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American Library Association Announces Award Winners

On January 10th the American Library Association announced the 2011 awards for best books, videos, and audiobooks for children. Selected by judging committees of librarians and other children’s and young adult experts, the ALA awards encourage original and creative work. Following is a partial list of the winners.

Award Winners for Children’s Books 2011

The Caldecott Medal, awarded to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children:
A SICK DAY FOR AMOS McGEE, illustrated by Erin E. Stead, written by Philip C. Stead, a Neal Porter Book, published by Roaring Brook Press

The John Newbery Medal, given for the most outstanding contribution to children’s literature:
MOON OVER MANIFEST by Clare Vanderpool, published by Delacorte Press, an imprint of Random House Children's Books, a division of Random House Inc.

The Michael L. Printz Award, for excellence in literature written for young adults:
SHIP BREAKER by Paolo Bacigalupi, published by Little, Brown and Company, a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc.

The Coretta Scott King Book Award recognizing an African American author of outstanding books for children and young adults:
ONE CRAZY SUMMER, by Rita Williams-Garcia is the 2011 King Author Book winner. The book is published by Amistad, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

DAVE THE POTTER: ARTIST, POET, SLAVE, illustrated by Bryan Collier, is the 2011 King Illustrator Book winner. The book was written by Laban Carrick Hill and published by Little, Brown and Company, a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc.

The Schneider Family Book Award for books that embody an artistic expression of the disability experience:
THE PIRATE OF KINDERGARTEN, written by George Ella Lyon, illustrated by Lynne Avril and published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division, for children ages 0 to 10.

AFTER EVER AFTER, written by Jordan Sonnenblick and published by Scholastic Press, an imprint of Scholastic Inc, for middle-school readers (ages 11-13).

FIVE FLAVORS OF DUMB, written by Antony John and published by Dial Books, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., for teens (ages 13-18).

The Andrew Carnegie Medal for excellence in children’s video:
Paul R. Gagne and Melissa Reilly Ellard of Weston Woods, producers of THE CURIOUS GARDEN. The video is based on the book of the same name, written and illustrated by Peter Brown, and is narrated by Katherine Kellgren, with music by David Mansfield.

The Laura Ingalls Wilder Award honors an author or illustrator whose books, published in the United States, have made, over a period of years, a substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children. The 2011 winner is TOMIE DE PALOA, author and illustrator of over 200 books, including: “26 Fairmont Avenue” (Putnam, 1999), “The Legend of the Poinsettia” (Putnam, 1994), “Oliver Button Is a Sissy” (Harcourt, 1979) and “Strega Nona” (Prentice-Hall, 1975).

The Odyssey Award for best audiobook produced for children and/or young adults, available in English in the United States:
THE TRUE MEANIING OF SMEKDAY, produced by Listening Library, an imprint of Random House Audio Publishing Group. The book is written by Adam Rex and narrated by Bahni Turpin.

The Robert F. Sibert Medal for most distinguished informational book for children:
KALAPO RESCUE: SAVING THE WORLD’S STRAGEST PARROT, written by Sy Montgomery. The book features photographs by Nic Bishop and is published by Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.

The Theodor Seuss Geisel Award for the most distinguished beginning reader book:
BINK AND GOLLIE, written by Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee and illustrated by Tony Fucile. The book is published by Candlewick Press.

The YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults for the best nonfiction book published for young adults during a November 1 – October 31 publishing year:
JANIS JOPLIN: RISE UP SINGING, written by Ann Angel. The book is published by Amulet/Abrams.

Congratulations to all of the winners of the 2011 ALA Awards for Children’s literature!

And now we’ve got some reading to do!

For a complete list of winners and runners up, go to: http://ala.org/ala/newspresscenter/news/pr.cfm?id=6048.
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Advice From a Dog

One of my Christmas presents last month was a book from my husband called “Snoopy’s Guide to the Writing Life. “Snoopy’s Guide…” is a wonderful tribute to Charles Schulz, author of the Peanuts cartoons, edited by his son, Monte Schulz, and Barnaby Conrad.

I have always loved the cartoons about Snoopy as a writer. Like us, he faces the challenges of writing a good story, revision, criticism, and advice. Snoopy listens to suggestions and gives them a try. He imitates the masters, in his own way. And he never gives up.

I love Snoopy’s rejection letters. They make you laugh because, for the most part, no one could top the letters that Snoopy gets from publishers. Like any dedicated writer, Snoopy believes in himself and keeps on going, in spite of rejection.

As a children’s writer, I think may relate a little more to Charlie Brown when Lucy challenges him and Linus to look at the cloud formations and use their imaginations to see beyond just clouds. Linus sees a map of Honduras, a famous artist, and an apostle in the different clouds. Charlie Brown sees a ducky and a horsie. When writing for children we should probably aim somewhere in between.

What I didn’t expect to find in this book were the essays and advice from 32 best-selling authors. Some comments:

“No matter what method you choose, start with something happening!” –Barnaby Conrad

“…characters are what a story is about—they drive the story; plot and theme come from character, not the other way around.” –JF Freedman

“A story’s setting is what puts us there, gives us readers a sense of being in the situation with the characters.” –John Leggett

“One of the most difficult decisions an unpublished writer makes is when to take advice and when to ignore all your well-meaning critics and do it your way.” –Sue Grafton

“Anyone who tells you how to write best-sellers is a sham and a liar. …I write them with fear, excitement, discipline, and a lot of hard work.” –Danielle Steel

This is a great addition to my library, and a great book for writers of all genres and stages of their writing life. It will leave you smiling, nodding your head as you share the feelings that all writers feel, and gaining insight into the craft and business of writing.  Read More 
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Winter Block? Some Brain Boosting Tips!

Why does the new year have to start in winter?! It’s cold outside, at least here in northwest Indiana. Your brain seems to want to hibernate with the bears instead of sparking those creative juices. If you’re feeling less motivated this season, here are some suggestions that might help you out of that slump.

Open the curtains and let the sunshine in! Sunlight can increase the body’s production of serotonin, which lifts mood and increases alertness and energy. If it’s gloomy outside, turn on more lights. Make your work space sunnier by choosing bright colors in your room.

Get up from your desk and move around. Take a 5-minute break once an hour and stretch. Walk into another room. Take a brisk walk outside to the mailbox, or go out to feed the birds. Frequent small bursts of physical energy lessen muscle tension, can get you out of a slump and clear your thinking.

Daily exercise, even 15 to 20 minutes a day, gets your blood flowing and increases energy by maintaining good levels of oxygen in your body.

Warm up! Put your hands around a hot cup of cocoa or hot tea. Put on some warm fuzzy socks or a cozy cardigan. Find your comfort level to help you stay focused and motivated.

Find something to laugh about. Laughter stimulates both sides of the brain. Laughing reduces stress hormones, resulting in enhanced attentiveness and brain function.

Keep a bottle of water at your work station and take a drink every now and then. Staying hydrated helps maintain energy. If water is not your thing, drink flavored water or tea. Tea is loaded with antioxidants and provides other health benefits as well.

Make sure you eat breakfast. A cup of coffee just won’t cut it. Whole grains and fruits will do more for you than a quick caffeine or sugar boost that will wear off in a couple of hours, then leave you in a slump.

Eat a snack. A healthy snack every couple of hours can help keep your blood sugar level and your energy up. Try an apple with peanut butter, string cheese, or a cereal bar for a carb-protein boost.

Finally, try something new. According to Gregory Berns, M.D., a neuroscientist at Emory University in Atlanta, when people do something new and different it releases a motivating chemical in your brain that gears you up to do more.

So say good-bye to winter block, and get your energy flowing!

resources: RealSimple.com, Webmd.com, Mayoclinic.com, porterhealth.com  Read More 
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Another New Year and Resolutions

Is it 2011 already?! I'm still catching up with 2010!

It seems like my New Year's resolutions never change. At least not very much. I fall short of my goals. But each new year I start over. Some recurring resolutions include:

Read more
Write more
Submit more
Read all of my newsletters as soon as I get them
Read more blogs, author sites, etc.
Update my wesite more often and more fully

But maybe I should look a little closer at what I DID accomplish last year. Some things were:

Read a few books.
Wrote a few first drafts and revisions.
Submitted and had a poem published in Humpty Dumpty magazine.
Eventually read all of my newsletters.
Kept up with my weekly blog, most of the year.

And things accomplished, not on my list of new year's resolutions:
Joined Verla Kay's message board
Joined JacketFlap
Signed up for google analytics
Joined the speakers directory on SCBWI
Made a speakers video for the SCBWI directory (still waiting for that to be added)
Joined twitter (I don't know if I'll ever post there, but I'm on!)
Had my first Book Launch Party!
Did numerous author visits since NAME THAT DOG! was released in April
Attended the National SCBWI conference in LA (WOW!)
Signed up on GoodReads and posted my first book reviews.
Had my first online author interview on Janet Fox's website (http://bit.ly/9h0zPI), and again on the IWC website (http://www.indianawritersconsortium.org/).
Changed email service (a big job)

Personal events:
Our 6th grandchild came along!
Our daughter's wedding!
Branson with my sister and her husband
Las Vegas for the first time

Looking back over all that I DID acomplish is inspiring! So look out 2011! I'll be seeing you there.  Read More 
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