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I have a sister. Did you know that? Tis true. She’s not a librarian and her interest in children’s literature pretty much begins and ends with me, which is probably why she hasn’t come up before. One thing she is? Crafty. Crafty as all get out. And the kicker is that she’s just started this new blog called The How To, How Hard, and How Much to Your Creative Products. Here’s how she describes it:
What if there was a blog out there that took Pinterest ideas and showed people how to do it, how much time it took, how much money was spent, and had a level of expertise (1-5). Maybe even sell the final product. Is this something people would read? Has it already been done? How could I rope guys into doing it (other than if it involved mustaches and bacon)? I’ve never blogged before but I feel like it might be helpful, especially since the holiday season is quickly approaching. People could even send me recommendations and I could do those as well.
And make it she has. Amongst other things she has a wide range of Halloween ideas including spider cookies, 5 minute ideas, and my personal favorite, the cleaver cupcakes. In fact, if you could just repin those cupcakes onto your Pinterest boards she’d be mighty grateful (there’s a contest she’s entering them into). But of special interest to the blog (aside from outright nepotism) was her recent posting on literary jewelry where she turned a book of mine into a bracelet. Nicely done, l’il sis.
I attended the Society of Illustrators event the other day (did you know the place is free on Tuesdays?!) and the New York Times Best Illustrated results are on the cusp of an announcement soon. Both lists are chosen by artists as well as librarian types, and so one could consider them the form with which artists are allowed to voice their opinions about the best of the year (just as the National Book Awards are how authors talk about writing). Still, there are those that have disliked the Caldecott from the outset because it is decided not by artists but librarians. Robin Smith recently dug up a 1999 interview with Barry Moser voicing just such a concern. A hot little discussion then emerged in the Horn Book comments. Go! See!
Brian Biggs + Jon Scieszka + 6 way auction = interesting.
Our first shout-out! And from Tomie dePaola, no less. On The Official Tomie dePaola Blog you will find a lovely mention of the upcoming Wild Things: Acts of Mischief in Children’s Literature as penned by myself, Jules Danielson, and Peter Sieruta. Woot!
I think a fair number of us have seen Business Insider’s Most Famous Book Set in Every State map by this point, but I’d just like to mention that what pleases me the most about it is the fact that they included children’s books as well as adult. Six children’s and one YA novel by my count.
And since we’re on an interesting title kick, let’s throw out another one. True or False? Multicultural Books Don’t Sell. We’ve all heard that argument before. Now an actual honest-to-god bookseller tackles the question. You may normally know Elizabeth Bluemle from the ShelfTalker blog at PW, but here she’s guest talking at Lee & Low. Cleverly, she specifies whether or not we are talking about how they don’t sell to kids or how they don’t sell to adults. Without giving anything away, let me just say that her experiences mirror my own in the library.
In other press release news, I am shocked and appalled that I wasn’t aware of this until now. I mean, I knew that Kate Beaton, the genius behind Hark, A Vagrant, was working on children’s books. What I did not know was how close to fruition my dream of shelving her in my children’s sections truly was. The Wired blog Underwire, of all places, was the one with the scoop when they interviewed Ms. Beaton. She discusses the book, which contains her most famous creation (the fat pony) and a princess. Says she about princesses in general, “. . . for little girls historically [princesses] are the only people like them who had any power at all. It’s not just oh, princes and dresses. It’s also, here’s a person with agency. Is she just someone who wants a pretty dress and prince? Or is she a warrior living in a battle kingdom? I think it just depends on how you depict what a princess is.” I think we know the direction Ms. Beaton will go in. And I waaaant it. Thanks to Seth Fishman for the link.
As slogans go, this might be one of my favorites: “Kill time. Make history”. How do you mean? Well, NYPL is looking for a few good bored folks. Say they, “The New York Public Library is training computers how to recognize building shapes and other information from old city maps. Help us clean up the data so that it can be used in research, teaching and civic hacking.” Sometimes I just love my workplace.
Me stuff time. Or rather, stuff I’m doing around and about the world that you might like to attend. You see, on November 6th I’ll be interviewing legendary graphic novelist Paul Pope at 4pm at the Mulberry Street library branch here in NYC. If you are unfamiliar with Mr. Pope’s name, all you really need to know is that he’s a three time Eisner Award winning artist who wrote the recent GN Battling Boy and whose work is currently on display at the Society of Illustrators on their second floor (which just means I get to tell you again that you can get in for free on Tuesdays). This event will also be free. If you’ve ever wondered what the “Mick Jagger of graphic novels” would look like, you’ll find out soon enough.
Also going on in NYC, they have transferred Allegra Kent’s Ballerina Swanto the stage for kids. Makes perfect sense when you put it that way.
My reaction to finding out that Henry Selick was going to direct Adam Gidwitz’s A Tale Dark and Grimm was simple. The best possible person is doing the best possible thing and is making everyone happy in the process. My sole concern? Selick’s going live action on this. What was the last live action film he directed? Monkeybone, you say? Ruh-roh. Thanks to PW Children’s Bookshelf for the link.
Remember that nice Marcie Colleen I mentioned earlier with her Picture Book Month Teacher’s Guide? Well, turns out she’s engaged to Jonathan Lopes, the Senior Production Manager at Little, Brown. And amongst the man’s many talents is the fact that he occasionally sculpts with LEGOs. Recently Hachette “held their Gallery Project, showcasing the talents of their employees.” Here’s what Jonathan made.
He’s 6-feet-tall and all LEGO, baby. Many thanks to Marcie Colleen for the link!
Visitors will find this exhibit at the Donald & Mary Oenslager Gallery inside the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts building. The New York Times reports that archivist David Leopold curated the exhibit.
The general public has its own questions about the plan to renovate its Fifth Avenue main building. Anthony Marx, the library's president, agreed to answer a few of them, selected by The New York Times.
Whew! Been a while, hasn’t it? I hardly know where to start. Might as well begin with my place of work, eh? You see my library enjoys making little movies about itself from time to time. When you’ve got an iconic set, how can you resist? In my building (big stone lions, etc.) my Milstein Division conjured up this little video. Probably the sexiest genealogy vid I’m ever likely to see on this good green earth. More info on it here.
Now it seems to me that there’s room enough in this world for a fine bit of psychedelic middle grade. And when you’re dealing with something like Dan Boehl’s Naomi and the Horse-Flavored T-Shirt . . . well, honestly this is preeeee-cisely the kind of video you would hope for. To the letter.
Couldn’t stand in sharper contrast to this next video, and yet the two work as very good examples of how sophisticated book trailers are becoming these days (Flash animation has a lot to do with it, of course).
Aw, heck. Just one more. You’re going to have to stick around for the credits.
Clearly I’ve been sitting on a lot of videos for a while, but I doubt that it’s too late to put up this one. Recently Matthew Kirby (Icefall & The Clockwork Three) emailed me the following:
Here in Utah, we have the Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers Workshop, run by Carol Lynch Williams. It’s an intensive week-long workshop, taught by amazing writers and illustrators. I attended back in 2007, and in combination with SCBWI, it’s where I “got my start.”
Now the people running the conference have created a little promo video of their success stories to encourage folks to attend. Smart cookies. Least I can do to show it, eh?
Finally, for the Off-Topic Video of the Day, I’ve many piled up but this is the one closest to my heart today.
500 players will join the “Write All Night” event on May 20th. Inside the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, they will use laptops and smartphones to find 100 objects from the library’s collection of treasures and perform a related-writing challenge.
The video embedded above features a promo clip for the event; it seems to mimic The Da Vinci Code‘s film trailer. If you want to participate, just answer this question: “In the year 2021, I will become the first person to __________.” Submit your answer before 11:59 PM Pacific Time on April 21st.
You know what? Skip everything I’ve ever suggested about visiting the Bologna Book Fair. Airflights take a lot of time. Your sleeping schedule gets off. And then there’s all that walking. Phew! It’s enough to exhaust you just thinking about it. No no, far better to just watch this little video created by Bart Moeyaert. It’s the fair in 90 seconds. You’re in. You’re out. Slap your hands together and you’re done! Couldn’t be easier.
In other news, my library is doing this:
First off, I love that it makes my workplace, the building where I earn my daily bread, look like something out of a movie (and not just the set like in The Adjustment Bureau and Arthur, both in theaters now). So cheers there. Second, this is a game inspired by our upcoming Centennial celebration. You can see the website for the game here, if you’d like to join in. You have to fill out an application by April 21st, though. There’s nothing specifically keeping employees like myself from participating, but I suspect that since my body these days conks out effectively at 10:30 each night, I am in no position to add my own expertise.
When you are a child of the 70s or 80s you may have a unique gift. Thanks to television shows like Sesame Street, it’s entirely possible that your brain is filled with small animated shorts and clips that will burst into fiery remembrance when seen. Take, as today’s example, the news that Maurice Sendak has a new picture book coming out soon. Called Bumble Ardy, the book was originally a short on Sesame Street. Now, if you had stopped me on the street and asked me if I had ever seen said short I would have given a sharp bark of a laugh. Me, forget a Maurice Sendak bit of animation? Not hardly! Then I started watching this and the memories . . . oh the memories . . .
Those memories just keep on coming back. Probably the only time you’ll hear Jim Henson’s voice (as Bumble at the end) voice a Sendak character too. Thanks to Mr. Schu for the link.
A little more than a year ago I conducted a Children’s Literary Salon at NYPL with a bunch of talented female graphic novelists of children’s literature (Colleen AF Venable (Hamster and Cheese), Raina Telegemeier (Smile), and Tracy White (How I Made it to Eighteen)). It was recorded for posterity (unlike most of my Salons) and that was the last I heard of it. Then the other day I find out from J.L. Bell on Twitter that it’s up and running on the NYPL website. Glory be, who knew! So if you’ve ever been curious as to what a Literary Salon consists of, have at it.
Again, this was yet another pretty darn good week for videos. Trailers abounded, and not just for movies. The big news of the week was that a Bill Joyce picture book had been turned into what may be the most cinematic picture book app we’ve seen yet. It’s called The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore and is so gorgeous, in fact, that I’m going to do something I’ve managed to avoid until now. I’ll buy it. Here’s why:
Thanks to Ben Rubin and Paul Schmid for the link!
On the book trailer side of things is this one for what I’m going to call the most anticipated fall children’s book of 2011, I Want My Hat Back:
And then on the actual movie world, two trailers were released this week. One gives me hope. The other . . . not so much. So on the hope side of things is this new, longer Tintin trailer. I was always convinced that Tintin could never be done well because who’s going to allow a kid like him to handle a gun onscreen? I never counted on CGI to save the day. I usually hate this style of animation but here . . . it kinda works because it acknowledges how cartoony it can be. Oddly, I could only find a trailer online that had French subtitles. Ah well.
Nice yes? Well retain that happy feeling because the other trailer released was a bit of a disappointment. I don’t know why Martin Scorsese got it into his head that the title “Hugo” sounds better than “The Invention of Hugo Cabret”. Plain old &ldquo
Winnie-the-Pooh will turn 90 years old on August 21st.
The New York Public Library will collect birthday cards to celebrate the occasion. Three to twelve-year-old kids can make cards for Pooh Bear and his friends at a special craft event on Tuesday, August 9th.
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)
It’s still way too early to decide the winner in the social network race (but it appears Google+ might be lagging as it’s already losing visitors. In our opinion, the network still has yet to show how it’s better than Facebook)... Read the rest of this post
Here's a sketch of one of the lions outside of the New York public library in Manhattan. that pigeon really was sitting on his head. I love this building but I found it really confusing. I didn't get to explore until the end of my trip and I was pretty tired at that point. The building seemed to have Escher-like staircases that would drop me off at arbitrary locations. I'm feeling pretty crappy at the moment. I'm pretty unmotivated and stressed about all the work I have to do and Henry's up half the night and Julie and I are getting pretty cranky with each other and we're both really stressed about moving to Toronto. This is one of those really tough times. Like my friend Brad said times like this are like squeezing through a very small aperture. I'm trying really hard to get stuff back on track. I've been reading a lot of ghost stories and that's been cheering me up for some reason. I've always loved ghost stories and it's like returning to a familiar place. A creepy, familiar place.
LOVE this new video PSA from the New York Public: "Shout it Out for your Library!" Mario Batali, Amy Tan, Better Midler, Malcolm Gladwell, Barbara Walters and other celebs voice support for the library and reiterate the value of the public library for the community.
Also like the blocker page they have up now about supporting the library monetarily, on NYPL. It's a great way to remind people that while the library is free to use, it isn't free to maintain and run.
Having worked on previous advocacy campaigns with OCLC, I know the challenges of finding the right audience for your we-need-financial-support message. Especially with the down economy, you have to make every marketing dollar count. YouTube and Twitter are great ways to get the word out to new audiences. Using local celebrities isn't all bad, either.
This Friday the 13th has been very lucky for my latest book. An Eye for Color: The Story of Josef Albers was selected as one of New York Public Library's 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing in the non-fiction category. Here's the link.
This past weekend we took refuge, for a spell, inside the New York Public Library, a place I always try to visit whenever I come to New York.
As we stood beneath this Rose Room sky, I recalled, as I always do, my first trip to that building, which happened in the company of my first editor, Alane Salierno Mason. Alane bought three of my books, not just the first, and she brought to each one a rigorous, unyielding eye. Alane cares very much about the state of books, not just in this country, but in the world.
I wrote something about that Rose Room in 1998, in the wake of my experience at the National Book Awards and published it then. Today, in between a spate of client projects, I was feeling melancholy and looked at that old essay again:
Hours before the 49th National Book Awards ceremony got under way, Alane Salierno Mason, my literary editor, remembered a room I had to see; we went. A lion, an edifice, a swoop of stairs, a room: big as a city block, and skied with permanent weather. There were six-hundred pound tables and a constellation of polished lamps, people enough for a subway station, though this was the New York Public Library, the newly splendoured Rose Reading Room. I thought I heard a holy hush. I felt drawn out, thrown out of kilter by the hundreds hunkered down with books.
A while later, John Updike took the stage at the Marriott Marquis to accept the 1998 award for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. His voice had a quiet, avuncular appeal, and in that darkened room he stepped his audience back into the library of his youth, the glamor of a typeface, the beauty of a book “in proportion to the human hand.” There were stacks of books on every table, images of books hung like pendants on the walls. There were authors in the room, editors, publishers, agents, reviewers, there were readers, and we understood why we had come.
The media, the next day and for days to come, would write of dark horses, battlefields, upset victories, dueling styles. They would tally winners and losers as if bookmaking were a gamble or a sport. They would declaim the event because their heroes had not been crowned, because somehow they had not deduced the final outcome. But what too many lost in their rush for the headline was the reality of what that evening was: a celebration of books. A communion of stories. A tribute to the humanity of words.
What I’ll remember is not so much who won, but what was said. What I’ll remember is how Gerald Stern, upon accepting the poetry honor, venerated his fellow poets: individually, distinctively, with elemental and essential grace. I’ll remember how Louis Sachar, winning for Young People’s Literature, did the same, and how Alice McDermott, one of the most exquisite, time-proven novelists in the land, hadn’t the ego to believe her name was called. I’ll remember the dignity of that old-fashioned tribe, the integrity of the jurors, the company I was keeping—my husband, my parents, my brother, the W.W. Norton team, my agent, Amy Rennert. I’ll remember how it felt to be sitting there amongst the others all because I’d been given the certain exceptional privilege of publishing a little book about love.
Why do we read? Why do we write? For me, the answer made itself known some 24 hours prior to the ceremony, when t
I have a funny habit of buying books when I know—it's an unbeatable, unbearable fact—that there will be no time to read them. They sit on the chair that sits opposite my desk, their lovely perfect spines toward me. They tease, they seduce until I finally give in—slip one into my bag and take it with me, everywhere.
I steal into a page or two while waiting in the Whole Foods line. I read while warming up for Zumba. I hover over pages while on hold on conference calls. I say to my husband, "Go ahead. No, seriously. You watch that show on the air battles of World War II; I'm just going to go upstairs."
It feels so good it almost feels wrong.
Here are the books that came into my home this week, in the order in which I believe I will read them. (I've already started The Disappeared, and so far it's the dream I thought it would be after reading the review in last week's Times):
The Disappeared (Kim Echlin) The Girl with Glass Feet (Ali Shaw) How I Became a Famous Novelist (Steve Hely) A Jury of her Peers (Elaine Showalter) Unfinished Desires (Gail Godwin)
Hachette Book Group (HBG) has joined with NetGalley to organize the distribution of HBG information and products. Through this deal, select reviewers, press, and booksellers will be given access to digital press kits and digital galleys.
Several enhancements will be included with the galleys such as video, audio, tour schedules, author Q&As and photos. The galleys will be readable on Kindle, Nook, Sony eReader, Kobo or a desktop.
1.) First of all, THOMAS AND THE DRAGON QUEEN was listed last year by the New York Public Library as one of their recommended top 100 books. Yay! Listed in: “100 Titles for Reading and Sharing.”
2.) And . . . I’m happy dancing for a good friend of mine and a writer I mentored a year or so ago. Her name is Tracy Bilen. She won me as a novel mentor for a year in Michigan’s SCBWI (Soc. of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) group. Her manuscript had the basics of a great read…a riveting plot and an empathetic main character. But it needed deepening and developing. She worked hard, took many of my suggestions and always did the homework I suggested. Just this week she received an offer from Simon Pulse, a division of Simon & Schuster. YAY! I think I am more excited about this than anything else that’s happened lately. It’s so fun to know that soon another great young adult novel will be in the hands of readers. It will make its debut in 2012. Hugs to Tracy!!! (And we’ll roll out the red carpet when the book comes out.)
3.) A really different and fun book just made the news on National Public Radio. It’s called YOU CAN COUNT ON MONSTERS by Richard Evan Schwartz. It’s not a picture book–though it’s all about pictures of monsters (and numbers). I’ve highlighted it to the right. Enjoy!
4.) Wow!! Michigan rocks…In the recent ALA awards Erin Stead won the Caldecott Medal for A SICK DAY FOR AMOS MCGEE (written by her husband Philip). Sure am proud to live in Michigan!