Friday, August 31, 2007

Better late than never....

Squeezing in on Friday, here are the Poetry Friday links collected over at Mentor Texts and More. Hopefully enough there to last the long weekend....

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Down and dirty and...

... dusty and busy reading. Cuz I've done did dove back into library duty today, pulling books from the big room to distribute to classrooms. We have a middle grade shortage that was unapparent last year (when we had precious few kids reading middle grade). Gonna have to work on that. And yes, I read a few books when I working. Wouldn't you?

I must admit, it was nice to have taken a few months off... but awfully nice to get back in there and dive into a huge old room of books. Remind me of that if I whine a few months from now!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

A dessert update...

And you thought I wasn't serious about the Dessert Challenge, did you? Guess again! Why would I ignore the chance to taste desserts in the name of research? Exactly....

So far, it's true, sampling has been slight. And at the moment, I'm surprised to note that a plain old Oreo is very near the top of the (pretty short) list-since-post. I know some folks have texture problems with the Oreo... and others cannot divorce it from a glass of milk, but I'll tell you that in a head-to-head test with a black and white cookie, I had the Oreo winning by a length, and pulling away near the end.

I suspect the competition will get much harder. And I can't wait to find out....

Monday, August 27, 2007

No. No, I don't think so...

Once again, I wish I could speak directly to folks who've found their way to my blog through the wonders of search. Not that I always know the answers to their queries, of course, but I can conclusively say "No, today is NOT the first day of school throughout the world." and thus help at least one visitor....

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Just for the record...

... are we all agreed that Yahtzee isn't a game of skill?


Cuz if it is, I am skill-less!

(Apropos of nothing, I'm a big ol' game lover, so I'm always looking in stores and in windows. Years ago in LA, I walked by what still remains one of my favorite game names. Surely whoever named it had a sense of humor, yes?)

Friday, August 24, 2007

Poetry Friday (and a Search Fib)

This week's roundup o' links has been gathered by John over at Book Mine Set (where, it must be noted, you'll find excellent stuff on non-roundup days, including some interesting poetic play). And while I had not expected to write a Search Fib (okay... "write" is a bit strong. I compile!), I recently got found via an 8 syllable search term that I woulda mentioned anyway, so what the heck. As always, thanks to the multitude of search engines out there, some of which... well... they're just wacky!

Math pome
Famous birds
National tree day
Curious George: let's play doctor!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

A bad case of the blahgs....

Yep. I've got the blahgs. I've had 'em for awhile, truth be told, but hadn't fully fessed up to myself. But one only need look at the last handful of Poetry Friday posts around here (or lack thereof) to see that something is amiss hereabouts.

Now, it's not that I still don't love blogging. Of course I do. I love the community, the form, all that. It's just... hmmm. I don't know what it is, actually.

So I ask all of y'all, many of whom I know have been blogging longer than I have, what have you done when the blahgs have gotten you?

Monday, August 20, 2007


I have to say that if this morning was a test run for back to school times, it's gonna be mighty ugly round these parts in a few weeks! Egad.

And now, to prevent a repeat tomorrow... I gotta book!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Another Friday... another late link!

Egad! I'm gonna have to start doing Poetry Friday's right after midnight, cuz of late when my Friday's start, they seem to run too fast. But I've been later.

Today, Kelly Fineman collected the Poetry Friday links. I got to meet AND hang out with Kelly (a fellow Cybils judge as well as fellow blogger and poet) at the recent SCBWI fest, so it's with extra enthusiasm that I get to shoo you all over to read her blog. Go on. Shoo. (But don't forget to come back!)

Thursday, August 16, 2007

The dessert challenge!

Terry Pierce offered up a great challenge in the comments on my post about picking a favorite dessert:

Greg, if you can't pick just one, then I think you haven't tasted them all. You need to make it your mission now, to find the ultimate, perfect, "this is THE one" dessert! Are you up for the task?

I am! It will be a lifelong task, but I think it's one I can dedicate myself to. So... who's gonna join me?

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

YA in the strangest of places...

I love it when the kids' book world pops up in unexpected places (as it did often on LOST, for example). But I have to admit that I got a chuckle when someone linked me to this reference:

Love Games

It's an article from Newsweek online about a study in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin all about relationships and how people fare in them. What's the YA hook? The author of the study used a variation on the Choose Your Own Adventure books (oddly enough, just yesterday mentioned over at Bookshelves of Doom)! Rockin'! Science imitating art imitating life, or something like it.

I'm gonna revisit dessert soon, but I choose my own blog post and went this way first....

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Dessert? Did you say dessert?

So, over at Tina's blog, she has an interview with Ralph Nader. No, they're not talking politics -- he's got a book out for kids (and families) on traditions. Anyway, one question in the interview was "what's your favorite dessert." This, of course, got me thinking about my own favorite.

I couldn't answer! How can anyone? Do any of you have ONE dessert that so trumps the others that you just blurt it out?

Yeah, I know, not exactly kidbook related, but let's face it... dessert really is more important!

Monday, August 13, 2007

And they're back!

I know I get a lot of school related traffic here at GottaBook, and I can actually see from my sitemeter that schools are starting up again as the summer winds down. There are many clues, of course, but I think a search term such as...

"Poem about chocolate cake where line 2 rhymes with line 4 and line 6 rhymes with line 8 for class tomorrow"

... isn't just idle summer rumination and curiosity. I do wonder, though, who really thinks that kicker of "for class tomorrow" actually helps on Google? Still, it did lead me to a "post for today" so for that I'm grateful. I, too, am dealing with some back to school prep as I dig back into library duties, including transporting lots of new donations (thanks blogging pals!!!!) into the library and out of my office. Will be nice to see my floor again....

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Boy, oh, boy...

I was already horribly behind in my surfing/reading, but the SCBWI Conference and aftermath/recovery made it even worse. Still, today I stole some time and realized that there's just waaaaaaaaay too much for me to even think of catching up on. And linking to it all? TOO MUCH.

Still, donning my library hat for a moment, I was quite happy to run into the First Picture Book Carnival hosted over at Mentor Texts and More. It's a great compendium of links to posts about picture books (duh!) and well worth checking out if you, like me, love them books.

Friday, August 10, 2007

On poetry (on Friday)

Another Poetry Friday is here! Seems like it comes every week.... Kelly is on roundup duty this week. Go there and check it out.

And just briefly on poetry... at the recent SCBWI Conference, I was lucky enough to hear a whole lot from the remarkable Lee Bennett Hopkins (as well as a whole range of other gifted poets whose talent leaves me kinda breathless). What I learned -- or re-learned, truly -- is that children's poetry remains incredibly vital and remains an area we all need to pay attention to, whether that means writing our best or making sure any children in our orbit get acquainted with the amazing work available for them or both. Poetry Friday is part of that, but hopefully it's only a part for all of us.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Well, huh. Now what?

Now that the big shindig is over... now what? I suppose I could get back to normalcy, such as it is, but that's always such a comedown.

Or I could make things last a big longer by linking you to some pictures of the Silver Moon bash at the Conference. Those pics are from Tina Nichols Coury's blog... and she happens to be the winner of the costume contest from the bash (dethroning the Disco Mermaids... though they, too, did themselves proud).

Oh, and I could give a wave to all the new friends and blog readers (and blog readees) I made. Hi, y'all!

There. I feel better. Reality postponed!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

The 2007 SCBWI Conference, part 4: Renoir gets Rejected!

OK, as promised (or threatened) yesterday, here's a final post about the Conference. On Sunday morning, bright and early, Laurent Linn (art director at Holt) and editor Mark McVeigh (now ensconced at Aladdin) had a panel on how editors and art directors work together. You might think that as a writer, there wasn't much I'd glean from a panel like that, but hear me out.

Early on, the two were talking about how they'd work on a picture book. They decided to examine artists to find someone they both thought would be right. And so they showed slides... of rather recognizable work. The short of the story is, as my headline said, they passed on Renoir! Yes, that's right. They both knew and admired his work, knew his credits, and knew his reputation... but both agreed he wasn't right for the book.

Aha! It's a perfect example of the fact that talent alone is never enough. Authors and artists both can be "rejected" if they aren't a good fit for a project or list, regardless of how good their work is. Add this to the fact that there's much subjectivity involved in any creative field, and you see how a rejection doesn't necessarily mean that your work is as bad as you think it is when you get a rejection OR that the editor/art director who rejected it is a fool. Sure, it could mean either of those -- and certainly with my own work I know I've fallen short from time to time -- but for me, there's something exceedingly heartening in seeing Renoir rejected.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

The 2007 SCBWI Conference, part 3

Sigh. The party...errr, I mean the Conference is over once again. Four exhausting days of sessions, lunches, speeches, and hanging out have passed. I do have one great takeaway thought that I'll write up tomorrow, but what I discovered today is that so many people have done a great job of blogging the Conference (go here to see some of 'em) that I'm not sure how much I can add. There was, as always, a lot of attention given to the fact that children's publishing is a business, pure and simple. You could view that as sad, cold, and negative, but it won't change the reality.

Besides, when you hear the personal stories of authors and artists and the enthusiasm of editors and art directors, it's kinda hard not to feel all warm and fuzzy again.

As usual, it was great to see so many old friends and to make so many new ones. As noted, my favorite "takeaway" comes tomorrow, but I'm also sure that much of what I heard this weekend will percolate inside me for some time now.

Monday, August 06, 2007

The 2007 SCBWI Conference, part 2

Zooooom! It's Monday morning already, meaning the Conference ends today. You can see my blogging of it has been sparse. Bringing the laptop woulda helped, but I made the decision this year NOT to do so. Getting home (as I commute) at a reasonable hour woulda helped, but there's just sooooo many people around to talk to that it's frankly just too much fun... so I don't get home.

Last night, for instance, I got to chat with Kelly Fineman -- who had been an online only pal til this weekend -- and catch up with Mac McCool AND randomly see Racquel Welch at dinner. Who could want more?

Details of the Conference? Oh. That'll have to wait, cuz I gotta drive there, uh, NOW!

Saturday, August 04, 2007

The 2007 SCBWI Conference, part 1

So, one day done, and as usual, it was a whirlwind of this and that as well as a bit of the other. Or put another way, I can honestly now say "Yes, I have heard a Mongolian throat singer while standing next to Walter Dean Myers."

Not having much time this morning before zipping back into action, I thought I'd mention how much fun it was to meet so many fellow bloggers last night. I didn't actually count how many folks came to FAKND@SSC but there were many, many, many. It's not clear to me if my perception is accurate, but I think LAPD had to send a helicopter over us to make sure we weren't having too much fun.

More on the Conference as time permits... but now I gotta book!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

My bags are packed. I'm ready to go....

OK, the truth is, I don't have to pack bags for the SCBWI Conference, as I'm a local. I do have a carpool buddy, paper, pens, snacks, and a coffee budget. I won't put those in prioritized order because they're all critical to the enjoyment of the weekend.

One challenge of the Conference is not overspending the book budget. You go in thinking "here's what I'm gonna buy" and then some author blows you away with a speech or session and you think "well, I must have them sign their book!" It's dangerous. But I plan to be brave this year.

Many to meet, many old friends to see, and perhaps even some blogging o' the event like last year. Only time will tell. If I don't see y'all til Monday night, you'll know why....

Wednesday, August 01, 2007


Nice to see so many folks coming to the FAKDN@SSC. If you know other bloggers who are coming, please spread the word!