Monthly Archives: January 2009

At the Awards Press Conference

I’m in at the ALSC media awards press conference next to my Newbery bud, Michael Santangelo with my beloved chair Nina Linsday nearby also busy blogging.


also my friends Junko and Roxanne.


Just annouced the CSK winners.  I’m sure others are also doing live blogging so I’m not going to even try.   Go over here for the twitter updates, for instance.   (Margaret A. Edwards —Laurie Halse Anderson.)


Filed under Newbery


Roger’s posted on something that bothers him about Mem Fox and Helen Oxenbury’s Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes. I had been completely charmed by the book, but someone even before Roger had noted that not everyone does have ten fingers and ten toes.  There’s a good conversation going on in the comments.  Here’s my contribution:

I like the book, but someone else had already mentioned to me the issue you raise, Roger and it definitely gives me pause. I’ve always been uncomfortable with any sort of instruction/book/lesson/etc that tries to generalize too broadly, no doubt because I don’t fit at all into the niche established for my kind (Jews) and chaff when assumptions are made about me because of the presumptions associated with my cultural heritage. I’d initially seen this book as a way to avoid just such social/cultural/etc generalities and am I’m very glad you pointed out that it isn’t so at all. My feeling is that we who read this or any other book to children always need to do what Nina describes — be very aware of our audience.


Filed under Other


Gaiman on Fear of Buttons here.

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Filed under Neil Gaiman

Their First Inauguration


Our fourth graders cheering as they watched yesterday’s inauguration.

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Filed under History

Congrats on Being President!


Right after the election, I mentioned my students’ letters to President-Elect Obama; in honor of this day, here again is the link.

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Reading, Books, and Obama

Much has been made of Mr. Obama’s eloquence — his ability to use words in his speeches to persuade and uplift and inspire. But his appreciation of the magic of language and his ardent love of reading have not only endowed him with a rare ability to communicate his ideas to millions of Americans while contextualizing complex ideas about race and religion, they have also shaped his sense of who he is and his apprehension of the world.

From Books, President-elect Barack Obama Found His Voice –

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Lost (and Found) in Austen


Lucy Pevensie goes through a door to her idea of a wonderful world: Narnia.  And so does Amanda Price, through her bathroom wall into the world of  Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.  This past week I stumbled across the mini-series Lost in Austen and, after some initial resistance (how dare they!),  found it great fun.  Basically, it is every Jane Austen fan’s fantasy (especially those who are fans of the old BBC production of P & P)  — go into the book, make all the niggling things right, and … well, can’t tell you more without spoiling it, but there is a very happy ending.   You can view the whole series at the Ovation website here: individual pages with show times and more video:  Episode 1, Episode 2, Episode 3, and Episode 4.

Also, over at the Guardian, television blogger, Sarah Dempster did an amusing series of posts as she watched the series: Episode 1, Episode 2, Episode 3, and Episode 4.


Filed under Literature

Mushed Up Lit

I vaguely remember seeing something like this before or similar, but it is still fun revisit now and then.

When Shakespeare met Seuss: mashing up literature.


Merged Books

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Filed under Literature

Colson Whitehead on Fiction

Thanks to Maude for directing me to Colson Whitehead’s send-up of a certain rather verbose literary critic, ” Wow, fiction works!” Here’s a taste.

As Carver puts it, channeling the sublime:

He lifted the cup.

Aha! cries the famished reader. This is minimalism at its well-marbled finest. The language is clear, bracing. You do not ask, What did this character do? (He lifted.) We do not wonder, What is he acting upon? (The cup.) So often in today’s fiction, we’re left to make our way through the muddle of the author’s hysterical wordplay. It is a false show. Writers confuse the encyclopedic for the illuminating and the meaningful, mistake the exuberance of frenetic language for that which addresses the higher self. When you return to a master like Carver at the end of a long day, it’s a refreshing tonic. This sentence is short, not because it is brief—which it is—but because it has few words.

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Filed under Literature

Elizabeth Alexander’s Task

How to write a poem for a president

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Filed under Poetry