Monday, December 16, 2019

Dear A-Decade-Ago Me...

Dear A-Decade-Ago Me,

There's good stuff coming.

You'll be a bookseller for a few years, and get more out of it than you expect. You'll also get a few let's-do-better blog posts out of it, but those will help you zero in on your own beliefs. (And you'll see more attitudes in line with some of them--partly because the discussions will get more visible, and partly just because you'll learn where to look.) When you move from bookselling to working with reviews (yes, Past Me, that will happen), your conversations about what to shelve where will come up more often than you think.

There's lots of writing and lots of revising in your future, 2010 Me. Yes, you'll find a great agent.  You'll also work with a variety of thoughtful critique partners, and by the end of the decade, you'll be in a group cohesive enough to collapse into in-joke giggles at some point in most meetings.

You'll serve on an award committee. As much as you'll learn from the other members, committee work will also, paradoxically, teach you a lot about your independent thoughts on what makes good books and what makes good representation.

Some things will surprise you. Like that Suzanne Collins/Jeff Kinney collaboration, and when Make Way for Ducklings gets turned into a trilogy.

Some things really won't surprise you. You'll love a lot of booksYou'll go to lots of great book events, and you'll celebrate the Newberys with blueberries every year, just because it rhymes. You'll continue to be an Anne-girl fangirl, which will feed into your interest in adaptations. Harry Potter won't have faded from your life when the decade ends (pro-tip: if you're going to read it aloud over Skype, do so with an audience tolerant of terrible voices. That audience is your sister). You probably also won't be surprised to learn that the surprises mentioned above are fake, because what's the point of a blog without April Fool posts? (There really is a Hunger Games prequel on the way in the next decade, though. If we're defining decades as beginning with the zero-year, which we clearly are in this post.)

There's not-great stuff coming, too, in your small world and in the larger one. That's how decades work. Silliness is usually at least part of the answer. For example, selling song parodies in exchange for charitable contributions.

Oh, and you'll start a blog a few months into the decade. Thanks for that.

You, a Decade Later

Monday, February 11, 2019

Book awards and blog tours!

So we picked some winners (and honors and notables). It was fun! I learned a lot about books and awards and what makes the former deserve the latter, and about Jewish history and diversity, and about my own thoughts on the role of Jewish books in the larger diverse-books conversation. It was especially meaningful to start my term on the Sydney Taylor committee in the first year the award was included in the ALA Youth Media Awards announcement, along with other deserving affiliate awards.

Being on the committee feels full-circle for me because of a strong personal connection with Sydney Taylor's books; I've learned this year that such connections are more common than I realized. Case in point: Younger Readers Category winner All-of-a-Kind Family Hanukkah, an original story about Sydney Taylor's characters that satisfies even the most loyal of AoaKF superfans. I interviewed author Emily Jenkins and illustrator Paul O. Zelinsky for the Horn Book's Out of the Box blog as part of the Sydney Taylor Book Award Blog Tour, and the care they put into every detail of the book is clear from their answers.

The STBA Blog Tour continues all week, all over the Internet:

Emily Jenkins and Paul Zelinsky, author and illustrator of All-of-a-Kind Family Hanukkah
Sydney Taylor Book Award in the Younger Readers Category
At Out of the Box at the Horn Book

Barb Rosenstock and Mary GrandPré, author and illustrator of Through the Window: Views of Marc Chagall's Life
Sydney Taylor Honor Book in the Younger Readers Category
At A Fuse #8 Production at School Library Journal

Jonathan Auxier, author of Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster
Sydney Taylor Book Award in the Older Readers Category
At The Prosen People at The Jewish Book Council

Jane Breskin Zalben and Mehrdokht Amini, author and illustrator of A Moon for Moe and Mo
Sydney Taylor Honor Book in the Younger Readers Category
At 100 Scope Notes at School Library Journal

The Sydney Taylor Book Awards at ALA's Youth Media Awards
At the Association for Library Services to Children (ALSC) Blog

Rachel Lynn Solomon, author of You'll Miss Me When I'm Gone
Sydney Taylor Honor Book in the Teen Readers Category
At Good Reads with Ronna

Elissa Brent Weissman, author of The Length of a String
Sydney Taylor Honor Book in the Older Readers Category
At Mr. Schu Reads

Susan Kusel & Rebecca Levitan, leadership of the Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee
At The Children's Book Podcast

Vesper Stamper, author of What the Night Sings
Sydney Taylor Book Award in the Teen Readers Category
At Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast

Erica Perl, author of All Three Stooges
Sydney Taylor Honor Book in the Older Readers Category
At From the Mixed Up Files of Middle Grade Authors


Blog Tour Wrap-Up at The Whole Megillah

Reflections on the 2019 Sydney Taylor Book Awards at ALA at Susan Kusel's Blog

10th Anniversary of the Sydney Taylor Book Award Blog Tour at The Book of Life