Posted on 30 January 2011 Sunday

We’re getting snow storms here once or twice a week.  A few began with predictions of as much as 8″ of snow but dwindling in reality to a 2-4″ fall, accumulating over a 24 hour period. We’re ignoring the forecasters and just waiting to see what will really fall.  Now, “The monster” is predicted for this  Tuesday through Thursday. We’ll see, especially since late winter snowfalls in central Indiana have an invisible line with rain on one side, snow on the other and ice in the middle. We don’t know if we’ll get snow or ice. What I don’t want is for it to begin at 5 am so I have to drive to work on the streets fresh with new slickness.  We’ll see!

It didn’t snow this weekend! Friday, I babysat my nephew who was eager to show me all the new manga in the current Shonen Jump. I’m so thankful for his interest in these books! It keeps him reading and keeps my library well stocked. He may only be in the 6th grade, but his appreciation of shonen (boy) manga is just what I need to find new books.

Saturday, I was at the Indiana Youth Literature Conference. Even with the big name authors and illustrators they were able to bring in, the crowd was quite small and intimate and I really appreciated that.  I’m just going to randomly share a few of the highlights of the conference.  I was able to speak with AASL President, Carl Harvey. Unfortunately, our time was spent discussing news that negatively impacts schools and librarians rather than noting accomplishments and achievements. Nonetheless, we’re both so optimistic about the future because of our belief in libraries.

Patricia McCormick delivered a stirring presentation on her research for Sold. She said that in having the “audacity to trying to write about a culture outside my own, I really had to go there. To smell the smells.”  She spoke of her debt to the women and girls who opened their hearts to her and what she owed them for this. I was so glad to hear this because I had been wondering how one takes and tells another’s story. What debt do they feel?  Her next book, Killing Fields, is set in Cambodia and will be available in December 2011. She’s one of the few authors whose books I will buy blindly.

Andrea and Brian Pinkney opened the conference with a collaborative presentation “Words and Art: The Perfect Marriage” which set a wonderful, energetic feel for the day. If I were planning a conference, it would be YA heavy. I would miss the biographical picture books that pull in visual learners and add a complexity to stories. I would ignore illustrators and would miss the real power of storytelling. I wouldn’t hear Brian Pinkney describe how he puts motion in his work, tell that he uses his family as models or see the wonderful, loving way this couple transcend art and business to create art. I’m glad I attend rather than plan!

Andrea said to be on the lookout for a new Latino initiative from Scholastic. If I watched educational programming on PBS, I could tell you who is writing this new series that begins with a story about he Young Lords, but I don’t! She also said to watch for a debut by Augusta Scattergood.

This week, what we need to watch for is the 2011 premiere of 28 Days Later! The first feature will be Ebony Joy Wilkins, author of Sellout. I hope you’re joining us on the African American ReadIn? If you have a suggestion for a discussion format, please head over to Ari’s blog.  And we need to celebrate the Year of the Golden Rabbit! 2011 is the year of XinMao

Posted in: Sunday Reads