Friday, June 05, 2009

I am sitting in the living room watching the news - we are getting good weather this weekend - up to the low 80s. :-) We have had so much rain and cold weather this week that Steve turned on the heat last night to take the chill out. Mary said they had frost warnings in Green Bay so I really shouldn't complain. I sat outside and brushed Sophie for a while this afternoon but we have 3 very irritating mockingbirds who make harassing Sophie their favorite thing to do. They will dive bomb her even if I am on the back porch with her. They must have a nest in a yard near us, but it is not in ours. We have a family of robins that we love but these dang mockingbirds are a pain with their screeching and pooping on our railings. Makes it difficult to enjoy the weather - we have the back door open and Sophie just came flying in! She must have gotten pecked. She will not try to swat at them and ignores them until they dive bomb her. Poor baby!

Since I have had to keep my foot elevated I had a chance to do some reading and I couldn't put down Graceling by Kristen Cashore It is a 2009 William C. Morris YA Debut Award finalist and rightfully so. For a debut novel it is stunning. It is no surprise that Cashore has a master's in children's literature as clearly she has honed her craft. I find it very interesting, as I research new authors and their Debut YA novels, that a large number of these authors have master's degrees in children's literature and clearly envisioned a career as a youth literature author. This realization makes me even more intrigued to meet these new authors via their debut novels. Cashore introduces Katsa, a young woman who has been trained to be a killer and does the dirty work for her uncle, the King, breaking bones and cutting off fingers to terrorize anyone who crosses him. Katsa does not question her role as the King's killer until she meets a young prince who can hold his own both in hand to hand combat with her as they help each other hone their fighting skills. Katsa leaves their "practice" sessions barely winded, but Po limps away with bruises even though Katsa is holding back. Katsa is a Graceling - she has two different color eyes and she had grown up assuming her Grace is to kill. Po, who is also a Graceling, with a Grace he does not initially share with her, will help her find her true Grace as well as save a young girl from a king even more savage than Katsa's uncle. I cannot wait for the sequel and wish I had been at BEA to get an ARC. Check out Cashore's blog as it has the cover art for the sequel Fire It is fun to read about a new author who is an excited to meet the author as we YA readers are. :-) Cashore is fellow blogspot blogger! I can't wait to read about Katsa and Po's next adventure. This is a romance but if you booktalk it from Po's point of view you'll have male fantasy readers loving it as well. Katsa may be the main character, but Po is a very strong companion character who holds his own and then some! A must have in every HS level YA collection.

I wish Sophie would be a bit more sassy and fight off the mockingbirds as would Rotten Ralph, one of my favorite fictional cats, created by one of my favorite authors - Jack Gantos. He is as funny in life as Rotten Ralph is on paper. It is hard to believe Rotten Ralph has been around since 1976, but now we can enjoy another one of this sassy cat's escapades as he learns he is running out of cat lives - oh no! I chuckled my way through The Nine Lives of Rotten Ralph Oh what a delight to revisit a bit of Ralph's adventures as he lost 8 of his 9 lives. But, you know he isn't going to settle down - well, maybe a little bit! Nicole Rubel illustrates this latest edition to the Rotten Ralph saga and if seeing this naughty cat in a baby bonnet doesn't make you laugh, you have lost your sense of humor! Set this out on display along with the older Rotten Ralph titles and you'll pull in readers as well as current fans.

All for now. Have a wonderful weekend and take at least a few minutes to meet a character in a new YA or children's book who you can share next week at work. Yes, it is okay for adults to read children's and YA literature even if they don't work with teens or children. Just go on vacation and note the number of adults reading youth titles. I am not a big Harry Potter fan but these books have certainly made reading children's and YA books "cool"!