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>Where the world was as blue as an orange

>If not the world, then the University of Illinois, where even the damned goldfish gracing the tank in the Illini Union come in the school colors. (As does this blog, I suddenly notice. It has to be the ugliest color combo I’ve ever seen, and now I know I’m going to see it everywhere.)

But last Friday the colors were accented with green, as the students celebrated Unofficial Saint Patrick’s Day, wearing green hats and t-shirts and Mardi-Gras beads and getting drunk beginning at 7:30 AM when the bars opened. And this wasn’t like skipping school and getting drunk; the whole idea was to get drunk and stay drunk during the whole day of classes. I saw one young woman getting arrested; a faculty member at the library school stumbled onto a passed-out student in the parking garage. And my speech entailed a bouncer at the door. My goodness–why couldn’t they just get quietly stoned off their asses the way we did? (One of my college lit. professors, the late lamented Ellin Ringler, told us that was the best state in which to read The Waste Land.)

The speech went well, I thought, and you’ll be able to decide for yourselves when it’s published in the May issue of the Horn Book. I spoke (er, yammered) about the last forty years of YA literature and librarianship, starting with my own teen reading and ending with the Printz Award. I lunched with the youth services doctoral students and faculty from associated universities, spoke to a YA class, and got to spend a lot of time with my most esteemed friends and colleagues Betsy Hearne, Christine Jenkins, Deborah Stevenson and Boyd Rayward. (The first three you probably know from their publications in the Horn Book and elsewhere, the last is the world’s leading expert on this guy.)

Blue and orange and green and vomit not withstanding, Illinois has one first-class library school. You should all go–and can, thanks to their LEEP program. I don’t think there is any other school that has such an amazing confluence of faculty and resources, and such an array of interests and talents among its students.

Roger Sutton About Roger Sutton

Roger Sutton has been the editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc, since 1996. He was previously editor of The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books and a children's and young adult librarian. He received his M.A. in library science from the University of Chicago in 1982 and a B.A. from Pitzer College in 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @RogerReads.



  1. Lisa Yee says:


  2. Anonymous says:

    >Instead of the storied “cigarette storytime” have we arrived at “hammered yammering?”

  3. stacy whitman says:

    >When I was there, Ash Wednesday was “Hash Wednesday.” With roughly the same result, but usually students who participated were, as your experience notes, sitting on the quad quietly stoned rather than openly drunk.

  4. Anonymous says:

    >I once had an esteemed Russian lit prof tell me the true way to enjoy The Brothers Karamazov was to have a bottle of vodka at my side and see if I could keep up with Ivan.

    I lasted about 5 pages.


  5. rindawriter says:

    >Anonymouses, y’all are just plain AWFUL cutsies, but, but, but…could there be a way to tell you two scamps APART????!! in the sandbox here? I was sorry and sad to read about the drinking stuff going on when those young folks had opportunity instead to listen to Roger when I don’t get the opportunity at all but have to stick at home here at the COMPUTER all day long…… but I am most eager to read what the speech was all about, er, ah, I meant what the yammerspeak was all about…oh, fuddleduppers, it looks like I have here invented a word not in the OED!

  6. >OT but Roger or anyone comment on banning of Speak Bird Speak Again collection of Palestinian Arab folktales by Hamas? Or is this a taboo topic?

  7. Anonymous says:

    Mine is the one signed “Irene.” Not the one signed “J.”

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