Tuesday, November 20, 2012

What Happens In Vegas....

When you read this, I will be in Las Vegas. I've kind of always wanted to go to Vegas. Even after seeing the movie LOST IN AMERICA. Maybe especially after seeing that movie.

My husband, on the other, hand has not wanted to go to Las Vegas or more importantly, for me to go to Las Vegas. This may or may not have to do with the time he had to drag me away from a slot machine in Atlantic City after I won $13.00. Which was not long after we saw the movie and the words "nest egg" kept reverberating in his mind. Have you seen the movie? You should. It's Albert Brooks at his best, and Julie Hagerty, well. Take a look at the trailer, and then come back.

Right? It's really funny. But. I'm not going to Las Vegas to gamble (keep in mind I'm writing this on Friday in the comfort and safety of my own home). I'm going to the ALAN part of the NCTE conference. I'm thrilled to be part of it, honestly, not because it's in Las Vegas but because English teachers are some of my favorite people. Hi, Mrs. Thomas! Hi, Dr. Egolf (two of my high school  English teachers).

I'm curious to hear if there will be any discussion in that set about the Common Core. I wonder if there are any English teachers who read I.N.K. who would be willing to comment about whether you and your colleagues will be using more nonfiction in your classrooms. One of my editors yesterday told me that a huge part of the Core is learning about point of view. That can be done in really interesting ways in nonfiction, can't it?

I'm really looking forward to my panel. On Tuesday afternoon (maybe while you're reading this)  I'll be talking to teachers with the great Francisco Stork about "The Last Taboo in YA--Religion." I'll be talking about Charles and Emma: The Darwins' Leap of Faith, my YA about the Darwins' marriage of religion and science, and my new novel, Intentions, about Rachel, whose struggle with her faith is precipitated by her idol, her rabbi, crashing down off his pedestal in a most spectacular fashion. Intentions was recently listed in Booklist as one of this year's top ten books for youth with religious and spiritual themes. Here is the list. Notice there are both fiction and nonfiction titles.

Francisco and I have been compiling a list of YA books with religious and spiritual themes. Check on my website soon for the list, which we hope people will add to.


Jim Murphy said...

Deborah -- I hope you have fun at NCTE and have an interesting experience in Vegas. The last time I was there -- they were building the MGM Grand at the time, I think -- I found the city and surrounding area fascinating. Where else do you find thousands of houses being build, every one with a lawn, while the Hoover Dam is losing water day and night! There were still squaters living in the desert, but I'm sure they've been consumed by homes since.
As for POV in nonfiction, that's a great topic. My THE GIANT has opening chapters that put readers in the middle of the action (but doesn't let them know much beyond what ordinary folk knew from the newspapers in 1869), but then I let readers in on what's happening behind the scenes so they experience and think about this bit of history from two distinct perspectives. Let us know what was said at NCTE on this topic and the changes in the CCSS.

Steve Sheinkin said...

Yes, I'll be eager to hear the report from Vegas too. I love the idea of using nonfiction to get at the of seeing stories from different points of view.

By the way, I think I've seen Lost In America ten times at least. One of the best comedies ever!

Susan Kuklin said...

Deb - I wanted my tombstone to read, "She never went to Vegas." But a delayed flight left me there for one night ... and I loved it. Hope you are having a great time. Congrats RE: Booklist. An important list for an important book. Yay