28 October 2004

quotes o' the moment

Two quotes I came across while cleaning out old computer files today, both from Pete Seeger:

"Education is when you read the fine print. Experience is what you get if you don't."

"'Do-so' is more important than 'say-so.'"

27 October 2004

Last chance 'til 2007...

... for you to see a total lunar eclipse! Mr. Eclipse has a nice primer on lunar eclipses (along with some pretty pictures).

Go outside tonight around 8:14 (Central Time) to see the moon start to disappear. By 9:23 p.m., the eclipse should be total.

IF there aren't a gazillion clouds, that is.

Lots more Chicago specific info on the eclipse here.

(p.s. For the record, for those of my friends who live to mock me at the slightest provocation, I have loved lunar eclipses since my father woke us up in the middle of the night back in 1982 and told us a story about a dragon eating the moon. The fact that I love Science Boy is just coincidental. :-)

26 October 2004

Happy Birthday, Steven Kellogg!

Today is the birthday of the wonderful Steven Kellogg.

Not only has Mr. Kellogg created some of the most recognizable -- and well-loved -- art in picture books since 1967 but, maybe more importantly, he seems a genuinely Good Man with a big heart.

I was lucky enough to hear him speak a few years ago and I will never forget how passionately he spoke about children's picture books and the need to read with children. I *have*, apparently, forgotten the exact quote, but I remember him speaking about how a picture book forms a bridge between adult and child. Not just a figurative bridge, he said, but an actual, physical bridge -- as half the book rests on the adult lap, half on the child's -- that serves to strengthen the relationship. I thought that was one of the most true and lovely things I had ever heard. I still do.

One more anecdote. A few years back, I was lucky enough to work on an auction of old card catalogs. I contaced a number of children's authors, asking them to sign cards for their books. Steven Kellogg was one of the most gracious, illustrating all of the cards he signed. I wrote him a thank you note following the auction. Some time later, I was touched to receive a letter back from him, thanking me for all the work I do on behalf of children who visit libraries. That letter meant the world to me and remains one of my prize possessions.

So, God bless Steven Kellogg on his birthday and for many years to come!

25 October 2004

Damn! *That's* gotta hurt! (I hope)

Dunno why this surprised me so much, but my beloved New Yorker has broken tradition: "For the first time in its 80-year history, the venerable New Yorker magazine endorsed a presidential candidate, urging readers Monday to vote for Democrat John Kerry in next week's election.... "

About the current administration, it says: "Its record has been one of failure, arrogance, and -- strikingly for a team that prided itself on crisp professionalism -- incompetence...." The commentary portrayed a president living within "a self-created bubble of faith-based affirmation" -- unable to brook dissent and isolated from genuine debate.

Well, duh.

Read the rest of the Yahoo! article or the entire article at the New Yorker.


from CNN: In what the New York Post billed this week as "Sick kids vs. Disney in Peter Pan dust up," Great Ormond Street hospital for children in London is consulting lawyers over a book published by a Disney subsidiary in the United States.

Read the rest.

20 October 2004

Wish upon a shooting star

Okay, so I am not entirely sure that a meteor shower constitutes as shooting stars, but that's what they look like to me... (And checking the web, I find that that's pretty much *exactly* what they are... Woo-hoo!)

Tomorrow morning will be the best time to view the Orionids. According to About.com: "The best time to view the Orionid meteors is after midnight when Earth's rotation aligns our line of sight with the direction of Earth's motion around the Sun. Then we're heading directly into the stream of meteors. To find the Orionids, go outside and face South-southeast. The radiant, indicated by a red dot on the sky map, is near two of the sky's most familiar landmarks: the constellation Orion and Sirius, the brightest star in the sky. At midnight the radiant will be rising in the southeast, and by a.m. Orion will be high in the sky when you face due south."

Another site recommends: "Go outside before sunrise, around 5:30 a.m. is best, and look east. The brightest object in that direction is the planet Venus. It looks like a star going supernova. Above Venus lies Saturn, and below, near the horizon, is Jupiter. Every 10 minutes or so you'll see a meteor streak among these planets. The meteors are pieces of Halley's Comet."

Sadly, it has been pretty cloudy here lately, so I am not sure we will be able to see much, but I'd like to try. Science Boy and I had our first date meeting to see a meteor shower and, all romance aside, it was spectacular. If you've never seen one yet, it's well worth setting your alarm, packing a thermos of coffee, and trying to get out.

98th Birthday of Crockett Johnson

Today is the 98th anniversary of the birth of Crockett Johnson.

Johnson, who was born David Johnson Leisk, was the author and illustrator of many memorable books for children, most notably Harold and the Purple Crayon (and follow-up Harold sagas) and The Carrot Seed, his collaboration with wife Ruth Krauss.

Of The Carrot Seed, Maurice Sendak said: "that perfect picture book, The Carrot Seed (Harper), the granddaddy of all picture books in America, a small revolution of a book that permanently transformed the face of children's book publishing. The Carrot Seed, with not a word or a picture out of place, is dramatic, vivid, precise, concise in every detail. It springs fresh from the real world of children."

Children continue to love The Carrot Seed, Harold, and Crockett Johnson's other works, 59 years after his name first appeared on the cover of a children's book. What a wonderful legacy!

19 October 2004

quote o' the moment

I am looking through a gorgeous new book we just got, The Milestones Project: Celebrating Childhood Around the World and I am blown away by the glorious photography, as well as by the quotes from children. My favorite thus far?

"I don't have a best friend, all my friends are good."
-- Yoni, age 10, Guatemala

Word, Yoni!

The Milestones Project is pretty cool. They aim to create "a photographic tribute to our shared humanity. A million people dimishing hatred, one by one. Check out their website.

"Requiem for a Dreamer"

Editor’s note: What follows is a conversation between Kurt Vonnegut and out-of-print science fiction writer Kilgore Trout. It was to be their last. Trout committed suicide by drinking Drano at midnight on October 15 in Cohoes, New York, after a female psychic using tarot cards predicted that the environmental calamity George W. Bush would once again be elected president of the most powerful nation on the planet by a five-to-four decision of the Supreme Court, which included “100 per-cent of the black vote.”

Read the interview here.

"Writer's young heroes buck the system"

from USA Today (via Yahoo!): "A teen rebelling against his parents is as common in young adult literature as in real life. But critics predict readers will enthusiastically rally behind Luther T. Farrell, Newbery Award winner Christopher Paul Curtis' latest hero, in Bucking the Sarge."

I hope they do! I was lucky enough to get an advance copy of this book at BookExpo this year (and to have Mr. Curtis sign it at Printer's Row) and I loved it! It is written for an older audience than his earlier works, but has the same power and charm.

Read the rest.

Happy Birthday, Philip!

"We have to be all those difficult things like cheerful and kind and curious and patient, and we've got to study and think and work hard, all of us, in our different worlds, and then we'll build... The Republic of Heaven."
-- from The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman

Birthday wishes to Philip Pullman, author of the unbelievably amazing His Dark Materials books.

If you haven't yet read these books about Lyra and Will and the battle between Heaven and Hell, I recommend you get to a library post haste and check them out. Or, if you'd prefer, check out the wonderful (unabridged) audiobook versions. A full cast, including Pullman, do a perfect job of presenting the world(s) of the series. I have listened to them a few times now and the end of the last book never fails to find me sitting in the driveway weeping.

Thank you for these books, Mr. Pullman! I'm looking forward to seeing what else you have in store for your readers.

14 October 2004

So, what kind of gal *am* I?


Thanks to CatalogueAnnie for the link.

Need a reminder?

from McSweeney's:

"Want to get a phone call from one of your favorite writers? Vote.

If you attend college in a swing state, you are eligible to receive a phone call from an author on November 2 reminding you to vote."

For more info, read the rest.

Where are Joe and Frank when we need them most?

From McSweeney's comes a list of "Titles Of Hardy Boys Books In Which the Villian Could Have Turned Out To Be George W. Bush."

It's that time again

The National Book Foundation has announced the finalists for the National Book Awards. I haven't actually read any of the nominees for the Young People's Literature, but my library owns them all (woo-hoo! for us!) so I can start reading them soon...

The right hand knoweth not...

from an article on Ex Libris: Have you noticed an interesting dichotomy between our profession's theory and practice regarding recruitment? While our professional organizations and journals are working hard to recruit the next generation of librarians before we all retire en masse in the next ten years, library administrators and coworkers are treating newly minted young librarians badly -- as Rachel Singer Gordon says, "some of us might cynically think ALA's true campaign recruitment motto is "Recruit, Refuse, Ridicule."

I couldn't agree more. And it isn't just the brand spankin' new librarians who get shafted. In terms of pay, benefits, and general respect given, librarians have, in my experience anyway, often been given the short end of the stick. I know many directors who will fight like mad for a few extra dollars to buy more materials but will not fight to pay their staff fair wages. Of course, I believe that it is good to be committed to your community and to want to afford more materials. However, it is also important for us to demand the respect -- which can often be measured by pay -- that our professionalism and education deserves.

Okay, off the soapbox. Read the rest of the article.

13 October 2004

Woefully remiss

Wow. I have really been slacking off in the blogging department lately! Not even any October birthdays!


It's not that I'm not thinkin' of y'all; it's just been uber-busy. Almost every day, I have a point where I think, "I should blog that!"

But I don't.

In my defense, I've been working lots of hours and spending as many off hours as possible with Science Boy.

And, right now, even as I try to catch up with you, a salesman is here. I promise to try to get back on track.

In the meantime, wishing you all love and peace always...