Tuesday, March 29, 2011

And Another Online Auction for Japan: Write Hope

So I stumbled on another online auction where kidlit industry professionals are offering books and services to assist with the recovery efforts in Japan. Proceeds from Write Hope are going to Save the Children's Japan Earthquake Tsunami Relief Fund. The organizers of this auction are all writers with a fondness for Japan. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Teaching with Children's Books: Women's History

March is Women's History Month. Here are a few children's books I've read about strong American women who responded to societal norms by figuratively putting their thumbs on their noses:


STORM RUN by Libby Riddles, Illust. by Shannon Cartwright (Picture Book/Early Reader-Sasquatch Books) Dog musher Libby Riddles writes about her experience being the first woman to win Alaska's big Iditarod Sled Dog Race. 

HIROMI'S HANDS by Lynne Barasch (Picture Book-Lee & Low) Based on a true story, this book spotlights a Japanese American girl who aspires to be a sushi chef, just like her father.

BOYCOTT BLUES by Andrea Davis Pinkney, Illust. by Brian Pinkney (Picture Book-Greenwillow Books) Told in verse, this book narrates Rosa Parks' role in the Civil Rights Movement.

ROSIE THE RIVETER by Christine Petersen (Picture Book/Middle Grade-Children's Press, Scholastic) This book salutes the women who joined the work force during World War II.

Authors for Japan Auction is ON

A group of authors and publishing industry professionals, many of whom are  part of the children's  book scene in the U.K., banded together to form Authors for Japan. The site is offering books and services in an online auction to raise money for those affected by the tsunami in Japan. The bidding began this morning at 8 AM GMT and will end at 8 PM GMT on Sunday, March 20. You can live anywhere in the world to make bids but your bids must be made in UK pounds.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Praying for Victims of the Japanese Tsunami Earthquake

Yesterday, a 9.0 earthquake/tsunami shook up the northeast area of Japan. I'm worried about some of my friends who are English teachers living in Japan and am waiting to hear back from them. 

My husband and I visited Japan a few years ago, and we really enjoyed the beauty of the island country. I remember viewing the lovely architecture of the temples (though I'm not Buddhist, I still appreciate art when I see it), taking in the stunning Mount Fuji, stripping down for my first bath house experience, enjoying the wonderful cuisine, and mingling with the local schoolchildren. I am praying for Japan's recovery from this tragic natural disaster and for the affected victims and their families and loved ones.

Update on 3/13/11 : All my teacher friends in Japan emailed me back, and they're safe and well. Sigh of relief......At the same time, I feel sad for those who are suffering.  My husband and I are making a donation to the tsunami relief efforts through the American Red Cross, Bay Area Chapter. 

Monday, March 7, 2011

Zombies are the New Vampires

Zombies are the new vampires. And someday, fallen angels will be the new zombies. 

I learned so much from the Big Sur Children's Writing Workshop in Monterey, CA. Getting peer feedback in the workshops, chatting with faculty advisers and mingling with children's book agents from the Andrea Brown Literary Agency marked my rigorous and stimulating weekend. The event was held at the Embassy Suites Hotel Seaside/Monterey. The hotel was very guest-friendly- perks included complimentary breakfasts, complimentary drinks during the evening cocktail hour (woo-hoo!), and the indoor heated pool and jacuzzi. 

On the last day of the workshop, a panel of the workshop's children's book agents answered participant questions. A gentleman asked about the story cliches the agents came across the most. Here are some responses:

-Kids moving
-A kid sent to live somewhere on a farm
-Teen car accidents
-Stories beginning on the first day of school
-Magical relics
-Love triangles
-Romeo and Juliet-type stories
-Waking up from a dream
-The quest for the relic, the pendant, the ring, and the portal
-The prophecy kid

Very useful to know. The agents were quick to note that the topics listed above can still work and make great stories, but the writer should be able to bring something fresh to the "cliche" so the story doesn't become a cliche. One agent says she made a six-figure deal selling a story involving a teen car accident.  

Another audience member asked about how the rise of digital publishing will affect the children's publishing industry. Andrea Brown reassured us aspiring children's book authors by asserting that children's books are here to stay in spite of occasional cyclical changes in the market. Also very useful to know.