It’s a book.
How do you scroll down?
I turn the page.
It’s a book.
Do you blog with it?
No, it’s a book.
Where’s your mouse?
. . .
Does it need a password?
Need a screen name?
No. It’s a book.
from It’s a Book
written and illustrated by Lane Smith
Roaring Brook, 2010
In the last couple of weeks, on two different occasions, I’ve been encouraged to “find my why,” an exercise in digging deep to discover motivation. I’ve learned that when the universe speaks, it’s a really good idea to listen.
Heres’ why I like to read:
research (to learn more about a subject I’m particularly
information (to see if I’m right about something, or to discover
pleasure (the best reads help me imagine a situation I probably
never would find myself in, but help me imagine myself there
to study how authors develop characters (what are the
to study how authors move the plot from beginning to end (why
is a scene exciting—or not?)
to study how authors use setting and emotion
to have something in common with my kids (even if we don’t talk
about the book, but we usually do)
to have a frame of reference for my book club discussions (I
like being able to share why I liked or didn’t like a book)
to feel part of society (especially with those best sellers!)
The American Library Association will announce the winners of the Caldecott and Newbery awards (and all the others) next Monday at the Midwinter Conference. You can follow 2019 results in real-time via live webcast [http://ala.unikron.com/] or follow hashtag #alayma at 8:00 am, but account for the time difference, if necessary. They are meeting this year in Seattle.
I usually make a prediction, but usually keep it to myself. Sometimes I’m right. This year I’ll tell.
I’m hoping for a Caldecott win for Square illustrated by Jon Klassen and written by Mac Barnett. The Barnett/Klassen team seems to be getting more subtle (if that’s even possible) and more thought provoking, too. This time out, Square is going about his business when Circle “floated by.” She names Square’s stack of blocks “sculpture” and commissions him to do one of her. After working through a rainy night, Square is distraught at his perceived failure. But Circle is ecstatic at his creation. She sees her perfect self reflected in a circular pond accidentally arranged by Square. Circle calls him a genius. The open ending leaves Square (and the reader and listener) with his (their) own perfect opportunity for self-reflection. Barnett/Klassen genius, I say.
My wish for the Newbery goes to Leslie Connor and her book that I quoted from a couple of weeks ago, The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle. Mason is an extremely likable character with a host of physical and developmental challenges. He’s the kind of kid bullies love to pick on. The police are on his tail, too, because Mason’s best friend was found dead at the base of his treehouse. When Mason’s new friend goes missing, Mason finds friendship and understanding in the most unlikely places. An unlikely hero if there ever was one, but a real hero, nonetheless.
Those are my picks. Now we wait for the committee to finish their work.
I finished The Clockmaker’s Daughter (Kate Morton) Like Barbara Kingsolver’s Unsheltered, The Clockmaker’s Daughter unfolds in several different time periods, a house serving as the bridge connecting all the characters. It worked really well. Morton wove a large cast of characters loosely at first. As the story progressed, the weave got tighter, until the end where we could see the big picture. Part historical, part mystery, part character study. Highly recommend!
I’m currently reading an older title by Leslie Connor, All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook (2016).
-—stay curious (and informed)