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Old Man Prohibition hung in effigy from a flagpole as New York celebrated the advent Repeal after years of bootleg booze. Source: NYPL.
How much do you know about the era of Prohibition, when gangsters rose to power and bathtub gin became a staple? 2013 marks the 80th anniversary of the repeal of the wildly unpopular 18th Amendment, initiated on 17 February 1933 when the Blaine Act passed the United States Senate. To celebrate, test your knowledge with this quiz below, filled with tidbits of 1920s trivia gleaned from The Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America: Second Edition.
The second edition of The Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America thoroughly updates the original, award-winning title, while capturing the shifting American perspective on food and ensuring that this title is the most authoritative, current reference work on American cuisine. Editor Andrew F. Smith teaches culinary hist ory and professional food writing at The New School University in Manhattan. He serves as a consultant to several food television productions (airing on the History Channel and the Food Network), and is the General Editor for the University of Illinois Press’ Food Series. He has written several books on food, including The Tomato in America, Pure Ketchup, and Popped Culture: A Social History of Popcorn in America. The Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink is also available on Oxford Reference.
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Thomas Lannon occasionally posts on NYPLs blog. He is the assistant curator of their manuscripts and archives department. He also figures into this Fast Company story about a time capsule created by a group called the Modern Historic Records Association. The time capsule was never found, not exactly, but this story, an early example of the LOCKSS (lots of copies keeps stuff safe) phenomenon does have a happy ending, thanks to some sleuthing and some librarians.
In other best books areas, over at Tablet we have the best kids books of 2012 containing Jewish themes and characters. How Marjorie Ingalls finds them all I do not know, but she is meticulous! I thought I’d seen everything but there were definitely a couple titles in there that flew under my radar (Sons of the 613, anyone?). Horn Book also came up with their Fanfare Books of 2012, and I was very very pleased to see Jimmy the Greatest on there. Woot! PW separated their top children’s books into the categories of Picture Books, Children’s Fiction (YA is sorta just crammed in there), and Nonfiction (only four titles?!?). Finally there was the Notable Children’s Books of 2012 list by the New York Times which has some truly eclectic ideas.
By the way, if you want to see other best children’s book lists in this vein, there’s a Pinterest page of them up and running.
I don’t usually do this but once in a while you meet a new or upcoming author who just catches your attention fully. I met a 6th grade schoolteacher in town the other day by the name of Torrey Maldonado. Torrey’s the author of the YA novel The Secret Saturdays. Knowing he worked in a public school I asked what he knew about Common Core. Quite a lot, it seems, since he created an entire page on his website dedicated to the Core and how to teach his book using it. To top it off, I’ve gotta say that I haven’t met an author with the sheer levels of enthusiasm and charm of Mr. Maldonado in a long time. Keep your eye on this fellow. I predict big things.
Newsflash: Young Latinos don’t see themselves in books. Duh. Duh duh duh duh duh. It’s a really weird fact, and absolutely true. You go out there and find me an early chapter book series starring a Latino girl and I will give you a cookie. Go on. I’m waiting. I’ve got all day.
Okay. Now I’m officially depressed. I was sorting through some books earlier today and I discovered the most recent “Amelia Rules” by Jimmy Gownley called Her Permanent Record. I own all of the Amelia Rules books except this one so I was pleased to down it during my lunch break. Then I went online just now to see when the next book in the series will be out . . . only to find that that was the LAST ONE. Hunhuna? Now that is depressing. I’ve deeply enjoyed this series for years and years now, and to think that it’s over fills me with a kind of strange dread. Gownley hasn’t entirely ruled out the possibility of more Amelias in the future . . . . but still, man. It’s kinda hard to take.
The Dudes of YA, a “Lit-Erotic” Photo Spread. We would have also have accepted the term “The Hot Men of YA Literature”, but I suppose that would be copyright infringement or something, eh long-time readers who get my reference?
Look me in the eye. Now tell me this amazing new invention will not now appear in hundreds of middle grade spy/mystery novels. A pity you can’t get them in time for Christmas.
Friend and YA author Daphne Benedis-Grab writes an excellent article over at She Knows about raising a girl in a day and age where beauty standards have never been more impossible to attain. It’s called Raising a girl to be more than a pretty face. Testify!
PW Children’s Bookshelf linked to some pretty thought provoking articles this week. My favorite: Leonard Marcus at Horn Book talking about book jackets . . . for picture books!
In other news, PW did a very strange bit of reporting. It mentioned the recent 90-Second Newbery at Symphony Space, which was a packed house and a big success. However, there is a VERY odd lack of any mention about the organizer, YA author James Kennedy. Read the piece and you’ll have the distinct impression that it happened spontaneously and without his back-breaking work. Reporting fail, PW my dear.
I got the following message from Jane Curley of the Eric Carle Museum and I am passing it on because it sound bloody blooming amazing: “I’m giving a talk for the Victorian Society on 19th century British picture books. It’s on Tuesday, December 11 at 6PM at the Dominican Academy, 44 East 68th St.It’s free, no reservations required, and I’ll be showing some gorgeous pictures! The link is below. Cheers, Jane http://metrovsa.org/calendar.htm“.
I ran about the internet trying to find the perfect thing for today’s post but in the end I had to come back to the washable keyboard. The perfect gift for your favorite hypochondriac this holiday season.
On March 23, 1743, composer George Frideric Handel directed the first London performance of his sacred oratorio, Messiah. While the composition has become revered as a magnificent choral work — and a staple of the Christmas holiday season — it met some controversy when it first appeared.
Remarkably, Handel needed only three weeks in the summer of 1741 to write Messiah. As his text, he used a libretto compiled by Charles Jennens from verses of the Bible and from the Church of England’s Book of Common Prayer. Jennens was apparently upset that Handel wrote the work in such a short time; he thought the sacred subject needed more time.
He was also annoyed because Handel debuted the work in Dublin in the spring of 1742, not reserving it for a London premiere. Leading Irish clerics (led by Jonathan Swift) insisted that, if their church choirs were to be used to sing the oratorio, ticket sales had to go to charity. That precedent established a longstanding tradition for Messiah.
When Handel finally prepared to present the work in London, more controversy arose. Some people objected to a work on a sacred theme being performed in a secular setting — London’s Covent Garden Theater. The controversy disappeared with the popular acceptance of Handel’s music, however. Even Jennens became reconciled to the composer, in part because Handel rewrote some sections his collaborator considered poor.
Today’s performances do not reflect the scores of these initial performances. Handel revised the piece often, and current productions use one or another of these later versions. The full Messiah tells not only the Christmas story but also of Jesus’s crucifixion and resurrection. Groups that perform the oratorio at Christmas generally only perform the first part.
International Women’s Day Celebrated Around the World
Each year, women and men around the world honor the achievements of women and seek to promote women’s rights by celebrating International Women’s Day.
The day’s origin can be traced to the National Woman’s Day staged by the Socialist Party of America from 1909 to 1913. Its goal was to advance the cause of women’s suffrage. Inspired by the example, German socialist Clara Zetkin proposed in 1910 an international women’s day at the Second International Conference on Working Women, a meeting of leftist and feminist activists from 17 countries. The hundred or more attendees approved the idea unanimously.
8-go marta vsemirnyi prazdnik zhenshchin. (8th March - World Women's Day. Appeal to female workers and ...), 1917-1921. Source: NYPL.
The following year, a million women and men from Germany, Austria, Denmark, and Switzerland took part in the first International Women’s Day. The first two years, the day was celebrated on March 19. Zetkin chose that day to commemorate the day in the 1848 Revolution when Prussian King Frederick William IV championed the revolutionary cause, leading to promises — never fulfilled by the king — of granting women the right to vote. In 1913, the day was shifted to March 8, where it has remained ever since.
In 1975, the United Nations began to sponsor International Women’s Day, and it gained in popularity. The day is now a national holiday in twenty-seven nations ranging in size from Armenia and Azerbaijan to China and Russia. In some nations, it is a holiday for women only. In some years, the United Nations recommends that celebrations worldwide focus on a similar, global theme. In other years, it allows nations and local groups to set their own theme. For the centenary of the day in 2011, the global theme was “Equal access to education, training, and science and technology: Pathway to decent work for women.”
I’m delighted to invite you to attend the next Conversations with the Cullman Center event with John Jeremiah Sullivan, author of the much lauded PULPHEAD. He will be joined by another critically-acclaimed author Wells Tower, author of EVERYTHING RAVAGED, EVERYTHING BURNED. This literary twosome will discuss the art of the essay. No doubt this will be a fascinating discussion and one I hope you’ll share with your followers.
Pulphead: John Jeremiah Sullivan and Wells Tower
December 15 at 7pm
New York Public Library
Stephen A. Schwarzman Building at 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue
South Court Auditorium
FREE (first come, first seated)
Public Relations Manager
The New York Public Library
188 Madison Avenue
In New York City, any library patron with $15 or more in fines can’t check out books. To ease this restriction, the New York Public Library and the Queens Public Library will allow 143,000 blocked kids a chance to “read down” their fines this summer.
Children who sign up on Summer Reading can take part in this program. Every fifteen minutes of reading reduces an overall fine by one dollar. The kids then record the titles and the time they spent reading on their Summer Reading 2011 account. The program kicked off on July 25th and will run until September 9th.
NYPL official Jack Martin told The NY Daily News: “Kids might be afraid or ashamed because they are delinquent with the library. The idea of this program is to bring them back in. We are in such hard economic times and children and teens depend on the library.” Do you think this is a fair trade-off? Would adults be open to “reading down” their fines too? (via BookTV)
Figures that the minute I go on maternity leave that my workplace (the Children’s Center at 42nd Street in the main branch of NYPL) goes and gets itself something neat. Check it out.
The exhibit is called Children’s Book Illustrators and Authors Come Alive. That’s a title I admittedly find rather amusing since it implies that these folks have risen from their grave to display their work in the Children’s Center. Zombie art! At any rate this is the first time the room has displayed art of any kind, so we’re rather thrilled. The current exhibit features eleven different author/illustrators, all of whom published books in the 2010/11 season. Some other shots:
And that’s not all! For about two years now the room has been sitting on a painting created specifically for the Children’s Center by none other than Todd Parr himself. Now the art is up for one and all to see and it melds with the space so beautifully that the last three times I was there I failed to even notice it. Voila!
The exhibit of art is up from now until the end of the year. The Todd Parr painting may well be permanent. If you would like to view any of these, please be so good as to stop by. I’ll be around after September 15th and would be happy to give you a little tour.
With Book Expo going full-blast in town and my library celebrating its Centennial all at the same time, blogging is possible but slightly more difficult than usual. I am amused to find that when I skip a day some folks worry that I might be in labor. Fear not. I’ll find a way to update the blog with that news, come hell or high water. Tonight, meanwhile, is also my final Kidlit Drink Night (at least for a while) so if you’d like to view my largess (or, rather, largeness) here are the details. Meanwhile, back at the ranch . . .
So I go into the administrative office the other day to pick up my room’s checks and WHAM! Two gigantic Lego statues of Patience and Fortitude (the library lions) are just sitting there, chewing their cuds (or whatever it is Lego lions chew). I showed them to a class of second graders on a tour a day or so later (they’re on display in our main hall, if you’re curious) and one kid said that looking at them was like looking at a computer screen. He had a point. They’re mighty pixilated.
Wow. That’s pretty cool. The organization Keshet (“a national organization working for the full inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Jews in Jewish life”) is releasing posters of LGBT Jewish Heroes. One of the posters available? Leslea Newman of Heather Has Two Mommies and my favorite LGBT board books Mommy, Mama and Me and Daddy, Papa, and Me. Thanks to Marjorie Ingall for the link.
Do you have what it takes to take on the Sixth Annual 48 Hour Book Challenge? I don’t want to hear your excuses! I want to see you reading. You’ve some time to prep so get those eyeball stalks limbered up.
Recently I attended SLJ’s Day of Dialog (slooooow emerging blog post to come on the subject). The keynote speech was delivered by Katherine Paterson who began, much to my delight, with some praise of New Zealand children’s book superstar Margaret Mahy (who would be a superstar here if they just friggin’ republished The Changeover *coughcough*). Anyway, it seems she recently won in the picture book category of the 2011 New Zealand Children’s Book Awards. What would you like to bet me that someday they’ll rename those awards “The Mahys”? I give it ten years, tops.
From sopping wet New York City here is your philosophical question of the day: If April showers bring May flowers, what the heck do May showers bring? Ponder that while I hand you a piping hot plate o’ Fusenews.
My library branch is turning 100 next week (you may have noticed the pretty New Yorker cover that referenced this) but it’s acting pretty spry for a centennial. For one thing, NYPL is coming out left and right with fancy dancy apps! Here’s one for the researchers. Here’s another that’s a game. Here’s a third that lets you reserve books. Insanity!
This week’s Best Post Ever: Travis Jonker is a genius. A full-blown, certified genius. He’s come up with a Middle Grade Title Generator that leaps on the current trend of titles that sound like “The (insert word ending in -ion) of (insert slightly off kilter first and last name for girls)”. He came up with a couple examples like “The Gentrification of Geraldine Frankenbloom” but his commenters really picked up the gist of the idea and ran with it. Rockinlibrarian’s “The Zombification of Apple McGillicutty” (which I would read in a red hot minute) may be my favorite but a close second was Lisa’s “The Excommunication of Willow Diddledeedee.” I got nothing so cool. The best I could come up with was “The Computerization of Sarasota McNerdly.” I doubt it would sell.
Adam Rex recently penned a post that works as An Open Letter to Everyone Who Thinks It Must Be Easy, Writing Children’s Books. It’s in response to Paula Poundstone (whom I also like) and her recent faux pas on Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me when she told Brenda Bowen that she thought it would be easy to write a picture book. Note, if you will, that Poundstone has not actually attempted to do so. In fact, the only stand-up comedian picture books that immediately come to mind are those by Whoopie Goldberg, Jay Leno, Jerry Seinfeld, and Jeff Foxworthy. And weren’t those memorable! Not in a good way, of course. Particularly the Leno. *shudder*
She wrote it back in 2006 but it still applies today (particularly in conjunction with Adam Rex’s post). Meghan McCarthy asks the age old question What makes us qualified to write for children? I believe Anne Carroll Moore once asked Ursula Nordstrom the same question about editing for children (a cookie for everyone who remembers Nordstrom’s response). Yet another reason why we need to follow-up on Peter Sieruta’s suggestion to create an Anne Carroll Moore/Ursula Nordstrom crime solver series. I envision Moore as the Bert to Nordstrom’s Ernie, don’t you?
Last night, writer Adam Levin was named the winner of this year’s New York Public Library’s Young Lions Fiction Award for The Instructions. The award includes $10,000 in prize money.
Levin’s 1,000-page title was released in November 2010. The image embedded above showcases the book’s three different covers. McSweeney’s will publish his short story collection, Hot Pink, later this year.
Library LionEthan Hawke hosted last night’s ceremony. Levin’s fellow nominees included John Brandon‘s Citrus County, Patricia Engel Vida, Suzanne Rivecca‘s Death is Not an Option, and Teddy Wayne‘s Kapitoil. (via Doree Shafrir)
When I first started to work for New York Public Library I was placed at an amazing near 150-year-old part of the system called the Jefferson Market Branch in Greenwich Village. My husband once shot a fantastic short film there in the clocktower, and I believe a Law & Order episode took place there once involving a man and a sword. This little PSA is also set there and takes advantage not only of the architecture (gorgeous, right?) but also my former boss Frank who takes great glee in his role as Library Ghoul. Love you, Frank!
I’m not entirely certain the universe is big enough for me to imagine Weird Al and Shel Silverstein having a conversation with one another. But huge thanks to Mr. Schu for this amazing piece of info.
I would have watched Uncle Shelby’s Corner. Absolutely, you bet!
Recently I was asked to blurb a new edition of Oscar Wilde’s The Selfish Giant. Now normally I’d think twice about that kind of request because, let’s face it, Oscar Wilde was one weird children’s author. We sometimes think of Hans Christian Andersen as an odd duck (Red Shoes, anyone?) but I doubt he ever created much of anything to compare to The Happy Prince and its ilk. The Selfish Giant has always been way too didactic for my tastes (too much of an allegory) but there is a way to make it palatable. First off, you give the book great art. Then, if possible, you hire an orchestra and turn the book into a kind of Peter and the Wolf type gig. Here’s a taste.
This week I was pleased to be asked to come up with a list of great Black History Month titles for our local channel NY1’s coverage of what to read with your kids. Fellow librarian Robyn Mutnick did a top notch job of presenting the books themselves.
I should note that there was one change made to the books I recommended
Grandpa’s Grandpa was a Norwegian immigrant. He lived on East 67th Street between First and Second Avenue, in the penthouse apartment above the 67th Street Branch library. He was the custodian of the three-story building, and at the time, the custodian lived above the library (there was a dumbwaiter, but no elevator) as part of his employment package.
When you work with the real Winnie-the-Pooh you have a tendency to get complacent. “Oh sure,” you think. ” I know everything about that bear. Absolutely everything.” So it’s nice when the universe gives you a swift kick in the pants to remind you that you are not always up on your Pooh knowledge. Or at least not as up on it as you might think. For example, I completely missed the fact that they just reissued The Winnie-the-Pooh Cookbook by Virginia H. Ellison (amusingly my library’s gift shop has known for quite some time has stocked several copies accordingly). I found this out when a reporter from the Associated Press wanted to interview me (or anyone else who worked with the silly old bear) about Pooh and food. The final piece, Counting pots of honey? Pooh’s recipes for them consists of me desperately trying to think of ways to describe Pooh and food. You will probably enjoy it more for the cute honey gingerbread cookie recipe at the end.
The article in Tablet Magazine (“A New Read on Jewish Life”) is entitled The Others: Several new books for children and young adults ask us to see the world through Palestinian kids’ eyes. Its author is Marjorie Ingall, one of my favorite children’s book reviewers, most recently seen heaping praise upon A Tale Dark & Grimm in the last New York Times children’s book supplement, as is right. The article in Tablet gives great insight into books like Where the Streets Had a Name (which I reviewed myself) as well as Sarah Glidden’s How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less, which I have on order with my library. For this article, Marjorie is lambasted in her comment section. Some of the comments are thoughtful, but a great many show why this issue is so rarely discussed in children’s literature today.
Keith Michael Fiels, executive director of the 67,000-member American Library Association, said Margolis has earned “a great deal of respect throughout the profession” and called him one of ALA’s most active members in standing up to censorship. Margolis, who grew up in Queens and New Rochelle, credits his activism to his dad, who was a fundraiser for the Anti-Defamation League. He calls reading the New Yorker magazine “part of my religious practice.”
I'm doing a cut and paste from Fuse #8's post/ press release:
We've a simply magnificent gathering here at the library in November, and it's all about The Cybils. Join if you can!
The Children’s Literary Café at the new Children’s Center at 42nd Street is pleased to announce our event on Saturday, November 7th at 2:00 p.m.:
Cybils Kick-Off: Blogging in Style
Pam Coughlan of the sublime MotherReader children's literary blog (www.motherreader.com) headlines a panel of representatives from the greater Kidlitosphere. Each year the online children's literary community bestows child and teen novels their own awards: The Cybils. Pam and other bloggers will discuss the state of children's literature online today including ethics, publisher/blogger relations, transparency, influence (or lack thereof) over published titles, and what it means to represent an online community of children’s literary enthusiasts.
Susan Thomsen writes about children's books at her blog, Chicken Spaghetti (http://www.chickenspaghetti.typepad.com). A freelance writer and onetime editor, she is the mother of a fifth-grader.
Anne Boles Levy is the co-founder and director of the Cybils Awards. Her day job is as a news writer on the National Desk for Metro Networks, a radio newswire based in Scottsdale , AZ. She's married to another starving journalist and they're raising two bookworms.
The Children’s Literary Café is a monthly gathering of adults who are fans of children’s literature. Professionals, librarians, authors, illustrators, publishers, booksellers, teachers, and anyone else interested in the field are welcome to attend our meetings. The Literary Café provides free Advanced Readers galleys, a rotating series of talks with professionals in the field, and great conversation. This program is for adults only.
New York Public Library Children's Center at 42nd Street Room 84 42nd Street and 5th Avenue New York, NY 10018
******************************************* I'm looking forward to November 7th!
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It's finally here - a week of giveways and marketing advice for all my wonderful followers. Come join the fun for a crazy amount of free (priceless you might say) giveaways.
1) You must be a follower of my blog and Elana Johnson's blog to win any giveaways. Remember: You must enter Elan'as contest separately from mine.
2) For Daily Prizes, you must comment on each daily post to be entered into the drawing.
3) Everyday there will be one CLUE hidden in the post that will be needed for Friday's Scavenger Hunt Question. Write it down!
4) Friday's Follower Prize - There will be a random drawing on Friday. You only need to follow the two blogs mentioned above to be entered. :)
4) Grand Prizes - one for agented authors and one for unagented authors. To enter, on Friday you must fill in the complete form to be eligible to win.
Note: For additional information and how to score extra points, see Fridays post. Keep in mind, I am going on the honor system so if you tell me you posted, I believe you. You do not need to show "proof of post" unless you want to.
In the 21st century we are finding more and more children videotaping events. Hence the shaky video from my NYPL panel discussion: Reflections on YA.My kids took turns taping for me and petered out before the topic of diversity in YA literature – regarding book by new authors and diverse books came up. There is, however, a full audio version available.
I was on the panel "Reflections on YA" this past Tuesday at the NYPL. The audio of the panel is up on the NYPL website. We talked about digital publishing, paranormal romance, diversity in publishing, and more. It was a great conversation. If you missed it, you can hear what went on here.