Yes, guys, this is Yukon CARLMAN, resting up after driving my dogsled through the driving snow to open up this library for all you book-hungry people. It was tough, pushing through the Great Blizzard of '09, but I had a duty to perform!!! No matter how cold it was, no matter how deep the snow, even if the library opened a whole TWO HOURS late, I had to get through!! And here I am, ready to answer those homework questions and find just the right book for you desperate guys who are going to be snowed in until June----what did you say, Bill? The sun is shining? The snow's already melted? The streets are clear? Ummmmm---well, then, Yukon CARLMAN has, um, fulfilled his mission!! (Now, what am I going to do with all this leftover whale blubber??)
OK, enough silliness. We did have some snow and school was cancelled and I was somewhat worried that tomorrow's author visit would be called off, but it should still happen. If you get a chance, come to Imaginon tomorrow, Thursday, February 5 at 11:00 am, and hear Helen Hemphill talk about her terrific new book The Adventurous Deeds of Deadwood Jones. If the weather looks bad, call us at 704-973-2720 and find out.
Under the "my bad!" category, I wrote last week about Ian and his blog Books To Read and Games To Play. I told him I'd link it to our blog but forgot to do it. My bad!! I'm sorry, Ian, and have posted with all the other links on the left-hand side of the page. Check it out--it's run by a reader boy just like you all!
Speaking of authors, I'm working on posting an interview with Kurtis Scaletta, an author who's got a new book coming out. It's called Mudville and is so new that it hasn't been published yet! (but I have a copy already and will tell you guys about it. Just started it and it's good so far) Anyway, Mr. Scaletta runs a website and a blog and wrote one of the coolest things I ever saw about boys and reading. He talked about running a 4th-grade Guys Read group in the summer and seeing that boys are smart enough t0 read over their heads:
Yesterday we closed the books (heh) on another Guys Read. I learned that fourth grade boys don’t get Dianna Wynn Jones, like Will Hobbs and Gary Paulsen OK, and would rather talk about movies than books anyway.
If I learned anything else from this round, it’s that kids read over their head. When groups promote reading, they generally talk about gaining academic skills, as if reading is only a ladder to get somewhere else. I would trade that image for one of a mountain climber tossing a grappling hook up to a new peak and then slowly inching up the sheer side of a cliff. When kids who squirm in the chair and wander off topic in seconds tell me they’ve read and enjoyed Jules Verne, Brian Jacques, Christopher Paolini, and other big thick books with strange worlds and new vocabularies, I remember I was the same way as a kid. I read way over my head, and slowly spent the rest of my life trying to reach the intellectual and emotional maturity to speak and behave like the person I was when I was reading.
He's right! I've heard several of you guys talk about reading "big thick books with strange worlds and new vocabulaires." That takes brains, guys!! Keep it up!! There's a lot of talk out there that boys don't read or that they're not good readers. Well, you guys are proving them wrong! I can relate to what Mr. Scaletta said. I remember being in 7th grade and reading H. G. Well's book The War of the Worlds with a dictionary close by to look up unfamiliar words. (cyber kid 303 and some friends read that in a book club once) Guys like to push themselves in sports and a lot of you push yourselves in reading. It is like mountain climbing--you imagine yourself as a great athlete and you push yourself to get to the top. After a while you find that you've become the athlete you imagined. Readers who pick books that may be a bit above them actually reach the "intellectual and emotional maturity" they imagine. Way to go!!