Saturday, February 27, 2010

Two Great Blog Lists (and... Win Me!)

OK, fine... you can only win me doing a social media consultation, and you can only win if you enter before February is done. Still, why not head over to my giveaway at the Happy Accident and enter? It's freeeeee!

If you don't want to win a consultation, you should still head over there... because there's now a list of more than 60 recommended blogs with reasons why you might like 'em. Plus, there's nearly 60 bloggers doing the recommending, and they run some mighty good blogs, too. Let me tell you, there's GOOD stuff there.

I also want to direct you to another fabulous list of bloggers right here at GottaBook. Check those folks out! You'll be glad you did.

Friday, February 26, 2010

A Carnival. A Roundup. You'll Keep Busy.

If it's Friday, that means there's a Poetry Friday Roundup! This week's is hosted over at Check It Out (where Jone is once again hosting a postcard poetry project for April - you can get an original student composition mailed to you to celebrate National Poetry Month!).

Today also brings the new Carnival of Children's Literature, hosted at Sally Apokedak's Whispers of Dawn. As usual, it's chock full of good reading material.

Seems like enough for a Friday. If you run out of material to read, just let me know. I can find more!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

My First Ever Giveaway!

I've never had a giveaway or contest here on GottaBook or anywhere else on the web, for that matter. That's changing though... at least the second part of it.

Over at The Happy Accident, I'm giving away a social media consultation of the type I've been doing at conferences: you get homework which will tell me what you are doing in social media (if anything) and what you hope to accomplish. Then I read your homework, write up notes for you, and spend 30 minutes talking it all over with you. And yes, you're encouraged to ask questions!

These have proven popular and productive at conferences, so I'm now offering them outside of that environment, too. This one, however, is freeeeeeeeeeeee.

Click here to see how to enter to win ME (well, kinda :-)).

Monday, February 22, 2010

Blogoversary or Blogiversary? Either Way... Today is Mine!

I'm not sure why I've always spelled this (utterly made up) event Blogoversary. I'm not alone... there's support out there for that spelling, if you search the web. But then again, if you search "blogiversary" you see that that is what Neil Gaiman calls it, and he's had way more of them then I have.

But whichever it is, today is my fourth here at GottaBook, and I'm happy about that. Last month, I celebrated my 1,000th post and gotten an amazing list of wonderful bloggers (you'll be doing yourself a favor if you check them out!), so for now I think I'll keep this low-key. Unless I get an idea, of course. The great thing about having your blog is that... well... it's your blog! As the past four years have shown hereabouts, that means you can do anything you want whenever you want to. Cool.

Thanks to all of y'all for hanging out with me now, in the past, and, I hope, in the future.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Oddaptation Redux - Goodnight Moon

This was the first Oddaptation I wrote and the first I posted, too. Oddaptations are basically short, rhyming Cliff Notes with an edge... and of picture books. And yes, I get hits from Google from people looking for picture book notes all the time.

GOODNIGHT MOON -- Margaret Wise Brown
Oddaptation by Gregory K.

That great room is green.
That old lady’s spooky.
That half eaten bowlful of mush is quite ooky.
That Cow on the wall has leapt off of the ground,
And someone named Nobody’s walking around.
All over the room runs a squeaky, small mouse…
So I hope you sleep well in this creepy, weird house.

The Poetry Friday roundup is up at Irene Latham's Live. Love. Explore! I hope you'll go check it out.

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, February 18, 2010

The Percy reviews are in....

I spent the last couple days asking lots of kids what they thought of the Percy Jackson movie. In general, they liked it... but all of them who had read the book said "it's nothing like the book."

There were many reasons - missing characters and missing setpieces high among them - the biggest reason was, as one 2nd grader said simply "they took away all the character stuff."

Adapting a book like the Lightning Thief for film is incredibly hard. Clearly, there was a choice made to try to appeal to a bigger audience by aging up the characters, but that wasn't what bothered the kids I talked to (and based on first weekend grosses, seems to have been a good choice). Instead, it was taking away the emotional stories they connected to. And here again is a challenge of book to film - Rick Riordan could set up so much about the half-bloods and their camp with the luxury of time that a film doesn't have. From the kids I talked to, though, the happy medium wasn't found.

As for me... I preferred the book, too, but wasn't looking at my watch during the movie. And you?

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Writing Olympics

Why aren't there such a thing as the Writing Olympics? I mean, I can close my eyes and hear the commentators at the Poetry event...

"Oh, he nailed that double dactyl! In practice his rhythm was off, but he landed perfectly on his metrical feet tonight!"

The judges in the Free Verse arena would no doubt be a cause of controversy. Over in persuasive writing, no one would know what to think for long. And the winner in the Crime category would always be accused of having stolen victory from the jaws of defeat.

Feel free to leave other categories here or tell me where I can find the actual Writing Olympics. Cuz I'm in! I've been training for this my whole life....

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Cybils are Announced!

The 2009 Cybils winners have been posted!

As always, it's a great group of books. I was a member of the poetry committee that chose Joyce Sidman's Red Sings from Treetops: A Year in Colors (with illustrations that nabbed a Caldecott honor by Pamela Zagarenski). It's a knockout of a book.

Congatulations to all the winners, quite a few of whom I know this year. If the other categories were like Poetry, these were hard choices as there simply is sooooo much good stuff out there. So check out the short lists, too, if you're in need of books to read or recommend.

Friday, February 12, 2010

A Poetry Re-issue: Book Report on the Dictionary

Gregory K.

I found the plot missing,
The dialog weak.
I kept waiting and waiting for someone to speak.

The characters bored me.
In fact, there weren’t any!
The jokes were not funny, and there weren’t too many.

The book started slowly.
The middle lacked energy.
And what type of ending is “zymotic, zymurgy”?

The authors have talent
But need to refine it...
'Cause if there's a point here, they failed to define it.

Since I promised a little retrospective betwixt my 1,000th post and upcoming blogoversary, what better poem to reprint than the only one that ever led to angry, angry mail here at GottaBook? Yes, you see, the edition of the dictionary my correspondent had did NOT have those two words at the end, and, while they understood I had taken poetic license with the concept, it was totally pointless for me to make up fake words when I could use real ones. Oh, to have sent them this link! But I didn't :-)

The Poetry Friday roundup is over at my friend Lee Wind's I'm Here, I'm Queer. What the Hell Do I Read? (a fantastic blog and resource, by the way). Go off and find yourself a poetry post to love, I tell ya!

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, February 10, 2010

Pop-Up E-Books?

Today I did a show-aloud during library time, letting kids see Matthew Reinhart's Star Wars: A Pop-Up Guide to the Galaxy. Suffice to say that they liked it, even the ones who didn't care much about the ice planet of Hoth or which droid was R2D2 or not.

And then, as my mind is prone to do, I was thinking about convergence - in this case, how pop-ups and ebooks are going to mix. As it stands now, even with what I know of the iPad, the idea of buying this book in an electronic version is a non-starter.

Still, as 3-D technology advances, I wonder. Will computer algorithms based on folding be able to create even more dazzling books? Imagine being able to open a new "page" frame by frame so you could see the intricate folding that enables opening and closing of the book. Imagine not being constrained by the dimensions of your book? And imagine that no matter how many times you opened the book, you couldn't damage it so that it didn't fold smoothly?

Would it be the same experience as the awe we get from holding a great pop-up book and realizing that someone actually was able to do the work that enables the treat we're holding? Probably not. But could it be a wonderful, immersive experience that could lead to great storytelling potential? Yes, I can see that.

And you?

Monday, February 08, 2010

Books and Flicks

I know there must be some of you here who don't read Betsy Bird, aka Fuse #8's blog, so I want to shoo you all over there, as she has started to count down the Top 100 Chapter Books of All Time (at least based on her poll results). This promises to be a great series of posts.

And then... I just gotta ask... what are you all thinking about the upcoming Percy Jackson/Lightning Thief movie?

My first reaction when I saw the trailer was that those aren't 12 year olds. But beyond that, well, I know I'm gonna go see it. And y'all?

Friday, February 05, 2010

A Poetry Friday Guest: Barney Saltzberg!

Ooooh! I have a guest! And not just any guest, but Barney Saltzberg - a singing, songwriting, illustrating, picture book and poetry writing guest. The piece of a poem that follows is an excerpt from his book All Around the Seasons, coming out next week. Can anyone guess how many poems/seasons are in the book? Good - all of you who said four can stay late and help clean the erasers.

Barney Saltzberg

A carrot nosed friend
Appears in the yard;
Forever smiling
A snowman stands guard.

Flickering candles,
Reindeer and sleighs,
Twinkling lights-
Hooray, holidays!

Gliding on ice,
Bundled in fleece.
Silently snow falls;
Winter is peace.

(© 2010 by Barney Saltzberg)

If you've ever had the luck to see Barney Saltzberg perform or use one of his books as a read-aloud, I'd be willing to bet you've heard kids' laughter. Heck, in my library, kids started laughing when I showed them the title The Soccer Mom from Out of Space (then kept laughing all the way through).

All Around the Seasons (from Candlewick) is for the younger crowd and as the piece of Winter up above shows, it's not just about the laughs. Seasons is instead about that warm, happy, fun reading-in-the-lap time feeling, seems to me. And that is something we can always use.

Thanks for stopping by (both you and Barney)... and if you haven't already, why not head on over to the Poetry Friday roundup, happily hosted over at Great Kid Books? You'll get Langston Hughes and book reviews and poems and more, more, more.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

It's TIME.

And by that I mean TIME for Kids... because they're having a poetry contest.

Kids can send in a funny, rhyming poem for a chance to win an online class visit from the verrrrrrrry funny Kenn Nesbitt. They can also win his new book, The Tighty Whitey Spider, once it comes out in April. Oh yeah... and see their poems published on the TIME for Kids site, too.

March 15th is the deadline, a couple weeks before National Poetry Month begins. Good! Poetry should be written year round, after all.