Tuesday, September 28, 2010

It's Banned Books Week!

I'm guessing most of you kidlit-friendly and book-bloggy readers out there already know that we're in the middle of 2010's Banned Books Week. (September 25 to October 2.) Did you know that an estimated 70 to 80 percent of the cases in which books are challenged at libraries and schools are never reported to the American Library Association? That surprised me for some reason. And then it didn't. Hard to know, of course, whether those challenges turned into bans or were summarily (or at least eventually) dismissed.

I haven't decided which banned to read in celebration of my intellectual freedom, but I'll definitely pick something tomorrow evening — 'cause that's when I plan to start reading it!

Meanwhile, I thought I'd share a roundup of the most interesting BBW-inspired links I've come across.
  • Nifty interactive map showing locations of documented challenges. Click on the pins for exact location information and links to challenge letters. Yowza.
  • ALA lists of the 100 most frequently challenged books of the decade: 1990–1999 and 2000–2010.
  • ALA's description of the difference between a banning and a challenge.
  • Article at the DePauw University site stressing the continued importance of BBW.
  • TIME article on banned books from 1938.
  • Q&A with ALA about how books get banned.
  • List of books you might not expect to see banned. (Two dictionaries made this list, people!)
  • Opinion piece on, hey!, not banning books.
  • Opinion piece that misses the mark (in my opinion) by calling age-appropriate book selection by professionals a form of book banning. (But, clearly, the writer also wants to keep books out of her child's school library based on what she doesn't want HER child to read.)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Selling Myself

I am in between projects at present. Waiting for new writing guidelines to come in. Any. Minute.

Meanwhile, I'm spending ALL of today and tomorrow (even if the guidelines get here, which they won't until Friday) looking ahead to potential new business. On my list of things to send out: a simple "Hello, I am here" email to two regular clients; an updated publications list with samples to a developer asking for same; a nonfiction proposal to a publisher I've worked with in the past; a reply to a foreign publisher asking me what I do; and a writer-in-residence application for next year.

If I still have extra time, I'll implement some sorely-needed updates to my author site and editorial services site. Those poor dears need to be ushered into 2010.

Exciting days in the life of a writer-for-hire!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Working Through THE ARTIST'S WAY

Some of you know that one of the classes formerly on deck for EFA's fall schedule was based on Julia Cameron's well-known creativity program-in-book-form The Artist's Way. It was supposed to start this week, but I had to cancel it Friday due to low registration. (And by "low registration," I mean NO registration. It happens!)

I had planned to take this course. After canceling, I looked into the instructor's other classes. Her workshops get RAVES. But the class times just weren't right for me.

So guess what. I've decided to work through the program on my own. Starting . . . before now . . . here is the plan.
  • I'll study one book chapter each week. (Did that on Sunday.)
  • I'll write daily morning pages — that's 3 pages of longhand stream-of-consciousness writing, first thing every day. (So far, so good.)
  • And I'll take myself on a weekly artist date — that's a solo activity of my choosing meant to feed my creative side. (I've got something BIG brewing to kick things off.)
Also, I'll track my thoughts 'n' progress on the blog. As I feel like it.

Wanna follow along . . . or cheer me on . . . or tell me about your own AW experience? Leave a comment here at the blog to let me know you're out there!

Meanwhile, I've got some work to do so I can justify slipping away for my date tomorrow night.

Monday, September 13, 2010

My New PB Series — Let's Be Social!

Just out from Magic Wagon is my new nonfiction picture book series called Let's Be Social! Written specifically for the school and library market (RL 3, IL PreK–4), these six books introduce young readers to the various social groups they encounter and must learn to navigate in their community: family, friends, school, teams, worship groups, and neighborhoods.

From the publisher's description:

"The Let’s Be Social series explores the social settings that have a special role in a young reader’s life and community. Easy-to-read text and bright illustrations explore the
relationships, diversity, and interactions that can be found in the world around them. Introduce your students to the groups, places, and people around them. And let’s be social!"

Concepts are correlated to state standards, and the vocabulary is appropriate for readers in Grades 2–3, as well as younger children experiencing the books as read-alouds. Illustrator Chris Davidson's fun, cheerful artwork will appeal to kids throughout the interest-level range.

Each 32-page book includes a TOC, glossary, and index, and the series was fully vetted by content consultants.

Naturally, I enjoyed writing the books! I hope teachers, counselors, librarians, and parents will enjoy sharing them with the young people in their lives. And, above all, I hope young readers will have fun exploring my take on the many forms of community.

A huge P.S. You know it's Nonfiction Monday in the kidlitosphere, right? That means you can learn what nonfiction books (or related topics) other kidlit bloggers are buzzing about by checking out this week's host blog, Rasco from RIF. Head on over there to see a listing of Nonfiction Monday posts. You can even add your own link if you're so inclined!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Clearly, I Need a Schedule

Ever since purposely going off my established blogging schedule (three years ago? more years ago?), I've struggled with resuming any kind of blogging schedule at all. The post-as-I-can approach was supposed to be temporary. A few weeks, maybe. Ha!

I've blogged more regularly this year, but "more regularly" doesn't exactly make for a truly active blog in this case. Sigh.

On my to-do list for next week: Decide what I'm doing with the blog! Honestly, I know why I've had trouble reconnecting with it. But it really is time for me to figure out what I want the blog to be from here on out. I think it needs a bit of a thematic makeover. Not sure what that will mean, though.

While cogitating, I'm going to do the least I can do for the health of my little blog, and that is to schedule two posts per week. If I add it to my work calendar, I will do it. 'Cause I do not like to disappoint the boss.