Ban a Book, Shrink a Thinker- Banned Books Week – 2013

mvc library news

Image from MVC Library News

“Did you ever hear anyone say, ‘That work had better be banned because I might read it and it might be very damaging to me.’?” Joseph Henry Jackson (1894-1955) in the San Francisco Chronicle (1953)

There’s a red circle around that quote (among scores of others) in my Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations. It was summer, I was fourteen and looking for light. I found it in Bartlett. Sentence after paragraph culled from its pages worked to dislodge me from childhood, discover and armor my own beliefs against perceived and real injustices, parental bans, hurts and longings. John Bartlett’s collection opened my conservative, small-town world and mind, encouraging my increasing bids for freedom.

Despite my experience, when my daughter reached pre-teens, I cultivated lots of opinions about the world around her. The one cloaking her days (or trying to) with some views, behaviors, and fads I neither shared nor approved. In a busy life of work, school, and raising her, it was easier to say, “Not for you, not now,” or “because I said so,” without much discussion. I wish she’d heard more often, “Tell me about it. What interests you?” and “This is what interests or bothers me.”

Sometimes parents, rightly, have to invoke the dreaded, “No.” As I used to tell her, “It’s part of my job.” Operating as source material for her hurt or anger was tough. Still, enough of my lines in the sand were, for lack of a better term, “right,” even by her, now adult, reflections. What I regret is not letting her stretch the leash farther, take more risks while I risked freeing more of my fears, then watched, and waited. And talked less. Maybe she could have, like me with my Bartlett’s, tested her changing world against her own thoughts, backed by someone she trusted. Someone who got out of her way as far as she needed, and no further.

There are books I don’t enjoy, some pushed at kids, or ones they seem to feed on. Ones I rail privately against. But ask a library to ban a book? Never. Not in a million, ziliion years. Growing up means finding your own way, building and knowing your own mind, owning your own life. Books support the journey. Books we cherish, ones that bore, even ones we despise. Books teach us how to stand separate and manage our part of life’s whole–our place in earth’s community. To broadly paraphrase Gary Snyder from The Practice of the Wild: we start as children at the fire pit called home, “from which all tentative explorations go outward…and it is back to the fireside that elders return.”

I’m buying at least one banned book today.

banned book week

The American Library Association’s list of frequently banned or challenged books. How many have you read? Are you surprised to find your favorites on a list? Leave them in the comment section

Interested in the “reasoning” behind bans or challenges to the “Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century”? (Radcliff Publishing Course). Or at Banned Books Awareness.

Here are a few of my favorite children’s/young adult books on the lists:

The Lorax, by Dr. Suess; A Light in the Attic, by Shel Silverstein; Strega Nona, by Tomie DePaola; Where the Wild Things Are and In the Night Kitchen, by Maurice Sendak; Charlotte’s Web by E.B White; To Kill a Mockingbird  by Harper Lee; Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George; Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson; I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou; Lord of the Flies by William Golding; The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie; Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher.

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Elizabeth’s Landing-Nook e-book!

FOR AGES 11 TO THE AGELESS

It’s true! It’s a miracle! Okay, that’s overstating it, but how it feels after six years. An e-book version of Elizabeth’s story is available through Barnes and Noble’s Nook site. If you don’t have a Nook device, don’t worry, you can download the app for free and read on your computer or other mobile devices. Go to B&N’s Mobile Apps webpage to sign in, sign up, and connect to the right download.

If you’re the something soft and flexible, tree-based-book type person, the Print-on-Demand version will be out by June through Amazon. A Kindle version will go up about the same time, maybe sooner if I’m successful formatting it myself, as I did the Nook. Watch my Facebook Author site, Follow me here, or leave your e-mail on the Contact Me page above for updates.

PLEASE, once you’ve finished the book, leave feedback and ratings at these sites, Goodreads, Facebook it, blog it, etc., because…

single turtle fleuronA portion of all my book sale profits support worldwide sea turtle conservation and education programs. B&N has e-book gift cards. Bookstores do, too. I’m just sayin’ . . .  shrimp fleuron

Gull patrol

MENDO LAUNCH

Flags are flying–get out your calendar. The revised book launch date at Gallery Bookshop in Mendocino, CA. is June 30th, 6:30 p.m. Tux, tails, and formals optional, but my tiara’s getting steam-blasted and the side seams of my Senior Prom dress are sprung WAY out for the event.

I’m working on Grandma Linnie to do some of the catering.975 Apple, pear, blberry pie 2010_edited-1

Deepest thanks to everyone who has given writing help, an ear to moments of pain and joy, celebrations at key steps, and for believing all these years I really was writing a novel.

Photo by Katy PyeIndie publishers and indie bookstores are trying hard to work together so each can survive and grow. I’m publishing with the “big houses” (interpret at will) because it is the most direct, profitable way for me to get books into readers’ hands. Please support your local, or any independent bookstore, and encourage them to carry books you want to read. I’m working to collaborate with them, too.

Book Blurb

Port Winston—home to sun, sand, and shopping. What’s not to like? Everything, to 14 year-old Elizabeth Barker, uprooted mid-school year to the Texas coast. When Grandpa, with more judgments than the Old Testament, pronounces her 10¢ shy of worthless and headed for trouble, Elizabeth bolts for Wayward Landing beach—the county’s last wild haven.

A chance encounter with an endangered, nesting sea turtle ignites new purpose, friendships, and trouble even Grandpa couldn’t predict. Her fight to save the Landing unearths complex family ties to the powerful developer and catapults her against those she loves. When the Deepwater Horizon oil slick threatens the turtles’ Louisiana feeding grounds, Elizabeth’s journalist mom hits the front lines. And Elizabeth’s fears and plans hit overdrive.

Elizabeth’s Landing, a compelling environmental and family saga, bridges risk and loss to hope and hearts —human to human, human to animal, human to world.

single turtle flip fleuron

Ages 10 and up.

P.S. Turtle nesting season has begun along the Gulf coast. Info under Elizabeth’s Sea Turtles tells you the best places to visit to see turtles or hatchling releases. Donations are always welcome.

Elizabeth’s Landing is Stepping Out

Miss Elizabeth’s finally got her party dress (had to bribe her into it). As soon as I have a secure shipping date, we’ll schedule a launch at Gallery Bookstore in Mendocino. Can’t wait!

WHOOHOO!!

Twirl around so they can see you from the back. Seamstress, Laurie MacMillan from Sunfield Graphic Design showed great skill and unbelievable patience, dealing with a picky 14 year-old–and her stage mother.

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There is a photo album on my Katy Pye-Author Facebook page, along with text from the book next to each picture. I’ll post updates there and here about the book. Please Like the page if you do. Comments welcome, too.

Peace.

Dancing Woman with Bird on Head

Dancing woman w bird126 photo by Katy Pye

Top Kid’s Book Conference — March 2013

Photo by Katy Pye

The Big Sur Writing Workshop for children and young adult authors is coming up, March 1st to 3rd, on the legendary Monterey, CA coast. Co-hosted by the Andrea Brown Literary Agency and the Henry Miller Memorial Library, this is the big time without the big attitude of larger conferences.

Last year, after four years writing drafts, absorbing critiques from family, friends, and fellow writers at home, I decided it was time to leave my safe chair. Time to brave, first hand, the rapidly changing world of agents and publishing. To my delight and relief I discovered the client/agent relationship is rarely Toto vs Miss Gulch.  Oz Miss Gulch

The large group lectures served up valuable insights about today’s publishing world — hello, reality checks — what goes into choosing cover designs, and what to expect when your hot book property heads to Hollywood. The small group workshops (5-6 people) sent me back to my room after dinner with good ideas to fine-tune my manuscript for the next day. Social events before and during meals gave me a chance to talk to other authors and several Andrea Brown agents, one-on-one, in a welcoming, relaxed atmosphere. I came home renewed and more confident in the future of my writing and my first novel. 

My workshop leaders were Andrea Brown Senior Agent Laura Joy Rennert, and wide-ranging and prolific author, Catherine Ryan Hyde

Laura is the author of two picture books. New this fall is ROYAL PRINCESS ACADEMY: DRAGON DREAMS

Cover: Royal Princess Academy: Dragon Dreams-Laura Joy RennertPrincess Emma has real princess problems–she’s clumsy, insecure, hates pink, doesn’t reign supreme at school, and, if she loses the big All-School Princess contest, there could be trouble. Melanie Florian’s illustrations humorously capture Emma’s come-here, go-away princess predicament.

Laura’s first book, BUYING, TRAINING, AND CARING FOR YOUR DINOSAUR, is the ultimate, how-to book. Great read-aloud fun and Marc Brown’s cheerful illustrations will delight both kids and adults. Cover: BT&C for Your Dinosaur-Laura Joy Rennert

One of my favorite Catherine Ryan Hyde books is BECOMING CHLOE.Cover: Becoming Chloe-Catherine Ryan Hyde

A beautifully crafted story of acceptance, hope, and redemption, Hyde’s crisp, immediate prose creates a complex world of emotional depth for her characters and their situations. The sensibilities of the story resonated with parts of a long-ago me. 

Check out Catherine’s website for a slew of great YA and adult books, including her latest U.S. release, WHEN YOU WERE OLDER 

Cover: When You Were Older, Hyde

Her international best-seller, PAY IT FORWARDspawned a movement and a touching movie. But read the book first! The Pay It Forward Experience website documents how people, including some astounding kids, are daily re-imagining and energizing the book’s (Catherine’s) core idea of transforming lives and the world.

Thanks to Laura, Catherine, and my fellow workshop authors (talented writers, all) for their generous and supportive feedback. 

The Big Sur Writing Workshop: Children to Young Adult, is now taking registrations for March 2013. This year’s faculty of agents, editors, and author presenters is here. It fills quickly. If you write for kids, give yourself a gift and go.