Monday, February 07, 2005

Good morning! What a beautifully sunny day it is here in the islands - the birds are singing outside my window. And I don't mean the "time-challenged" rooster who lives below us. :-)

So the Patriots won the Super Bowl. We both gave up on it in the 3rd quarter and crashed for the night. Down side of being on Atlantic Time - everything is an hour later than Eastern.

Interesting discussion occurring on Child-Lit about the qualifications of authors. It all started with someone suggesting authors should all have advanced degrees in writing - well, that knocks out the greats like Jane Yolen, who certainly had something to say about it. It has now progressed to discussing the types of books published - such as series, movie tie-ins, etc. that many consider junk. Perhaps they are in a sense, but they are essential junk for readers, just as the mass market stuff for adults like Danielle Steele. Much of what we read isn't ever going to be in contention for a Newbery or Printz literary merit type award. So what? To be a life longer reader one has to read and that can be anything from the latest Princess Diaries book to Sports Illustrated magazine. We have to wallow in unconscious delight type reading or we may become unconscious while reading. If we are forced to read at our determined reading level each time we read something we would quickly become non-readers. Look what we are doing to kids in schools - leveling them and then requiring the books they check out from the library be on that level. What about just plain fun reading that requires no work on your part - it is just a fun reading experience? These delightful reading experiences are what cause us to pick up the next book early on and pretty soon we are looking for more in a book and recognizing the quality of writing and developing connections with characters, etc. I say YAHOO for junk books - they are an essential piece in the array of materials that help create life long readers.

Speaking of series reading - I just finished Mixed Messages by Jahnna N. Malcolm. It is part of the Love Letters series. Quite a delightful quick read about three friends who are very different - Jade is a red-head who plays guitar and writes her own songs, Lucy is a blonde granny skirt wearing vegetarian hippy, and Keesha is an African American fashion diva - but they have each other's backs in all occasions, perhaps a bit more than they should. It is Jade's turn to write the love letter and Lucy puts it in the wrong guy's locker. But, Cupid had it right to begin with and Jade discovers that her heart does belong to quirky derby wearing Adam rather than spike-haired electric guitar squealing Zephyr. This is the kind of unconscious delight book you take to the beach, enjoy and pass on to someone else to read. It isn't one that you put on your "special books" shelf. But, I need books like these - I read so much YA that a light romance is a joy after reading several heavy themed books in a row.

Okay, that's it for this beautiful sunny a.m.