Friday, June 29, 2007

ALA Part 1

Should that be "Part I?" I don't care.

I am sitting on my couch right now feeling a tad cruddy cause I had a HUGE fight with my sister today. I should be on my way to the public library to work on my next novel (I went yesterday for the first time this summer for my two hour window in the Group Study Room where I like to write my books). But I'm a little late already. Glug. Yesterday went pretty well, and I like the way the novel is going. But I don't know if I'm up for it today. We'll see. [I am writing the second half of this blog in the evening, and I did go to the library and wrote for two hours. I now pat myself on the back.]

So now I'll make my first post about the ALA conference in Washington DC. It was so amazing and overwhelming. I don't think they've ever had so many YA authors (for those out there who don't know, YA means young adult or teen. It is a term that librarians and booksellers use frequently, but I don't know if it has worked it's way into the mainstream). The author I spent the most time with was Jack Gantos. I didn't really know too much about Jack, except the Joey Pigza books, but it turned out he was this fascinating, charming, hilarious man. I first saw him speak at the YALSA Sins of YA Lit pre-conference. Then he spoke on a panel about YA audiobooks (along with Judy Blume! It was so cool!). And finally I had dinner with him. Not just the two of us, of course; Listening Library took the members (myself included) of the YALSA Selected Audiobooks committee out to an absolutely fabulous and fancy dinner. We ate outside at a beautiful table at the Morrison-Clark restaurant. It was lovely. And it was fun chatting with the L.L. people about the process of making audiobooks (and the dream of one day having an audiobook of my very own).

I met a few authors as they autographed their books (which I don't love to do because I always feel so rushed to get out everything I ever wanted to tell the authors, but I don't want to be the obnoxious person who holds up the line). I was very disappointed when I learned that E.L. Konigsburg cancelled due to illness (I hope she is OK) because I really wanted a signed copy of From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. I had Rachel Cohn and David Levithan sign a copy of Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist (and tried to tell both of them how much I love them, and then babbled to David about how my editor is his friend and how they were in this horrible car thing with a jackknifed truck together. And then I blathered on about cicadas! LOSER.). Hmmm... Who else?I bought copies of Bloom by Elizabeth Scott and Story of a Girl by Sara Zarr and got them signed for my students (both were lovely and nice). Once I get my massive box of books shipped back to me in the mail, I can see who else I met.

Since this is already too long, I will wait until next time to talk about the hilarity of the Young Adult Author Breakfast (You think I'm rambling now- you should have seen me chatting up all of the authors).

Until next time- good night.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

So Help Me

Oy. It is my official first day of summer vacation, and I'm already having the severe panic attacks of what the hell am I going to do. Not that I don't have things to do. The suitcases from ALA have to be unpacked. I should really go to the grocery store. There's laundry to do. I have my summer to-do list of things like "clean the refrigerator" and "shred." And then there's that novel I have to write. I think that's probably the major cause for my anxiety. The great news is that I officially will have a second novel from Feiwel and Friends. The terrifying news is that I now have to write it. I don't doubt that I can write another novel, but I do fear the process. Today I shall return to the public library's group study room, where I wrote a significant portion of Get Well Soon. I have made my schedule for the next month in the study room, and by golly I'm stickin' to it.

But yeah, I'm panicking. I'm having severe email checking disorder. The problem is that my book is STILL in the pre-publication era, after when the galley is out but before the review period and the release period. What will happen? What if the reviewers don't like it? Why should that matter? I already know that teens love it, but I'm super-scared [I edited a swear out from the original post. It just didn't feel right. Which makes me a total hypocrite because my book- and my mouth- are full of swears] that I will get bad reviews. I just want people to like me. Is that so wrong? I hope I'm not freaking you out with my crazy ramblings. Warning: It will only get worse as the summer goes on. I always get the summer crazies.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


I plan to do a series of blog entries based on my trip to ALA in Washington DC, but for now I just have to tell you how disappointed I am with my result in the quiz:

You Passed 8th Grade Math

Congratulations, you got 9/10 correct!

Could You Pass 8th Grade Math?

Just 90%?! I was a math genius at one point in time. It was my favorite subject because I was so good at it! I'm kind of bummed. I suppose that's why I'm an author and librarian now and not a mathematician. For shame. More soon...

Sunday, June 17, 2007

No More Teachers...

The school year is now over (sound the happy horns), although I do have to go in for the first few days of next week, before I leave for ALA (If you're going to ALA, stop by the Feiwel and Friends booth- 2859- on Saturday from 2-3. I will be there signing copies of my galley!). I even have a meeting from 4-7 on Monday. However, none of this is a big deal because I will not leave for work until traffic dies down, which means I can wake up at a decent time (I think 7:00 is decent) and not have to sit in hellish traffic. Plus, I will have time to work out in the morning, thus starting my faux summer workout regime, where I tell myself I am going to work out every day during the summer.

For the last school related piece of the school year (unless something noteworthy happens next week), I would like to share one of the nicest things that has ever happened to me while being a school librarian. One of my students gave a speech at eighth grade graduation: the top ten things she has learned and will missed about our middle school. Here's what she said for number nine (I have a transcript of the speech):

The Library: It is a special place of discovery and sanctuary for many of us. It is where I go when I need a quiet place to work. Ms. Halpern is always there to give you advice on a book or if you just need someone to talk to. You can always find something to do- whether it's playing board games, answering the question of the day, or looking at the display of themed books for the month. It was like my little vacation from school. I have learned that you can get away without going far away.

I am filled with joy, knowing that the kids get it.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Breakfast Blog

Good morning. I'm writing at 6:38 am because I am trying to get a quick blog out before work. Buffy is on. It's the episode where they take away her powers to test her. Too icky for me.

Does anyone watch So You Think You Can Dance? I like it a bit because I love to watch choreographed dancing, but I think I may have to boycott now that my favorite dancer is already off of the show. I forget his name, but I even voted for him on Wednesday night. How many calls do I have to make in order to keep a kid on the show? Why bother? During the commercials I flipped over to Never Been Kissed on ABC Family (which is a channel full of hypocrites because they always have horndog teens and sex talk, but when you want to say the lord's name, they bleep it. Oh! And the scene where Molly Shannon comes in to the classroom to teach sex-ed was cut! Do you think it's an evolution vs. Creationism thing?). I love that movie. I think it's Drew Barrymore's best acting job ever. She completely gives everything to the role, from the frumpy walk to the stupid faces. I really love it. It's acting as a bit of inspiration for my next novel, which I'll write this summer. I love the older brother character in it, played by David Arquette (who looks just like he did in the Buffy movie). I think my favorite part in the whole movie is when Drew eats a pot brownie (um, hello ABC Family?), and dances. And then she goes home and eats a pie and claims that someone ate her pie (ooh- that sounds pervy when I write it). I better go to work. It's the last day for the kids. Yeah!!!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Children of the Women

I watched Children of Men this weekend, on recommendation from my next-door neighbor (it's one of their teenage son's favorite movies). I liked it. It had some humor in it, even though it was quite dark. I never noticed Clive Owen before, but he was very good. This is the blandest movie review EVER. I am not working the adjectives. Ah well. I'm just trying to get another post up, and I'm tired. Last week of school. Anywho- The movie even made me tear up a little, when the baby was born and everyone marveled at it. I believe it was based on a book (I am not going to fact check. That's the quality of my blog: very little fact-checking). So what was the deal with the title? Children of MEN? I didn't see any men having babies. In fact, it was a very forgettable title. It was one of those movie titles that I never get quite right, so I sound like an old lady when I'm talking about it. If I had to rate it out of five stars, I would give it a three. There ya go. And now you know why I don't write movie reviews for a living. Good night.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Books Ahoy

Today was Field Day, and I started to write an article about how I am very particular about things (which I will post some time) due to my adorable Field Day outfit. But I am exhausted from being in the sun for four hours in the 87 degree weather, so maybe some other time. Instead, I thought I'd tell you what books I'm reading these days. Just so you know, I read several books at a time sometimes, but I'm a terribly slow reader so it can take me months to finish a book. Right now I'm reading What My Girlfriend Doesn't Know by Sonya Sones, which is the sequel to What My Mother Doesn't Know. I love Sones' books because they are written in poetry form (and are also very good), so I can read them much faster than I can usually read. This book is written from the perspective of a very ugly nerd boy who is dating a cute girl (who told the story in What My Mother Doesn't Know), and how everyone treats them like crap. The guy, named Robin (Kermit's nephew's name!) is so sweet. I wish I could picture what he looks like. I can remember people in junior high and high school who were tormented mercilessly because they were so unattractive. I wonder how they would look to me now. Anyway, the book is about how much Robin likes the girl (whose name I forgot), but how afraid he is that people's disgust for their relationship will break them up. Will they stay together? I hope so.

The other book I'm reading is Parrotfish by Ellen Wittlinger. This is another author who I have read many books by, and I just love her. She always chooses such unique topics. This one is about a transgendered teen who is trying to start living life as a boy. It's a pretty heavy topic, but Wittlinger adds lots of humor and creates such wonderful characters, I always want to be their friends. And it's making me think a lot about what I would do as a parent if I ever have a child who i s transgender (transgendered?). I am probably a third of the way through both books, but I would highly recommend either based on what I've read so far and how much I have enjoyed previous works by these authors.

So those are my book reviews. I suppose I could do that more often on the blog, what with me being a librarian and all.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Like Nobody's Business

This was a freakin’ hard week. It was a major work week, with lots of classes scheduled, responsibilities, and meetings. My assistant is getting a new job, so I will have to hire someone new for next year (not so bad since it came at the end of the school year). This morning I had to present some reading awards in front of the whole school, which shouldn’t bother me, but I had sweat stain fears and tripping fears and booger fears, etc. Not that anyone in the audience could have seen. And it went fine. Of course some students were upset that I didn’t give them the awards, which always makes me feel guilty. But I do feel right about my choices, and a couple of the kids I gave the awards to came to talk to me. One said she was jumping up and down. This afternoon I read “The Butter Battle Book” to some eighth grade classes, which was fun but exhausting after the whole awards trauma. The big crapola was a retirement party that was being held in my library. They had to move EVERYTHING, which I was so nice about all week. But it really sucked seeing my library torn apart. I really made that place into something great for the students. Not like it won’t get back to normal next week, but it was tough. And it will require a lot of supervising and moving crap on my part. So I’m in a reflective, depressive state these days-- bad dreams, stress stomach, the grumps. Two and a half weeks left of work, then vacay. I need it. People sometimes like to bitch about teachers, since we get so much vacation time. All I have to say is: get yourself a friggin’ teaching degree if y’all are so jealous, and try working with kids for nine months and then NOT having a vacation. Mmhmmm. I thought so.

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