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Been a while, hasn’t it? Well, better late than never. And you probably get a better level of quality videos if there’s a month’s gap, eh?
Today we begin with the video of the week. The Wall Street Journal released this article about Brian Selznick’s puppeteering work on his own book trailer. For me, it’s the waves that are the most impressive.
When I was sent a copy of Diva and Flea, written by Mo Willems and illustrated by Tony DiTerlizzi, I almost immediately found myself reading it to my kiddo. For me, child of the 80s, it had a bit of an Aristocats vibe to it. For my daughter, it highlighted Paris (a city she already knew through her Madeline and other kidlit texts) and was an interesting tale of miscommunications (her interpretation). Consequently, Disney upped the ante with its video for the book. Here’s Mo sporting some Raschka locks in a kind of Dinner with Andre for children’s literary fans. Be sure you stay for the drawn image at the end. I think Tony’s version of Mo is the best thing ever.
Did I ever tell you about that time I went to a Scholastic event and there were a bunch of authors standing about talking, and I got into a discussion with Barbara McClintock and this guy who was all in black? Yeah, we had a good talk and the guy (who was NOT wearing a nametag) wanders off and I turn to Barbara and say, “Who was that?” And she says, “Jeff Smith”. Yeah. So basically I met the guy and wasn’t able to say anything pertinent to him at all. I’m pretty sure we discussed skunks. I don’t know why. That’s just how it came out (which, technically, is right up there with the only conversation I ever had in person with Judy Blume and it was about black and white cookies). Anywho, I missed this video when it came out in May, but I assure you that the folks in it are just as cute now as they were then.
My beautiful beautiful first library. Is it not gorgeous? Wouldn’t you love to go there? Do. Plus the video shows a mysterious glass box in a tower that I’ve never seen before. I would love a closer look!
Thanks to Marci Morimoto for the link
Here’s how long it’s been since I last did a Video Sunday. I never posted this faux teaser trailer for the Series of Unfortunate Events video series. Crazy, right? It’s so beautifully done, particularly the choice of Amanda Palmer song (and she is a friend of Daniel Handler’s in turn . . .).
Do I really have to mention that Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club for Kids video isn’t, ah, appropriate for kids? I don’t do I? I mean, it’s Chuck Palahniuk, for crying out loud.
One video I’d love to show you and that I just don’t have on hand comes from a recent Children’s Literary Salon at NYPL that I help set-up but could never see. There is footage out there, and I have seen it, of Rita Williams-Garcia, Jeanne Birdsall, and my former co-worker Christopher Lassen dancing like The Jackson 5. I am not making this up. I thought I might have a Facebook link but no go. So if I find it, I will post it, but in the meantime please believe me that you live in a world where such things really do happen.
And for our off-topic video of the day, it’s a little old but there’s no reason not to do the Johnny Depp dressed as Jack Sparrow visiting sick kids in Australia video, right? I do wonder . . . what did he smell like? And do authors ever get asked to do this, visit sick kids? Or write to kids as their own characters?
One branch of the D.C. Public Library is hosting an exhibit called “Building Wonder, Designing Dreams: The Bookmaking of Brian Selznick.”
This display showcases the works of the Caldecott Medal winner behind The Invention of Hugo Cabret. It can be found inside the Great Hall of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library.
According to the organization’s website, visitors will be able to “enter Selznick’s books; the pages are 8’ tall and 18’ wide,” “open the drawers in the ‘Cabinet of Wonder,” and “play with a wooden automaton.” A closing date been scheduled for June 21st.
Caldecott Medal winner Brian Selznick (pictured, via) has landed a deal with Scholastic for his new book, The Marvels.
Here’s more from the press release: “The illustrated story begins in 1766 with Billy Marvel, the lone survivor of a shipwreck, and charts the adventures of his family of actors over five generations. The prose story opens in 1990 and follows Joseph, who has run away from school to an estranged uncle’s puzzling house in London, where he, along with the reader, must piece together many mysteries. How the picture and word stories intersect will leave readers marveling over Selznick’s storytelling skill.”
Scholastic Press executive editor Tracy Mack will edit the manuscript. The new book will feature 440 pages of original drawings and 200 pages of text. The publishing house has scheduled a release date for September 15, 2015.
Today is not just the 25th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall. It's the 25th anniversary of the remarkable, enduring, smart, and somehow simultaneously huge and intimate Children's Book World of Haverford, PA.
As part of the celebration, CBW hosted The Caldecott Panel at Friends' Central School—the very best of the very best right there on City Line Avenue. Chris Van Allsburg. David Wiesner. Brian Selznick. And Jennifer M. Brown as moderator of what quickly became a wide-ranging conversation about black and white vs. color, visual narratives, filmic translations, the plot power of the artistic media, the certain school of design attended by all three of these great storytellers (RISD), and who taught who, or who might have taught who, or who wished they had taught who.
There they sat on one long couch and two book-ending chairs, surprising each other, while Jenny Brown, who knows this business better than anyone anywhere (our Ambassador of Children's Literature, I've always said), asked her intelligent questions, sat back, and enjoyed the surprises, too.
A packed house. An eager audience. Dozens of hands flying up during the Q and A—half of those hands belonging to children.
You want to celebrate one of the top children's book stores in the country? I can think of no better way.
Congratulations, CBW. The lovely lady with the dark tresses, by the way, is CBW's own Heather Hebert.
Q: How did you land your first official book deal? A: My very first book deal was for a two-issue comic book miniseries called Duncan’s Kingdom. It was written by me and drawn by the amazingly talented Derek Kirk Kim. It was published by Image Comics in the late 90’s. The story is now a part of The Eternal Smile, published by First Second Books.
A friend of ours named Jimmie Robinson was already published by Image. Jimmie has done several comics through the years, including Bomb Queen, Evil & Malice, and Five Weapons. He sent our submission directly to his editor. Throughout my cartooning career, friends have played key roles.
Still looking for a Halloween costume? Bunnicula series author James Howe shared his ideas for costumes inspired by children’s books in a Bookish article.
Howe encouraged kids to steer clear of conventional costume choices such as Harry Potter or Dracula. For those who want to play an orphan, Howe recommends the title character in Brian Selznick’sThe Invention of Hugo Cabret.
For those who want to adopt a witch persona, there’s the star of the Miss Nelson is Missing! picture book, Miss Viola Swamp. For those who still need more ideas, check out this Bookish infographic and Time Out New York‘s interview withRocket series author (and custom costume couturier) Tad Hills.
That author/illustrator Jarrett J. Krosoczka. He’s a good egg. It’s not everyone who founds their own youth scholarship, y’know. For the second time Jarrett will be hosting the 2nd annual auction for the Joseph and Shirley Krosoczka Memorial Youth Scholarships. The auction is already live as of this past Monday morning and it’s benefiting a great cause. You see, Jarrett named it after the grandparents that raised him and with it the Worcester Art Museum provides tuition to underprivileged children who are in unique familial situations. As for the auction itself there are all sort of great things up for grabs, including originalart (I sure hope someone buys the Lunch Lady art and gives it to an actual lunch lady) and lunch with Jarrett in his studio. Yet to my mind nothing but nuthin’ beats the idea of having Jarrett design your school’s mascot. I suggest that even if your school doesn’t have a mascot you make one up just so that Jarrett can illustrate it. You could be the Fightin’ Banana Slugs (after all, we know he has experience in that area) or the Seething Dust Bunnies. The possibilities are endless. And as of right now the bidding is a mere $51. Y’all better snap that up or I’ll do so myself and just find a school interested.
All hail our new fearless leader! Y’all might have heard that our beloved SLJ editor Brian Kenney upped and left us for the library world (doggone worthy that). So, in essence, I was floating about without a commander-in-chief. Who knows what kind of mischief I could have gotten myself into! Thank goodness Rebecca T. Miller is on hand to whip me into shape. Things to know about this new editor: “With a background in journalism that began at the Utne Reader . . .” Sorry, sorry, I’d say more but I’m sort of hung up on how fabulous that sentence looks. Wow. The Utne Reader. Love it. Welcome, Rebecca.
The holidays are almost upon us and I know exactly what you’re wondering. You’re wracking your brain trying to figure out what to get the children’s literary enthusiast who already has everything (even the newly annotated Phantom Tollbooth). I have the solution. Why not give them me? Or rather, why not give them 25 seconds worth of me. Some of you might recall the documentary Library of the Early Mind: A grown-up look at children’s literature that played in select libraries and library conferences around the country. I bet a bunch of you missed it and wished you could see it. Well happy days are here again because the producer of the film is selling both a Add a Comment
Late in the darkened day, dozens of gifts finally wrapped, most of the cards out into the world, the house clean, the boy's room ready for the boy, and the clients happy, I stopped.
For my dear niece Claire, I'd bought a copy of Wonderstruck by the masterful Brian Selznick. I hadn't wrapped this gift yet. I'd wanted to take time with it, so that Claire and I could talk about it later. Those soft yet crystalline pencil drawings. Those two stories that become one. That old-time New York City. That cabinet of wonders. Meteorites and movie stars.
Six-hundred thirty-five pages of art. A book dedicated to Maurice Sendak. A book that, in this late hour, in a time where I've been feeling that brand of holiday rush and sad, felt just right, felt perfect.
Yes. This was the one. This was the book for my big-hearted, big-eyed beautiful Claire. This was the moment that finally ushered in my Christmas.
Scholastic has launched a special educational website called “Teaching with Brian Selznick.” The free site offers virtual field trips of New York City’s American Museum of Natural History, the inspiration for Brian Selznick‘s latest illustrated novel, Wonderstruck.
The website also contains classroom resources for both Wonderstruck and The Invention of Hugo Cabret. In the video embedded above, Selznick takes viewers a behind-the-scenes tour of the museum.
Here’s more from the release: “The virtual field trip, which is also available in closed caption, is hosted by Selznick and museum president Ellen V. Futter, and takes students on a tour through three exhibits in the museum: the Wolf Diorama, the Ahnighito Meteorite, and the Giant Anopheles Mosquito, all prominently featured in Wonderstruck. Students will also learn about the museum’s history, exhibits, and collections from a museum curator, an exhibitions manager, and a senior scientist.”
Say what you will about the ceremony itself (I actually found it to be refreshingly tender and dignified, for the most part), Sunday night’s Academy Awards were a tribute to Oscar’s own medium – the history, customs, elders, and influence of cinema. From the retro popcorn girls in the aisles and the live band in the balcony, to the themes of the films and the longevity of the careers that were saluted, Oscar celebrated his own crib and the significant contribution the film industry has made to our lives.
For many of us, though, there was another medium honored throughout a surprisingly large portion of the evening – children’s books. Back in January, Publishers Weekly noted that 21 of the nominations were ‘nods for films based on kids books,’ specifically Hugo (11 nominations), War Horse (6), Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows (3), and Tin Tin (1).
I would argue the number to be 24, if you count Puss in Boots, Jane Eyre (now widely considered to be a YA novel) and The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, a children’s book app as well as a short film, that in and of itself celebrates books and reading.
This is great news for children’s book authors of all stripes (though it would have been nice – and politic – to hear Brian Selznick’s name mentioned at least once over the course of the evening’s 5 awards given to Hugo.) It demonstrates the enduring appeal of stories for and about young people, from classic fairy tales, novels and comics to the richness of today’s middle grade and YA fiction and the exciting possibilities that new media represents for the entire genre.
But for me there was a subtler connection at play between the mediums of film and childrens literature on Sunday night. The films on offer this year were notably less snarky, trendy or cynical than those of recent years. Those familiar Hollywood qualities were largely replaced by conscience, compassion and – dare I say it – hope. What’s going on? Even in the darkest realms of YA, these are the universal themes of childrens lit!
Whatever it is, I like it. Let’s hope it sticks around awhile… or at least for as long as some of Sunday night’s honorees have.
The winners will be announced live at the Children’s Choice Book Awards gala on May 7th. Nominees have been divided into four groups classified by different school grades.
In the Author of the Year category, middle-grade fiction writers dominate. The nominees include Diary of a Wimpy Kid 6: Cabin Fever by Jeff Kinney, Inheritance by Christopher Paolini, Middle School, The Worst Years of My Life by James Patterson, The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan and Dork Diaries 3: Tales from a Not-So-Talented Pop Star by Rachel Renée Russell.
The laptop of my infinite sadness continues to remain broken which wrecks a certain special kind of havoc with my gray cells. To distract myself, I plunge headlong into the silliest news of the week. Let’s see if there’s anything here to console a battered Bird brain (something tells me that didn’t come out sounding quite right…).
The best news of the day is that Matthew Kirby was the recent winner of the Edgar Award for Best Mystery in the juvenile category for his fabuloso book Icefall. My sole regret is that it did not also win an Agatha Award for “traditional mystery” in the style of Agatha Christie. Seems to me it was a shoo-in. I mean, can you think of any other children’s book last year that had such clear elements of And Then There Were None? Nope. In any case, Rocco interviews the two winners (the YA category went to Dandi Daley Mackall) here and here.
It’s so nice when you find a series on Facebook and then discover it has a website or blog equivalent in the “real world” (howsoever you choose to define that term). The Underground New York Public Library name may sound like it’s a reference to our one and only underground library (the Andrew Heiskell branch, in case you were curious) but it’s actually a street photography site showing what New Yorkers read on the subways. Various Hunger Games titles have made appearances as has Black Heart by Holly Black and some other YA/kid titles. Just a quick word of warning, though. It’s oddly engaging. You may find yourself flipping through the pages for hours.
A reprint of Roger Sutton’s 2010 Ezra Jack Keats Lecture from April 2011 has made its way online. What Hath Harry Wrought? puts the Harry Potter phenomenon in perspective now that we’ve some distance. And though I shudder to think that Love You Forever should get any credit for anything ever (growl grumble snarl raspberry) what Roger has to say here is worthy of discussion.
And in my totally-not-surprised-about-this department… From Cynopsis Kids:
“Fox Animation acquires the feature film rights to the kid’s book The Hero’s Guide to Saving your Kingdom, per THR. A fairy tale mashup by first-time author by Christopher Healy and featuring illustrations by Todd Harris, revolves around the four princes from Cinderella, Snow White, Rapunzel and Sleeping Beauty. Chernin Entertainment (Rise of Planet of the Apes) is set to produce the movie. Walden Pond Press/HarperCollins Children’s Books release The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom (432 pages) today.”
If y’all haven’t read The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your King
#39 The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick (2007)
Perfect and artful blending of prose and illustration. – Dee Sypherd
No book like it. It reinvents storytelling. It plays with our notion of “the book.” It takes great advantage of the physical nature of “the book.” In the end, the story celebrates many things, including that very book we hold in our hands. – Aaron Zenz
A picture book on the Top 100 Children’s Novels list? Well, what would you have of me? The trick to Cabret is that this book fits no single designation. Folks nominated it for the Top 100 Picture Books List (it didn’t make the cut) and for this list as well. Spoiler Alert: It is the only Caldecott Award winning book you will find on this list. Or is that not too surprising after all?
The plot from my review reads, “Without Hugo Cabret, none of the clocks in the magnificent Paris train station he lives in would work. Though he’s only a kid, Hugo tends to the clocks every day. But there’s something even more important in the boy’s life than gigantic mechanics. Hugo owns a complex automaton, once his father’s, that was damaged in a fire and it is his life’s goal to make the little machine work again. To do so, he’s been stealing small toys from an old shopkeeper in the station. One day the man catches Hugo in the act, and suddenly the two are thrown together. Coincidences, puzzles, lost keys, and a mystery from the past combine in this complex tale of old and new. The story is told with pictures that act out the action and then several pages of text that describe the plot elements. The final effect is like watching a puzzle work itself into clarity.”
The wordy Roderick McGillis piece “Fantasy as Epanalepsis: ‘An Anticipation of Retrospection’” (found in the Dec. 2008 edition of Papers: Explorations into Children’s Literature) made a rather striking point about the book. He says that, “The story may not be a fantasy, but it is surely about fantasy” at one point and “His last name suggests ‘cabaret’, the site of a mixture of performances.” in another. Later he points out that, “The ‘invention’ of Hugo Cabret is both the discovery and fashioning of the character and, in turn, the character’s discovery and invention.”
Horn Book said of it, “While the bookmaking is spectacular, and the binding secure but generous enough to allow the pictures to flow easily across the gutter, The Invention of Hugo Cabret is foremost good storytelling, with a sincerity and verbal ease reminiscent of Andrew Clements (a frequent Selznick collaborator) and themes of secrets, dreams, and invention that play lightly but resonantly throughout.”
Said Library Journal, “Toss in a wild jumble of references and plot lines, a mean old man, a young girl, toys, secrets, and a fabulous train station, and you have the makings of a novel destined to enchant.”
The New York Times said, “It is wonderful. Take that overused word literally: ‘Hugo Cabret’ evokes wonder. At more than 500 pages, its proportions seem Potteresque, yet it makes for quick reading because Selznick’s amazing drawings take up most of the book. While they may lack the virtuosity of Chris Van Allsburg’s work or David Wiesner’s, their slight roughness gives them urgency.
With all the NewberyandCaldecott talk and predictions out there I thought it would be nice to take a look at not only what may be the next winner, but what has won in the past. If you have a favorite title you are rooting for post it in a comment. I would love to hear about it! Next week I will post my favorite book of the year that I think is Caldecott deserving in every facet of picture book brilliance.
Mark your calendar for theCaldecott Medal 75th Anniversary!
The ALA will announce all the awards at 8 a.m. PT on Jan. 28 from the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle. The awards include the esteemed John Newbery Medal, Randolph Caldecott Medal, Coretta Scott King Book Awards and Michael L. Printz Award.
The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) announced that John Rocco will participate in a Caldecott 75th Anniversary Facebook Forum at 1 p.m. Eastern time on Wednesday, March 6, 2013. Rocco won a Caldecott Honor in 2012 for his picture book Blackout.
Want to learn more about the logo 2008 Caldecott Medal winner Brian Selznick created especially for the 75th Anniversary celebration and the characters in it? Just click here.
And for a little more fun, read Brian's acceptance speech forThe Invention of Hugo Cabrethere and watch the illustrated sequence that played on huge video screens during the speech here.
The Invention of Hugo Cabret author Brian Selznick has created the beautiful 2013 Children’s Book Week poster embedded above, a tribute to authors and illustrators Remy Charlip and Maurice Sendak.
Schools and libraries can get free copies of the poster during April and May, encouraging kids to keep reading. To order a copy, you must pay for shipping. Here’s more information:
To receive a free poster(s) with activity guide, please send a 9 x 12 self-addressed envelope (for 1 or 10 posters) or a 10 x 13 self-addressed envelope (for 25 posters) with appropriate postage affixed. Note that Postal regulations have changed. Please use the USPS Postage Price Calculator to determine postage cost, or ask for help at your local post office … There is a 25 poster maximum per person. Due to the volume of poster requests, we cannot process any poster orders that do not include a self-addressed, stamped envelope.
The winners will be announced live at the Children’s Choice Book Awards gala on May 13th. Nominees have been divided into four groups classified by different school grades.
In the Author of the Year category, middle-grade fiction writers and young-adult novelists dominate. The nominees include The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, Diary of a Wimpy Kid 7: The Third Wheel by Jeff Kinney, Wonder by R.J. Palacio, The Heroes of Olympus 3: The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan, and Insurgent by Veronica Roth.
I had heard so much that was so good about A Monster Calls, the Patrick Ness novel inspired by an idea from Siobhan Dowd, that last night, when my arms were too achy to type a single letter more, I downloaded the book onto my iPad2.
Had I known that this book was so beautifully illustrated, I would have gone out to the store and bought myself a copy instead, so that I could, from time to time, look at these extraordinarily interesting, wildly textured Jim Kay drawings. A Monster Calls would be a very different book without these images, just as Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, the Ransom Riggs books enlivened by surreal old photographs, would not be the book it is had not a publishing house decided that teens, too (and the adults who inevitably read teen books) need, every now and then, to stop and see the world not through words but through images. Maile Meloy's new historical YA book, The Apothecary, is due out soon—a book that (if the preview pages on Amazon are accurate) features some very beautiful illustrations by Ian Schoenherr. And let's not forget The Boneshaker by Kate Milford, with its beautiful Andrea Offermann images. (And, of course, there are so many, many more.)
A Monster Calls reminds me, in so many ways, of the great Roald Dahl story The BFG. Dahl's books, illustrated by Quentin Blake, sit beside The Phantom Tollbooth (Norton Juster, illustrated by Jules Feiffer) on my shelf—books that take me back to some of my favorite mother-son reading days. We loved the stories. We loved the illustrations, too. We loved the entire package.
Maybe we have Brian Selznick to thank for this return to the visual—to ageless picture books. Maybe it was just plain time. I only (with absolute surety) know this: I recently completed a young adult novel amplified by (in my eyes) gorgeous illustrations. I can't wait to see where that project goes, and on what kind of journey it takes me.
Somewhere along the way I completely missed this Percy Jackson video in which everyone from Brian Selznick to a moustachioed Eoin Colfer (when did that happen?) chat it up. Video #2 contains a bit of advice that John Rocco actually had to contend with when he made the jacket for The Lightening Thief: “Green covers don’t sell.” I love mistaken common publishing wisdom.
Full credit to Travis Jonker for finding this one. He’s right. Orrin Hatch totally whipped out a Harry Potter reference (psst. . . . nobody tell him which HP character Scalia actually resembles).
Now here’s an idea. Book trailer as music video. Surely this has been done before, right? Surely? In any case, here’ A Train With Wings for the book Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver. Harper Collins hired transmedia firm Radiator to create the trailer. I think the visuals are great. The song could have benefited if it had made the song less pop rock/Glee-ish and more haunting, but it’s still okay.
Thanks to Stephen Barbara for the link.
Finally I’ll get off-topicy with you but I will at least say that I could see these creatures as characters in a book for kids. Easily. Make sure you watch until they start walking.
Summary: "Orphan, clock keeper, and thief, Hugo lives in the walls of a busy Paris train station, where his survival depends on secrets and anonymity. But when his world suddenly interlocks with an eccentric, bookish girl and a bitter old man who runs a toy booth in the station, Hugo's undercover life, and his most precious secret, are put in jeopardy. A cryptic drawing, a treasured notebook, a stolen key, a mechanical man, and a hidden message from Hugo's dead father form the backbone of this intricate, tender, and spellbinding mystery."
Seeing the movie trailer for, "Hugo" reminded me of my wonderful experience when I attended the 2007 NY SCBWI conference. Author/Illustrator, Brian Selznick, was one of the speakers and he was riveting as he shared his story of creating such an interesting book. Brian was down to earth and transparent, leaving me encouraged and motivated.
I guess the closest I can compare, The Invention of Hugo Cabret, is to a graphic novel but not quite. Many pages are purely illustrative, especially in the beginning of the book and then less as the characters develop. Brian's illustrations are beautifully rendered in dark pencil using interesting perspectives to create drama and emotion in an innovative way.
Don't be put off by the size of the book. Although the book is thick, it is a quick read due to his heavy use of illustration. the first 22 pages are illustrations alone. I remember reading it on the airplane ride home, I couldn't put it down.
I would highly recommend especially before seeing the flick. I hope it does Brian's book justice and even if doesn't, who cares. Can
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