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*Please note that the PPYA and Amazing Audiobooks Committees are virtual. YALSA members with book selection and evaluation experience and who are comfortable working in an online environment with tools like ALA Connect, Google Docs, Skype, etc. should put their names forward for consideration.
Past-President Chris Shoemaker noted in his blog post last month that the YALSA Board adopted a new policy about serving on award committees. Beginning Feb. 1, 2016, any individual who has served on any YALSA award committee will need to wait two years before he or she is eligible to serve on another YALSA award committee. For more information, see this board document from Annual.
If you have been on selection and award committees before, please consider volunteering for the new Selection and Award Committees Oversight Committee (more info can be found in this board document). This new committee needs experienced YALSA members to serve as liaisons and to standardize policies and procedures for selection and award committees.
The Fine Print
Eligibility: To be considered for an appointment, you must be a current personal member of YALSA and submit a Committee Volunteer form by Oct. 1, 2015. If you are appointed, service will begin on Feb. 1, 2016.
If you are currently serving on a selection or award committee and you are eligible to and interested in serving for another term, you must fill out a volunteer form for this round (so I know you're still interested and want to do serve another term)
Qualifications: Serving on a committee or taskforce is a significant commitment. Please review the resources on this web page before you submit a form to make sure that committee work is a good fit for you at this point in time.
I’ve attended the annual conference of the American Library Association every year since 2010, when the conference was in Washington, DC. For whatever reason (probably because it required an expensive banquet ticket), I never attended the Caldecott-Newbery-Wilder Medals banquet, even when the winner was a graphic novel. This year changed that. I was staying at the AYH hostel […]
Last week’s announcement of the Harvey Awards nominees was, as usual, accompanied by controversy. This time it wasn’t the domination of Valiant (20 nominations) and Boom/Archaia, but rather just why certain books and people were even eligible.
For starters there was the “Most Promising New Talent” category which included the following:
Steve Bryant, ATHENA VOLTAIRE COMPENDIUM, Dark Horse Comics
Daniel Warren Johnson, GHOST FLEET, Dark Horse Comics
Chad Lambert, “KILL ME” FROM DARK HORSE PRESENTS, Dark Horse Comics
Babs Tarr, BATGIRL, DC Comics
Jen Van Meter, THE DEATH-DEFYING DOCTOR MIRAGE, Valiant Entertainment
Considering that Jen Van Meter was nominated for an Eisner in 2002, and Steve Bryant launched Athena Voltaire in 2002 this is…an extrenely liberal definition of “newcomer”….top put it mildly. You can be promising at any age but after 13 years you’re not a newcomer. (And Van Meter’s fine work such as Hopeless Savages in the past shows she’s well established at this point.)
More controversy cam in the form of the Athena Voltaire Compendium being nominated in the Best Graphic Album Original category.
BEST GRAPHIC ALBUM ORIGINAL
ATHENA VOLTAIRE COMPENDIUM, Dark Horse Comics
JIM HENSON’S THE MUSICAL MONSTERS OF TURKEY HOLLOW, Archaia/BOOM! Studios
SECONDS, Ballantine Books
THE WRENCHIES, First Second Books
THIS ONE SUMMER, First Second Books
Although here you could argue it was original to print so….
Bryant responded on Twitter,m explaining that much of the compendium was new material:
Athena Voltaire launched online in 2002, but I wasn't eligible for a Russ Manning nomination until 2007, after being in print.
Finally, (or at least finally for what I have notes for) Chip Zdarsky took exception to being the only nominee for SEX CRIMINALS in the “Special Award For Humor In Comics”
James Asmus, QUANTUM AND WOODY, Valiant Entertainment
James Asmus & Fred Van Lente, THE DELINQUENTS, Valiant Entertainment
Ryan Browne, GOD HATES ASTRONAUTS, Image Comics
Fred Van Lente, ARCHER AND ARMSTRONG, Valiant Entertainment
Chip Zdarsky, SEX CRIMINALS, Image Comics
Also, there were more funny comics than Valiant last year but their get out the vote campaign was undeniably effective. Zdarsky issued a statement in support of his collaborator, Matt Fraction,—who is a very funny fellow in his own right—and said if chosen he would not serve:
Comics, for the most part, is a team effort. Pencillers, inkers, writers, letterers, Jordie; all of these roles are integral to the creation of a comic book and, time after time, positions like writers are routinely ignored in reviews, news and awards. Is it the fact that they’re invisible to the process? That when you’re reading a comic you’re noticing the beautiful drawings, the vibrant colours, the well-placed and designed lettering? Possibly. But it doesn’t mean writers aren’t integral to the process, or aren’t human beings who need to be noticed a lot.
With that being said (or, more accurately, WRITTEN), I simply cannot accept this HARVEY AWARDS nomination as it stands. I urge the awards committee to change the ballot to say “Chip Zdarsky and Matt Fraption, SEX CRIMINALS, Image Comics.” If it does not get changed to exactly that wording, I will ask them to remove my name from the ballot completely, allowing the awards to replace my position with another middle-aged white man.
Harvey Award administrator Paul McSpadden released a statement that seemed to address the eligibility problems:
The Harvey Awards would like to address questions posed by the comics press and other concerned parties since the release of The Harvey Awards Final Ballot.
The Harvey Awards were formed over 28 years ago with the intent to enable the creative community to honor their peers. The Harvey Awards administrators, as well as fans, retailers, and convention professionals, have no vote. That is the guiding principle of the nomination ballot, and we work very hard to maintain that vision.
As with all Harvey Award categories, “Most Promising New Talent” and the “Special Award for Humor” are selected through the voting of the comics professional creative community exclusively. Beyond a publishing date in 2014, we provide no eligibility guidelines for works in these categories and, as such, we continue to rely on the judgment of our voters, and not impose arbitrary limits.
Our vetting process also leaves us confident that all nominations in the Best Original Graphic Album category are indeed eligible, containing enough new and revised material to meet the category definition.
The Harvey Awards committee is open to suggestions from the professional community and we welcome the input. As we do every year, we will review the Harveys voting process and identify areas where improvement can be made.
Which seems like
a) like a total “huh? I was in the other room having some pie” response and
b) poor Paul McSpadden
…but mostly a.
The Eisner Awards have a review process; if a chosen nominee does not meet their criteria is is removed from the ballot. And adjustments have definitely been made in past years. I realize that McSpadden is probably just tired of all the kvelling at this point, and threw up his hands and went back to his pie, but if you’re going to have awards, you need to have guidelines. The Newcomer nominees should all have been vetted BEFORE the announcement went out, and if there were only three people in the category, well then, that’s better than having “rookies” who have been getting Eisner nominations over atwo decades. Sadly, the Harvey’s have become a joke in many ways, but at least let it be a surreptitious titter and not a public guffaw.
I don’t know if any changes to the ballot have been made other than Zdarsky’s withdrawal. However I’ll throw this out there again:
If 19 comics professionals want to create an annual “Harvey’s voting tong” to pick a more selective list, well….Facebook Groups, people.
As usual the intrepid Jamie Coville went to the con and recorded some of the best panels. He also got audio of the Eisner Awards—fast forward to the Orlando Jones/ Michael Davis showdown or Jonathan Ross at the end for laughs— he also has audio of the panels here and the Eisners here. And pictures can be found here and here.
San Diego Comic Con 2015 (July 8 – 11) – 72 Photos
On this panel was Carol Tilley and Brad Ricca. Brad start off talking about an academic paper done in 1942 by Paul Cassidy, who was also an artist at the Siegel and Shuster shop and was assisting/ghosting
Joe Shuster in drawing Superman comics. The paper was about the use of Ghost Artists. He conducted a questionnaire about the use of ghost artists in the industry and wrote about his own experience. Carol talked
about a few other early academic papers she’s come across. One from 1932 about kids reading Sunday Comic strips, 1933 on comic strips artists and their level of art training, 1938 on comics as children’s literature
and along the way also put together circulation figures of all Sunday Comic strips. The last two papers talked about was a 1942 one about Kids understanding editorial cartoons and a 1949 paper about comic book
sales figures between 1935 and 1949. It was done by Charles Cridland who was the treasurer of comic book publisher David Mckay. He reveals his own companies numbers and gives estimates for his competitors.
Jai Nitz interviews Kevin Nowlan after he receives an Inkpot award. They talked about how they two met and their friendship, there was a slide show of Kevin’s work and discussed it. Among the topics discussed was
his attention to detail, his breaking into comics with a Dr. Strange fill in under Al Milgrom, working on Marvel Fanfare, his colouring work, the hate mail generated when he did Defenders in a different style,
Bruce Timm being influenced by him – which in turn was used for Batman: The Animated Series and other Bruce Tim cartoon series and movies, Nowlan inking Joe Quesada, a Batman story that was killed, his Superman
covers and a new Conan story they are doing together.
Moderating this panel was Jim Viscardi. Among the topics discussed were his desire to draw and when he wanted to do it for a living, his influences, his early non-comics jobs, his run on Human Torch, finding his
boundaries artistically, how drawing for animation changed his work, The Wizard of Oz, his favourite character to draw, the transition to writing, his upcoming creator owned book for Image, meeting Todd McFarlane
On this panel was law professor Jack Lerner, Deviant Art’s Josh Wattles and creator DJ Welch. Josh Wattles announced that Deviant Art is very aware of Art Theft being a problem for its users and announced
Deviantart.com/arttheft as a new resource in how to combat it. They explained the differences between Art Theft, Plagiarism, Copyright Infringement,
Tracing, Copy/Mimicking, Appropriation, Fair Use and Resolving Disputes. DJ Welch talked about having his art used without his permission and how his fans were a big help in combating that. They also discussed
Tumblr. As requested, the Q&A portion of this panel was not recorded so that artists asking about their specific situations could speak freely.
On the panel was Heidi MacDonald, Donna Dickens, James Viscardi, Casey Gilly, Joe Ilidge and Bret Schenker. The panel was moderated by Jeff Trexler. Jeff asked the question if neutral Comic reporting is dead?
The group spoke about doing news from a personal point of view vs a straight reporting of the facts. They also talked about social media controversies, if they have any limits to what they report on, the comments
they get from their readers and diversity in comics.
This panel consisted of Paul Levitz, Jeff Smith, Sergio Aragonés, Denis Kitchen and Danny Fingeroth. Paul asked the group if Eisner’s series of Graphic Novels is a more important influence on the comics industry
than the Spirit, the group discussed Will’s desire for respect for both himself and the comics medium. They said Will treated everybody as equals. Jeff Smith told a few funny stories about Will, they also talked
about Burne Hogarth and answered questions about how Will’s Graphic Novels did when they first came out and the difficulty for the market to rack and sell them.
On the panel were Nicky Wheeler-Nicholson, Michael Uslan, Danny Fingeroth, Gerard Jones and Brad Ricca. Nicky had a slide show of pictures and the panellists jumped into identifying the places and people. The group
talked about how there was a political crack down on the ‘Spicy’ books which drove some of the publishers into doing comic books. At the same time pulp books publishers were also getting into comic books too.
Michael Uslan told a funny origin story of how Little Archie came about from a poker game among the publishers. They talked about how the early comic publishers knew each other, worked together and hung out
socially. They discussed how the titles of some of the pulps and spicy books were used for comics. Nicky said the Major wanted to originally do comic strip adaptations of children’s literature. They discussed how
the early Superman & Batman characters borrowed/swiped from pulp characters. Nicky explained why the Major used original material for New Fun. They debated among themselves about the Superman discovery story and
there is suspicion that the official story is not accurate. The group revealed information about The Major’s being forced out of what would become DC comics and it’s possible relation to Superman.
Bob Layton is interviewed by Michael Uslan. They first discussed their early friendship, Bob receiving a standing ovation at Hall H on an Iron Man panel, the group of comic creators to come out of Indiana and
contributed to Bobs CPL fanzine, which included Roger Stern, John Byrne, Roger Slifer, Steven Grant (who was in the audience) and others. They talked about the group also doing Charlton’s fanzine and then Bob being
Wally Wood’s assistant and later Dick Giordano’s. Bob spoke passionately about Dick and how he was a father figure to him and really helped him out when he was young. He also spoke of being there with Dick during
his last days. Michael Uslan told a story about how he met a young Sam Ramni at a comic convention that Bob put on in 1975. Bob told the story of how he broke into Marvel, how he went to DC and how he convinced
David Michelinie to come over to Marvel with him and work on Iron Man. Bob revealed that Iron Man was slated for cancelation and how he and David saved it from cancellation. The Demon in the Bottle story was brought
up. Bob also said what happened to inker Jack Able after his stroke affected him and his career. Valiant Comics and Future Comics were also discussed about.
An introduction was done by Leigh Walton and on the panel was Congressman John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powel. After the introduction Lewis gave a powerful speech about getting into ‘good’ trouble. He spoke
about his youth raising chickens on a farm and preaching to them. He also spoke about the movement for equal rights, the fight against white and coloured only areas and called on the youth to learn the tactics
and use them towards non-violent progress. Andrew talked about his pestering John to write a comic. He revealed that he learned that Martin Luther King had edited the Martin Luther King comic that inspired this
comic. They discussed the success of getting March in schools and teachers using it to teach children this part of American history. There was also talk of the need for free post-secondary education, raising of
the minimum wage, removal of voting restrictions, the confederate flag and other topics. Nate spoke about them making the book as historically accurate as possible so that it couldn’t be challenged on that ground
in schools and said they were even able to fill in some gaps of history through the process of making this book. He spoke about their process of making this book and the effects it’s had on him and his kids.
On this panel was Danny Fingeroth, Chelle Mayer, David Armstrong, Arie Kaplin, Michael Uslan and coming in late was Jim Salicrup. David started off about talking about a story about Irwin and Carmine Infantino.
The entire panel told their story about meeting Irwin for the first time. They dicussed his early work and creating Wildcat. A video of a Jules Feiffer interview regarding Irwin was played. David Armstrong explained
the mutual admiration Irwin and Tooth had for each other with Tooth saying Irwin was a major influence on him. The group also talked about Irwin getting into the Will Esiner Hall of Fame and receiving the Award at
New York Comic Con. Towards the end, the group shared stories of Irwin.
Moderated by Deb Aoki on the panel was David Brothers, Brigid Alverson, Eva Volin and Christopher Butcher. After introductions the group started with discussing their picks for the Best New Books for Kids and Teens,
Best New Books for Adults, Best Continuing Books for Kids and Best Continuing Books for Adults. They then discussed the Worst Manga for any age, Underrated but Great Manga, their most Anticipated New Manga and their
Mark Evanier, David J Spurlock, Marv Wolfman, Rob Liefeld and Paul S Levine discussed Jack Kirby. Mark started off with getting people in the audience to make their new announcements relating to Kirby’s work.
Mark then talked about the lawsuit being over and he, Jack’s family and he feels, Jack and Roz would be very happy with the settlement. Mark said he was at the first X-men movie with Stan Lee and stayed until the
very end and was very angry that Jack’s name was in very small type at the end of the film and has refused to watch Marvel films since. Mark also said that during his time of hearing Jacks version of events and
talking with many other people who were at Marvel at the time (Steve Ditko, Wally Wood, Dick Ayers, Stan Lee, etc..) he is convinced that Jack’s version of events is accurate and Jack was an honest man who wasn’t
trying to take credit for thing he did not do. Rob Liefeld talked about meeting Jack, his love of Jack and doing Phantom Force. Mark said Jack and Roz was very happy for the large amount of money they received from
Image for that work and it meant more to them than many tributes given to them in other non-monetary ways. Mark and David spoke of the mutual respect that Kirby and Wood had for each other and David confirmed Jack’s
honesty. David spoke about Wally Wood, saying he left around the same time Ditko did and felt Jack would have left too if he wasn’t blacklisted at DC and had a family to feed. Mark said Jack and Wood would keep in
touch after Wood left Marvel and encouraged him in his projects. Marv Wolfman talked about meeting Jack as a kid and his love of Kamandi. Everybody (Except Paul Levine) spoke about the one comic they thought that
best represented Jack Kirby. Rob in particular mentioned the Galactus Saga in Fantastic Four. He also told a story about how Jim Valentino, when the two had a studio together, ordered Rob to read FF 1 – 100, which
he did and was very thankful for. He said earlier in his career he was trying to draw like George Perez, but would later switch to Jack.
Moderator Mark Waid talks with Jhonen Vasquez, Jill Thompson, Reginald Hudlin, Michael DeForge, Jerry Beck and eventually Lalo Alcaraz who came in a bit late. Jerry Beck talked a bit about the early relationship
between comics and animation going back to Windsor McKay. The group discussed how working in one field influenced their work in the other. Jill Thompson told us about the history of her Scary Godmother book first
being adapted into a play and then into animation. The group discussed dealing with decisions made from higher ups and how frustrating they are and Reginald talked about the view point from the executive position.
Reginald also spoke about how the Black Panther cartoon came about. Lalo spoke of his transition into animation and how he now had a new found appreciation for cartoonists. Jhonen said he taking Invader Zim back
into comics and it’s strange how people want the character to suddenly go ‘dark’ and be different than his animation personality. Regarding comics and animation Michael said what he liked about both formats. Jerry expressed that we are currently in a golden age for comic creators working in animation. Jill expressed that
because of new software, one doesn’t need to know as much about animation in order to create a cartoon. There was also an audience Q&A where the panel answered questions on working in other mediums, motion comics and
Chip Zdarsky is interviewed by Juliette Capra. Among the topics of Chips career were talked about are his art school, his early self published books Monster Cops and Prison Funnies, his starting a studio with
Kagan Mcleod and Cameron Stewart, real people appearing in his comics and him appearing in Marvel comics, the letters page in Sex Criminals, Jughead, working within a shared universe, Sex Criminals #11 and the
random sketch covers, how Sex Criminals came about, Mark Waid made a surprise appearance to ask Chip what’s his favourite Justice Society of America character is, Chip’s dream project at Marvel, what he can get away
with while writing for Marvel, Sex Criminals translated into other languages, Comixology not being able to offer #3 because of Apple restrictions, his working for the National Post newspaper – particularly the
Todd Diamond video skits and running for Mayor of Toronto. There was constant laughter from the audience throughout this panel.
Moderated by Derek McCaw. The Fan side is Tom Galloway, Peter S. Svensson and David Oakes. The Pro side is Len Wein, Anthony Tollin and Mark Waid. The questions range from 1956 to 1985 and are about The Joker,
The Spectre, Hydra, The X-Men, Justice Society of America, Robin, Catwoman, Captain America, Shazam/Captain Marvel, Metamorpho, Dr. Fate and the Elongated Man.
Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards 2015 (July 10) – 91 Photos
The 2015 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards was held in the Indigo Room at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront. The welcome was done by Jackie Estrada, Eisner Awards Administrator. Among the presenters were Bill and
Kayrne Morrison, Anina Bennett, Edward James Olmos, Shane West, Tara Ochs, Michael and Laura Allred, Katrina Law, Megan Hayes, J. Michael Trautmann, Kandyse McClure, Tahmoh Penikett, Orlando Jones,
Michael Davis, Scott McCloud, Jill Thompson, Raina Telgemeier, Dave Roman and Jonathan Ross. The Bill Finger Award was presented by Mark Evanier.
The Spirit of Comics Retailer Award was presented by Joe Ferrara. The Hall of Fame was presented by Sergio Aragonés. The Bob Clampett Humanitarian Award was presented by Ruth Clampett.
Maggie Thompson did the Memoriam. The Winners can be found at the
One tip I learned from a fellow author was that a good story comes “full circle”. Your beginning should give a hint to the ending, your middle should contain page-turning connecting pieces, and your ending should point you back to the beginning.
The advantage I had in writing As Fast As Words Could Fly, is that it was from my dad’s life experiences, and the events were already there. One tool that helped me with the plot was LISTENING to the emotions as my dad retold his story. I listened to his fears, his sadness, his excitement, and his determination. By doing this, I was able to “hear” the conflict, the climax, and the resolution.
One major emotion that resonates from my main character, Mason, is confidence. I drew this emotion from a statement my dad made: “I kept telling myself, I can do this.” The challenging part was trying to choose which event to develop into a plot. My grandfather was a Civil Rights activist, so I knew my dad wrote letters for my grandfather, participated in a few sit-ins, desegregated the formerly all-white high school, learned to type, and entered the county typing tournament. Once I decided to use his typing as my focal point, the next step was to create a beginning that would lead up to his typing. This is when I decided to open the story with the idea of my dad composing hand-written letters for his father’s Civil Rights group. I threw in a little creative dialogue to explain the need for a sit-in, and then I decided to introduce the focal point of typing by having the group give him a typewriter to make the letter writing a little easier. To build my character’s determination about learning to type, I used a somewhat irrelevant event my dad shared: priming tobacco during the summer. However, I used this event to support my plot with the statement: “Although he was weary from his day’s work, he didn’t let that stop him from practicing his typing.” His summer of priming tobacco also gave me an opportunity to introduce two minor characters who would later add to the tension he faced when integrating the formerly all-white school.
The second step was to concentrate on a middle that would show some conflict with typing. This is when I used my dad’s experiences of being ignored by the typing teacher, landing a typing job in the school’s library and later being fired without warning, and reluctantly being selected to represent his school in the typing tournament.
Lastly, I created an ending to show the results of all the hard work he had dedicated to his typing, which includes a statement that points back to the beginning (full circle).
Although the majority of the events in As Fast As Words Could Fly are true, I had to carefully select and tweak various events to work well in each section, making sure that each event supported my plot.
I’m a huge fan of outlines and have a hard time starting even seemingly simple stories without one. An outline gives me and my characters a nice road map, but that’s not always enough. Once I had an outline for Finding the Music, it was really helpful to visualize the plot in terms of successive scenes rather than bullet points. I even sketched out an actual map to help me think about my main character Reyna’s decisions, development and movement in space and time.
Still, early drafts of the story meandered. There were too many characters and details that didn’t move the plot forward. When stories begin to drift like that, I go back to my journalism experience: Finding the Music needed a nut graph, a newspaper term for a paragraph that explains “in a nutshell” what the story is really about, why it matters. Finding the Music is about a lot of things, but for me, what it’s *really* about is community—the community Reyna’s abuelo helped build through this music and the community Reyna is part of (even though it’s sometimes noisier than she’d like). I think Reyna’s mamá captures that idea of community when she says, “These are the sounds of happy lives. The voices of our neighbors are like music.”
Once I found the heart of the story, it was a lot easier to sharpen up scenes and pull the plot back into focus.
The nominees for this year’s Harvey Awards, as voted on by industry professionals, have just been announced and as usual they are a a surprising mix of books. Every year, one company seems to have distributed their ballots a little more aggressively among creators and this year is no exception, with Boom/Archaia and Valiant getting the most nominations, including a few unexpected ones. I think it’s safe to say no one saw JIM HENSON’S THE MUSICAL MONSTERS OF TURKEY HOLLOW by Roger Langridge getting a Best Original Graphic Album nominees, and beating out Roz Chast but…hey, Roger Langridge is one of the great cartoonists so let’s not argue too much. Giving the list a quick survey it seems like everything is worthy in its own way so let’s just celebrate the diversity and wonder of comics in this golden age.
The Harvey Awards will be presented at a banquet for Saturday night, September 26th, during the Baltimore Comicon. This marks the 10th year the Harveys have been held at Baltimore.
Yesterday was an exciting day for Oliver and the Seawigs when Oliver, Iris, Cliff the rambling isle and a jabber of Sea Monkeys picked up a UKLA Award! UKLA is the UK Literary Association and I've heard this award called 'the teacher's Carnegie' because it's judged entirely by teachers and it's a big honour to win it. Here's coverage in the Guardian:
When we arrived at the National College for Teaching and Leadership, we ran into fellow Oxford University Press-published author Gill Lewis, our Seawigs publisher Liz Cross and UKLA's Joy Court (who's been very helpful with the #PicturesMeanBusiness campaign).
We were supposed to be schmoozing teachers before the ceremony but Reeve was most uncharacteristically reserved.
Here's UKLA's Lynda Graham opening the ceremony with a slide of all the shortlisted books for the three categories of awards.
We got to see teachers talk about each book and how they'd used in their classrooms and how the children had responded to them.
I loved hearing from these kids about Oliver and the Seawigs. Check out the knitted Sea Nonkey, and that boy in the middle had made a clay version of Oliver!
While Seawigs won the main 7-11 award, Heather Butler's Us Minus Mum received a special commendation for dealing with death and grief. It was great to see a special award created for that book that will be very important for specific children going through these issues.
After the ceremony, teachers came up to us afterward and raved about how important the Seawigs illustrations were to getting kids in their 7-11 age group reading and enjoying the experience. They can't get enough of quality illustrated chapter books. Philip and I didn't go into making these books because we saw a huge niche in the market - we just thought it was a great way to tell a story - but it's amazing to hear all the testimonials of how these illustrated books really hit home with kids. Philip and I took turns giving a short speech and making this drawing, and I talked a bit about #PicturesMeanBusiness and urged teachers to encourage their colleagues to talk just as much about the illustrator as the writer when they read and do class projects on books, so kids could have two sources of inspiration instead of one.
Here's Philip and Chris Haughton mucking around after the dinner UKLA laid on for us.
Huge thanks to UKLA's David Reedy, Lynda Graham and Joy Court, award sponsor MLS, all the teachers and kids who read the huge stacks of books, Marilyn Brocklehurst from Norfolk Children's Book Centre who provided books on the day, our editor Liz Cross for coming along, and Sarah Howell for being so helpful and organised! Oh, and Philip, of course for making an ace book with me. That guy constantly amazes me with the story stuff he comes up with.
Another year, another Eisners completed! Check out the full list of nominees below. Winners have been bolded. Congrats to everyone who helped make this year the best in comics yet!
Best Short Story
“Beginning’s End,” by Rina Ayuyang, muthamagazine.com
“Corpse on the Imjin!” by Peter Kuper, in Masterful Marks: Cartoonists Who Changed the World (Simon & Schuster)
“Rule Number One,” by Lee Bermejo, in Batman Black and White #3 (DC)
“The Sound of One Hand Clapping,” by Max Landis & Jock, in Adventures of Superman #41-42 (DC) “When the Darkness Presses,” by Emily Carroll
Best Single Issue (or One-Shot)
Astro City #16: “Wish I May” by Kurt Busiek & Brent Anderson (Vertigo/DC) Beasts of Burden: Hunters and Gatherers, by Evan Dorkin & Jill Thompson (Dark Horse) Madman in Your Face 3D Special, by Mike Allred (Image) Marvel 75th Anniversary Celebration #1 (Marvel) The Multiversity: Pax Americana #1, by Grant Morrison & Frank Quitely (DC)
Best Continuing Series
Astro City, by Kurt Busiek & Brent Anderson (Vertigo) Bandette, by Paul Tobin & Colleen Coover (Monkeybrain) Hawkeye, by Matt Fraction, David Aja, & Annie Wu (Marvel) Saga, by Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples (Image) Southern Bastards, by Jason Aaron & Jason Latour (Image) The Walking Dead, by Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard, & Stefano Gaudiano (Image/Skybound)
Best Limited Series
Daredevil: Road Warrior, by Mark Waid & Peter Krause (Marvel Infinite Comics) Little Nemo: Return to Slumberland, by Eric Shanower & Gabriel Rodriguez (IDW) The Multiversity, by Grant Morrison et al. (DC) The Private Eye, by Brian K. Vaughan & Marcos Martin (Panel Syndicate) The Sandman: Overture, by Neil Gaiman & J. H. Williams III (Vertigo/DC)
Best New Series
The Fade Out, by Ed Brubaker & Sean Phillips (Image) Lumberjanes, by Shannon Watters, Grace Ellis, Noelle Stevenson, & Brooke A. Allen (BOOM! Box) Ms. Marvel, by G. Willow Wilson & Adrian Alphona (Marvel) Rocket Raccoon, by Skottie Young (Marvel) The Wicked + The Divine, by Kieron Gillen & Jamie McKelvie (Image)
Best Publication for Early Readers (up to age 7)
BirdCatDog, by Lee Nordling & Meritxell Bosch (Lerner/Graphic Universe) A Cat Named Tim And Other Stories, by John Martz (Koyama Press) Hello Kitty, Hello 40: A Celebration in 40 Stories, edited by Traci N. Todd & Elizabeth Kawasaki (VIZ) Mermin, Book 3: Deep Dives, by Joey Weiser (Oni) The Zoo Box, by Ariel Cohn & Aron Nels Steinke (First Second)
Best Publication for Kids (ages 8-12)
Batman Li’l Gotham, vol. 2, by Derek Fridolfs & Dustin Nguyen (DC) El Deafo, by Cece Bell (Amulet/Abrams) I Was the Cat, by Paul Tobin & Benjamin Dewey (Oni) Little Nemo: Return to Slumberland, by Eric Shanower & Gabriel Rodriguez (IDW) Tiny Titans: Return to the Treehouse, by Art Baltazar & Franco (DC)
Best Publication for Teens (ages 13-17)
Doomboy, by Tony Sandoval (Magnetic Press) The Dumbest Idea Ever, by Jimmy Gownley (Graphix/Scholastic) Lumberjanes, by Shannon Watters, Grace Ellis, Noelle Stevenson, & Brooke A. Allen (BOOM! Box) Meteor Men, by Jeff Parker & Sandy Jarrell (Oni) The Shadow Hero, by Gene Luen Yang & Sonny Liew (First Second) The Wrenchies, by Farel Dalrymple (First Second)
Best Humor Publication
The Complete Cul de Sac, by Richard Thompson (Andrews McMeel) Dog Butts and Love. And Stuff Like That. And Cats. by Jim Benton (NBM) Groo vs. Conan, by Sergio Aragonés, Mark Evanier, & Tom Yeates (Dark Horse) Rocket Raccoon, by Skottie Young (Marvel) Superior Foes of Spider-Man, by Nick Spencer & Steve Lieber (Marvel)
In the Dark: A Horror Anthology, edited by Rachel Deering (Tiny Behemoth Press/IDW) Little Nemo: Dream Another Dream, edited by Josh O’Neill, Andrew Carl, & Chris Stevens (Locust Moon) Massive: Gay Erotic Manga and the Men Who Make It, edited by Anne Ishii, Chip Kidd, & Graham Kolbeins (Fantagraphics) Masterful Marks: Cartoonists Who Changed the World, edited by Monte Beauchamp (Simon & Schuster) To End All Wars: The Graphic Anthology of The First World War, edited by Jonathan Clode & John Stuart Clark (Soaring Penguin)
Best Reality-Based Work
Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast (Bloomsbury) Dragon’s Breath and Other True Stories, by MariNaomi (2d Cloud/Uncivilized Books) El Deafo, by Cece Bell (Amulet/Abrams) Hip Hop Family Tree, vol. 2, by Ed Piskor (Fantagraphics) Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales: Treaties, Trenches, Mud, and Blood, by Nathan Hale (Abrams) To End All Wars: The Graphic Anthology of The First World War, edited by Jonathan Clode & John Stuart Clark (Soaring Penguin)
Best Graphic Album—New
The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil, by Stephen Collins (Picador) Here, by Richard McGuire (Pantheon) Kill My Mother, by Jules Feiffer (Liveright) The Motherless Oven, by Rob Davis (SelfMadeHero) Seconds, by Bryan Lee O’Malley (Ballantine Books) This One Summer, by Mariko Tamaki & Jillian Tamaki (First Second)
Best Graphic Album—Reprint
Dave Dorman’s Wasted Lands Omnibus (Magnetic Press) How to Be Happy, by Eleanor Davis (Fantagraphics) Jim, by Jim Woodring (Fantagraphics) Sock Monkey Treasury, by Tony Millionaire (Fantagraphics) Through the Woods, by Emily Carroll (McElderry Books)
Best Archival Collection/Project—Strips (at least 20 years old)
Winsor McCay’s Complete Little Nemo, edited by Alexander Braun (TASCHEN) Edgar Rice Burroughs’s Tarzan: The Sunday Comics, 1933–1935, by Hal Foster, edited by Brendan Wright (Dark Horse) Moomin: The Deluxe Anniversary Edition, by Tove Jansson, edited by Tom Devlin (Drawn & Quarterly) Pogo, vol. 3: Evidence to the Contrary, by Walt Kelly, edited by Carolyn Kelly & Eric Reynolds (Fantagraphics) Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse, vols. 5-6, by Floyd Gottfredson, edited by David Gerstein & Gary Groth (Fantagraphics)
Best Archival Collection/Project—Comic Books (at least 20 Years Old)
The Complete ZAP Comix Box Set, edited by Gary Groth, with Mike Catron (Fantagraphics) Steranko Nick Fury Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. Artist’s Edition, edited by Scott Dunbier (IDW) Walt Disney’s Donald Duck: Trail of the Unicorn, by Carl Barks, edited by Gary Groth (Fantagraphics) Walt Disney’s Uncle Scrooge and Donald Duck: The Son of the Son, by Don Rosa, edited by David Gerstein (Fantagraphics) Walt Kelly’s Pogo: The Complete Dell Comics, vols. 1–2, edited by Daniel Herman (Hermes) Witzend, by Wallace Wood et al., edited by Gary Groth, with Mike Catron (Fantagraphics)
Best U.S. Edition of International Material
Beautiful Darkness, by Fabien Vehlmann & Kerascoët (Drawn & Quarterly) Blacksad: Amarillo, by Juan Díaz Canales & Juanjo Guarnido (Dark Horse) Corto Maltese: Under the Sign of Capricorn, by Hugo Pratt (IDW/Euro Comics) Jaybird, by Lauri & Jaakko Ahonen (Dark Horse/SAF) The Leaning Girl, by Benoît Peeters & François Schuiten (Alaxis Press)
Best U.S. Edition of International Material—Asia
All You Need Is Kill, by Hiroshi Sakurazaka, Ryosuke Takeuchi, Takeshi Obata & yoshitoshi ABe (VIZ) In Clothes Called Fat, by Moyoco Anno (Vertical) Master Keaton, vol 1, by Naoki Urasawa, Hokusei Katsushika, & Takashi Nagasaki (VIZ) One-Punch Man, by One & Yusuke Murata (VIZ) Showa 1939–1944 and Showa 1944–1953: A History of Japan, by Shigeru Mizuki (Drawn & Quarterly) Wolf Children: Ame & Yuki, by Mamoru Hosada & Yu (Yen Press)
Jason Aaron, Original Sin, Thor, Men of Wrath (Marvel); Southern Bastards (Image)
Kelly Sue DeConnick, Captain Marvel (Marvel); Pretty Deadly (Image)
Grant Morrison, The Multiversity (DC); Annihilator (Legendary Comics)
Brian K. Vaughan, Saga (Image); Private Eye (Panel Syndicate)
G. Willow Wilson, Ms. Marvel (Marvel) Gene Luen Yang, Avatar: The Last Airbender (Dark Horse); The Shadow Hero (First Second)
Sergio Aragonés, Sergio Aragonés Funnies (Bongo); Groo vs. Conan (Dark Horse)
Charles Burns, Sugar Skull (Pantheon)
Stephen Collins, The Giant Beard That Was Evil (Picador)
Richard McGuire, Here (Pantheon)
Stan Sakai, Usagi Yojimbo: Senso, Usagi Yojimbo Color Special: The Artist (Dark Horse) Raina Telgemeier, Sisters (Graphix/Scholastic)
Adrian Alphona, Ms. Marvel (Marvel)
Mike Allred, Silver Surfer (Marvel); Madman in Your Face 3D Special (Image)
Frank Quitely, Multiversity (DC)
François Schuiten, The Leaning Girl (Alaxis Press) Fiona Staples, Saga (Image)
Babs Tarr, Batgirl (DC)
Best Painter/Multimedia Artist (interior art)
Lauri & Jaakko Ahonen, Jaybird (Dark Horse)
Colleen Coover, Bandette (Monkeybrain)
Mike Del Mundo, Elektra (Marvel)
Juanjo Guarnido, Blacksad: Amarillo (Dark Horse) J. H. Williams III, The Sandman: Overture (Vertigo/DC)
Best Cover Artist
Darwyn Cooke, DC Comics Darwyn Cooke Month Variant Covers (DC)
Mike Del Mundo, Elektra, X-Men: Legacy, A+X, Dexter, Dexter Down Under (Marvel)
Francesco Francavilla, Afterlife with Archie (Archie); Grindhouse: Doors Open at Midnight (Dark Horse); The Twilight Zone, Django/Zorro (Dynamite); X-Files (IDW)
Jamie McKelvie/Matthew Wilson, The Wicked + The Divine (Image); Ms. Marvel (Marvel)
Phil Noto, Black Widow (Marvel)
Alex Ross, Astro City (Vertigo/DC); Batman 66: The Lost Episode, Batman 66 Meets Green Hornet (DC/Dynamite)
Laura Allred, Silver Surfer (Marvel); Madman in Your Face 3D Special (Image)
Nelson Daniel, Little Nemo: Return to Slumberland, Judge Dredd, Wild Blue Yonder (IDW)
Lovern Kindzierski, The Graveyard Book, vols. 1-2 (Harper)
Matthew Petz, The Leg (Blue Creek Creative/Top Shelf) Dave Stewart, Hellboy in Hell, BPRD, Abe Sapien, Baltimore, Lobster Johnson, Witchfinder, Shaolin Cowboy, Aliens: Fire and Stone, DHP (Dark Horse)
Matthew Wilson, Adventures of Superman (DC); The Wicked + The Divine (Image), Daredevil, Thor (Marvel)
Joe Caramagna, Ms. Marvel, Daredevil (Marvel)
Todd Klein, Fables, The Sandman: Overture, The Unwritten (Vertigo/DC); Nemo: The Roses of Berlin (Top Shelf)
Max, Vapor (Fantagraphics)
Jack Morelli, Afterlife with Archie, Archie, Betty and Veronica, etc. (Archie) Stan Sakai, Usagi Yojimbo: Senso, Usagi Yojimbo Color Special: The Artist (Dark Horse)
Best Comics-Related Periodical/Journalism
Alter Ego, edited by Roy Thomas (TwoMorrows) Comic Book Creator, edited by Jon B. Cooke (TwoMorrows)
Comic Book Resources, edited by Jonah Weiland & Albert Ching, www.comicbookresources.com Comics Alliance, edited by Andy Khouri, Caleb Goellner, Andrew Wheeler, & Joe Hughes, www.comicsalliance.com tcj.com edited by Dan Nadel & Timothy Hodler (Fantagraphics)
Best Comics-Related Book
Comics Through Time: A History of Icons, Idols, and Ideas (4 vols.), edited by M. Keith Booker (ABC-CLIO) Creeping Death from Neptune: The Life and Comics of Basil Wolverton, by Greg Sadowski (Fantagraphics) Genius Animated: The Cartoon Art of Alex Toth, vol. 3, by Dean Mullaney & Bruce Canwell (IDW/LOAC) What Fools These Mortals Be: The Story of Puck, by Michael Alexander Kahn & Richard Samuel West (IDW/LOAC) 75 Years of Marvel Comics: From the Golden Age to the Silver Screen, by Roy Thomas & Josh Baker (TASCHEN)
Best Scholarly/Academic Work
American Comics, Literary Theory, and Religion: The Superhero Afterlife, by A. David Lewis (Palgrave Macmillan) Considering Watchmen: Poetics, Property, Politics, by Andrew Hoberek (Rutgers University Press) Funnybooks: The Improbable Glories of the Best American Comic Books, by Michael Barrier (University of California Press) Graphic Details: Jewish Women’s Confessional Comics in Essays and Interviews, edited by Sarah Lightman (McFarland) The Origins of Comics: From William Hogarth to Winsor McCay, by Thierry Smolderen, tr. by Bart Beaty & Nick Nguyen (University Press of Mississippi) Wide Awake in Slumberland: Fantasy, Mass Culture, and Modernism in the Art of Winsor McCay, by Katherine Roeder (University Press of Mississippi)
Best Publication Design
Batman: Kelley Jones Gallery Edition, designed by Josh Beatman/Brainchild Studios (Graphitti/DC) The Complete ZAP Comix Box Set, designed by Tony Ong (Fantagraphics) Little Nemo: Dream Another Dream, designed by Jim Rugg (Locust Moon) Street View, designed by Pascal Rabate (NBM/Comics Lit) Winsor McCay’s Complete Little Nemo, designed by Anna Tina Kessler (TASCHEN)
The Academy of American Poets has selected award winning poet Carolyn Forché to judge the 2016 Walt Whitman Award, a prestigious honor with many benefits.
The endowments include $5,000, a book contract with Graywolf Press, and guaranteed book sales. The Academy of American Poets will buy and distribute thousands of copies of the title, which will be published in 2017, to its members. The prize also includes a six-week residency at the Civitella Ranieri Center in Umbria, Italy. In addition, the poet will be featured in American Poets magazine.
Submissions will be accepted between September 1 and November 1, 2015. The winner will be revealed in April 2016, during National Poetry Month.
It was just less than a year ago that my then 9 year old did something I felt was especially meaningful and beautiful in her development as a reader. For the first time in her life she found a poem which she loved so very much, she copied it out and stuck it by her bed.
In case you can’t read the fading words, the title of the poem is “If all the world were paper” and it is by Joseph Coelho:
M found it in an anthology with the exciting title “Werewolf Club Rules” – a whole book of poems by Joseph Coehlo – which earlier this year was shortlisted for the 2015 CLPE Children’s Poetry Award (CLiPPA). The winners of this award get announced next week, but because all shortlisted volumes deserve celebrating, today I’m part of a blog tour highlighting this wide ranging selection of fantastic poetry.
I’m really very pleased (as is M) to have Joseph Coehlo stop by today and share a piece he’s written for us, about “The Ultimate Writers’ Tip”. Over now to Joseph:
“I’m a sucker for writers’ tips – in fact I have Lester Dents Plot Map for writing pulp fiction nailed to the wall by my desk. I’ve read and re-read Stephen King’s ‘On Writing’ and I’ve been thoroughly depressed by Murakami’s discipline. I continually dip into various Youtube videos and blog posts and yes good old fashioned books on the subject. So when pondering this blog I found myself thinking…
“What can I add that hasn’t been said before?”
it turns out… quite a lot actually. So there. Why do we writers/wannabe writers/should be writers seek out “Writers’ Tips” I think it’s because we’re looking for that elusive secret, trick, way-in that will make it easy for us. Neil Gaiman summed this up beautifully in this post.
Basically there is no easy way out – you have to “turn up for work” as Jeanette Winterson says, you have to sit with the intention of writing and keep doing that until something comes and it is hard and it doesn’t always flow and now with this wonderful thing we call the internet it is that much harder. I’ve spent many a day: writing a sentence – checking Facebook – writing a sentence – researching frogs on Pinterest for half-an-hour! – writing a sentence – watching funnies on Youtube – writing a sentence – watching a film and so on but by hook or crook I stay in that seat and by the end of the day I’ll have 500-1000 words added to the story or play or poem. So what can I add to this conversation other than WORK… WORK HARDER!!!! Well my partner recently entered the murky world of writing and we started chatting about process and I related this…
The hardest thing any writer has to deal with is their own inner critic we can all destroy our work by judging it as it is being birthed into the world, you wouldn’t do that to a child! And you shouldn’t do it to your work. You should treat your work like a child, be proud of it, show it off, believe in it and nurture it. If you expected a newborn to score a hat-trick straight out of the womb then you’re never going to have a football star daughter! But if you believe in her, encourage her and take her to the park with a ball… well then… Beckham WATCH OUT!
What I realised whilst chatting to my better-half was this… I think I find it easier to write than others might thanks largely to a background in physical theatre and improvisation. Bear with me… I was performing from 11 at Putney Theatre (then Group 64) and then went on to be part of BAC’s Youth Theatre working with wonderful directors and companies like Blind Summit and Gecko learning to express myself and to simply not hold back. This really is a state of mind and it took me time to realise that my expression, in whatever form, had value. That realisation in turn bled into my writing and whilst taking part in Performance Poetry courses with Apples and Snakes I wrote poems that didn’t hold back and did not apologise. As my life as a poet continued I had the pleasure of running creative projects in schools for Creative Partnerships who were big on the idea that you are allowed to fail! This blew my mind and seamlessly intertwined with all I had learnt through physical theatre and improv. The right to fail is every artists right and once you give yourself that gift you allow yourself to find the gold rather than quitting the dig because all you’re turning up is earth. That’s not to say you have a right to be lazy – but simply that you have the right to give it your best shot and to not always hit home.
The right to fail is particularly pertinent when working with young people I’ve seen amazing young writers in schools clam up out of fear of doing something “wrong” or berating themselves because what they have written is not “good enough” it took me a while to realise that these children were enacting the same fears and thought processes of adults! Society teaches us from a young age to judge ourselves and so we learn to clam up and deny ourselves the opportunity to become great artists. My poem ‘An A* from Miss Coo’ is on this very subject as the poems protagonist is constantly told “That can’t be right!/Do it again and do it right!”
My partner seemed to think these were words of worth so I lay them here for you, I hope they’re useful but if not… so be it… I’m a writer…. I’m allowed to fail”.
Joseph Coelho’s ‘Werewolf Club Rules and other poems’ is published by Frances Lincoln. Joseph Is currently touring Pop-Up Flashback – a theatre show for 5+ featuring poetry and giant pop-ups created by John O’leary. Learn more about the show here.
Another year, another successful ALA annual! We were so excited to be in San Francisco this year, especially in light of the recent SCOTUS ruling on gay marriage! What better city to be in than the one that elected Harvey Milk to public office and issued marriage licenses to same-sex couples in 2004, kickstarting a fight for LGBTQ marriage rights in California?
We started off the conference with some great news: Foreword Reviews named us Indie Publisher of the Year 2014! We were thrilled and humbled by this honor. You can see what they said about us here.
We had a full signing schedule, including award-winning authors and illustrators, and a couple of debut authors. Another highlight was getting to meet many of our Children’s Book Press authors and illustrators who are based in California. We’ve often only emailed back and forth with them, so it was nice to finally meet in person!
We were also excited to see Frank Morrison honored at the Coretta Scott King breakfast for his illustrations in Little Melba and Her Big Trombone! He wrote a moving speech about breaking out of the mold, as Melba did:
I was dazzled by this six year old [Melba] hearing the rhythm and beats in her head. I believe this is true for all artists. First you have to have the love, then passion, next discipline, tenacity, and bravery. I truly believe this is what took Melba from performing on the steps with her grandfather in front of a dog at seven years old to performing in front of thousands on stages around the world. Let’s all encourage our youth to recognized their gifts and if they don’t fit the cookie cutter,
Break! The! Mold!
Other winners also gave contemplative, beautiful, and inspiring speeches (you can read Jacqueline Woodson’s here).
Publisher Jason Low participated in an Ignite Session with a presentation called “Diversity’s Action Plan,” a five minute talk packed with big ideas about how to create change in the publishing industry. If you missed it, you can watch all 5 minutes right here:
One key takeaway: we’re asking people to sign a petition for publishers to participate in our Diversity Baseline Survey, which will measure staff diversity in the publishing industry and give us a benchmark for improvement. If you haven’t signed yet, please take a minute to do so. We’ve now surpassed 1,500 signatures!
Valynne E. Maetani, debut author and winner of Tu Book‘s New Visions Award, was at the Pop Top stage to talk about her new YA mystery novel, Ink and Ashes. Afterwards, she signed books at our booth, and completely sold out!
It was a lot of fun to meet everyone and enjoy San Francisco, and we’re looking forward to Orlando next year!
What were your ALA highlights? Let us know in the comments!
David Hackett Fischer, a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian, has won the 2015 Pritzker Military Museum & Library Literature Award for Lifetime Achievement in Military Writing. Fischer will also receive $100,000 in prize money.
Here’s more from the press release: “Author of 15 major publications on topics ranging from the American Revolution to the logic of historical thought, Fischer received the American Enterprise Institute’s Irving Kristol Award in 2006 for his ‘pivotal role in reviving popular and academic interest in American history and its lessons for the present.’ Among his notable works are bestsellers and award-winners like Washington’s Crossing (Oxford University Press, 2004), a National Book Award finalist and 2005 Pulitzer Prize winner for history; Paul Revere’s Ride (Oxford, 1994), a 1996 Boston Globe Top 10 Book of the Year; Champlain’s Dream (Simon & Schuster/Knopf Canada, 2008), an internationally acclaimed biography published in English and French; and Albion’s Seed: Four British Folkways in America (Oxford, 1989), a groundbreaking study of the roots of essential American traits—a second volume of which is now in progress.”
Fischer will accept this award at a gala event which will be held at the Hilton Chicago on November 7. Some of the past winners include Sir Max Hastings, Allan Millett, and Tim O’Brien.
Hannah Wood, an Associate Editor at Harper, has won The Ashmead Award. The publishing prize honors book editor Lawrence Peel \"Larry\" Ashmead, who passed away in 2010.
Wood began her publishing career as an editorial intern at W.W. Norton, following by stints at two literary agencies, and worked as an editorial assistant at Doubleday. In 2013 she joined Harper where she now works as an Assistant Editor with Claire Wachtel. As a reward for The Ashmead Award, Wood will attend the Yale Publishing Course: Leadership Strategies in Book Publishing, July 19 – 24 in New Haven, CT.
“We had a superb field of candidates this year, but Hannah so impressed us with her dedication, skills and passion, her supportive interaction with authors, and her sharp wit and sense of humor, we knew that Larry would have loved working with her,” stated Brenda Segel, HarperCollins Sr. VP of Rights who spoke on behalf of the selection committee.
We’re just back from the ALA Annual Conference, and kicking off the long weekend with some happy news: Lee & Low Books was named Indie Publisher of the Year 2014 by Foreword Reviews! We are so thrilled, overjoyed, and humbled by this honor. Here’s what Foreword Reviews said about us at the Award Announcement:
Foreword presented Lee & Low Books with its Publisher of the Year award for the minority-owned company’s commitment to diverse voices in children’s literature. Lack of diversity in children’s literature has been a recent topic of discussion in the publishing world, but Lee & Low has focused on filling this void for a couple of decades. “For more than 20 years, Jason Low and his talented team have continued an honorable mission of increasing the number of diverse books available for children,” said Foreword Reviews Publisher Victoria Sutherland. “They are being honored by Foreword for more than books, however. We admire their leadership role in the indie publishing community.”
Thank you all for the outpouring of love and support. We are lucky to have such passionate fans, partners, and readers. Happy Fourth of July weekend, and we’ll see you next week!
Dan Santat is one of the hardest-working people in publishing. This is widely known among his followers on Twitter and Facebook, who often see him burning the midnight oil, and the editors and art directors at the several publishing houses with which he’s worked.
This is obvious in the number of books that bear his dynamic illustrations, in everything from picture books and chapter books to graphic novels. This is undeniable, because last year he created over five hundred pages of four-color illustrations.
This is unheard of.
But what Dan does isn’t just hard work. It takes a lot of guts too, a blind leap of faith that gave him the drive to sleep for only four hours a night for ten years, so that he could, time and again, turn in consistently great work — all while raising two young sons, Alek and Kyle, with his wife Leah, and taking care of a menagerie of pets.
Like Beekle, Dan Santat has been on a journey.
He was born in Brooklyn in 1975 to Adam and Nancy Santat, a Thai couple who immigrated to the United States in 1968. When he turned three, his parents moved the family to California, where they both eagerly awaited the day their only child would become a doctor.
When Dan graduated from the University of California, San Diego in microbiology, he found himself pulled by a calling that he’d had for many years but had never acted on. Rather than going on to dental school, he instead enrolled at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. There he saw something familiar — other students just like him who dreamed of a life filled with art. This is also where he met one of his closest friends, illustrator Peter Brown.
He then sailed through unknown waters and took on many different jobs, from texture artist and 3D modeler to concept art designer for video games, until he reached the children’s book world. In 2002, he met Scholastic editor Arthur Levine at a Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators conference, which led to his first book, The Guild of Geniuses. Aside from developing a Disney animated television series, The Replacements, it was all books from there on.
Children’s book publishing is a strange place. The process is slow. It takes a lot of work. And most people don’t get paid very much.
In 2010, Dan was offered what most people would call a dream job. Google approached him, wanting him to become one of their Google Doodlers. Taking that job meant financial stability for his family. It would prove art school wasn’t a mistake. It would change his life.
He turned the job down.
It was not an easy decision, but he loved creating children’s books, and deep down, he knew he would look back and wonder “What if?” He also thought about the example he was setting for his sons and how he wanted them to also follow their dreams no matter how difficult. Determined to have no regrets, Dan became a work machine.
He took on as many projects as he could, always pushing himself to make the next book better. He woke up every morning at 6:30 to help his boys get to school and worked until 2 a.m. He illustrated over sixty books, and in 2014 alone, he had thirteen books published that featured his art. He drank so much coffee that he began roasting his own beans, even creating his own brand he called “Surly Asian Guy,” which he shared with friends, family, and colleagues. The coffee is bold, strong, and a touch bitter, but still quite pleasing — a little like Dan himself.
This grueling routine went on for years, and Dan assumed he could do it for more, but 2014 was rough. Family health emergencies led to hospitalizations, and multiple deadlines for big books left him with as few as twelve hours of sleep in an entire week. He was exhausted, and on his birthday last October he shared the following in a blog post: “I want and expect far too much than what I may be capable of. I’m thirty-nine and I feel tired.”
A few weeks later, The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend began to appear on year-end “best of ” lists. Minh Le at The Huffington Post blog named it the Best Overall picture book of the year, and in his review he wrote, “As with all great books, Beekle has an air of inevitability about it. As if somewhere out there is an island of perfect stories just waiting for the right person to come along and imagine it into being.”
Up until then, Dan was known for his action-packed illustrations, full of humor and high energy, as seen in books such as Oh No!: Or How My Science Project Destroyed the World, The Three Ninja Pigs, and Chicken Dance. Beekle’sstory reflected his softer side and was inspired by Dan’s first child, his son Alek. Like Beekle imagining his real friend, Dan had wondered, before Alek’s birth, what his child would look and be like. A few years later, on Alek’s first day of school, Dan eased his son’s worries about making friends. “All it takes is one,” he’d said, just as when Alice finally meets Beekle and his friendship opens up for her the possibility for more.
The name “Beekle” itself comes from Alek’s first word, an early attempt at “bicycle.” There’s a video of one-year-old Alek pedaling a tricycle at Christmas, cheerfully exclaiming, “Beekle!” At the time, Dan’s wife Leah said the name would make a great picture book character. Years later, “Beekle” became an unimaginary friend.
The book began as a very short script, a few black-and-white sketches, and one full-color sample. Beekle had one eye, a hat and scarf, and a story that hinted at journey and adventure. Since he’d written only one picture-book text, and that over ten years earlier, writing did not come quickly to Dan. He took an ambitious approach at first. At one point, the story was a metaphor for the creative process, a tale of how
an author and illustrator come together on a picture book. But then he took a step back and adhered to the old adage of “speaking from the heart.” The minute you meet Dan you can tell he’s a captivating storyteller and speaker, and he soon realized that all he had to do was take those words out of his mouth and put them onto paper.
Throughout the process, Beekle and his story changed. Dan believes that in character design, every single element must serve a purpose. So Beekle got two eyes, because there was no reason for him to have just one. Beekle became even more amorphous, an ambiguous blob, because he was meant to be dreamed up by a shy young girl who thought she didn’t deserve any imaginary friend, much less an awesome one. Like a white sheet of paper, Beekle represented possibility and imagination.
He was also bestowed with a crown; while Beekle was simple and indistinct, he was always a king in Alice’s mind. He got one of the cutest butts in picture books, because creative director Dave Caplan would exclaim, “Look at that tuchus!” every time he saw it, and Dan, ever a professional with publishers, aimed to please.
While Dan took out some of the layers of the story, he added much to the overall design and illustration. The endpapers feature various children with their imaginary friends, each one specifically paired with the child’s interests. In the front endpapers Beekle stands alone, and in the back, there he is with Alice. The case cover reveals a cruder Beekle, as though he were hand-drawn by a child — in this case, we imagine it was done by Alice. On the front cover and in the book we see that while adults never pay attention to Beekle, animals do. The colors embark on a journey too, from the psychedelic rainbow palette of the imaginary world to the dark grays and blues of the real world. As the sun sets, Beekle sits perched atop a bare tree waiting for his friend, the sepia tones in the background matching his melancholy, and when he meets Alice at last, the world blooms with bright color.
Though the story itself took a step away from being about the creative process, the message is still there, on the pages where Alice shares her drawings with Beekle — each one echoing the previous pages in the story. So he got that in there after all. Touché, Dan.
The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend is the culmination of hard work and hard-earned experience. With this book Dan felt he had finally reached his destination, which is why, for the first time in his career, he allowed himself a little hope. He thought that if all the stars were aligned, he might be in the running for a Caldecott Honor. That was all he could imagine.
When his cover appeared on that last Caldecott slide at the ALA Youth Media Awards, cheers erupted, and everyone, from the publishers he’s worked with to the large and loving community of authors and illustrators who’ve had his back for years, knew.
Dan Santat had done the unimaginable.
Dan Santat is the winner of the 2015 Caldecott Medal for The Adventures of Beekle: An Unimaginary Friend (Little, Brown). From the July/August 2015 issue of The Horn Book Magazine. For more speeches, profiles, and articles click the tag ala 2015.
It is Friday afternoon and I’m sitting in a restaurant in Vancouver, B.C. In an hour, I will give my final talk of a two-day visit. In these two days, I’ve visited a number of schools in Vancouver — both independent and public. As I stood in front of each crowd, I was astonished by a thing I’ve not encountered for many years now — being the only African American in an otherwise incredibly diverse room. I kept thinking to myself — “We are all almost here.”
At the Hudson Children’s Book Festival in May, a young white reporter asked me, How has the award changed your life? I looked at her a moment, then said, Which award? She fell silent, looking confused. I was not inclined to fill the silence. In Brown Girl Dreaming I write, “Even the silence has a story to tell you. Just listen. Listen.” So I listened to the space grow between us — knowing the answer she would give was not the answer I wanted to hear. I knew her answer was going to come from her own sense of what is important in the world as she knew it. I held up the book and pointed to the CSK seal on it, letting more silence sit between us before I began in (as my partner likes to refer to it) my Joho Manner, to calmly and quietly break things down for her.
The Coretta Scott King Honor Award was given to me for the first time in 1995 for my book I Hadn’t Meant To Tell You This, a story of two girls growing up in Chauncey, Ohio — one wealthy and black, the other poor and white. Both being raised by their fathers. Because the book dealt with issues of, among other things, a deeply flawed health care system, friendship across lines of economic class, and sexual abuse, I was stunned and so pleased that the committee had awarded this book. But in 1996, when my novel From the Notebooks of Melanin Sun was given an Honor, while I was still young and nervous and new to the world of young people’s literature, I just thought, “Wow!” I had never dreamed that a book with a gay mom would even get published, let alone win a CSK Honor Award. I realized then that there were some people in this world who had my back — some people letting me know: “We got you.” Both of these moments changed my life.
And again my life was changed when the CSK committee gave the Author Award to my book Miracle’sBoys in 2001. That year, we learned that employees at the hotel where the awards ceremony was to be held were picketing. When the CSK members refused to cross the picket lines and, instead, canceled the ceremony, I knew I had found my people. In the way of our people always finding a way to make a way out of no way, my publisher and other publishers came together and organized the CSK Tea that Bryan Collier, the CSK Award winner for illustration, and I spoke at. The morning before that tea, I learned I was pregnant with our daughter, Toshi. To stand in that room and be among new family and old family, a generation coming, kindred spirits and people who deeply, deeply believed in me, was life-altering. And the years after these awards, when the CSK committee chose Locomotion and Each Kindness as Honor Books — launching those books into the world with their blessing, believing deeply…in me — these events have forever changed my life.
The first time I read Rudine Sims Bishop’s writing and understood the work I was brought here to do, my life was changed forever. The first time Deb Taylor brought me to the Enoch Pratt Free Library, my life was changed forever. The first time I hugged Walter Dean Myers, sat beside Virginia Hamilton and basked in the warmth of her smile, snapped a photo with Tom Feelings, read Stevie by John Steptoe — my life was changed forever. Every time I get to be in a room with Dr. Henrietta Smith, my life is changed.
So while there are some who will try to find ways to erase the magnitude of this award, the amazingness of us and our work — there are many more who know the importance of our stories in the world. So to the Coretta Scott King committee who chose Brown Girl Dreaming as this year’s award winner, I say Thank You — you have, once again, changed my life. To my editor, Nancy Paulsen, who dug so deeply into the pages of this story and helped me to believe that there was some sense to this journey, and a purpose, I say Thank You — you continue to change my life. And to my Penguin Random House family, whose passion comes through with every email and phone call and visit to the office and dinner and champagne toast — I say Thank You. To my past editor, Wendy Lamb, who said “Write what you want,” and my past agent, Charlotte Sheedy, who said “We need to find you a home” and found me Nancy Paulsen — I say Thank You. To my present agent, Kathleen Nishimoto, whose energy and dedication and joy just…just makes me smile — I say Thank You. To my single mom, who, during the Great Migration, somehow got four kids from Greenville to Brooklyn and made sure we were all educated — in memory, I say Thank You. To the Woodsons and the Irbys who are still on this planet and the ones who have moved to the next place, I say Thank You. And to my family — my amazing partner, my glorious children, the aunts and uncles (two of whom are on this stage with me—Chris and Jason!—and Kwame, when you come to Brooklyn, we’re gonna rope you in, too!), and to the rest of our village who change our lives by being here to help us through every single day — I say Thank You!
From left to right: Christopher Myers, Kwame Alexander, Jason Reynolds, Jacqueline Woodson, and Rita Williams-Garcia. Photo courtesy of Jason Reynolds.
I am deeply honored. We are here because of our ancestors and elders and the people who hold us up every day — thanks for helping all of us never forget them or the way each of us finds a way to make a way out of no way — every single day. Thank you so much, all of you who believe in Diverse Books, who believe in keeping young brown children — and all children — dreaming.
Orion, thebimonthly magazine that publishes writing that explores the connection between nature and culture, has revealed the winners for the 2015 Orion Book Award.
The Bees by Laline Paull is the winner of the 2015 Orion Book Award in the fictioncategory. Feral: Rewilding the Land, the Sea, and Human Life by George Monbiot won the award in the nonfiction category.
The books were chosen based on their ability to \"deepen the reader’s connection to the natural world through fresh ideas and excellence in writing.\" The winner in each category was selected from a list of five finalists. The Orion Book Award finalists and winners are chosen by the Orion magazine staff.
Summer is already here! That means that the third annual NEW VISIONS AWARD is now open for submissions! Established by Tu Books, an imprint of LEE & LOW BOOKS that publishes middle grade and young adult books, the award is a fantastic chance for new authors of color to break into the world of publishing for young readers.
The New Visions Award writing contest is awarded for a middle grade or young adult manuscript, and is open to writers of color who are residents of the United States and who have not previously had a middle grade or young adult novel published. The winner will receive a $1,000 cash prize and a publication contract with LEE & LOW BOOKS.
Ink and Ashesby Valynne Maetani, the first New Visions Award winner, was named a Junior Library Guild Selection and received a starred review from Kirkus Reviews.
When I first contacted YALSA about participating in NLLD 2015, I framed my interest as a novice, mentee and student wanting to learn more about advocacy and successful advocacy strategies for my specific community. I am a new school librarian and NLLD beamed opportunity, inspiration, information and networking, of course!
I was excited and anticipated experiencing the more political side of libraries, remember, I was a novice and prepared to act as a sponge, absorbing everything I heard and saw, taking cue from the leaders in my group, one of the flock. However, after contacting my local library association, Louisiana Library Association, I discovered that no representatives were attending this year. I wasn’t sure what that meant for me and figured everything would be taken care of, remember I was a mentee and prepared to be guided by much more experienced and confident librarians. But then my role swifty changed, I became the leader, charged with scheduling appointments with legislators and being prepared to represent, if not lead, the interests and voices of libraries, librarians and the people they serve in Louisiana. Inexperienced as I was, the thought of leading, was a harrowing, humbling (maybe a bit dramatic) but, nonetheless, exhilarating feeling.
On Friday May 1st, I left Louisiana to go to the capital. I knew where I was suppose to be and what time, appointments were scheduled and I had several extremely helpful guides along the way especially Beth Yoke assuring me that everything would be OK.
I was also lucky enough to have the weekend to explore the city. There was an overwhelming feeling of greatness, magnitude and it wasn't in the larger than life buildings, statues or museums, it was just apparent walking the streets or taking the metro. Important things had happened here, important things continue to happen here and it felt good to be near that.
Monday, May 4th, the official NLLD, I entered the Liaison Hotel and was greeted as my state's coordinator, meaning I was in charge of organizing my fellow Louisianians and holding my state sign. The Nebraskans took me under their wing and treated me as their own, a gesture I am very thankful for, I didn’t have to sit alone!
The day continued with several different issue sessions, my favorite and most notable being appropriations committee, USA Freedom Act, Taxable Research and the session dedicated to school library and education issues. The speakers were knowledgeable and gave tips and language to easily incorporate into our pitches. Walking away that evening, I felt more informed about US policy, than I have to admit, in my life and, not because I just hadn’t bothered with politics and policy in the past, but because the info. sessions and speakers made it easy to understand. I didn’t feel as if everything was over my head or too intricate to bother with, the information was clear about what these issues were and it was clear exactly how I could use this knowledge to relate to Louisiana interests and the legislators I would be meeting the following day.
The day of, I was a bit frantic, I had spent the morning researching specific Louisiana numbers and data and I had left early because, even though I had been walking around the capital for 72 hours now, I still found myself circling around the same block once in awhile. My first appointment was with Kevin O’Keefe representing new House member, Garret Graves. As soon as I met Kevin, I felt at ease. Many people warned me that these meetings would be very one sided, you say what you need to and then that’s it! However, meeting with Kevin felt like a conversation, I hit all my points but he was very responsive and added to what I was saying, it helped we were both from Baton Rouge! He was also very keen on a visit from Garret Graves to either my school library or the public library. Once the meeting concluded, I practically skipped out of the Canon building with a toothy smile on my face.
It really felt exhilerating! I was no longer nervous for my next two meetings, I was now excitedly anticipating them. During these meetings it dawned on me that politicians and the people that work for them don’t necessarily know about every current issue, at least not in depth, they needed and wanted to be informed about the best way to continue forward on a specific issue. They also cared about what their constituents cared about. While visiting Senator Bill Cassidy’s office, I spoke with Pamela Davidson and she talked about how many calls their office had been getting about maintaining and increasing the library budget, the enthusiasm and relentlessness put that issue on the radar as something that could not be ignored.
After meeting my state’s representatives, I will be watching the Louisiana legislators closely, who knows if they will make the changes I suggested but at least they are now informed and that was my job, I did it!
However, it is inspiring to see positive changes being made such as the overwhelming approval for the USA Freedom Act. It shows that even through all the muck, at times, good changes squeeze through.
While visiting the Holocaust Memorial Museum in D.C., I came across this very well known quote from Martin Niemöller, a prominent Protestant pastor during WWII:
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
Niemöller’s quote seemed particularly fitting because advocacy is a lot about just speaking up and taking the time and courage to do something so simple as raising our voices. We remind our students constantly at Baton Rouge International School that one person makes all the difference, everyone can make a change but sometimes we forget that the scariest part is just starting, putting yourself out there and wondering if people will like your message, like your voice. The biggest thing I took away from this experience was how EASY advocating for libraries was. How easy to talk to people about what you care about, how easy to be and stay informed and how easy it was to connect and how easy it is to continue advocating for more. It took a big moment for me to start advocating but now I know it can easily be a part of my life and work and that small actions such as a telephone call, an email or showing up at a local council or board meeting can make an impact and change the way people perceive libraries and the people who spend time and lives promoting them.
Jenna Jaureguy is starting her third year as school librarian at Baton Rouge International School in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She studied school and teen library services at UCLA and graduated with her MLIS in 2013.
One of the greatest joys of my career has been seeing Brown Girl Dreaming come to life and reverberate as it has been handed from reader to reader.
I have been lucky enough to work with Jacqueline Woodson for almost twenty years. She was the very first author I signed up when I became the publisher of G. P. Putnam’s Sons. Her lyrical writing sang to me. Her voice was so strong and clear and evocative. I also loved her spare style, how she could make magic happen with an economy of words. Since then I’ve edited six of her amazing picture books; Brown Girl Dreaming is the tenth novel we’ve worked on together.
I never know what I am going to get next from Jacqueline, and I am always happily surprised. The muse strikes her, and then she sends her stories to me at various stages in the creative process. Some of the picture books, such as Show Way and Each Kindness, were practically perfect and complete when I received them. The main challenge for those titles was finding the right illustrator. The early drafts of the novels usually come in with much of the story in place, but lots of holes to fill in. So I start by asking questions. I love every character and always want to know more. With Brown Girl Dreaming — a memoir in verse — boy, did I want to know more about a character I loved!
When I received the first draft of Brown Girl Dreaming in 2012, I knew I was holding something special in my hands. Many of the poems from the first section were already there, including the opening one, which begins:
I am born on a Tuesday at University
a country caught
between Black and White.
Right from the beginning, we know we are going to get a story that is deeply personal but also one that tells of a shared history—the racial divide that is part of America—and readers will experience it from the eyes of a child who has lived in the North and the South. And because of the book’s title, we know we are in the hands of a dreamer, a young girl who has hope and aspirations. She is an observant student of the world around her. I love how she contemplates who she might become in the future by her admiration of those who have come before her:
I do not know if these hands will become Malcolm’s—raised and fisted or Martin’s—open and asking or James’s—curled around a pen.
Through Jacqueline’s eyes we see, and then feel, the terrible injustice that a dignified black woman, her beloved grandmother, had to live through on a daily basis:
We walk straight past Woolworth’s
without even looking in the windows
because the one time my grandmother
they made her wait and wait. Acted like I wasn’t even there. It’s hard not to see the
my grandmother in her Sunday clothes,
with a flower pinned to it
neatly on her head, her patent-leather
between her gloved hands—waiting
long past her turn.
As we witness her grandmother’s ordeal, our hearts are broken by something we cannot fix. But we gain such insight into how families like Jacqueline’s figured out ways to fight back, ways to bring about the change the world so desperately needed:
This is the way brown people have to fight,
my grandfather says. You can’t just put your fist up. You have to insist on something gently. Walk toward a thing slowly.
But be ready to die,
my grandfather says, for what is right.
As I read each draft of Brown Girl Dreaming — and, as Jacqueline says, there were so dang many of them! — I wanted more and more answers. I wanted to know about the love she felt for both her Southern and Northern roots and what it felt like to have a special place in her heart for each of them. I wanted to know what it was like when her mother bravely went off alone to search for a place to bring up her four children, a place that would offer them the most freedom and opportunity.
Looking for her next place.
Our next place.
Right now, our mother says, we’re only halfway home.
And I imagine her standing
in the middle of a road, her arms out
fingers pointing North and South.
I want to ask:
Will there always be a road?
Will there always be a bus?
Will we always have to choose
The book grew from three parts to five, as it became clear that more ground needed to be covered for the many facets of Jacqueline’s life. Please tell me more about your religion, I asked. What was it like to go door-to-door as a Jehovah’s Witness and have to introduce yourself to strangers? And in the telling, more stories emerged. Jacqueline’s grandfather (called “Daddy”), as it turned out, did not embrace organized religion. Her uncle, while in jail, converted to Islam. And in living through all this, Jacqueline
grew more open and empathetic to other people’s beliefs:
But I want the world where my daddy is
and don’t know why
anybody’s God would make me
have to choose.
One of the best parts of editing this memoir was learning about how storytelling was a part of young Jacqueline’s life. How she could hold her classmates rapt by repeating stories even before she learned to read. How she knew, early on, that there was enormous power in words:
I want to catch words one day. I want to
then blow gently,
watch them float
right out of my hands.
And so she has. Jacqueline’s words in Brown Girl Dreaming float off the page; they first linger and then stay even longer with the reader. When the thirty drafts were done, and Jacqueline and I both agreed at the same time that the story was complete, we had advance reading copies made. I gave out the first ones to librarians and educators at the Texas Library Association conference in San Antonio in early 2014. John Schumacher and Colby Sharp shared their copies with Paul Hankins and with Donalyn Miller, who wrote in a Nerdy Book Club blog post about reading the galley on her way home from the convention:
As I read, a silver thread flowed out of Brown Girl Dreaming, and twined up my wrist to my chest — connecting Jackie’s family to me and making them part of me. Following Colby’s scribbled brackets around lines and folded page corners like messages for me to find, he was with me in the book, too. That thread connects me to Jackie now, but it also connects me to Colby, Jillian [Heise], and everyone who will ever read Brown Girl Dreaming.
I love that Jacqueline’s writing has the power to connect us. It reminds us of so many universal parts of growing up: competing with siblings, feeling content in the heart of your family, being confused by a million messages coming at you, struggling to make sense of the senseless, and ultimately finding the power of your own voice. Reading a memoir like Brown Girl Dreaming reminds us that each of us has a voice and needs to find it in our own time; that everyone’s story is important; that we become stronger by dreaming our dreams and sharing our stories; and that books have the power to make the world a better place.
And so I thank Jacqueline Woodson, as well as all the librarians and teachers and booksellers who have worked to get this book into the hands of so many readers. You are all changing the world.