Thursday, April 30, 2009

Every Man Has A Story

One day this week, while sipping a latte outside of one of my favorite Seattle coffee shops, I watched a man search a curbside trash can in front of me.  Unsuccessful in his search, he sat down on a bench beside me.   I've been working on being more tolerant of all people, so I struck up a conversation with him.  I wanted to know his story.  He told me that he was a writer.   I was eager to learn more about his writing, but two of his buddies showed up.   They all decided to have a smoke.  So here I sat sipping my latte with three homeless guys smoking.  It didn't take long for an employee to come out and shoo the smokers away.  I went inside to get a refill.

When I returned, my writer friend was still outside.  I asked him to share his writing with me. He opened his backpack and retrieved a folder.  He pulled a faded and weathered certificate from the folder and explained to me that he writes numbers.   A matter of fact, he's the only man in the world, who's written a million numbers out by hand.   He asked me if I would buy a certificate with one of his million numbers written on it.  He was only asking for two dollars, but I declined.  However, I did get him a cup of coffee.  While drinking his coffee, he told me part of his story.  Years ago he was a fisherman based out of Seattle, but he left the trade after losing many of his friends at sea.  He returned to Utah where he was raised.  While in Utah, he decided he wanted to do something that no one had ever done before.  He decided to write a million numbers by hand.   At first, I didn't believe this far-fetched tale.  However, he decided to give me one of his numbers.  I picked the year I was born, 1962.   Very carefully, like an author signing a book, he wrote the number o19620.   I took my certificate and returned home. The first thing I did when I got in the house was Goggle this man's name in-conjunction with the state of Utah and the task of writing one million numbers by hand.  Lo and behold, I found a link to this man, Kris Wilson.   Kris does indeed have a really interesting story to tell.  I hope to see him again soon.  Kris' goal is to get his work listed in Guinnes World Records.  I hope Kris meets his goal.  Click here to see the link I came up with

Thursday, April 23, 2009


Freaked, set in 1993, is the story of fifteen year old Scotty Douglas Loveletter. Scotty lives in a haze of good intention, but due to his dope smoking  has very little motivation. His mother is a famous sex self-help therapist. His friends in his all boy boarding school only spend time with him to get close to her or his drug dealing roommate.   

Scotty's one salvation is the music of the Grateful Dead. He yearns to attend a show at Freedom Coliseum, and so he sets forth on a journey in the style of Tom Jones or Huckleberry Finn, leaving his familiar surroundings, to find himself in dark places. He encounters new and interesting people, and, in the end,  begins to understand the world around him in more significant way.

Jeanne Dutton is the author of Freaked.  Her hope is that her novel will speak to boys who have a passion for music and who also desire to live less fraudulently in a world full of mixed messages. 

Jeanne is a fan of Jack Keourac, Mark Twain, Ken Kesey, J.D Salinger, Barack Obama.  She believes that rebellion is a necessary and important phase in the making of strong, independent thinking men (and women).

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Support Teen Library Day

What's the problem with these bad boys?  Today is a great day to ask a teen librarian.  Librarians all across the country are encouraged to participate in Support Teen Literature Day on April 16th, 2009 by hosting events in their library or through their web site on that day. The purpose of this new celebration is to raise awareness among the general public that young adult literature is a vibrant, growing genre with much to offer today's teens. Support Teen Literature Day also seeks to showcase some award-winning authors and books in the genre as well as highlight librarians' expertise in connecting teens with books and other reading materials.

Monday, April 13, 2009

When The Whistle Blows

Not since S.E. Hinton has a female writer so perfectly captured a boy's voice the way Fran Cannon Slayton does in When The Whistle Blows.  This story is incredible and reminds me of David Almond's Kit's Wilderness.   Below is well-said praise for Fran's book:

“[When the Whistle Blows] is a growing up novel that includes scenes reminiscent of Richard Peck's Long Way from Chicago and has a classical mannerism that will steam its way on to state award lists all over the country. . . This novel is fresh, smart, witty, warm, well-written, funny. . . an amazing novel.”

      —School Library Journal’s Diane Chen, (American Library Association board member)        

“With wit and warmth Fran Cannon Slayton recounts a steam-driven coming of age story in the last of the real railroad days.”

      —Richard Peck, author of A Year Down Yonder

When the Whistle Blows is reminiscent of classic tales by Jack London, William Golding and Robert Louis Stevenson, yet carries the remarkable, fresh voice of its author. Fran Cannon Slayton should be extremely proud of this, her debut novel.”

      —Ellen Hopkins, author of Crank and Identical and National Book Award finalist

“I loved When the Whistle Blows.”

      —Barbara Keifer, Charlotte S. Huck Professor of Children’s Literature at Ohio State University and editor of Charlotte Huck’s on Children’s Literature college textbook.

“A highly engaging, well-written, really good read.”

      —Dr. Joel Taxel, University of Georgia, Department of Language and Literary Education

“From its whip-smart opening to its look at the complexity of father/son relationships, Slayton’s loving novel takes a long hard look at the death of people and that intangible idea of ‘home’ . . . ‘When the Whistle Blows’ stopped me in my tracks.”

            —Elizabeth Bird, A Fuse #8 Production (School Library Journal)

Watch a top-notch author interview by clicking here.

Thursday, April 9, 2009


Looking for an awesome nonfiction book for a reluctant reader?   Yesterday I received a very interesting book from Candlewick Press about the history of swords.  When I first heard about the book, I thought the cover looked enticing, but to be honest, my expectations were low. However, as soon as I saw the cover and ran my fingers over its exquisite raised letters, I couldn't wait to read it.  This is the coolest nonfiction book I've ever read.   Swords is nothing less than a work of art.    A deep warrior spirit is intricately woven into the story. 

One of the most amazing facts about this work of art is that it was written and illustrated by the same person, Ben Boos.   This is name you're going to hear again.  Here's praise for Ben's book:

“Boos’s treatment of his subject is reverential and his artwork is outstanding… It’s easy to get caught up in his enthusiasm, and the right reader will spend hours poring over every loving detail. Give this to fans of history, art, or swordplay.” – School Library Journal

“This breathtaking labor of love offers detailed and elegant illustrations of swords in every shape and size. From Beowulf to medieval knights to stealthy ninja and samurai, Swords provides a lavish and exquisite tour through the art of the sword. This book is a must-have for every true devotee of hand-held arms.” – Renaissance Magazine

“Illustrates the most amazing and historical swords, giving you a glimpse of history through the intricate and ornate carvings and the huge variety of sword shapes throughout the centuries.” – Newton’s Book News

“Exemplars of the smithy’s art are depicted close to life-size.” – New York Times Book Review

“The attention to detail and accuracy is really just astounding. There are also breathtaking full-page spreads between chapters done in full, vibrant color, and these are really the crown jewels that stand out even amongst the illustrations in the rest of the book. The book really feels like a love letter to all things sword-related.” –

“The dozens of almost absurdly detailed sword illustrations (along with tons of sketches) are the star of the show here, but Boos adds a bunch of cool historical details, too.” – GuysLitWire blog.