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KidLitCon in Sacramento, California

Oh, I want to go to KidLitCon. What is KidLitCon, you ask?

The 8th annual Kidlitosphere Conference, aka KidLitCon, will be held October 10th and 11th at the Tsakopoulos Library Galleria in Sacramento, CA. KidLitCon is a gathering of people who blog about children’s and young adult books, including librarians, authors, teachers, parents, booksellers, publishers, and readers. Attendees share a love of children’s books, as well as a determination to get the right books into young readers’ hands. People attend KidLitCon to talk about issues like the publisher/blogger relationship, the benefits and pitfalls of writing critical reviews, and overcoming blogger burnout. People also attend KidLitCon for the chance to spend time face to face with kindred spirits, other adults who care passionately for children’s and YA literature.

This year’s theme for KidLitCon is: Blogging Diversity in Young Adult and Children’s Lit: What’s Next?

Last year the conference was held in Austin, TX, just up the road, so to speak. And I got to go for the very first time. But it’s not looking as if plane tickets to California are in the budget this year. We’ll see. Anyway, for those of you are nearby, or for those of you who can afford to fly across country, do consider KidLitCon. I can promise you a great group of people to hang out with and some great discussions of children’s literature and all semi-related topics.

And Mitali Perkins is going to be the keynote speaker!

Shannon Hale is expected to participate in the conference via Skype!

Charlotte Taylor of Charlotte’s Library is the program coordinator! (And she’s accepting proposals for presentations and panels now through the first of August.)

Leila Roy (Bookshelves of Doom) is planning to go.

Melissa (Book Nut) hopes to see us there.

Sarah Stevenson and Tanita Davis (Finding Wonderland) and Jen Robinson are helping to organize KidLitCon 2014, so I’m guessing they will be there.

It already sounds great. So, does anyone want to let me hitch a ride in their suitcase as you’re passing through Houston?

Quoting . . .

Will Duquette at Patheos: “Facebook is a good servant but a poor master. I’ve got to learn to keep it in its place.”

From wordsmith.org: “I think I am a verb instead of a personal pronoun. A verb is anything that signifies to be; to do; to suffer. I signify all three.”
~Ulysses S. Grant (General and U.S.President), from a note written a few days before his death.

From Fanny Harville’s Homeschool Academy: “At a certain age, sometimes early, sometimes late, children make up their minds about their parents. They decide, not always justly, the kind of people their mothers and fathers are, and the judgment can be a stern one.” Act One: An Autobiography by Moss Hart.
(I rather agree. I think I decided a long time ago what kind of people my parents were, not a stern judgment, but a judgment nevertheless. I wonder what my children have decided about me, but I don’t suppose I’ll ever really know.)

Soldier finds lifeline in letter exchange with Vermont author. Soldier and author Trent Reedy (Words in the Dust) in Afghanistan, after reading Katherine Paterson’s Bridge to Terebithia: “I needed that reminder that there was still hope and still beauty in the world. At that time in my life there was none. There was nothing except guns and fear. I was really not at all sure that I was ever going to get out of that place. This book gave me a little bit of beauty at that time, and I needed it. Not the way I need a new app for my iPad. I needed it to keep my soul alive.”
Yep, I, too, need certain books to keep my soul alive.

“It is amazing that people who think we cannot afford to pay for doctors, hospitals, and medication somehow think that we can afford to pay for doctors, hospitals, medication and a government bureaucracy to administer it.” –Thomas Sowell

“Based upon what is going on in the Ukraine/Crimea, Texas should be able to vote and then secede from the U.S. However, we may have to endure some harsh words from Secretary Kerry and President Obama.” ~a friend on Facebook.
I don’t know where he got the idea, maybe from his own brain, but although I don’t advocate secession, the logic seems to me to be about right.

November 29th–A Very Good Day

Three wonderful authors, for whose work I am very thankful, were born on this date. Any of their books would make lovely Christmas presents.

1. C.S. Lewis
Lewis is the best writer and the most profound thinker of the three, the one whose work will stand the test of time. I predict that Mere Christianity, The Screwtape Letters, and Till We Have Faces, in particular, will be read and appreciated a hundred years from now. Because he died fifty years ago on November 22, 1963, he has been remembered with many, many articles and blog posts this month. Here are links to just a few from this year and from other years.
50 Years Ago Today, RIP Jack
Jared at Thinklings: Remembering Jack (2005)
Lars Walker at Brandywine Books: The Feast of St. Jack and The Great Man’s Headgear
Hope at Worthwhile Books reviews Out of the Silent Planet, the first book in Lewis’s space trilogy.
Heidi at Mt. Hope Chronicles writes about her appreciation for the works of C.S. Lewis.
Jollyblogger reviews Lewis’s The Great Divorce.

2. Madeleine L’Engle
Ms. L’Engle is the most likely of the three to have her work become dated. However, the science fiction quartet that begins with A Wrinkle in Time may very well last because it deals with themes that transcend time and localized concerns. And I still like The Love Letters the best of all her books, a wonderful book on the meaning of marriage and of maturity.
Madeleine L’Engle favorites.
In which I invite Madeleine L’Engle to tea in June, 2006, before her death last year.
A Madeleine L’Engle Annotated bibliography.
Semicolon Review of The Small Rain and A Severed Wasp by Madeleine L’Engle.
Semicolon Review of Camilla by Madeleine L’Engle.
My Madeleine L’Engle project, which has languished this year, but I hope to get back to it in 2009.
Mindy Withrow writes about A Circle of Quiet.
Remembering Madeleine: Obituaries and Remembrances from September, 2007.

3. Louisa May Alcott.
I love reading about Ms. Alcott’s girls and boys even though many people are too jaded and feminist to enjoy books that celebrate the joys of domesticity and home education.
Circle of Quiet quotes An Old-Fashioned Girl by Louisa May Alcott on the wearing of blue gloves.
Carrie reviews Little Women, after three attempts to get though it.
Claire, The Captive Reader re-reads my favorite Louisa May Alcott novel, Eight Cousins.
Claire, The Captive Reader revisits Rose in Bloom, the sequel to Eight Cousins.
Sam at Book Chase reviews Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women by Harriet Reisen.
Joyfuly Retired sponsored an “All Things Alcott” Challenge in 2010 where you can find links to many posts about Louisa May and her family and her novels.

November 29, 2007: To This Great Stage of Fools.

KidLitCon: What There Was and What I Learned

KidLitCon in Austin was smaller than it has been in the past, but since it was my first time to be able to come, I didn’t really notice until it was called to my attention. It was also a great weekend for connections and friendships, old, new, and renewed.

At first, since I believe most bloggers are introverts at heart, we all did the slow, careful dance of introvert intersection: the one where you carefully introduce yourself, see if the other person has any idea who you are or even wants to know, talk about the weather and the setting, and then slowly but surely circle around to the real reason you’re there, blogging and reading. Well, ALL is a slight exaggeration. Not all bloggers are introverts, and Pam from Mother Reader and Melissa the BookNut both rushed up and gave me a big hug and made me (and everyone else) feel so at home that I didn’t want to leave on Sunday morning. Thank God for extroverts.

Thank Him for the rest of us, too. I had wonderful, thoughtful conversations with Jennifer of 5 Minutes for Books who was so kind to provide my transportation from Houston to Austin and share her hotel room with me and share her love of books and kids and matching books with kids. (And she told me something about pictures that I didn’t know. I tried it on this post, and it works!) Then there were all of the other kidlit bloggers, who may or may not be extroverts or introverts, who did all the planning and the talking and the presenting and the socializing and the questioning. Thanks, everybody. (If you didn’t get to come, I’m sorry. You missed out.)

What I Learned at KidLitCon 2013 in Austin, TX:

51YjXKZS+mL._SX258_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_BO1,204,203,200_1. Cynthia Leitich Smith (Cynsations) reads 300 blogs a day! She’s also Native American, or part native Americand (although, side note, I’ve never understood how any of us can really be “part” some ethnic or racial group), and she’s a really, really good and engaging speaker. She also has a picture book that I want to read called Jingle Dancer.

2. Author Chris Barton (Bartography) is a real person and a really nice person, and his next book is going to be about the world of video gaming for outsiders to that world who want to get in, maybe, a little bit. Sounds cool.

3. Jen Robinson (Jen Robinson’s Book Page) and Sarah Stevenson (Finding Wonderland) are good at analyzing burnout and providing some possible solutions, and Jen gave me a great idea for responding to blog posts that I like when I don’t have time to comment. She tweets a link to stuff she likes. Simple, but I hadn’t really thought about it. I’m going to do that.

4. Author Molly Blaisdell (Seize the Day) is a delightful and inspirational person, and I want to read her (adult?) book, Plumb Crazy, when it comes out in May, 2014.

5. Molly also taught us the Japanese word “otaku”, which is sort of a fan club or a group of influential geeks in any area of interest who wield influence in that subculture.

6. If I take notes on the back of a piece of paper, and I don’t remember what the paper was, I willnot have the notes to refer to when I write this post.

7. Katy Manck (BooksYALove) knows about lots of stuff, and she says I should be tagging my posts. I sort of, kind of, thought so, but she assures me that I should and could.

8. Sheila Ruth (Wands and Worlds) and Charlotte (Charlotte’s Library) are NOT the same person in disguise, but they are both authorities on fantasy and science fiction, and we can all agree that fantasy fiction about albino animals and mutant tennis rackets is not going to make the bestseller list or the awards lists anytime soon. Not to mention picture books with crayon scribbled illustrations. Maybe you had to have been there.

9. Leila Roy (Bookshelves of Doom) is not the same person as author Lena Roy. Embarrassment. Don’t ask. But Leila is a lovely blogger, and she and her fellow panelists (Jen Bigheart, Lee Wind, Sheila Ruth) gave me a lot to think about as they discussed the future of kidlit blogging. Suffice it to say that despite changes and evolutions, there is a future as long as we bloggers are committed to helping children and parents and others find books, and it looks good.

10. Camille (Book Moot) is as wonderful an advocate for books in person as she is on her blog. And she leads a book club for older adults at her church, and they read Wolf Hall over the summer, then Wednesday Wars by Gary Schmidt this fall. Now that’s a contrast. I didn’t make it through Wolf Hall—too much of a challenge for me. Camille says the key is to listen to it on audiobook. Then you can tell who’s who because they use different voices for the different characters.

I learned a lot more from and about a lot more people, but I was told that what happens at KidLitCon stays at KidLitCon. So, except for the few tidbits of tantalizing information I have already shared here, you’ll just have to read about the experiences of everyone else—and come next year to KidLitCon, place and date TBA. But I think it’s going to be in California. (And if I didn’t link to you, I’m sorry, and I probably will soon in another post. Or I’ll tweet your post or something. But this one is getting too long, and I have to go to bed.)

Sunday Salon: Links and Thinks

What does the fox say? Thanks, Bill. I got my horse/fox laugh for the day.

I love this poem by one of my favorite bloggers: On the porch with Liza.

It’s amazing to me how hung up and mixed up we can be about skin color and personal appearance, and it’s not just black and white. Watch this video at Mitali Perkins’ blog, Fire Escape, called Rise, Dark Girls. Discuss.

Danielle by filmmaker Anthony Cerniello. Another video worth watching. My girls responded to the aging process with “yuck” and “eewwww”. Clearly we have issues to address as far as “ageism” and the graceful response to aging that I want my family to have.

One of my family members has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s, so this new sitcom starring Michael J. Fox is of especial interest to me. What do you think? Can he pull it off? Will it be funny?

Links and Thinks: June 26, 2013

Booked: Reading My Way Back to Faith by Jessica Griffith.

“Reading is a form of prayer; I know. Divine reading, lectio divina, is a way of communion with God in scripture, the Living Word. But is it wrong that I’ve had more profound experiences of God’s presence reading Anna Karenina, Middlemarch, Kristin Lavransdatter, and my children’s copies of Frog and Toad?”

Welcome to the Mental Ward by Anthony Esolen.

Perhaps it is sex that has driven us mad. I think rather it must be boredom. We are so bored, we not only cannot be bothered to remember what our opponents say. We cannot be bothered to remember what we ourselves say.

Sex Without Bodies by Andy Crouch.

Marriage, which has always been “unequal,” yoking together two very different kinds of bodies, must now be “equal,” measured only by the sincerity of one’s love and commitment. To insist on the importance of bodies is to challenge the sovereign self, to suggest that our ethical options are limited by something we did not choose.
There is one other consistent position that Christians can hold, though we will hold it at great social cost, at least for the foreseeable future: that bodies matter. Indeed, that both male and female bodies are of ultimate value and dignity—not a small thing given the continuing denigration of women around the world.”

How I Changed my Mind about Abortion by Julia Herrington.

“. . . abortion actually oppresses women. Procedurally what abortion requires is the silencing of a woman’s body and the unmitigated dismissing of her gender. We’ve accepted abortion as a right that celebrates a woman’s ownership of her body. But the procedure necessarily requires that a woman deny her gender by silencing and disallowing a natural and distinguishing result of womanhood. In every other facet of feminism, we celebrate a woman’s body, we honor her identity as a female. But abortion ignores her femininity . . .”

Themes Meme

Last year on 12/12/12, I wrote about some of the “themes” or Big Ideas that keep popping up here on the blog and in my life, themes such as books, community, prayer, and the foundational “theme of my song”, Jesus.

Now a couple of other blogger friends have picked up on my post and written their own list of life themes:

Barbara at Stray Thoughts writes about homemaking and ministry and of course, books.

Carrie at Reading to Know adds a song for each of her themes.

I don’t know if one can call it a meme if only three people so far have participated; however, I did enjoy getting to know Carrie and Barbara a little better through the medium of blogging about life themes. If you write about your life motifs or some variation thereof, please leave a comment. I’d like to link to your list and get to know you a little better, too.

55 Bookish Things I Want to Do Before I Die

Love at First Book: 50 Bookish Things to do Before YOu Die.
The Book Wheel: 50 Bookish Things to do Before You Die.

What a lovely, list-y meme. I had to participate, but of course, I’m listing 55 things in keeping with my own personal number of the year.

'Little Free Library, Carr Ave.' photo (c) 2013, Memphis CVB - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/1. Create my own Little Free Library.

2. Go to a book blogging conference.

3. Have a book-themed party or tea.

4. Host an in-person book club.

5. Meet 20 authors. 20 is an arbitrary number, but I’d like to meet some of the authors whose books I love.

6. Make blog bookmarks.

7. Write thank you notes to authors whose books make a difference.

8. Get 1,000 books donated to Kazembe Orphanage.

9. Read a book about every U.S. President.

10. Read all of the Newbery Honor books and Award books that I can find.

11. Read one book from or about every country of the world. I made this map a couple of years ago but then I forgot about it. I need to add all of the books I’ve read with links to reviews.

12. Record videos of children’s books being read aloud for the internet.

13. Vist as many libraries and bookstores as I can in as many cities as I can.

14. Give out ALL lots of business cards.

15. Read a poem a day. Out loud. For a year.

16. Read the Bible all the way through every year and takes notes in my personal copy.

'NPL' photo (c) 2012, NPL Newburyport Public Library - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/17. Set up and open a private subscription library for homeschoolers in my home.

18. Visit Oxford and see all the C.S. Lewis/Tolkien/Inkling sites.

19. Read to my grandchildren. I don’t actually have any grandchildren. My adult children are not even married. But someday.

20. Finish writing and self-publish my second book, Picture Book Around the World.

21. Finish writing and self-publish my third book, Picture Book Science.

22. Inspire a non-reader to love books by helping him or her to find the perfect gateway book.

23. Have a book of the month club for my adult children and other relatives in which I send them each a book every other month especially selected with that person in mind.

24. Abandon books after 50 pages if they don’t capture my interest—unless I want to keep reading.

25. Travel across the U.S.A with Engineer Husband while listening to audiobooks. This travel is a part of my retirement plan.

26. Actually listen to at least one audiobook all the way through. I have a short attention span when it comes to audiobooks, but I might be able to change that. See #25.

27. Go on a weekend reading retreat with just me, myself, and my books. No tech.

28. Go to a book signing.

29. Go to a poetry slam.

30. Read at least one book in Spanish all the way through. I did this in college, but I’d like to do it again just to prove that I still can.

31. Give away books on World Book Night. I actually did give away books for WBN last year (Peace Like a River by Leif Enger), and I’m set to give away again this year (The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan). But I’d really like to do this every year.

32. Read a book out loud with Engineer Husband. We did this when we were newlyweds, but now that we’re almost senior citizens, I think it’s time to renew the practice.

33. Continue to keep a record of what I’ve read here at the blog. Continue blogging. I will celebrate my tenth anniversary for Semicolon in October of this year. I’d like to celebrate twenty or thirty years someday.

34. Go through all of the books on my bookshelves and give away all the books I don’t want to own anymore.

35. Have a year where I actually read one book every day. The author of Tolstoy and the Purple Chair does this, and I think it would be loads of fun—after I get all the urchins raised and out of the house.

36. Have a year when I actually watch NO TV, not because I think television is evil or even a waste of time. I would just like to see what effect it would have on my life to go an entire year without television or movies. Maybe this would be the same year as #35.

37. Finish reading the books on my Classics Club list.

38. Complete the 40 Trash Bag Challenge. Bookish? Yes, because some of those “trash bags” need to be boxes full of books to donate.

39. Meet 20 Texas book bloggers. If I did #2 I might be able to meet lots of book bloggers. That would be so much fun.

40. Finish reading, or at least checking out, all of the books on my TBR list. I can only complete this action item before I die if I quit putting more books ON the list at some arbitrary time. Maybe when I celebrate my 90th birthday? Then, I just read books I’ve already put on the list.

41. Invite 100 bloggers to participate in the Saturday Review of Books link-up. Anyone can participate. If you are reading this post and you blog about books, you are invited.

42. Build a window seat in my house for reading.

43. Read every single thing C.S. Lewis ever wrote. Carefully and thoughtfully.

44. Host a book-to-movie book club for teens in which they must first read the book and then we watch the movie together.

45. Interview some authors for my blog. This item is rather non-specific, but I’d really like to do this and learn how to do it well.

46. Work in a bookstore just for a little while, just for fun.

47. Finish re-reading Les Miserables. I got stuck in the middle. I think I need a paper copy instead of my ebook Kindle copy.

48. Finish “reading through Africa.” This goal relates to #11, but it’s different because I’m exploring a different part of Africa each year. In 2012, I read books set in Northern Africa. This year I’m reading books from West Africa. I have three more regions to visit, and then I might turn around and start again because I didn’t hit every country.

'New York City Public Library' photo (c) 2011, Rande Archer - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/49. Develop a habit of reading the Bible in the mornings before I do anything else. I’m not a morning person. Maybe this goal isn’t workable, but I’d like to try.

50. Go back to the Texas Book Festival in Austin. I went several years ago, but it just hasn’t been possible in the last few years. The 2013 festival is scheduled for October 26-27. Maybe this fall.

51. Write a poem. A good poem that I’m proud to share with others.

52. Visit the Library of Congress.

53. Visit the New York Public Library.

54. Read all of the books I want to read.

55. Give away all of my books to people who will enjoy and appreciate them. This last thing I will do when I’m old and when I enjoy giving the books away more than I enjoy loaning, recommending, re-reading, and looking things up.

Encouraging and thoughtful links

On humility. I wonder what people will say about me after I’m dead and gone to be with the Lord. I pray that my story will glorify Him.

On fearlessness in life and parenting.

I Come to Bury Keats, Not to Praise Him by Doug McKelvey at The Rabbit Room. An excellent essay on truth, beauty, romanticism and meaning.

Bags We Love: A collection of bookstore and literary tote bags, curated by Julie Blattberg (HarperCollins). I actually own two of these bags.

Deb Nance at Reader Buzz on Little Libraries. When Engineer Husband retires, I’m going to beg him to build me one of these little wooden boxes for a Little Free Library of my own. I think the idea is beautiful, such a community-builder.

How To Grow a Man Without Even Trying (Poetry Memorization) Cindy always has such inspiring, yet practical, posts about homeschooling for excellence. Heaven knows, I could use some down-to-earth inspiration about now in my homeschooling journey. Sometimes I wonder if anything I try really gets through those thick skulls, including my own.

10 Essential Books for Book Nerds at Flavorwire. The list includes a couple that I have read (The Book Thief,) and several that I haven’t.

56 Broken Kindle Screens. Art out of broken stuff.

Finally, I don’t want to just link to this sermon by Tullian Tchividjian. I want to embed it here because it’s so true, and so encouraging, and so real. The title of the sermon is God’s Two Words for a Worn-Out World.

Liberate 2013 – Tullian Tchividjian from Coral Ridge | LIBERATE on Vimeo.