Tag Archives: literary consideration

Sunday Select, September 6, 2015

FCLSSQuote of the Week

Don’t even think about publishing until you’ve actually started writing, and don’t even think about writing until you’ve done a whole lot of reading. And not of websites or how-to guides; that’s just dilly-dallying. Read children’s books. Lots of children’s books. Although my grumpiness is resurfacing to tell you that if you haven’t already read lots of children’s books, for love, I’m probably not going to be interested in what you think you have to contribute. Harshing your buzz? Deal with it and dig out your library card.

— by Roger Sutton,
Editorial of the September/October 2015 Issue of The Horn Book

Books & Book Lists

Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead, reviewed by Elizabeth Bird– from School Library Journal

The Alex Crow by Andrew Smith, reviewed by Jason Reynolds — from The New York Times

George by Alex Gino, author interview by Kiera Parrott — from School Library Journal

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Recent and New Releases by Alyson Beecher — from Kid Lit Frenzy

3 Filipino Folk Tales That Would Make Great YA Novels by Angel Cruz — from Book Riot

Happenings and Musings

Read Before You Write by Roger Sutton — from The Horn Book

Diversity Survey Deadline Nears by By Jim Milliot — from Publishers Weekly

The Opposite of Colorblind: Why It’s Essential to Talk to Children About Race by Hannah Ehrlich — from Lee & Low Books

Ratcheting Up the Rhetoric by Charles Blow — from The New York Times

Literary and Entertaining

The Bay of the Dead, a Facebook Photo Story by M.T. Anderson — from Facebook

17 Things We Wish Had Happened in Harry Potter by Gwen Glazer — from The New York Times

Where the Magic Happens: Children’s Illustrators Open Up Their Studios – in pictures by Jake Green — from The Guardian

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Sunday Select, August 23, 2015

FCLSSQuote of the Week

Learning the alphabet gave you night terrors, and even now you have a deep seated fear of being mauled by a bear.

— by Bridey Heing,

from “How to Tell If You’re in and Edward Gorey Book”  (referring to The Gashlycrumb Tinies)

Children’s Literature Happenings & Book Lists

How To Tell If You’re In an Edward Gorey Book by Bridey Heing — from The Toast

Kwame Alexander BeatBoxing The Crossover at Singapore American School

ABC Books Beyond Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Karina Glaser — from Book Riot

Getting Graphic by Julie Danielson — from Kirkus

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #445: Featuring Matt Phelan by Julie Danielson from Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast

Good Questions and Great Answers

Where Are All The People of Color in Sci-Fi/Fantasy? by Anthony Vicino — from SF Signal

Bedtime Stories for Young Brains by Perri Klass, MD. — from The New York Times

10 REASONS TO READ DIVERSELY — from Lee & Low Books

I’m Latino. I’m Hispanic. And They Are Different, so I drew a comic to explain. by Terry Blas — from Vox

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Sunday Select, August 16, 2015

FCLSSQuotes of the Week

What few people understand and some people don’t want to understand is that the chattel slavery inflicted on blacks in America was distinctly different from slavery in Africa, Russia, Ireland, Rome, Greece, or Egypt. The notion that a person and their descendants would be held in generational perpetuity without any hope of liberation was only featured in America… for hundreds of years, affecting millions of people. Slavery is America’s original sin. Many of our fellow citizens continue to suffer horrific injustice and inequality because we haven’t learned our history and we lack the moral courage to deal with what happened then and what is happening now.

— Laurie Halse Anderson (public facebook comment)

Authors must be allowed to focus on the topics and ideas that contain personal meanings, that they feel passionate about examining in their work, and that they can feel proud of creating.  Solely focusing on what an author hasn’t given readers can mean we risk missing an awful lot of what they have.

— Shelly McNerney
from In which I think about gender of authors and characters…

Authors and Reading Lists

andrewsmithweird
A sampling of YA author Andrew Smith’s Facebook Profile Photos: with two new books out in 2015 (Alex Crow and Stand Off) Smith is not only hard at work keeping his YA novels weird (and they ARE weird, in the best way) but also making sure that Facebook remains equally weird.

How Brian Selznick Created a Delightful Book Trailer for ‘The Marvels’ by Jennifer Maloney — from Speakeasy, Wall Street Journal

How to (Re)Tell a Story in Pictures by Gareth Hinds — from TeachingBooks.net

M.T. Anderson: ‘Seeking Out the Truth’ for Teens — from Shelf Awareness

Italy: Diary of a Wimpy Kid translated into Latin — from BBC News from Elsewhere

Meet Marvel’s newest female superhero in Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur by Andrea Towers — from Entertainment Weekly

SUMMER READING compiled by Crystal — from Rich In Color

The Best Feminist Books For Younger Readers by Brandi Bailey — From Book Riot

Looking for a Back-to-School Chapter Book Read Aloud? Don’t Miss These! by Daryl Grabarek — from School Library Journal

Important Perspectives

In which I think about gender of authors and characters… by Shelly McNerney — from macstackbooks.com

Kids’ Thoughts on Censorship (Loudness in the Library Year Three, Part 1) by Allie Jane Bruce — from Bank Street College Center for Children’s Literature

Rewriting History: American Indians, Europeans, and an Oak Tree (Loudness in the Library Year Three, Part 3) by Allie Jane Bruce — from Bank Street College Center for Children’s Literature

Allie’s Reflections (Loudness in the Library Year Three, Part 4) by Allie Jane Bruce — from Bank Street College Center for Children’s Literature

Representations (and the Lack Thereof) of Race and Hair (Loudness in the Library Year Three, Part 2) by Allie Jane Bruce — from Bank Street College Center for Children’s Literature

Monticello’s whitewashed version of history by Desiree H. Melton — from The Washington Post

Follow-up discussion on author Laurie Halse Anderson’s public facebook post regarding the above article.

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Teaching The Graveyard Book in China

graveyardbookFour young readers from Shanghai (ages 13-15) and I spent two weeks together enjoying and analyzing Neil Gaiman’s Newbery winning title The Graveyard Book. The lessons were all conducted in English. We had a lot of fun and here are some of the observations that we made about the book:

Screen Shot 2015-08-09 at 9.18.08 AM

(silly names we gave ourselves/each other)Screen Shot 2015-07-30 at 7.53.47 AM

  • The author makes it so that the supposedly bad people (the graveyard dead, a witch, a vampire, and a werewolf) turned out to be super nice and caring.  It made us reconsider our assumptions to the people around us.
  • The author effectively uses verbs and action phrases for inanimate objects to create vivid and poetic imageries: tendrils of fog could insinuate themselves into the hall, the graveyard could keep secrets, and the burnt sun could gaze into the world below.
  • We had lots of fun figuring out what Gaiman implies in his text.  Silas’ true being is, of course, the most fun to guess: so many clues about what he is without the word* EVER being present in the book. But there are many other things that the readers need to figure out: the characters’ moods, interior thoughts and motivations, etc.  In other words, this is a great book for inferences. 
  • Paradox is another literary device used often by the author.  We bookended the course with this paradoxical phrase: “Glorious Tragedy” that Gaiman used to describe what it’s like to be a parent and how The Graveyard Book can be read as a book about the bittersweetness of successful parenting.  This phrase could be used especially to frame much of the last part of the book when Nobody Owens grows too old to be contained within the safety of the Graveyard.   Isn’t “growing up” also a kind of glorious tragedy? I asked the four young readers to contemplate in what ways that “growing up” is a glorious tragedy.
  • Each student wrote me a quick feedback on their individual experience with the book.  All were positive and had strong emotional reaction to the events and characters in the book.
    • One wrote how they appreciated the many new vocabulary words (Gaiman definitely did NOT shy away from using precise, perfect, but not easy words.)
    • They all enjoyed the “guess” work whenever I asked them to infer a particular subtly presented idea.
    • One student who never read a single English language book before this class vowed to continue reading books in English!

I had a blast!  The students were diligent and after the first couple of days, were lively and contributed a lot.  It’s especially rewarding to closely re-read The Graveyard Book and confirm how finely crafted this book truly is, in every aspect!

* SPOILER ALERT — Silas’ identity is revealed after the cover image (for those who have yet to read the book.)

graveyardbook

Silas is a vampire.

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Today I’m thinking about narrative voice choices again…

Today, I’m thinking about narrative voice choices again. Employing a particular device is like handling fire… Especially when it is an unusual and potent one such as an ignorant, concealing, and unreliable first person narrator. When it is done right, it adds brilliance and life to the tale; but when it is fanned and carelessly left unattended, it will scorch and burn, metaphorically, the pages. The book I am about to finish suffers from just such unskilled fire keeper and, in this reader’s opinion, has been badly and unjustly incinerated. The idea of the tale is a solid and interesting one, but the book is definitely made inferior by the unwise choice of such a narrative device as beyond the talent of the author.

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April 26, 2012 · 9:41 pm

This is about book 20 It’s a major…

This is about book 20. It’s a major disappointment. It came from a reputable publisher, by a very well known author, with beautiful book making… but the book is NOT charming, NOT funny (at least not to most children, I would imagine,) NOT really clever, NOT thrilling, NOT moving, and NOT able to keep me from putting down the book time and time again — indeed a major let down.

And, it has one of my all time pet peeve: a “device” that the author failed to carry out consistently or logically. In this one, there is no way that the narrator would have put certain things down the way they appear in words on the paper. There is a drastic disconnect between what the “proposed” and the actual narrative voice. Instead of being ingenuous and clever, this device became a totally gimmick — a trick that looks funny on the cover but fails to satisfy its promise. *sigh* I know the next book is going to make me happier!

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April 13, 2012 · 3:48 pm

Paradoxes and His Dark Materials

I’ve been listening to The Golden Compass (audio book) and are reminded of one of the many reasons why I adored this trilogy: the brilliantly placed and worded paradoxes by Pullman.  As a quick example: (paraphrased here): “She’s afraid of him… and the thing she fears most is his kindness.”  (Lyra and John Farr). One of my students (now 17) wrote me upon reading my thought on this topic:

Let’s face it, that trilogy is in a very small league of “stories of the century.” Having not read them in years (I think I’d cry again if I did), I will venture to say that such paradox is what makes the three so arresting and breathtaking – a stunning universe that is both new and our own, with religious elements that are both familiar and yet twisted, and in the middle a people just like us but with souls on the outside. So his paradoxical writing is something of a window, a…what’s the word…lens, tunnel, mirror…(it’s late to be thinking)…through which the paradoxes shine even more brightly. And, since conflict is what readers read for, people absolutely love it, because the very writing is in conflict with itself and what it portrays.

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