Monday, October 26, 2015

The Listing Fest/Some Books I Read

Writer Bish Denham is hosting The Listing Fest today. Thanks for organizing, Bish!  From Bish's website: The rules are simple. All you have to do is sign up in the linky thingy below, grab the banner, and make a list. I suggest you keep your list to between 5 and 25 items long. 

Today, I’m listing some books I have read. (When I share these lists, I name only some books I’ve read in a time period, not all.)

1. LANDLINE by Rainbow Rowell (Adult-St. Martin's Press) A woman in a strained marriage discovers a magical phone that allows her to have phone conversations with her husband from the past. 

2. LIKE SISTERS ON THE HOMEFRONT by Rita Williams-Garcia (YA-Lodestar) A teen mom, after having an abortion, is sent away from the city to the South to live with her uncle, aunt, and cousin, family she'd never met.

3. A SINGLE SHARD by Linda Sue Park (YA-Clarion) A boy living in 12th century Korea aspires to learn how to craft pottery.

4. WOVEN (YA-Scholastic) A murdered peasant boy teams up with a snobby princess, the only one who can see his ghost, to locate a magic needle. Check out my author interview.   

5. CAN'T WE TALK ABOUT SOMETHING MORE PLEASANT?: A MEMOIR (Graphic Novel for Adults, Non-Fiction- Bloomsbury USA) With humor and bittersweet nostalgia, a woman struggles to take care of her aging parents before they pass on. 

6. THE CHOKE ARTIST: CONFESSIONS OF A CHRONIC UNDERACHIEVER by David Yoo (Adult, Non-Fiction-Grand Central Publishing) This memoir shares essays detailing a Korean American man's many agonies-from bedroom anxieties to workplace drama to family-related angst. The first book I read by David was GIRLS FOR BREAKFAST, a YA novel. Check out my author interview.

7.  ROLLER GIRL by Victoria Jamieson (Graphic Novel for MG readers- Penguin) A girl sadly observes her best friend befriending her bully and moves on by participating in a roller derby camp.

8. BROWN GIRL DREAMING by Jacqueline Woodson (MG, Non-Fiction- Nancy Paulsen) Told in verse, an African American girl raised as a Jehovah’s Witness shares about her upbringing during the 1960s and 1970s.

9. THE ADVENURES OF BEEKLE: THE UNIMAGINARY FRIENDS by Dan Santat (PB- Little, Brown) An imaginary friend waits to be imagined by a child so he can become real.

10. THE TREE LADY by H. Joseph Hopkins, Illust. by Jill McElmurry (PB, Non-Fiction- Beach Lane) Kate Sessions, a teacher and horticulturalist, helps beautify and add green to San Diego by embarking on a tree planting campaign.

11. THE PEOPLE WE USED TO BE   by Madeline Mora-Summonte (Adult- Amazon) This collection of short stories, both light and dark, offers glimpses of people, young and old, in various journeys.

What books have you read lately?

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

IWSG: Parental Supervision

Today is IWSG day, a monthly event Alex Cavanaugh started to get writers sharing about their insecurities and other things. On the first Wednesday of the month, a bunch of us gather on the blogosphere to share...First, I just want to thank some of you for the nice comments from my last post. Things are better now. Encountering negativity happens to the best of us. I am moving on....Now onto my post…

Recently, we introduced our children to Charles Schulz’s Peanuts cartoons. Although I loved the Peanuts comics as a child (as well as Garfield and Calvin & Hobbes), it actually has been years since I watched the Peanuts cartoons or holiday specials. I have vague recollections of Linus waiting for the Great Pumpkin, the gang enjoying toast and popcorn for Thanksgiving, and Charlie Brown getting a scrawny little Christmas tree…Recently, I was watching excerpts from a Peanuts cartoon with my son and I was reminded of how much more edgy vintage cartoons were compared to some of the sterile children’s cartoons today.

In a moment of parental insecurity, the one where I worry about whether my child would let something negative on TV rub off on them, I began commenting on the morality of the scenes. That’s awful that Charlie Brown missed the football and see… she made him hit his head! It’s not nice to call someone a “blockhead.” Ignoring my comments, my son continued to laugh at what he thought was funny.

Here’s the irony: Sometimes I get annoyed when I observe a parent criticizing the morality of what goes on in a kidlit/YA story. But here I was, doing pretty much that with a cartoon, and one I’d loved as a child at that. So I stopped talking and let my son watch the cartoon in peace.

On another day after that, I worked at my desk as my son watched another Peanuts cartoon by himself. In the middle of the episode, he called to me: “I heard someone say ‘stupid!’ They’re not supposed to say that. It’s a bad word.”

“Yes, it is a bad word,” I called back. “Glad you’re paying attention!”

I was pleased that my son was able to derive his opinion about what was right and wrong about a character’s behavior without my constant interjections. 

That said, parental supervision isn’t a bad thing. Not at all. I think it’s perfectly fine to have conversations with our children about anything in a TV show, movie, song, or book that we feel should be addressed. But I feel we should also give our children space to figure some stuff out on their own too.

What do you think is the right amount of parental supervision children should have regarding their exposure to TV, movies, music, or books? Which cartoons or comics did you enjoy as a child?