Magazine article Teacher Librarian

Technology Meets Literature: Meeting Authors through Their Blogs

Magazine article Teacher Librarian

Technology Meets Literature: Meeting Authors through Their Blogs

Article excerpt

NEARLY 2 YEARS AGO, I MADE A RESOLUTION TO BEGIN WRITING MY OWN BLOG (WWW.LIVEJOURNAL .COM/USERS/PROFESSORNANA) AS ONE WAY TO LET PEOPLE KNOW ABOUT THE BOOKS THAT I WAS READING AND WHAT I THOUGHT ABOUT THEM. A WEB LOG, OR BLOG, SEEMED TO BE SOMETHING RELATIVELY SIMPLE THAT WOULD PERMIT ME TO READILY REACH A WIDE AUDIENCE

I thought that some former colleagues and students would visit the blog from time to time, but basically I was creating one for my own use and benefit. To my surprise, I connected with a whole new community through this simple blog. I discovered a whole new world of friends and colleagues--others who kept blogs for a variety of reasons. As it turns out, many of these new friends were writers of children's and young adult literature. There they were, writing about books and related issues for all the world to see. What a terrific asset to anyone who lives and breathes books.

Technology has now made it possible for all readers to connect to authors in new and incredibly intimate ways. So, in this column, let us take a journey into the land of bloggers and meet some of the authors whose blogs can make their more traditional writing more meaningful. Here are a handful of sites featuring talented writers for children and young adults. Most sites are blogs of individual writers, but also included are a few association sites that provide links to many authors' blogs.

YA author Gail Giles (Shattering Glass, Dead Girls Don't Write Letters) maintains a blog at http://notjazz. livejournal.com/. Giles writes about her writing process, as well as about her life outside of the novel, offering readers an incredible insight into the person behind the books. Giles is witty, opinionated, and heartfelt in her postings, ranging from the work of her fellow writers to the loss of her beloved pet. Note, too, that authors frequently talk about works still in progress on their blogs so that visitors know what to expect down the road.

Mary Pearson, author of A Room on Lorelie Street, maintains her blog at http://mary-ohhh.livejournal.com/. Like Gail, Mary is quick to offer kudos to her fellow authors for the awards and honors that their books receive. Quotes that touched her, photos from her travels, and other odds and ends fill her entries, giving readers an inside look at this talented YA author.

Want to see inside the brain of a writer? Visit Brent's Brain (http:// brentsbrain.livejournal.com/), the blog spot for Brent Hartinger, author of Geography Club, Order of the Poison Oak, and The Last Chance Texaco. Hartinger's site literally pulses with color; the firing neurons in the background of this author's blog might just reflect the new way of thinking and connecting to books and other media that you will encounter here.

If you have ever wondered what reaction an author has upon learning the news that he or she has won a prestigious award, wonder no more. Printz-winning author of Looking for Alaska, John Green, can be seen at his web site's blog (www.sparksflyup .com/weblog.php) receiving the phone call from Michael Cart and the 2006 Printz Committee informing him of his award. How much fun is this? Of course, there is more in the blog than just this life-changing moment, and readers will enjoy learning more about this gifted young author.

Cynthia Leitich Smith maintains her blog at http://cynthialeitichsmith .blogspot.com/, and it is loaded with tons of great information about this talented author and her interviews with leading figures in the field, including Newbery author Cynthia Kadohota, and newcomers Scott Westerfeld and Tanya Lee Stone (who maintains a blog of her own at http://tanyaleestone.livejournal.com/). Be sure to take some time to explore Leitich Smith's web site as well; at www.cynthia leitichsmith.com/, you will find a veritable cornucopia of information about children's and YA literature.

E. Lockhart, author of The Boyfriend List and Fly on the Wall connects readers to a wide variety of links and topics at her blog site, www. …

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