Yesterday was not a good day for American literature.
First came an email from WBN U.S. chairman, and Hachette Book Group CEO, Michael Pietsch stating
After three years in which thousands and thousands of you distributed over a million and half specially-printed World Book Night paperbacks across America, we are sad to announce that we are suspending operations. The expenses of running World Book Night U.S., even given the significant financial and time commitment from publishers, writers, booksellers, librarians, printers, distributors, shippers–and you, our amazing givers!–are too high to sustain.
World Book Night UK also faces financial difficulties.
Then, the truly bad news. Walter Dean Myers passed away.
While I feel as though I met Myers every time I picked up one of his books, I only met him once in person and that was on my first visit to the McConnell Conference in Kentucky. Myers and Brian Collier were the author and illustrator joining the conference that year. Of course I got autographs! I remember spelling “Edi” for Myers (as I do often have to do so that I don’t get “Edie”) and he looked at me in a way that made me think maybe, maybe one of his characters will have that name.
Did you know Walter Dean Myers has the largest collection of African American photographs in the country?
He won the very first Michael J. Printz Award.
His first book was Where Does the Day Go? published by Parents Magazine Press in 1969.
I don’t have a lot of stories and references, just the experience of meeting him in books. Some I read before I knew what greatness he was but even then, it didn’t matter because I still had the same personal experience when I read Darius and Twig as I did reading Antarctica: Journey to the South Pole and Fast Sam, Cool Clyde and Stuff.
What are your memories of Myers and his work?
The tributes around the Internet help us realize how much we’ve lost and I think it through these words of others, Myers is still reaching us and still inspiring us. Someone close to him posted on his website.
Hope Is An Open Book
Walter Dean Myers Says ‘Reading not Optional for Kids’
Press Release Obituary-Walter Dean Myers (1937-2014)
To those of you who knew him better than I, I am regret you’ve lost someone so special. I pray that he rest in peace with perpetual light shining on him.
From here, the charge is clear. As Wade Hudson stated on Facebook “He fought tenaciously for change for more than 40 years. It is left to us to continue!!!”
Scheduled for release:
The Harlem Hellfighters: When Pride Met Courage written with Bill Miles (paperback release) 22 July
Hoops (paperback reprint) 23 September
On A Clear Day 23 September
Id B. Wells: Let the Truth Be Told written with Bonnie Christian January 2015
Filed under: Authors
Tagged: walter dean myers
, World Book NIght
|World Book Givers Emma Trelles and Melinda Palacio|
I arrived in California a week ago, amidst the buzz of poetry month in Santa Barbara
. April is national poetry month in case you are wondering why your local barista is turning sonnets instead of steaming your cappuccino. The first poetry event I attended was a big ticket team of Billy Collins and Aimee Mann at UCSB's Campbell Hall. The combination of poet and rock star was superb. The two luminaries met at the White House and there was much banter and references to their having met at the President's request.
I don't begrudge them their numerous White House references. I'm sure if I ever found myself reading poetry at Obama's request, I wouldn't let anyone forget my presidential invite. Thanks to my friend Diana, I had a seat in row D with no one in front of me. The parley of poetry and musical performance felt intimate, even though Campbell Hall at UCSB is a large theater. My favorite song that Aimee Mann performed was the last one, written by Harry Nilson, "One Is the Loneliest Number." The song was made famous by Three Dog Night. Aimee Mann's haunting rendition brought out the song's sadness.
|Sunday Poets: Susan Chiavelli, Katie Ingram, Sojourner K Rolle, Fran Davis, Steve Beisner, Melinda Palacio, |
Toni Lorien, Alison Bailey and Marcia Meier
A few days later, I participated in the 10th annual SantaBarbara Sunday Poets read at the Book Den
. The facebook invite looked pretty grim with six people going and five maybes. However, we ended up with a standing room only crowd that snaked to the door. Many of the numerous weekend book browsers stayed for our event. The Book Den is Santa Barbara's oldest bookstore, established in 1902, and Eric Kelley recently celebrated his 35th year as owner. Eric didn't have enough chairs for our poetry fans, but it was wonderful being surrounded by books and people while we read spring poems in honor of poetry month. I love it when poetry elicits such enthusiasm.
|SRO Crowd for Sunday Poets at the Book Den|
Last Wednesday, April 26, was World Book Night, where people around the globe give away books on Shakespeare's birthday. Poet Emma Trelles signed up to be a book giver and enlisted my help. When I arrived at the bookstore, they had an extra box of poetry books. We stopped people on the street and plied them with a free book of 100 Best-Loved Poems, edited by Phillip Smith, or a novel by Diane Ackerman, The Zookeeper's Wife.
|World Book Takers and Giver|
|Cyclist Ryan was happy to receive free books.|
|This lady was on her way to the library to return a book. |
She couldn't believe we were giving her free books.
Emma is really good with talking to strangers, and talking in general. Her journalism skills are always on. Listen to her interview on the Writer's Cafe
; she sort of takes over towards the end.
|Emma listening to a lecture on Andre Breton, surrealism and guitars.|
When our first possible book receiver approached, I thought we would never complete our mission because Emma proceeded to listen to a lengthy discussion on Breton, surrealism, and one man's fantasy of a guitar using a keyboard. In addition to being a good talker, Emma is a good listener (the sign of a good poet). Listen to her poems on theWriters Cafe
. Emma Trelles was the 2010 Andres Montoya Poetry Prize Winner. The 2014 winner is Fresno's David Campos
for his collection, Pica
We sure had a lot of fun giving away books. Of the experience, Emma Trelles said:
"My favorite part of WBN was seeing the delight in people's faces when we put books in their hands. It reminded me of the power of print and of literature. Standing outside in the sunshine and talking about reading was a pretty great way to spend an afternoon."
Upcoming April Events
April 30, UCSB Little Theatre, 4pm
May 2, First Friday Phoenix, 6:30 pm at Obliq Gallery
I learned yesterday that my application to serve as a Book Giver for World Book Night has been accepted. I don't know which of the three books I asked for I'll be getting, but I'll let you know.
Oh, yes, I'll be letting you know lots about how this goes down. I'm looking forward to it.
I have a couple of outings coming up this month.
First off, next Wednesday I'll be at the Norwich Free Academy Book Expo in Norwich, Connecticut. This expo starts at 6:30 in the Norwich Free Academy's Edwin H. Land Library and will feature eleven NFA and Connecticut authors.
Then you may have noticed the World Book Night logo to your left. If you haven't, notice it now. I am a giver at this year's World Book Night on Tuesday, April 23. I'll be distributing copies of The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh to residents and staff at a skilled nursing facility. This book has been checked out at my library for weeks, so I had to buy my own copy today so I can read it before the big night.
I will report back on both events. I hope to have pictures.
World Book Night is a week from tomorrow, and a couple of days ago I finished reading The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh, the book I'll be giving. I chose this book on the recommendation of a family member. As it turns out, the protagonist, Victoria, is a young woman in her late teens who has just left the foster care system. We follow two story lines in alternating chapters, one about Victoria's childhood involvement with Elizabeth, the foster mother who teaches her the language of flowers, and the second about her experience as she tries (or I should say, is almost forced) to make a life for herself. The young character makes this a book of particular interest to me, because I like to ponder the differences between a children's/YA book with a child/YA character and an adult book with a child/YA character.
Flowers is a good book in which Diffenbaugh, a first-time novelist, shows a lot of control. For instance, in places she teeters on the edge of what I like to call the Magical Mommy, treating motherhood as some kind of mystical experience that has the potential to cure all. But she juuuust pulls back. Victoria is also only able to maintain herself because she happens to run into people who take to her and offer significant help. Coincidence is never good in fiction, but I was able to accept it here because the people who help her are outsiders. (And maybe because my experience of the world suggests that many young people like Victoria only succeed at all because someone helped them help.)
Diffenbaugh also does a good job showing why Victoria is filled with anger and does ugly things. In lots of books with characters like that the behavior is just there without enough development to make what they're doing make sense. Readers are expected to accept it and move on with the story.
What readers of this blog might find particularly interesting about this book is that while it's an adult book, I thought it seemed very much like a YA problem novel--a teenager, usually a girl, has a specific problem that, after much struggle, she overcomes. If you removed the Victorian language of flowers from The Language of Flowers, I think it would have seemed even more like a bare bones YA problem novel.
I think this is a novel that could end up on library book lists for teenagers, just as I thought Alice Bliss would.
Look at all this lovely World Book Night news at WBN's Facebook page. Sites where books were passed out. People involved. Al Roker doing his WBN thing. Why, Gail, you're probably thinking, what about your World Book Night experience? How did that go for ya'.
I spent the evening of World Book Night huddled on my couch, wearing the same pajamas I'd been wearing for twenty-four hours, and hoping I'd keep down the broth I'd had for dinner. World Book Night was kind of a bust for me.
However, my event went on without me. One family member delivered the books to the skilled nursing facility where I was supposed to do the distributing, and another family member took over the job of actually handing them out. She was the one who had recommended The Language of Flowers as my WBN choice, anyway, and she's a book club member. She is definitely World Book Night material.
Now, choosing to distribute books in a skilled nursing facility that offers both long-term and rehabilitative care was risky. A percentage of the population in any of these places suffers from some degree of cognitive loss of one sort or another in addition to their physical issues. So we're not just talking about people who are light or nonreaders because they've never had the opportunity to be exposed to good books or own any. But it's also a population that could benefit from being encouraged to read.
The recreation director got behind WBN in a big way, planning a flower arranging activity for the evening rec event, flowers being a big part of our book. Recreation in these places is hugely important, in my humble opinion. It is a form of therapy that offers residents an opportunity to interact socially and mentally, often just to move around, all of which are factors in maintaining cognitive abilities. However, residents have the option to take part or not, and only 3 showed up for the flower-arranging event and at the book station set up there.
However, my family member who was running this for me, remained steadfast and on task. She went up and down every hallway with our books, handing them out to various residents we knew and hitting the rehab-wing where there were short-term patients whom we wouldn't know. I believe she said she gave out a half a dozen books to staff, one of whom she believes feared she was being handed a religious tract.
It was probably not the best World Book Night experience we're going to hear about this year. (Certainly not for me, though I did get a very good night's sleep afterwards and am much better now.) But I am a great believer in ripple effects. I think it's possible that I may go into this place tomorrow and hear something about this book from people who received it. Or maybe it will be next week or the week after.
And if I do, that is what World Book Night is about, not whether I had a good time that evening or whether it went the way I thought it was going to or whether I went to an after party (I did get an invitation!) or whether someone else had to run the whole thing for me. So how my World Book Night went still remains to be seen.
Readers have nominated Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird as the book they would most like to see given away as part of next year's World Book Night.
During the past two months, more than 6,000 book lovers had been nominating the titles they would like to see included in next year's event with more than 8,000 individual titles put forward.
posted by Neil
It got cold. The air smells amazing, the mosquitoes have gone, the sky is a perfect blue and summer is over.
My friend Kyle Cassidy is out here for a few days to shoot photographs of Miss Maddy, and also shoot Lorraine's first ever Roller Derby Bout on Saturday with the Chippewa Valley Roller Girls.
He and I went for a walk in the night and wore warm coats, and played Children of the Corn in the meadow, and you could smell the distant winter on the air.
Actually, I should clarify. The above things are what Kyle is officially here to shoot. Unofficially, he's here for the cats. This is his iphone picture of Princess looking like the Cat of Doom from a horror movie.
Tickets go on sale today, Friday the 16th, for the EVENING WITH NEIL AND AMANDA shows we're doing in November, for all the stops except San Francisco, which goes on sale on Sunday. Given the speed with which the tickets released for presale for Vancouver and San Francisco sold out today, you may want to get your orders in early - as near to ticket release time as you can. (10 am for everywhere except Portland, where it is 11 am because they like their mornings in Portland.)
LOS ANGELES, CA
Wilshire Ebell Theatre
Tickets go on sale Friday, 9/16 at 10AM PDT at http://bit.ly/103111tix
(Costumes! It's Hallowe'en in Los Angeles. We'll suggest that people wear costumes.)
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The launch of World Book Night 2012 has been delayed, moving from Frankfurt Book Fair next week to Waterstone's Piccadilly on 24th October.
The announcement of the 25 titles chosen by WBN's editorial selection committee to be given away on World Book Night 2012 was due to take place at a press conference on 12th October at the Frankfurt Book Fair, but has been delayed by almost two weeks.
One million books will be distributed for free – from this list of 25 – for the second World Book Night which is on St George's Day - April 23rd - 2012
I've read 12 of them (most recently The Road by Cormac McCarthy) and have to confess that there's at least three on the list I've never heard of...
Anyone heard of all of them?
Anyone read all of them?
The one I haven't read and must is Dodie Smith's I Capture the Castle. So many people have said how good it is - her more famous book is 1001 Dalmatians.
I would recommend The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O'Farrell to anyone who hasn't read it - a great example of intelligent women's fiction. No, that's wrong. It's a great example of intelligent fiction. Full stop.
Harlequin by Bernard Cornwall (Harper Collins)
Room by Emma Donoghue (Pan Macmillan)
Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier (Little, Brown)
By: Chad W. Post,
In this week’s podcast, Tom and I talk about the ABA’s Winter Institute, which just took place in New Orleans. We also go on about World Book Night, which you should volunteer for by clicking here.
We also talked about my daughter and her “letter of hate” to the awful Dan Borislow, who, “ruined our summer of fun.”
(And in my defense for encouraging her to write this, there’s no amount of 8-year-old crazy that can approximate Borislow’s 50-year-old detached from all reality crazy. Just read the emails in the link above, and keep in mind that this jag ruined women’s soccer for tens of thousands of young girls in the most egotistical, asinine fashion ever. Chloë is 100% in the right on this.)
To honor the song that conquered soccer, this week’s music is Seven Nation Army by The White Stripes.
As always you can subscribe to the podcast in iTunes by clicking here. To subscribe with other podcast downloading software, such as Google’s Listen, copy the following link.
I had never heard of World Book Day or World Book Night until this year and, as someone who wants everyone to experience the joys of reading a good book, I couldn't be more excited! March 1 marks the fifteenth annual World Book Day, which was started by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) as a worldwide celebration of books and reading, marked in 100
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Win a copy on YA Book Queen. Register now through 21 Apr
First, I’m so excited to tell you that Julie Kagawa’s Immortal Rules trilogy (yes! the entire trilogy!) has been purchased by Palomar Pictures. Her response to the news?
@Jkagawa Guys, if you could see me…my feet are about 6 inches off the ground. Thank you all. #Giddy #theimmortalrulesmovie
The State Farm Youth Advisory Board, a philanthropic program of State Farm, is accepting applications for youth service-learning projects designed to create sustainable local change in communities across the United States and Canada. Projects must be designed to address the root cause of the following issues: access to higher education/closing the achievement gap, financial literacy, community safety and natural disaster preparedness, social health and wellness, and environmental responsibility.
Applicant organizations must be a K-12 public or charter school, or institution of higher education. Nonprofit organizations also are eligible if they are able to demonstrate how they plan to impact student achievement within the public K-12 curriculum. Grants will range from $25,000 to $100,000. Deadline: 4 May
The White House recently responded to the School Librarian petition. Using the “We the People” portion of the White House website, the response concluded by saying
The Obama Administration remains committed to supporting school libraries and the critical role they play in providing resources and support for all students in their learning, to ensure that all students — regardless of their circumstances — are able to graduate from school ready for success in college and career. Check out this response on We the People
It seems that while some areas are continuing to eliminate school librarians, the state of Texas is struggling to find more people qualified for these positions. In reading about the shortage, it’s interesting to learn how they’re transitioning from book based librarians to being librarians who working with accessing, organizing and working with information, not just books.
Do you know RE
This post is coming a bit late but just wanted to let our readers know that there are a few book events happening tonight in the local Los Angeles area.
World Book Night
go to the site
for more info
Our very own Alethea will be giving out books tonight for World Book Night. If you are volunteering or come across any volunteers tonight, we'd love to hear your story. I am really hoping I run into a group but we'll see.
Author Visit for Corey Whaley & Maggie Stiefvater
Monday, April 23, 2012
Burbank Public Library - Buena Vista Branch
300 N. Buena Vista St.
Burbank, CA 91505
Maggie and Corey will be on hand to talk about their books. Books will also be available for sale and there will be a signing afterwards. (This is right down the street from me so I will be there!)
YA or Bust Tour
Monday, April 23, 2012 at 6:30pm
Children's Book World
10580 1/2 W. Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90064
Come see Gayle Forman, Stephanie Perkins, Nina LaCour
and hosted by Marie Lu
This is being arranged by our friend Angie from Beneath the Jacket
. I really wish I could go to this but the store is very far from my work and I can't get off early. If you go, please tell Angie that the RNSL gals say hi and come back and tell us how it was.
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Book Aid International
have asked me to help spread the word about all the good work they do and how we can all get involved in helping this great cause.
At Book Aid International
, they know that books change lives, yet in some countries it could take a whole month’s wages to buy a single book.
They are asking that you make a small donation to Book Aid International
at your special World Book Day
reading meeting in March 2011.
For every £2 that your group collects, Book Aid International can send another specially selected new book to a library in a school, public library, refugee camp, prison or rural community in sub-Saharan Africa and beyond.
By supporting Book Aid International you are helping to send around half a million books a year to some of the world’s poorest and disadvantaged communities. They ensure that the books they send match the local need and that they are distributed to the libraries and communities that need them the most.
How to 1.
Enlist your reading group or find a few friends interested in participating in a special Meet, Talk, Give meeting.2.
Set a date and venue – the sofa, the kitchen table, a quiet pub – anywhere! Or ask your local library or bookshop to help you organise the event.3.
Choose a book you think everyone might enjoy – use the recommended reading list supplied if you like. Tell everyone about the choice, and allow enough time to buy or borrow and read it.
Guest blogger Jo Wyton, and World Book NightJo is another talented writing buddy in SCBWI. She is a geologist with a thoroughly impractical interest in rocks and an even more impractical interest in getting published. With deadlines looming, she is desperately trying to prop up the pile of unfinished manuscripts on her desk with one hand whilst trying to chase the elusive words 'The End' with the
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For the 100th International Women’s Day this week, The Guardian chose their Top 100 inspirational women living today from a range of backgrounds and subjects. This is possibly the only time you’ll see Lady Gaga and Margaret Thatcher in the same list. [The Guardian]
A football (soccer) player was sent off the pitch this week after tackling a pitch intruder wearing a mankini. There’s video. [BBC News]
Bootlegged toys: yes, you too can own ‘Spaderman’. [Cracked.com]
One man’s experience of being a giver on World Book Night. [The Bookseller]
Two-thirds of lawyers said Facebook was the ‘primary source’ of evidence in divorce proceedings. [Shiny Shiny]
British book blogger extraordinaire Dovegreyreader celebrated the fifth birthday of her blog. [Dovegreyreader Scribbles]
If you can’t get to SXSW, perhaps you might be interested in NSEW. [Londonist]
Leona Lewis is London’s most influential woman? Really? [The First Post]
A guide to T A office hours. [PHD Comics]
‘If membership is restricted to men, the lose will be ours.’ [Letters of Note]
And finally… Daniel Craig in a dress for International Women’s Day:
Click here to view the embedded video.
A million books were given away on World Book Night on March 5 and a million more will be given away next year. (In 2012 the date will fall on St George's Day and Shakespeare's birthday - April 23rd)
Do you have strong views on what books should in the next free-for-all? If so, you can vote for from now until the end of August. Click on the title of this post to go to the website.
At the moment, more than 1,500 people have nominated 3,000 titles. Once the ballot has ended a panel will select 25 books out of the top 100.
So far the most popular include:
To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
American Gods by Neil Gaiman
The Lord of Rings by J R R Tolkien
Do you have strong views about the great give-away? Does it make non-readers connect with books....?