What is going on with Random House in the UK? They’ve been in the news a bit for some dodgy reasons- like censorship and moral policing. Icky stuff. What would you do if your house asked you to change an ‘offensive’ word in your manuscript? Or you finally got a book deal, and there was a behavior clause in your contract? Would you sign it?
I was lucky enough to be present for a panel of of the 2007 Newbery winners with the lovely Susan Patron, who won the medal, and the Newbery Honor winners (Kirby Larson, Cynthia Lord, and Jennifer L. Holm (via phone). Susan explained how her book had been much ignored until she received the Newbery- and then there was all that fuss about the scrotum on the first page. The panel recounted how they rallied behind Susan to say that when an author needs to use a word- they can use it. Her fellow winners supported her, most of the writing community supported her, most of her fellow librarians supported her, and her publishing house supported her. It was an awesome show of solidarity and support for the freedom of artistic expression. I’ll change words in my texts for all kinds of reasons, but offensiveness probably isn’t going to be one.
Speaking of bucking the system, Confessions of a Bibliovore had a quote from Jon Sciezska that made me like him even more:
“There’s this thing happening with testing in every school that’s just killing kids’ — and teachers’ — interest in reading. When I was teaching, we could follow a passion. If I wanted to read ‘The Phantom Tollbooth,’ we’d do it. We didn’t have to be in lock-step with Week 23 of The Curriculum. I’ve seen the results of letting kids pursue what they love. It’s much better than giving rules; if kids are inspired, they can do crazy things.”
From Jon’s lips to the school boards’ ears.
Fine Lines has an eerie way of revisiting some of my teenage self’s favorite books.
A Q&A with Polly Horvath over at PW.
My friend Jolie Stekly has started a new blog. You can find a Cuppa Jolie here.
Have you been blogging about kid lit for a while? Then go help choose the Cybils.
If The Longstockings hadn’t posted about this bit in the Financial Times about software programs for writers, I never would have seen it. So far I really like Scrivener, but it’s nice that there are options. I’m just not a Financial Times kind of girl. Thanks, Longstockings!
Oregon was fantastic. We drove on a 1000 mile loop (!), but we had fun and saw great things. Gray whales were playing around the sea lion caves when we stopped. We played with sweet, baby goats. We took a detour to Silver Falls State Park. The falls were dramatic, but not as dramatic as my son’s reaction to his first wasp sting. Poor guy.