Thursday, April 16, 2009

One of my Young Adult literature students, Katie Allen, went to listen to Laurie Halse Anderson talk about her new book, Wintergirls and had her picture taken with Anderson. I've not read this searing YA novel that came out in March, about the impact of anorexia on both the sufferer and the ones who love her, but it is on my "gotta read" list. I haven't read one of Laurie's books that I haven't loved. If it is as heart wrenching as Speak (and the reviews indicate it is) it will be one you will not forget. The latest issue of VOYA has a poem that Anderson wrote, the text of which is primarily taken from letters she has received from teen readers of Speak. This edgy YA novel is about an incoming freshman, raped at an end of the summer party, who is so traumatized by the rape and by being ostracizing by the other students, that she does not talk until circumstances force her to speak out.
The other picture is of the autograph on Katie's copy of Twisted I totally agree - librarians are angels. :-) This YA novel about Kyle, a teen who is just a body in the mass of teens in his high school - a social nobody. That is, until he is caught spray painting graffiti on the walls of the school. After a summer in the sun doing community service, getting tanned and buff, he becomes the bad boy the girls find irresistible, including the daughter of his father's boss. Getting involved with her is a bad idea and when half clothed photographs of her end up on the Internet everyone assumes Kyle is the one who posted them. Kyle would like to go back to being the invisible one in the high school social scene but it is too late now.

I wish Spring would decide to stay instead of making short visits and then leaving us with winter weather. Poor Sophie - she is now a short haired cat, but the vet left her with a long ruff around her neck and her tail long. I think she looks cute, but she is quite mortified. Downside of getting rid of her mass of shedding fur - she is more susceptible to this cold weather. I left her out once and she started sneezing and had a runny nose. She is still quite irritated with me about both the new "do" and not being able to go outside. If it would warm up I'd let her out but BRRRR!! If we get the house sold and move to the Miami area she will be a happy kitty again, chasing geckos like she did in the islands.

I hope it warms up this weekend as Steve's older brother and wife arrive for a short visit and, of course, we are headed to the horse races at Keeneland. I did great on opening day - well, for the first 5 races, then Steve told the guy behind the betting window that I was going to lose the next race. He jinxed me - not only did I lose that race, I lost every single one from there on out. Good thing I only do $2 bets. Hopefully we'll have better luck this weekend. I have picked my favorite jockey Kent Desormeaux. I learned the hard way not to bet against a horse he is racing. He's good! I just hope I don't have to be bundled up in my winter coat, two sweaters, a hat, scarf, gloves, etc. as I was on opening day of the races.
Speaking of bundled up, I laughed out loud at the picture of bundled up children building an ice sculpture dog in Alta Norway in 2001 in Ayana Lowe's Come and Play: Children of Our World Having Fun . The child who picked this picture to write about in Lowe's multicultural class named the "word riff," (what Lowe calls the short poems that accompany pictures of children at play around the world) Blue Night. I felt like a knew these kids, all bundled up and wearing fur hats - hats I had seen kids my own age wearing while growing up in Upper Michigan as well as on kids playing with my own children in Alaska. What photograph will you connect with?
April is poetry month (you can find cool things do with your students at: and this collection of short poems written by children in response to photographs of children at play around the world is a great place to start celebrating poetry month. Share this cool book of photographs and poetry with children and adults alike. The photographs are from the Magnum Photos collection. Check it out at Oh could I spend a lot of time just exploring this site. The main page currently has a photograph slide show of various photographs depicting springtime. Come and Play is a visual feast that both children and adults will devour over and over again as they "spy" on children at play. What "word riff" would I write about the little Norwegian kids - hmmmm - something to think about. Perhaps I'll write a "word riff" or two of my own to celebrate poetry month.