Posts tagged ‘award’

March 14, 2011

Eating your way through high school

In a world of flashing television screens and internet news that comes before the actual event is finished, the subtle is often overlooked.  Which is why SCBWI’s Sid Fleischman Humor Award is so refreshing.  SCBWI is a horrid acronym that stands for the “Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators”.  The Sid Fleishman Humor Award honors the author of the same name, known for books that were both humorous and poignant.  My latest read was the 2010 winner, and I definitely understand why.  It’s not funny-ha-ha, or LOL funny, but it’s definitely a funny book.  A really well-written funny book with a strong, character with a great humorous tone and a good message for its readers.  So thank you SCBWI for honoring this book so that we would all know about it, and thank you Allen Zadoff, for writing it in the first place.

Title: Food, Girls, and Other Things I Can’t Have
Author: Allen Zadoff
Genre: Fiction
Age: Middle School and High School (book takes place in a High School)

Summary and Review:

Andy is an overweight–read really overweight–sophomore who doesn’t see a lot of upsides to his life.  His dad ignores him while his mom, a caterer who tries to get him to eat less (while getting his skinny sister to eat more), overprotects him.  His best friend is his model UN partner and he is picked on, shoved, or overlooked by most of the rest of the school.  Until he is not.

One day he does the impossible–makes friends with the star football player and, on what seems like a whim, tries out for the football team.  He starts living the high school equivalent of the high life–with parties, girls, and football player friends.  But just when you are about to put the book down because it all seems so unreasonable, the dreams begin to unravel.  There’s his mom, who never signed the permission slip for him to play and yanks him off the team when she finds out.  There’s the girl he loves but might be dating someone else.  And there’s the football players he thought were his friends.  But are they?

The book is at once sweet, funny, and a rich portrayal of high school.  At its heart, it’s a book about being true to who you really are.

Follow-up with the kids:

This book strings you along for quite some time in the fantasy-like atmosphere of the popular realm.  I think it would be great to talk to your kids when they are still being strung along, talk about the changes that Andy makes when he joins the football team and why they’ve been good or bad for him.  And then find out if they still feel that way in the end.  My guess is that a lot of teens and preteens who read this book won’t necessarily love the ending.  They might not understand the decisions that Andy makes.  Having that conversation with them would be an important step in understanding who your child is, where they fit into the crazy social strata of high school, and what hopes and dreams they might be harboring–dreams that might show them more heartbreak than happiness if they were to really come true.  Andy is a great character who gives us a fun ride through his high school days.  He’s a fun guy to spend time with, an as a result, so is this book.

February 25, 2011

I won an award! I’m a Stylish Blogger!

I won my first blogging award!  (Is it self-centered to say “first” as if I expect others to come?)  Not sure, but I’m excited nonetheless.  The Stylish Blogger Award is an award given to bloggers by another blogger to show support and appreciation for the blogs that we like.  It’s exciting to think that I’m becoming part of the blogging community.  I really can call myself a “blogger” now!  (Thank you so much to Danaye Shiplett for passing this along to me!)

Of course, like anything invented by the crazy people of blogland, it comes with a creative catch.  I have to tell you seven things about myself.  So I will do that.  And then I’m going to award others, someone I now have the privilege to be able to do.  So, read or skip the seven things depending on how much you want to know about me, but read on to see links to other great blogs that I get to appoint as the next Stylish Bloggers!

1. I am not stylish.  I think this is an important thing to confess given the title of the award, and I hope no one takes it away from me.  Occasionally I watch the show “What not to wear” and I always see myself in the “before” people.  I am not proud of this, but I’m not that embarrassed by it either.  I’m not one who needs to snub the fashion industry because I think I’m above it or purposefully ignore it because I think I can’t handle it.  It’s just not on the to-do list right now.

2. I just chopped about nine inches off my hair and am hoping someone will someday mistake me for Emma Watson.  (Although if you are reading this in order and have already read number 1, you realize that will be unlikely.)  Still, I absolutely love it and even if I end up looking more like Justin Bieber on my bad hair days, it’s worth it for a look that makes me feel so good on the good hair days.

3. I never finished Atlas Shrugged. I’m not sure I ever intend to.  Maybe one day, because besides belonging to the Facebook group “Plugging the Gulf Oil spill with the works of Ayn Rand,” I do like the way she created the story and I hate to leave books unfinished.  (Although, tell that to Moby Dick.)  Another blogger, James Rogers on Kung Fu Monkey summed the story up nicely:

There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-y­ear old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievab­le heroes, leading to an emotionall­y stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.

4. I am seriously considering throwing my (and my husband’s) iPhone in the garbage one day, right before pick-up.

5. Despite promises to myself not to (after teaching and principaling so many kids for so many years), I do look at my son and think he’s really the best ever.  I have, however, managed not to say that to any of his teachers or principals yet, so I’m at least partway keeping my promise…

6. I really, really love reading children’s books.  I call it “research” for my own writing and now for this blog as well, but truly, they are often so much better than adult novels, mostly of which I just cannot stand for their self-obsession and the way they mistake “serious” and “deep” for sex and violence.  Children’s writers can’t–or don’t usually want to–put a lot of sex and violence in their books and are thus forced to deal with other ways to tell profoundly meaningful human stories.  I appreciate that about children’s books, and I think it makes them even more meaningful than their adult counterparts.

7. I once tried to pour propane into a funnel because I forgot it wasn’t a liquid.  (Sorry, chem teachers.  And no, no one was hurt.)

I’m excited to now pass along the Stylish Blogger award to the following 10 blogs (in alphabetical order):

A Border Life: what it means to transect nature and the city and to really open your eyes and analyze life around you by a beautiful writer (you can take that either way…)

Chez Temple: Dinner at my place: awesome cooking, great photos–makes you hungry just to look!

Ink Footprints: it’s all about writing; she has great drawings, and she’s been a great critique partner at Yellow Brick Road!

Lamb’s Munchings and Musings: Seriously, this food looks YUMMY! (If you make one of her cakes, will you send me a slice?)

Picture This! a really thorough look at writing picture books by a writer and teacher and great blogger

Rumpus: a beautiful blog with beautifully great ideas for kids’ books

Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast: a fun literary and children’s blog that is also local to my area!

Stark. Raving. Mad. Mommy.: funny.  and I like funny.

Writing for Kids (While Raising Them): a lot of us can relate to that.  Plus, she’s the PiBoIdMo girl.

The Zen Leaf: really great book reviews

If you are one of these blogs and would like to claim your reward, simply follow these instructions:

1. Say “thank you” on your blog to the person who gave you the award (you are welcome!) and link back to their site.

2. Reveal 7 things about yourself!

3. Spread the love by passing the award along to 10 more bloggers that you love! (And contact them to let them know they’ve won.)