- First up, my little sister. My daughter recently had her third birthday so my sis came up with a craft involving what she calls Do It Yourself Cupcakes. Each cupcake sported a teeny tiny cover of one of my child’s favorite books. Then we took them to her daycare where she delightedly set about pointing out all the books she knew. I have zero crafting skills but if you do then you might want to try this sometime. It was kind of friggin’ amazing.
- Now in praise of Kevin King. The Kalamazoo Public librarian has long been hailed as one of the best in the country. Fact. Children’s authors and illustrators everywhere know his name. Fact. But when a man attended a summer reading kickoff for Kalamazoo Public Library with a gun, who confronted the fellow and asked him to please leave? Kevin King. So basically, he’s an amazing librarian AND he has the guts to talk to someone packing heat around children. Kevin King, today we salute you. I don’t know that many of us would have the courage to do what you did.
- Look, we all talk about how we don’t have enough of one kind of book or not enough of another. But what do we actually DO about it? Credit to Pat Cummings. She doesn’t take these things lying down. Check out the Hero’s Art Journey Scholarship then. As the website says, “The Children’s Book Academy is proud and excited to offer merit scholarships for writers and illustrators of color, identifying as LBGQTI, or having a disability, who are currently underrepresented in the children’s publishing industry. In addition, we are offering scholarships for low income folks who might not be able to take this course otherwise as well as to SCBWI Regional Advisers and Illustrator Coordinators who do so much unpaid work to help our field.” The first and only scholarship of its kind that I’ve certainly seen.
- Sometimes it’s just nice to find out about a new blog (even if by “new” you mean it’s been around since 2012). With that in mind, I’d like to give a hat tip and New Blog Alert to The Show Me Librarian. I believe it was Travis Jonker who led me to St. Charles City-County Library District librarian Amy Koester’s site. It doesn’t have a gimmick. It’s just an honestly good children’s librarian blog with great posts like this one on Reader’s Advisory and this one on picture book readalouds. Them’s good reading.
- Jules would never alert you to this herself, but don’t miss this interview with the woman behind the Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast blog as conducted by Phil and Erin E. Stead. Even if you know Jules you’ll learn something new. For example, I had no idea she enjoyed Marc Maron’s podcast too.
- Speaking of Jules, who is the most tattooed children’s author/illustrator (since we already know the most tattooed bookseller)? The answer may surprise you.
- I’m sorry. I apparently buried the lede today. Else I would have begun with the startling, shocking, brilliant news that they’re bringing back Danger Mouse. Where my DM peoples at? Can I get a, “Crumbs!”? That’s right.
- I don’t read much YA. Usually I’ll pick out the big YA book of a given year and read it so that I don’t fall completely behind, but that’s as far as I’ll go (right now deciding between We Were Liars and Grasshopper Jungle). But I make exceptions and Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles fall into that gap. Now I hear that Meyer wrote a prequel called Fairest giving her villain some much needed background. That’s cool enough, but the cover? You only WISH you could see more jackets like this:
- Speaking of YA, and since, by law, nothing can happen at this moment on the internet without some mention of The Fault in Our Stars at least once, I was rather charmed by Flavorwire’s round-up of some of the odd TFIOS merchandise out there. Favorite phrase: “for the saddest party ever.”
- It’s important to remember that school library cuts aren’t an American invention. They’re a worldwide problem, a fact drilled home recently by the most recent post on Playing By the Book. If you’re unaware of the blog it’s run by the wonderful Zoe Toft and is, to my mind, Britain’s best children’s literature blog, bar none. Now Zoe’s facing something familiar to too many school librarians and it’s awful. Does anyone know of a British children’s literary magazine along the lines of a School Library Journal or Horn Book? The fact that her blog hasn’t been picked up by such an outlet is a crime.
- “I should think there would be more chance of your child choking to death on a chocolate bar than of becoming seriously ill from a measles immunisation.” As a woman with a child too young at the moment to be vaccinated against diseases like measles, every parent that refuses to get their own children vaccinated is a threat to mine. So I read with great interest what Roald Dahl felt about vaccinating your kids. It ran on BoingBoing back in 2009 but this kind of thing never dies.
- And the award for Best Summer Reading List of All Time goes to . . . Mike Lewis! His Spirit of Summer Reading list for reluctant readers can only be described in a single word: Beautiful. Designed flawlessly with books that I adore, this is the list I’d be handing to each and every parent who walks in my library door, were I still working a reference desk somewhere. Wowzah.
- A whole exhibit on Appalachian children’s literature? See, this is why I need my own private jet. Why has no one ever given me a private jet? Note to Self: Acquire private jet, because it’s exhibits like this one that make me wish I was more mobile. You lucky denizens of Knoxville, TN will be able to attend this exhibit between now and September 14th. Wow. Thanks to Jenny Schwartzberg for the link.
- So pleased to see this interview with Nathan Hale on the Comics Alternative podcast. Love that guy’s books, I do. Great listening.
- New York certainly does have a lot of nice things. Big green statues in the harbors. Buildings in the shape of irons. Parks that one could call “central”. But one thing we do not have, really, is an annual children’s book trivia event for folks of every stripe (librarians, editors, authors, booksellers, teachers, etc.). You know who does? Boston. Doggone Boston. The Children’s Book Boston trivia event happened the other day and The Horn Book reported the results. One could point out that I could stop my caterwauling and throw such an event myself. Hmm… could work. We could do it at Sharlene’s in Brooklyn… it’s a thought…
There are bookshelves that seem kooky or cool and then there are bookshelves that could serve a VERY useful purpose, if you owned them. Boy howdy, do I wish I owned this because useful is what it is. It’s a “Has Been Read” and “Will Be Read” shelf.
Thanks to Aunt Judy for the link.
Morning, folks! I do believe my comments feature is busted at the moment, so please don’t be alarmed if you can’t get anything to go through. It’s frustrating for me as well. Feels like an echo chamber in here. Hm.
- Speaking of fellow SLJ blogs, I admit that I don’t often read the excellent Adult Books 4 Teens since the topic isn’t really in my wheelhouse. Still, recently Mark Flowers had a great post up on The Problem with Stories About Amnesia Solved by Robert Glancy and Jason Bourne. He gave a nice shout out to my husband’s blog Cockeyed Caravan in the post saying, “Anyone who cares about narrative, movies, or both should be reading Matt Bird’s Cockeyed Caravan blog. He spends most of his time there deconstructing the narrative structure of Hollywood movies and explaining how and why movies do (and don’t) work. But while he only discusses movies (and usually big-budget Hollywood ones at that), his insights are invaluable for anyone interested in the way narrative works in any kind of fiction. I’ve cited his ideas many times over on my personal blog and in conversations with other book lovers.” Love you, Mark! Thanks!
- And since I’m just on a bloggers-discussing-bloggers kick, I was so pleased to hear that Sue Bartle, Mary Ann Cappiello, Marc Aronson, Kathleen Odean, and Myra Zarnowski are restarting the excellent Common Corps blog Uncommon Corps. In an era where so many people are desperate for CCSS info, we’re all desperate for intelligent conversation on the topic. This blog provides that, as well as amazing curricular tie-ins you might not have otherwise known about. Read Compare & Contrast for a taste of what I mean.
- Awww. The Moomin characters are now regular dining companions of lonely Japanese restaurant attendees. I’d be game for eating with one. Just don’t seat me with Little My. I don’t trust that gal. Thanks to mom for the link.
- Hm. Maybe it’s a good thing I’ll be missing out on this year’s Book Expo. Granted, it’s exhausting even in the best of times, but I still get a bit of a kick out of it. Of course, this year there’s been a bit of a brouhaha with BookCon (which I have never even been aware of before). One of the problems with the internet is the fact that when controversies arise, few are willing to recap the troubles. Fortunately the Melville House post Wear shades to BookCon, it’ll be blindingly white in there tells you everything you need to know. And more!
- “When white writers come to me and ask if it’s OK for them to write about people of color, it seems as if they’re asking for my blessing. I can’t give them my blessing because I don’t speak for other people of color. I only speak for myself, and I have personal stakes in specific kinds of narratives.” Since author Malinda Lo co-founded Diversity in YA she’s been getting a lot of these questions over the years. Her piece Should white people write about people of color? is your required reading of the day. Many thanks to Phil Nel for pointing it out to me.
- By the way, in the course of looking at Malinda’s work I discovered the blog Disability in Kidlit which, somehow, I’d never run across before. Since it’s been around since June 2013 it’s hardly new, but I’m still going to call a New Blog Alert on it, since I’ve only just discovered it myself. It’s a blog about “Reviews, guest posts, and discussions about the portrayal of disabilities in MG/YA fiction.” There are a couple books out this year that I’d love their opinion of.
- Oh! This happened. So I’ll admit that I’m more of a podcast listener than a radio listener. And when NYPL’s lovely PR department asked if I’d be interested in talking on the Leonard Lopate show, I confess I didn’t quite know who he was. Fortunately I learned pretty quickly, and even was lucky enough to meet his replacement Andy Borowitz instead (whom I had heard of since he moderated the National Book Awards the year I got to go). Our talk is up and it’s called Our Favorite Children’s Stories. Mostly a lot of talk about classics, but I was able to work in some shout-outs for three more recent books. The comments section is where the recommendations and memories are really hopping, though. Good stuff is to be found there.
Take a gander at this article on WWI librarian uniforms and one thing becomes infinitely clear: Librarians during The Great War has it DOWN in terms of clothing, man. Look at that style. That look! That form! Oh, what the heck. Let’s bring them back! At the very least I’d love an ALA-issued arm patch. Thanks to AL Direct for the link.
Actually, this pairs rather well with that last piece. Sayeth Bookriot, Enough With the “Sexy Library” Thing Already. Amen.
That they are seriously considering making a film out of A Monster Calls is amazing enough to me as it is. That it may potentially star Felicity Jones and Liam Neeson? Having a harder time wrapping my head around that one. Thanks to PW Children’s Bookshelf for the link!
In case you missed it the Américas Award for Children’s & Young Adult Literature was announced recently. The winners? Parrots Over Puerto Rico illustrated by Susan Roth and co-authored by Susan Roth and Cindy Trumbore won the award proper while Diego Rivera: An Artist for the People by Susan Goldman Rubin and Pancho Rabbit and the Coyote illustrated and written by Duncan Tonatiuh took home the honors. Lots of great Honorable Mentions too, so check it out.
Whoo boy. The term “mansplaining” just seems loaded to the gills. That said, this piece from Inside Higher Ed tackles the definition itself with a look at the film version of The Wizard of Oz. I always liked the Scarecrow best too, and assumed that when Dorothy grew up she’d end up with Hunk. Feel free to pick apart the various ramifications behind that bit of childhood matchmaking, if you will.
I don’t usually quote from the Cynopsis Kids newsletters, and technically neither of these have much to do with children’s books, but there were two recent pieces that concerned children’s entertainment that I thought you might like to know about as much as I did.
Get ready for Hulu‘s first original kids series. Debuting this Friday is Doozers, the Fraggle Rock spinoff produced by the Jim Henson Co. that packs a full 52 episodes and will be available advertiser-free on both Hulu and Hulu Plus. The preschool series revolved around an animated gaggle of kids called The Pod Squad– Spike, Molly Bolt, Flex and Daisy Wheel–who learn to design and build different objects. Other Hulu Kids content includes Fraggle Rock, Pokemon and SpongeBob.
In a move more in line with kids’ bedtimes, beginning Tuesday, April 29, new eps of Syfy‘s original series Jim Henson’s Creature Shop Challenge will air at 9p vs. their current 10p Tuesday slot. The competition series features 10 aspiring creature creators competing to out-imagine one another in challenges where they will build everything from mechanical characters to whimsical beasts. The stakes are high. Winner walks with $100,000 and a contract working at the world-renowned Creature Shop.
I think my brother-in-law Steve sent me this one. Don’t know where it’s from but I sort of adore it. Wouldn’t mind one of my own.
Okey-doke. So today we begin with an addendum. I believe that it was not long ago that with the announcement of the new Printz Award blog Someday My Printz Will Come I mentioned its existence without acknowledging that there may have been another and previously existing Printz Award blog out there. Well slap my sides and call me sally, my fellow co-author on an upcoming Candlewick book Peter Sieruta (who’s post delves deep into that moment when as an adult reader you discover that you are older than the parents in a children’s book) points out that there was already a Printz blog out there of venerable character and infinite wit called Printz Picks. I can only claim ignorance, not being particularly familiar with the world of YA . . . but I think we all know that’s a bit of a cop out on my part. Mea culpa, Peter. I shall now read every entry on that blog to make suitable amends.
- I do know enough about YA to concede that this news is big news, though. Also, how amazing is it that her editor told her to rewrite it from scratch? Now THAT is editing, my friends! Well played, Kathy Dawson. Well played, indeed.
- Trend Alert: Well, it had to happen eventually. I’ve been rendered obsolete. Back in the day when I started visiting publisher previews and blogging about them I admit that I felt pretty clever about the whole thing. No one else was blogging them, after all. Here we had a brand new untapped resource for interesting blog fodder. And from 2006 until today I was still one of the very few bloggers to do this. It took roughly five years before a publisher thought to themselves, “Hey . . . Betsy’s not the only blogger in town, is she?” No she is not. So it is that Simon & Schuster has taken what I am regarding as the logical next step. They’ve engaged the group Buzzing Bloggers (seen here: http://twitter.com/#!/buzzingbloggers) to round up a group of NYC parental, toy, and gift bloggers for their very own preview, sans librarians. I was invited to both the blogger preview (complete with childcare services) and the librarian preview (not so much) this season. I am unable to go to either of them, sadly. That’s okay, though. I suspect that this is one preview that will be getting plenty o’ coverage. Don’t be surprised if other publishers begin to follow suit.
- Speaking of which, I attended a Penguin preview the other day that I need to write up. Until then, some of you may be interested to know that there will be a new edition of that old Tam Lin takeoff Fire & Hemlock by Diana Wynne Jones on the horizon. As editor Sharyn November tweets, “Yes — Spring 2012, along w/ A TALE OF TIME CITY and DOGSBODY, all w/ stellar introductions. These will be the definitive editions.” You heard it here.