Friday, November 27, 2009
Lee Bennett Hopkins was the recipient of the 2009 NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children. Several lovely poets organized a celebration for Lee and created a book of poetry in his honor, with the help of NCTE. Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong graciously invited me to include an entry.
The beautiful cover was created by Stephen Alcorn.
My entry was based on the Lee's book Been to Yesterdays that really prompted me to find my voice and form.
Been to Yesterdays
You stretched out your hand
and gave me
Been to Yesterdays.
“Stowed in cardboard
in paper chests”
like my own
waiting to be dusted, lifted, and remembered.
and middle grade voice facing divorce
found my mother,
and me facing the divorce in my childhood.
Been to Yesterdays
took me to my own.
Thank you for
holding out your hand
so that I might grasp it.
Lorie Ann Grover, 2009
Thank you to all the poets who worked so hard to honor Lee! Well done!
Monday, November 23, 2009
I just wanted to share the beauty and joy of the National Book Awards Dinner. So here are a few photos of the magical night!
Dia and I were all gussied up. That's a bird in my hair!
The venue was gorgeous! Flower petals all over the table.
We thanked rgz friends and judges Coe Booth and Nancy Werlin. These ladies, along with Kathi Appelt, Carolyn Coman, and Gene Luen Yang, had worked so hard choosing the finalists!
At our table were the charming daughters of Philip Hoose, Young People's Literature winner for Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice. Here he is kissing his daughter right after the announcement. :~)
Also at our table was Poetry Winner Keith Waldrop for Transcendental Studies: A Trilogy. That's the award before him!
Needless to say, we were cheering for Laini Taylor and Rita Williams-Grarcia! Arthur Levine even dyed his goatee pink to match Laini!
"Lorie Ann is a readergirlz founder, a homeschooling mother, a former dancer. She is also, let me be clear, a bonafide poet who, with Hold me Tight, captures the bewildering eight weeks in the life of a young girl whose father has left, whose mother is pregnant, and whose classmate has been snatched by a vengeful kidnapper. It doesn't make sense, and yet this is life as Estele Leann knows it, life as she must learn to live it.
A novel-in-poems might sound like a daunting proposition; Hold me Tight is anything but. I can't, in fact, imagine telling this story in any other fashion, with any other tools. More words would have been excess and somehow less true. Fewer would have denied us the long dwell in the cracked-open heart of a child. In line after line, Lorie Ann masterfully reveals a child grappling to understand, and to forgive.
I'm going to shatter
into a million slivers,
and none of my pieces
will end up
touching each other.
She reveals as well a child who is already finding her way:
I gather a few bits
and tape myself
back into Dad's arms.
This is what I have
to show he loved me once.
This was me
before I hated him.
This was then.
Sometimes the people who put others on the stage (as Lorie Ann has put so many on the stage) aren't given enough room beneath the spotlight. Today, on my blog, it's Lorie Ann Grover's turn to leap and to touch down, graced.
Saturday, November 21, 2009
So, here's my new info from my trip.
10 Things I Learned About NYC:
1. NYC pigeons are chubby.
2. Mounted policemen will smile at you, but it's best not to share a smile on the subway.
3. There is such a thing as Taxi Court, thank you, Melissa Walker. Wish we had known when Dia was forced out of the cab and left on the curb.
4. Subway entrances are openings in the ground. Do not look for a subway building.
5. Nobody else is wearing fluffery things on their heads.
6. Black is what to wear.
7. King Kong is not climbing the Empire State Building, the Terminator is not in the alley, and Neo is not in the subway, even though you strongly expect them to be.
8. New Yorkers will help people find their way very nicely.
9. One can make $10 walking a dog.
10. East Coast bubble tea tapioca balls are softer than West Coast. No symbolism intended.
Calvin Sims, Program Officer of the Ford Foundation
Harold Augenbraum, Executive Director of the National Book Foundation
Leslie Shipman, Director of Programs of the National Book Foundation
The National Book Foundation wrap up says:
The Foundation's first year of offering the Innovations in Reading Prize saw 150 applications from 30 states."
A selection process was created based on the following criteria: level of innovation, impact and need, with innovation always carrying the most weight. Impact and need came into play only in cases where two programs were judged to be equally innovative. "Innovation" was not limited to meaning only technologically innovative. In some cases, innovation meant identifying a need in the community and developing a program to address that need in a simple and effective way. In all cases, selections were made to reward programs that create and sustain a life long love of reading."
I was so happy and thankful to represent the rgz community! Woot!
Friday, November 20, 2009
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Dia and I have arrived in New York City! Last night we partied it up at the Powerhouse Arena. Today we are off to receive the Innovations in Reading Prize from the National Book Foundation for readergirlz! Getting ready to hit Wall Street with my Docs! And we are off!
Friday, November 13, 2009
Friday, November 6, 2009
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
So, the questions: Does teen literature exaggerate the mean girl phenomena too much? If aliens landed on earth and read teen lit (oh my) would they expect to find mini Cordelias wreaking havoc on every high school across America? Are they so prevalent because it just easier to write about mean girls then nice ones? Is teen lit reflecting what is real in this instance or propagating an unfair female stereotype?
"I'm not a sociologist, but I've read Queen Bees and Wannabes by Rosalind Wiseman and Odd Girl Out by Rachel Simmons. I believe the nonfiction conclusion that girls leverage power in a very different way than boys. Rather than plain facts and fists, girls use words and withhold them to manipulate.
I do remember certain mean girls throughout my school experience, and I've witnessed them in my teen daughters' as well. Anti-bully programs are popular in the public school system in our area. I'm assuming both sexes are addressed.
Maybe the subject is a fad right now, Colleen. And maybe we are looking more at the mean girl herself, rather than the victim who used to concern us most. Stephen King's Carrie flashes to mind. Is this new perspective giving the subject a fresh breath in teen lit? There's a fuller story of the mean girl herself, and there's even the exploration of a placid character turning into one: Tina Fey's Mean Girls.
Those are my thoughts. I'm not overly worried or concerned. The antagonist wears so many masks. Right now, she just happens to have a very nice complexion."
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Cyn, I'm so thankful this generation of teens has our pop culture and more at their fingertips. This just wasn't the case for my mother and her mother.
Whether it's vintage on youtube, or hulu, or project playlist, nearly all the media material of generations past are accessible today.
This frees us as writers to draw on memories important to us, yet still connect with today's teen. Just as you did in Rain is not my Indian Name. It was no big deal to reference M*A*S*H in my novel Loose Threads.
What a win win! My mom will often laugh when she visits and hears Dean Martin seeping from my sixteen year old daughter's ipod. Just goes to show...
Sunday, November 1, 2009
My friend just pointed out Jon Klassen's work to me. Is this not GORGEOUS?
Absolutely inspiring. Check out his website here or his blog here.
He also did preliminary drawings for Coraline. Okay, can someone tell me WHY hasn't Jon been asked to do a picture book yet? Seriously. I searched Amazon and found nothing.
Calling children's book art directors and editors. Sign, Jon!