Friday, December 21, 2012

Happy Holidays from the YA Sleuth!

I'm always a sucker for classics, particularly around the holidays. So here's a Nat King Cole one.

Happy holidays, and I'll see you in 2013!


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Share Your Great Teacher Story

Friday's events in Connecticut left me (and I imagine anyone) pretty shaken. However, since there's enough heartbreak on the news right now, I won't add to that here.

But that tragedy did remind me how great teachers and educators can be, and how many teachers have impacted me as a kid, and as I have my own kiddos now, into adulthood. Like my first grade teacher Mieke, who was smart, fair, kind, and just plain cool. My Latin teacher, who could always see the humor in my terrible Latin translations (I would come up with whole new stories that were totally not in the text). The great teacher at my kids' Colorado school, always ready to give a hug or a high-five.

Or the media specialist (that's a fancy word for librarian) I spoke to at a local convention earlier this month. The kids at her school come from poor families, where there's no book in the house for her K-4 classes to read. But that doesn't stop this awesome lady from encouraging her kids to read: she tells them to read cereal boxes, shampoo bottles, whatever they can get their hands on. She told me one kid brought in the label off a pillow because it had a word from his spelling list on it. Humbling stuff.

It takes a special person to be a teacher. 

How about you? who was your favorite teacher?

Friday, December 14, 2012

For The Parents And Kids In Connecticut

We're all heartbroken for you. 

Don't think words are enough today...

And The Story Of The Week Is...

...this giant rubber duck going under the Tower Bridge in London. I don't even care so much about the story, but the image made me smile.

You can get the details at ITV. Hat tip to Sarah Weinman who posted the story on Twitter.

Happy weekend, guys!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

For Writers: How To Write MG Fiction

Calling all writers who want to write middle-grade fiction! Maybe that's you?

I'm blogging over at Savvy Authors: Kids Rule: 7 Rules for Writing Middle-Grade Fiction. Come on over, and consider crossing over to the MG side.

MG writers have all the fun, honest.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Friday Fun: Go Google Yourself

I don't remember where I got it, but someone once advised me years ago to Google your name every once in a while, to see what comes up. You know, in case someone is saying nice (or not so nice) things about you.

I hadn't done this in ages, I'll admit. But it's sort of fun to see what comes up. When I checked F.T. Bradley, I found the usual interviews and blog posts, my website--stuff I already knew about. But then there was a guy (or lady) who thought (s)he could sell a Double Vision ARC for fifty bucks (ha!). There was a website in Japan selling the book--at least I think that's what they were doing, since I couldn't read any of it. And a few more websites--the book is kind of pricey in foreign countries.

I also found a sweet review by ten year-old Lily of Double Vision on the website of The Bookcase on Lake Street, an independent bookstore in Minnesota. It was posted back in September and I didn't know about it until now. Look at what you can miss, huh?

So go Google yourself, guys. I'll wait. Tell me if you find something fun or interesting.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

What Books Librarians and Teachers Want (A Conference Report)

Yesterday, I presented my workshop Books Are Ice Cream Not Broccoli at the Mississippi Reading Association annual conference. It was the first time I'd presented it, so I wasn't sure what to expect. But it turned out awesome--I had a packed room with people sitting on the floor, and ended up having exactly enough handouts for everyone. Phew!

Realization #1: Librarians (or Media Specialists) and teachers are so polite. The room was very quiet when I started talking about reluctant readers, and about being one myself. I talked about how we can get kids to read by adjusting the way we present books. I suggested creative new ways to build excitement. Nobody interrupted, even though I'd given attendees permission. After a bit of prodding, people started sharing their kids' favorite books. Books that hit the mark with their class. We had fun sharing favorites, and everyone took notes, including me.

Realization #2: Librarians and teachers know kids like no one else. They'll tell you what books work, what kind don't. Some requests from the crowd: we need more books for 5th and 6th graders, ones that don't get into YA-type content. We need more books with depth--silly-funny books for boys don't cut it past 3rd grade (they want more story). More books for middle-grade girls that aren't so girly (ditch the pink covers, in other words). Reluctant reader adventures that are girl-friendly. More middle-grade, more middle-grade, more middle-grade. Make it so, publishing peeps.

Realization #3: Librarians and teachers get upset if they can't buy your book on the spot. Seriously. I wish I could have, but alas, there was no opportunity. Hope Double Vision ends up in a few libraries and schools after the conference anyway.

There was lots of talk about the new Common Core State Standards (the new curriculum standards, for those of you unfamiliar) too, but that's a post for another time. Anyway, I had a great time. Librarians and teachers rule, don't they?

While we're on the subject: are there any books you wish you'd find (more of) on the store shelves?

Monday, December 3, 2012

Tell Me: Have You Ever Stopped Reading?

I'm presenting a workshop at the Mississippi Reading Association conference tomorrow. It's called Books Are Ice Cream Not Broccoli, and I'll be talking about how to get reluctant readers to read. I'm something of an expert.

Because I'm a reluctant reader myself. I like my books to be fast-paced, if not, I tune out. Although I read a lot as a kid, once I became a teen and had a list of required reading, I stopped reading for fun, and didn't start back up again until my mid-twenties. Now I can't imagine not reading...

How about you, YA Sleutheri? Have you ever stopped reading?

Follow along with the MIDNIGHT AT THE BARCLAY HOTEL blog tour!

I'm so excited for the Aug. 25th release if MIDNIGHT AT THE BARCLAY HOTEL...!  If you want to join the fun, follow along with the bl...