Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Cybils Winnahs!

The 2008-9 Cybils (Children's and Young adult Bloggers' Literary Awards) have been announced, and the winner of the Young Adult Fiction award is...

(drumroll, please)...

(waaait for it)...

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, by E. Lockhart!

If you're not familiar with The Disreptuable History (which was also a finalist for the National Book Award and a Printz Honor book) I can tell you it's a fabulous read. This is what the Cybils judges said:

It's a setting we know. It's a theme we're familiar with. But with The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, E. Lockhart takes common features of teen fiction and turns them into a smart, fun, multi-layered, action-filled, coming-of-age story with a unique treatment and fresh voice. Frankie's feminist-fueled and P.G. Wodehouse-inspired antics at boarding school are hilarious, but also tinged with the sometimes-harsh truths of growing up. A book complex and clever enough that wildly diverse readers will each take, and love, something different out of the narrative.

Congratulations, E. Lockart, and to all the finalists! I'm thrilled and deeply honored that Ten Cents a Dance was chosen to be in this stellar group. Many, many thanks to the Cybils panelists, who put in crazy long hours whittling almost 140 nominations down to the final seven, and to the Cybils judges, who had the unenviable task of picking only one title from the list. These are people with day jobs, families, and lives, who volunteer their time because of their dedication to children's and young adult literature. Kudos to all of you!

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

What Separates Humans from the Animals

Who hasn't watched birds, and wondered what it would be like to fly? Me, I always figured skydiving would be as close as a human could get.

I was so wrong.

I love how the first guy comments that jumping out away from the cliff got boring. Which I can totally see, because yeah, having all that space around you as you streak through the air at 100 mph would be so dull. As opposed to streaking through the air at 100 mph an arm's length from solid rock.

Anthropologists argue about what separates us from the animals. Language? Music? (It isn't tool-making or self-awareness; those got shot down a while back.)

You know what I think it is? Whatever thought process it is that leads somone to say, I want to fly. I can't fly. How do I fly? I know: I'll invent a wingsuit and then I'll put it on and jump off a cliff. Maybe I'll fly, maybe I'll crash. Let's find out.

It's just so like a human being. Reckless and creative and visionary and stupid, and from the safety of my couch, it warms my geeky heart. Crazy people, fly on!

What about you? Do you see this and say, Man, I wish I could do that! Do you think it's cool but you'll just sit back and watch, thank you very much? Do you think people who do stuff like this are certifiable?