Posts tagged ‘Sunday Shout Out’

Sunday Shout Out #11 November is the Month of…

This post got a little delayed because of the storm, so it’s a Wednesday shout out. Oh well.

Sunday Shout Out series was created to remind/encourage me to provide links to news stories, blog posts, and other things that I think are interesting and noteworthy. If you’re interested in participating or being featured in my next Sunday Shout Out, just drop me an e-mail. Do you have some news or links to share? Feel free to link to your own Sunday Shout Outs in the comments.

I knew that November was National Novel Writing Month, otherwise known as NaNoWriMo or just simply NaNo. Since 1999, the founders have been encouraging others to spend the month of November collecting their thoughts and putting them to paper in an effort to complete a push for 50,000 words towards their novel. You can still sign up if you haven’t already. I’ve signed up for three years in a row and have only successfully written… about two thousand words. Total. Yes, I’m horrible at this game, I’ll admit it. But they have a very pretty Facebook cover photo that you can download and use to spread the word that you’re participating in NaNo, although I kind of wish they’d spelled out for the uninitiated. And possibly included a website. But it’s still pretty and I digress.

 

 

 

I also just found out (just in time to participate) that there’s a movement to make November Picture Book Month!

Started just last year after that New York Times article “Picture Books No Longer a Staple for Children” went viral, it’s become an international movement with press coverage ranging from School Library Journal to Oprah. They even have a calendar encouraging a variety of themes, authors and illustrators to expand your exposure and mind. And every day they’ll feature on their website a message from a person with connections to picture books, including some of my favorites and some I recognize like Kathi Appelt, Doreen Cronin, Kelly DiPucchio, Tony DiTerlizzi, Brett Helquist, E.B. Lewis, Chris Raschka, Adam Rex, Peter Reynolds, Jon Scieszka, Karma Wilson, and Paul O. Zelinsky. I’m going to try my best to play along, but finding out about this late in the game might mean some blips in the daily dose of picture books. We’ll see how it goes.

What else is going on in the month of November?
Thanksgiving of course! This American tradition and national holiday is the perfect time to become a bird brain about books. Pilgrims, Native Americans, food in general, farm animals like turkeys, it’s all applicable when learning about Thanksgiving.

Pizza Hut is sponsoring National Young Readers Week this year November 12 through November 16 with an assortment of challenges and prizes. Founded in 1989, it encourages schools to organize guest readers to visit children and spend time reading aloud to them and serving as an example that reading can be fun and enjoyable. I know quite a few teachers who do this at other times during the year, like Children’s Book Week or during the last week of classes to promote summer reading. But they do have a very nicely put together teacher’s kit that has everything set up for you, down to the name tags and thank you cards, so if you’re strapped for time you might want to take a look.

And finally, the United States celebrates Veteran’s Day on Nov. 11th. I know quite a few libraries (including mine) who have invited a veteran to visit and share their experiences. What I’d like to do one year is pair up some teens and interview veterans about their experiences, and film/record their accounts to post on the library’s website or include in the Historical Society’s collection. I’d also love to organize a panel discussion, where veterans from different wars could discuss the differences between the wars in terms of serving, communicating with their families, and their experiences. *Sigh* maybe next year, when I’ve been here longer.

What are you doing this November? Are you celebrating any “fun or silly holidays” at your library?

Sunday Shout Out #10


Cybils and Challenges

Two very big things that are happening this week that every blogger should know.


Cybils is a blogger organized and run judging cycle that gives out awards for the year’s best children’s and young adult titles. There are a whopping TEN categories/genres this year, ranging from poetry to science fiction/fantasy to nonfiction and even book apps! The judging happens in two rounds, and your truly has been chosen as a second round judge for Middle Grade Science Fiction/Fantasy!! I’ve been sitting on this information for a while now (even though it was publicly announced earlier this month) because I wanted to wait until nominations were open. Well, the nominations time starts TOMORROW and runs till Oct. 15th. Here are the rules:

Yes, anyone may nominate one book per genre during the public nomination period. [...] Any English or bilingual books published in the U.S. or Canada between the end of one contest and start of another. For 2012, that means books released between Oct. 16, 2011 and Oct. 15, 2012. Books must be specifically published for the children’s or young adult market.

They’ve posted the rules on how to nominate, so take a look at make sure your nomination counts. Spend the evening looking back at what you’ve read, and give us some good stuff. If you have any other questions on how this works, check out the FAQs page. The Cybils website is also a great resource, including every finalist for the six years that the award has been given (ok, not close to the 90 year lifespan of the Newbery, but still very impressive for an Internet-based award).


The other thing going on this week is the American Library Association’s 30th Anniversary of Banned Book Week. I’m not sure if celebrating is the word they are using, considering it recognizes the more than 30 years of challenges towards collection development and material access in libraries of all shapes and sizes all over the world. All this week, this blog will feature reviews of books that have been included on the list. If you want to participate too, check out one of many lists available online, such as the top 100 books banned from 2000-2009. Also, I’ve included this display that we put together at my library. A local bookstore donated two gift cards, and all last week we had patrons guessing why certain books got banned. We’ll be drawing winners today, and I can’t wait to see how many entries we received from this very last-minute contest.

Sunday Shout Out #9

I’m rightfully shouting from the rooftops I’M BACK! After a month-long hiatus while I got settled into my new job, new state, and new digs (an apartment for right now), I’m returning to the blogging world. Thank you for your patience. As promised, here’s a picture of my boxes of books from the move:

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The three stacks right most stacks of boxes are books, the far left one was other things. Don’t ask me what, I can’t remember what was in them, and they have since all … well mostly all… been unpacked, Now, on to our regularly scheduled program (if I can figure out how this new WordPress design works)

Sunday Shout Outs are usually spent sharing sites and sights that I found interesting. For instance Forbes Magazine just released their list of top earning authors. Surprise, surprise, James Patterson is in the top with 94 million, almost exclusively in print sales. Previous readers will remember that I have no love lost on James Patterson, who just last year “wrote” 14 books with I’m sure plenty of assistance from co-writers. But the article really is about the change in the number of women on the list, as the ratio of men to women is almost 50/50 (actually 6 to 9, but who’s counting?) Rounding out the top fifteen are:

James Patterson (94 million), Stephen King (39 million), Janet Evanovich (33 million), John Grisham (26 million), Jeff Kinney (25 million), Bill O’Reilly (24 million), Nora Roberts (23 million), Danielle Steel (23 million), Suzanne Collins (20 million), Dean Koontz (19 million), J.K. Rowling (17 million), George R.R. Martin (15 million), Stephenie Meyer (14 million), Ken Follett (14 million), Rick Riordan (13 million)

Book Riot offered up a possible spin on the ancient task of recommending books: Twitter Readers Advisory. Library Journal had an article last summer about reader’s advisory through Facebook, so I guess it was only time until someone tried it using Twitter personas. But while Book Riot’s Twitter attempt did it on a much smaller scale (being only one person), Multnomah County Library and now Cuyahoga County Public Library each answered over a 100 questions using a team of librarians to field the requests for suggestions. I’d love to do this kind of thing at my library for the children’s or teen department, either around the holidays or during some big event, like kicking off Summer Reading or Children’s Book Week. Obviously I need to sort out logistics, but have any of my readers done something similar?

A very cool site that I found through another library is thisissand.com While a little vague with instructions, you quickly gain the hang of it. Clicking the mouse produces sand that trickles down to the bottom of the screen from where you clicked the mouse. It accumulates into piles just like sand, and you can move the mouse around to redirect the sand. Click on the only button on the left hand corner, and it will tell you how to change the color of the sand, as well as erase the picture, save the photo, or upload it to the forum. Be careful, because while most of the artwork is benign in nature (picture those sand sculptures that were popular 20 years ago) the “Sort by View Count” feature brings up several drawings of nude people and phallic symbols, which are NOT appropriate for children. Use your best judgement when determining if it’s right for your community, as that feature has me hesitating to include it on our list.

Do you have a site you want me to shout out? Let me know in the comments. Otherwise, tune in again soon for more books reviews, library programs, and of course shout outs. Until then, I’m peace out.

Sunday Shout Out — I’m MOVING!

No need to worry or get scared. My blog isn’t moving, it’s me who is actually moving. I’ve received a full time job offer at a library across state lines, and that is why I haven’t been blogging so much in the last couple weeks. I discovered while packing that I had 13 BOXES worth of books. That’s right folks, some of which I’ve had for over a decade. Now, I’m probably never going to give up my American Girl Series, but I may have to finally give up my dog-eared, worn out, falling apart copy of The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman (seriously, when I say falling apart, I mean I would have weeded this from my library a loooong time ago). (I’ll post a picture when I find my camera cord, I promise). But since I’m short on time, they all get thrown into the boxes. And this post gets thrown onto the blog.

So while I’m returning that last library book and cleaning up my desks (yes, desks, I had two jobs before, remember?) I’m looking for feedback from you, kind readers. Have you ever moved across state lines? Have you ever left a job you loved to strike out on your own? In the comments section, share your tips, tricks, and tidbits of what happened. I’ll resume a more regular schedule hopefully next month, when life slows down a little. Right now, it’s TTFN from underneath a pile of boxes.

Sunday Shout-Out #8 Judging Book Battle!

Sunday Shout Out series was created to remind/encourage me to provide links to news stories, blog posts, and other things that I think are interesting and noteworthy. If you’re interested in participating or being featured in my next Sunday Shout Out, just drop me an e-mail. Do you have some news or links to share? Feel free to link to your own Sunday Shout Outs in the comments.

I’m doing a little happy dance and definitely shouting out loud for this Sunday Shout Out!
Alyssa, over at The Shady Glade, is hosting her 2012 Book Battle, and has chosen me to be one of the first round judges! The “theme” this year is Retold Fairy Tales, which any of my regular readers will know is right up my alley.

She received 71 nominations, and first round judges have until the end of June to read as many as possible in order to pass on their recommendations to the second round judges. Confused? Check out Alyssa’s blog for details by clicking the button above. This is going to be my home post regarding the book battle, where you can check back to see what books I’ve read and find all my reviews. My first thought when I see this list… how did I miss so many? The list? Well, here it is, straight from The Shady Glade:

2012 Battle Nomination Long List

Updated July 8, 2012
A Curse Dark As Gold by Elizabeth C. Bunce
A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz
Abandon by Meg Cabot
Avalon High by Meg Cabot
Beastly by Alex Flinn
Between Two Ends by David Ward
Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale
Bound by Donna Jo Napoli
Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu
Cindy Ella by Robin Palmer
Cloaked by Alex Flinn
Damosel by Stephanie Spinner
Dark of the Moon by Tracy Barrett
Darkness Becomes Her by Kelly Keaton
Destined by Jessie Harrell
Don’t Expect Magic by Kathy McCullough
East by Edith Pattou
Entwined by Heather Dixon
Golden by Cameron Dokey
Goose Chase by Patrice Kindl (review coming soon)
Half Upon a Time by James Riley
Ice by Sarah Beth Durst
Inside the Walls of Troy by Clemence McLaren
Into the Woods by Lyn Gardner
Just Ella by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Lightbringer by K.D. McEntire
My Fair Godmother by Janette Rallison
My Very UnFairy Tale Life by Anna Staniszewski
Nobody’s Princess by Esther Frisner
Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George
Princess of the Wild Swans by Diane Zahler
Rapunzel’s Revenge by Shannon Hale
Seven Daughters and Seven Sons by Bahija Lovejoy and Barbara CohenShadows on the Moon by Zoe Marriott
Shifting by Bethany Wiggins
Sirenz by Charlotte Bennardo
Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce
Sleeping Beauty: Vampire Slayer by Maureen McGowan
Snow by Tracy Lynn
Snow in Summer: Fairest of Them All by Jane Yolen
Starcrossed by Jospehine Angelini
Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George
Sweet Venom by Tera Lynn Childs
Sweetly by Jackson Pearce
The Amaranth Enchantment by Julie Berry
The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly
The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter
The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale
The Merchant’s Daughter by Melanie Dickerson
The Night Dance by Suzanne Weyn
The Poison Apples by Lily Archer
The Princess Curse by Merrie Haskell
The Rumpelstiltskin Problem by Vivian Vande Velde
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
The Shadow of the Bear by Regina Doman
The Sisters Grimm: The Fairy Tale Detectives by Michael Buckley
The Swan Kingdom by Zoe Marriott
The Third Eye by Mahtab Narsimhan
The Thirteenth Princess by Diane Zahler
The Wager by Donna Jo Napoli
The Wide-Awake Princess by E.D. Baker
Thornspell by Helen Lowe
Touch of Frost by Jennifer Estep
Violet Eyes by Debbie Viguié
Waking Rose by Regina Doman
Water Song by Suzanne Weyn
Wild Orchid by Cameron Dokey
Wildefire by Karsten Knight
Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier
Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston

While I’m grateful that ther are only 71 titles on the list (did I just say ONLY 71 titles?) I’m kind of surprised that the list isn’t longer, considering the explosion of fantasy fiction over the last couple of years. Nominations were open to retold fairy tales (books that re-imagines a fairy tale/legend/myth) published between Jan. 2001 and Dec. 2011. Do you know of anything that didn’t make the list that you would have nominated? What is your favorite out of this list? Which one should I read next?

Speaking of lists, two more recommended reading lists where readers can vote on their favorite were also released recently. Tower Hamlets Schools Library Services in London, England has released their book award lists for Primary and Middle School. Because of how colorful the brochures are, I’m not sure how many libraries can mass produce them. But it’s still a cool way to see what other countries are reading and valuing in youth and teen literature.

A little closer to home (at least for me) is the Michigan Library Association’s Thumbs Up! Award nominees. They’ve revamped the entire award this year (with a little bit of input from yours truly ^_^ along with some other connected individuals) and are running it more like YALSA’s Teen Top Ten, allowing students an opportunity to get their hands on the books over the summer before requiring a vote by August 31, 2012. As always, there’s a little bit of overlap between the two lists, but having served on the committee before, I know how much work is involved. The list and a short synopsis of each book can be downloaded from MLA’s website.

Does your state, organization, library, or school create your own “Best of” lists, either for the summer or for the end of the calendar year?

Sunday Shout Out #7

Sunday Shout Out series was created to remind/encourage me to provide links to news stories, blog posts, and other things that I think are interesting and noteworthy. If you’re interested in participating or being featured in my next Sunday Shout Out, just drop me an e-mail. Do you have some news or links to share? Feel free to link to your own Sunday Shout Outs in the comments.

The Young Adult Library Association announced their nominations for the Teens’ Top Ten Award. Teens’ Top Ten is a “teen choice” list, where teens nominate and choose their favorite books of the previous year. Readers ages twelve to eighteen can vote online in August and September, and the winners will be announced during Teen Read Week in October. I love how YALSA runs their Teens’ Top Ten Award, because not only are the nominations determined by teens (who get to read ARCs in order to stay ahead of the publishing schedule) but it also allows the general public several months to get ahold of the books to read prior to making their decision.

The list is available on their official website as a PDFwith annotations of each title. If you’re too lazy to click over, here’s the list:

  • All Good Children by Catherine Austen (Orca Book Publishing, 2011; 9781554698240)
  • Ashes by Ilsa Bick (Egmont USA, 2011; 9781606841754)
  • Abandon by Meg Cabot (Point, 2012; 9780545040648)
  • Tempest by Julie Cross (St. Martin’s Griffin, 2012; 9780312568894)
  • What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen (Penguin Group/Viking Juvenile, 2011; 9780670012947)
  • Wither by Lauren DeStefano (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2011; 9781442409057)
  • Where She Went by Gayle Forman (Penguin Group/Dutton Juvenile, 2011; 9780525422945)
  • Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen (Walker Children’s, 2012; 9780802723468)
  • Eona: The Last Dragoneye by Alison Goodman (Penguin Group/Viking Juvenile, 2011; 9780670063116)
  • The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (Penguin Group/Dutton Juvenile, 2012; 9780525478812)
  • Page by Paige by Laura Lee Gulledge (Abrams/Amulet Books, 2011; 9780810997219)
  • Legend by Marie Lu (Penguin Group/Putnam Juvenile, 2011; 978-0399256752)
  • Hourglass by Myra McEntire (Egmont USA, 2011; 9781606841440)
  • Cinder by Marissa Meyer (Macmillan/Feiwel and Friends, 2012; 978031261894)
  • Shine by Lauren Myracle (Abrams/Amulet Books, 2011; 9780810984172)
  • A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness, inspired by an idea from Siobhan Dowd, illustrated by Jim Kay (Candlewick, 2011; 9781406311525)
  • This Dark Endeavor: The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein by Kenneth Oppel (Simon & Shuster Books for Young Readers, 2011; 9781442403154)
  • Across the Universe by Beth Revis (Penguin Group/Razorbill, 2011; 9781595143976)
  • Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs (Quirk Books, 2011; 9781594744761)
  • Divergent by Veronica Roth (HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen Books, 2011; 9780062024022)
  • Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys (Penguin Group/Philomel Books, 2011; 9780399254123)
  • The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater (Scholastic/Scholastic Press, 2011; 9780545224901)
  • How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr (Little, Brown Books For Young Readers, 2011; 9780316036061)
  • All These Things I’ve Done by Gabrielle Zevin (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011; 9780374302108)

While the website has some really great publicity, they don’t have an easy to distribute summary of the titles to give to teens. Taking the four page PDF printout, I condensed the descriptions even further to just a few lines, included the title, author, and book cover, and will be printing them out in a tri-fold for my teens. I’ve included a copy for others to use if you’d like. If someone can tell me how to add a Publisher file to the blog, I’ll add it in that format, but for right now, it’s available as a PDF or as an admittedly rough copy of a Word .doc file and you can paste your logo and contact information where it’s indicated. If anyone has an issue with what I did, just let me know and I’ll remove it.

How did I miss this? Following a trail of links, I discovered a project that has been in the works since 2009. Star Wars Uncut is the brain child of Casey Pugh, who with some help cut down the very first Star Wars movie into 15 second segments and crowdsourced it out for people to reproduce. The final compiled version apparently won a 2010 Primetime EMMY for Outstanding Creative Achievement In Interactive Media – Fiction. In a New York Times article that appeared after the win, it explains that:

A computer program written by Mr. Pugh automatically plays the highest-rated rendition of each scene, and it compiles those scenes on the fly, so the movie can change in real time depending on the ratings of users.

I haven’t watched the whole thing yet, but what I have watched is amazing, and any Star Wars fan should take a look. Apparently it’s even supported by Lucas Films! I feel like this is totally something you should have found in Ready Player One.

Last, but certainly not least for this Sunday Shout Out, is the Weapon of Mass Instruction. I don’t speak/read Spanish well enough to glean any information from the original site, but the blog I’ve linked to provides a basic translation as well as a link to a YouTube interview with the creator, Raul Lemesoff. Honestly, a picture is worth a thousand words, right?

You can’t tell me this isn’t seriously cool… I’m extremely jealous.

Until next time!

Sunday Shout Out #6

I haven’t done a Sunday Shout Out series in quite some time, so I thought I’d revive this series of posts. Sunday Shout Out was created to remind/encourage me to provide links to news stories, blog posts, and other things that I think are interesting and noteworthy. If you’re interested in participating or being featured in my next Sunday Shout Out, just drop me an e-mail. Do you have some news or links to share? Feel free to link to your own Sunday Shout Outs in the comments.

Librarians, have you seen this Pearle Vision commercial? It shows a young woman with glasses with her hair up, presumably in a bun, looking straight at the screen. She starts a monologue about how someone’s library books are overdue, and they owe $97 in fines. “What,” she goes on to say, “You don’t have $97.” At this point she pulls out her hair and flings it around her face “Well, what are we going to do about that?” The screen then zooms out and we see she’s actually shopping for glasses, with two salespeople on either side looking at her reflection in the mirror with her with their jaws dropping.

So I guess my poll for this Sunday Shout Out is: funny, or not?
Edit: I tried several times to get the poll feature to work, but it apparently doesn’t want to, so you’ll just have to leave your opinion in the comments.

Sunday Shout Out #5

Recently I’ve started a new series called Sunday Shout Out where I can provide links to news stories, blog posts, and other things that I think are interesting and noteworthy. If you’re interested in participating or being featured in my next Sunday Shout Out, just drop me an e-mail. Do you have some news or links to share? Feel free to link to your own Sunday Shout Outs in the comments.

The finalists for Michigan’s Thumbs Up! Award were posted on Friday. This award, according to the website, is “given annually to the author of an original work that appeals to teens (12-18), published in the previous year. The award promotes quality teen literature and heightens awareness of the importance of teens as important library patrons.” Votes to determine the winner are being accepted through the end of April. I’ve read about half of the ones listed, and I’m looking forward to crossing the rest of them off my list so I can talk to teens about them.

The School Library Journal’s Battle of the Kids’ Books has now commenced (well, it will shortly). According to their website, “School Library Journal’s Battle of the Kids’ Books is a competition between 16 of the very best books for young people of the year, judged by some of the biggest names in children’s books.”

They’re taking votes through March 6th to determine their “back from the grave” option, who will take on the two finalists in a three-way match-up. The list of judges will be released in just two days, on February 22nd. Pay a visit to the website to see the complete list of contenders, judges, and comments once the Battle begins. I’ve actually read three of them: The Cardturner, Will Grayson, will grayson, and Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword. Personally, I don’t think any of these are the BEST, so we’ll have to see how the judging pans out.

Also announced earlier this week were the winners of the Cybils Award, which “are given each year by bloggers for the year’s best children’s and young adult titles.” Again, I’ve read very few of these, only blogging the winner for poetry, Mirror, Mirror. In my defense, The Strange Case of Origami Yoda (winner of the Middle Grade Fiction) has been making the rounds amongst the rest of the staff, and will get to me eventually. I’ve also had Split (winner of Young Adult Fiction) on my to-be-read list ever since The Story Siren blogged about it and featured a guest post by author Swati Avasthi. Finally, I think I might have met Jacqueline Jules, author of Zapato Power: Freddie Ramos Takes Off (winner of short chapter Book) while at ALA, because her name and the book’s title both sound vaguely familiar.

One final link this week, for your pure viewing pleasure: James Kennedy (teen author) and Betsy Bird (blogger extraordinaire) have paired up to offer the 90 Second Newbery Video Contest. You have until September 15th to tape a summary of a Newbery Honor or Award Winner in honor of the 90th anniversary of the Newbery Award. Want the full details (including the fact that it must be primarily put together by children and teens)? Click here! I’m thinking about putting this together as a summer reading program at my library… anyone else thinking of doing the same? I’m willing to collaborate and work together!

Yeah, I know, lots of book suggestions to add to an already never-ending list. Here’s to good books and happy reading!

Sunday Shout Out #4 — Challenges

Recently I’ve started a new series called Sunday Shout Out where I can provide links to news stories, blog posts, and other things that I think are interesting and noteworthy. If you’re interested in participating or being featured in my next Sunday Shout Out, just drop me an e-mail.

This Sunday Shout Out will be all about challenges! I will be posting this as an updatable page as well (just like the last two years), but I thought I’d spend some time spreading the word regarding challenges. A Challenge asks participants to read a certain number of books fitting a certain criteria.

The Story Siren is hosting a debut author challenge for the third year in a row. I really admire The Story Siren’s challenges because she takes all the leg work out of it for you. She compiles a list of debut authors and titles and the provides everyone easy access to it through her blog and through GoodReads.com. She only asks that participants complete 12 debut novels over the course of the year. Since I’m not going to be on a committee next year (taking a breather, thank goodness!) I’m hoping to have at least that. Here’s the ones I’m putting on my list though (in no particular order):
1. Divergent by Veronica Roth (published May 3rd, 2011)
2. Entangled by Cat Clarke (published Jan. 6th, 2011)
3. Rival by Sara Bennett Wealer (published February 15th, 2011)
4. Awaken by Katie Kacvinsky (published May 23rd, 2011)
5. The Trouble with Half a Moon by Danette Vigilante (published January 6th, 2011)
6. Leverage byJoshua C. Cohen (published February 17th, 2011)
7. Enclave by Ann Aguirre (published April 12th, 2011)
8. Stupid Fast by Geoff Herbach (published June 1st, 2011)
9. What Can’t Wait by Ashley Hope Perez (published March 28th, 2011)
10. 10 Miles Past Normal by Frances O’Roark Dowell (published March 22nd, 2011)
11. Exposed by Kimberly Marcus (published February 22nd, 2011)
12. Clarity by Kim Harrington (published March 1st, 2011)

Another Challenge that I’m going to continue participating in is What’s in a Name hosted by Beth Fish Reads. Each year, she posts six categories, which participants try to match up with book titles. For 2011, the categories are:
A book with a number in the title:
A book with jewelry or a gem in the title:
A book with a size in the title:
A book with travel or movement in the title:
A book with evil in the title:
A book with a life stage in the title:

Another challenge I’ve been struggling to complete is my goal to read 200 books in a year. I’ve made over 100 two years in a row now, but have yet to reach that 200 mark. Maybe this will be the year for success…

I’m sure there will be one or two more that I want to participate in, and once I find them I’ll add them. Honestly though, after two years of having my reading stipulated by a predetermined list, I’m looking forward to checking out whatever I want to whenever I want to read.

Another “challenge” I’m going to bring to your attention is the Ypsilanti District Library is looking for votes for a Pepsi Refresh Project Grant. You have from now through the end of the month to register your e-mail address and cast your vote. You actually get ten votes a day, so you can spread the wealth amongst ten projects everyday. But for me, I’ve been voting and campaigning for the Ypsilanti District Library. They’re trying to raise the money to redo their teen area, which needs the help. So, please, consider voting. You can also Text* 104359 to Pepsi (73774). Thank you.

What about you? What challenges are you looking at completing in 2011?

Sunday Shout Out #3

Recently I’ve started a new series called Sunday Shout Out where I can provide links to news stories, blog posts, and other things that I think are interesting and noteworthy. If you’re interested in participating or being featured in my next Sunday Shout Out, just drop me an e-mail.

First up in news is that the new Harry Potter movie was released Thursday night/Friday morning (depending on how you look at it). I haven’t seen it yet, but I’m excited to see it as soon as possible. To tide everyone over until the second half comes out in July, here’s a YouTube video that’s been made in honor of everyone who waited in line, the link to which I found on Facebook.

Another link making the rounds amongst my friends on Facebook is the idea to do away with bonuses given to teachers who earn their Master’s degrees. I have some problems with this idea. First off, most fields typically pay a higher wage to employees who are more qualified than others. A plumber earns more than a journeyman, a librarian earns more than a paraprofessional, a doctor earns more than a nurse, etc. We assume that the degree indicates a higher level of education, knowledge, and competency, and that has never come up for debate. To treat teachers differently when they are already getting paid so little is outrageous. Secondly, I take offense that Bill Gates is given the authority to speak on this matter when, as far as I know (and I’m willing to be proven wrong), he is unexperienced and untrained in the education fields. Being able to give money to improve the education system does not mean you know how to do it yourself. Yes, I’ll admit, he might have some good ideas, but they should be vetted through the proper channels. I give money to cancer research every year, but that doesn’t mean I have the authority to tell researchers how to do their job. Finally, teaching is the only profession I know where you are judged by the success of others and not by your own success. If a car mechanic was unable to fix your car, you’d fire him, not the person who taught them. If a firefighter could not operate the equipment to put out a fire, you wouldn’t keep him on staff and terminate his teacher. If an athlete doesn’t perform, you don’t fire the coach. But that’s exactly what we do with teachers because we’re not in a position to “fire” students. I realize there are bad teachers and good teachers, but I feel like there has to be some other way to recognize and separate the good from the bad. Maybe instead of testing the students, teachers should be forced to complete and pass aptitude tests of their own, to prove they are still knowledgable. I’m sure there are hazards to that line of thinking as well, and I’m certainly not an expert on the subject, but I don’t think withdrawing monetary bonuses for advanced education is the right way. Because honestly, who would you rather have teaching your children, the person with the master’s or the person without?

Okay, calming down. Rant is over. Moving on…

The Contemps, a group of authors of young adult contemporary fiction, has announced the winners of their give-away. No, it wasn’t me. But I am happy for everyone who won copies of their books, and I’m looking forward to reading more of these when they are finally released over the next year. The blog offers some great insights into the authors, so I would head on over there and check them out before you miss something.

Looking for another list of even more books to read in the next year? The website for the Class of 2k11 is up and running! Class of 2k11 is “a group of 19 debut middle grade and young adult authors working as a team to promote our books and reading in general. As our novels make their way into the world throughout 2011, this website will keep you up on our activities and bring you along on what’s sure to be a wild ride.” They are also giving away books from the Class of 2k10 authors, so head over and check it out, as sign up for the contest ends December 11th.

While we’re recognizing the new authors in the world, we should also step back and recognize an author who has been around for longer than I realized. In the news you might have missed, if you’re like me, Jane Yolen has written over 300 books. The Huffington Post did a flattering write-up about her, which I found via a link on Tanita Davis’s website. I met Ms. Davis while at the YALSA Coffee Klatch at ALA, and the next time I meet her I am going to have to have her finish the story she started at our table, because she had to leave before she finished. She was the nicest person, and was willing to pose for my camera with her Coretta Scott King Honor book, Mare’s War, which is on my list but has not made it to the top yet. I stress yet, I will get there… eventually.

If you’re like me and haven’t written one book yet, much less 300, then it’s not to late to join in with National Novel Writing Month. It takes place every November and has been going strong and gaining supporters for the last eleven (?) years. If you don’t feel that you can write 50,000 words, then set an easier goal for yourself, and go for it. You’ll never know what will come out of it. Just be patient if the site is a little slow. I’m always reminded of Star Trek and that famous cry to Mr. Scott; “We need more power!”

And so ends another Sunday Shout Out. Feel free to let me know what you think about any of my thoughts or links by leaving a comment.

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