Thursday, October 1, 2009

Learning About Books

One of the perks of being a librarian is that I get to go to some great trainings. Last week I was lucky enough to see Jonathan Hunt. He's a book reviewer for Horn Book Magazine and a blogger for School Library Journal as well as being a librarian and teacher. He's also served on award committees such as the Newberry and the Printz. So was I excited? Oh, just a little.

Jonathan Hunt is an amazing book talker. He came to tell us about books we may want to share with library patrons. Jonathan projected dozens and dozens (four hours worth) of book jackets up on the screen and proceeded to tell us what each one was about and why he loved it--including the parts he maybe didn't love, but still thought the book was worthwhile for one reason or another. He went over story plots, arcs, and characters--all from memory. He always pointed out how many starred reviews a book had, which I found interesting. The love he radiated for books was infectious although I must admit, he was playing to a pretty easy crowd.

The training was actually called "Best Young Adult Books with Jonathan Hunt" so you can imagine how giddy I, the picture book writer, got when he started talking picture books. Not only did he talk about some new favorites, he read them to us too! He got lots of laughs and cheers. I always love seeing a group of adults being read picture books.

One thing he did point out is that there are a lot of poetry picture books this year. Jonathan's reading of Bubble Trouble written by Margaret Mahy, illustrated by Polly Dunbar was my favorite read of his. He called it a must have story time read with perfect meter. I must agree, and the illustrations are adorable too. But, you may need to practice this one a few times before attempting it before a crowd!

I have so many notes and learned about oodles of interesting books. My 'to read' list is a hulking pyramid now compared to the teetering tower it was before. I have Jonathan's Best Books of the Decade list, genre lists, best resources, strategies, and technologies lists. So many great resources for me as a librarian and a writer. Thanks Jonathan!


  1. As a librarian I think you could offer some great insight into helping writers choose which genre their work falls under. I love the sight... great job. And time surely does fly by faster than we can catch up to it.