Monthly Archives: March 2010

In a reading rut? Check out these lists.

I’m always excited when the newest Kid’s Next List at Indiebound crops up. The Spring 2010 List is out now. Take a look. Lots of goodies there, but I’m particularly eager to read Francisco Stork’s newest, The Last Summer of the Death Warriors, Wendy Mass’s Finally, and Lauren Oliver’s much-buzzed about, Before I Fall.

And if nothing there tickles your fancy, why not peruse the list of titles battling it out in this year’s School Library Journal‘s Battle of the Kids’ Books. A pretty fine list indeed. See:

The Contenders
Charles and Emma
Claudette Colvin
The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate
The Frog Scientist
The Last Olympian
Lips Touch: Three Times
The Lost Conspiracy Marcelo in the Real World
Marching for Freedom
Peace, Locomotion
A Season of Gifts
The Storm in the Barn
Sweethearts of Rhythm
Tales from Outer Suburbia
When You Reach Me

There is a lot more info on the battle at the website. Here’s the list of judges (and may I say… wow):

The Judges
M. T. Anderson
Christopher Paul Curtis
Nancy Farmer
Candace Fleming
Helen Frost
Shannon Hale
Angela Johnson
Cynthia Kadohata
Julius Lester
Jim Murphy
Walter Dean Myers
Katherine Paterson
Gary Schmidt
Anita Silvey
Megan Whalen Turner

That should keep you reading for a while I should think.

Poetry Friday: A Blessing for Wedding

I just love the way every line of this poem is a picture. Something hopeful for an early March morning.

A Blessing for Wedding – by Jane Hirshfield

Today when persimmons ripen
Today when fox-kits come out of their den into snow
Today when the spotted egg releases its wren song
Today when the maple sets down its red leaves
Today when windows keep their promise to open
Today when fire keeps its promise to warm
Today when someone you love has died
or someone you never met has died
Today when someone you love has been born
or someone you will not meet has been born
Today when rain leaps to the waiting of roots in their dryness
Today when starlight bends to the roofs of the hungry and tired
Today when someone sits long inside his last sorrow
Today when someone steps into the heat of her first embrace
Today, let this light bless you…

(read the rest here…)

My kindred spirit? On second thought, not so much.

Sometimes when I take a book out of the library I’ll find a record slip inside from the person who had the book before I got it.

Today I picked up this:

The previous borrower’s slip inside listed A Curse Dark as Gold and Ash and… wait for it…

Crocodile Dundee (and Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles, and Crocodile Dundee II).

Who is that person?

The world is a tricky place indeed.


There has already been a lot of love for Raina Telgemeier’s autobiographical Middle Grade graphic novel, Smile. I just finished it today, and so it’s my turn to chime in. It really is charming and touching, from beginning to end, and if ever you had a tooth pulled as a kid, or had more than your fair share of ortho appointments, you’ll appreciate it all the more.

In Smile, Telgemeier, the adaptor and illustrator of The Baby-sitter’s Club graphic novels, tells her own story of “family, friends, boys and dental drama,” and when she says dental drama, she’s not kidding. In her grade six year, after a night out at Girl Scouts, Raina fell and knocked out both of her front teeth. So began an incredibly long process of surgery and orthodontics and headgear and struggle for Raina back towards an ordinary smile.

I hope that Raina’s book marks the beginning of many more quality graphic novels for middle grade girls, and readers would be lucky indeed if they were this well done, this emotionally true. At several moments while reading Smile I thought how right it was that Raina didn’t shy away from how miserable the middle grade years can be, when it seems like the only thing you’re really good at is being awkward. I think most readers will have a few moments of recognition. I know I would have been comforted to read this book at twelve or thirteen, when I might have recognized a little bit of my own life on the page. Smile is a heartfelt, pitch-perfect read, sure to find many fans. So go read Raina Telgemeier’s story and get your smile on (with braces or without).

Smile is published by Graphix, an imprint of Scholastic.

March events at readergirlz: Scott Westerfeld & Elizabeth Scott

March is set to be a stellar month at readergirlz. Our featured author is Scott Westerfeld (of Uglies, Pretties, Specials, Extras and more). We’ll be chatting about his latest novel, the fabulously steampunk-y Leviathan. Visit the readergirlz blog all month long and then join in the chat on March 17th at 6pm PST and 9pm EST. There are so many reasons to pick up this book, but one of the biggest reasons in my view is the amazing interior artwork by Keith Thompson. Wow. The illustrations are phenomenal and add so much to the mood of the novel.

If you swing by Scott’s blog, you can explore some Leviathan goodies, including the full first chapter of the audiobook, read by Alan Cumming. (Perfect casting choice, yes?)

Here’s the trailer, to get you in the spirit:

But before we get to that sure-to-be-action-packed chat, we have another treat, a chat with readergirlz author-in-residence, Elizabeth Scott (who is darling and oh-so-clever and funny) on March 5th. You don’t want to be anywhere else.