Major publishers continue to boycott or significantly limit titles available in digital format, which hurts public libraries, writes Alex Alben.Add a Comment
Major publishers continue to boycott or significantly limit titles available in digital format, which hurts public libraries, writes Alex Alben.Add a Comment
published next month (March 2013)
Katherine Rundell's extraordinarily well-received debut novel, The Girl Savage, passed me by but my expectations of this, her second novel, could not help but be raised by all the enthusiastic comments about that first book filling the back page of the publicity sheet.
The writing is lucid and the chapters are short. Structurally I found the narrative a bit loose; somewhat languid. I wanted to hurry it along. I didn't feel enough was happening.
Sophie, as a young girl, survives the sinking of a passenger ship. She is, apparently, the only female survivor - found, as a baby, floating in a cello case in the middle of the English Channel. The man who lifts her into the rescue boat - a fellow traveller and scholar - becomes her guardian. The early part of the book concerns the difficulty Charles has in persuading the authorities that he is the right person to fulfil that role.
Sophie becomes convinced that her mother was a musician on the ship that sank; convinced also, against all the evidence, that she survived.
Once the action moves to Paris - by which time Sophie is considerably older - I expected the mother-searching to begin in earnest. Instead, the middle part of the novel is taken up with the relationship between Sophie and Matteo, a 'rooftopper'. Charles believes in freedom, so effectively gives Sophie his blessing to wander the rooftops of Paris all through the night with an unknown friend. Hmmm. Well, it is set in a different period of time, not the present, so I guess we can suspend disbelief.
But I did find myself becoming restless in this section of the book. Rundell seems to fall into the trap of becoming beguiled by her new character and the whole notion of roof-dwelling and too set on evoking the thrill of this lifestyle without actually moving the narrative along.
Matteo is eventually the agent who leads to a satisfactory conclusion to the quest, but it does not come about in any emotionally involving way. (There is a brief sequence of gang rivalry, with knives flashing, and the heroine kicking someone in the crotch, but this sequence is so out of character with the rest of the story that it appears merely gratuitous.) The finale is picturesque and seen from a distance, through Charles's eyes. It is over too quickly, and left me feeling frustrated. I could imagine the much better, more engrossing novel it could have been. It would have taken some reworking, some rewriting. But it would have been worth it.
I'm giving it four chicks, even though my review reads as if it deserves fewer, because it could so nearly have become a very fine five-chick read.Add a Comment
extracted from Angel Publicity on behalf of HarperCollins
GEEK GIRL By Holly Smale £6.99 (PB), published on 28th February 2013. Also available in e-book formats. "My name is Harriet Manners, and I am a geek."Add a Comment
Acquired by HarperCollins in a five publisher auction, already due to be published in eight different languages and written by an ex-model and current blogger who has online readers in 24 countries, Geek Girl is set to be the teen launch of 2013...
Harriet Manners is well informed in random irrelevant trivia. She knows that a "jiffy" lasts 1/100th of a second, bats will always turn left when exiting a cave and peanuts are one of the ingredients of dynamite. What she doesn't know is why nobody at school seems to like her.
So when she is spotted by a top model agent, she jumps at the chance to reinvent herself as a stylish, sassy runway goddess. Even if it means stealing her best friend's dream, incurring the wrath of her archenemy Alexa, and repeatedly humiliating herself in front of the impossibly gorgeous model Nick.
Veering from one couture disaster to the next with the help of her overly enthusiastic father and her über geeky stalker, Toby, Harriet begins to realise that the world of fashion doesn't seem to like her any more than the real world did. Can Harriet go from geek to chic without ruining everything?
About the author:
Holly Smale is a debut author. Clumsy, a bit nerdy and somewhat shy, she spent the majority of her teenage years hiding in the changing room toilets at school, attempting to avoid the abuse of her peers. After a top London modelling agency unexpectedly spotted her at the age of fifteen, she believed her luck was changing but in reality she couldn't let go of her inner geek. She spent the following two years falling over on catwalks, going bright red at inappropriate moments and damaging things she couldn't afford to replace. By the time Holly had graduated from Bristol University with a BA in English Literature and an MA in Shakespeare, she had given up modelling and set herself on the much more suitable path to becoming a writer. In 2009, she very nearly found herself as a caretaker on an Australian paradise island, when she was a finalist out of 70,000 entries for the widely covered competition, "Best job in the world."
Her hugely successful blog, 'The Write Girl' has readers in over 24 countries, and Geek Girl is already lined up to be translated into eight languages, making her a worldwide phenomenon before the book is even published. Now a fully-fledged author, Holly is currently writing the sequel to Geek Girl.
Find out more on http://www.thewritegirl.co.uk/ or follow Holly on twitter @HolSmale
A blog post in which Gaiman explains his current BlackBerry calendar tales project...Add a Comment
In a feature by Cethan Leahy, the Irish magazine, Inis, interviews and profiles Sarah McIntyre.
In a further dispatch on the Cool Not Cute blog, Joanathan Emmett has this to say:
The following is an extract only. Do read the whole piece.
I don't think that ambassadors for books are doing themselves or books any favours by attacking TV, films or video games.... Most children listening will know from first hand experience how appealing and satisfying these other media can be. So, by attempting to discredit them, an ambassador undermines their own credibility. If an ambassador says they hate something that a child knows and loves, why should a child trust that ambassador's judgment when he or she proclaims that books are something that ought to be loved?Add a Comment
I think it's nearly always better to work with the grain of a child's enthusiasm rather than against it when promoting books. If a child tells you they don't like books, ask them what they do like. If it's TV, ask them about their favourite programmes and why they like them. Try to engage with and understand their enthusiasm -- this is easy if you like the same programmes yourself. Then, when you understand what it is the child likes about the programme and, perhaps more importantly, when the child has understood that you understand this, tell them about a book they might like that contains the same sort of content.
This approach can be made to work for most children of most ages - but not all. If a child of picture book age says they like a film like Star Wars or a TV show like Ben 10, there's little an ambassador for books can do because, as I've argued in COOL not CUTE, there are no picture books that match the content of Star Wars or Ben 10. Unfortunately, there are an awful lot of picture book age children that like this sort of content -- and most of them are boys.
Jack Noel, a book designer for Walker Books, recently stopped by a the Reading Agency to talkabout his job, and provide some advice for any Reading Activists with an interest in careers in illustration and design.Add a Comment
Midnight Pirates by Ally Kennen, reviewed by Marcus Sedgwick
Kennen manages to steer a safe course between the treacherous rocks of fictional impossibilities and unbelievable plot turns: she doesn't duck the question of "what would really happen", but sails confidently into even more enjoyably ludicrous territory. The success of this is down to her strong characterisation; Miranda, our long-suffering protagonist, is the sanest of everyone, but her brothers provide welcome lunacy, with Cal appearing to believe he should have been born in California in the 1980s, and Jackie a vortex of strangeness in the way only small boys can be. Supporting characters have not been skimped on, with many wonderful weirdos adding to the peculiar sense of place.
Kennen's book reminded me of another great adventure for a similar age group, also set on the Cornish coast: Dead Man's Cove by Lauren St John. As anyone who knows Cornwall will understand, both St John's book and Midnight Pirates are set in a world that resembles our own modern one, and yet in which unusual things are always just around the corner, waiting to surprise.
And isn't that what we hope for from a book when we're young; the proof that magic is really all around us? MARCUS SEDGWICK
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So good to see William Cowper as a subject of The Guardian's regular My Hero column (Cowper is one of my heroes too):
Chosen by Alexandra Harris:
In the English visionary tradition, Cowper has a kinship with Stanley Spencer, that 20th-century interpreter of miracles found close to home. Grass and bricks and stones are talkative in Spencer's paintings, as they are in Cowper's poetry. "The very stones in the garden walls are my intimate acquaintance," wrote Cowper.
Cowper was a hero to many who came after him. Jane Austen's characters revere him (Marianne's suitors in Sense and Sensibility must have the right tone of voice for reading Cowper). For the Romantics, Cowper showed the way towards spontaneous expression, passionate response to nature, and the sacred stillness one finds, for example, in Coleridge's "Frost at Midnight". When Virginia Woolf quoted Cowper in her novels, she assumed her readers knew the poems. No one would assume that today. During his last, protracted, breakdown, the world became to him a "universal blank". And yet there had been times - preserved in his writing - when his wonderful roving, empathetic imagination found new pleasures every day just by looking at a hedge.
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This from Sarah Odedina of Hot Key:
'We have all been talking about digital publishing for sometime but it seems to me that we are finally becoming clear on what it means to us as publishers both in terms of a usable and saleable format as well as a predictable revenue stream. 2013 will see us consolidate on all we have learnt from the last three or four years of rapid growth in digital sales and also allow us to be more focused in marketing our digital books to readers. Having said this, I do think that this will be particularly relevant for books for older readers and that books for younger readers will still pose a challenge in the digital format.'
And from Barry Cunningham of Chicken House:
'The lesson from history is that now is the time for small, clever, targeted and personal publishing. Because readers, not retailers, have the power now. Exciting, isn't it?'Add a Comment
from Publishers Weekly:
In a notable children's deal in the U.K., Piccadilly Press, the children's book publisher founded by Brenda Gardner 29 years ago, has been acquired by Templar Publishing, the children's publisher owned by Bonnier Publishing Ltd. Under Gardner's direction, Piccadilly Press has established a strong position in the teenage fiction market; the company also has a successful picture book list, a young readers' list plus a growing line for parents. ...Add a Comment
Templar Publishing is best known for its children's novelty titles as well as publishing award winning authors including Michael Morpurgo. More recently its has developed a children's fiction list.
from the Philip Reeve blog:
A couple of years ago I spent a very pleasant few days with Jeremy Levett in Bristol, coming up with something called The Traction Codex. It's a sort of encyclopaedia/history of the World of Mortal Engines, featuring all those things you Always Wanted To Know But Could Never Be Bothered To Ask, like, how did Airhaven get airborne? Why do the cities use heavier-than-air fighters while the Green Storm stick to airships? Who was Red Loki? etc, etc. We've also added some details which never made it into the books, like the alarming sport of 'Traktionturnieren' or civic jousting...
The codex has recently been bundled with ebook editions of Mortal Engines as an appendix, but readers who already own copies of the print books can now acquire the Codex as a separate purchase (for just 85p):
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extract, from The Age
MARGARET ELIZABETH DUNKLE (nee TETER) AUTHOR, EDUCATOR 26-10-1922 - 23-11-2012 MARGARET (Maggie) Dunkle, a leading member of Victoria's children's literature community, has died peacefully in Bali.Add a Comment
Margaret was well known as an author, critic, librarian, lecturer and consultant. She was made an honorary life member of the Victorian branch of the Children's Book Council of Australia in recognition of her 15 years on the council executive and her passionate commitment to providing quality literature for children.
In 1979, Maggie resigned from the State Library of Victoria to become a children's literature consultant. In her new career, she became a regular children's literature reviewer for The Age, the Australian Book Review and the Australian Bookseller and Publisher journal, she consulted with and mentored authors and illustrators of children's books, gave lectures and storytelling engagements and was one of the original members of the Storytelling Guild. She also wrote books including guides to children's literature such as Books for Kids - A Guide to the Best in Children's Reading for Australian Parents and Teachers. Her most important scholarly work was Black in focus: a guide to Aboriginality in literature for young people. Her books for children included The Story Makers, a collection of interviews with authors and illustrators of children's books, which stimulated interest among Australian teachers in encouraging children to write to authors. Her final children's books, called the Clean Bali series, were written in Bali and published in English, Balinese and Indonesian.
My take on the annual BETT (British Education and Training Technology) exhibition:
BETT is the UK's annual exhibition for technology in education. This year was its first at a new venue, the ExCel Centre in London's docklands. Previously it has always been at Olympia.
The new exhibition space is much more spacious and better airconditioned. Olympia could become very stuffy, but I missed the absence of an upper gallery and being able to look down on the main exhibitors below. Also to be found in the upper gallery (and indeed some of the peripheral areas) at Olympia used to be a multiplicity of small stalls from independent exhibitors and entrepreneurs. I suspect the move to the new venue and the cost of floorspace has eliminated such people from making the show. I can remember Crick software's first Bett - a tiny little stand offering the first iteration of Clicker. Now Crick is one of the major exhibitors. But I wonder... If John and Anne Crick were starting out today, would they have been able to invest in a Bett presence, as they were able to do in the early 1990s.
Now all the stands are fairly plush. Yes, there were a handful of small startout stands, but nowhere near as many as in the past.
To tell the truth, ExCel is a little soulless, and the floorplan makes it difficult to be sure you are not missing anything. Indeed, the only way to be sure of seeing it all is to follow a zigzagging route with much backtracking.
One of the pleasures of Bett in the days of Macromedia was watching the demonstrations of software in action. Adobe doesn't even have its own presence at Bett this year (and didn't have last year either) which I find surprising, given the way it has been hardselling the education discount on its Creative Cloud subscription (and fantastic value it was on its pre-Christmas offer).
The only demonstrations I sat in on yesterday that impressed at all were iPad based. Although Apple does not have its own stand at Bett, there are plenty of outfits offering iPad 'solutions' to schools - e.g. Toucan Computing.
No one seemed terribly interested in the learning platform (VLE) stands. Compare that with 2-3 years ago!
There were some 'promote your school on the web' stands, including one company that will design your school a mobile friendly website for, wait for it, £3000 (£2900 to be exact) - and then charge hosting fees. But I expected more emphasis on this (reaching parents via mobile devices) and more competition. I'm sure it's out there, but not at Bett.
To me the biggest mystery of my visit yesterday was the complete absence of any Kindle/ereader 'solutions'. There were stands that mentioned ebooks on their backing boards, including one fronted up by a brightly-clad glamour girl. And maybe Bett will be like this in years to come. Swathes of printer companies, display board companies, tablet companies and fashionable creatures pulling in the punters.
As I reported on this blog last October, the US education system is beginning to use Kindles for the bulk distribution of books to banks of ereaders. I made enquiries at the time, and there were then no current plans to bring Whispercast to the UK. But we urgently need some such system to use with ereaders in schools and I couldn't find an exhibitor offering anything like what is required.
Here are some of the exhibitors that did catch my eye:
If there was any 2013 'thread' running through Bett this year it was the emphasis on teaching and learning via video.
Mediacore is a platfrom to share video or audio within your organization. "It makes media management and delivery with a learning-centric focus a breeze."
I'm very impressed by what I've seen so far.
Easy online app creation.
Nothing revolutionary here, just some attractively designed online learning resources, from a company that originates in Poland.
A straightforward tool to manage students' workflow. There's an iPad app that works well for the teacher but students do not have to have Macs. As well as useful in school settings, this would be a great tool for a home tutor who likes to set assignments between home visits.
Perhaps the simplest but the niftiest find of all. Free (till April). Beautifully simple wordprocessor for early writers or dyslexic students with predictive word bank as you type. Also has a very handy built in text scanner (OCR) with really accurate performance, making this a useful app for everyone.
I was aware of Lynda.com before, having watched a few of their videos online. For those who learn well from videos the indepth training on a wealth of applications is well worth checking out. Choose a period when you have some time to dedicate and a monthly subscription will be well-spent.
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Robert McCrum thinks the judges picked a crowd-pleasing winner:
A middlebrow triumph in a distinctly odd middlebrow prize by a dedicated writer who has struck a chord with the British reading public in a way that few English novelists have, this will certainly score a footnote in the history of early 21st-century British fiction.
Mantel's only serious competition came from the immensely gifted Scots poet Kathleen Jamie's exciting collection, The Overhaul - a lovely, lyrical celebration of Scottishness and the Scots tongue. The judges would indeed have been bold to make that their final choice. Costa juries, traditionally, tend to take only the most gilt-edged risks.
Mantel has made her career with fiction and non-fiction of stunning originality. Naturally brave, she has been the opposite of predictable. This novel, however, is nothing if not reassuring. First, it takes one of medieval England's greatest thrillers (the persecution, trial and death of Anne Boleyn) and gives it a clever contemporary spin. Mixed with sharp, modern dialogue, the narrative exploits the historic present tense to give an essentially hardcore historical novel some extra literary pizzazz.
It also meets the demand for a cracking good read - the carefully-crafted entrapment of Boleyn and the alleged plotters is superbly told. Superior to Wolf Hall, its predecessor, Bring Up the Bodies will stimulate a feel-good factor throughout the nation's book groups.
Whether it will be read as anything more than a fascinating curiosity in years to come is another matter. Posterity is generally rather unkind towards crowd-pleasing prizewinners. And this is a prizewinner with knobs on.Add a Comment
as reported in the New York Post:
Amazon.com shares hit a new record yesterday after it reported better-than-expected quarterly profit, fueled by the growth of higher-margin businesses during the fiercely competitive holiday quarter.Add a Comment
The world's largest Internet retailer said that its cloud-computing services, video content sales and aggressive expansion in e-books helped increase profitability.
Chief Executive Jeff Bezos highlighted the Kindle's e-book business, calling it a multibillion-dollar category that grew about 70 percent in 2012. Its traditional physical book business rose about 5 percent in the same period, he noted.
Little Island Press is an Irish publisher of quality fiction by Irish and international authors for older children and teenagers. Rachel Van Kooij, as her name suggests, is Dutch-born, but lives in Austria and writes in German. The book being reviewed was first published in 2003 and has only recently become available in an English translation (by Siobhan Parkinson).
This is a wonderfully well-paced and realised story about a young deformed dwarf who, at the start of the book, is growing up in the Spanish countryside with a father absent for long periods working in the royal court in Madrid.
All changes when the father announces that the family is to up sticks and move to the city to be with him. But he does not want to take Bartoleme with them, fearing the boy will only be ridiculed and be nothing but a source of embarrassment for the family. Eventually he agrees that Bartoleme can come, but only if he remains hidden from view at all times.
The first half of the book concerns this hidden life, and Bartlome's determination to better himself and prove himself to others by learning to read and write. However, when an accident exposes him on the streets he is spotted by the young princess - the Infanta - who mistakes him at first for a dog, and insists on it becoming her pet plaything.
The back of the eye-catching book jacket shows a scene from Valasquez' painting Las Meninas, the significance of which becomes cleverly apparent towards the end of a novel which is thought-provoking, moving, entertaining, life-enhancing and powered by a dignified narrative momentum. This is a book that takes the reader beyond their present-day experience and presents them with the issues faced by those who have a handicap or are otherwise physically very different from most other people.
The father is insensitive and unfeeling and has a thuggish streak - there is one upsetting scene of domestic violence - but is never depicted as a pure brute.Add a Comment
Nick Lake wins the Michael Printz (YA) Award
Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in literature written for young adults:
In Darkness written by Nick Lake, is the 2013 Printz Award winner. The book is published by Bloomsbury Books for Young Readers.
Four Printz Honor Books also were named: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz, published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing Division; Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein, published by Hyperion, an imprint of Disney Book Group; Dodger by Terry Pratchett, published by HarperCollins Children's Books, a division of HarperCollins Publishers; The White Bicycle by Beverley Brenna, published by Red Deer Press.
Translator Howard Curtis was announced last night as the Marsh award for his powerful translation of a bestselling Italian novel, In the Sea There Are Crocodiles.
Fabio Geda's book tells the true story of 10-year-old Enaiatollah Akbadi who escapes Taliban-occupied Afghanistan for asylum in Italy. It was described by Marsh judge Wendy Cooling as "a book to inspire and nourish young people".
See here for all the books on the shortlist.
Darren Shan appears on Authors Live today at 11am.
Authors Live is a series of live webcasts, presented in partnership with the Scottish Book Trust, featuring some of the biggest names writing books for children today.
On the website you can currently watch 116 video clips from the series....
And there are some full-length broadcasts viewable on iPlayer...Add a Comment
No author from the UK has made it onto the list of finalists for the 2013 Man Booker International Prize, worth £60,000 to the winner.
The ten authors are:
U R Ananthamurthy (India)
Aharon Appelfeld (Israel)
Lydia Davis (USA)
Intizar Husain (Pakistan)
Yan Lianke (China)
Marie NDiaye (France)
Josip Novakovich (Canada)
Marilynne Robinson (USA)
Vladimir Sorokin (Russia)
Peter Stamm (Switzerland)
The Man Booker International Prize is chosen solely at the discretion of the judges. This year, for the first time, there are five judges (Christopher Ricks, Elif Batuman, Aminatta Forna, Yiyun Li and Tim Parks) - previously there had been three.
The announcement of this year's prize recipient will be made at a dinner at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London on 22nd May.Add a Comment
I have always admired Mal Peet's reviewing and I think this piece - both a review of John Green's The Fault In Our Stars and an incisive musing upon the current spate of young adult novels about characters with a terminal illness - is his best yet:
One of the stranger recent cultural shifts is that teenage fiction has become a branch of oncology. Cancer is rampant. You're barely a chapter in before a tumour erupts or a lymphatic system turns nasty. Young heroes and heroines are terminal from page one, or a friend is, or a parent. The shadow of premature death has fallen upon the genre: one half-expects
It is axiomatic (though wrong) that teenagers will read only books that reflect teenage experience. It is blithely asserted, for instance, that their hunger for dystopian fiction is whetted by having to live in a bleak world under the pitiless authority of adults. Is cancer, likewise, a metaphor for the incurable cruelty of being young? Perhaps, but I doubt it. I suspect that the real reason for the pandemic is that cancer is an exceedingly convenient subject for teen authors.
Sex and death, the magnetic poles of fiction, attract us children's writers no less than adult authors, but we have to be more leery of their pull. We have gatekeepers to sneak past - and we have a "sense of responsibility", of course. Cancer is handy because it is all-permissive. Sex is omnipresent in teenage cancer novels, and who dare complain? How cruel to insist on virginity in the face of death: it would be perverse of us not to write scenes of last-chance deflowering... MAL PEET
Reading of whole piece highly recommended.Add a Comment
"If a child is whimsical and chatty, but very interested in foxes, on their report card teachers cannot say, 'loves foxes, but I wish she wouldn't chat so much', they have to say she could be a more responsible citizen.Add a Comment
"I feel sorry for teachers having to toe the line and tick the boxes...
Katherine Applegate, author of The One and Only Ivan and Jon Klassen, illustrator of This Is Not My Hat are the 2013 winners of the John Newbery and Randolph Caldecott Medals.
Three Newbery Honor Books were named:
"Splendors and Glooms" by Laura Amy Schlitz, published by Candlewick Press. Lizzie Rose, Parsefall and Clara are caught in the clutches of a wicked puppeteer and a powerful witch in this deliciously dark and complex tale set in Dickensian England, where adventure and suspense are interwoven into nuanced explorations of good versus evil.
Laura Amy Schlitz is a librarian, storyteller and author in Baltimore, Maryland. Her books for children include "A Drowned Maiden's Hair," "The Night Fairy" and "Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village," for which she won the 2008 Newbery Medal. Making marionettes is one of her many hobbies.
"Bomb: The Race to Build--and Steal--the World's Most Dangerous Weapon" by Steve Sheinkin, published by Flash Point, an imprint of Roaring Brook Press. Balancing intersecting threads of scientific discovery, political intrigue and military strategy, "Bomb" is a riveting historical nonfiction drama. Sheinkin's engaging narrative explores the complex series of events that led to the creation of the ultimate weapon and introduces many memorable personalities involved in the pursuit.
Steve Sheinkin was born in Brooklyn, New York, and grew up reading action stories and outdoor adventures. He has written short stories, screenplays, comics and textbooks, as well as "The Notorious Benedict Arnold," a biography for children.
"Three Times Lucky" by Sheila Turnage, published by Dial Books for Young Readers, a division of Penguin Young Readers Group. In the rich tradition of Southern storytelling, rising sixth-grader Mo LoBeau leads the eccentric residents of Tupelo Landing, North Carolina, on a rollicking journey of mystery, adventure and small-town intrigue as she investigates a murder and searches for her long-lost mother.
Sheila Turnage grew up on a farm in Eastern North Carolina. She now lives on a North Carolina farm with her family, which includes "a smart dog, an ill-tempered cat, a dozen chickens and a flock of guineas." "Three Times Lucky" is her first novel for middle-grade readers.
Five Caldecott Honor Books were named:
"Creepy Carrots!" illustrated by Peter Brown, written by Aaron Reynolds and published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing Division. Jasper the rabbit loves carrots until he notices they are everywhere. He is convinced they're coming for him! Pronounced shadows, black borders and shaded edges enhance this ever so slightly sinister tale with a distinctly cinematic feel. This is one serving of carrots children will eagerly devour.
"Extra Yarn," illustrated by Jon Klassen, written by Mac Barnett and published by Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. A selfish archduke threatens to halt a little girl's transformation of a colorless town and steal her box of magical yarn. Klassen's innovative digital technique results in shifts of color that signal character change and critical turns of plot -all done with just the right stitches of humor.
"Green," illustrated by Laura Vaccaro Seeger, written by Laura Vaccaro Seeger and published by Neal Porter Books, an imprint of Roaring Brook Press. In this original concept book, Seeger engages all the senses with her fresh approach to the multiple meanings of "green." Using thickly-layered acrylics, word pairings and cleverly placed die cuts, she invites readers to pause, pay attention and wonder.
"One Cool Friend," illustrated by David Small, written by Toni Buzzeo and published by Dial Books for Young Readers, a division of Penguin Young Readers Group. Energetic line and dizzying perspective combine for a rollicking tale of Father, Elliot and a highly improbable pet (or two). Buzzeo's text, brimming with sly wordplay, earns its perfect counterpoint in Small's ink, watercolor and pencil illustrations with chilly details and visual jokes that invite many repeated readings.
"Sleep Like a Tiger," illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski, written by Mary Logue and
published by Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. This bedtime story features a little girl who does not want to go to sleep. Surrounded with dreamlike images of crowns, ornate patterns and repeated visual motifs, her parents coax her into bed. Using mixed media artwork on wood enhanced with computer illustrations, this is a whimsical story with universal appeal.
Members of the 2013 Newbery Medal Committee are: Chair Steven Engelfried, Wilsonville (Ore.) Public Library; Blair Christolon, Prince William (Va.) Public Library; Virginia Collier, Roswell (Ga.) Library; Amber Creger, Arlington Heights (Ill.) Memorial Library; Sheri L. Daun-Bedford, Woodridge (Ill.) Public Library; Roxanne Feldman, The Dalton School, New York; Jos N. Holman, Tippecanoe County Public Library, Lafayette, Ind.; Kate Houston, Multnomah County Library, Portland, Ore.; Caroline M. Kienzle, Apalachicola, Fla.; Amy A. McClure, Ohio Wesleyan University, Delaware, Ohio; Eva Mitnick, Los Angeles Public Library; Elizabeth Moreau, Anchorage (Alaska) Public Library; Susannah Richards, Eastern Connecticut State University, Willimantic, Conn.; Barbara Scotto, Children's Literature New England, Brookline, Mass.; and Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills (Calif.) Public Library.
Members of the 2013 Caldecott Medal Committee are: Chair Sandra J. Imdieke, Ph.D., Northern Michigan University,Marquette, Mich.; Elise DeGuiseppi, Pierce County Library System, Tacoma, Wash.; Kerry J. Gleason, Wilmington (Del.) Institute Library; Sarah J. Howard, Daniel Boone Regional Library, Columbia, Mo.; Nancy J. Johnson, Ph.D., Singapore American School; JoAnn M. Jonas, San Diego County Library; Dr. Melanie D. Koss, Northern Illinois University, Department of Literacy Education, DeKalb; Wendy Lukehart, District of Columbia Public Library, Washington, D.C.; Dr. Miriam Martinez, University of Texas at San Antonio; Dr. Claudette S. McLinn, Center for the Study of Multicultural Children's Literature, Inglewood, Calif.; Kiera Parrott, Darien (Conn.) Library; Carol Hanson Sibley, Minnesota State University, Moorhead, Minn.; Michelle M. Willis, Scotch Plains (N.J.) Public Library; Maida Wong, SouthAdd a Comment
Are boys put off books at a crucial age because they perceive them as too cute and feminine?
Read the very well-argued pdf and see what you think.
It's my experience [says Emmett] that a great many books that the industry perceives as having cross-gender appeal (including many I've written) are actually far more appealing to girls. And, while books targeted at girls are usually uncompromising in the way that they maximise their girl-appeal, books targeted at boys usually have their boy-appeal compromised to some degree. In short, the picture book industry is biased towards producing books that appeal more to girls than boys.
Do read the whole piece. It really is worth your time.
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