29 September 2005

I [Heart] Chris Crutcher

From a commentary in the Book Standard: "Our schools are filled with kids who have been treated badly all their lives. They don’t tell anyone, because there is shame in being treated badly. Many—girls and boys—have been sexually mistreated. Still others struggle in fear with sexual identity. They respond with eating disorders, cutting, suicidal thought or action. I can’t tell you how many letters I’ve received from kids who found a friend in one of my books, a character who speaks to them. And if I get those letters, think of the letters Walter Dean Myers, or Lois Lowry, or Judy Blume get, thanking us for letting them know, through literature, that they are not alone.

In light of all that, there’s really only one thing to say to the censors. Shut up."

Read the whole thing. Also, be sure to visit Crutcher's web site for many true stories of how his amazing books continue to be challenged across this allegedly free country. He also provides a nifty Banned Books Week press kit.

Beatrix Potter film

From the BBC: "Actress Renee Zellweger is to play Beatrix Potter in a film about the author's life, according to reports... Filming on Miss Potter will begin in the UK next March with Babe director Chris Noonan at the helm." Read the rest.

27 September 2005

Children's Bookshelf

Publishers Weekly has a new (free!) weekly newsletter dedicated to "all aspects of children's and YA publishing." You can check it out (and sign up for it) here.

Sad news

From BBC News: "Award-winning author Helen Cresswell has died at the age of 71. The writer died at her home in Eakring, in Nottinghamshire, on Monday night. She had been suffering from cancer for some time."

Read the rest.

How *not* to make a living from Children's books

From the Sidney Morning Herald: "Sixteen people have been arrested after police broke a drug smuggling operation using children's books." Read the rest.

22 September 2005

Happy Birthday and Woo-hoo!

From BBC News: "The original manuscript of what became Alice in Wonderland has been put online by the British Library using software to virtually turn the pages." Read the rest. Now, check out the awesome awesomeness of the book.

Also, today is the 15th birthday of The Boy. I am so proud of the man he is growing into, and so pleased with all the memories we've made over the years. I remember hanging out with him and reading him Chekov stories when he was just 3 and 4 years old, his love of Lewis Carroll, the first "grown-up" book we read aloud (Farenheit 451), hanging out at the art institute (and always looking for "new" Paul Klee works), discussing politics and our mutual disdain of the current adminstration, and more.

Happy Birthday, Boojum!

21 September 2005

Poem o' the day

And, from the amazing Lawrence Ferlinghetti, a poem:

Speak Out

And a vast paranoia sweeps across the land
And America turns the attack on its Twin Towers
Into the beginning of the Third World War
The war with the Third World

And the terrorists in Washington
Are shipping out the young men
To the killing fields again

And no one speaks

And they are rousting out
All the ones with turbans
And they are flushing out
All the strange immigrants

And they are shipping all the young men
To the killing fields again

And no one speaks

And when they come to round up
All the great writers and poets and painters
The National Endowment of the Arts of Complacency
Will not speak

While all the young men
Will be killing all the young men
In the killing fields again

So now is the time for you to speak
All you lovers of liberty
All you lovers of the pursuit of happiness
All you lovers and sleepers
Deep in your private dream
Now is the time for you to speak
O silent majority
Before they come for you!

Congratulations, gentlemen!

Two of my favorite authors, Norman Mailer and Lawrence Ferlinghetti, are being recognized at the National Book Awards this fall.

"Mailer, 82, is to receive the foundation's medal 'for distinguished contribution to American letters,' while Ferlinghetti will be given a new prize, the Literarian Award for 'outstanding service to the American literary community.'" Read the whole article.

The Gospel According to the Son by Mailer remains one of my favorite books of all time. As for Ferlinghetti, it is difficult to chose just one book or one poem that means the most. I truly love his work. I will, however, say that one of my prize possessions is a postcard I received from him after sending him a letter a few years back. In fact, I made a teeny photocopy of it so I could carry it in my wallet!

Oh! And Why Are We At War? by Mailer, too. And Ferlinghetti's What is Poetry?. And his Pictures of the Gone World, which I have given many copies of as gifts.

Sigh. Seems like such happy news for a dreary morning!

19 September 2005


Avast and ahoy, me hearties! I'll be wishin' ye a happy Talk Like a Pirate Day!

(Scurvy dogs!)

HP4 Trailer

I have still never seen any of the Harry Potter films, but I thought some of you might be interested to know that the trailer for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is available here.


"When Christopher Paolini walks on the high school stage for his book signing appearance, wearing jeans and carrying a black backpack, he could be mistaken for a student. But he gets a rock star reception from his fans, with wild cheers and flashing cameras."

I have to confess that I have not his books, but it's always way cool to hear that an author is capturing kids' imaginations and even cooler when he started writing when he was a kid himself. It seems to make him more "real" to kids, to help them realize that books are written by *people* and that, if they have the desire, they might be able to do this, too.

Read the rest of the profile of 21-year-old author, Christopher Paolini, on Yahoo today.

15 September 2005

Hope they kept the reciept...

According to a Chicago Tribune headline, "State seeks refund on Lincoln Library." The story begins, "The Blagojevich administration is set for a showdown with key contractors on the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, as the state seeks to recover up to $15 million for cost overruns." Read the rest.

12 September 2005

Arizona Families Happily Caught in Spider’s Web

"Michael Stadther, Author of A Treasure’s Trove, Announces that the Most Valuable Token –The Spider –Has Been Found in West Virginia." Two families in Arizona have worked together to find the 11th of 12 tokens (redeemable for jewels) available through clues in A Treasure's Trove.

08 September 2005

I didn't realize these were interchangable...

...but I'd rather be a librarian, if it's all the same to you, thank you very much.

( What am I talking about? Well, Extreme Makeover's casting page includes, in its list of eligible applicants, "2. CANCER SURVIVOR or LIBRARIAN - Candidates must be U.S. citizens between the ages of 21 and 40 and be in good physical health. " Sheesh!)

It's official!

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen is the Fall 2005 selection for One Book, One Chicago. There are lots of copies of the books -- in a number of languages -- as well as resource guides at every branch of the Chicago Public Library. Join us!

My first meme

Clare of Semi-Evil Squirrel fame sent me a meme, so I guess I am supposed to respond here? (I've never done one of these before and am not even entirely sure I know exactly what a meme *is*.)

Well, here goes:

1. How many books do I own?
I have *no* idea. Science Boy helped me get rid of a massive amount of books when I finally finished moving, but I still have 5-1/2 bookcases full. One entire case is children's books, and we all know that a shelf of skinny picture books is equal to the same number of three shelves of adult books! I guess the answer is lots and lots.

2. Last Book(s) I Bought:
Our Bodies, Ourselves: a New Edition for a New Era (2005) and In Search of Grace : A Journey Across America's Landscape of Faith by Kristin Hahn.

3. Last Book I Read:
I just finished Bait and Switch the (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream by Barbara Ehrenreich. Yesterday, I read The Old African by Julius Lester and this morning I began Bang! by Sharon Flake.

4. Five Books That Mean A Lot To Me:
* The Portable Thoreau -- Thoreau is one of my favorite people ever and this nifty book collects his best work in one place. I actually love eveything about this edition, even the size, the paper it's printed on, the green of the cover...

* The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery -- I will not link to this book, since only a newer translation (with a blue cover) is available. The old translation (by atharine Woods, with the white cover) is one of my favorite books. EVAH. I have given countless copies of that book as gifts. The new translation, in my opinion, does not have the same poetry and seems rather ugly and soulless next to the original. Pity.

* THREE-WAY TIE: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Through the Looking Glass and What Alice ound There, and The Hunting of the Snark : an Agony in Eight Fits all by the fantabulous Lewis Carroll -- I don't even have words. The Boy calls me "Snark" and I call him "Boojum," so maybe that's some clue to how much I adore these books.

* What Shall We Do Without Us? by Kenneth Patchen -- He seems a glorious mixture of Paul Klee and maybe e.e. cummings to me. I love, love, *love* his poem-paintings and this is my favorite collection.

* Hmm... Hard to chose a fifth book; it feels too much like I am leaving something important off the list... I'll leave it blank so it can encompass all the books dear to me!

5. Tag Five More:
I'm not so good at passing stuff like this on, so I'm gonna play spoiled sport and not. :-P

Geaux help!

The Geaux Library Project will attempt to meet the information needs at hurricane evacuee shelters around Louisiana and beyond. Using computers and networking equipment donated to the Red Cross and others by large commercial and local IT companies, they plan to set up small computer labs at Red Cross shelters, staffing them with librarians and other trained volunteers.

For more information, or to donate to or volunteer for this extremely worthy cause, check out their webpage.

07 September 2005

Back to blogging 'bout book stuff

S.E. Hinton is profiled in The New York Times: "The mystery of S. E. Hinton begins with her genderless name. Her most famous book, The Outsiders, about teenage gangs and alienated youth in Tulsa during the 1960's, transformed young-adult fiction from a genre mostly about prom queens, football players and high school crushes to one that portrayed a darker, truer adolescent world."

Read the whole story.

Compassionate Conservatism?

"And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this is working very well for them." -- Barbara Bush

Are you kidding me?!? Blech. I feel ill.

Read the CNN article.

06 September 2005

Rebuilding Libraries and more

Among the many institutions ravaged by Hurricane Katrina were libraries -- public, academic, school ,and special. ALA has information about some of the damage here.

The Children's Book Council is providing information "initiatives of organizations with whom we have formal liaisons or other close ties" in regard to disaster relief. These organizations look to be planning assistance for children, libraries, and independent booksellers. Consider a donation to further their efforts.

02 September 2005

Thank you, Rest of the World

Many countries, including those who aren't that crazy about us (one story reports: "Venezuela — whose elected president Pat Robertson wants to assassinate — offered $1 million from its national petroleum company, as well as emergency aid and heating oil."), have offered to help in the wake of Katrina.

Of course, in his interview yesterday: "Bush said the United States had the resources to cover the massive rebuilding costs, and was not looking for foreign aid. 'I'm not expecting much from foreign nations, because I haven't asked for it. I'm expecting sympathy and maybe some will send cash,' he said."

It has also been reported that Federal Emergency Management Agency chief Mike Brown said, "We can take care of our own people, and we're going to do it." I sincerely hope that doesn't mean we won't welcome aid with open arms and grateful hearts. In my humble opinion, the faster it gets here, the better...

Tempers are short

Last night, Anderson Cooper, clearly frayed and frustrated by what he has been witnessing, lashed out at Senator Landrieu. There is a link to the video and transcript here.

Ray Nagin, the mayor of New Orleans, also had a few things to say: "Don't tell me 40,000 people are coming here. They're not here. It's too doggone late. Now get off your asses and do something, and let's fix the biggest goddamn crisis in the history of this country." Trancripts and video here.

01 September 2005

Housing for Refugees

Those looking for a place to stay after losing their homes to Katrina can check out Hurricane Housing and the NOLA site. There are so many people opening their homes, truly a reminder of how good people can be. My favorite Camus passage comes to mind:

Dr. Rieux resolved to compile this chronicle, so that he should not be one of those who hold their peace but should bear witness in favor of those plague-stricken people. . . and to state quite simply what we learn in a time of pestilence: that there are more things to admire in men than to despise.

Blueberry Hill

Fats Domino is missing in New Orleans. "The 77-year-old R&B legend, whose real name is Antoine Domino, told Embry [his agent] that he planned to stay at his New Orleans house with his wife, Rosemary, and their daughter." Read the story.

Update: Fats and his family have been located and are well.

Now, work on helping all the others still trapped...

BLOG RELIEF DAY: Louisiana Library Association Disaster Relief Fund

So many libraries -- public, school, and academic -- have been destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. PLEASE consider helping with the rebuilding of these valuable resources!

The Louisiana Library Association (LLA) Disaster Relief Fund is now accepting monetary donations to assist school, public, and academic library restoration efforts in Southeastern Louisiana.

Please make checks payable to: LLA-Disaster Relief and mail to:
421 South 4th St
Eunice, LA 70535

Once you have made a donation, please log that at the Contribution Logging Page. A round-up of all the blogs working on this effort is at Instapundit and a record of the number of participating blogs, total raised, etc. is at The Truth Laid Bear.

If you prefer to give to a different charity, many are listed at the Instapundit page.

Many of us are very lucky to be living in areas not affected by this storm, to know our loved one's are safe. PLEASE, open your hearts and checkbooks and give what you can. Heck, if everyone gave just $1, we'd be in great shape!

Sulky, can you hear me?

This morning, I decided to check and clean up my list o' links, after noting that a few of them are no longer relevant/working. And, though I have been in denial for some months now, it seems like my one of my favorite bloggers, the Sulkbrarian, has ended her reign. I'm gonna keep her link for a while, hoping that she'll come back...