Four Random — But Kickin’ — Bits ‘O Info:
Poetry Friday, Punk Farm on Tour,
readergirlz, and The Camel Book Drive

h1 February 23rd, 2007 by jules

Hi there. Happy Poetry Friday to all. We don’t have a proper entry for today, but we would like to humbly submit for today’s poetry entry the below interview with Haven Kimmel, over which we are still squealing in excitement, since she’s one of our favorite writers. Haven began her writing career as a poet and wrote poetry under the name Haven Koontz (visit this link and scroll down for a list of some of her published poetry. Also, here you will see an excerpt of one of her poems, “Heartland”). She’s made it clear in several interviews that poetry was her first love.

And head here at A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy for this week’s Poetry Friday round-up.

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Secondly, check out this beautiful cover art here. We give you a loud and resounding and heartfelt WOO HOO! when we say that not only did Random House debut this cover art yesterday for Jarrett J. Krocoszka’s October release of Punk Farm on Tour, but he also has agreed to let us grill him in an upcoming interview. He’s not only so impossibly nice that he’s agreed to answer our weird questions, but he also sent us that cover art (lest Random House think I just stole it from their site). We are big fans of Punk Farm as well as Jarrett’s other books, so we’re all agog over this news (yes, I said “agog.” I’m trying to use one word a day I’ve never used before).

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Next, we would be terribly remiss if we did not steer you in the direction of readergirlz, a new “online book community celebrating gutsy girls in life & lit,” in the words of the four YA authors who gave birth to this iniative: Dia Calhoun, Janet Lee Carey, Lorie Ann Grover and Justina Chen Headley. Here’s what they have to say about readergirlz:

“Our goal is to encourage teen girls to read and reach out. Every month, we will gather readers online to discuss a novel with us and participate in a community service project related to that book. We’ll kick off readergirlz on March 1, 2007, in honor of National Women’s History Month. In addition, we will embark on a tour, “Today’s Girls, Tomorrow’s History,” where we’ll take our message of girl empowerment via literature and community service to schools, libraries, bookstores, and conferences.”

Justina further tells us that they have been stunned by the warm reception towards the readergirlz iniative: “Since our sneak peek at ALA Midwinter, librarians across the country have been e-mailing us, enthusiastic about this project. Also, Publishers Weekly and NPR each want to do a feature story on the readergirlz movement. It is a bit surreal to us.” Excellent. Look for those features soon. And if you’d like to contribute your thoughts about gutsy girls in YA lit (such as, Justina suggests, which YA novels do you think feature the gutsiest girls?), visit the readergirlz site (designed by everyone’s pal, Little Willow), visit their MySpace site, or their LiveJournal.

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And last, but far from least, we were contacted by author Masha Hamilton, telling us about a camel bookmobile drive, entitled Authors for African Literacy. Here is what Ms. Hamilton has to say about it:

My next novel is based on a real camel bookmobile that operates in isolated Northeastern Kenya near the unstable border with Somalia. I had the chance to visit last year and walk through the bush with the camels, books and librarians. It was totally inspiring to see the response in this semi-nomadic settlements to the books laid out under the acacia.

But, of course, they need more books. The bush is hard on books and sometimes in these semi-nomadic communities, the ones who have checked out the books move on before the library can return. I thought how wonderful it would be if authors banded together to each send a box of about five well-loved books to the camel library. This area is also largely African Moslem, which creates another kind of bridge.

As part of the drive, we set up a webpage of author donors: The Camel Book Drive. We began Feb. 13, and just since then, we’ve gotten more than 60 participating authors. We are hoping to get 100 authors — that would be a nice set of books that would arrive in Garissa for the camel library. But the drive has also taken off among those who love books in general, and we started a community donation page.

You can see pictures of the real bookmobile, as well as a short video, on the donor website.

Thanks to Ms. Hamilton for bringing this to our attention. And please pass the word on to those interested in contributing.

Ciao for now, and Happy Poetry Friday to all . . .

One comment to “Four Random — But Kickin’ — Bits ‘O Info:
Poetry Friday, Punk Farm on Tour,
readergirlz, and The Camel Book Drive”

  1. Yay! Thank you for linking to and posting about readergirlz. 🙂

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