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1. Hannah Wood Wins The Ashmead Award

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.

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2. Lee & Low Books named Indie Publisher of the Year 2014

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! Lee & Low Books 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!

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3. Profile of 2015 Caldecott Medal winner Dan Santat

bigbook

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.

bikechickenBut 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.

surlyasian2He 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.

santatfamilyThe 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.

santat_adventures of beekleThroughout 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.

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4. Dream Keepers: 2015 Coretta Scott King Author Award Acceptance

woodson_brown girl dreamingIt 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.”

Almost.

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’s Boys 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!

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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.

Jacqueline Woodson is the 2015 Coretta Scott King Author Award winner for Brown Girl Dreaming (Paulsen/Penguin). Her acceptance speech was delivered at the annual American Library Association Conference in San Francisco on June 28, 2015. From the July/August 2015 Special Awards issue of The Horn Book Magazine. Read editor Nancy Paulsen’s profile of Jacqueline Woodson. For more speeches, profiles, and articles click the tag ala 2015

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5. Profile of 2015 CSK Author winner Jacqueline Woodson

Photo: Marty Umans

Photo: Marty Umans

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
Hospital
Columbus, Ohio,
USA—
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
went inside
they made her wait and wait. Acted like
I wasn’t even there. It’s hard not to see the
moment—
my grandmother in her Sunday clothes,
a hat
with a flower pinned to it
neatly on her head, her patent-leather
purse,
perfectly clasped
between her gloved hands—waiting
quietly
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.

woodson_brown girl dreaming_170x258As 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
between home

and home?

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
hold them
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.

Profile of 2015 Coretta Scott King Author Award winner Jacqueline Woodson. From the July/August 2015 issue of The Horn Book Magazine. Read Jacqueline Woodson’s Coretta Scott King Author Award acceptance speech for Brown Girl Dreaming. For more speeches, profiles, and articles click the tag ala 2015.

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6. Know Your Oscar Voters: A List of the Academy’s Animation Members

Cartoon Brew has put together a list of all the known members of the Academy's animation branch.

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7. Academy’s New Invites in Animation/VFX Branches Are 95% Male Artists

Male artists and the Disney Company continue to dominate the Academy's animation and vfx branches.

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8. ‘April and the Extraordinary World,’ ‘We Can’t Live Without Cosmos’ Top Annecy

Christian Desmares and Franck Ekinci's sci-fi fable and Konstantin Bronzit's short exploration led awardees to the outer limits.

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9. National Library Legislative Day 2015

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.

photo 3 (4)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.

photo 3 (6)

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.

photo 1 (8)

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.

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10. Authors of Color: Submit Your Manuscript to the New Visions Award!

new visions award winnerSummer 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 Ashes by Valynne Maetani, the first New Visions Award winner, was named a Junior Library Guild Selection and received a starred review from Kirkus Reviews.

The New Visions Award is modeled after LEE & LOW BOOKS’ successful New Voices Award for picture book manuscripts. New Voices submissions we have published include Sixteen Years in Sixteen Seconds: The Sammy Lee StoryIt Jes’ Happened: When Bill Traylor Started to Draw, and Bird.

The deadline for this award is October 31, 2015.

For more eligibility and submissions details, visit the New Visions Award page. Spread the word to any authors you know who may be interested. Happy writing to you all and best of luck!

 

 

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11. Orion Book Awards Revealed

orionbookaward AMOrion, the bimonthly 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 fiction category. 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.

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12. Feral wins the 2015 Orion Book Award

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Congratulations to George Monbiot, author of Feral: Rewilding the Land, the Sea, Human Life, which was just announced as the winner of the 2015 Orion Book Award for nonfiction, which honors “books that deepen the reader’s connection to the natural world, [and] represent excellence in writing.” In Feral, Monbiot, a journalist, columnist for the Guardian, and environmentalist (see his recent TED talk here), argues for a twenty-first-century movement based upon the concept of rewilding, which seeks to free nature from human intervention and allow ecosystems to resume their natural processes.

From a recent profile of the book at the Orion Blog:

When’s the last time you walked into the woods, or a park, or your garden, and felt unsure of what—or who—you might see? If the answer is “it’s been a while,” you’re not alone. With his intrepid and imaginative new book, Feral: Rewilding the Land, the Sea, and Human Life, journalist George Monbiot has invented a term for this twenty-first-century condition that afflicts so many of us in the developed world: “ecological boredom.” He’s come up with a prescription, too, which involves large-scale reintroductions of keystone species to the landscapes that humans have emptied out and made their own. If this sounds reckless and implausible, it’s not: Monbiot has done his research, and builds a case for how well his surprising list of animal recruits would fit into his home landscape of Britain. From moose and lynx to hippopotamuses and black rhinoceroses, Feral invites readers to imagine a wilder, less stifled and more primal world—one in which we humans can come to recognize our animal natures once again.—Scott Gast

And from the Orion editors’ commendation for the award:

George Monbiot’s well-researched book of narrative storytelling, speculation, and bold imagination is a vote in favor of rewilding not just nature but the human spirit. Feral invites readers to envision a wilder, less stifled and more primal world—one in which we humans can come to recognize our animal selves once again.

To read more about Feral, click here.

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13. Award Winning Comics Announced at the Munich Comics Festival!

The Comicfestival München (Munich Comics Festival) was held last weekend, and numerous comics and graphic novels were honored with the Peng! Award, and the ICOM Independent Comics Award.

Tagesspiegel reports on the winners of the Peng!, and has incredible photos!

The nominees and winners (💬):


BESTER DEUTSCHSPRACHIGER COMIC [Best German Language Comic]:

Das-UpGrade00000000Gung HoIrmina
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
GHETTO BROTHER: EINE GESCHICHTE AUS DER BRONX von Julian Voloj & Claudia Ahlering (avant)
GUNG HO von Benjamin von Eckartsberg & Thomas von Kumman (Cross Cult)
💬 IRMINA von Barbara Yelin (Reprodukt)
DER TRAUM VON OLYMPIA von Reinhard Kleist (Carlsen)
DAS UPGRADE von Ulf S. Graupner und Sascha Wüstefeld (Cross Cult)






BESTER EUROPÄISCHER COMIC [Best European Comic]:

00000000000000000000………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

DER ARABER VON MORGEN von Riad Sattouf (Knaus)

DER ATTENTÄTER von Henrik Rehr (Jacoby & Steward)

AYA von Clément Oubrerie und Marguerite Abouet (Reprodukt)

BLACKSAD # 5: Amerillo von Juan Diaz Canales und Juanjo Guarnido (Carlsen)

💬DER SCHIELENDE HUND von Étienne Davodeau (Egmont)


BESTER NORDAMERIKANISCHER COMIC [Best North American Comic]:

peanuts_neu0000000000000000

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

LOCKE & KEY # 6: ALPHA & OMEGA von Joe Hill und Gabriel Rodriquez (Panini)

PEANUTS – AUF ZU DEN STERNEN, CHARLIE BROWN von Vicky Scott u. a. (Cross Cult)

RACHEL RISING von Terry Moore (Schreiber & Leser)

SANDMAN: OUVERTÜRE # 1 von Neil Gaiman und J. H. Williams III (Panini)

💬HIER von Richard McGuire (Dumont)


BESTE COMIC-BERICHTERSTATTUNG [Best Comics Reporting]:

0000000000000000.0000
………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
ALFONZ
COMIX
REDDITION
DIE SPRECHBLASE
💬TAGESSPIEGEL






BESTE COMIC-SEKUNDÄRLITERATUR [Best Book About Comics]:

00000000000000000000
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
DER COMIC – GESCHICHTE, STILE, KÜNSTLER von Klaus Schikowski (Reclam)
DAS COMIC!-JAHRBUCH 2015 (ICOM)
DEUTSCHE COMICFORSCHUNG von Eckard Sackmann (auch Hg.)
GOING WEST – DER BLICK DES COMICS RICHTUNG WESTEN von Alexander Braun
💬75 JAHRE MARVEL. VON DEN ANFÄNGEN BIS INS 3. JAHRTAUSEND von Roy Thomas (Taschen)






 

BESTE NEUVERÖFFENTLICHUNG EINES KLASSIKERS [Best New Reprint of Classic Comics]:

00000000000000000000………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

💬FLIEGENPAPIER von Hans Hillmann (avant)

DIE HAIE VON LAGOS von Matthias Schultheiss (Splitter)

LITTLE NEMO GESAMTAUSGABE von Winsor McCay (Taschen)

SPIROU-GESAMTAUSGABE von André Franquin (Carlsen)

TARZAN von Burne Hogarth (Bocola)


 

BESTE COMICVERFILMUNG [Best Film Adaptation from a comic]:

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………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
BAYMAX – RIESIGES ROBOWABOHU

GEMMA BOVERY – EIN SOMMER MIT FLAUBERT

💬GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY

KINGSMAN – THE SECRET SERVICE

X-MEN: ZUKUNFT IST VERGANGENHEIT


 

BESTER ONLINE-COMIC [Best Webcomic]:

00000000000000000000………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

💬BEETLEBUM von Johannes Kretzschmar

A HOUSE DIVIDED von Haiko Hörnig und Marius Pawlitza

NiGuNeGu von Oliver Mielke und Hannes Radke

SCHISSLAWENG von Marvin Clifford

WORMWORLDSAGA von Daniel Lieske


 

BESTER ASIATISCHER MANGA [Best Asian Manga]:

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………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
BILLY BAT von Naoki Urasawa und Takashi Nagasaki (Carlsen)

💬DER GOURMET von Jiro Taniguchi (Carlsen)

GUTE NACHT, PUNPUN von Inio Asano (Tokyopop)

MAGICAL GIRL OF THE END von Kentaro Sato (Tokyopop)

DIE MONSTER MÄDCHEN von Okayado (kaze)


 

BESTER DEUTSCHSPRACHIGER MANGA [Best German-language Manga]:

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………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
💬78 TAGE AUF DER STRASSE DES HASSES von David Füleki (Tokyopop)

KIMI HE: WORTE AN DICH von Christina Plaka (Carlsen)

LOST CTRL von Evelyne Park (Carlsen)

MARTILLO’S MYSTERIOUS BOOKS von Luisa Velontrova (Tokyopop)

TEMPEST CURSE von Martina Peters (Carlsen)


From Tom Bunk’s blog: http://bunkstuff.blogspot.com/

In addition, Tom Bunk received a Lifetime Achievement Award, and Eckart Schott of Salleck Publications was honored for special services for the Munich comics scene.


ICOM Urkunde_2015On the same day, ICOM (Interessenverband Comic e.V., The Comic, Cartoon, Illustration and Cartoons Interest Group) announced their awards spotlighting independent comics. The link to the award winners is here, along with an index of past German comics award winners.  (ICOM dates back to 1994.)

Bester Independent Comic [Best Independent Comic]

„Als ich mal auf hoher See verschollen war“ von Maximilian Hillerzeder (Edition Kwimbi)

Bester Kurzcomic [Best Short Comic]

„Insel Karkinos“ von Tim Gaedke

Herausragendes Szenario [Outstanding Scenario]

„The Right Here Right Now Thing“ von Paulina Stulin (Jaja Verlag)

Herausragendes Artwork [Outstanding Artwork]

„Die kleine blaue Melancholie“ von Yi „Yinfinity“ Luo

Sonderpreis der Jury für eine bemerkenswerte Comicpublikation

[Special Jury Prize for a remarkable comic publication]

„Ach so ist das?!“ von Martina Schradi (Zwerchfell Verlag)

Sonderpreis der Jury für eine besondere Leistung oder Publikation [Special Jury Prize for a special performance or publication]

Comic Solidarity (Eva Junker, Lukas Wilde, Sebastian Kempke)

Honorable Mentions

„Mister Origami“ von Bastian Baier und Robert Mühlich (Zwerchfell Verlag)

„Mondo 2“ Herausgeber: Tim Gaedke

„Oh 3“ (Zwerchfell Verlag)

„Penner“ von Christopher Burgholz (Jaja Verlag)

“Lebensfenster 2015″ Kurt-SchalkerPreis für graphisches Blogen [“Life Window (?!) 2015″ Kurt-Schalke Prize for graphical blogs AKA biocomics on the web]

Hillerkiller von Maximilian Hillerzeder



 

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14. 2015 Robert Motherwell Book Award

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Fresh off an embargo of the news, we’re delighted to announce that Megan R. Luke’s Kurt SchwittersSpace, Image, Exile is the recipient of the 2015 Robert Motherwell Prize from the Dedalus Foundation. The Motherwell Prize, accompanied by a $10,000 award, “honors an outstanding publication in the history and criticism of modernism in the arts.” Luke’s book contextualizes, for the first time, the multidisciplinary work produced by one of modernism’s foremost innovators during the last years of his life, both during the Nazi regime and while in exile in Western Europe.

From the official announcement:

The Dedalus Foundation is pleased to announce that Megan R. Luke is the winner of the fourteenth annual Robert Motherwell Book Award, for Kurt Schwitters: Space, Image, Exile, published by The University of Chicago Press. The award, which carries a prize of $10,000, honors an outstanding publication in the history and criticism of modernism in the arts for the year 2014.

German artist Kurt Schwitters (1887–1948) is best known for his pioneering work in fusing collage and abstraction, the two most transformative innovations of twentieth-century art. Considered the father of installation art, Schwitters was also a theorist and a writer whose influence extends from Robert Rauschenberg and Eva Hesse to Thomas Hirschhorn. But while his early experiments in collage and installation from the interwar period have garnered much critical acclaim, his later work has generally been ignored. In the first book to fill this gap, Megan R. Luke tells the fascinating, even moving story of the work produced by the aging, isolated artist under the Nazi regime and during his years in exile.

Combining new biographical material with archival research, Luke surveys Schwitters’s experiments in shaping space and the development of his Merzbau, describing his haphazard studios in Scandinavia and the United Kingdom and the smaller, quieter pieces he created there. She makes a case for the great relevance of Schwitters’s aesthetic concerns to contemporary artists, arguing that his later work provides a guide to new narratives about modernism in the visual arts. His late works, she shows, were born of artistic exchange and shaped by his rootless life after exile, and they offer a new way of thinking about the history of art. Packed with images, Kurt Schwitters completes the narrative of an artist who remains a considerable force today.

Megan R. Luke is assistant professor of art history at the University of Southern California. Her research focuses on the advent of abstraction and collage, the history of photography and art reproduction, and the intersection of avant-garde art and mass culture, particularly early cinema.

To read more about Kurt Schwitters, click here.

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15. Fun Home wins Tony Award for Best Musical

tonys-2015-2015-457-tmagArticle.jpg

Photo by Sara Krulwich/The New York Times

Fun Home, the musical based on Alison Bechdel’s graphic novel won five TOny Wards on Saundya, including Best Musical, capping a road of critical triumph for the show. IN addition to Best Musical, Jeanine Tesori and Lisa Kron won Best Original Score, Kron won for Best Book of a Musical, Sam Gold won for Best Direction of a Musical, and Michael Cerveris won for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical.

I was lucky enough to see the show in its opening week and it was an extraordinary night of theater, with three actors portraying Bechdel at various points in her life, Beth Malone Emily Skeggs and Sydney Lucas.

The above photo from the Times shows Bechdel ‘s emotion at the winning moment. Congrats to her for turning her family history into a story that has touched so many people in two mediums.

Fun_Home_0088_-_Sydney_Lucas__Beth_Malone__Emily_Skeggs_Photo_Credit_Joan_Marcus.jpg

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16. Daniel Halpern Wins 2015 Maxwell E. Perkins Award

Daniel Halpern, Publisher and President of Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, has earned the 2015 Maxwell E. Perkins Award for Distinguished Achievement in the Field of Fiction.

The award is given out by The Center for Fiction to either an editor, publisher, or agent that has nurtured and championed fiction writers in the United States. The award honors Maxwell E. Perkins, of Scribner, one of the great American editors who worked with F. Scott Fitzgerald, Thomas Wolfe, and Ernest Hemingway, among others.

Halpern has had a long career supporting fiction, including editing the international literary magazine Antaeus, which he founded in Tangier with Paul Bowles. Halpern will receive the award at the Center’s December 8 Annual Benefit and Awards Dinner in New York.

“It is an honor to be recognized for doing what makes you happiest – for me, publishing fiction by some of the finest writers an editor (and reader) could imagine working with,” he stated of the honor. “But to be recognized by The Center for Fiction – an organization that supports and celebrates the art of fiction in so many important ways – is the true honor.”

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17. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time Wins 6 Drama Desk Awards

Curious Incident (GalleyCat)The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time play received six honors at the 2015 Drama Desk Awards. This project, based on Mark Haddon’s mystery novel, premiered with a production at the London West End before moving to Broadway.

Variety.com reports that this stage adaptation won in the following categories: Outstanding Play, Outstanding Actor in a Play, Outstanding Director of a Play, Outstanding Lighting Design, Outstanding Projection Design, and Outstanding Sound Design in a Play. Click here to watch an official trailer.

This book-inspired play has captured six Tony Award nominations. The winners will be revealed during a ceremony set to take place at Radio City Musical Hall on June 7th. (via The New York Times)

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18. You Won’t Believe What’s Happening in Munich This Week!

Munich CC 2015 posterEvery other year, Munich hosts the Munich Comic Festival (Comicfestival München), which, like other continental comics festivals, offers a diverse international guest list while still celebrating the local talent!

For those who kann nicht Deustsch sprechen, here’s the official greeting:

The Munich Comic Festival is the second largest comic event of its kind in Germany and is alternating every other year with the Comic Salon in Erlangen. In 2015 it takes place from June 4 to June 7 with some of the exhibitions starting earlier and continuing after the festival. From Mai 7 to June 9 the exhibition “The Beatles in Comics” will be shown in the Valentin-Karlstadt-Musäum. Other exhibitions to be shown deal with Will Eisner at the Jewish Museum, Paco Roca and Jordi Lafebre will present their artwork in person at the Instituto Cervantes, Tom Bunk, who will be get our Peng! Award for his life’s work , will show his artwork in the Amerikahaus. And finally, the quaint Beer and Octoberfest Museum in the oldest private house of Munich will be in on the Festival.

Main location of the Festival from June 4 to 7 is the Alte Kongresshalle (Old Congress Hall) neighboring on the Oktoberfest site. Here, among other things, one can find the book fair of all the comic publishers under one roof. Also there will be drawing workshops and prominent comic artist will be available for autographs. There will also be various presentations and lectures as well as exhibits, e.g. the exhibit of artwork from our guest country Great Britain. There will also be a cosplay contest. Many prominent artists like Don Rosa, Dave McKean, Posy Simmonds, Jock, François Walthéry, Bryan Talbot, Vicki Scott, Goran Sudžuka, Rufus Dayglo or Denis Kitchen will once again be guests of the Festival.

In 2013 the Munich Comic Festival had some 12,000 visitors, not counting the many people who visited exhibits that were shown at various locations for free.

Let’s condense that: the second largest comics festival in Germany, in Munich next to the Oktoberfest grounds. (BAR-CON!) The German equivalent of Angoulême. Lots of British cartoonists. Rosa, McKean, Kitchen.

So, what’s going on?  Well…  Click on the blue headlines below for more information!

First, here’s the venue, built in the early 1950s:

Ground Floor

Munich CC 2015Upper Floor

(Yes, that is a bar. I suspect the pretzels are much better than those found in San Diego, especially if served with mustard!)

Munich cc 2015 2Panel rooms (and map key) (accessible to the left of the autographing stage)

Munich CC 2015 panel rooms

INFO!

Kids under 10 are free, teens 11-18 €15 for four days, adults €20 for four days! Thursday through Sunday.

Artists!

Exhibits!

Yes, actual installations!  Beatles! The Spirit!  Uncle Scrooge!  Tom Bunk at the Amerika Haus!

Here’s a local map!
Munich CC 2015 exhibitions

Programming!

(Or you can download the guidebook!) (It’s got a welcome message from the Lord Mayor of Munich! Which makes sense, since funding comes from local cultural agencies.)

Okay… this one gets highlighted!

PREMIERE DER MUSIK-COMIC-SHOW STING ILLUSTRATED

Yup, that’s the German.  And it pretty much describes what it is…  Here’s the Google translation:

Together with the Palatinate cartoonist Dennis Hauck the Munich songwriter Alex Sebastian took the complete works of Sting before: The two sat among others lyrics hits like “King of Pain” or “Message in a Bottle” in amusing comic stories about, but also made ​​before more obscure Album titles not just what can happen when it is cloudy, but do not want to rain? Why not move the better combating rivals from one day to the other? Why takes the Queen even a taxi to the train station? How do you make a woman’s right?

The result is a unique live show with comic projections that applies not only to die-hard fans Sting, but for every music and comic lovers a must. After several previews the official premiere will now take place as part of the Comic Festival.

Workshops!

Autographing!

(Which might also mean sketching!)  Wow! Don Rosa will be autographing for 14 hours over 4 days, including one 4-hour block! Get there early!

Awards!NOMINIERT-FÜR-PENG-300x273

Categories: Best German-Language Comic, Best European Comic, Best North American Comic, Best Comics Reporting, Best Books about Comics, Best Reprint, Best Film Adapation, Best Webcomic, Best Asian Manga, Best German Manga!

Dealers Room!

(FREE! But offsite. Saturday only.)

Competition!

The MVG (the Munich transit agency) is sponsoring a comics competition.  Just go to the show, and draw a comic under the theme “Simply Mobile”.  The winner gets €200 and publication in MVGinfo, a magazine of 150,000 circulation.

Cosplay!

This is kinda cool… each attendee gets a ticket, and uses that to vote for their favorite cosplayer! The ballots will then be used in a raffle! Oh, and if you come in costume on Saturday, your admission is half off!

Munich CC 2015 cosplay


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19. Mark Ford Wins Pegasus Award for Poetry Criticism

Mark Ford has been awarded the 2015 Pegasus Award for Poetry Criticism, which honors the best book-length works of criticism, including biographies, essay collections and critical editions that consider the subject of poetry or poets.

The honor, given by The Poetry Foundation, was for Ford’s work “This Dialogue of One: Essays on Poets from John Donne to Joan Murray” from Eyewear Publishing. The award includes $7,500 in prize money. The prize will be presented at a ceremony at the Poetry Foundation on Monday June 8. The Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize will also be presented at the ceremony.

\"If more literary criticism were like this, more people would read it,\" British journalist John Lanchester has said of Ford’s work.

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20. 2015 South Asia Book Award Winners

Looking for a high-quality children's or young adult book published in the U.S.A. that portray South Asia or South Asians living abroad? Check out the South Asia Book Award.  To encourage and commend authors and publishers who produce such books, and to provide librarians and teachers with recommendations for educational use, the South Asia National Outreach Consortium (SANOC) offers a yearly book award to call attention to outstanding works on South Asia. Congratulations to this this year's winners.

2015 South Asia Book Award Winners

Twenty-Two-Cents
Twenty-Two Cents: Muhammad Yunus and the Village Bank by Paula Yoo, illustrated by Jamel Akib (Lee &Low Books Inc., 2014). Twenty-Two Cents smartly chronicles the life and inspiration behind Nobel Peace Prize winner, Muhammad Yunus, and the internationally transformative Grameen Bank’s micro-lending system. Coupled with rich illustrations that vibrantly capture the essence and depth of Yunus’ experiences, this poignant picture book easily lends itself to readers of all ages. Includes an afterword and author’s source notes. (Grades 2-5)
Bombay Blues
Bombay Blues by Tanuja Desai Hidier (PUSH, an imprint of Scholastic Press, 2014). The dense, chaotic, yet lyrical, pulse of daily life in Bombay collides with the dissonant, hip-hop sensibility of affluent, urban Indian youth in this story of Dimple, a young Indian-American woman’s journey of self-discovery. (Grades 10 and up)

 2015 Honor Winners

A Time to Dance
A Time to Dance by Padma Venkatraman (Nancy Paulsen Books, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers Group, 2014). Skillfully told in verse, Veda’s inspirational story reveals an athletic young woman passionate about traditional Indian dance. When she loses a leg in an accident she must fight to determine her identity and future. (Grades 6 and up)
Chandra's Magic Light A Story in Nepal
Chandra’s Magic Light: A Story in Nepal by Theresa Heine; illustrated by Judith Gueyfier (Barefoot Books, 2014). Living in a traditional village in Nepal, young sisters pick and sell flowers at the market to earn money to buy a solar lamp which will help the air quality in their home. Soft complimentary illustrations. Excellent end notes. (Grades K-3)
God Loves Hair
God Loves Hair by Vivek Shraya; illustrated by Juliana Neufeld (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2014). A seemingly unconnected collection of beautifully written vignettes, tells the true story of a young Indian teen trying to find his place in the world. Shraya writes with intense honesty and insight about the cutting pain of not only being of a different race and religion, but also discovering that he is gay. Readers will be amazed by the author’s strength and resilience. (Grades 7 and up)
Secrets of the Sky Caves
Secrets of the Sky Caves: Danger and Discovery on Nepal’s Mustang Cliffs by Sandra K. Athans (Millbrook Press, 2014). The Mustang Cliffs in Nepal have been untouched for thousands of years. Discover how mountain climbers, archaeologists, scientists and historians all learned how to traverse the seemingly inaccessible “Sky Caves.” What secrets will these modern day adventurers discover – keys to an ancient civilization or simply plundered cave dwellings? (Grades 4-6)

2015 Highly Commended Books

A Pair of Twins
A Pair of Twins by Kavitha Mandana; illustrated by Nayantara Surendranath (Karadi Tales, 2014). A vibrantly illustrated and empowering tale of an Indian girl and her “twin,” an elephant born the same day, who bravely break down cultural and gender barriers while taking on roles historically restricted to males. (Grades K-3)
King for a Day
King for a Day by Rukhsana Khan; illustrated by Christiane Krömer (Lee & Low Books Inc., 2014). Despite being confined to a wheelchair, Malik endeavors to capture the most kites during Basant, the spring festival of kites in Lahore, Pakistan, and become “king” of this special day. Includes author’s note. (PreK-Grade 2)
Escape from Tibet
Escape from Tibet: A True Story by Nick Gray with Laura Scandiffio (Annick Press, 2014). Based on a true story, two brothers from Tibet embark on a dangerous journey to India in search of a better life. A thrilling story of courage and adventure, readers will delight in Tenzin and Pasang’s trek to freedom. (Grades 5-8)
Ms. Marvel Vol. 1: No Normal
Ms. Marvel Vol. 1: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson; illustrated by Adrian Alphona (Marvel Worldwide Inc., 2014). Kamala Khan is many things – a teenager, Pakistani-American, Muslim, Fangirl, and the super hero protector of Jersey City! How is she able to balance all these roles and be the perfect daughter to her parents? Can Kamala be the new Ms. Marvel and still honor her heritage? (Grades 5-8)
The Secret Sky

The Secret Sky by Atia Abawi (Philomel Books, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers Group, 2014). This classic tale of taboo love illuminates the cultural and political complexities of present-day Afghanistan. Wrought with tension and dreams of a brighter tomorrow, The Secret Sky humanizes a land often only ever heard about in news sound bites. (Grades 8 and up)

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21. SWF After Party

May was packed full of exciting book events, a number linked to the Sydney Writers’ Festival. My SWF week began with the evening announcement of the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards at the Mitchell Library. It was a great opportunity to catch up with people and meet new authors. The other awards evening I attended was […]

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22. seawigs: lancashire fantastic book award

Huge thanks from Philip Reeve and me to all the schoolchildren from 120 schools in Lancashire who voted for Oliver and the Seawigs to win the Lancashire Fantastic Book Awards! The awards committee presented Reeve and I both with special fancy pens, so we could write a couple letters back to them:



The Lancashire Fantastic Book Awards is a great scheme that encourages kids ages 9-12 to love reading, not for any specific educational target, just to get stuck into reading because it's exciting, full of adventures and unexpected companionship, and something they can have the thrill of doing for the rest of their lives. Find out more about the award and the other winners over on their website. Sadly we were unable to attend the ceremony because we were doing a tour in Frankfurt, but here's a short video Reeve, a Sea Monkey and I recorded a week earlier, while were were doing our Cakes in Space show in Stratford-upon-Avon.



Thanks so much to all the schools, teachers, librarians and award team! (Oh, and to Oxford University Press and super-talented Reeve, of course, for creating such a smashing story with me.) Check out this great mural by Lowerhouse Junior School!



Love those Rambling Islands. Awesome.

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23. SUMMER UPDATE!

It's SUMMER time!  That means lots of vacation and fun, but also a whole bunch of appearances and theater and exhibits and movies and stuff to do. BOOKS! June 2 sees the publication of a brand new Elephant & Piggie adventure, I WILL TAKE A NAP! Gerald is careful. Piggie is not. Piggie cannot help smiling. Gerald can. Gerald worries so that Piggie does not have to. Gerald and Piggie are

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24. 2015 Audie Awards Revealed

The Audio Publishers Association (APA) has revealed the winners of the best audiobooks of the year, the 2015 Audie Awards.

“Mandela: An Audio History” by Radio Diaries and narrated by Desmond Tutu, Nelson Mandela, and Joe Richman won The Award for Audiobook of the Year. The audiobook from HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books, makes use of actualities, including vintage newsreels and songs by Miriam Makeba, to tell the story of South Africa’s turbulent history.

“The Graveyard Book” by Neil Gaiman won The Distinguished Achievement in Production Award. The title from HarperAudio is narrated by Gaiman, Derek Jacobi, Robert Madge, Clare Corbett, Miriam Margolyes, Andrew Scott and Julian Rhind-Tutt.

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25. Preview July/August 2015 Horn Book Magazine

July/August 2015 Horn Book MagazineSpecial Issue: Awards

Original cover art by 2015 Caldecott Medal winner Dan Santat.

Deborah Taylor, 2015 recipient of the Coretta Scott King/Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement, examines the winners and honorees of this year’s CSK Awards.

Jacqueline Woodson’s CSK Author Award acceptance speech.

Editor Nancy Paulsen’s profile of Jacqueline Woodson.

Christopher Myers’s CSK Illustrator Award acceptance speech.

Author Jason Reynolds’s profile of Christopher Myers.

Thom Barthelmess notices trends within the 2015 Newbery and Caldecott winners and honorees.

Dan Santat’s Caldecott Medal acceptance speech.

Editor Connie Hsu’s profile of Dan Santat.

Sight Reading: Leonard Marcus on This One Summer, honored by both the Caldecott and Printz committees.

Kwame Alexander’s Newbery Medal acceptance speech.

Poet Nikki Giovanni’s profile of Kwame Alexander.

A Second Look: Kathleen T. Horning rereads 1964 Newbery winner It’s Like This, Cat.

Donald Crews’s Wilder Medal Acceptance speech.

Nina Crews’s profile of her dad, Donald Crews.

Books in the Home by Megan Lambert: #WeGotDiverseAwardBooks.

2015 Mind the Gap Awards.

From The Guide: Young Adult Memoirs.

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