Tuesday, May 21, 2013

An Interview with the Great Ms. Yingling!

Hey ho, all guy reading fans everywhere! This is Iron Guy Carl, back from another long absence. This time I've got a terrific interview with one of the most terrific book bloggers out there. Her name is Ms.Yingling. She's a school librarian in Ohio and blogs at Ms. Yingling Reads. She's also been a friend to Ronin Ninja Bill and me for a long time. She also hosts a weekly Guy Friday on her blog that recommends books for boys! Hmmmm--wonder where she got that idea??? Anyway, she does a lot for boy reading and we're happy to have her aboard for an interview.

There's a nasty rumor out there that says it's uncool for boys to read. How do you think it got started?

I think that some boys find it hard to read, and it's easier to say it's not cool than to say it's hard. It's hard to sit still, the words are tiny, and their mother keeps handing them The Secret Garden. Their teachers are girls, their librarians are often girls, and there are just not enough MEN out there to make it cool.

That’s why you have the Iron Guy in blogland, making reading cool for boys. What would the boys at your school say to the answer to the first questtion? And why do you think it's cool for boys to read?

    We have an awesome 6th grade teacher, Mr. Buxton (http://buxtolicious.blogspot.com/) who is very influential. If he book talks something, 50 students come in to request it. Reading is highly encouraged in our school, so the boys see each other reading. Also, we have a good selection of books with action, dog poop, robot decapitation, etc. that boys actually enjoy reading.
     I think it's cool for boys to read because it makes them smarter, and smart guys are THE coolest.

What are the favorite books of the boys at your school?
    Notebook novels like Wimpy Kind, Big Nate, and Dragonbreath, any sports books that are about basketball or football, and the world record books.

If you became Queen of the Universe and could tell every librarian everywhere what the 5 best books for boys of all time are, what would you say?

Did someone take my crown away? I would have to say Horowitz's Stormbreaker, Riordan's The Lightning Thief, Korman's Ungifted, Darren Shan's Cirque du Freak and Mack's Mathlete vs. Athlete.

  Ms Yingling believes that a librarian should LOOK like a librarian!

 You used to be a Latin teacher. What made you choose to be school librarian? What are the best and hardest parts of it?

    I didn't exactly choose to leave the field-- there were just no jobs. I have always loved to read, and I could get an MLS and not have to get another bachelor's degree. The best part of my job is when I am riding my bike home and a student who is hauling  garbage cans back to the garage runs out to say "Ms. Yingling! The book you gave me is AWESOME!!" (happened just last night!), or when I am describing a book to a student, and another student pipes up "That book is great. You have to read it!" I also like my little slice of internet "fame" and all the interesting authors, librarians and teachers I have met.

The hardest part is that it's a ton of work. It's a 24/7 kind of job. I'm at school for ten hours a day, and do another 3-5 hours of work at home, which leaves very little time for other things. I even dream about overdues. I wouldn't spend the time if I didn't enjoy it, though, so I can't complain!

Would you say, "Boys are awesome" in Latin?

"Pueri optissimi sunt" would be "Boys are the very best!"

How about "The Iron Guy and Ronin Ninja Bill are kings of MANLY MEN”?

Viri ferri Carolus et Ronin reges viri virilissimi sunt.

That said, it's been 20 years since I have taught Latin; I just ripped Ned Vizzini about the Latin in House of Secrets, so feel I should be careful!

Because of your excellent blog and your great work for guy reading, we gave you our highest honor and made you an Honorary Guy. Have you ever gotten over the shock of receiving such a great award?

    I have never gotten over the shock, but I attribute my current reading tastes (romance and dog poop? Fantastic!) to this award. I feel honored every day when boys trust me to get them a book they will enjoy.
I ask these final questions of everyone I interview--Which do you prefer, cheeseburgers or pizza? What do you like on them?

    Girly answer to this one: I don't care for either! Also, I'm an old person, so I eat more grilled vegetables and hummus!

Don't worry about your girly answer. We're proud of our MANLINESS, so you should be proud of your GIRLYNESS!

Well, all kidding totally aside, we're are very glad that you're out there, sharing your love of books, especially with boys. Thanks for all you do and for taking time to answer our questions. And be sure to check out her blog, boys, and be doubly sure to read her Guy Friday posts!