It’s been cold here for the past few days. Once I remembered that it’s the end of February, I tied my scarf a little tighter and continued to doIMG_4136 (1) what I needed to do. I’ve been carrying around a post in my head for much of the day and thought I finally had time to put it to paper. . . just as the 40th anniversary of SNL begins.

“Hamburger, hamburger, no cheeseburger”.
Closed captioned news for the dead.
Fake commercials.
Too many stars to even remember.

I remember the very first time I caught the show. I’d gone back to my dorm room after a dance on campus and someone was drooling while reporting the news. It was hysterical! I didn’t stick with the show over the years as there were some years that the show just wasn’t that funny and there were even more years when I fell asleep too soon to see it. Looks like I’ll do a little catching up now.

IMG_4139I was able to pick up books for my classroom at ALA Midwinter and I dropped them off last week. I expecting a short email from the teacher letting me know she received the books so imagine my surprise when I received an envelope full of hand written letters from the students! Not only had the teacher created such a wonderful teachable moment for her students, but the letters were filled with the students interests and hobbies and gave me a the variety of reading levels in the class. I can’t wait to send them books again next month.

I’m working from home this week, hoping to get an article as close to written as possible. Even with the possible distractions of television, music and cell phones, it’s so much easier to get work done from home.

Upcoming conference:
The Arne Nixon Center for the Study of Children’s Literature in the Madden Library at Fresno State will conduct a conference on censorship April 10 -12, 2015. “Outlawed: The Naked Truth About Censored Literature for Young People” seeks to explore the many ways in which censorship affects reading choices for young people.

Learn how censorship presents itself in a variety of manners. While the most blatant banning garners the greatest attention, pre- and self-censorship occurs quietly and unnoticed at the selection level.

Discover how authors’ writings are influenced by censorship. Whether it is to highlight themes that oppose it or to restrict controversy in order to avoid becoming targeted, authors must heavily weigh what is included or omitted in the creation of their work. Banning can either create a skyrocketing effect in sales or doom a work to anonymity.

Become enlightened about intellectual freedom as practiced in the United States and in other countries.

Cart, Matt de la Peña, Margarita Engle, Leonard Marcus, Lesléa Newman, and Jacqueline Woodson.

We hope you will come and join us as we navigate the varied issues of censorship in children’s and young adult literature.

For more information:

30 Years of the Virginia Hamilton Conference

“Pearls of Wisdom:

Celebrating 30 Years of the Virginia Hamilton Conference”

The 30th Annual Virginia Hamilton Conference on Multicultural Literature for Youth will be held on Thursday, April 3, and Friday, April 4, 2014, at the Kent State University Student Center. The conference provides a forum for discussion of multicultural themes and issues in literature for children and young adults. Pearls of Wisdom: Celebrating 30 Years of the Virginia Hamilton Conference” is the theme for this year’s conference, which will feature the remarkable Christopher Paul Curtis, the talented Andrea Davis Pinkney and the amazing illustrator, David Diaz.  The Virginia Hamilton Conference is pleased to be a forum that brings together renowned national and local writers, illustrators, librarians, teachers, students and scholars and showcases some of the country’s top talents in multicultural literature for youth. The April 3 evening program includes a pasta dinner, a keynote address by the 16th Annual Virginia Hamilton Literary Award winner Christopher Paul Curtis, followed by a performance. Friday, April 4, features a full complement of workshops and keynote addresses by the authors.

Contact the Office of Continuing and Distance Education at (330) 672-3100 or register on-line at    (Click Programs, Conference).

For more information visit the conference Web site at


It’s a cool morning here in the heartland. I spent much of the day yesterday, a beautiful, sunny warm day, driving home from the Virginia Hamilton Conference in Kent OH. Kent is to the north and east of me, thus leading me to light snowflakes when the temperatures fell on Friday. It’s cool here in IN today, but thankfully not that cold! I’m meeting a friend later to get our exercise program going full swing. Right now, I have a recap of the Virginia Hamilton Conference.

I remember reading Virginia Hamilton‘s The People Who Could Fly to my children when they were young. She’s always been special to me and I eagerly anticipated this conference.

Opening session: I was impressed that almost half the  audience was PoC, a clear increase from what I saw when I attended several years ago. R. Greg Christie brought this audience of readers of words into his world of reading hues, shading, images and motion.  Pam Munoz Ryan, probably more of my generation, spoke of the difference between growing up with variouss ethnic months and MLK Day and those not having them. She also spoke of growing up within a culture where you ‘celebrate’ being Asian or African or Native hyphenates with the language, food and other cultural elements that you use everyday. Then there were the sessions. First session was pairing books, those that make you blush and those that don’t, as if anyone who reads YA would blush anymore!  So many of the pairings were books by and about Whites that I wanted to go get a refund.

Next session, Laurie Halse Anderson.

I had to do it as most of the sessions were picture books for young children.  I needed to know her take on the need for diversity in literature and how libraries can facilitate this. After all, she is the spokesmouth (her word) for School Library Month.

Her response:  “There are a lot of well meaning white people who just need to be educated.” Even she sees ‘White” as the default setting with terms like ‘multicultural’ and ‘diversity’ indicating an ‘other than’ setting.  I truly appreciated her comments about publishers. Anderson reminded the audience that

art moves culture.

publishing is a business.

A business in fact is run by white people of privilege who may talk the talk but the walk they walk is in protecting the bottom line.

From these amazing comments, we went back to groupie-type questions at this conference on diversity.

Anderson did speak of her passion for history and her preference for historical fiction. Creating characters that would fit the confines of time and place often prove to be a challenge, but the stories of history are important to tell. What I found most interesting were her comments about being up all night, unable to sleep because of the voices she heard.  It reminded me of the years my own daughter spent, wide awake all hours of the night with her feet perched high upon the wall singing country and western tunes, humming with the radio, writing and playing with toys because she couldn’t sleep. I wondered what it was that really kept her awake. I don’t know if she’s able yet to articulate it.

A Lebanese lunch!! I dined with a student who is getting a degree in General Studies (why would anyone allow that to happen??) and will be entering Library School in the summer (did you know it takes a Masters degree to become a Librarian?). Also at the table was a young lady from Japan who will be an instructor in the Education Dept. at Kent State next year. Our discussion on ereaders left us wondering about the ability to download foreign language books and non-western font on ereaders. I had fun exchanging business cards Japanese-style with her!

Jamie Adoff offered reflections by reading from his sooner or later forthcoming novel. He spoke of his work with incarcerated teens through Project Jericho and the hope and inspiration he’s able to provide. I don’t know if we, whether we be authors, teachers, librarians, students, clerks or bus drivers, I don’t think we realize how much influence we can have on others just by doing some little thing that shows we care. I bought two of Jamie’s books at the conference.

I saw huge shortcomings at this conference, this confence on diversity that was so well attended by PoC of Asian, African, Latino and Native heritage. Where were their books and authors? It’s possible there were Iranian and Indian and Chinese books in the session I didn’t attend, but I can tell you I didn’t see them!  Was the default assuming ‘diversity’ included them, too and imaging the world Anderson would one day exist in fact already did?  Can we really afford to make these assumptions when the doors are barely cracked open? I did keep my mind open and attended sessions and presentations to the end. I can say that  I got a lot from the individuals who were there.

Christie: “Sometimes I feel like I’m painting for a different generation that isn’t here yet.”

Anderson: “White people don’t know how white they are.”

Anderson: “Firing school librarians is censuring information.”

Christie “I keep learning to improve my craft.”

Virginia Hamilton: “We must reflect movement and all possiblities of minds at the library.”

Edi “What you put into it affects what you get out of it. Be sure to put in some positive.”

upcoming diversity conferences:

Diversity Literature and Teens: Beyond Intentions

National Diversity in Libraries Conference


The Indiana Youth Institute and the Indiana Pacers are coming together to offer Pacer tickets at a group discount price in connection with this year’s Kids Count in Indiana Conference.

The statewide conference will be held on December 2-3, in Indianapolis, and on December 2 the Pacers host Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers.  Conference participants and all Indiana youth workers and educators can purchase tickets for the game at a reduced price.

Tickets priced between $25 and $85 are available at an $8 discount.  In addition, each person who buys a ticket as part of this group event receives a 10 percent discount coupon for the Pacers Home Court gift shop.

Tip off with the Pacers:

The Kids Count in Indiana Conference, meanwhile, features former high school basketball coach Ken Carter, whose extraordinary life story inspired the Hollywood movie, “Coach Carter.” His inspiring keynote speech highlights an agenda that also includes:

  • Walt Mueller of the Center for Parent Youth Understanding;
  • 60 workshops on working with kids, involving parents and fund raising;
  • free continuing education units from 12 state and national organizations;
  • the Vectren Resource Center with nearly 100 exhibits and a fun raffle; and
  • the updated edition of the Kids Count in Indiana Data Book.

This year only: a special announcement you will not want to miss involving IYI’s 20th Anniversary!

Carpooler Discount: purchase four registrations, and one is free.

Registration deadline: Midnight, Monday, November 17, 2008.

More info: