Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Carnival of Children's Literature is Back!

After a brief hiatus, the Carnival of Children's Literature is back with the January, 2010 edition hosted at Jenny's Wonderland of Books.

The Carnival's always a fun time, another community event like Poetry Friday, but, ya know, not as purely poetic. Go on over and check it out. And have some cotton candy for me, would ya? Thanks!

Friday, January 29, 2010

A Poetry Re-issue: I Wrote the End

This is the first poem I posted here at GottaBook, within a week a starting the blog. Since I'm doing a bit of "retrospective" between my 1,000th post and my fourth blogoversary, I'm posting it again. It's the only poem I've ever changed for the blog, so this version changes two words to return it to the original form.

I Wrote the End
Gregory K.

I wrote the end of this short verse before I wrote the start.
I wrote the end because I knew the end by heart.
I wrote the ending first since that’s my favorite part.
I wrote the end of this short verse before I wrote the start.

Head on over and check out the Poetry Friday roundup at Anastasia Suen's Picture Book of the Day. As with every week, there's good stuff to be found!

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!

And to the 12 readers who were here the day I first posted this... thanks!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Thanks... and go check these people out!

I've been having a great time with my 1,000th post party. I hope you all head over and check out the comments at the party and get to know some of your fellow GottaBook readers (and join in the party, too, since it's still going on).

One of the amazing things to me about the web is the ability it has to bring people together. I continue to feel lucky to be part of the amazing collection of folks who talk about and care about children's literature and all the issues related to it.

The publishing business is changing incredibly rapidly (as are kids!), and it's great to know that the ride, while bumpy, is gonna be full of great company.

Party on!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

1,000 Posts, and I Want to Celebrate... with YOU

This is my 1,000th post here at GottaBook, a milestone which seems like a fine reason for a celebration. There have been a lot of highlights for me here, and between now and my fourth blogoversary on February 21st, I'll be talking about them, featuring some popular posts and most Googled posts and poems, sharing some news and who knows what else.

That'll be fun for me, and I hope for you all, but that's not the celebration I have in mind today. Nope. Today is about you.

Because the truth is, you're the reason I keep blogging. You're the reason it's fun. I know so many of you now from your comments here, from reading your blogs, from email exchanges, and even from meeting in person. A lot of you know each other, but it's always seemed unfair that so many of you DON'T know each other.

So I want to turn over the comments of this post to introductions. I want you all to say hello, link to your blog or website, and, if you want, give a one sentence "blurb" about you/your blog/whatever.

I'm not talking self-promotional spam, so don't worry about putting that link in. Just something like "Hi, I'm Greg Pincus and I blog about children's books and poetry at GottaBook." Heck, you don't have to say that much if you don't want. I just really want you to tell everyone who you are.

And then, I'd love it if each of you went to visit one, two, three or more new-to-you blogs you find here. I'm telling you, you'll like each other!

I'm serious here - you're a diverse group and you really should get to know each other.

Some of you will lurk, as you've always done. That's fine - this is a no pressure invite (though I'd like to meet ya!). A few of you might think I'm not talking to you - you don't come by all that often or you've never spoken up. Well, I trust your judgment, but personally I'd err on the side of joining in.

Thank you for being such a big part of the first 1,000 posts here. I look forward to hanging around with you going forward, too.

Now, I hope you'll help me celebrate and meet me in the comments. I'll be the guy passing the hors d'oeuvres....

Monday, January 25, 2010

Speak Up - On Covers and Lists

It's a simple question: Do white kids really avoid books with brown, black, or Asian faces on the cover? Mitali Perkins is taking a poll over at her blog, asking booksellers, librarians, and teachers to weigh in (anonymously) in an attempt to get some statistics.

This comes just after a second "white-washed" cover controversy in the children's book world (this time for Bloomsbury's Magic Under Glass after last year's Liar controversy). In both cases, the books were written by white authors and the cover image was of a white female... which didn't match the story inside. Is this about the bottom line only? And is there anything to show that books can't or don't cross over? Weigh in!

On a lighter note, Betsy Bird (aka Fuse8) is doing another list - this time, the Top 100 Children's Fictional Chapter Books. We're talking middle grade here, though you can read more specifically at her blog. Give her a list of 10 and then tune back in for the countdown. Her picture book poll rocked, and I'm sure this one will, too. So go on... vote!

Friday, January 22, 2010

It's Raining. It's Friday. And So...

It really is a bit pathetic: the rain has turned me unpoetic. Instead of getting inspiration, I'm blanked by the precipitation. I could, of course, emit a curse or wallow in unpleasant verse, but that's no fun, and so I think I'll share the Poetry Friday link:

It's time to get out of the rain (or whatever weather you're having) and head on over to Liz Garton Scanlon's Liz In Ink for the roundup of this week's Poetry Friday fun. How fun to have the author of a Caldecott honoree book (All the World, illustrated by Marla Frazee) hosting this week!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

"Ewwwwwww!" said the boys....

Today as a readaloud, I picked Judith Viorst's Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day cuz, like, everyone around here is getting rained on and denied recess and all that type of t.h.n.g.v.b.d. stuff.

The book came out 38 years ago, but each time I read "There was kissing on TV, and I hate kissing!" a few (or many) boys went "ewwwww!"

The whole book is like that really - close to perfection in 32 pages.

Some books are like that (even on a rainy day).

Monday, January 18, 2010

Award Season! (And Hooray for Chris Barton!)

Today is children's literature's big day, what with the ALA announcing the Newbery, Caldecott, Printz, and a slew of other awards. You can see the full list of winners and honorees here - some great books recognized this year.

While I'm thrilled for all the winners, I must give one special hat tip to Sibert Medal honor book author Chris Barton (who won for The Day-Glo Brothers).

I met Chris at my first SCBWI Conference and we've been cyberpals ever since. At the time, neither of us had a book out or a book deal. Now, he's an award winning author with other books in the pipeline. And Chris's blog is actually why I started blogging, so on some level, he led to my own book deal (with Arthur A. Levine who I also met at that same conference).

So congratulations, Chris. Here's to many more... even if your son F is over it, I'm not :-)

Friday, January 15, 2010

Getting Ready - a "firsts" poem/a first dance poem

The poetry stretch at The Miss Rumphius Effect this week was to write a poem about "firsts." Here's what I came up with, originally left as a comment there, now with an actual title and everything.

Getting Ready
Gregory K.

Hands shake.
Knees quake.
Smile too wide.
Tongue? Tied.
Teeth brushed.
Breathe rushed.
Mirror glance.
First dance.

The Poetry Friday roundup is over at Great Kid Books today. Why not check it out (and see a bit more about the five Cybils finalists while you're at it)?

If you want to get all my 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!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Children's poetry and humor

There's a great conversation about humor and children's poetry going on over at author/poet David L. Harrison's blog.

There are so many sub-currents in the conversation - why does humor get less respect, is light verse "lesser" somehow than "poetry" in general or just viewed that way, do kids respond to all kinds of poetry (and does presentation of it matter?), and much more.

I hope some of you will head on over and jump in or share your thoughts here if you'd rather!

Friday, January 08, 2010

The End of a Perfect Day in the Snow - a snow play poem/a winter poem

The End of a Perfect Day in the Snow
Gregory K.

Icy toes.
Bright red nose.
Got 10 fingers -
Can't feel those.
Frozen hair.
I don't care!
What? Hot chocolate?
Be right there!

Tricia has the Poetry Friday roundup this week over at The Miss Rumphius Effect. Go on over and get tons of poetry, including one hand-picked for January, National Puzzle Month(!!!).

And if you want to get all my 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!

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

A Guest Post and the Comment Challenge (and They Tie In!)

I'm pleased to send you over to Children's Writer's and Illustrator's Market editor Alice Pope's CWIM blog where I have a guest post up today. It's about finding your target audience online, with a particular bent for YA authors.

I also am excited about Mother Reader and Lee Wind launching the second (annual?!) Comment Challenge, to begin this Friday and running 21 days. If you click on either of their names in the last sentence, you'll see their posts explaining the challenge. The short gist is - LEAVE COMMENTS!

Some folks ask why comment? There are reasons given in both Lee and MR's posts, but I also wanted to note that my guest post at Alice's blog came about because she saw a comment of mine on another blog. Yup, not even her own. So now here I am featured at a high profile, well respected blog because I was out there participating in the conversations already going on. Not why I leave comments, but I'm just saying....

Monday, January 04, 2010

A Big Cheer for Jon Scieszka, the National Ambassador for Young People's Literature

Today marks the last day of Jon Scieszka's two year term as the first ever National Ambassador for Young People's Literature.

So far as I can tell, it was a banner two years - hundreds of school visits, tons of press, lots of talk about getting kids reading, and some mighty funny writing from the Ambassador, too.

I know about the funny writing first hand, actually, because even though he was busy with Ambassadorial duties (or maybe because he was), Jon Scieszka took the time to participate in my inaugural 30 Poets/30 Days festivities here at GottaBook. He stayed in touch with me (who he didn't know from Adam), worried about his deadline, and delivered a poem that made me do a spit-take.

In other words, as far as I'm concerned whoever takes over tomorrow has their work cut out for them.

Below is a re-issue of Jon Scieszka's poetic contribution, originally posted here. Over at A Year of Reading today, they're rounding up other posts celebrating the Ambassador. Please join in the celebration! And thank you, Ambassador Scieszka, for all you've done and will no doubt continue to do for children and children's literature.

            200 Typing Monkeys
                Almost Make It
Emily Dickinson and Jon Scieszka

I never saw a moor,
I never saw the sea;
Yet know I how the heather looks,
And what a wave must be.

I never spoke with God,
Nor visited in heaven;
Yet certain am I of the spot
As if the chart were a whole bunch of giant deliciously ripe bananas.

© 2009 National Simian Scribe Project. Some rights reversed.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Poetry time!

I was excited to see the five books on the poetry shortlist for the Cybils this year:

African Acrostics: A Word in Edgeways by Avis Harley
Red Sings from Treetops: A Year in Colors by Joyce Sidman
The Bill Martin Jr. Big Book of Poetry ed. by Bill Martin Jr. & Michael Sampson
The Monsterologist: A Memoir in Rhyme by Bobbie Katz
The Tree That Time Built: A Celebration of Nature, Science and Imagination, ed. by Mary Ann Hoberman and Linda Winston

As always, I look at the titles and first say "Wow. These are great!!!!" Then I put on my "judge" hat and start thinking about how to compare, contrast, enjoy, and discuss the books to end up with only one finalist. Always daunting. Always fun.

All the Cybils shortlists are up here, by the way. Lots of great titles, indeed.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Poetry Re-Issue: Resolutions

I realize that I posted this only a year ago, but today is both Poetry Friday AND New Year's Day! I couldn't help myself....

Gregory K.

Every year on New Year’s Day,
I grab myself a pen.
I write my resolutions down to look at now and then.

Two years ago, I’d written twelve.
I broke them all by June.
Last year I broke them faster still (the first of March at noon).

This isn’t great, I must admit,
But now I’ve got it solved.
And so, this year, on New Year’s Day, here’s what I have resolved:

Bug my dad, annoy my sis,
Distract my oldest brother.
Skip a chore, create a mess, and once ignore my mother,

Chew some gum, devour pie,
Eat burgers, fries, and cakes,
Teach my baby brother all the joys of chocolate shakes.

My resolutions could go on.
Instead, I’ll stop right here.
Just once I’d like to keep them all...
And this might be my year.

You can find the original poem post and comments right here.

Like last year, the first Poetry Friday roundup of the year is here over at A Year of Reading. Head on over and start 2010 with a heaping helping of poetry!

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!

Happy New Year!