Tuesday, September 28, 2010

New short story collection featuring some of my fav authors is on it's way.

A picture of Kate Dicamillo from the Library o...Image via Wikipedia (Kate DiCamillo)
I came across some great news today. Haughton Mifflin Harcourt Children's is putting together some of my all time fav. author to create middle grade stores based on an illustration.  Sadly, the book, Chronicles of Harris Burdick, won't be out until fall 2011.  The good news is that Lois Lowry, Walter Dean Myers, Linda Sue Park, Sheerman Alexie, M.T. Anderson, Kate DiCamillo, Louis Sachar and Jon Scieszka will all have stories in it.  Not to sound too fawning, with a star-studded line-up like that, it's bound to be awesome.
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Monday, September 27, 2010

Flaunt Book Banning

Looking for a way to celebrate Banned Books Week?

According to ALA, here are 2009's most challenged books.
Flaunt book banning!  
Read one or more of these great books, and then leave it at a bus stop, subway or other public place for someone else to pick up.  

Out of 460 challenges as reported to the Office for Intellectual Freedom 
Some of these are favorite titles.  

1. “TTYL; TTFN; L8R, G8R (series), by Lauren Myracle 
Reasons: Nudity, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group, Drugs 
2. “And Tango Makes Three” by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson 
Reasons: Homosexuality 
3. “The Perks of Being A Wallflower,” by Stephen Chbosky 
Reasons: Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit, Anti-Family, Offensive Language, Religious Viewpoint, Unsuited to Age Group, Drugs, Suicide 
4. “To Kill A Mockingbird,” by Harper Lee 
Reasons: Racism, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group 
5. Twilight (series) by Stephenie Meyer 
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Religious Viewpoint, Unsuited to Age Group 
6. “Catcher in the Rye,” by J.D. Salinger 
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group 
7. “My Sister’s Keeper,” by Jodi Picoult 
Reasons: Sexism, Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Religious Viewpoint, Unsuited to Age Group, Drugs, Suicide, Violence 
8. “The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things,” by Carolyn Mackler 
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group 
9. “The Color Purple,” Alice Walker 
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group 
10. “The Chocolate War,” by Robert Cormier 
Reasons: Nudity, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Run for the Cure

I'll be doing the 5 K 'Run for the Cure' next week before work.  I'll be running for all women.  You may not be inclined to run, but anyone can donate either your time, or a few bucks at www.cbcf.org.  I hope you'll consider it. I'll post a few pics after the race.

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Monday, September 20, 2010

The Book Worm is Reading Waiting for the Whales

For the last several months, The Oak Bay Book Worm has been reading a different book every week, Alice in Wonderland, Treasure Island, Moby Dick are a few of the books being read.  My dog Ruby, aka "the shadow" is checking out what the Oak Bay Book Worm is reading this week; it's Waiting for the Whales!  Dan Bell, the creative horticulturalist behind The Oak Bay Book Worm, and all sorts of other horticultural masterpieces, you are awesome!

By the way, if you like what you see, let the Parks & Rec. Department of Oak Bay know.  I'm sure it would be a treat for them to hear some positive feedback for their wonderful living art, especially art that has encouraged reading.  And, it's always nice to have one of your own books on the Book Worm's reading radar.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

David Weisner in Vancouver

Great news!   Author / illustrator extraordinaire David Weisner will be at Vancouver Kidsbooks on Wednesday October 13th at 7pm.  His titles include Flotsam and Tuesday, both stunning books.  He'll be promoting his new book, Art & Max.  Tickets will be limited, so call today.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Books for "Airlift to LA"

A few months ago, I was contacted by Helaine Becker, a writer friend.  She'd been in LA and had visited a school with virtually no books on the library shelves.  Not one to accept the status quo, Helaine decided to do something about it.  That something is about to come to fruition.

The following is a press release she sent along this morning.

Children’s book author orchestrates Canada-wide book drive to stack library shelves of inner city school in Los Angeles.

Helaine Becker’s Airlift to LA highlights the state of Canadian school libraries.

August 23, 2010 (Toronto, ON) Shocked by the empty library bookshelves during an author visit to a Los Angeles-area elementary school, children’s book author Helaine Becker is taking action. She’s started a campaign to put books in the hands of disadvantaged children in LA, and, just as important, is bringing attention to the alarming state of Canadian school libraries.

Becker, an award-winning Toronto area author, has written over 40 books for children, including Science on the Loose (Maple Tree Press 2008), and is known for her wacky, off beat humour for the younger set.

In a recent trip to California, Becker collected over 650 books (most were discards from more affluent schools) for Barton Elementary School, located in an inner city area of Long Beach. Books not up to library standards were given directly to the children and for most of these children, it was the first time they had ever owned a book or even read for pleasure. Now back in Canada, Helaine is spearheading a campaign — Airlift to LA — to stock the shelves of another Los Angeles-area elementary school in the Compton district.

“The three schools I visited were all understaffed, underfunded, and under stocked to the point of breakdown,” explains Becker. “I was completely shocked by how bad the situation was there. The way U.S. schools are funded through property taxes means schools in low-income areas have virtually no ability to meet existing school standards, nor to effectively educate the next generation.

“My hope is that by helping the kids in the Compton-area, we will not only deliver books to kids who need them, but also draw attention to the fact that Canadian school libraries are heading the same way. Our libraries are also dramatically underfunded, in every single province and territory,” explains Becker who recently visited a northern Canadian school whose dusty shelves included books such as The Red Indian and Young John Kennedy. “If you only have a part-time library tech to come in and look after the place one half-day a week, and no funding to restock the shelves with books less than 50 years-old, well, Compton, here we come.”

A long-time advocate for school libraries, Becker sees helping the children in LA as a short-term solution. “The real problem we are trying to address is the systemic problems we face on both sides of the border. Almost none of the school libraries I visit are up to Canadian standards set by the Canadian Library Association,” says Becker who authored a document that allows the public to determine how their school libraries stack up. “If they do the assessment they will see how poorly we are doing and, as a result, why our literacy numbers are going sideways. My hope is that the public will use the results to put pressure on the government to put the funding back where it can do so much good — in a fully-functioning, fully-staffed school library.”
Becker has partnered with Sandra Tsing-Loh, columnist and local celebrity in the LA-area and an advocate for public education, and Rebecca Constantino, founder of Access Books — a non-profit organization which organizes book drives and funding for underserviced school libraries. Last week, Becker shipped approximately 1200 books from over a hundred Canadian authors, publishers and the public to LA. in advance of the book presentation event at Ralph Bunche Elementary School, October 2, 2010.

The event will include author presentations by several Canadian writers including Becker, Wendy Kitts, Rob Weston and Kari-Lynn Winters who will also help refurbish the Bunche school library by sorting and cataloguing books and painting wall murals with the students.

For more information on Airlift to LA go tohttp://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=121216734588705.

To see how your school library “stacks up”, download the Canadian Coalition for School Libraries and Canadian Association for School Libraries Library/Media Assessment Questionnaire athttp://www.scribd.com/doc/36299260/Library-Assessment-Final-Draft


For further information on Airlift to LA contact:

Wendy Kitts
506-382-4360 or 506-852-1600

Helaine Becker

To send a book donation by October 2, 2010:

Airlift to LA
c/o Access Books
3622 W. Slauson Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90043

Saturday, September 11, 2010

What we need now is level heads and wisdom

Today is the 9th anniversary of 9/11, so I suppose a day to commemorate, it seems to me it is a day desperately in need of greater wisdom and less rhetoric.  I know that it is a day of terrible images that I wish I could erase from my own memory if not the memory banks of the world. I know it sounds naive, especially for someone in their mid-fifies, but I wish we could go back to a world before terror gripped America.  It has made the world a much harsher place for people of all faiths, both in and out of the USA.

Having spent the last few days with my youngest daughter, Katie, I am hopeful that young people will do a better job with world politics than their parents have done. Katie will soon be off to Southeast Asia, and then Australia.  My hope for her, is not just to have fun, although I do hope for that.  But, I especially hope that she comes home a wiser young woman.

Maybe if I'm lucky, I'll get to Australia while she's over there.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

The Book Worm

This is so cool.  The municipality of Oak Bay always does these very cool garden instillations close to where I live, and close to the local high school, Oak Bay High School.  This summer they did a reading bookwork all created with flowers.  Every Monday the title of the book would change.  It's been Treasure Island, Harry Potter, and lots of other great titles.  This week, the book title was OBHS Course Selection Guide.  Too funny.  I love creative people, and creative municipalities!

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Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Happy International Literacy Day

According to UNESCO, about 774 million adults lack minimum literacy skills. One in five adults is still not literate and of these,  two-thirds are women. About 75 million children are out-of-school and many more attend irregularly or drop out. However, literacy is also a cause for celebration on the day because there are nearly four billion literate people in the world.  

How can you help raise the world literacy rate?  Support literacy in your community through a cash donation or better still, by donating your time.  Buy a few books for a "have not" school in your community, support UNESCO, The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and their partners who work at the international level.  

Literacy is the opportunity for change.  Literacy is an opportunity for a better future.  Those of us who are literate take it for granted.  It's easy to forget how lucky we are.