Friday, January 23, 2009

Books in danger!

I was already horrified that the new Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act that goes into effect February 10 is threatening the ability of people to buy or sell children's products through consignment stores, charity stores, small businesses, and even eBay or garage sales. I read that whole chains of children's consignment stores might have to close their doors, and that charities like Goodwill could have to throw away every children's item they have in their stores, just because the cost of testing them for lead (which most clothing items, etc., are very unlikely to have) would be too high! This is especially problematic at a time when many people really need the cost savings of shopping for used products (or the income from selling their old products), and when it would be environmentally crazy to fill our landfills with perfectly good, usable toys and clothing.

Now I have found out that children's books may be affected, too--even books already in libraries and schools! This link is from the ALA so it doesn't mention textbooks, but I wouldn't be surprised if they were affected as well. I suspect it could also affect literacy charities that give gently used books to needy children.

Please read the following link...let's try to change this now!

ALA Action Alert - Save our children's libraries and books!

Here is a Publisher's Weekly article about it, also, and a Forbes article about the whole ridiculous regulation and how it will end up hurting the little companies and individuals. (Some are even calling February 10 National Bankruptcy Day.)

This is just crazy. Yes, a few toys, mostly imported from China, were recalled recently because of lead levels, but has there really a problem with children getting lead poisoning from books?! I have never heard of such, while the lack of access to books would be a real, definite, and major problem that would not be theoretical at all! (Besides, it's not like people are going to get rid of all the old toys, children's clothes, and books in their homes--especially now that there would be nowhere to donate them that they wouldn't have to be thrown out--so the kids won't really be "safer" if libraries stop having books for them!)

Friday, January 16, 2009

First Friday Five of 2009

1) Last Saturday, I went to the Austin SCBWI meeting at BookPeople to hear the lovely and talented Jennifer Ziegler talk about writing mass market books. Over 90 people attended the meeting (standing room only!), and Jennifer's presentation was great!

2) Wednesday, my middle son turned 8! (Coincidentally, the aforementioned Jennifer Ziegler's daughter has the same birthday as my son, which probably means she's pretty cool, as Jenny's blog entry about her proves. Actually, I already knew she was pretty cool, because she liked my manuscript! :-) ) We celebrated my son's birthday with Denny's (his choice!), cake, and of course presents, and will host some of his friends at an indoor playscape this weekend.

3) Take a Chance on Art: purchase one or more $5 raffle tickets to enter to win illustrator Don Tate's painting "Duke Ellington," and support the Texas Library Association Disaster Relief Fund. It's especially important this year in light of devastation caused by Hurricane Ike. To learn more, read Cynthia Leitich Smith's interviews with TLA librarian Jeanette Larson and illustrator Don Tate.

4) I revise my blog entries (and comments, and message board posts....) compulsively, so #4 is different now than if you read this when I first posted it. ;-)

5) Some of the things I've considered blogging about lately include the craziness of toddlers (impossible to overstate), living without a full night's sleep for 2+ years (see previous item re: toddlers), the world-colliding weirdness that is Facebook (I truly spend hours pondering this), my new addiction to Sudoku (via the BrainAge video game I got for Christmas, as well as online places to play), and cartoons as they relate to writing for children in general. And maybe sometime, I really will write about some of those things!