Friday, August 24, 2007

Cynsational News & Links

Debut Author of the Month: Kim Norman from Alice's CWIM Blog.

The Cookie Theory: Author's Secret Weapon or Crummy Mess? from pixie stix kids pix: Thoughts, Observations, and Ideas About Children's Books. An article about the "(sometimes tricky) relationship between booksellers and authors."

Author Tanya Lee Stone launches her newly redesigned website. Tanya's books include A Bad Boy Can Be Good for a Girl (Wendy Lamb/Random House, 2006, 2007), Up Close: Ella Fitzgerald (Viking, 2008), and Elizabeth Leads the Way: Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the Right to Vote, illustrated by Rebecca Gibbon (Viking, 2008). Read a Cynsations interview with Tanya.

Latino Books from The Horn Book. Recommended titles.

Math and Science in Fact and Fiction from CBC Magazine.

Open Topic: Your Favorite Characters at the YA Authors Cafe.

One Question, Ten Answers with the Authors of Click (Scholastic, 2007): One Novel, Ten Authors: David Almond, Eoin Colfer, Roddy Doyle, Deborah Ellis, Nick Hornby, Margo Lanagan, Gregory Maguire, Ruth Ozeki, Linda Sue Park (author interview), Tim Wynne-Jones (author interview) from the Scholastic website.

Read-alikes: Kick-Ass Heroines by Diana Tixier Herald from Booklist. Recommended titles.

Take a sneak peek at Dan Andreasen's art by for Pilot Pups by Michelle Meadows (Simon & Schuster, May 2008).

Arthur Slade: a profile by Dave Jenkinson from the Canadian Review of Materials. Visit Arthur's site, blog, and LJ. Read a Cynsations interview with Arthur.

Tales from the Slush Pile at Publishers Weekly. Just in case: Chris Raschka.

"Why Teach Reading?" by Timothy Shanahan from the International Reading Association.

"Writing YA in the UK": on online chat with Terie Garrison Sept. 13, sponsored by the Institute of Children's Literature. ICL says: "Terie Garrison has written the Dragonspawn Cycle, a fantasy series for young adults, published by Flux. A native San Diegan, she moved to Manchester, UK, in 2000, where she's also a senior level technical writer for a software company and has written a variety of magazine nonfiction." US Times: Sept. 13; 9-11 p.m. Atlantic; 8-10 p.m. Eastern; 7-9 p.m. Central; 6-8 p.m. Mountain; 5-7 p.m. Pacific. See chat registration information.

More Personally

I'm happy to announce I'm a 31 Flavorite author for October! I'll be chatting Oct. 29 at the readergirlz MySpace group forum about Tantalize (Candlewick, 2007). I'd love to hang out with you for an hour. Just friend the readergirlz site, and their group forum, We are celebrating YALSA's Teen Read Week. There's a different author hosted every night, so make some time in October to chat. See you there!

Fresh Voices of YA: Cynthia Leitich Smith Interview from Book Chic.

Thank you to Michelle and friends at the University Hills branch of the Austin Public Library for your hospitality! Last night's event included decorations inspired by Sanguini's, the fictional vampire restaurant in Tantalize! Audience members self-identified as predator or prey and received bat-shaped or leaf-shaped name tags. The menu was Italian (pizza!) with thematic sweets (bat-shaped brownies and squirrel-shaped chocolate and peanut butter brownies). I was wowed, too, to be presented with a bouquet of long-stemmed red roses!

Thanks also to David at Hastings in Round Rock for last Saturday's wonderful table signing. I loved the red curtain, carpet, and table cloth as well as the Italian sausage and cheese.

If you know author J.B. Cheaney, could you please ask her to email me? Thank you.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Librarian Interview: ALA President Loriene Roy

Loriene Roy on Loriene Roy: "I am a Native of Minnesota, enrolled on the White Earth Reservation, a member of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe. I was born in Cloquet, Minnesota and raised in nearby Carlton, Minnesota, population 810." See Loriene's blog.

Congratulations on becoming the new American Library Association president! What does the ALA president do? How long is the term? Could you paint us a broad picture?

The term is one roughly year, from the close of one annual conference to the close of the next one, though I also served a year as President-Elect and also will serve a year as Immediate Past-President. It is an elected, volunteer position. The Position includes serving as the Chair of the ALA Council (180 members), Chairing the ALA Executive Board and ALA Executive Committee Meetings, representing the Association (66,000 members), making appointments to some committees, responding to media calls (about 5-10 a week), writing a monthly column for American Libraries, attending conferences and events, evaluating the ALA Executive Director, trying to accomplish activities related to a personal platform, etc.

What inspired you to seek the position?

I saw this service as an opportunity to involve students, bring attention to indigenous library services, and learn a great deal.

Could you tell us about your path to this point in your career? What inspired you to become a librarian-educator?

I had a previous career working as a medical radiologic technologist (X-ray tech) in community hospitals. I was interested in providing patients with health care information. The closest degree I could find was one in librarianship where my first aim was to be a medical librarian. I ended up working in a public library instead. Two years later, I had an opportunity to return to school to work on a doctoral degree. I then started applying for faculty positions as I neared completion of that degree. ALA is the largest general organization in librarianship, so it was a logical place for me to begin professional service. I served on my first ALA committee in 1990.

What current issues are important to you within the field and why?

ALA has key action areas. I am concerned with issues related to diversity--increasing the number of students of color in library and information science programs, increasing the number of faculty of color, attention to multicultural library services. I'm interested in how we can support the literacy needs of indigenous peoples and how we can develop an international network of indigenous librarians.

You're a force behind If I Can Read, I Can Do Anything, a national reading club for Native children. Could you tell us about this organization? How about its history, its goals?

Sara Long was President of ALA in 1998 and provided us with $5K in seed money to start If I Can Read. It has grown from one location to 28. We work with tribal school libraries in 12 states to assist them in promoting reading as a life long leisure activity. It is a volunteer service program; we work with the tribal school librarians on activities they are interested in. Many want new books for their collections. We help others plan reading programs such as "Battle of Books" competitions, scary story open-mike events, family reading nights. Our goal is to help indigenous children become successful readers for life.

How have you seen it grow and change over time?

We still find great demand for our help Schools still want resources but more are interested in reading promotion activities. Also, there's more interest in working with teenagers.

How can we offer our support?

Of course, like other service programs, we are always in need of funding to cover elements like postage. We still deliver new books to schools. Schools would also love to have visitors.

As a reader, who are your favorite authors and why? Favorite titles?

I have lots of favorite authors and try to read widely. I am a big fan of Louise Erdrich and Maori writers like Robert Sullivan, Patricia Grace, Allen Duff, and Witi Ihimaera. This year I am trying to rad a lot of ALA book award winners--Alex Award winners and Printz award winners to start with. I try to read bilingual books, especially Spanish/English. And I listen to lots of audio books.

What can we expect from you next?

This year I will be responding to lots of media requests related to many aspects of librarianship, so you might see my name in newspapers, on National Public Radio, and on television. I'm scheduled to do an NPR taping on 25 Sept for the program, "Tell Me More." We'll be talking about Banned Books Week.

I'm also creating several demonstration projects this year to illustrate my commitment to libraries Celebrating Community, Collaboration, and Culture. We are designing an international celebration of indigenous children's reading and culture to take place in April 2008 during National Library Week. We are enrolling 50-100 schools around the world that serve indigenous children to share information about their schools, how they learn about their cultures through reading, and their needs. We hope to be able to deliver books to at least some of the schools as well as reading incentives.

I'm here in South Africa for two conferences and have met with some school librarians so that we can add schools in Zimbabwe and South Africa to the project. The celebration is called A Gathering of Readers.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Library of Congress Announces Award-Winning Authors To Participate in Seventh Annual National Book Festival

The 2007 National Book Festival, organized and sponsored by the Library of Congress and hosted by Mrs. Laura Bush, will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 29, on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., between 7th and 14th streets (rain or shine). The festival is free and open to the public.

"This will be the seventh year of this extraordinary celebration of the joy of reading and the creativity of America's writers and illustrators," said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. "The National Book Festival brings authors and readers together to share the stories that touch their minds and hearts. Tens of thousands of book lovers see firsthand how reading changes lives and how our country, its citizens and its libraries promote reading in imaginative and inspiring ways."

"The National Book Festival welcomes all Americans to the National Mall to celebrate reading and meet with some of America's most-loved authors from across the country," said Mrs. Bush. "Readers of all ages can discover the joys of new books and fall in love again with old favorites."

The 2007 National Book Festival is made possible with generous support from Distinguished Benefactor Target; Charter Sponsors AT&T, The Amend Group and The Washington Post; Patrons AARP, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the James Madison Council and the National Endowment for the Arts; and Contributors Barnes & Noble, the Library of Congress Federal Credit Union, Marshall and Dee Ann Payne, NBA/WNBA, PBS, Penguin Group (USA) and Scholastic Inc.

This year about 70 well-known authors, illustrators and poets will talk about their books in the following pavilions: Children; Teens & Children; Fiction & Fantasy; Mysteries & Thrillers; History & Biography; Home & Family; and Poetry. Festival goers can have books signed by their favorite authors, and children can meet ever-popular storybook and television characters and NBA/WNBA players appearing on the festival grounds throughout the day.

Authors and illustrators of books for children and teens include Coretta Scott King award winner Ashley Bryan; Newbery Medal winners Patricia MacLachlan and E.L. Konigsburg; 2007 Caldecott winner David Wiesner; M.T. Anderson, winner of the 2006 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature; Gene Luen Yang, who received the Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in literature written for young adults; and Rosemary Wells, the recipient of numerous awards and citations.

In the Teens & Children pavilion, the national student winners of the Letters About Literature program will read their personal letters to authors who inspired them. Sponsored by the Library's Center for the Book with support from Target, this reading and writing promotion program invites young readers in grades 4-12 to write personal letters to authors, past or present, who have changed their views of the world or of themselves. Each year, winners are selected at the state and national levels. As the project's corporate sponsor, Target awards the six national winners and their parents with a trip to the National Book Festival to share their winning letters with the festival audience.

"It is inspiring to see the number of young people whose lives have been positively affected by a particular author or book," said Laysha Ward, vice president, community relations, Target. "Through its comprehensive support of early childhood reading, including the Letters About Literature program and the National Book Festival, Target is helping to instill a love of reading in kids as the foundation for lifelong learning."

The Pavilion of the States, sponsored by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), will highlight reading, literacy and library promotion activities in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and several American trusts and territories. Representatives from the states and territories will welcome families and children interested in learning about writers and reading programs nationwide. IMLS representatives will also be providing information about its library initiatives, including the Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program to recruit and educate the next generation of librarians. The Big Read programs in the states, sponsored by IMLS and the National Endowment for the Arts, will be featured in the pavilion.

In the popular Let's Read America pavilion, there will be a wide variety of fun-filled reading promotion activities developed by festival sponsors for children.

The Library of Congress Pavilion will feature a variety of interactive family-centered activities illustrating the depth and breadth of the Library’s extraordinary collections available online. Computers will be available for both children and adults to explore the Library’s acclaimed Web site at Information about conserving photographs and valuable documents as well as the Library’s digital preservation program will be provided. The Library will share the latest technologies in film and audio preservation developed for its new Packard Campus in Culpeper, Va.

In addition to planning a range of activities for this year's festival on the National Mall, the Library is offering a variety of ways for people around the country to participate in the event online. This summer, the Library will launch the National Book Festival Young Readers’ Online Toolkit ( to bring the festival into libraries, schools and homes across the country. The Toolkit will feature information about National Book Festival authors who write for children and teens, podcasts of their readings and teaching tools and activities for kids. This interactive resource also shows educators, parents and children how they can host their own book festivals.

Available again this year will be downloadable podcasts of interviews with popular participating authors. The Library will also present same-day coverage of the morning presentations on its Web site. All of the authors’ presentations will be available on the Library’s site the week following the festival.

In addition to the same-day webcasts, the Library will again collaborate with Book TV on C-SPAN2 to televise events taking place at the festival. The C-SPAN2 Book TV Bus, a mobile television studio with a multimedia demonstration center for the public, will also be on the National Mall.

Leading up to the festival, will host a series of online chats with authors appearing at the National Book Festival. These text-based discussions can be viewed daily, starting on Monday, Sept. 24, on the site at The schedule of chats and authors’ names will be posted on the site and the Library’s site at Participants can submit questions in advance or during the live discussion. Authors’ responses will be posted while the program is airing or at a later date on’s online discussion archives. Washington Post Radio will also be interviewing authors prior to the festival day.

The artist for this year's festival is Mercer Mayer, whose work brings a magical quality to the 2007 National Book Festival poster. Mayer will be among the authors and illustrators speaking in the Children's Pavilion. Posters featuring his digital painting will be available free of charge at the festival.

The Junior League of Washington will again have hundreds of volunteers to help with the National Book Festival.

A preliminary list of participating authors, illustrators and poets, their books, and other activities in each presentation pavilion follows. For more information about them and the festival, visit

Children's Authors (sponsored by AT&T)

* María Celeste Arrarás, "The Magic Cane"
* Ashley Bryan/Jan Spivey Gilchrist, "My America"
* Carmen Deedy, "Martina the Beautiful Cockroach: A Cuban Folktale"
* Mercer Mayer, "The Bravest Knight" and "There’s a Nightmare in My Closet"
* Megan McDonald, "Judy Moody & Stink: The Holly Joliday"
* Judy Schachner, "Skippyjon Jones and the Big Bones"
* Rosemary Wells, "Red Moon at Sharpsburg" and "Max’s ABCs"
* David Wiesner, "Flotsam"
* Jacqueline Wilson, "Candyfloss"

Teens & Children (sponsored by Target)

* M.T. Anderson, "The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Vol. 1"
* Holly Black, "Ironside"
* E.L. Konigsburg, "The Mysterious Edge of the Heroic World"
* Gail Carson Levine, "Fairy Haven and the Quest for the Wand"
* Patricia MacLachlan, "Edward’s Eyes"
* Patricia McCormick, "Sold"
* Shelia P. Moses, "The Baptism"
* Cynthia Leitich Smith, "Tantalize"
* Gene Luen Yang, "American Born Chinese"
* Letters About Literature

Cynsational Notes

More information about participating authors and illustrators listed above and those in the adult genres is available at the National Book Festival site.

This will be my second time appearing at the festival. I presented Rain Is Not My Indian Name at the 2002 NBF.
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