Archive | January, 2019

The Haul

31 Jan

True confession: I didn’t read the whole time I was at ALA. Well, I read menus and schedules, but no books. I find it kind of funny.

I mailed two medium sized boxes of books home and the last one arrived last night. I made an effort to be selective about what I took – in part to be mindful of my consumption, in part because I took a small suitcase on the train. Aside from about five books I brought to school yesterday, this is my book haul:


Here, in no particular order, are the ones I am most excited about.

Patron Saint of Nothing by Randy Ribay


The Size of the Truth  by Andrew Smith


Last of the Name  by Rosanne Parry


Pay Attention, Carter Jones by Gary D. Schmidt


Susan B. Anthony by Teri Kanefield





#alamw19 – Day 4 – AWARDS!

29 Jan

I got up early, packed, and checked out of the hotel. I swung by  Starbucks   – where I might have seen David Levithan – then went to sand in line for the Youth Media Awards (YMA).

I don’t know that I can adequately describe the energy in the air. People were buzzing about what they hoped would win, of course. Strangers in line next to you were now your new friend. We all agreed this was better than all the movie and TV awards combined.

As a short person. I really like to sit in a row where no one sits in front of me and I got one dead center.


It also let me run into a few people I know. I was standing and chatting with an former library colleague when the ALA media approached us.

“We are doing a documentary and wondered if you two would be will to answer a few questions?”

Of course we said yes. We were asked about favorites. She said Dreamers and I said Drawn Together. They asked a few more questions and afterwards we each thought we were hopelessly inarticulate, but we didn’t care because the YMA were about to begin.

For the first time, my twin sister was watching from her home in Canada and we were able to watch together.

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Yeah, we cry over books.

Some favorites won awards. My TBR list just got longer. Waiting in line, my new friends and I had all agreed that even if our favorites didn’t win, we knew this was an opportunity to meet new books.

But before I could meet those new book, I attended YALSA’s Morris/Nonfiction Awards reception. This is my other favorite Midwinter event. Each of the awards announces five finalists in December. The winner is announced at the YMA. All ten finalists get a few minutes to speak and their speeches always touch my heart.
Afterwards, there is a book signing. This year we all got five books. I made a beeline for John Hendrix and got him to sign my copy of The Faithful Spy.



After the reception, my five signed books in tow, I collected my luggage and headed to the train station. I thought my train was at 5, but it was at 6. I sat, knitting, watching the people around me. I finished the first sock in the pair.


Boarding time finally rolled around. I boarded the train and was glad to be on my way home.

#alamw19- Day 3 – Food!

28 Jan

Sunday was an eat-a-thon.

My day started at 8 with a breakfast with Kokila Books, a new Penguin imprint.

download.jpgVice President and Publisher,Namrata Tripathi, told the story of the imprint and introduced us to some of the first books they will publish, one of which is by Celia C. Pérez. You might know her as the author of The First Rule of Punk. She introduced us to her upcoming book Strange Birds: A Field Guide to Ruffling Feathers.



Next came a brunch with Scholastic, where they introduced us to three upcoming picture books.

As soon as the Scholastic event ended I was off to my first lunch with Abrams where they previewed the books coming in the spring. These ranged from a  new picture book by Peter H. Reynolds to Cat Winter’s newest  YA novel.

I dashed uphill to another lunch with Boyd’s Mill. I arrived late, but I got to chat with the publishers who gave me an ARC  of Ordinary Hazards by Nikki Grimes.

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After all that eating and running around, I needed to refresh myself took a little break back in the hotel.

My final event of the evening was a celebration with Kwame Alexander and these Versify authors.

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I made an early night of it, packing my bag and getting to bed at a decent hour. The Youth Media Awards begin at 8 am PST and I will be taking the train back to Portland later in the afternoon, After the Norris Nonfiction Celebration.  Don’t forget, you can live stream the Youth Media Awards.


#alamw19- Day 2 – Equity and Diversity

27 Jan


With no required meetings to attend I took the opportunity to drop in on business meetings to understand better how ALA functions. Equity, diversity and inclusion EDI) were the key words of the day.

I began the morning at the ALSC  leadership meeting where addressing anti-bias education, equity, diversity, inclusion, race relations, and more.

Afterwards, I took a lap or two around the exhibit hall. It wasn’t very busy and I was able to talk to reps and get my hands on a couple of ARCS I wanted.

After a little lunch (a bagel & cream cheese from my hotel food stash) I went to sit in on the discussions held by the 2019 Children’s Notable Books Committee. Unlike awards committees which are closed meetings, Notables is open. Publishers often sit in when their books are being discussed. A publisher was sitting next to me. When her books were being discussed she took notes, I also noticed her taking notes when committee members talked generally about good and bad features of texts for children.

From there, I went to the YALSA Strategic Planning meeting, which was open. I honestly thought more people were going to be there, but when I walked in, only one other person was sitting in the audience. The Board was doing some reflection around EDI and their mission, with a pair of facilitators. As I settled in my seat one of them came over and let me know what was going on. He also told me they’d be doing an activity shortly and I was welcome to participate. In for a penny, in for a pound!

I went back to the exhibit hall – I’d only seen half in the morning. I was on a mission for bookmarks. It makes me nuts when my students dog-ear or lay them down open with the spine up. When i walked past a table with bookmarks, I grabbed a little stack. And they added up.


The Youth Media Awards are Monday morning. You can watch the livestream here.


#ALAMW19 – Day 1

26 Jan

The nice thing about ALA being in Seattle is that I didn’t have to get up at a crazy hour to catch an early flight to some point  east of Portland. Instead, I got up at my regular time and took the bus to the train station because I was travelling by train.

A business class round trip ticket wasn’t much more expensive than coach,  and it was totally worth it. We got out own waiting room!


As you can see, I was early. The train was 30 minutes late but I didn’t care. I was happy not to be driving! And besides, how often does a plane have a delay of some sort? Business class is set up with two seats on one side and single seats on the other. I had been assigned a single and settled in to knit and listen to my audiobook as we rolled North. Business class passengers were given a coupon for the Bistro, so partway through the journey, I went to see what was on offer. I got a yogurt cup with granola and it was delicious. It was a local Seattle brand and the cup indicated they had a shop in Pike Street Market. I filed that info for later.

When I get to a new city, I like to get oriented. The weather in Seattle was beautiful, so I walked – uphill all the way – from the train station to my hotel, where I was able to check in early. I walked to the convention center to get my badge and then decided to walk to Pike Street Market, only 5 blocks from my hotel.

Conventions are great, but often the food is rich.  As I walked around, looking for the yogurt people, I kept my eye out for breakfast food. I almost didn’t find the yogurt and then, suddenly, it was right in front of me. Woohoo! I found some fresh bagels and got a smoked salmon cream cheese spread and headed home, stopping in a Target for plastic spoons and some La Croix. The basics taken care of, I felt ready to start conferencing.


Traditionally, the Holiday House reception marks the start of the conference for many. Some texts flew between a Beaverton colleague and I and we met up to go together to the first of three events.  She was off somewhere else afterwards, but I met up with a few other people to go to a Penguin/ United for Libraries event.

I walked over to the table where they where handing out copies of this book


The person behind the table said, “Are you doing OBOB at your school?”

“How did you know I did OBOB?” I asked, startled.

“I am the author of Avenging the Owl,” was her reply. I looked at her tag and sure enough, she was Melissa Hart. We had a lovely chat. She will be the guest of honor at the State OBOB meet April.

From there my group was off to the Seattle Public library with an evening with Hervé Tullet where were played and created. Here is my piece:


Even though it was late, my hotel wasn’t far, so I walked back. the fresh evening air was wonderful. I went to bed a lot later than usual, but I was so exhausted I fell asleep right away.

I am ready to get serious about the conference today.


This week’s book talks 1/21-25

25 Jan

It’s a crazy week with only 3 book talks. Monday was MLK Day and no school, so no book talk. Today, I am on my way to Seattle for the ALA Midwinter Meeting, where the . I’ll write posts over the weekend and into next week about that.  Here are this week’s three books.


Be  A Changemaker: How To Start Something That Matters by Laurie Ann Thompson




You Are Mighty: A Guide to Changing the World  by Caroline Paul



It’s Your World: Get Informed, Get Inspired and Get Going! by Chelsea Clintonchelseclintonitsyourworld_cv





The 2019 Oregon Book Award Finalists

23 Jan
The Oregon Book Award finalists were just announced. The award honors the state’s finest accomplishments by Oregon writers who work in the genres of poetry, fiction, drama, literary nonfiction, and literature for young readers.
The Oregon Book Award winners will be announced at the 32nd annual Oregon Book Awards Ceremony on Monday, April 22 at the Gerding Theater at the Armory. Cheryl Strayed will host the ceremony.
Here are the finalists for Children’s and YA Literature
Judges: Ashyln Anstee, Ben Clanton, Linda Marshall
Kate Berube of Portland, Mae’s First Day of School (Abrams Books)
Barbara Herkert of Newport, A Boy, a Mouse, and a Spider: The Story of E.B. White (Henry Holt and Co. )
Michelle Roehm McCann of Portland, More Girls Who Rocked the World (Aladdin/Beyond Words)
Emily Whitman of Portland , The Turning (Greenwillow Books)
Deborah Hopkinson of West Linn, Ordinary, Extraordinary Jane Austen (Balzer & Bray)
Judges:  Donna Freitas, Ashley Pérez, Kathryn Reiss
Shea Ernshaw of Bend, The Wicked Deep (Simon & Schuster)
Fonda Lee of Portland, Cross Fire: An Exo Novel (Scholastic Press)
Shelley Pearson of Portland, Book Smarts & Tender Hearts  (Ingram Spark)
Emily Suvada of Portland, This Mortal Coil (Simon & Schuster)

Pizza for lunch

22 Jan

After two years of going to other people’s houses, I hosted book club last night.

It is a book club for librarians and a few others and we only discuss children’s and YA lit. It is large and fluid group. Each month when the reminder goes out, people chime in only if they are coming. They also state what they will bring. The person hosting orders pizza.

I am not the best hostess in the world and I worry about this flaw. As I tidied the house, I worried about parking, about how my dog – Lucy – would deal with 8-10 people in her space eating pizza, about the fact that I only have seats for eight. And I thought about the pizza.

I haven’t ordered a pizza in decades. Maybe not since university, when we dialed 967-11-11 for Pizza Pizza. I can still sing the radio jingle.

I knew I’d get one veggie and one meat, but I consulted my sister about the size to order. That determined, I placed my order online. College-age me could never have imagined this. A few people cancelled at the last minute another decided to come last minute. yes, we are that fluid.

The pizzas arrived on time.

There were enough seats.

Lucy was a very good girl.

And there is enough pizza left over for this week’s lunches.

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Here is the list of books we discussed last night

Shorter Fiction:

Longer Fiction:


Graphic Novel


This week’s book talks 1/14-18

18 Jan

Continuing to introduce new books I added to the classroom library


Everlasting Nora by Marie Miranda Cruz


Good Dog by Dan Gemeinhart


The Benefits of Being an Octopus by Ann Braden


Nowhere Boy by Katherine Marsh


The Faithful Spy by John Hendrix




17 Jan

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When one thinks of  transmutation, alchemists turning lead into gold is the natural first example that comes to mind. Rumpelstiltskin is a classic fairy tale that involves the transmutation of straw into gold. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Frankenstein, Dracula, and The Island of Dr. Moreau are all 19th century novels that look into human transmutation. The results are always disastrous.

In The Strange Case of The Alchemist’s Daughter,  by Theodora Goss, we see a transmutation of a different sort. Goss has transmuted these stories, plus the less well-known Rappaccini’s Daughter, into a wonderful tale that also involves the greatest detective of the time: Sherlock Holmes. The result is a delight to read.


Publisher’s Summary: Mary Jekyll, alone and penniless following her parents’ death, is curious about the secrets of her father’s mysterious past. One clue in particular hints that Edward Hyde, her father’s former friend and a murderer, may be nearby, and there is a reward for information leading to his capture…a reward that would solve all of her immediate financial woes.

But her hunt leads her to Hyde’s daughter, Diana, a feral child left to be raised by nuns. With the assistance of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, Mary continues her search for the elusive Hyde, and soon befriends more women, all of whom have been created through terrifying experimentation: Beatrice Rappaccini, Catherin Moreau, and Justine Frankenstein.

When their investigations lead them to the discovery of a secret society of immoral and power-crazed scientists, the horrors of their past return. Now it is up to the monsters to finally triumph over the monstrous.

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