Friday, June 30, 2006

Get off my b(log) and read

Well, I haven't much been on my blog to get off it, but I made many promises of various sorts at the ALA conference in New Orleans, and since I've been unmasked by Roger Sutton, here goes.

fusenumber8 suggests in her comments to my last post that Frank Beddor (author of Looking Glass Wars) is British and therefore ineligible...but nothing could be farther from the truth. He's from LA, a Hollywood man through and through. I had the pleasure of dining with him at Dial Books' expense in New Orleans, where nearly everyone opted for the very fancy chicken with waffles. He told, in fact, of his villifying ordeal being interviewed by the BBC.

I'll continue to compile your suggestions for titles to look at (as I figure out how to work this darn thing--helpful comments appreciated!)... but I'm intrigued by the carnivorous vitriol I've heard directed at little china rabbits. That would be DiCamillo's The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane.

I think a discussion of this title deserves some backstory. DiCamillo won the Newbery Medal in 2004 for The Tale of Despereaux. I was on that committee, and though I can't share with you the committee's discussion of this title (which shall remain forever all committee discussions are for very good reasons), I can happily share my own. I was, frankly, less than enthusiatic upon my first reading of this (is Kate reading? It gets better...) but was turned onto a second reading by a third-grade teacher friend of mine. He'd been similarly un-enthralled by the direct and stylized narration, but tried it on his students, who were compelled in exactly the places that he'd been turned off. I tried reading a second time as a third grader--a very difficult thing to do for us jaded grown-ups--but it works, I tell you. Try looking at Edward Tulane the same way. Are you thinking of Hitty? Velveteen Rabbit? Well, third graders aren't. The fact is: Kate DiCamillo is a great writer. Her language is unique, compelling, vivid, funny, tender...and with a dark edge. Third graders are open-hearted, silly, fearful, naive, and love their schmaltz. What better pairing? If it's too sweet for you, then, by all means: china rabbits with a bitter brew. But expect a night of bad dreams digesting that.

(Now, some of you have expressed to me that you've tried to post a comment but couldn't. You do have to set up a blogger account to post here, but it's very easy, and you don't have to have a blog. Just follow the links. I know who you are, and expect a swift response!)

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Our list so far

Thanks for all the comments; our cumulative list to date is below. I'm off this weekend to the ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans, where I hope to pick up some copies. (Yes, we're the first major conference to touch down in New Orleans after Katrina...hopefully we'll spread around some love and some cash)

Bella At Midnight Diane Stanley
Dear Miss Breed Joanne Oppenheim
Firegirl Tony Abbott
Gossamer Lois Lowry
Here Lies the Librarian Richard Peck
The Loud Silence of Francine Green Karen Cushman
The Looking Glass Wars Frank Beddor
Lugalbanda Kathy Henderson
Penny From Heaven Jennifer L. Holm
Rules Cynthia Lord
Samurai Shortstop Alan Gratz
Shug Jenny Han
Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie David Lubar
Weedflower Cynthia Kadohata

Saturday, June 03, 2006

What is a Mock Newbery?

It's not a dish, though it sounds delightful. Something with pastry and flames?

At a Mock Newbery discussion and election, participants who have read a selected list of 8-10 books gather and pretend to be the real Newbery committee, using the award's criteria to discuss each books' merits against the others, and submit weighted votes to come up with a winner. The particular fun of it is to try and identify 8-10 books that are real potentials for the award, and to see how your results match the actual committee's. The actual Newbery committee makes it's decision in January, and it's "shortlist" is forever secret, so there's a lot of guesswork. Check out the Newbery Homepage (on the link list) for all the details!

Continue to send titles. I'll start posting a cummulative list soon.

Help me build a Mock Newbery List

Forget the frantic emailing and searching other people's lists in November...I'm going to start now soliciting suggestions for titles to use in my Mock Newbery this December (feel free to weigh in on a date as well. It'll be at the Oakland Public Library as before). What better way to do it than in a blog--and what better way for me to start blogging.

Only title on my list so far:
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate Di Camillo. I haven't really started thinking about what other potentials there are, but this one seems obvious.