Thursday, November 29, 2007

Yes, in fact, I was hiding that book

I have a confession -- sometimes I hide books at the library. No, not just any library... but where I'm the volunteer librarian. Ahhh, but it's not censorship I'm talking about. Nope. What am I hiding? Perfect read-alouds!

It started with The Secret Knowledge of Grownups, a book that was so popular I knew that if I left it on the shelf, it would never be in for more than a minute. The Dumb Bunnies became a second example. So now, whenever I think I've got another surefire hit, I hide it in my secret cabinet. The problem is, now I've got too many of these "rainy day" books and not enough rainy days! Ah well, they won't spoil....

Still, I'm often left to wonder if am I the only one who does this? Wouldn't be the first time I was a maverick, I guess... but regardless, I just can't help myself!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Fall Carnival!

Mother Reader has put up the latest Carnival of Children's Literature, and it's a jam-packed tip-fest, I tell ya. No idea what that means? Go check it out and read a whole slew of great posts and you'll see what I mean.

Monday, November 26, 2007

I tip. You tip.

Friday, I posted my tipping post in large part because of the upcoming Carnival of Children's Literature being hosted by Mother Reader. Guess what? There's still time for YOU to post and get in the Carnival fun.

Make your "tip post" and then either go to Mother Reader's blog and find her email to submit it OR use the Carnival site. It's easy. It's fun. And that's my tip o' the day.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

If it's true that you are what you eat...

... then I would like to offer up the following couplet after this lonnnnng Thanksgiving weekend:

A yam I am.
A yam I am.
I surely am a yam... I am!

Friday, November 23, 2007


Mother Reader is hosting the next Carnival of Children's Literature, and she was looking for posts with "tips" in 'em. You know... tips for writers, readers, librarians, publishers, etc. And I thought "huh, I never give tips and tricks and ideas like that on my blog." But over the past few weeks, I've had conversations with folks interested in blogging and interested in writing, as well as donning my librarian hat and pointing people towards books AND picking read-alouds AND.... Well, you get the idea.

Anyway, I sat down last night, overstuffed both in chair and in belly, and wondered if there were any tips I might be able to offer... any great words of wisdom. Well, no. But I did realize that there was a common thread to how I approach all of those choices, and I had no other post worthy of the Carnival. So I figured I'd throw my two cents out here on the blog and call it a tip. Then I fell asleep in a pie-induced coma. But today, I give it a try. And here it is:

_________ what you love. Yup. Simple, non-profound, but certainly true for me. Write what you love. Blog what you love. Read what you love. I even read-aloud what I love (or what I love most from a selection of many). Sure, you can change it to "what you're passionate about" or some variation on theme, but seriously, it works like that famous spoonful of sugar: to give one example, when I blog about what I love, the blahgs disappear.

Yeah, yeah, I know I'm ignoring practicality and what the world allows sometimes and all that stuff. Big deal! It still works, I tell ya.

And now it's off to another orgy of food where I will, in fact, follow my advice and only eat what I love. So I'll see you at the dessert table!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Some Fibbing for the holidays....

Well, actually, it's unrelated to the holidays other than by timing, but so what? Isn't that a better headline than "Greg points to Fibs on the web"? Thought so.

But regardless... lookie here -- it's an article about Fibs on the Poetry Foundation website!

A personal thrill for me is that two of my Fibs will enter the Poetry Foundation archive, and, as if that's not cool enough by itself, I will end up right next to Robert Pinsky. OK, sure, it's only an alphabetical twist of fate, but I'll take it. Gladly, in fact!

So one more time, here at Thanksgiving, I must again say thanks to all the bloggers, actuaries, writers, knitters, reporters, mathematicians, bird lovers, and everyone who helped Fibs spread last year... and right on into this year, too.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Gobble, gobble...

Seems too early in November for Thanksgiving week... and even more perspective-skewing is the fact that I've already roasted a turkey this month AND made turkey soup.

I get a lot of blog traffic this time of year due to my... uh... sweet, topical poem, but what fascinates me, as usual, is what folks are searching for online. I mean, truly, what drives someone to ask Google "what are we thankful for?" Particularly an odd question in a year in which the Red Sox won the pennant and Jay Asher's smashing debut came out, seems to me, but then again it's possible I'm biased.

Gobble, gobble!

Friday, November 16, 2007

If it's Friday, there must be poetry!

Well, there's poetry every day, of course, but it being Poetry Friday means that there's a bunch of collected links to many things poetic right here (thanks to Kelly).

I find Poetry Friday invigorating, even when I don't need vigoration. But inspired by today, I plan, for those tracking these things on some big wall chart somewhere, to have an original poem or two AND the return of Oddaptations in December. 'Tis the season after all!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

It's endless!

When I started as a volunteer librarian, I certainly never foresaw the tasks in front of me. OK, mainly what I never saw was just how long it would take to spine label books. Sure, that's probably because the mere thought of that had never crossed my mind....

Then again, I'd never have worked so hard to build the collection, either, if I'd been blessed with foresight on such problem areas. And I'm mighty glad I did. Where else, after all, can you read-aloud wordless picture books, poetry, non-fiction, and the Dumb Bunnies?

Exactly my point.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Any readaloud ideas for...

... books about strikes and unions? The writers' strike is a bigger local than national story, I'd imagine, but I thought this might be an opportunity to put together a list of good readalouds on the subject.

So far, it's short:

Click Clack Moo by Betsy Lewin
Kid Blink Beats the World by Don Brown (thanks to Chris B.)

What else y'all got for me?

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Joys of the 'Net (part 3,000,212)

OK, this is silly, I know, but humor me. Every now and then (hey, I said humor me!) I look at my sitemeter to see what's going on... where people are coming from to get here. It's how I learned that a lot of people think "The Spiderwick Chronicles" are called Spiderweb... or how I know that schools give out assignments on finding out all about Leonardo Fibonacci's family.

But this week, I have found myself knowing that there's a city on the East Coast (or more likely, a school or two in said city) in which there's a lice outbreak. How do I know? Cuz they're all coming to my lice poem, that's how!

So to those of you brought here by that (and some have, in fact, read beyond that louse-y verse), I must point you to the perfect give for the occasion: a Giant Microbe! Good times. Good times indeed....

Friday, November 09, 2007

Late. I'm late...

But not too late to be part of Poetry Friday by at least linking to the roundup (kindly hosted by cloudscome)!

Lots of good stuff posted, and it also got me back to some blogs I haven't had time to read lately. Boy, there is good stuff in the kidlitosphere. Go on out, you'll see what I mean....

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Yes, in fact, I am on strike.

A number of GottaBook readers have written asking if I'm on strike out here in Hollywood. Yes, I am. The Writers Guild of America, of which I've been a member since 1992, is currently striking, and I have walked the picket lines every day this week and will march as needed going forward. If I'm gonna blog about the strike regularly, I'll do it elsewhere, and I also won't try and dispel or comment on all the bad information floating around (though feel free to get in touch if you have questions I might be able to answer (and, of course, I might not be able to!)). All that said, the issues at play here simply cannot be ignored.

If you're a writer or illustrator or any sort of "content creator," you damn well better be paying attention and understand that this strike is about one thing -- writers asking to be paid fairly for what they do.

To simplify one of the core issues a bit (though not that much, come to think about it): imagine selling your manuscript/illustration then being told that the publisher will print one copy of it instead of the normal 10,000 copies. Ahh, but at the same time, they'll put your book/illustration online, sell ads that they place in it and/or charge people to download it. But since there's "no way to know if this internet thing will work," you'd be told that you'd be dooming the digital business to failure if you got any compensation. Yup -- you would get NO money for any of the digital stuff. And honestly? It gets worse from there...

Unlike in the children's book world, those of us lucky enough to write for movies and television have a collective bargaining agreement with the major "publishers." So, we do what unions do in times like this: we strike, refusing to accept a deal that destroys us going forward. No one on the lines wants to be there. We're all painfully aware of the impact on us and on everyone in the business. Some of us would rather continue hiding from the sun and fresh air! We'd all rather be writing than striking. But until that day comes when we have an acceptable deal... we're writers joined proudly with actors and others who understand that we have to take a stand, and we have to take it now.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Could it be...

... that I have an addiction? It's been too long since I got in to read at my library, and I'm actually cranky about it. Is this an addiction? And is it bad? And could it be more pronounced because the last read-aloud was Jules Feiffer's Bark George, and it was stupendous???

I need a fix! Egad....

Monday, November 05, 2007

Going around in circles...

Sometimes it's a metaphor and sometimes it's a pretty accurate description of your day. Both fit for me right about now. I figure if this keeps up, I'll end up dizzy....

Apropos of nothing else, I wanted to share the lyrics to a very happy sounding jingle of a radio ad out here in California. It's for Easy Life Furniture, I believe, and the happy chorus sings "The only way to buy furniture for less is to import it yourself... and you don't know how!" Every time I hear this, I laugh. Think that was their intent? Or for that matter... what the heck WAS their intent? Regardless, I like the effect....

Friday, November 02, 2007

Variations on a Fib

Some days it's easy to put something up here. A new comment recently appeared on the blog, on the post The Fib. A mysterious net user named Adie took the Fib from that post, and made a new Fib that's an anagram of the original. The level of complexity in that is beyond my feeble brain (or maybe it's more that I never woulda thought of doing it!). So, for Poetry Friday, I present my first posted Fib...

Spiraling mixture:
Math plus poetry yields the Fib.

And the anagram Fib (include the title...):


This first example.
Pure poetry began. I'll smile.

Thanks, Adie!