We talked mostly about what worked for us in terms of books we loved, and how the best books had a beginning hook that involved something colorful to interest us right away. Some of the best hooks mentioned were Sue Limb's funny little 'horrorscopes' and 'parent commandments' at the beginning of her chapters in the Girl, 15 series, Scott Westerfeld's instant action in his Uglies series (Hey, look - a hoverboard!), and of course, the playing cards from I Am the Messenger.
Quiet books often have a hard time finding an audience, but we found in our discussion that it wasn't quietness that caused us to have a hard time getting into a novel, but a lack of originality. If we felt like we were being "gimmicked" into reading the book, we were more resistant that open to reading it. We discussed how that might differ for tweens and teens than it would for us, as many of the things had to do with personal pet peeves (like text messages and novel elements like ending with a big dance or having the character able to travel anywhere in the world -- never mind passports or things like, oh, money and parental permission).
Hope next time you can all join us! We plan to do another Craft Chat maybe in mid-June -- more information to come!
*~~*~~*In more Web Wanderings I found a piece on Henry Winkler, who talks about dyslexia, and his Hank Zipzer series. Hard to believe it, but he and Lin Oliver (yes, of SCBWI fame) are on their 11th book in that series.
"Other Heroes: African-American Comic Book Creators, Characters & Archetypes" is the name of an art show at Mississippi's Jackson State University. The show focuses on racial representation through the media of graphic novels and comic books, which should be interesting, as African Americans and other ethnicities are generally unrepresented in comic books. The show lasts through the month of April, and has already been put together in coffee table book form, for the graphic art aficionados in the house.
One of my favorite public radio programs, put out by the University of Florida's Center for Children's Literature and Culture is called Recess! The World of Children's Culture Every Day, On Monday this great little show is celebrating its 2000th episode in six years (yay for all their good work!). Their celebration of National Poetry Month this April has been full of whimsical readings, one of which was the famous all-English-majors-must-read rainbow poem by Wordsworth. Thinking about all the good things that we should not lose from our childhoods seems as good a way to look forward to a weekend sleeping late and playing in the dirt (yay, Sunday! Yay, gardening!) as any.
My heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky:
So was it when my life began;
So is it now I am a man;
So be it when I shall grow old,
Or let me die!
The Child is father of the Man;
I could wish my days to be
Bound each to each by natural piety.
- William Wordsworth