Libraries Are for Everyone

A moving video about all libraries do for everyone in their communities:

[vimeo 95529067 w=500 h=281]

Libraries are for readers, for the young and old, for people who are searching for jobs, for people who are learning new languages, for people who are new to their communities, for people who can’t leave their homes, for people who need some help, for people who want to share their knowledge.

Libraries are for everyone.

Let’s make sure our libraries get the support they deserve.

Quote of the Day

Daniel Tiger. Photo by Greg Dunlap from Stockholm, Sweden
via Wikicommons

If you could only sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to the people you may never even dream of. There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person.”–Fred Rogers

It’s been a tough month for a lot of wonderful people I know, so I wanted to share this fantastic quote by one of the all-time best people. No matter what you’re going through right now, remember that you matter to so many other people.

More about Mister Rogers here.

Be an English Major

Fellow Candlewick YA writer and one of my favorite 2014 debut authors, Sarah Combs, recently sent me this article about why English majors matter. Needless to say, my heart swelled with bookish pride. For example:

“The English major is, first of all, a reader. She’s got a book pup-tented in front of her nose many hours a day; her Kindle glows softly late into the night. But there are readers and there are readers. There are people who read to anesthetize themselves—they read to induce a vivid, continuous, and risk-free daydream. They read for the same reason that people grab a glass of chardonnay—to put a light buzz on. The English major reads because, as rich as the one life he has may be, one life is not enough. He reads not to see the world through the eyes of other people but effectively to become other people. What is it like to be John Milton, Jane Austen, Chinua Achebe? What is it like to be them at their best, at the top of their games?

English majors want the joy of seeing the world through the eyes of people who—let us admit it—are more sensitive, more articulate, shrewder, sharper, more alive than they themselves are. The experience of merging minds and hearts with Proust or James or Austen makes you see that there is more to the world than you had ever imagined. You see that life is bigger, sweeter, more tragic and intense—more alive with meaning than you had thought.”

The whole article is fantastic. Edmundson defends not only the act of reading, as above, but also the act of writing and how deft handling of language allows us to “not merely to represent the world but to interpret it.” Isn’t every other major or career made better by the ability to represent and interpret the world and its ideas? Definitely click through to read the rest.

I’m a former English major and, even though people often make jokes about how unemployable we are and how useless it is to “sit around and read,” I can think of nothing more valuable than understanding language and being sensitive to the human experience. My English major certainly helped me get jobs (with health benefits!) and has made me a more thoughtful person overall.

Also, I gave a little cheer when I saw that the article writer was, in fact, Mark Edmundson, professor at the University of Virginia, my beloved alma mater. (Woohoo, English department!)

Thanks again to Sarah for sharing such an inspiring article! (And guys, you are totally going to want to read her book, Breakfast Served Anytime when it comes out next spring.)

Every Bean Matters

Not exactly writing related, but a lovely video by Ze Frank featuring a whole lot of jelly beans:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BOksW_NabEk]

Of course this reminded me of Our Town and Mrs. Dalloway (because everything reminds me of Our Town and Mrs. Dalloway). Our lives are filled with all of these seemingly insignificant jelly bean moments. Make each jelly bean count–not necessarily by climbing Mount Everest or saving orphans from fire (okay, at least call 911)–but by appreciating and recognizing each bean. We only have so many beans and we need to appreciate them while we can.

This week, let’s try to acknowledge and appreciate our beans as much as possible.

Be a Bookish Kid

Updates from NESCBWI coming when my brain isn’t fried, but first, a lovely video about why we should all be bookish kids, no matter how old we are:

I love the idea of everyone processing their own story and realizing the expanse of possibilities through reading. Maybe you’re not going to tesser to other planets and save your dad from a giant brain, but you can still better process your own life and the lives of those around you having learned about  Meg Murry’s expansive love and bravery. All kinds of art can show you the possibilities of other stories, but I think there’s something to be said for reading in particular–it’s intimate and personal while still being expansive.

It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

In honor of Mr. Rogers’ birthday today, YA author John Green shares a few cool facts about the man who helped make children’s public television a true force for learning and growth. There were lots of piece of trivia I didn’t know, so make sure to check out the video:

We should all endeavor to be as kind and thoughtful and curious as Mr. Rogers. Maybe instead of DFTBA we should say DFTBLF–Don’t Forget to Be Like Fred.

Happy birthday, Mr. Rogers!

PS–It’s also the birthday of one of my favorite children’s authors, Lois Lowry. Happy birthday, Lois! Thank you for bringing so many amazing books into the world.

Readers Read Everywhere

One of my favorite things about print books–the browsing process. I don’t tend to browse in an online bookstore, but put me in a shop and I can search around four hours. The LA Times has a lovely collection of photos of bookshops and people browsing for books across the globe. My favorite:

Make sure to click through for more bookstore photo goodness. A few of my favorite places to browse: Brookline Booksmith, Porter Square Books, Wellesley Books, and Trident Booksellers.

(image: Pedro Ribeiro Simoes)

Hearts on a String

Happy Valentine’s Day, everybody! I know it’s not a happy holiday for everyone, but I think it should be. Valentine’s Day is a chance to share all kinds of love–love for your friends, love for your family, love for your partner, etc. And you can do things your own way. Bake cookies, play board games, put on music and dance like crazy, go to a basketball game, curl up with a favorite collection of short stories–whatever you and your favorites like to do.

In case you’re still looking for ways to share your love, I suggest checking out these adorable bookish Valentine’s Day crafts. My favorite:

valentines-day-heart-garland

This garland would be fun to keep up year-round.

Hope you’re all having a great Valentine’s Day. Cool plans with loved ones? Share in the comments!

(image: Book Riot)

Becoming an Artist

A touching video in which children’s book author/illustrator Jarrett Krosoczka talks about how he became an artist.

“He liked making this book” might be the best line in any author bio I’ve ever seen. I also love how he talks about the support he got from his grandparents and his teachers. Even though writing/illustrating requires a lot of work and you have to power through a lot of challenges, as Krosoczka details, but having a wonderful support system can make all the difference. And I love that Krosoczka set up a scholarship in his grandparents’ honor. What a beautiful way to keep the support going.

(via SCBWI: The Blog)