Tuesday, February 28, 2012

90-Second Newbery Film Festival!!

Okay, this non-blogging this is bad. I miss you! But here I am, quickly, to tell you about ...


If you are in the Portland, Oregon area, you can see it for yourself this Saturday! I am co-hosting along with author and founder/curator James Kennedy, of whom I have been a fan since reading his there's-nothing-in-the-world-like-it debut novel The Order of Odd-Fish, which I wrote about back here. James is famous in library circles for this marvelous madness, when he notoriously tackled Neil Gaiman and wrestled his Newbery Medal out of his hands. You simply must read the link, but be prepared for a long interlude and some head-scratching. Like Odd-Fish, it's just not like anything else.

Um. Would you trust this guy ...?

Well, I'm happy to report that when we met in person last summer in Chicago, he was a bit less sinister. But not less funny.

Here's the event info: 

Central Library
801 S.W. 10th Avenue, Portland, OR
Saturday March 3, 3-5 pm


For those of you not deeply ensconced in the world of children's literature, the Newbery Medal is given every year (since 1922) by the American Library Association to most distinguished contribution to American literature for children. Past winners include The Graveyard Book, A Wrinkle In Time, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, The Witch of Blackbird Pond, The Voyages of Doctor Doolittle, Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry, A Cricket in Times Square, Island of the Blue Dolphins, and so so so many more amazing books. Full list here.  

Anyway, James Kennedy along with New York City librarian extraordinaire Betsy Bird cooked up this idea to get students to compress entire stories of Newbery Medal books into 90 seconds of film. Genius. Like visual Cliffs Notes for the canon of American children's literature. Told and acted by kids. The results are pretty hilarious. 

Here are some examples. The variety of creativity, the FUN. It's wonderful!

A COMPLETELY awesome A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle. Seriously. Watch this:

A full-scale musical of 21 Balloons by William Pene du Bois. This is just bonkers:

Gorgeous shadow-puppet production of Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin,
done by home-school kids in Michigan: 

(hmm ... home-school ...)

A silent film of The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman:

And a claymation of Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott Odell:

So come and see more, in a lively environment at our gorgeous main library, with the hijinx and madness of this man, and me just trying to keep up! If you can't make it, there are a lot more video entries to watch HERE, plus the rules if you and the kids in your life want to make your own!


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Eye Candy Breakfast: Weird Animal Heads

love this; looks like a movie. Anyone know if it is?

Since I started using Pinterest, I've seen a few categories of interest emerge, and one of them is weird photos of people with animal heads or animal masks. Kinda chimaera, kinda just funky-arty. Anyway, I thought I would bring them together here. I wish the resolution of some of them was better, but so it goes. Enjoy!

I think this one wins the award for Most Creepy ...


Monday, February 20, 2012

Andre Norton Award nomination!!!!

(How cool would it be to have THAT on the cover of your book?)

Oh, I've been a sparse blogger lately, but it's just a matter of time to DO IT because there are always many things to tell and share! This one demands an immediate post. Such a thrill! Daughter of Smoke and Bone has been nominated for the Andre Norton Award, which is the award given by the SFWA (Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America) to a young adult book. It's the YA counterpart of the Nebula Award, which is one of those height-of-acheivement-in-the-field awards that one dreams of. Making the short list is such a thrill, and it is a daunting list of competitors, including the stunning Chime that I raved about right here. Here are the rest:

 Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and FantasyBook

And here's the full list of SFWA awards nominees for this year.

YAY!!!!! Thank you so much, SFWA! It is such an incredible honor. I really can't say enough what a huge thing awards recognition is, and this one is so cool because it is a peer-given award, and to feel that fellow writers are holding up my work in this way is just a very, very wonderful thing.



But while I have you here, surely there are other things I've been meaning to say. Well, there is an event I'm doing soon that is going to be a LOT of fun, if you live in the Portland area. I will give it its own blog post, but for now, here's the quick spiel: I will be co-hosting the 90-Second Newbery Film Festival at the Portland Central Library alongside author and founder James Kennedy.

This is going to be so much fun, you guys. COME! 
MARCH 3Central Library, 801 S.W. 10th AvenuePortland, Oregon, 3-5 pm


Also, I really must relate the conversation that Jim just texted to me, between himself and Clementine. Man, I have been looking forward to the age of kid-speech in which she begins to say the weird and wonderful things of small children (while simultaneously wanting to keep her tiny, and tucked in a baby sling against my heart), and we have arrived. 

Clementine (aged exactly 2.5): I don't need to be afraid of monsters because Papa will mess them up. 
Jim: Right. No one will ever hurt you with Papa and Mama around. 
Clementine: Because Papa is strong.
Jim: Yes. 
Clementine: Mama is strong too. But she has a teeeeeeeeny nose.

What? I do? *touches nose* Hm. I never realized. I guess my nose is kind of small ... 

Ha ha! Also, we took Clementine to the traveling Broadway production of Beauty and the Beast last night, which was fabulous, and a big hit, though we will have to work to keep it from being a Disney Princess gateway drug, because we're not ready for that! Anyway, Clementine's astute assessment at the end was: "The beast broke into a prince!" Ha ha. Love that. 

We had read the book with her so she wouldn't be alarmed by the change. I recall when the movie first came out years ago, the young child in front of me in hysterics at the end who didn't understand what had become of the beast. But Clementine understood magically. "Outside he's a monster, but inside he's a prince." Yes, darling child. Exactly right. 

Okay, that had better be that for now. Have a wonderful day and week. I will try to be back more regularly than once a week!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Pure by Julianna Baggott

This will be quick. Must go to bed. But not before I say that I LOVED THIS BOOK!

At ALA last summer, the ARC of Pure was put into my hands by Victoria Stapleton, trusted source at Little Brown, who happens to somehow read EVERYTHING. All she told me was, "The main character has a baby doll head for a hand." And really, do you need to hear more? I could stop talking right now and you would want to read this book, right? Well, it worked on me. Easiest pitch ever. Oh yeah, and it's a post-apocalyptic coming-of-age story. By an author who has been known up till now for literary fiction and poetry. So, you know, she writes pretty. And does Julianna Baggott have a craaaaazy imagination to boot. My stars. 

Am I selling it? Okay, another anecdote. A few weeks ago Clementine was sick with a cough, the upshot of which was I found myself having to hold her upright to sleep for the first few hours of every evening to keep the coughing at bay. We were back in the glider that I don't think we'd been in since she was really little, and it was kind of ... nice. Nice to just rock and hold my little girl, and nice because it was the perfect excuse not to write for several evenings, but to READ instead. Ha! I ripped through Pure. Loved it. And when I was done I paged through and discarded another three books that didn't catch. Such was the spell of Pure.

Okay, okay. So what is it ABOUT? It is the story of Pressia (of the baby doll head fist) who is approaching 16 in her ravaged post-nuclear city (the age at which they come for you), and it is the story of Partridge, a teenager living in the safety of "the Dome," a self-sustaining bubble-city whose citizens were spared the devastation of the Detonations. Events set these two on a collision course down the gnarliest rabbit hole ever: suburban California (right?) seven years after the apocalypse. You can't even imagine the residents of this world, people fused to whatever (and *shudder* whoever) they were standing near when the blasts hit. And worse and weirder than that. Oh, Julianna Baggott. Ick. But I have a fairly average threshold for ick, I think, and it wasn't overdone. I was more wondering at the strange than throwing up in my mouth. So don't worry about that. Ven

I didn't know what to expect really, but maybe the baby doll head thing made me think it would be about a kind of Tank Girl bad-ass mutant chick, but the reality is so much more tender and beautifully realized. The fact is, Pressia was a little girl holding her baby doll when the blasts hit, and now the baby doll is forever part of her. And what really got me was the way she tries to hide it with a sock, it just broke my heart. Here she lives in this wild word of terribly damaged people and she is still ashamed of that hand. Really, this book runs the full emotional gamut of any work of literary fiction, but against a savage and wildly inventive post-apocalyptic backdrop that makes it Much. More. Fun.

And ooh, there's romance. Not what you expect, and pretty sweet and wonderful.

And a thriller of a plot, a Dickensian cast of characters, suspense, a twist, and more.

And tell me that the introduction of Ingership and his wife is not the mind-strummingest WTF you have ever read.

Are you beginning to see why I don't write book reviews? Incoherent adulation does not a review make. Here is what I can do. I can do what Victoria Stapleton did. 

I can say: 


Here's what the publisher says:

We know you are here, our brothers and sisters . . . 

Pressia barely remembers the Detonations or much about life during the Before. In her sleeping cabinet behind the rubble of an old barbershop where she lives with her grandfather, she thinks about what is lost-how the world went from amusement parks, movie theaters, birthday parties, fathers and mothers . . . to ash and dust, scars, permanent burns, and fused, damaged bodies. And now, at an age when everyone is required to turn themselves over to the militia to either be trained as a soldier or, if they are too damaged and weak, to be used as live targets, Pressia can no longer pretend to be small. Pressia is on the run.

Burn a Pure and Breathe the Ash . . . 

There are those who escaped the apocalypse unmarked. Pures. They are tucked safely inside the Dome that protects their healthy, superior bodies. Yet Partridge, whose father is one of the most influential men in the Dome, feels isolated and lonely. Different. He thinks about loss-maybe just because his family is broken; his father is emotionally distant; his brother killed himself; and his mother never made it inside their shelter. Or maybe it's his claustrophobia: his feeling that this Dome has become a swaddling of intensely rigid order. So when a slipped phrase suggests his mother might still be alive, Partridge risks his life to leave the Dome to find her. When Pressia meets Partridge, their worlds shatter all over again.

Also, Julianna Baggott has a blog, which makes me want to be her friend. (Hi Julianna Baggott. *shy wave*) Don't tell her.

Let me know what you think! 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Pinterest finally sucks me in

Ok, fine, internet, you win. I will join another social networking site!


Ah well. Moderation, right? You know Pinterest? It's this site for collecting and sharing images and inspiration. Very cool. For some time now I have known it would get me, I was just staving off the inevitable, and now it has happened. A few days in, I see it is dangerous in ways I hadn't even guessed. I got that it would be totally addictive. I didn't realize it would also make me want to BUY THINGS. Agh! I have not succumbed to that, but I have started some boards, including a Daughter of Smoke and Bone board! It is small now, but I think it will eventually be very cool and full of wonderful weird and beautiful images. If you want to take a peek, it is here. If you start your own Daughter of Smoke and Bone board (there were a few cool ones preceding mine), please let me know so I can follow you and snitch your cool stuff! :-)

Here's a sampling:

a blue-haired marionette, maybe Zuzana made it?

dreamy Prague

doll Zuzana!

gorgeous Karou

a chimaera!

Fun! If you're there already, let me know so I can find you. I have no Pinterest friends :-( 
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