I'm just going to dump these pictures here, and assume they're mostly self-explanatory. Basically, I'm so over Dr. Seuss as a theme for Read Across America Week, so I'm doing Alice In Wonderland, and using the Cheshire Cat wearing the Mad Hatter's Hat as a "different cat in a different hat."

(All artwork by yours truly)

     The Nonfiction section is now the Tulgey Wood...

     And look what's lurking at the back...

     The Jabberwock! (The lighting in this photo makes it a little hard to see, but in person the drawing is more visible)

     On Friday our Alumni Association is hosting an Author Forum of Alumni Authors, and we're inviting everyone back to the library afterward for a Mad Tea Party Reception. Hence, the paper lanterns.

     All week long we have daily activities and/or contests. I'll post more pictures and details later. I even have prizes to give out. :)

     This easel is positioned just outside the library door, with these fancy "ultra-shape" balloons that cost $6.00 each and are supposed to last all week but dammit if some turd didn't steal one, poke a hole in another, and leave only the blue one intact. And this is just the FIRST DAY.
     But it's a learning experience. Next year I will fill the balloons with napalm.

ORIGINAL LIBRARY ART : The Cheshire Cat (in the hat)

The Cheshire Cat for Read Across America Week

     This year I am eschewing Dr. Seuss and the Cat In the Hat for Read Across America Week. I work in a high school library, and Dr. Seuss is for BABIES. Yes, I said it. For BABIES. It's fine up until you're 5 or whatever, but to me Seuss does not have the lasting quality that Sendak, or some other classic children's writer/authors do. Anybody can just make up shit to fit a rhyme. I appreciate Seuss's art a lot more than I do his "writing."
     I'm fully aware that Read Across America Week was created to coincide with Seuss's birthday on March 2nd, and that's nice. It's fine to give a nod to Seuss. But it's short-sighted and simplistic to think EVERYTHING about Read Across America Week has to be ALL SEUSS, ALL THE TIME, EVERY YEAR. Unless you're just not familiar with the great wealth of children's, teen, and young adult lit we have to draw on.
     Especially for junior high and high school.
     So I came up with the idea to decorate the library like Wonderland for the week of February 29th through March 4th, and my flyers and promotional stuff will all feature my version of the Cheshire Cat, wearing the Mad Hatter's Hat, and the tagline,
"Uh-oh! A different cat in a different hat is taking over Read Across America this year in the library!"
     This will give me a chance to highlight Lewis Carroll's original works, plus related works like Beddor's Looking Glass Wars, Gaiman's Coraline, books on mathematics, chess, poetry, dream interpretation, Victorian England, etc. (And yes, even my own Wonderland graphic novel that I wrote and Sonny Liew illustrated for Disney Press/SLG)
     My campus is doing a week-long celebration in cooperation with our Alumni Association for RAAW 2016, and I'm on the planning committee, along with our admin. The Alumni are spotlighting alumni authors, and published works that are influenced somehow by our school. We have a bunch of local authors scheduled to do author forums in the auditorium on Monday and Friday of that week, and there will be a display in the library of books by alumni, and books about our school.
     Throughout the week I have planned Wonderland-themed contests, and will give out prizes. There will be a Cheshire Cat scavenger hunt, a house-of-cards building contest, and a Queen of Hearts "guess how many candy hearts are in the jar" contest. Plus the library will serve as a hospitality room for any guests during the week, so I need to make sure it all looks really nice.
     The culminating event of the week will be the author forum on Friday, and immediately following that will be a Mad Tea Party Reception in the library, which I'm currently planning with my awesome Volunteer Mom. Petit fours, multi-colored macarons, cucumber sandwiches, and a selection of teas will be offered.
     I suggested that maybe for that week the Main Office could be Seuss's "Whoville," to appease Seuss-enthusiasts, and maybe the English building could be Hogwarts or something like that. I think all it would take would just be a little effort to decorate, and put some signs up. They could even have students do that part of it.
     We have SSR at my school, although sadly many teachers don't observe it. For RAAW, we plan to reinforce SSR by having a different staff member on the video announcements for "Staff Book Breaks," in which they can share a favorite book, and maybe read a passage from it.
     I've ordered paper lanterns that we're going to string across the library, and we're creating a Read Across America-themed backdrop for the presentations that will take place during the reception and also serve as a photo op. There is a very long, old, heavy wood table in the library that we're going to place in the center of the room and decorate as the Mad Tea Party table. One of the strange things we found in the library's back room when I started working there was a full silver tea service, so of course we'll use that! Plus the Nonfiction section will be transformed into the Tulgey Wood. I'm making myself insane with all of this, but I think there's enough time to get it in order by February 29th.
     Incidentally, I recently finished reading Gregory Maguire's After Alice, and really enjoyed it. LOTS of food for thought. A very smart, multi-layered little book. Probably above the heads of most teens, though. It was almost over MY head.

READ YOURSELF RAAW : "Read Across America Week"

Read Across America Day is Wednesday March 2nd
Read Across America Week is Sunday 2/27 - Saturday 3/5 (I guess)

          When I was first introduced to "Read Across America Week," it seemed okay that they chose Dr. Seuss's birthday (March 2nd) as the official RAA Day.  Whatever, you know?  And in 2004 it was the 100th anniversary of Geisel's birthday so I understood why all libraries were overflowing with Dr. Seuss imagery and read-alouds at the time.
          But now when we library folk celebrate RAAW, could we maybe give Dr. Seuss a rest?  The idea is to support reading in every community across the U.S. during whatever week March 2nd happens to fall in.  I don't think the National Education Association's goal was really to make us all relentless publicists for Dr. Seuss, exclusively.  I don't think he needs the help.
          Also, and this is my BIG peeve-- not merely a pet but a roaring lion of a peeve-- when working with junior high and high school age kids, pushing Dr. Seuss is RETARDED.  They're a little BEYOND that, people.  Sure, it's fun and silly, and we can all enjoy a good picture book at any age, but I happen to think Maurice Sendak is better than Seuss any day.  Especially for grownups.  Seuss is twee and lazy.  Anybody can rhyme words they just MAKE UP.  Some of his stuff is okay, but Seuss does not deserve an entire week of worship every year.
          I try to make a point in the libraries I've worked in to highlight DIFFERENT authors and books during RAAW.  It's hard, though, because all of the official posters and crap are plastered over with Seuss's Cat In the Hat imagery.  They've become inextricable.
          My annoyance reached all-time highs when I was working at the junior high and a new and incompetent principal decided to make RAAW her "thing."  She went all out for it every year, dressing up like the Cat In the Hat, making her assistant principal dress as Sam I Am, and her counselors wear "Thing 1" and "Thing 2" costumes with big fright wigs.  She invaded our library and had a big "Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss" cake brought in, and served all the kids cake in the library while she read from one or two stupid Dr. Seuss books.
          I would like to remind you that this was at a JUNIOR HIGH, so of course most of the kids thought she was weird and lame, and only came in for the cake.  She made sure to get lots of pictures of herself in costume reading to the kids, though, and smugly thought herself a real hoot.          
          I would also like to mention that this same principal was directly responsible for removing a series of biographies about gays and lesbians from our library, and refusing to give them back.  This resulted in the ACLU filing a case against the school district.  I bring this up to make the point that she was a bitch who CENSORED library books that could have been really helpful and empowering to our kids.  She was NOT a real library supporter.  After the censorship battle it was even harder to grit my teeth and watch her parading around as the C__ In the Hat.   
          But back to the RAAW Seuss love-fest.  I was so against the dumbing down of it that I had a super pissy attitude during the "birthday party" in the library, and when the principal asked me to help serve cake to the kids I staunchly refused.  I had the biggest stick up my butt.  More like a totem pole with about ten snarling, cussing faces.
          The fact was that we had our own ideas in the library about how to celebrate RAAW and special AGE APPROPRIATE activities already in place, but that stupid principal just jacked the whole thing and took over.  And it's not like I don't know how to have fun!  I'm REAL f*ckin' fun.  But on my OWN TERMS.
          I'm at a different school now, with grades 7 through 12, and nobody foists Dr. Seuss and the Cat In the Hat on any of us.  They understand that NO means NO.  The principal will not be wearing a giant cat suit on March 2nd, and we won't be reading picture books to the kids or letting them grind cake into the library carpeting.
          I'll put a few Dr. Seuss books out (yes we have them), along with OTHER selections that are exciting to teenagers.  I'll use a few images of the striped top hat in my displays, as a nod to the Cat In the Hat, but I will also use OTHER imagery and ideas.
          This tirade came about because I was searching the internet for RAAW graphics to use on a bookmark we're making that will feature the favorite books of teachers and other staff members.  Of course I couldn't find ANYTHING that didn't feature Dr. Seuss crap, and look like it's for 3rd graders.  I did, however, find a treasure trove of online imagery of adults showing us exactly how WRONG things can go when enthusiasm meets bad ideas.
          Please enjoy a few pictures of adults who don't know the difference between "wacky" and "scary."  It's okay to laugh at these people because their photos were right there on the internet and they should have known better.
When I was a kid this would have scared the pee out of me.  Even just the crotch-hugging red pants, not to mention the rest of it.
Grim times in the library. Girlfriend had to make do with a fake PAPER hat. She does not look happy about it, and apparently didn't even bother to get dressed that morning?
The Crypt Keeper and a white-faced ghoul.  This is far more Nightmare Before Christmas than it is Dr. Seuss.