Friday Five: In Like a Lion Edition


Over the past few days, I’ve been reading all sorts of exciting news, so here it is, pulled together in a Friday Five. (PS — Yes, I know I cheated in how I structured this list, but there was too much good stuff to share!):

1. Kirkus Reviews

Jo Knowles has a new book coming out on May 8th, and See You at Harry’s just got a starred review from Kirkus! Hooray!! I met Jo through NESCBWI conferences and LJ, and the words that come to mind when I think of her are kind, generous, thoughtful, and brave. From all of the buzz, this book is infused with her spirit. Congratulations, Jo — can’t wait to read it 🙂

– Everyone probably knows that Kristin Cashore has a new book coming out this spring. Bitterblue will be released on May 1st, and it also received a starred review from Kirkus! Twitter has been full of feedback from people reading Advanced Reader Copies of Bitterblue, and the comment I’ve seen most frequently is that it’s amazing how much Kristin grows as a writer with each book. This doesn’t surprise me at all —  Kristin is one of the most disciplined people I know. Writers always ask about things like social media platforms and whether they should blog or tweet or be on Facebook, etc. Kristin has a blog, but it isn’t open to comments. She doesn’t tweet. She isn’t on Facebook. All of that brain space (and there’s a lot of it!) goes to research and writing. She unplugs entirely and immerses herself in her work, and all of the time she takes to get her book just right from overall structure to individual word choice shows. I couldn’t do it, but I admire her for it.

2. New Books

– Deborah Kops has a new book out — The Great Molasses Flood — and she just discussed it on WBUR. She captures one of the weirdest moments in history, simultaneously sad and surreal, and walks a fine line of conveying what happened without making it ridiculous. Congrats on the book launch and the interview, Deborah, and I hope the NPR effect is kicking in right now!

– And a huge congrats to Kelly R. Fineman on the publication of her first picture book, At the Boardwalk. Jama Rattigan has a *wonderful* post about Kelly and her book. Kelly has been racking up awards for her poetry, and I’m delighted that we can now hold and touch an illustrated poem of hers.

3. Women in Tech

– Mass High Tech named Jenn Thom to their 2012 Women to Watch list. Yay, Jenn! This is an *impressive* group of women. Jenn studies culture, collaboration, and ownership in the context of social media — super important research, especially today. Huge congrats and well-deserved.

– Speaking of important research: we all know that danah boyd’s an academic rock star who stands up for the rights of at-risk youth. Her latest project? Teaming up with pop star Lady Gaga to launch the Born This Way Foundation. What I love most about their work is that they’re focusing on positive change — reinforcing individuality and creating a community of support. It’s easy to look at bullying as a black and white issue with a good guy (the victim) and the bad guy (the bully). Rarely is life so simple, especially when all of the participants are children. (As a side note: the New Yorker takes close look at both sides of the Tyler Clementi-Dharun Ravi case at Rutgers that’s a must read for anyone who cares about these issues.) I am beyond thrilled that danah’s research is turning into action and that the Berkman Center has teamed up with Gaga. The partnership makes sense and has the potential for massive impact. Congratulations on launching the foundation this week!

4. Golden Kites

SCBWI just announced their annual Golden Kite Awards. Congratulations to all of the winners! Special congrats to NESCBWI author, Kate Messner, who won a Golden Kite for her picture book Over and Under the Snow and to VCFA alumn, Trent Reedy, whose novel Words in the Dust received an honor.

5. TED Week

And a second congratulations to Kate Messner, who is giving a TED Talk this week! She is just rocking the world so hard right now. I mentioned that Kristin is one of the most disciplined people I know — danah and Kate are two others. I have so much admiration and respect for the way they approach their work and want to make the world better, whether through education, feminism, or activism. Kate is talking about the power of world-building in dystopian fiction and how students can apply those same techniques to solve future problems. Her dystopian novel, Eye of the Storm, came out this week — as if she didn’t have enough going on already 🙂

6. And, as usual, a bonus point…

On a more personal note, the Boston Business Journal profiled me as part of their Outside the Box series. The article is only available to subscribers, but it was fun — a mix of personal and professional questions regarding my background and TheWritingFaculty.

Happy Friday, everyone! Clearly we are ROARING into March.

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