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Check out our great childrens' book recommendations, interviews, teaching tools and more at ReaderKidz.com for parents, teachers and librarians of kids K-5.

 

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Calm in a Crisis.

Thoughts on the Unexpected

in Writing & Beyond

Sunday
Nov052017

Promoting Books With Sensitive Subjects (Guest Post at Through the Tollbooth)

Here's my guest post at the wonderful Through the Tollbooth on promoting a novel for younger readers that may court controversy.

 

Saturday
Jun032017

Why 13 REASONS WHY Succeeds

The Netflix series, 13 Reasons Why (based on the YA novel of the same title by Jay Asher), about 17 year-old high school student Hannah Anderson's suicide and the incriminating tapes she leaves behind, has received positive reviews but has also created significant controversy.

Criticisms include:

That the series fails to address the main character's mental health leading to her suicide;

That it shows a graphic depiction of the suicide;

That the high school counselor character behaves/reacts unlike almost any counselor would;

That the story is also the ultimate revenge fantasy which is so NOT what most attempts are about. 

I agree with these points. So why do I think that overall the show is a big net postive?

Because 13 Reasons Why handles a great deal of difficult subject matter very well. I'm DELIGHTED that it has everyone talking. Not just about suicidal contagion, bullying, sexual consent, sexual assault, and rape, but finally, about suicide and mental health.

Discuss the series with your teen pronto (they've already seen it)! And yes, vulnerable teens with a history of suicidality, depression, or trauma should skip it, same as they might want to skip any other film with graphic sexual or violent content.

Meanwhile, here's some important, timely info on teen suicide from the Mayo Clinic.

Saturday
Feb042017

YA Mental Health Panel at YA NovCon 2017

On January 27 and 28, I had the privilege of taking part in the San Mateo County Libraries 2nd annual YA NovCon along with a star-studded line-up of YA authors including Gretchen McNeil, Neal Shusterman, Andrew Smith, Jessica Brody, Mariko Tamaki, Alexis Bass, Martha Brockenbrough, I.W. Gregorio, Stephanie Kuehn, Sara Elizabeth Santana, Stacey Lee, Gordon Jack, Lindsay Holland, and B.T. Gottfred. On Friday, we all visited area high schools and juvenile detention facilities. And on Saturday, we held panels and author Q&A sessions with about 200 people. I sat on a censorship in YA panel, and most notably had the honor to speak on a mental health panel along with Neil Shusterman, National Book Award-winning-author of CHALLENGER DEEP based on his son's struggle with schizophrenia, and Stephanie Kuehn, Psychologist and author of several fictional psychological studies such as CHARM AND STRANGE, DELICATE MONSTERS, and THE SMALLER EVIL. We were joined by Rocio Cornejo representing NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) and Rebecca Bucher, mental health coordinator for several San Mateo schools, who moderated. Here is the whole thing as taped by Millbrae Community Television:

Tuesday
Dec272016

Guest Post at BookPage

Happy holidays and wishing you peace, health and prosperity for 2017.

At San Francisco Suicide Prevention, the crisis line where I volunteer, we know that the holidays are actually a tough time for many people who are alone, who suffer from mental health issues, or who are simply going through a difficult period in their lives. Here's a guest post I did for Bookpage during National Suicide Prevention Week in 2015 for the release of RTDITCOL. 

Friday
Oct072016

#RTDITCOL wins the 2016 Housatonic Book Award for YA and MG!

Totally unexpected! I am delighted and honored that Romancing the Dark in the City of Light was chosen for the 2016 Housatonic Book Award for Young Adult and Middle-Grade Fiction! Heartfelt thanks to the WCSU MFA in Creative and Professional Writing Program, the MFA Alumni Writer’s Cooperative, and all involved. Congratulations also to the other winners and finalists! I'm looking forward to crashing the residency in Danbury in August 2017 to lead a workshop.