Archive for Around the Web

Today’s School Library Quote . . .

 

Teachers: Protect These Words!

 

Words matter. Words are doors to perception, feeling, insight, understanding, connection. I feel this, strongly, and the ideas in this one sign are active and important in my current work in progress, a middle-grade adventure novel, Blood Mountain. (Think of it as “Hatchet” meets “Misery” — and there’s a dog.)

More and more I’m feeling the pull and importance of the natural world. Maybe it’s because of the internet and social media and cell phones and our disconnectedness with real things. As if we’ve been cut adrift, untethered, astronauts floating in space, clawing for air . . .

 

More on this issue another time. Thank you, Michael Namingha. And in the meantime, check out the books by Robert MacFarlane and, please, this post from me back in January: “Digging Up the Lost Words.”

But before you go, say it with me: acorn, ash, buttercup, dandelion, fern, ivy, mistletoe, nectar, pasture, willow . . .

 

Writing Tips from the Guys at Orange Country Choppers

Paul and Paul Jr. over at “Orange County Choppers” have had some fierce arguments over the years. But nothing gets these hot heads going quite like a debate about the writing process.

At least, according to this meme.

Paul Sr. seems to favor an instinctive approach to writing, along the lines of Jack Kerouac, distrustful of the rational mind’s tendency to over-polish and refine; he wants the full truth of the unconstructed soul to pour forth in all its messy glory. However, Paul Jr. believes that the very essence of writing is revising, that the first draft is only the raw material that needs to be worked, revisited, laboured over, buffed and shined.

Bizarrely, the argument takes a stunning twist at the end when a seemingly ambivalent Paul Sr. screams, “Kill your darlings!” which is clearly a call for cold, heartless revision. What’s up with that, Paul Sr.? No wonder Paul Jr. is always flinging down his cap in frustration. His father wants it both ways! But how much revision is too much? And where’s the line? Nobody knows at Orange County Choppers, that’s for damn sure. I’ll say this: they are passionate about good writing, and that’s a great place to start.

We don’t really have any answers here at James Preller Dot Com, either. We’re just making it up as we go. Fifty-seven years and counting.

How Does a School Librarian Get Books Returned? Promise Them Anything!

It’s an annual problem at every school across the land. How do you get those books back at the end of the school year? Well, here’s one formula that seems to work . . . promise to do something “wacky.”

My great pal, Alanna Moss, does it again.

Readers might recall that one year Alanna got duct-taped to the wall. A hard one to top, admittedly.

 

This year, Alanna went with a classic, administered with a mix of caution and zeal by the school principal.

Anything to get those books returned!

Ichabod Crane Primary School is lucky to have Alanna. It leaves me wondering, once again, how it can be possible that any school in NY doesn’t have at least one full-time librarian? 

     

 

How to Get Children to Read Books

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