Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Me... on your phone!

Some of you folks know me... and if you know me, you know that I happen to like talking, particularly when it's something I'm passionate about. Ya know, like children's books or chocolate or reading aloud. Or... blogging!

Thanks to Alexis O'Neill, I had the chance to tell a wonderful group of SCBWI members my blogging story -- how I ended up in the New York Times and got a two-book deal... and how that's really only a fraction of what I love about blogging. At the Conference, I also met The Blog Squad and looooved what they had to say about blogging. And, voila -- now we're getting to talk together. And YOU can listen in.

Yep, we're doing a teleseminar on March 6th. You can get all the information and learn about registering by clicking right here. And yes, it costs m.o.n.e.y. Still, I happen to think it's gonna be full of a ton of tremendously useful info AND a lot of fun, too. I'm biased, I know, but I do think it'll be great.

So, I hope you'll join us. And if you're a SCBWI member and you're interested in signing up, please e-mail me about a discount.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Icons meet: Dylan and Seuss

This...is...astounding. And it's even children's literature related.

I'm in awe!

Dylan Hears a Who

And poetry is...

... what, exactly? It's not like I'm the first to ask that question, nor is it one I lose much sleep over. However, cuz of a poetry Friday post over on What Adrienne Thinks About That, I've been thinking a bit about it.

One of the interesting things about writing humor is that folks tend to quickly dismiss or lessen what you do, and I think that's often true in terms of what qualifies as "poetry" to different people. Sure, it's a sliding target no matter how you define it, but I tend to think humor gets the short end of the stick.

But the real reason this keeps popping up for me is that from time to time folks say that Fibs are not poetry. Now, I make no claim that my search Fibs are anything other than fun riffs on found material, though I think they fall into the Flarf category as well. But many Fibs written by me and strewn through the comments of The Fib and More Fibbery and elsewhere on the blog... well, they are definitely poetry. 20 syllables laid out in the proper form isn't enough, but trying to pinpoint a precise definition... be it based on Fibs or anything... well, maybe one of y'all has the answer, but surely not me.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Tagged! Five Reasons I Blog

The Blog Squad has tagged me with a "Five Reasons I Blog" meme. Now, I'm not a big taggee or tagger, but first off, I like the topic and second off, I like the Blog Squad-ers a whole bunch... so heck yeah! (I'd actually note that I like them so much, I'm working with them, something you'll hear more about here sooooooon)

Anyway, with no further ado...

Five Reasons I Blog

1) To be part of the utterly rocking kidlitosphere.

2) To make myself think and write (almost) every day.

3) To have a real reason to hang online and explore the power of the web.

4) It's possible that I have some geeky and obsessive tendencies that work nicely with blogging. This will require more study to be proven. Honest. Really.

5) Because blogging is an absolute blast.

And now, I tag... YOU! Yes the same "YOU" who was Time Magazine's person of the year. So come along and play.

A search Fib and other Fibbery

I'm not saying search Fibs are fine art at all. No, indeedy. That said, how could I resist the wonderful words and phrases that have brought folks to GottaBook this week (plus a rare, new, one syllable search on an obscure search engine)? I'd be nuts not to like 'em. Or something like that....

Scrotum blog
Scrotum synonyms
Great synonym absurdity!

I'd like to dedicate this search Fib to Susan Patron's The Higher Power of Lucky and the Newbery Committee: without you both, I'm sure this wouldn't exist.

Now, for some real Fibbing this Poetry Friday, why not head over to One Deep Breath and check out the great Fibs folks wrote over there? You'll find lotsa links to goodness, I tell ya. So go on... go check 'em out.

And hey... Liz has collected the Poetry Friday links right here. So go on, again, and check 'em out!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Hugo in the news

If any of you have seen Brian Selznick's remarkable Invention of Hugo Cabret, the news that it's gonna become a movie probably won't startle you. But I must say I'm thrilled to see that it's being sized up as a potential directing vehicle for Martin Scorsese (!!!). Check the news here or if you subscribe to Variety, well, you've seen it already as the top story today. Congrats to Brian, indeed. OK, sure, Hollywood is a world of "potential" deals and whatnot, but my money's riding on seeing Hugo on the big screen.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Do the blogoversary dance!

Fibs are on the house:
Today’s my Blogoversary!

Yes, one year ago today I penned my first blog entry, and what a year it’s been. I mean… Fibonacci poetry went viral. Hard to see that one coming when you read “Me? A librarian????”

Anyway, it’s been a blast spending the year with y’all… and there are so many of y’all… and I thank you once again for your support, camaraderie, Fibbishness, and friendship. More to come in year two, but it's late now, so I gotta book.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Scrotum, scrotum everywhere!

Dear goodness me. I figure if you're a reader of this blog, you're aware of the controversy about the appearance of the word "scrotum" on the first page in this year's Newbery Award winning book, Susan Patron's The Higher Power of Lucky. Everyone's yakking about it, from the New York Times to Fuse8 to Read Roger to... well, suffice to say I'm late. Go to AsIf! for lots o' meat on this.

But flash back with me to last summer, when I got to hear Susan Patron read from her then upcoming novel. She read to a group of writers, and we all got to hear the first ever reading of the first chapter of the book. Did we hear scrotum? Yes, of course. We talked about it, laughed about it. Felt badly for the poor dog bitten there. Yes, that's right... the scrotum belongs to a DOG, ya see. Now, look, it was definitely an ear-catching word, but beyond that... well, hardly seemed to be anything to be worried about.

And it still seems such a strange thing to me. Basically, a book for 9-12 year olds causes controversy for using a non-sexual word for a dog's anatomy. Yeah. It fits the book, fits the character, and at the end of the day... hey, we can hide from talking about anatomy or accept that kids can handle the truth.

Seems to me like a t-shirt is called for to raise money to support buying copies of Lucky. I propose the following slogans:

I Have a Scrotum
I Support Scrotums
Does My Scrotum Scare You?

Anyone feel free to use it, just put the money to a good cause....

It's a perfect day for a carnival...

And luckily, MotherReader has the 11th Carnival of Children's Literature!

Get on over there and start clicking links to some of the best the kidlitosphere has to offer. The Carnival is PACKED to the top o' the cyber Ferris Wheel this goround, so enjoy!

Monday, February 19, 2007

Generous Tonsils

Yes, that's what the doctor said to me. "You have generous tonsils." Of course, I already knew that, since they had given me many receipts for tax purposes, but I guess I'd never thought of pairing those two words up. Love the phrase.

Speaking of generous... I want to shoot you over to the blog of Tina Nichols Coury, someone who's spirit of generosity and support is wildly infectious. Not only that, but she's got a kick-butt topic for her soon-to-be-out first children's book. What is it, you ask? Suddenly my tonsils aren't feeling so generous, so get on over to her blog and find out.

Big week coming up here, but for now I gotta gargle.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Can you hear me now?

Well, no... no you can't. And why is that? My voice has gone AWOL! Yes, I realize that this is a fantasy that many who know me have had for a long, long time, but I think even they only mean "quiet for short periods" as opposed to croaking all day long. Still, those for whom this is sweet satisfaction, feel free to call....

But for the rest of ya, the news is that I can still type, so I'll direct you to my February Book Talk column over at the always-useful momready.com. Go hence and see what I talked about back when I could talk.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

The good, the bad turned good, and the good again

I'm not exactly sure how Kelly does it, but despite this being the week o' the Cybils, she also managed to post a great new issue of The Edge of the Forest. Reviews, interviews, links to great blog posts, and so much more. Check it out, indeed.

Elsewhere, Cynthia Leitich Smith is back on Cynsations. Blogger had a hiccup and she was locked out and posting elsewhere, and while I was reading her there, I totally failed to link because, I suppose, I'm lame as can be. But now she's baaaaack. Cynsations is an absolute must-read blog. It's an education as well as entertainment. (Hey, thanks to literaticat's comment below, you can check out a great interview with Cynthia at Not Your Mother's Book Club.)

Also, why not head over and welcome the multi-talented Terry Pierce to the blogosphere? Her new blog has made me laugh as well as sneeze (hey, I'm allergic to cats, okay?), and I'm sure she doesn't know that her Greatest, Goofiest Jokes is among the most popular books at my library. Though I guess she'll know as soon as she sees this.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Oddaptation: The Carrot Seed

It's been a bit since I posted an Oddaptation, so for those running into their first, I hope you'll check the related links over to the right on the blog (collected under "The Oddaptations"). Basically, though, if you think of Cliff Notes or Spark Notes of picture books... but with attitude and rhyme... you're on the right track. Now, I know what you're thinking (and by "you," I mean at least one of you out there): the Carrot Seed is simple, shy on words, and really a wonderful book. Exactly true, and that, of course, makes it a perfect candidate for Oddapting.

by Ruth Krauss
Oddaptation by Gregory K.

Doubting mother.
Bratty brother.
Dad says, "No, son.
You won't grow one."
I've got same woe:
My kin? Lame-o.
Know what we need?
Family tree seed.

(And hey, it's Poetry Friday... and Kelly has collected the links!)

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

And the Cybil goes to...

The award winners are posted. Go see the full list right here!

The prize for poetry went to Butterfly Eyes and Other Secrets of the Meadow by Joyce Sidman (with illustrations by Beth Krommes). The judging involved spirited debate, countless re-readings of the five nominees, and then lather, rinse, repeat. Great fun, and a highly recommended book. Of course, don't stop with one when there were five nominees, all of which you should read, don'tcha know? But today we celebrate the first ever Cybil winners. May there be many, many more.

Tip o' the cyber hat to Anne and Kelly for coming up with and then running these new awards. Lots of hard work by them (and countless others, too).

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

One reason why....

Writing, as ya'll know, can be a lonely, frustrating thing. But some of us just can't help but do it. And why? Well, there are a ton of reasons, of course, but one of the big ones is to end up with something that other folks actually get to see.

Over at the Disco Mermaids, Jay Asher has been talking about this (and I borrowed his debut novel's title Thirteen Reasons Why for my blog title because I just love stealing... errr... borrowing from him). And today he posted about another, pretty much unexpected cool thing that's happening with (or around) his book. Perhaps it's another "why" what with being able to bring your characters even further into the world than you can do in a book. Or maybe it's totally unrelated and just cool anyway. (Hey, it turns out that the Class of 2K7 is talking about "Why Do You Write" too.)

Anyway, it's way more high-tech than my talk of podcasts of book trailers, that's for sure. Interesting stuff indeed.

Tomorrow is Cybilriffic

Tomorrow the Cybils send out their Valentines to a slew of children's books, announcing their first-ever winners. Definitely a big day in the kidlitosphere.

I actually know one of the winners already, but no way can I be bribed. Nope. No way. I can prove it if you leave offers in the comments....

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Staying low tech...

One day, I plan to bell-and-whistle around here and add video and audio and photos and all that good stuff. I mean, really, I can read my poetry aloud and turn it into a podcast, and I think that'd be a hoot. Don't know great podcasts can be? Stay in the kidlitosphere and check out Just One More Book to understand. So yeah, one day I'll do that, but first I have vowed to catch up on all the blogs I've been missing, clean my desk (of course!), and spend a week solid just writing poetry and nothing else. After all that... podcasts, baby!

Speaking of blogs worth reading, why not zip along the through the kidlitosphere and say say "welcome" to new blogger, Greg Trine? Greg writes the super-fun Melvin Beederman books, and he posed a question in his first blog entry that I think will strike a chord with many (not me, of course. Nooooooooooo. Not me.): Does Rejection Cause Hair Loss?

Friday, February 09, 2007

Prunes -- a food poem

After a few weeks where I've missed Poetry Friday entirely (and here are this week's collected links, courtesy of poetry-writing/poetry-loving Elaine), I'm so happy to be blogging on the right day that I'm posting a poem that I hope will truly move you all....

Gregory K.

Eat a prune
And very soon
You will take
A bathroom break.

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

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

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

So the question is...

How are YOU celebrating MotherReader Week? MR is ending it by going to NYC for the kidlitosphere drink night. Color me wildly jealous.

While she's in NYC, I'm sure she'll get the pleasure of sitting down with the force behind Fuse#8 (and I'm confident about this as she's one of the organizers of the event MR is travelling to attend). And in the same spirit, y'all should go cyberly sit down with Fuse and wish her blog a very happy first birthday! May there be many more.

Hope everyone has a great time at the kidlit drink night, including all the folks in town for the SCBWI Conference in NYC. I'll be thinking of y'all....

Monday, February 05, 2007


OK, really, now... it's finally the time of year where I am going to go barrelling headlong into getting the school library where I am the volunteer librarian back to 100% functionality. Oh, sure... the classes come in every week, get books, hear stories, return books, have fun. And yes, the teachers take out books and so on. So it's high functioning... but we remain sooooo close to finalizing the best layout for our new space, spine-labelling the 30-40% of the collection that's not labelled, and then bringing out tons of books that have been waiting for me to organize and catalog (and, of course, read!). I've been getting new books on the shelf all year (in large part these new books come thanks to the generosity of my fellow bloggers!!!!), but we've had two large donations of books where I could only get some up and ready before having to store the rest until time became available.

But reinforcements are coming to help us hardy volunteers, and this spring should see everything, at long last, up to the level I'd really like. In the meantime... it still utterly rocks! But a guy's gotta dream, ya know?

Some of the recent library readalouds:

The Library -- Sarah Stewart; illus. David Small
Trout, Trout, Trout: a Fish Chant -- April Pulley Sayre; illus. Trip Park
The Sweetest Fig -- Chris Van Allsburg
The Zax -- Dr. Seuss
Starry Messenger -- Peter Sis
Yo! Yes? -- Chris Raschka

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Here a tidbit, there a tidbit....

It's a quick Sunday round up time...

Congrats go out to fellow SCBWI-Ventura Retreat-er Joyce Lee Wong for winning the 2007 Lee Bennett Hopkins Promising Poet award for her novel-in-verse Seeing Emily. I can say "Oh, sure, I knew her before the award" and no one needs know it was mere days before.

Also, how about a nice kidlitosphere welcome to Barbara Bietz -- who's now a-blogging right here. Check out her post on procrastination, as it sounded... I dunno... like a normal day. And check out her middle grade (soccer filled!) novel, Like a Maccabee, too.

Finally, meet a bunch of kidlit bloggers, including yours truly, in a great article by Liz B. that appears in School Library Journal this month. If you find the print edition, you even get to see my picture (something that makes my mom happy, anyway). Thanks, Liz!

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Back out of the loop

That was fast, that being in the loop thing I mentioned just a second ago. Since then I missed another Poetry Friday, making it two in a row... which is really bothering me. I think I'll track down Friday and ask it if it can occasionally reschedule itself to Thursday or Saturday. I mean it's just one day.

Though I may say I'm out of the loop, one thing that does keep popping up around here lately is the subject of book trailers. Big houses are paying for 'em, authors/illustrators are paying for their own and posting 'em on YouTube, and some have even gone viral. Some of the trailers out there really reach high, but I gotta say that some of the very simple ones are incredibly potent... perhaps even more so than the ones that reach but fall short for whatever reason.

There might still be a problem getting the right audience to watch the trailer, I suppose, but I betcha we see more and more and more of them moving forward. Are they effective? I've not really read any first hand accounts, but ya gotta figure they sure can't hurt.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Talking and thinking about...

Poetry! Picture Books! Graphic Novels!

As readers here may know, I'm one of the judges for the Cybils -- The Children and YA Bloggers Literary Awards. I'm one of five for the poetry category. What's been fun from the start with the Cybils is seeing folks talking about kidlit, saying why they'd nominate a book or seeing why the nominating committee picked their five for their short lists and reading profiles of folks behind the Cybils (including me!).

Anyway, why don't y'all toss your two cents in. We're nearing the announcement time (on Valentine's Day!), so why not jump in?

Join the convo here.

I'll look for you over there, but for not I gotta book.