Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Our Interview with Cynthia Lord

Last spring, Karen Aupperlee (@KarenAupperlee) and I had the wonderful opportunity to create a Battle of the Books experience for a group of third and fourth graders.  These students gave up their lunch and recess over 8 weeks to read, discuss and celebrate eight outstanding books.  The books were chosen from a variety of genres and were both newer and older titles .One of the books that students read was Rules by Cynthia Lord.  Our students thoroughly enjoyed this book and had some amazing discussions about it.  Cynthia graciously agreed to answer some questions that our students had regarding the book and about her life as a reader/writer.  (She also kindly agreed to let me repost her answers here at Kids Talk Kid Lit.)

1.)  What inspired you to write Rules?

was inspired by my children. My daughter is 24 years old, and my son is 21. My son has autism, just like David in Rules. Though the characters in Rules are not my own family, some of the small details in the book are true. When my son was young, he loved “Frog and Toad,” and he used to drop toys in our fish tank!

2.)  What is your favorite scene?

I have two favorites. I love the running scene with Catherine and Jason in the parking lot, and I like the scene where David drops the Barbie in the fish tank.
3.)  What is your favorite genre to read?

I like a variety of genres. I like to read poetry, realistic fiction, some fantasy, and non fiction.

4.)  What is your favorite book that you did not write?

Charlotte's Web, because I've read it at least 6 times and I've read it at different times in my life (as a child, as a mom, as a teacher). Every time I read it, I cry near the end. I've experienced the scene before, and I can even tell you the sentence E.B. White uses: "No one was with her when she died." Even though I know that line so well, E.B. White touches me in that moment, each and every time. That's the mark of a very powerful writer. 
5.)  What lesson do you want us to learn from reading

Well, first, I hope you just enjoy it as a story. But I hope readers take away less fear of people who are different. It can be scary to meet people who act in ways we don't always understand. I hope through meeting David and Jason, you'll look at the people you meet who have severe disabilities with more understanding and less fear. They really aren't so different, and I guess that's the main lesson I'd like the book to give.

Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions.  We really appreciate it!
Cynthia Lord is the author of Rules, Touch Blue, Half a Chance, the Hot Rod Hamster series and coming August 26, 2014 Shelter Pet Squad #1:  Jellybean.

Monday, July 21, 2014

A Heartfelt Thank You I said I wasn't going to write again until I had students, but...well...I lied!

A year ago, I found out that I was going to be moving into the library at my school.  My position would be a one year "pilot".  Prior to this, our librarian had been a paraprofessional. She was retiring, and my district was willing to look at making it a teacher-librarian position.  I had one year to prove myself...and the importance of the position.

Now, I had the position, and all I could think was..."Oh my goodness!  What in the world do I do?".

My colleague Karen (@KarenAupperlee) suggested that I go on Twitter.  Like John Schu has said, I, too, thought that Twitter was a place where people posted pictures of their food and outlined every detail of their day-to-day life.  She assured me that this wasn't the case, and that it would be a great connection for me.  I signed up...and followed a few people, and they eventually followed me.  I had NO idea what I was doing....(or what half of this stuff meant).
Soon I started making connections with other librarians and finally got the guts to start asking some questions.  WOW!  I never expected the outpouring of advice and support that I received.  It was so overwhelming, so unbelievable.  People were SO amazingly kind and helpful.  When I asked "beginner's (what were probably dumb) questions", I got sincere, thoughtful answers.   When I started to panic, I received reassurance. When I said that one of my first tasks was to get some graphic novels in my library, I was sent a box of new graphic novels from another librarian.  I naively asked why she had so many new graphic novels sitting around...and she replied, "They weren't sitting around, I bought them for you!".  Bought them for me?  I haven't even met you??  Really???

That's when I realized...this was something special!  These people were something special!!

Not having a mentor in my district, there is no way that I would have succeeded this year, if it weren't for my new PLN.  Their patience, wisdom. honesty, and expertise helped me turn my "pilot" into a permanent position...and spread it to the other buildings in my district.

I have my dream job...and I couldn't have done it without the help of so many people.

So...John, Margie, Travis, Sherry, Matthew, Julee, Chris, Cynthia (and many others) I sincerely and humbly thank you!,

Friday, July 18, 2014

Introducing...Kids Talk Kid Lit

Well...Here it is!

I have been considering the possibility of writing a blog ever since I started Twitter a year ago.  Every time I entertained the thought, I had the same response...NO!!!!

Why??  Oh, there are so many reasons:

Mine could never be as good as his.

Hers is so much more inspiring than mine could ever be.

He knows so much more about these topics than I do.

Who would even want to read it?

What in the world would I write about?

and the biggie...

I don't like to write!

However, I know that the best way to overcome this is to jump in and make myself do it! So, I've thought and thought about doing something that could be enjoyable for me and maybe a little bit different.

Hmmm...What DO I like to do?  I like to talk with kids about books!

Maybe combining something that I like with something that I don't like would make it a little bit easier.  So, how about a blog in which I share the conversations that I have with kids about books? OR even better...I share the conversations that kids have with me about books!

Ta Da!!!!  Kids Talk Kid Lit

My new blog will feature what kids have to say about the books they are reading and the authors and illustrators that they love. It will include various discussions, book reviews and author/illustrator interviews...all through the lens of my students. I WILL, also, interject some of my thoughts and opinions along the way. (Anyone who knows me, knows that I can't keep my thoughts and opinions to myself!)

Needless to say, it will be a while before I have students, so we won't be up and running until fall.  Until then I may (or may not) decide to write an entry on my own...we'll see!

I'm very excited about this new adventure, and even more excited that my students will be sharing it with me!

Until next time!