Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Links and more links, I tell ya.

The Eighth Carnival of Children's Literature is up at Michele's Scholar's Blog. Once again, there's great stuff to be found by clicking those links.

Also, why not journey over to this post at Journey Woman and enter a contest with, gasp, some prizes? Or just go read the post for fun, since the contest is about the best passages from children's literature, and there's some fine stuff posted.

And don't forget my post right below this one, asking "Why write for kids?" I've read some interesting replies in the comments and in my mail, but there's a lotta lurkers hereabouts I'd love to see speak up.

Plus "BOO!!!" and happy Halloween to you all.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Why write for kids?

For those of us who write for children, one question pops up all the time: why kids and not adults? Sometimes this is an internal question, sometimes it's meant as a thought-provoking question, and other times it's asked because the choice to write for kids seems inexplicible to the asker. I am asking here on the blog for another reason: at an upcoming SCBWI Schmooze I co-run, the question of "why write for children?" is part of the topic. I thought since many of you GottaBook visitors write (and illustrate) in the children's literature field, it would be interesting to hear from y'all. I hope you'll leave your reasons here in the comments, on your own blogs, or send them to me via e-mail. I'll compile the comments and links and use them as conversation starters and, I suspect, inspiration for many.

As for my reasons... I wish I had a pithy quote like Madeleine L'Engle who said, “You have to write whichever book it is that wants to be written. And then, if it’s going to be too difficult for grownups, you write it for children.” I share some of that sentiment: you have to write what you have to write. For me, it just so happens that what I "have to" write resonates with a set much younger than me because, I suspect, I still love exploring themes and topics that I explored (in books or simply from living) when I was a kid. That's what I'm drawn to writing about... so I do!

Yes, I happen to think writing for children is a noble calling, and in no way a lesser choice than writing for adults. In fact, I suspect it's a higher calling. But for me, that isn't a factor in what I write, merely a bonus. I consider myself lucky that I happen to have an audience at all... and even luckier that it happens to be largely kids. But the bottom line really is that I have stories to tell, and darn it, I'm gonna tell 'em.

Again, I hope you'll let me know your reasons.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Thankful -- A Thanksgiving Poem

Yet another Poetry Friday is here (with this great collection of links courtesy of Liz), and this week I offer up a a little ditty to join the world's collection of Thanksgiving poetry. I figure it's never too early to celebrate the season of eating, football, and giving thanks... GottaBook style.

Gregory K.

You ask me what I'm thankful for....
I hope I don't sound jerky,
But I'm really, truly thankful that I wasn't born a turkey!

(for your procrastinatory pleasure, links to this and other poems here on GottaBook are collected to the right under the headline "The Poems".)

If you want to get all my new poems (and only the poems) emailed to you for freeee as they hit the blog, enter your email address in the box below then click subscribe!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Class is now in session.

I've been remiss in welcoming the Class of 2K7 to the scene, so I want to rectify that before their year arrives. Who is the Class? Why it's a collection of 39 children's and YA authors who have their debut books coming out in 2007. Yowza! It's a huge amount of talent... including two longtime members of my own blogroll... and I betcha contained in their 39 books are gonna be some of THE hottest titles of next year.

Now, not only does the Class have a cool website, but they have a group blog! We non-classmembers get to ask questions there, too, so head on over and poke around and ask. Or ask around and poke. But just go.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Rhyme in the news... and it's good news

Here's a rather amazing story from Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert. About 18 months ago, he lost his voice due to something called Spasmodic Dysphonia -- from which there is no known cure. Yet per his recent blog post, he has regained his voice... in no small part due to a nursery rhyme!

Read the story to be reminded that the brain and the world are rather remarkable....

A new issue pops up...

No, not one I'm dealing with... I mean the new issue of The Edge of the Forest is up.

Go on: click me!

Read reviews and interviews and features and more, including information about The Cybils. (And hey, why haven't you nominated YOUR favorite children's book of 2006 for a Cybil yet? Many categories to choose from, ya know. No excuses.)

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Oh, sure. Like I need this NOW???

Yes, of course. Here I am trying to finish up a manuscript, when lo and behold...


And what's Wordy, you ask? A new game. Yes, a new online game that kinda combines my beloved Tetris with my equally beloved Boggle in a frighteningly addictive way. I'm not saying it's better than either of those two superstars of gameliness, of course, but is that ever really the point?

Don't. Click. That. Link.

You have been warned.

Monday, October 23, 2006


So, I'm home writing, when suddenly the doorbell rings. This is a rarity, and certainly a cause for celebration since it is an excuse... errrr... a reason to temporarily stop working! Better still, as I approach the front door, I can see a UPS truck idling on the street. It doesn't matter than I'm not expecting anything. In fact, that makes it better.

So guess what I got.... Anyone? No? I'll tell ya:


I immediately put on coffee, shared a few of the newfound treats with some rather special guests who were lurking as I was working, and went into a burst of creativity unparalleled in at least the last 17 hours, perhaps longer. But it's a nice sized box of chocolate, I must note, so I suspect this big work-week I've got scheduled is gonna go awfully well.

So remember, for those with a writer in your life, a surprise box of chocolates is exactly what they need. For the record, chocolate with peanut butter was ruled the victor over the caramel and pure chocolate. Keep that in mind, though individual tastes may vary (even if they're wrong).

Sunday, October 22, 2006


When creating a school library on no budget at all, you don't tend to think much about ancillaries like, oh, furniture. Still, when some generous blog reader one day says "gee, here's a gazillion dollars to fund your library so you can hire a librarian, actually BUY books, and furnish your room however you want," I'd potentially advocate for some Big Cozy Books. I kinda like the last set-up pictured here, personally, as I feel inspired to pick up that #2 pencil and fill in the rest of that story.

Anyone ever seen these in person? Curling up with and on a good book sure seems like a nice idea....

Friday, October 20, 2006

Dunk! -- a basketball poem

A Poetry Friday entry (see collected links over at Chicken Spaghetti) combining a few of my favorite things: sports and Fibs. One of my favorite possessions to this day is my trophy for "most improved player" from a basketball camp I attended in my weeeee youth. If you'd seen the baseline from which I started (and I'm not talking a baseline on the court, but rather my talent level), you'd understand that I had a big advantage when it came to getting a "most improved" trophy. Still, this poem is one that's clearly inspired by my own feelings at the time....

Gregory K.

I'm scoring.
Crowd keeps on roaring.
In my dreams I'm unstoppable.

(for your procrastinatory pleasure, links to this and other poems here on GottaBook are collected to the right under the headline "The Poems".)

If you want to get every poem (and only the poems) I post here emailed to you for freeee as it hits the blog, enter your email address in the box below then click subscribe!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

And the award goes to...

Well, no one knows yet. But the kidlit blogger awards I mentioned a couple posts ago now have a name: The Cybils.

And more than that, it's got its own website where YOU can go and nominate books. Yes, you. GO HERE!

I think you should all suggest books, particularly in the poetry category. Really. I do. And I'm not just saying that because Poetry Friday is fast upon us. Oh, heck, you should nominate in every category. Go Cybil, I tell ya!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

I've got blisters on me fingers!

Between 14 Fabulous Fibs and a variety of other stuff (all far, far less important, I quickly note, in case any editor types are lurking), I've been typing at my computer an alarming number of hours a day. Now, I don't really have blisters (and I've got me a whoppingly great ergonomic keyboard to make sure I don't have any such hand issues), but I have been starting to wonder why we writers don't have trainers like sports teams do to help keep us finely tuned during these big workload times. How wonderful it would be to have someone massaging my arms as I finish a paragraph or exhorting me on with a "let me re-adjust your sacrum so you can finish up that comic set-piece!"

For those of you looking for gift ideas for the writer in your life (and of course, since you're here, you must admit that I am a writer in your life if not THE writer), you could do worse than the above. But for most of us, chocolate and/or coffee will be just as good.

In fact... it's time to caffeinate, so I gotta book.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

You. Yes, you.

Sometimes I wish I could pull aside GottaBook visitors and give them answers to the questions that got them here ("no, Fibonacci did NOT have 13 children.") ... or ask them questions myself. And I must say that one question I want to ask the most is "why do you need Cliff Notes for a picture book?"

Yes, almost every day "Cliff Notes xxxxxx" is a search term that gets folks here, and that xxxxxx is truly a variable, representing pretty much any well known picture book around. So who's searching? Are these college students in a children's literature class? Teachers trying to learn how they might teach a random picture book they don't know well? Parents forced to answer questions from children and remembering back to their high school days?

But, of course, the only way I can ask is by posting the question in general right here. So, uh, anyone?

Monday, October 16, 2006

awards, kidlitosphere style?

Today there's news from the kidlitosphere, and those of you who read blogs beyond GottaBook (and I suspect that's all of ya except distant relatives), might've already seen. But still, it's such a cool thang, that I just want to give a shout-out anyway.

Big A little a has the details about a new set of kidlit awards, run by kidlit bloggers.

Once you've read that, why not head over to BookBuds and join in the process of naming the awards?

Now that you've done your reading, you'll also see there's ways to participate in the awards process. Cool. I hope y'all join in.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Catching up

Well, catching up is a bit optimistic. How about "here's a few things I've missed yakking about this week cuz I was busy but now I have a few Sunday-morning-moments to type 'em up."? Yes, that's more like it.

My Halloween-themed Book Talk is up at MomReady.com.

BookBuds is back blogging bigtime and is celebrating the re-launch with a contest! I hesitate to send you this way since I'd like to win since the prize is a book that I'd really like our school library to have... but is way beyond our budget. But go ahead anyway and try and take a book out of the hands of a bunch of wonderful elementary school kids.

Here's another book-prized contest (and nice new blog) to check out, but know that you only have til midnight CST tonight for the contest. The blog will remain long after midnight, I hope.

And then finally, the joy didn't stop at the DiscoMermaids when Jay announced his book deal. I think, in fact, the joy began. Go on over there and read this series of posts with pictures to see what happiness, sharing, friendship, family, dreams coming true, and love are all about: one two three four.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Halloween -- a Halloween poem/Halloween poetry

For Poetry Friday the 13th in October (links collected here by Liz) this seemed rather appropriate somehow....

Gregory K.

Be prepared
To be scared.
Ghosts and ghouls are haunting.

Mummies moan.
Specters groan.
You know it’s you they’re wanting.

Wolfmen howl.
Goblins yowl.
A shadow hides a grave.

Streetlights flicker
Heart beats quicker.
It’s so hard being brave.

Flashing lightning,
Far too frightening.
You know you want to flee.

But don’t run.
Just have fun.
And bring candy home for me.

(for your procrastinatory pleasure, links to this and other poems here on GottaBook are collected to the right under the headline "The Poems".)

If you want to get all my new poems (and only the poems) emailed to you for freeee as they hit the blog, enter your email address in the box below then click subscribe!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Oddaptation: Where the Wild Things Are

Yes, it's Oddaptation time again here at GottaBook. For those new to Oddapting, if you follow that handy link back in the prior sentence OR look to the right hand side of the blog under The Oddaptations, you'll get up to speed right quick. But if you think "attitudinal, oft rhyming Cliff Notes of picture books," you'd be on the right track.

Today's Oddaptation choice is actually my currently most requested title... but NEVER in public comments, only by e-mail. Why is that, I wonder? Dunno, but Halloween time seems like as good a time as any to toss this one out into the light of day, so here all ye requesters go. As always, if other titles pop into your mind for Oddaptations, be sure to let me know... in comments or by e, natch.

by Maurice Sendak
Oddaptation by Gregory K.

Another family meal is missed:
Max is angry. Max is pissed.
And rumpus beasts? They don’t exist…
My word, Max needs a therapist!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

This and that, poetically

I actually took a wee bit of time off from all other projects the other night to simply sit and write poetry. It was great, and I came up with... NOTHING of note! But that wasn't really the point. It was time to clear the brain and do something just for moi. Still, I admit I had hoped to come up with dozens of new poems to put on the blog. Instead of that, though, I think tomorrow I'll toss up what is now the most-requested-title-to-be-Oddapted (MRTTBO as it's called around here), and then find something seasonal for Poetry Friday to keep up with my poetry jonesing.

And if you're feeling the poetry thang, why not head over to the Blue Rose Girls for two (ONE and TWO) posts on children's poetry? Interesting reading. So go there and share your thoughts... or just go on out get some kids a'reading poetry.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Yes! Yes!!!! YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Won't you head over to the Disco Mermaids so you can wish Mermaid Jay (a Hot Man of children's literature) a big, fat, sloppy, mega-huge CONGRATULATIONS? Why, you ask?

JAY'S GOT A BOOK DEAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (okay... a TWO book deal)

I am sooooooo thrilled for Jay. He's incredibly talented, of course, but beyond that, in every single way I can come up with, he's totally deserving of this. And I'm not just saying that because his legs truly shine in fishnets.

So get outta here. Go cheer for Jay, already. But save a little energy, because I'm sure Eve and Robin, also incredibly talented, funny, nice, and with legs that shine in fishnets, won't be far behind.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Playoff mentality

Let me just say front and center that I love post-season baseball. Sure, I've got my favorite teams, but I love the sport enough that I will watch just about anyone play ball this time of year. Detroit and San Diego in the Series? No problem!

This year, however, as I work on the 14 Fabulous Fibs, I'm adopting a playoff mentality of my own... and using the march to the World Series as my own personal timeline. I'm hoping to avoid any Game Seven, down to the last pitch scenarios but I'm ready if it comes up. I'm trying really hard to avoid injury, as at this time of year the roster is set and there's no substitutions. And most of all, I'm trying to elevate my game since that's what it takes to win this time of year.

Well, in my case, additional coffee helps a lot, too.

Now I gotta book and get back to my own field of glory (which looks surprisingly like a messy desk with a computer on it. But hey, a guy can dream!)

Friday, October 06, 2006

A new search Fib

It's been awhile since I tossed up a search Fib, but I think this one is worthy of a Poetry Friday appearance, even if it's only cuz the last two lines make me laugh individually. What that last person was thinking, I dunno. And I added the exclamation point... but wouldn't you?

Why Fib?
Fibs create
Pop-Tart Addiction!
(Fibbery leads to strange fiction.)

Thursday, October 05, 2006

And what, you ask, did we read this week?

OK, no one is asking that. But for the record, and since some of you had been nice enough to post suggestions (thanks, Alvina!) or email them, the first week readalouds at the library included Jarrett J. Krosoczka, Chris Van Dusen, various and sundry poets... and then a few classes that had to be rescheduled so a big pile of books that'll just have to wait.

And speaking of books (and of waiting, come to think of it), why not pop over to MotherReader and read her funny, multi-part "saga" from her trip to the National Book Festival in DC? It starts here and continues on, unsurprisingly given the source, to include things Mo-ish.

And speaking of sleeping... I gotta book!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Talking SCBWI

Over at the always entertaining Fuse #8, there's an interesting discussion going on about SCBWI. Now, the conversation, in my opinion, started from a reallllllly bad place (as I explain somewhere in the comments of the post), but people picked up the ball and ran well with it.

There's interesting discussion within the comments about how SCBWI can serve its more published members vs. the newer members, though I find that there's an odd line somehow drawn about what is and isn't useful to someone... but that line falls in a different place for every different someone. I think that's a big conundrum. On a basic level like that, a seminar on marketing is different for someone on their fifth novel vs. someone who writes for the magazine market vs. an illustrator who has done two picture books for hire vs. a non-fiction series author vs.... It's easy to say the organziation should do more (and you'll see that the heads of SCBWI weigh in agreeing with that), but coming up with specific ways that please folks is far harder. Good convo, and maybe someone will have the perfect solution.

Finally on that conversation, I believe folks underestimate the potential (not to mention fun!) of meeting other likeminded people and all the possible good that can come from that... in many obvious and many not-so-obvious ways. On the personal side, the people I've met and become friends/acquaintances with are well worth any money SCBWI membership and conferences have cost me. On the professional side, the benefit is off the charts and not even measurable. I could be overblowing the importance of this people stuff, of course. I doubt it, much as I doubted folks who said "boy, you're wasting your time blogging." But I might be... and since it's totally unquantifiable, this too boils down to a matter of expectations and opinion. Same as it ever was.

Anyway, join in the convo over there, over here, or anywhere else, for that matter!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

It is better to curse a candle...

I dunno. I didn't feel that "spirit of writing" any more than I did before lighting the so-called magick candle. I'm feeling like I wish I had my $3.50 back.

But on a happier front, tomorrow I get my first shift back as volunteer librarian to the stars (where the stars are the kids, of course). It's kinda embarrassing how much I'm looking forward to it. Of course, I am well aware how much writing inspiration I'll gain after a whomping-good readaloud. Yup, way better than any stinky, purple, faux-grapish, unmagical candle.

Though it sure woulda been swell if it had worked.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Breaking out the good stuff...

Have you ever felt like you needed a little extra boost in your writing? I am at that point, so I've pulled out the heavy ammo -- a candle purchased years and years ago in New Orleans full of magick dedicated to "The Spirit of Writing". How can something like that fail me? I know. I know. It can't. I'm emailing my editor RIGHT NOW! THIS IS IN THE BAG!

Then again, that same trip I returned with a potion called "Other Lawyer Be Stupid" which I gave to my then entertainment attorney. I can safely say that my subsequent deal looked enough like my prior one to make me doubt the efficacy of said magic. Though later in his career, he made a truly remarkable deal, so perhaps he had just saved it til then? Hmmm.

Regardless, I'm sure this purple, dusty bit o' magick will do the trick, so I plan to pull an allnighter. If not, well, I can already tell you that it's a lovely grapish smell, and that's not so bad either. Now outta my way... it's time to write!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

262,800 minutes

How do you measure a half year of Fibs? In blog posts? In comments? In midnights? In cups of coffee?

Faint attempts at ripping off Rent aside, I actually did spend some time today thinking about all that's transpired since I blogged about The Fib on April 1. And in short, even though I can't measure the half year, I can say it's been a combination of wonderful, astonishing, totally humbling, and pretty damn awesome... and so often in unexpected ways.

The most surprising and happy ways definitely have come about due to many of you who are reading this right now. Yes, I'm talking about relationships forged in cyberspace, built through links and blogs and emails, zigging and zagging cross-country and sometimes over oceans and through language barriers. So many of you have helped spread Fibbishness, and I appreciate that, but I'm just as grateful about how many of you have stuck around and brightened the blogging days around these parts.

And so here at the half-Fib-year mark, once again I want to thank you all for your support, friendship, links, jokes, comments, ideas... you name it.

Now it's late, and I gotta book, but I'm already looking forward to seeing where we all are another six months hence. And tomorrow, I'll start measuring... with cup of coffee number one!