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Friday, March 30, 2012

Poetry Friday: Adrienne Rich

One of my very favorite poets, Adrienne Rich, died on Wednesday. I remember very clearly the time I first read her work: I was in my first year poetry seminar at Sarah Lawrence, and her "21 Love Poems" were in the collection of poems our professor handed out. Her writing is an incredibly strong influence on my own, and I am very grateful for her words.

Here are some of my favorite lines from "21 Love Poems" (section 21).
"I choose to be a figure in that light,
half-blotted by darkness, something moving
across that space, the color of stone
greeting the moon, yet more than stone:
a woman. I choose to walk here. And to draw this circle."
--Adrienne Rich

Beth Brezenoff
Assistant Editorial Director

Monday, March 26, 2012

Positive Feedback

It's always nice when our authors get positive feedback on their books — and it's even nicer when they share it with their editors! One of the most rewarding parts of being an editor is knowing someone, somewhere (maybe even all the way around the world!) is enjoying a book you worked on. Check out the nice email one of our authors Cari Meister received about her books:

Hi Cari,

I just want to let you know that my 3-year-old son totally loves your books! He especially adores the monsters (Snorp, Three Claws, Moopy and Ora) in the Monsters series. Keep writing, and remember, somewhere in another part of the world, your books are making children smile and keeping them happy before they go to bed every night.


Alex & his 3-year-old son Kieran

from Singapore

Friday, March 23, 2012

Baby day

Our beloved managing editor Christianne's baby is going to be born today, and we can't wait to meet him/her!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Happy Spring!

While yesterday was technically the first day of spring, we have had a very unusual winter here in Minnesota and it has actually felt more like summer over the past few weeks. I am not complaining, but I will say that it has been rather unsettling to see my tulips and daffodils almost in bloom in my garden this early in the season!

Happy Spring, everyone!

Monday, March 19, 2012

A Cultural Phenomenon

I have been counting the days to March 23. My husband and I have planned our semi-annual date night around the events of the day. And now it is just five more days until the release of The Hunger Games movie.

As a book lover, I get excited when a book series seems to explode. Being able to talk books with everyone from my financial analyst nephew to moms from daycare to complete strangers is the sort of thing I live for. It shows what I've always believed: a great story can unite people.

Over the weekend, I volunteered at a library Hunger Games event held for kids ages 12-18. Too often kids this age try to be low-key. They don't show a lot of emotion, and they don't want to draw attention to themselves. But not these kids. Every single one of them were there because they loved a book and they wanted to have some fun alongside other book lovers. The all-out enthusiasm was impressive. One girl even told me that she had gotten a bow and arrow so she could learn how to shoot like Katniss, the book's main character. If I had been excited for the movie before, those kids only sealed the deal.

My Game-Maker costume
(Only a great book would inspire a grown mother of three to
spray her hair blue and wear way too much make-up.)

Friday, March 9, 2012

Global Literacy

This past week, the world celebrated World Read Aloud Day and International Women's Day. My son brought home a list of global literacy statistics that seemed to fit with both days. It is not surprising to know that reading improves, and sometimes, saves lives.

According to the latest data (2009), 793 million adults – two thirds of them women – lack basic reading and writing skills. Included in this statistic are 127 million youth aged 15-24. (UNESCO)

Since 1985, the female adult literacy rate has risen 15%, which is about double the growth of the male literacy rate in the same time period. (UNESCO)

On tests involving 4,500 to 10,000 students in 43 countries, half of the girls said they read for at least thirty minutes a day, compared with less than one-third of the boys. (UNESCO)

In sub-Saharan Africa, girls have less than a 50% chance of finishing primary school. In some Asian countries, girls also struggle: 41% of girls in Pakistan and 30% in India fail to finish primary school. (results.org)

A majority of youth in American public schools cannot read or do math at grade level in the 4th, 8th or 12th grades. (“The State of America’s Children 2011,” a report by the Children’s Defense Fund)

A child born to a mother who can read is 50 percent more likely to survive past the age of 5 than a child born to an illiterate woman. (UNESCO)

UNESCO: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

© LitWorld, 2012

Friday, March 2, 2012

Read Across America Day

Happy Read Across America Day! And happy birthday to Dr. Suess!

I came across the Reader's Oath on the National Education Association's web site. It is meant to inspire children to become lifelong readers. But I think it works for adults too. Too many of my friends and family have abandoned reading for pleasure as grown ups. They say they're too busy, but how can you be too busy for books? The idea is terribly sad to me. I just might send them this oath and try to get them reading again.

Reader's Oath
I promise to read
Each day and each night.
I know it's the key
To growing up right.

I'll read to myself,
I'll read to a crowd.
It makes no difference
If silent or loud.

I'll read at my desk,
At home and at school,
On my bean bag or bed,
By the fire or pool.

Each book that I read
Puts smarts in my head,
'Cause brains grow more thoughts
The more they are fed.

So I take this oath
To make reading my way
Of feeding my brain
What it needs every day.

-Debra Angstead, Missouri-NEA

Have a great weekend filled with books!