Thursday, February 02, 2006

What a cloudy dreary day out there. Nevertheless there are 6 smaller sailboats headed for Buck Island, one large sleek navy blue one headed for Charlotte Amalie, 2 ferries, and a para-sailor all within easy visual. High season in the islands. I guess when you come from cold country this warm weather is wonderful even if it is cloudy. The worst sunburns I have gotten have been on cloudy days! Glad I don't have to go downtown today. We laugh about the traffic cops who stand in the intersections to direct traffic. It is always worse when one of them is out there! The traffic lights seem to do a better job of timing the traffic.

While at Midwinter in San Antonio I stopped at the Orca booth at the Exhibits to talk with Andrew Wooldridge. We were talking about Red Sea - a suspenseful book set on a sailboat in the Red Sea. He gave me a copy of Lisa Heggum's (Toronto Librarian) edited collection of short stories - All Sleek and Skimming. Wow! I was fussy because my Printz contender, A Room on Lorelei Street wasn't the Printz award winning book. I love the literature that is intended for the older teen readers. We have so much available for the MS/JH age but not near enough for the upper end of HS - 10-12. Well, Heggum's collection certainly fits that readership! Do not put this collection in your Middle or Junior High School! The protagonists in some of the stories may be that age, but the themes and content of the stories are not for the age group. Everything from James Heneghan's "The Legacy," about an Irish teen whose father has been murdered and who now reconsiders joining the Fianna, the I.R.A. youth auxiliary, to Ivan E. Coyote's "The Cat Came Back", about a tweenage girl babysitting - dressed up in her uncle's suit (right down to his underwear), hair slicked back, sock down the front of her pants, and dancing in front of the mirror when he returns to pick up the concert tickets he forgot. Let's just say these are not pretty little short stories. They are stories that hit you in the gut and leave you gasping from the pain, laughing from the irony, and crying from the grief.

On a sweeter note, I have a soft spot in my heart for the inspirational type picture books from Illumination Arts ( The illustrations are always stunning, as is the case with Your Father Forever by Travis Griffith, illustrated by Raquel Abreu. A father's vow to his young son and baby daughter that he will always be there for them - "I will be your daddy as long as you want me to. But I will be your father...forever." Give this one to the father expecting his second child. I adore the picture of the dad's and baby's feet as she takes her first steps between his big feet.

All for now - need to get some grading done and finish up my presentation notes for the booktalking session at the MLS Conference in Greenville next week.