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Thursday Three: Book Events

Posted by Pam on October 1, 2009 at 11:03 AM in Authors and IllustratorsAwardsBook Events
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1. National Book Festival
I packed my pockets with tissues and cough drops, and went to the National Book Festival on a chillly, rainy day certain to exacerbate my cold. Totally worth it. The fifth grader and I went to the Mo Willems signing, while the teens tried for Rick Riordan's autograph waiting in a line that defied description. After missing out on his signature, the teens went to his author session early to make sure they didn't miss that too. The fifth grader and I went to see Mo Willems' presentation.

tn-7.jpegMy daughter was picked to go up on stage and read/act the book Today I Will Fly, with her as Piggie, Mo's daughter Trixie as the dog, and Mo as Gerald the elephant! My heart was bursting with pride as my daughter turned in a wonderful performance for a packed house, and now we can't wait to see the webcast on the National Book Festival site.

The whole bunch of us also saw Jeff Kinney, who was delightful, funny and truly humble, and Rick Riordan, who shared the news of his upcoming books. Patrick Carmon talked about his new titles along with The 39 Clues Series. Judy Blume held the crowd mesmerized just by being there. My whole story is available in at MotherReader in two parts.

2. Banned Book Week
With everything I've got on my plate this week, I've let others carry the online efforts for Banned Book Week. Fortunately, they've done a wonderful job. While a Wall Street Journal op-ed questioned whether you can even call a book banned in this country, Colleen Mondor wrote a reply at Chasing Ray that amounts to the world's most eloquent Yes. My good friend Lee Wind has a exceptional two-part interview with authors of challenged books. A letter posted last year at MyLiBlog (and tweeted by Neil Gaiman this year) offers an incredible answer to a patron who wanted a picture book removed from a public library. I also can't help returning to the Banned Books Week manifesto, a jarring poem of Ellen Hopkins, "Burn every word to ash. Ideas are incombustible."

3. The Cybils
Cybils.gifNomination season has begun for the 2009 Cybils, also known as the Children's and Young Adult Blogger's Literary Awards. If you have a children's or teen book that you loved that was published in 2009, you can nominate it at the Cybils site. You can submit one book per genre, and nominations are accepted from today through October 15th. At that point, a panel for each genre reads, analyzes and discusses the books to come up with a shortlist of finalists on January 1, 2010. Then a second round of judges take those books and in the course of a month an a half come up with a winner for each category. With all the genres and judges and rounds, the Cybils involves many bloggers in the KidLit and Young Adult online communities making it a festival season for book lovers. This year I'll be the organizer and a panelist for the Fiction Picture Book category, so I'll be bringing you lots of the best picture books over the next few months. Of course, you don't have to look just to me. Check out the Cybils page for reviews of great titles across the genres.


My Boaz's Ruth writes...

Re: banned book week

So every book, no matter what the content, is appropriate in any library out there, no matter what the age of the intended patrons. And to even question that assumption is to want to "ban" (ie make sure no one, nowhere can ever buy) the book?

There is no obligation for a library to buy every book purchased. And once decisions have to be made as to which books to purchase and which not to purchase, reasonable people will disagree as to what is and is not appropriate.

When you start tarring folk who disagree with you, you stop rational discussion.

Pam writes...

I can't say and don't say that every book is appropriate in any library. I wouldn't put The Kite Runner in an elementary school library. I can't and don't say that questioning is the same as banning. In fact, it's usually referred to as a book challenge.

The WSJ editorial basically said that there really aren't banned books in the U.S. because people can get them somewhere as they are still for sale and in publication. Chasing Ray's argument is that if a school or public library won't carry a book because some people have challenged it, then people can lose access to that book if they don't have other options.

Most school and public libraries have systems in place to address the concerns of parents or other citizens who challenge the appropriateness of a book. But when one person can get a book removed from the library - and thus the hands of many children whose parents don't object to the content - then that's a problem, and it happens too often.

Reasonable people may disagree about what books are appropriate for a collection, but librarians get Masters degrees to be able to look beyond their personal opinion to provide books to a population. The letter from the public librarian maybe addresses your issues more fully, as she goes into the specific reason a book for children wouldn't be removed from the library because someone has objected to the content.

Harrison writes...

Dear PBS Parents,

Your shows are fantastic. I try to watch them everyday on KOPB Portland, Oregon and PBS Kids Sprout. I like your web site. Do you want to know what KOPB stands for? It stands for Oregon Public Broadcasting. Hope you're doing well.

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