Monday, May 15, 2006

I'm Ba-a-a-ack. You know what? I have never even seen the movie that phrase comes from and yet I use it all the time. It's interesting how stuff like that become part of our everyday language -our lexicon, as George Wills might say.
I went to a hugely interesting workshop on the six skills that kids need to be successful in kindergarten and beyond. It was about literacy skills - not scissors and glue stuff. One of the skills is called "Phonological Awareness". Guess what that means. I'm not telling.
So what have I been reading? Well, because at the end of April we had the four authors from the "Random House Teen Voices Book Tour-East" here, I had to read all of their books. I have already reported on Tanya Lee Stone's book A Bad Boy Can Be Good for a Girl in an earlier post so I will tell you about the others -
Jen Bryant wrote Pieces of Georgia about a 13-year-old girl who has been dealing with the death of her mother and her father's grief for a long time. When she receives an anonymous membership to the Brandywine River Museum, she begins to appreciate her own artistic talents and her world opens up. This is a lovely well-written book. Read it. Interesting subplot about an extremely overscheduled teen.
e. lockhart wrote Fly on the wall : how one girl saw everything. Another artistic girl whose name begins with G. Gretchen's art emulates super-hero comics and that's just not cutting it with the teachers and students at her "artsy" public high school. Add to this the drama of her parents impending and totally baffling divorce and you have one unhappy teen. And BOYS! BOYS?? Don't even go into it. Gretchen does not have a clue about boys, especially Titus, her major crush. So one fateful day, Gretchen wishes she could be a fly on the wall in the boys' locker room and............ be careful what you wish for, little Gretchen, it just might come true.
Lots of locker room humor here - some raw language - and lots and lots of fun.
Simon Cheshire wrote Plastic Fantastic about Dominic, a fan in looooove with the punk rock group Plastic. The poor lad is so obsessed with the group's music AND female lead singer that he ignores or misunderstands real life as it surrounds him. And then one fateful day, he just happens to get stuck in a glass elevator with - OHMYGOD - it's Lisa Voyd in the flesh - the awesome lead singer of Dominic's most favorite band. Be still, my beating heart! Two plus hours in a glass elevator with a complete stranger - makes for a very funny, and surprisingly insightful, read.
All four authors talked about their other books and Simon had us all twisted up in laughter as he read from Kissing Vanessa. I have it on order BUT I get to read it first. And I get to read e. lockhart's The boyfriend list first and her upcoming novel and sequel, The Boy Guide as well. It's not out yet.
I also read Trudi Canavan's Black Magicians Trilogy and there better be a spin-off because she leaves us all hanging and I can't tell you too much but this a wonderful fantasy Trilogy about a young lower class girl and her entrance into the vaulted world of the Magicians. Mucho, mucho magic here, and lots of action and some battles and explosions and serious bad guys and misunderstood manly older magic users and some alternative lifestyles so younger teens beware - but no explicit behavior is described for any parents who might stumble across this post.
I will catalog the Trilogy before Summer Reading Club begins. Promise!

AND on Wednesday after work, I and my sidekick and her lovely husband are all heading off for BOOK EXPO AMERICA!!!!!!!!!!! in D.C. Eat your hearts out. While some of you are suffering through final exams or making up lists of graduation presents or, worse luck, WORKING - I will be shmoozing with authors and publishers and editors and (drat) salespeople - very nice salespeople, though - and picking up every free book I can get my greedy hands on.
Tammy Pierce will be signing books there. So will Jen Bryant (see above) and Dave Barry and all kinds of other great authors and I just hope I get to meet some of them.

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