Tuesday, October 9, 2012

revolution week

So, Passenger is one week old today.

I wonder if Meghan Cox Gurdon has read it yet, or maybe just scanned a few pages to find her favorite words.

Meghan, if you're reading this, I'll be happy to send you an autographed copy. I am not kidding.

Yesterday, I took part in a revolution at Foothill Technology High School in Ventura, California. It was an amazing day.

The kids there devoted an entire day to books and reading. It started off with a "Pep Rally" for books. I sat in the auditorium with, I think, about 350 kids as they celebrated books. I felt guilty because I "tweeted" to A.S. King during the rally.

Here is why I felt guilty: All those teenagers packed into that auditorium -- and not one of them had a cell phone out or earbuds inserted into their heads. Later I asked them if there was some schoolwide enforcement of a ban on these things that seem permanently grafted onto the bodies of most California teens.

They told me no.

I thought I must have gone to Marbury or something. This school is definitely not-California.

During the rally, the kids watched a video, much of which was filmed at ALA and featured some of the kids' favorite authors (who are all well-represented in their Underground Library). The video also showed older students talking to younger ones about why reading is important, and what kinds of books they liked from the Underground Library.

The kids were divided into groups and rotated through book-type activities for the entire day. One stop was the Aboveground Library, where A.S. King, who came in via Skype, and I, who came in via a four-wheel-drive Toyota, talked to kids about reading, writing, and whatever else they asked about. We also read from some of our books. It was a blast, and I really think Mrs. King and I should take that show on the road.

The school had a carnival outside (it is Ventura, after all, and was 72 degrees yesterday) for books, and one of the really cool things the kids got to do was "speed date" with books. They were given a sheet that listed books from the Underground Library (mine, A.S. King's, Libba Bray, Jay Asher, Daniel Kraus, Sara Zarr, James Dashner, and a whole lot more -- I should have swiped the list so I could remember better) and they spent a few minutes looking through them and scoring them so they could potentially "hook up" later on.

They rotated in to watch student-produced book trailers, too.

At the end of the day, the kids all lined up at the Underground Library and got to select a book of their choice to check out and read. Here is the sad part: there were not enough books for everyone. I've donated a few books to the Underground Library, and my editor (chimes!) at Feiwel and Friends has sent them quite a few, but they need more.

So I'm going to kick down a couple copies of Passenger, and I'll see if I can get them maybe an ARC of Winger, too.

And this is a call out to my author friends, editors, publicists, and anyone else. The Angel Potatoes need more books.