Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Pile, pt. 2

You may recall my lament about The Pile (or if you don't recall it or want to click on it, just know that it's the ever-growing pile of "huh. I'd like to read this" books in my office). Well, I found a sort of solution.

It's now The Shelf instead of The Pile!!!!!

What? That's not progress? Sure it is... because now I have more floor space on which to start a new, smaller pile that I'm sure I can manage. Right? Thanks for your support....

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

More Fibbing you can do....

I know I've mentioned the fib review here before, but I thought at least some of you would be interested to know that they've decided to go up to three issues a year. That'd be all the more chance for YOU to get one of YOUR Fibs in there. Right? Right!

So, if you've got 'em, thing about sending 'em in to musepiepress (at aol dot com).

Monday, January 28, 2008

No one is making this stuff up....

No, indeed. That's because it's non-fiction Monday over at Anastasia Suen's Picture Book of the Day blog. Since I spend all my time making things up, it's not clear how often I'll participate other than by reading all about it. But had I not gone to check it out, I'd never have known about Nicola Davies' wonderfully titled What's Eating You? Parasites: The Inside Story.

If you need more than that... well, actually, you'll find it. Go on, now. Scoot.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Here comes the new class....

... same concept as the old class. In this case, I'm talking about the Class of 2k8, a collection of 25+ authors who have debut middle grade or young adult novels coming out this year.

Maybe you should head out and meet them? Yes. And guess what, to make it even more fun to do so... they're having a contest where you can win FREE BOOKS! See, now you have no reason not to click on over....

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Carnivals galore!

Melissa Wiley (author, blogger, mom, carnival founder, and coiner of "kidlitosphere") has put together a page linking all the Carnivals of Children's literature to date. Verrrrrry fun reading at those links for those in need of some verrrrry fun reading....

Friday, January 25, 2008

Keeping you busy....

Why not go check on the Poetry Friday roundup hosted at Mentor Texts?

Need more to do? Check out those blogs and links listed over on to the right of my blog. There's always something good just a click away....

And you can always Babble!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

When (writing) worlds collide....

It's not often that screenwriting mixes with my children's book writing (other than the commonality of WRITING!), but yesterday's email brought the two together. I receive the freebie Chidren's Writing Update from Write4Kids, and this issue had an article by Laura Backes called "Get Published by Going Hollywood." The basic premise of the article -- learn storytelling tricks and techniques by watching good movies -- makes tremendous sense to me. After all, good storytelling is good storytelling. But then, in the article here's what was said about some of the things to look for...
Opening scenes: How does the director draw you into the movie from the very beginning?


Introduction of characters: How and when does the audience meet the movie's protagonist? What did the director decide to initially reveal about this character that would influence the audience's first impression?

Hey now! Waaaaait a second here. Look, film is a collaborative medium, and a good director and good actors are critical to the success of any movie. In fact, without actors and directors (and many, many others) you have NO movie. But let's take a wee step back and remember that there's a WRITER involved here who spent a lot of time thinking about what gets revealed when and how the audience gets drawn in at the start and, well, pretty much everything. The assumption that it's the director... particularly in an article geared for writers... is kinda flummoxing to me. Certainly one would expect a good picture book author to write while thinking about making a good picture book. That's what screenwriters do, too -- craft a 'blueprint' for a work that's going to be more than just about the words.

But then as my wise friend Lee noted to me, lots of folks are in the dark about the whole movie making process. So let me go to the beginning -- somebody WROTE THAT. If you ever read Robert Towne's script of Chinatown, for example, you'll see how much care was given to every element of the story, the characterizations, the choices of what to reveal and when. Is the movie brilliantly directed and acted, making it even more compelling than the script alone because of what the other talents bring to it? Absolutely! But without the writer, no one's got anything to make better.

So, I agree that you can learn a lot from watching good movies. But when you're watching something in order to become a better writer, it sure seems to me that you might wanna think about the writing, too!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Dewey? No, we don't.

I know I've mentioned this before, but in my role as volunteer librarian, I've learned more Dewey than I'd ever anticipated. Still, up til now, our books are largely (like 60% mebbe?) un-labeled. We put on shelves by best guess, quite often, yet I'm painfully aware of the fact that there are waaaaaay more categories than we'd figure.

But now... next month, more specifically... it's possible we'll get things squared away at long last. I'll only be cautiously optimistic here, but it's nice to have something to look forward to (and something that won't be done by me!). Here's hoping...

Monday, January 21, 2008

Two for one...

Sure, I know it's not Friday, but poetry is for every day around these parts. Not only that, I get a two for one bonus: I get to send you to an interview with the faboo Lee Bennett Hopkins AND get to send you to the talented (AND nice!) Tina Nichols Coury's blog to read it. Can't beat that (unless somehow someone ended up with apple cobbler, too)....

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Carnival time again!

Yes, it's time for the January Carnival of Children's Literature hosted quite smashingly by Susan over at Wizards Wireless. Go on and check it out!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Poetically late!

I don't know what that means, exactly, other than I'm claiming "poet's rights" to being a flaky artist and getting around to things late. But, well, I'm late with a link to today's Poetry Friday roundup hosted over at the Farm School.

Now, for those of you who don't know Becky's blog, I highly, highly, highly recommend you click beyond the roundup and get a good taste of things over there. And I don't just say that cuz she was the first person to email me from my blog. Nope. I say that cuz it's mighty fine reading!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The pile....

Has anyone else noticed that the pile of books that lurks nearby (perhaps by your bed or desk or couch)... the pile of books you're gonna get to "soon"... the pile of books that have been raved about and recommended and you've somehow acquired... just keeps getting bigger and bigger?

I've decided to rent a place for the pile. What do you do????

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Categories. We need more categories!

There aren't nearly enough awards given out in the world of children's books to satisfy me. We need MORE. No, not more "best book" awards, since there are many lists. And I'm not just talking new and exciting and highly participatory awards like the Cybils. No, I'm talking things like...

Best Opening Line
Best Character Name
Best Hidden Gag in a Picture Book
Funniest Illustration
Best Joke

And on and on (and please feel free to leave categories in the comments)....

OK, sure... it's like the whole "Best Kiss" on the MTV Movie Awards thing -- it doesn't carry a lot of gravitas. And no, this stuff wouldn't replace the wonderful lists and awards that exist. But if I'm a kid and I see a book with a "best joke" award on it, I'm telling ya... I'm interested.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Hip, Hip....

Hooray for all the various award winners this morning (and there are lists all over the place, but I'll link you to Kids Lit where Tasha blogged 'em live from ALA with her reactions. After today, you should start at this post and move down... but again, you'll find lists galore).

I just want to tip my hat to Brian Selznick and The Invention Hugo Cabret for winning the Caldecott. I would think this is a bold choice by the committee, too, so maybe they deserve the hat-tipping. But regardless, it's nice to see something original (not to mention good!) being rewarded.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Awards and such...

Tomorrow (or today for some of you East Coasters) is a big day in children's literature, with the announcement of a bunch o' big awards like the Newbery and Caldecott. Check out the ALA wiki here for more info. And tonight was the Golden Globes... an odd Hollywoodish thang where this year, the ceremony was canceled because of the writers' strike. So let's just thank our lucky stars that there's no librarians' strike going on and we can still get our kidbook fix!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Blatant Self Poetry Friday

Wellll, someone in my life musta said it was okay to link to things that are blatantly self-promotional. Right? But look, it's one of my poems in the archive of the Poetry Foundation site! I mean that might happen to you every day, but not to me....

For the real Poetry Friday good times, however, go on over to The Book Mine Set and enjoy the whole round-up. You'll be glad ya did....

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

That's a lotta books!

It's no secret that I love picture books. OK, maybe it's a secret to YOU, but that's only cuz you haven't paid attention. But the truth is, I love reading 'em, and I love writing 'em... though I admit I find them the hardest thing to write. Ever.

Anyway, I read lots of picture books, too, but I've never undertaken a project quite like my friend Sara did. And what did she do? She read 1,000 picture books in 100 days. I kid you not. Check it out!

Now, she didn't do this just cuz she's nutty, of course. She did this to study the books and figure out what makes great picture book writing. A great idea, indeed. So... maybe I'll go a little slower, but I'm gonna read, read, read! OK, fine... and sometimes just look at Sara's list for good ideas.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Kidbook questions?

Why not go ask an expert?

Nice to see a fellow blogger recognized as such. Way to go, Jen! But beyond acknowledging Jen's success, I do hope you'll go on over to the PBS site linked up above and join in the conversation.

Monday, January 07, 2008

More Cybils!

The rest of the finalists for the Cybils have been announced. Boy, there were a lotta good books this year, seems like, including many I'd never run across. Did your fave get nominated? Go on and check it out and dive into the convo....

Friday, January 04, 2008

Friday and poetry, together again!

Here on the first Poetry Friday of 2008 (and go check out the roundup hosted over at A Year of Reading (where, I'd hope, they're all rested up to start a whole new year of reading), let me focus on some Fib action.

More specifically... the second edition of the fib review is up and available online! Poet/playwright/professor R. G. Rader is the editor (and mastermind) of the review, and a few GottaBook readers have ended up in those cyberpages. For you Fibbers out there, note that submissions can be sent in year-round. Because as we say around these parts, poetry isn't just for Fridays! (OK, fine... I don't think I've ever said that nor would anyone involved in Poetry Friday think that. But it sounded good!)

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Tip that hat....

A round of hat tipping for Jon Scieszka, today named the National Ambassador for Children's Literature. What a fab choice, as he's a fantastic speaker, author, and webmaster, too.

Fibbery will appear here tomorrow, but how often is there national kid-book related news about which to blog? Exactly. So, until then....

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

It's good to know

That here in 2008, days can disappear as quickly and fully as they did in 2007. Somewhere there's a huge stash of days, kinda like the missing socks from the dryer. I suspect that there'll be days from every year since time began, lost by some hunter/gatherer/writer who pursued an oddball idea or got lost in a book or in a cool pattern in the grass or whatever it might be.

Anyway, tomorrow will bring a bit o' Fibbery but this day has disappeared on me, so now I gotta book!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Starting the new year Cybils' style

So, to start 2008 off with a bang, the Cybils gang has announced some of this year's finalists. I'm excited because the Poetry category, for which I'm proud to be a judge, is one of the announced groups. Not only that, but it looks like the first set of judges have once again left us final judges with an amazing list. Check it out and disagree with me if you can.

The rest of the nominees will be announced on January 7th. I'm looking forward to seeing them as well... but not as much as I'm looking forward to some spirited conversation about the poetry books.