See, told ya I'd have it up in time. You didn't believe me. Now you owe me...oh, let's say two dollars. (Name that teen movie without clicking the link? Nice job.)
Toon Thursday is going to be a bit late today. It will still technically be Thursday PST, but it may be Friday in some places by the time I get it posted. This week has included some unexpected activity--friend drama, car drama, and lots of good old-fashioned work. Anyway, in the meantime, enjoy these links.
Teen Ink is "a national teen magazine, book series, and website devoted entirely to teenage writing and art." It's distributed in classrooms, but is also available online, so go check it out. It's been around since 1989, and is produced by a non-profit group called the Young Authors Foundation, Inc. For a free sample of the print issue, go here. It looks like a great chance for young artists and writers to get their work out there--makes me wish the internets were all fancy like that when I was a teen. Sadly, they were not. I remember going to a study group at a friend's house when I was a junior, and he was SO EXCITED because his family had just gotten Prodigy, which at that time was not much more than a series of tubes that you could use to send e-mail.
Anyway, for more reading pleasure, check out the latest issue of Readergirlz, which is all about body image; or cruise by Guys Lit Wire for this week's reading suggestions. Lastly, there's a nifty book trailer for Monster Blood Tattoo: Lamplighter featuring some D.M. Cornish artistic goodness, and a contest over at Chronicle Books for girls who want to win a Hello Kitty fender guitar in honor of the Rock 'n' Roll Camp for Girls. Personally, I'm not so sure about the Hello Kitty part, but winning a guitar? Coolness.
Hey, we're topical around here, yo. I've been keeping up with the discussion, even though I've only been able to start contributing over the last day or so. After being out of town for a couple of weeks, I really was fiending for my blog fix. The break was nice, but I just missed you guys way too much. :)
So, much as I'm worried that my toon will be upstaged by those awesomely adorable knitted Daleks down there, I offer my two cents on the bloggers-inundated-with-review-copies kerfluffle. (And believe you me, I have had my share of unrequested and inappropriate review copies. Chronicle Books, I'm talkin' to you! Thanks for your interest, but YA fiction only please! "My Mommy's Tote"--not so much!) What appalls me most is the waste--in packaging and postage costs, but also in the sense that I'm unlikely to read some of these titles, so the publishers are quite literally wasting their time sending it to me. I'm much happier getting sent a specific request from an author or publisher, or a catalog that I can peruse. But I'm NOT a full-time reviewer. I don't get paid for any of this. I want to be able to give due attention to the books I do write about. I hate having to ignore anyone who was kind enough to send me a review copy simply because I'm swamped with them, but that's what tends to happen when I find myself inundated--it will take me ages to get to the review, which isn't really fair to the person who sent it to me; and it will turn into a chore.
I know the "blogging-as-chore" thing has been on a lot of minds in the kidlitosphere lately, and I'm right there...but cutting down on my blogging time has really helped. I have paying work, and a life, and of course I have my creative work (paid or not...). So at one point I decided that I would focus on trying to put out two blog posts per week; no more. One of those would be Toon Thursday, with or without additional commentary or links. The other would be more of a soapbox or link roundup. Book reviews would trickle in to Readers' Rants as I have time to do them. I'm trying to give the blog--and the kidlitosphere--its own niche in my working life, without feeling like it's an enormous obligation. After all, I do this because I WANT to. I'd like to keep it that way.
New poverty estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau's Current Population Survey indicate that about 13 percent of people nationwide were living in poverty in 2005. However, estimates from the American Community Survey (or ACS, a nationwide annual survey of households conducted by the Census Bureau) show that poverty rates in 2005 varied widely around the country, from less than 8 percent in New Hampshire to 21 percent in Mississippi. The ACS estimates also show that seven states had statistically significant increases in their child poverty rates between 2004 and 2005.
“...with a few exceptions, the critics of children’s books are remarkably lenient souls. They seem to regard books for children with the same tolerant tenderness with which nearly any adult regards a child. Most of us assume there is something good in every child; the critics go on from this to assume there is something good in every book written for a child. It is not a sound theory.”- Katherine Angell White in a long ago New Yorker as quoted from last week's Lives and Letters, The Lion and the Mouse.
"I'm not sure it has lead [sic] to better reviewing: can we truly "all be in this together" at the same time some of us are judging the work of others? Authors active in the blogosphere get treated differently there from their out-of-the-loop compatriots: they get more and kinder attention. It's hard not to be nice to someone, author or editor, whose own site may appear on your blogroll, or who regularly drops by your place to comment."- Roger Sutton, Horn Book Blog
"Authentic and sophisticated, the teen banter appeals to both casual readers and literary enthusiasts. Rich characters and honest interactions set Martin’s debut novel apart, and readers will look forward to whatever gestates next.
"The course of a creative life is littered with lots of crappy temp jobs. It's nice to get paid for living your dream, but the truth is, the real benefit of an artistic life comes in the joy and excitement of the work itself, the moments that no one else can experience; when you are in the story and you are surrounded by magic."That's what it's all about. That, and your audience, who, like Eisha, will hang in there with you, if you're lucky, like true fans.
Remember this one? Yeah, that was a good one.
I sometimes take for granted how nice it usually is here in the blogosphere, but occasionally controversy creeps up...and sometimes, I'm also reminded how hard it is to be a YA writer in the first place (or a writer, for that matter--holy Jebus, can you say "1950s-era pay rates"?). I'll be musing more about that next week...
Jules:"Durst took me in places I didn’t expect to go."
eisha"And I loved the encounter with the Wolf – that was seriously scary, and totally nasty."
tadmack"The word ‘clots’ was used. Clots. People, I was traumatized."
Though I'm away this week and next, I thought I'd revisit some old favorite cartoons about the blogosphere in anticipation of the fabulous discussion sure to happen the week of July 20th. So, here ya go. I might put in a brief appearance between now and then, but in reality I'm in Seattle at the moment...and then Iowa next week.
We tend to be so happy in what we do here in the children's and YA lit corner of the blogosphere that I forget we've had our share of controversy, heated debate, snarky comments, and everything else that comes along with a thought-provoking topic. Colleen has posted a nice recap of some of this year's fun over on Chasing Ray. On the week of July 20th, she says, "What I'd love to see is many other blogs pick up on this thread and write about the aspects of children's and teen publishing that frustrate them....now is a great time for everyone to share those opinions and actually create a few ripples in the literary pond ourselves, rather than just riding someone else's waves."
Well, I'm all for making waves (though if you ask my husband, he'd say I'd rather ride the ripples down the lazy river while drinking a few beers). So tune in that week for the FW soapbox, TadMack and a. fortis style!