Sunday, February 27, 2011


Oscars tonight.  Hawaii tomorrow.  Life is not bad. I have a post scheduled while I'm away. Otherwise, see you in two weeks.


Friday, February 25, 2011

Resource Links Best Books of 2010 is out

Resource Links has their list of best books for 2010 out.  Scroll down to see the list to see the book list for grades 7-12.  Some great books to explore here, as well as professional resources, audio-visual resources, and French language titles.

March 9th is World Read Aloud Day

March 9th is World Read Aloud Day.  Celebrate by reading your favorite book aloud to someone you love.  Being read aloud to is a pleasure at any age.  All you have to do is find a good book, and someone you love (or like!) to share it with.  For more ideas, visit Lit World

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Tips for young authors

Here's another great site if you want to be a writer.  This one has been put together by a children's and YA author Dee White. She has tons of info., tips and opportunities, so check it out. 

Figment: A great community for young writers

Thanks to Sherrie for the heads up on figment, a totally awesome site for young people to share their writing, connect with a community of others with similar interests. It was started by New Yorker staff writer Danna Goodyear and Jacob Lewis, a former New Yorker managing editor.  It's a place to share and comment on each other's original writing, as well as a marketing site for YA publishers. You'll find poetry, mysteries, sci-fi and cell phone novels from established and emerging writers.  You can find this and so much more at figment.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Snowy day

Oh my.  This is what I woke up to.  I've shoveled, because there was so much snow that  Ruby disappeared when I let her out to pee.  Just to clarify, she didn't run away, the snow was over her head! She was quite freaked out... It's still snowing though and is supposed to keep going through tomorrow!  Yikes.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Scars by Cheryl Rainfield

Further to my Freedom to Read post, fellow author Cheryl Rainfield has just discovered that her book Scars is being challenged in KY.  Talk about timing!  Here's a link with Cheryl's take on the whole situation.  You can help by blogging about the book or buying the book for yourself or a teen who has self-esteem issues. Literature can be the key that unlocks the door to a young person's personal hell.  Why take that opportunity away, especially when it can be so helpful? Banning or challenging books isn't new, but we don't have to lie down and accept it.  We all have the right to choose what we want to read, and what we don't.  If you have difficulty with a book, close it.  It's as easy as that.

Freedom to Read Week

It's Freedom to Read Week so get involved. Get your students to make bookmarks using banned book titles, host a public reading of banned books, read a challenged book and leave it on a bus for a stranger to find, ask your local librarian for a list of classics that have been banned or a list of current literature being challenged, and share it with colleagues.  For more ideas, check out the Freedom to Read Website above.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Young Writers Contest Deadline Contest Deadline is Feb. 18, 2011

Canadian Children's Book Centre 

Book Week 2011 Writing Contest

Calling all young writers and poets!

Book Week 2011 WRITING CONTEST for Kids and Teens
Do you have a story or a poem about someone that is changing the world?
Are you in Grade 4 to 12? If so, enter the Book Week 2011 Writing Contest!
This year Book Week celebrates global citizenship. The theme Changing the World, One Child at a Time will focus on stories that highlight children and teens who are doing things to make the world a better place in their community, country, or abroad.
The stories may be fiction or non-fiction.
One winner from each grade will receive a $250 gift certificate to the bookstore of his or her choice.
Winning entries will be posted on the Book Week website –

*Please note that entries not accompanied by an ENTRY FORM will not be considered.
Writing Contest
c/o The Canadian Children's Book Centre
Suite 101, 40 Orchard View Blvd
Toronto, Ontario
M4R 1B9

The Book Week 2011 Writing Contest is generously sponsored by:

HarperCollins Publishers

Simon and Schuster Canada

2010 CYBILS announced

San Valentin sin Dolor de CabezaImage by Javier Volcan via Flickr
On the good news front the 2010 CYBILS were announced today.  These are grass roots awards that grew out of the community of Kid lit and YA lit bloggers who wanted to celebrate the best in books for young people.  Check out the winners, and don't forget that a lot of great books are to be found on the short-lists too.  Spread the word about great reading for kids and young adults, and while your at it, make a donation to keep the awards going...the folks who sit on these committees, read truckloads of books until they find the best, all do this on their own time.  It's Valentines day, so show them a little love.
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The Book Business

So it's happened...after months and months of teetering on the edge; Borders has gone under.  They declared bankruptcy today.  Some of you might be shrugging your shoulders.  "Big deal," I can hear you saying.  Well, just so you know, it is a big deal.  Things are in lock down mode.  Staff aren't being paid, and debts, including those to publishers & distributors aren't getting paid either.  That means that vulnerable publishers don't have money to pay royalties or go ahead with printing spring and maybe even fall lists.  I already know of a few writers who've had books cancelled, and the list serves are abuzz with talk about what all this means.  Don't forget, this event isn't in isolation.  Last week HB Fenn (a publisher and one of Canada's largest distributors) went down, and  the week before Key Porter Books closed show...and Key Porter books have published some of the biggest names in books in Canada, including Margaret Atwood!  It's so discouraging to be involved in books right now.  Senior writers are worried if they'll have enough money to pay their bills, and so many of us had gone back to part-time work to keep the wolf from the door.  

I know there will always be readers, and books will always be published in one form or another.  But with it being less lucrative to publish, will only a few houses and on-line book giants control what is available?  Will vibrant young writers bursting with ideas and talent want to be involved in a business that can't support them?  It's all so worrisome...and I can only hope that there are still a few out there who will want to take chances, who will want to bring out books that are just safe but push creative and intellectual boundaries.  I look forward things settling down in the book business soon.  But I hope we don't end up with a mediocre model.  I know it's hard to be creative when financial worries keep knocking at your door, but I also know that books change lives.  

All of you out there who've been touched by this have my every sympathy.  

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

CBC 's YA Best Book Poll

CBC's Best YA Book Poll:   Make sure you vote.
Here are the five titles and let me tell you that you'll have a tough time making a decision because they are all seriously good books.

Best Young Adult Novel
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Harper Canada has a new children's executive editor

Congratulations to Hadley Dyer, Harper Canada's new Executive Editor of Children's Books. Dyer, is both a children's editor and the YA author of one of my fav. books, Johnny Kellock Died Today. She's worked as a bookseller, at the Canadian Children's Book Centre, and as a freelance editor at James Lorimer & Company, Groundwood Books.  Things are looking up at Harper Canada in the kids and YA departments. A little good news instead of the usual publishing doom and gloom.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

George Clooney Please Marry My Mom

It may be Super Bowl Sunday, but I'm more about Dear George Clooney Please Marry My Mom by Susin Nielsen than I am about football.  I'm reading it on my Kobo, and enjoying it immensely.  Nielsen is just so funny...

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Ann Walsh is February speaker for Victoria Children's Literature Roundtable

Next Victoria Children's Literature Roundtable Meeting: Monday, February 21, 2011

Victoria Children’s Literature Roundtable Meeting
Monday, February 21, 2011, 7:30 pm
Nellie McClung Branch of the Greater Victoria Public Library,
(Cedar Hill & McKenzie).
Doors Open at 7:00 pm, come and browse the Cadboro Bay Books table.
Everyone welcome! Cost: $5.00 at the door, Students $4.00, $25.00/year

Guest Speaker: Author Ann Walsh
Ann Walsh is well-known for her novels set in Barkerville during the Gold Rush in B.C.  She will talk about her wide range of titles, such as Forestry A-Z, Horse Power, The Doctor’s Apprentice, and Your Time, My Time.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

2011 Share the Love Book Event

There are so many ways to share the love of books...
Buy a book for a child
Donate gently used books to a charity
Read a book to someone you love
Read to a stranger
Leave your favorite book on a bus for a stranger to find
Join a book club
Drop off a favorite book at a friend's place
Set up a book exchange between coworkers or classmates
Buy a book from your local independent bookstore
Visit your favorite author and their publisher's webpages and leave them an I love your books note
Review a book that you loved on-line via Facebook, Goodreads, etc.
Tweet about a good book.
Spread the word, and for more suggestions, visit Jenna @ One Mystake at a Tyme for more info. and to post on how you've been sharing your love of books.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Philip Pullman speaks out against library cuts

No matter where you live, libraries are being hammered.  Not only do they have to make do with less, but their dollars have to cover increasingly expensive technologies as well as books. So far, librarians and library administers have come up with creative ways to keep services going, but there comes a point when it will be impossible to keep afloat no matter how Herculean the effort. Libraries are bleeding, not only here in North America, but in England.  Many of us have stood up to support our libraries, but our voices aren't being heard.  Philip Pullman, author of The Golden Compass, has added his voice to the chorus.  Perhaps someone will listen if enough of us speak out. Read his speech here.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

New Youth Literacy Website

Fellow author Pam Withers and a few colleagues have set up a pretty cool non-profit youth literacy website that you may want to check out.   It's called "Keen Readers" and it's full of resources including: articles, tips, interviews, reviews, writing contests, and even a blog that parents, mentors and kids will find useful. For example, I found a whole page of resources for reluctant readers.   Here's the link.