SundayMorningReads

Today was my last day at the garden. It had to be cleared out before the end of the month, so I went over to pull everything out and thus end my growing season. I was once again gifted with little surprises. A few remaining red and green tomatoes, broccoli and  tender sprouts that grow from where I removed that large cabbage head earlier in the season.

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The garden was just beginning!

The cucumber died out a while ago. They were my first reliable crop, so sweet, juicy and crisp. After tasting how much flavor they had, I realized why I hadn’t previously been fond of the vegetable: they’d had no flavor. My bell peppers didn’t do anything for months, but I left them in the ground to be surprised with a bumper crop of peppers in the past few weeks. I learned this year that turnips greens have been genetically modified so that turnip bottoms grow on separate plants. So, I was quite happy to find the baby turnips when I pulled the turnip greens (tops) from the ground.

I left the sage, basil, catnip and marigolds. They were worker plants and will thrive a bit long.

I’ve learned a lot from all these different plants. Sometimes it was just about the plants and sometimes it transferred to what I can know about people.

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The garden today

I’ve learned a lot from the planters, too. The older, retired white Americans, my African American colleagues, the Filipinos, Ghanaians and Kenyans have all shared their harvest, their wisdom and their love of gardening. I started out gardening with my sister and loved the days when we would reminisce about my mom’s and grandmother’s gardens.  The drive over got to be more than we realized it would be, but I kept on, probably surprising both of us.  I’ve blogged and FBed about this garden way more than I ever thought I would. I think it filled a social, spiritual and creative gap for me. I’ll miss it, but life goes on.

So, I began my morning planning my day, my week and thinking of all the committee work I have in front of me, the growing pile of books I have growing for BFYA and the articles I need to write for tenure. My phone rang and all this seemed rather pointless.

Chance's Graduation

My son and DIL

My son’s brother in law passed away last night. Kyle was in his mid 20s and because he suffered with cystic fibrosis, spent much of his life in a care facility. I have to confess I really didn’t know Kyle so, I’m really not sure why I’ve wilted into a puddle today. Perhaps it’s knowing my son and daughter-in-law are in pain and there is nothing I can do for them. It could be because I can relate to the horror my son’s MIL is going through having now lost her child, or maybe it’s just anger at the American health care system.

Kyle stayed at home as long has his physical needs could be met. Once he needed more care and equipment than could be available there, he was moved and that’s when his nightmares began. There have been broken bones, infections and so many other instances of what I’m going to call neglect. Clothing items, toys and trinkets bought for him often disappeared. They were “lost in the wash”. Now, this is one child with a ferocious mother. This is one child, one human child abused in care facilities right here in the US. There are certainly others all of whom are voiceless.

Who speaks for the mentally and physically challenged?  They’re not in YA fiction or children’s picture books, not on CNN, not in Starbucks commercials and not in Steven Spielberg’s latest movie. My, god, who would want to see about that? The thing is, we all have people with special needs in our families!

We do hear about the tremendous blessings felt by those who love and care for the less abled, but we never hear about the challenges they face finding or affording care or the abuse they face at the hands of their providers. Silly me, I thought people who worked with those who are disabled did it because of a special calling.

I would like to hope Obamacare with alleviate some of this, that it will get prenatal care to women so that many debilitating illnesses can be cured in vitro and so that better long term care can be there for those in need. I want to hope.

Kyle is gone. Kyle was a special one here in this garden of humanity. The sun shined on his smile. Some of the crap thrown on him was fertilizer, too much of it wasn’t. The best part of him lives in full bloom.

Sunday Morning Reads

This post would have been up hours ago if I hadn’t been having Internet issues. Service just shouldn’t be so intermittent in one’s own home. I’m just sayin’

This may have been my last visit to the garden. I was surprised with a head of cabbage that I missed in previous visits and green peppers that just began to grow. I run through the photos on my phone and I’m just amazed at the growth that has taken place. This time, I didn’t even think to take any pictures. Growth happens whether we’re watching or not.

In recent years, there have been amazing blog posts that contain research relating to various facets of diversity in YA lit. Do publishers look at them? Are their decisions impacted at all by the data that is collected and analyzed? I work in a world that frowns on blogs and the information they relate as if it is all bogus forms of cheap entertainment. Knowing that, part of me wishes some of these research posts were submitted to journals, but I am so glad the information is made accessible to readers, authors, editors and publishers. Information is power. I think more impactful than where these reports are posted will be the replicated efforts that better document trends and hopefully change in the industry.

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Can we try to collect these reports? Please leave a link to others in the comments.

I know there’s more! I’m sure Debbie Reese has collected figures, but I haven’t found anything…yet. Are there numbers on Latinos? Asians?

This 2008 article references a Brigham Young Study I’ll trying get a hold of this week.

The Brigham Young study analyzed the race, gender and family background of human characters in 82 Newbery-winning books through 2007. The analysis compared three periods, starting with 1922 through 1950, followed by the era in which the Civil Rights Movement gained momentum, 1951 through 1979, and concluding with the 1980 through 2007 period.

Black and Hispanic protagonists became scarcer during the past 27 years. American Indian and Asian main characters increased in number — to two each.

Latino protagonists disappeared from 1980 through 2007 and black ones fell to two from a high of five between 1951 and 1979, the study found. White main characters rose to 19 from 18 in the same period.

The last book with a Hispanic protagonist to win a Newbery Medal was “Shadow of a Bull,” by Maia Wojciechowska, in 1965. The book dealt with a young Spanish boy’s struggle to follow in the footsteps of his slain bullfighter father.

Books by authors of color and with characters of color aren’t written just for people of color. (Corollary: Books by white people aren’t written just for white people.) So, POC books and authors fight the good fight and show up anywhere and everywhere that readers can be found such as at book signings, local library events and conferences. Readers of color have to show up to.

Think about it.

If publishers and editors don’t see us at conferences and signings, their notions that we don’t read or buy books will only be re-enforced. Show up to these events, inquire about your favorite author of color. I say this out loud to remind myself why I’m going to ALAN this year and why I’m especially thankful that author Lyn Miller-Lachmann proposed a panel with her, myself, Kekla Magoon and Rene Saldana Jr. I think I saw names of three other authors of color in the program. So disappointing! I really hope to see more people of color than that in the audience.

If you’re a librarian looking for ways to get involved in ALA and make a difference, this information is for you.

Committees with openings:

and the Committee Volunteer Form (which requires you to sign in):

https://www.ala.org/CFApps/Committee/volunteerform/volunteerform2.cfm?group1=YALSA

YALSA has dozens of ways for its members and supporters to get involved, including many options for virtual participation.  Whether you choose to volunteer to gain additional leadership opportunities, build your resume, increase exposure in the association or library community, or give back to the profession, YALSA relies on you to help support the association and make a positive difference in serving teens through libraries.

Whichever way you choose to get involved, we are committed to providing you with a meaningful experience.  If you have any questions, or would like additional information, we’re happy to help!  Email us at yalsa@ala.org or call us at 1-800-545-2433, ext. 4390.

And yes, dammit! There are malls in Kenya! And paved roads, car dealerships, universities, banks and yes, even book publishers! I remember when The Cold War between the US, Russia and China played out in Africa and now it’s this ‘war’ between… who is this between? Who are the players? These extremists in the East and in the West? It’s playing out all over Africa, from Mali to Kenya and to Somalia. Great people to follow from various locations across the continent to keep you aware of mostly literary and a few political occurences.

Storymoja Hay Fest@SMHayFest

Kinna@kinnareads

Writers Project Gh@writersPG

African Library Proj ‏ @AfricanLibraryP

Jalada Africa ‏ @JaladaAfrica

I’m thinking about mooncakes and Moon Festival while my friends in Taiwan are just getting over a massive typhoon.

Bless the people of Kenya who are mourning and grieving. Bless the people of Taiwan who should be celebrating the autumn moon festival but are suffering from a massive typhoon. Even from these tragedies, there will eventually be growth; god willing!

Bless us!

 

 

 

 

 

Back to the Grind

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My colleague, Valentine, with illustrator Faith Erin Hicks

About this time last week I was finishing my last Best Fiction for Young Adult committee meeting in Chicago. I met with 14 other libraries and had such good discussions about the best of what is being published in young adult fiction. Despite the lack of age, gender or ethnic diversity in the group, I have to say I was quite impressed with the attention to selecting a wide range of fiction for teen readers and attention to what matters in literature. I just can’t say enough about this group of women and how much I’m enjoying and learning from this process.

I didn’t like missing the entire conference, though! I can only technically say this was my first ALA because I didn’t get to do anything. OK, I did make it to the exhibit hall Friday evening where I was able to meet Laurianne Uy, Kekla Magoon (with whom I’ll be presenting at ALAN this fall), illustrator Faith Erin Hicks and Hannah Erlich (who has been sending me books from Lee and Low for years). I also found Soho Press and Kathie Hanson from Native Voices Books, NativeVoicesBooks.com.

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John Lewis signing his new book. Photo courtesy of Valentine

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Alice Walker. courtesy of Valentine.

But there are so many people I didn’t get to see or meet! So many events I missed!!

ALA is HUGE!! I missed the quilt exhibit, movie previews, parade of bookmobiles, cooking sessions, author readers and signings. While I was in meetings, my colleague was texting me photos of her meeting John Lewis and Alice Walker.

To be honest, I knew I’d miss these things. But mentioning all that went on at the conference gives me the opportunity to share the wide reach of librarians. While there were hundreds of presentations, there were thousands of meetings during the event. From diversity to literacy, ebooks, international libraries, data management anddigital

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Laurianne Uy

preservation, all that was there! And more!

I’ll be at ALA Midwinter where we’ll once again hear from students who have been reading BFYA books and twe’ll again discuss every book recommended after which we’ll vote on which we’ll add to the BFYA 2014 list. I’m still struggling to get caught up, but I refuse to be as far behind in January as I was in May.

So, now I’m back to work in my little library in Terre Haute. I’m finishing out summer projects and preparing materials for the fall. I’m finally getting a department chair at about the same time the library dean is leaving. Change is inevitable, isn’t it? We’re always surrounded by an abundance of opportunity, the trick is to be prepared. And, to have courage!

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I had been neglecting my garden. Before.

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After

SundayMorningReads

I put down roots in the Haute this weekend. We’ve finally had a sustained break from all the rain and hopefully there will be no morefarm morning frost so I got vegetables and herbs planted in my garden.

There are a couple of pieces of land close to campus that have been divided into plots for community members to grow crops each summer. Sounds nice, huh? Well, it gets even better! There are tool sheds on the grounds with gardening implements and wheel barrows. Leaf mulch and horse manure mulch is available and area farmers provide inexpensive straw to help the soil retain moisture. This wonderful deal isn’t free. There are dates by which certain progress must be made and a portion of the harvest must be donated to the local food agency. Nope, nothing is free, but this comes awfully close!

My sister drives over from Indy and we’re farming together. We’ve planted cabbage, broccoli, tomatoes (too many!), sweet and hot peppers, cucumbers, turnip greens, okra, sage, dill, fennel, basil and catnip. While the herbs will be a welcome part of the harvest, they’re also strategically placed in the garden to ward off pests.

I’ll be balancing my time at the garden with the time needed to finish the few dozen books I have to finish for BFYA which will be at ALA in a few short weeks. I won’t do much there other than committee meetings and catching up with people I’ve probably never met before. If you’re going to be there, please let me know!

I do plan to see Kathy aka The Brain Lair and I’ll congratulate her in person for being named her local Teacher of the Year. This is an awesome accomplishment for any educator but, especially for media specialists/school librarians who most people don’t recognize as such. From the article, from knowing all the great things Kathy does, I know she’s more than deserved this award!

I never give a second thought about what I share here. I find information I enjoy and I look forward to sharing it. When it comes to the give-a-way on Anali’s First Amendment, I have had second thoughts. I so want to win one of those prizes that I hate to limit my chances! But I will, not only for the sake of my readers but also to help draw more support to The Arc.

Anali’s First Amendment is hosting the All Aboard the Arc annual fund raiser to benefit The Arc of Massachusetts, which serves men, women and children with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The blog has much more information about the Arc and ways you can donate to support this worthy cause. To help bring attention, there’s a giveaway and it ends Monday 20 May.

  • Firehouse Subs gift cards
  • Greyston Baker brownies
  • The Greyston Bakery Cookbook

Author Meg Medina (Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass) also recently blogged about one of her passions, Partners in Print, an organization which supports literacy development mostly for ENL students. In the post, Medina provides unique insights into what it’s like being bilingual.

I have a co-worker from Congo who often tells me what a disadvantage she has because she’s not a native English speaker. (I’m smiling because she often reads these posts.) She’s lived here some 40 odd years, but still translates in her mind. One wouldn’t know this because she never misses a beat, no matter it be a technical cataloging question or a casual conversation filled with U.S. idioms.

Most native born Americans only speak one language like me and will have a difficult time understanding the difficulties these adults and these students, face. I am so amazed by their linguistic abilities, that I don’t see the problems. Thanks to Medina’s post, I understand more.

Don’t miss artist Jimmy Liao  (The sound of color )in the Gallery on the PaperTigers website.

Have you looked at Google+Hangouts yet? Again I say: Google concerns me. I was listening to a piece about Google on NPR this past week about their new voice search. The story also mentioned Google Travel which will read information from peoples’ photos to help plan vacations. They’ll look at both faces and places to determine your ultimate spot. One more way for them to collect data. No, I’ll not be using an Android, Google Chrome or Google Glass. I want to think I’m making you work for my information.

I don’t watch Scandal; I’m an Elementary girl. I think it’s interesting that while Kerry Washington, an African American woman, can be promoted for her sexuality, Lucy Lui, an Asian American woman, cannot. Neither can Sandra Oh who preceeds Scandal in Grey’s Anatomy. Read Lucy Lui on this topic :” I kind of got pushed out of both categories. It’s a very strange place to be. You’re not Asian enough and then you’re not American enough, so it gets really frustrating.” MORE

If you have time to up your professional reading this summer, don’t miss Voya’s 5 Foot Bookshelf: Essential Books for Professionals Who Serve Teens.

I’m so glad to be getting my hands in the soil! So thankful to be growing my own food and for the people I’m meeting in the process. I’ve found one more thing to help fill my summers days, but there’s always time for the things we want to do!

 

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”

Steve Jobs