Reading by the Numbers

This morning I went out with the kidlets and friends on an alligator hunt and spied three gators.

It’s always fun to see animals in their natural habitat—especially from a safe vantage point.
This was our first week of summer break. Although I’m not officially starting back to homeschooling until mid-July, I’ve started the middle child on learning to read and the eldest with typing skills. It’s been a little slack these first few days, but I think we all needed some off time to refuel.
On a literary note, I’ve done next to nothing in the past three weeks on my WIP. My goal for this weekend is to get back on track. I need to finish the last tidbit of the first draft so I can better home into the poignant scenes in the beginning.
My reading the past few weeks:

Very insightful!

Fluffy fun–already passed on to a friend.

Still digesting this one. Full of GREAT information and advice. (Thanks for the loan, Joyce!)
Lately, I’ve been analyzing my reading habits and book collection. Though I’m not huge on numbers, I do love a good pie graph. Thanks to mathwarehouse.com for the pie making abilities.

These are my firm TOP TEN contemporary writers—authors who I’ve read five or more books by that have had new books out within the past decade. Otherwise I’d add in Beatrix Potter, C.S. Lewis, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Louisa May Alcott, Jane Austen, Beverly Cleary… you get the picture!
Middle Readers: Richard Peck (he might have some “teen”, but nearly all are middle readers that I know of), Gail Carson Levine (?), Susan Cooper (?), Katherine Paterson (but not exclusively—she’s written early readers and picture books, too…)
Young Adult: Laurie Halse Anderson (no, she does picture books and middle readers also…), Shannon Hale (NOPE- sometimes she’s found in middle readers—hello, Newbery Honor—and she has two adult books which I adore), Sarah Dessen (might be the only single genre writer on my list)
Adult: Terry Brooks (though many teens read his fantasy books), Beverly Lewis (no, wait… she does picture books, middle readers, and teen, too!)
Cross-overs:Madeleine L’Engle is all over the literary map—in a good way—but then again… it looks like 90% of my favorites are!

What would your pie graph look like?
To gather my thoughts in a parting gesture, I’d like to use a quote the lovely Léna Roy used on her own blog today, which was spoken by her grandmother:
“You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.” -Madeleine L’Engle

New Year, Better Me

I skipped last week. And I don’t want to muddle through any hum-drum excuses or anything. (Cough. Cough.)
All the blogs I read have posts wrapping up the blogger’s 2009 thoughts so I figured I’ll actually go along with a trend.
I’ve enjoyed a year of raising kids and appreciating the differences between boys and girls, now that I finally have a girl.
Read lots of books, as usual. Too many to name, but Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson was the most haunting. I’ll try to start mentioning what I’m reading with each post.
Writing—yes!!! I joined the local Writer’s Guild and was honored in being extended a spot in a small critique group.
I actually went to the movie theater TWICE. Of course both movies were for books (in two different series) I enjoy. Can you guess which ones?
I’ve improved my health and am sticking with regular exercise.
My life-list for bird watching is now at seventy-six species I’ve identified.
I’ve been able to complete numerous knitting projects and feel like I might be ready to advance to more varied patterns.
My husband and I celebrated thirteen years together a few weeks ago.
And… a bunch of other things. You can go back and read my previous posts if you really want to know more.
Love and best wishes for a productive 2010 to all—especially to Katherine Paterson as she takes over the position as the National Ambassador for Children’s Literature.

Do You Love a Banned Book?

It’s banned books week!
http://www.ala.org/ala/issuesadvocacy/banned/bannedbooksweek/index.cfm
Some of my favorite authors have banned books and books that have attempted to be banned from schools and libraries. Katherine Paterson, Madeleine L’Engle, and Laurie Halse Anderson are three that come to mind.
Katherine Paterson’s Bridge to Terabithia is my favorite novel of all-time. Some parents have concerns about it because the main character has a crush on his young female music teacher (what kid hasn’t had a crush on a teacher?) and also because a death in the book. No spoiler beyond that- just READ it. It won the Newbery Award for a reason!
Madeleine L’Engle ranks in the top five Christian fiction writers of the last century- I’m talking with the likes of Tolkien and Lewis, may they all rest in peace. Some people are scared of the book A Wrinkle in Time because it doesn’t meet their ideal of religion- that it’s too “new age”. If you want correct doctrine don’t go looking for it in a novel… but you can find universal truths in the symbolism therein.
The most recent attempts at banning were blogged about by by Laurie Halse Anderson at her site last week. http://halseanderson.livejournal.com/264680.html Twisted, one of her novels on the chopping block, is possibly the most eye-opening novel I’ve read. As a parent it made me fear for my boys upcoming teen years. Heavy, yes. Uncomfortable at times, yes. Worth it for the learning experience, yes! It’s a novel I’ll allow my children to read once they reach a level of maturity in which the topics can be digested properly. A wonderful talking point to encourage conversation between parents and children.
Parents need to read what their children are reading. Literature can be a gateway in which scary, tough, and heavy topics can be approached in a safe, third person way. Books are tools, learn how to use them appropriately.