Beehive Computers to look at it. The good news is that all my files are still on the drive. The bad news is that there are so many errors on the drive that is pretty much shot. The technician is going to try to salvage the disk but if he can't, he'll get the files off and reformat. It may even need replacement. I could try to recreate my files but it is not worth it at this point. Hopefully I'll have the computer back early next week. But in the meantime, no podcasts and no updates for the webpage. And limited email. Maybe I can go cold turkey for a few days! Nah! Not going to happen.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Happy June!!

If it's June, that must mean the school year is just about over. Because of all our snow this winter, we have to make up 6 days!! I don't ever remember that many. So, we still have 3 weeks to go. Just as well as I have so much more to do before the end of the year.

Today's podcast is for the book The Dead and the Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer. I waited so long to get this. I heard about it a year ago. I had hoped to get an ARC at midwinter but my eye surgery kept me from getting there. So I had to wait until it was actually published!! And it was worth it. I loved Life as We Knew It. (If you buy my new book, you'll have proof of that!) In one of the evaluations from a workshop I did, a participant said that I seem to concentrate on dark books. Hmmm. I guess s/he was right. I'm trying to be sure I have some "up" books used as examples from now on. But, really, I do like doom and gloom. I am not a fan of blood and gore but give me a good end of the world or dystopian book anyday.

But back to the Dead and the Gone. I thought it would be hard to live up to the first book. But it did. I really enjoyed it (except the part about Brianna). And I really want to see what happens to Alex. I surely hope there is another book in the works!! Please!!!

The Dead and the Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer.

Alex is a hard working kid living in New York. He dreams of going to college and having a successful life. He comes from a good working class family and has a scholarship to a prestigious prep school. He even has a shot at becoming class president his senior year. Things are really working out for him. But that is all about to change. The night the asteroid hits the moon knocking it out of orbit changes life for everyone. Now Alex's parents are missing, his older brother is deployed and it is up to Alex to keep his younger sisters safe. And fed. And it is getting harder and harder to find food. If you have read Pfeffer's book Life As We Knew It and wondered what was happening in the big cities, take a look at Alex's life as he struggles with the aftermath of the moon shift.