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1. Fusenews: I wouldn’t waste my time riding a bike

Hokey dokey.  Too much stuff here to cover very well, but try we shall.  Hold on to your hats, folks!  It’s gonna be a bumpy ride.


saltFirst off, you know how I was talking the other day about constructing the ideal educator website of children’s literature resources?  Well, this might have to be one of said resources I’d include.  Called Uncover the Past, the site is dedicated to “helping library and education professionals teach history through children’s literature!”  The booklists are particularly interesting.
Thanks to Rebecca Redinger for the link.


Next up, one for the “how cute is this?” files.  I don’t know why the idea of Mary Blair tableware isn’t commonplace, but so far this is the first place I’ve seen it done properly.  Blair, as you may recall, worked as a Disney animator for years before becoming a children’s book illustrator.Take the survey and you might win a set of your very own.


Mmm.  Process.  Sweet, delicious process.  What’s better than watching an Art Director explain how they came up with a YA cover?  Watching an Art Director explain how they came up with a YA cover after considering LOADS of alternatives.  Chad Beckerman shows us how The Haters came to be.  I don’t usually do YA, but in this special case I am making an exception.  You bet I am.


auctionOo.  Auction. Now normally one wouldn’t have the money for such a thing, but this one’s special.  What we’re talking about here is a Refugee Benefit Auction, created by authors Shannon Hale and Mette Ivie Harrison.  100% of the proceeds go to Lifting Hands International, a charity that gets life-saving supplies directly to refugee camps.  As for the things you could get, they’re pretty fantastic.  My personal favorite?  A pole dance (or fan dance, they’re easy) performed by Shannon Hale and Daniel Handler.  “Negligible nudity assured”.  Oddly, this item has yet to secure an initial bid.  Would someone like to lend me $10,000?


The Fictional Book Characters Who Sparked Our Sexual Awakenings. Meh. None of these ranked in my book, but it’s interesting to see the fellers other gals were into.  And, happily, it reminded me of one of my favorite Toast pieces of all time: Things I’ve Learned About Heterosexual Female Desire From Decades Of Reading.


I think I’m the last one to link to the Alexander London piece Our Stories Are As Unlimited As Our Selves or Why I Came Out as a Gay Children’s Book Author.  A great piece and one that ties in nicely with the GLBTQ chapter of Wild Things.  Should we ever update that book, this is going in.


UndergroundAbductorOo!  Eisner Award nominees.  Love that stuff, I do.  And check it out!  Not only is Nathan Hale nominated in the Best Publication for Kids category (for The Underground Abductor, naturally) but he’s also in the Best Writer / Artist category as well.  He is the ONLY children’s book creator in that category, by the way.  Regardless of whether or not he wins, that is significant.


Travis Jonker. He comes up with so many good ideas.  Have you seen his Endangered Series, uh, series?  Well, it’s a great idea.  Series that once were strong but now are waning are given a close examination.  Cam Jansen was the latest to fall under scrutiny.  I suspect The Kids of the Polk Street School already hit the dust, but if not then this would be an ideal candidate for a future post.


Wow.  Two thumbs up to the ALSC board for voting to cancel the National Institute in Charlotte, North Carolina.  American Libraries Magazine has the scoop.  Thanks to Jules Danielson for the link.


How on this good green earth did I miss Rick Riordan’s letter to kids who are faced with the dire prospect of being shown one of the Percy Jackson movies in school?  I’ve seen authors dislike their books’ adaptations before, but nothing quite matches this.  Thanks to Monica Edinger for the link.


“With such a huge international variety of books and illustrators on display in Bologna, are there differences in illustration styles among individual countries?” Yep. Moving on.  Oh, wait . . . no, let’s dwell on this idea a bit longer.  Four German children’s book publishers were asked this question and they gave their responses.  The thing is, here in the States we’re seeing some remarkably high quality German children’s book fare on a regular basis and it’s GREAT!  I’d love this question to be regularly posed with folks from other countries as well.


The site Brightly has had a couple good articles up lately.  I liked 8 Surprising Facts About Your Local Librarian not the least because I knew the librarians quoted.  NYC pride!


Daily Image:

I almost never do images of books here for the Daily Image since it’s sort of a case of bringing coals to Newcastle.  But then I saw that one of my greatest picture readalouds, one of my core books, a title I’ve loved for years, is getting a sequel.  At long long last I have an answer for those kids who have been asking me, “Is there a sequel with the tractor?”


Yes, children.  Yes there is.  And life is good.


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2. 2 Actors Join the Cast of ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events’

Lemony Snicket Unfortunate Events (GalleyCat)Netflix has added two new members to the cast for the A Series of Unfortunate Events series. Entertainment Weekly reports that Malina Weissman will play Violet Baudelaire and Louis Hynes will play Klaus Baudelaire.

Earlier this month, it was announced that Neil Patrick Harris would take on the role of the antagonist, Count Olaf. The story for this adaptation project comes from a popular middle grade series by Lemony Snicket (a.k.a. Daniel Handler). Altogether, Handler wrote and published a total of thirteen installments.

Here’s more from Deadline: “Narrated by Snicket, A Series Of Unfortunate Events recounts the tale of the orphaned children Violet, Klaus and Sunny Baudelaire at the hands of the villainous Count Olaf, as they face trials and tribulations, misfortunes and an evil uncle in search of their fortune, all in their quest to uncover the secret of their parents’ deaths. Violet, the self-confident, capable and smart-beyond-her-years eldest sibling, helps her brother and sister solve problems with her skills as an inventor. Klaus is the middle child who loves books.” (via Hello Giggles)

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3. The Galiano Literary Festival & Neil Gaiman Get Booked

Neil GaimanHere are some literary events to pencil in your calendar this week.

To get your event posted on our calendar, visit our Facebook Your Literary Event page. Please post your event at least one week prior to its date.

Two writers, Rachel Kramer Bussel and Melissa Petro, will appear at BookCourt for a reading. Hear them on Monday, February 16th starting 7 p.m. (Brooklyn, NY)

Two authors, Neil Gaiman and Daniel Handler, will sit down for a conversation at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. See them on Tuesday, February 17th starting 8 p.m. (Brooklyn, NY)

New York Times correspondent Sam Roberts will talk about his new book, A History of New York in 101 Objects, at the New York Public Library (Mid-Manhattan branch). Meet him on Wednesday, February 18th starting 6:30 p.m. (New York, NY)

Writer Ame Dyckman and artist Zacharia Ohora will headline a launch party for their new picture book, Wolfie The Bunny. Join in on Saturday, February 21st from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. (New York, NY)

The 6th annual Galiano Literary Festival will feature a variety of panels and workshops. Check it out from Friday, February 20th to Sunday, February 22nd (Galiano Island B.C.)

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4. ‘Independent Bookstore Day’ is Every Day at Watermark Books

WICHITA, Kan. — Bookstores from coast-to-coast will mark “Independent Bookstore Day” on Saturday, May 2. More than 400 retailers from Alaska to Maine will celebrate their value to their communities with author readings, special sales, and other activities. While a … Continue reading

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5. Daniel Handler and Lisa Brown to Donate $1 Million to Planned Parenthood

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6. Neil Patrick Harris to Star in ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events’ Series

Neil Patrick Harris (GalleyCat)Neil Patrick Harris has been cast in the forthcoming A Series of Unfortunate Events series. In the past, he (pictured, via) has acted in several book-based movies including Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (and its sequel) and Gone Girl.

Entertainment Weekly reports that the story for this Netflix series comes from Daniel Handler’s popular children’s books series. Handler himself will serve as an executive producer. Harris will play the villainous Count Olaf.

Here’s more from The Hollywood Reporter: “A Series of Unfortunate Events tells the tale of orphaned children Violet, Klaus and Sunny Baudelaire, who finds themselves in the villainous clutches of an evil uncle named Count Olaf who has designs on their family fortune. Jim Carrey played the plum and showy role of the uncle in the 2004 movie that also starred Meryl Streep. Now Harris would play him.” (via io9)

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7. Video Sunday: But he was STILL hungry

Well, had this post just about wrapped up when the whole computer crashed on me.  Viva la internet!  Let’s see if I can recover what I lost.

First off, the best thing in the world.  Best.  The world.  Ever.

He is, for the record, on Twitter now.  I’m a bit reluctant to tell you this since I like being one of his few followers.  Ah well.  It was there that I discovered this video as well.  Oh, Huffington Post.  You knew not what you wrought.

Bet Angelina Jolie looks positively easy in comparison now, eh?  Geez, he’s good.

Meanwhile, also at BEA, we had other authors singing.  Michael Buckley brings us Lionel Ritchie while Gareth Hinds, Phil Bildner, and Tom Angleberger juggle behind him at the BEA silent auction.  Not so silent now!!

Thanks to Alvina Ling for the link.

Switching gear away from singing (but focusing just as much on white men standing in front of crowds doing things) this was taken in Australia.  It’s at a bus depot where a lot of preachers have a tendency to stand on milk crates.  Or, in this case, read from the true word of caterpillars.s

Five Hail Marys and four ripe red strawberries.  Thanks to Marci for the link.

Well good one, America.  I hope you’re happy now.  You just made LeVar Burton cry.

By the way – the folks getting upset about this?  Do we truly have nothing else to be upset about?  Let the blooming Rainbow have its day.

Now, of course, that every Kickstarter gets this kind of support.  Case in point, Literary Lots.  The idea?  “Literary Lots will transform 2 vacant lots near inner-city libraries into four-week literary spaces for children in Cleveland. Working together with local artists around themes from specific children’s books, we will re-create places, concepts, and images from these books…”  Nicely done.  The video is a bit off on its year (it says 2013 by accident) but the idea is still a nice one.

LiteraryLots 500x372 Video Sunday: But he was STILL hungry

Thanks to Pink Me for the link.

In other news, ALA recently released a controversial movie it produced (?!) back in 1977 called The Speaker.  They’ll be showing it at the upcoming ALA Conference in Vegas as well.  Why the controversy?  Well, as their press release put it:

The film depicts a high school Current Events club that decides to invite a white supremacist professor from a local college to address the student body and the controversy that ensues. It was intended for schools, libraries and other organizations to encourage them to discuss the true meaning of the freedom of expression, particularly regarding “tolerance for ideas we detest.”  Many ALA members objected to the film’s subject matter and the process by which the film was produced.  After contentious debate at the 1977 Annual Conference, multiple ALA bodies voted down proposals to remove the organization’s name from the film.

So in case you’ve 42 minutes to spare . . .

And finally, for our off-topic video, the bloody thing that crashed my computer in the first place.  And you know what?  Worth it.  Check out what happens when you sing an 800-year-old Icelandic hymn in a German train station.

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8. Daniel Handler to Host National Book Awards Ceremony in November

Novelist and children’s book author Daniel Handler will host the 65th National Book Awards Ceremony in New York on November 19th.

The author, who often publishes under the pen name  Lemony Snickett, joins the likes of Andy Borowitz, Fran Lebowitz, Steve Martin, John Lithgow, Faith Salie and Garrison Keillor, all of whom have served as the Master of Ceremonies for the annual event.

“Daniel Handler is witty, charming, and one of the best writers in America,” explained Harold Augenbraum, the executive director of the National Book Foundation. “We are looking forward to a wonderful National Book Awards evening this year with him as host.”

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9. Indies First Launches The Upstream Initiative

Indies FirstThe organizers behind the Indies First campaign are launching a new initiative called Upstream. The team asks that participating writers sign copies of their books and have them be sold at the independent bookstores of their choice.

Daniel Handler (a.k.a. Lemony Snicket) has posted a message to his colleagues imploring them to take part. He also encourages authors to promote this program. Here’s an excerpt from Handler’s letter:

“Will Upstream rescue us all from strife and worry? Of course not. But the hope is that it will remind both authors and booksellers of their local, less monolithic resources, and to improve general esprit de corps at a disheartening time.”

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10. Lemony Snicket Has Sympathy For Writers

snicket_lemony_lg_400x400Daniel Handler, aka Lemony Snicket, knows that it is tough for writers. The author and host of the National Book Awards ceremony in New York tonight told GalleyCat that he knows how tough it is to write.

“People who are trying to be writers have my sympathy,” he told GalleyCat. “I am sympathetic to their plights. I know the feeling of working on something and feeling lonely and undesired. Anyone who is foolhardy and or brave enough to be writing nowadays has my utter support and sympathy.”

His advice for writers: “Eavesdrop and have an excuse ready so when  you are caught eavesdropping the excuse can be uttered immediately,” he told us.

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11. Francesca Lia Block apologized for Native stereotyping in WEETZIE BAT

On November 11, 2014, the We Need Diverse Books campaign hosted a twitter chat about LGBTQ literature. During that chat, Emily Campbell (@Ms_Librarian) tweeted that Francesca Lia Block's book, Baby Bebop, was important to her. She included Block in the tweet. I replied, saying "The Native content in her bks is stereotyping 101." Here's a screencap:

Campbell asked for more information, and I sent her a link to my analysis of Weetzie Bat. The next day, November 12, Block replied to me and Campbell, saying "No offense meant. My apologies. All respect for all." Here's that screencap:

I thanked her, saying "Most ppl mean well but lack awareness, esp of Native ppl & how culture is used/misused." Here's the screencap of that; I don't know why its font is larger than the others:

She replied again, saying "I would like to learn and grow, until I am no longer alive." And I thanked her again, saying "Your voice as ally pushing back on broad/deep misrepresentations of Native ppl is important." Here's the screencap of that exchange:

I don't know what, if anything, Francesca Lia Block has said or done about this since then. Most authors who respond to my critiques of their work are defensive. Her response was different, and I appreciate that, but I wonder if she's said anything more about my critique, elsewhere, to friends, perhaps?

Block's apology came up this morning in a tweet exchange I had with a colleague about Daniel Handler, the author of Lemony Snicket books who made several racist remarks last night (November 19) at the National Book Awards. He called them "ill conceived humor" in an apology he tweeted today (November 20). His remarks weren't "ill conceived." They were racist.

Block and Handler are key figures in children's and young adult literature. They are authors of best selling books. They could change a lot of hearts and minds if they'd say more than either has said so far.

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12. Daniel Handler Contributes $10K to the We Need Diverse Books Crowdfunding Campaign

Daniel Handler 300Daniel Handler incited fury within the literary community for the offensive jokes he made at the recent National Book Awards ceremony. Handler, who served as the master of ceremonies, has publicly expressed remorse for those remarks and found a way to make amends.

Handler (pictured, via) revealed on Twitter that he plans to contribute $10,000 to the We Need Diverse Books Indiegogo campaign. For the next 24 hours, he will match whatever donations come in up to $100,000.

Below, we’ve collected all the tweets that make up Handler’s apology and announcement in a Storify post embedded below. What do you think? (via BuzzFeed)

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13. Jacqueline Woodson Responds to the Watermelon Joke

woodsonAuthor Jacqueline Woodson won the 2014 Young People’s Literature Award at the National Book Awards last month.

After being presented with the award at the ceremony in New York, the event’s host, author Daniel Handler, revealed that Jackie is allergic to watermelon and made a joke at her expense. “Just let that sink in your mind,” he said, telling her that she should put a character like that into her next book.

Woodson has responded to the racist joke in a New York Times op-ed saying that “it was the last place in the world I thought I’d hear the watermelon joke.” Here is an excerpt from her response:  (more…)

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14. What Workday Snacks Can Help Writers?

carrots (1)At the beginning of a new year, many people often make resolutions to follow a healthy diet. mental_floss compiled a list of the “favorite workday snacks” of nine different authors. Jurassic Park novelist Michael Crichton enjoyed ham sandwiches while We Are Pirates author Daniel Handler enjoys raw carrots.

The other seven writers include Agatha Christie, Victor Hugo, Honoré de Balzac, John SteinbeckStephen King, Emily Dickinson, and H.P. Lovecraft. What do you think? Which snacks help you to stay focused while you’re writing?

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15. Top 100 Children’s Novels #48: The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket

#48 The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket (1999)
43 points

Also brought me a huge list of new readers – boys and girls and teachers loved to read them out loud to the class. – Cheryl Phillips

I’m a Snicket girl, loving the play with wit and words in this Series of Unfortunate Events. – Pam Coughlan

Unlike other series no one had any desire to nominate a Snicket title other than this, the first. That helped its rating considerably.  Previously #71 it now leaps up to the 40s.  Not too shabby.  My encounters with the book precede my library degree.  When I lived in Portland, Oregon after college I started reading children’s books out of the blue (yet never dreamed I’d be a children’s librarian, odd as that may sound).  I read the first few Snicket books in Powell’s on a lark and loved them, so after the publication of #4 I went and saw Mr. Snicket speak.  He was wonderful, and the crowd was reasonable if not excessive.  Later, when he would command entire buildings like the Union Square Barnes & Noble, I missed the early days of Snicketmania.  Ah, nostalgic me.

Library Journal described the plot in this manner: “This series chronicles the unfortunate lives of the Baudelaire children: Violet, 14; Klaus, 12; and the infant, Sunny. In Bad Beginning, their parents and possessions perish in a fire, and the orphans must use their talents to survive as their lives move from one disastrous event to another. Surrounded by dim-witted though well-meaning adults, the Baudelaires find themselves in the care of their evil relative, Count Olaf, a disreputable actor whose main concern is getting his hands on the children’s fortune. When Olaf holds Sunny hostage to force Violet to marry him, it takes all of the siblings’ resourcefulness to outwit him. Violet’s inventive genius, Klaus’s forte for research, and Sunny’s gift for biting the bad guys at opportune moments save the day.”

In Funny Business: Conversations with Writers of Comedy (edited by Leonard Marcus) an interview was conducted with Daniel Handler, the face behind the Snicket.  The son of a man who escaped the Holocaust, Handler’s career as a children’s author began when his editor suggested (after reading an adult manuscript) that he write for kids.  The editor was Susan Rich, a woman we will now refer to as “Resident Genius” because I doubt that many editors would have seen the possibilities in Handler’s wordplay.  The ideas?  Not a problem.  “That’s what always happens to me: I have a clear idea for a story right away, and then as I’m writing it I find that it has more twists and corners than I knew.”  He told his editor it would be a thirteen book series.  She told him he’d be lucky if he could publish four.

The charm of the series is well defined by Sandra Howard in the August 25, 2001 edition of Spectator. “As a child I had an invented other child that I used to enjoy pretending to be; she had a permanently wretched time, always cruelly treated, slaving away. I’m sure Lemony Snicket’s constant exhortations to expect only the direst events to occur will have a happily morbid appeal and I found myself impatient to know how the orphans were going to get out of one scrape to be ready for the next. The tales are straightforward, no foe-defying magic, just companionable sharing of a disastrous state of affairs.”

It’s probably not too surprising that the first book Handler bought with his own money was Edward Gorey’s The Blue Aspic.  He was in first or second grade at the time.  His other influences

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16. The Rumpus Creates Letters for Kids Program

Over at The Rumpus, middle-grade author Cecil Castelluci will coordinate the new Letters For Kids program–a subscription service giving readers mail from authors who write for kids.

According to the launch page, participants will receive “two letters a month written by middle-grade authors like Lemony Snicket/Daniel Handler, Adam Rex, Kerry Madden, Natalie Standiford, Susan Patron, Rebecca Stead, Cecil Castelluci, and more.” The service will cost $4.50 per month for U.S. readers, and $9 international readers. The project will expand upon The Rumpus’ Letters in the Mail program for adults.  Check it out:

Some of the letters will be illustrated. Some will be written by hand. It’s hard to say! We’ll copy the letters, fold them, put them in an envelope, put a first class stamp on the envelope, and send the letters to you (or your child) … Six is pretty much the perfect age to start checking your mailbox for actual letters. And if you’ve waited until you were ten, well, you’re four years behind but still, it’s not too late. And if you’re sixteen, that’s OK, there’s still something of the kid left. And if you’re sixty, well… OK. You’re young at heart.

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17. Ode to Libraries video

Thanks to the Huffington Post for sharing this quite, um, laudatory video of Daniel Handler and Maira Kalman performing, as you will, an Ode to Libraries.

I couldn't figure out how to embed the video so follow this link.  It's lovely.  And it features my FAVORITE instrument.  Guess which one.

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18. Review of the Day – All the Wrong Questions: “Who Could That Be at This Hour?” by Lemony Snicket

All the Wrong Questions: “Who Could That Be at This Hour?”
By Lemony Snicket
Illustrated by Seth
Little, Brown and Company
ISBN: 978-0-316-12308-2
Ages 9-12
On shelves October 24th

Last year I was running a bookgroup for kids, ages 9-12, when the subject of children’s books adapted into films came up. We talked about the relative success of Harry Potter, the bewildering movie that was City of Ember, and the gorgeous credit sequence for A Series of Unfortunate Events. Then one of the younger members, probably around ten years of age, turned to me and asked in all seriousness, “Do you think they’ll ever make a movie out of The Spiderwick Chronicles?” I was momentarily floored. It’s not often that kids will remind me that their memories of pop culture are limited to their own experiences, but once in a while it happens. This girl couldn’t remember back five years to that very film adaptation. And why should she? She was five then! So when I see a new Lemony Snicket series acting as a kind of companion to the aforementioned A Series of Unfortunate Events I wonder how it will play out. The original series was popular around the time of that Spiderwick movie. Does that mean that the new series will founder, or will it be so successful that it brings renewed interest to the previous, still in print and relatively popular, books? Personally, I haven’t a clue. All I know is that the latest Lemony Snicket series All the Wrong Questions is a work of clever references, skintight writing, and a deep sense of melancholy that mimics nothing else out there on the market for kids today. That’s a good thing.

To be a success in Snicket’s line of work it’s important to know how to ask the right questions. And this is a problem since Snicket finds it difficult doing precisely that. He was supposed to meet his contact in the city. Instead, he finds himself whisked away to the country to a dying town called Stain’d-by-the-Sea. Once a bustling harbor, the town’s water was removed leaving behind a creepy seaweed forest and an ink business that won’t be around much longer. With his incompetent mentor S. Theodora Markson he’s there to solve the mystery of a stolen statue. Never mind that the statue wasn’t stolen, its owners don’t care who has it, and their client isn’t even a real person. When Snicket finds a girl looking for her father and learns the name of the insidious Hangfire things start to get interesting, not to mention dangerous. Can multiple mysteries be solved even if you keep following the wrong paths? Snicket’s about to find out.

What is more dangerous: Evil or stupidity? It’s a trick question since there’s nothing “or” about it. If there’s one lesson to be gleaned from the Snicket universe, it is that while evil is undesirable, stupidity is downright damaging. Many is the Series of Unfortunate Events book that would show clear as crystal that while stupid and ignorant people may not necessarily be evil in and of themselves, they do more to aid in evil than any routine bad guy ever could hope for. In All the Wrong Questions the adults in charge are still inane, but at least the kids have a bit of autonomy from them. Our hero, the young Snicket, is still omnipotent to a certain degree, and only cares to share personal information with the reader when the plot requires that he do so. And because the book is a mystery, he’s almost required to move about at will. He just happens to be moving between stupid people much of the time.

Of course the trouble with having Lemony himself as your protagonist is that the guy is infamous for never giving you good news. If adult Snicket is the kind of guy who warns off readers (in a voice that I’ve always connected to Ben Stein) because of his own sad worldview, reading this series means that we are going to see failure at work. We saw failure at work with the Baudelaires but with them it was always the fault of the universe using them as punching bags more than their own inadequacies. That means that the author’s trick with this book is to keep it from disintegrating into depression even as its hero ultimately screws up (yet seems to be doing the right thing the whole time). How do you pull this dichotomy off? Humor. Thank god for humor. Because like other post-modern children’s mysteries (Mac Barnett’s The Brixton Brothers, most notably) being funny is the key to simultaneously referencing old mystery tropes while commenting on them.

I always had a certain amount of difficulty figuring out how exactly to describe A Series of Unfortunate Events. The term “Gothic” just didn’t quite cut it. PoMo Gothic, maybe. Or Meta-Gothic. Dunno. The All the Wrong Questions series makes it much easier on me. This book is noir. Noiry noir. Noiry noirish noirable noir. As if to confirm this the author drops in names like Dashiell and Mitchum, which like all of Snicket’s jokes will fly over the heads of all the child readers and 82.5% of the adult readers as well (I kept a tally for a while of the references I knew that I myself was not getting, then just sort of stopped after a while). There are dames, or at least the 12-year-old equivalent of dames. There are Girl Fridays. There are mistaken identities and creepy abandoned buildings. There are also butlers who do things, but that’s more of a drawing room murder mystery genre trope, so we’re going to disregard it here.

Let us talk Seth. The man comes to fill the shoes left by Brett Helquist. He’s a clever choice since there is nothing even slightly Helquistian to this comic legend. This is, to the best of my knowledge Seth’s first work for children, though there may well be some obscure Canadian work of juvenilia in his past that I’ve missed. His work on the cover is remarkable in and of itself, but in the book he works primarily in chapter headings and the occasional full-page layout. The author must have relayed to Mr. Seth what images to do sometimes because there is a picture at the beginning and a picture at the end that continue the story above and beyond the written portions. As for the spreads inside, Seth does an admirable job of ever concealing young Snicket’s face. He also lends a funny lightness to the proceedings, not something I would have expected walking into the novel.

There is a passage in the book where Snicket reflects on his life that just kills me. It comes a quarter of the way through the novel and is the clearest indication to the reader that the action in this novel happened a long time ago. It goes on for a while until finally ending with, “Stretched out in front of me was my time as an adult, and then a skeleton, and then nothing except perhaps a few books on a few shelves.” Put another way, this isn’t your average mystery novel for kids. It’s not even your average Lemony Snicket novel. It is what it is, the first part in a new series containing a familiar character that need not be previously known to readers. I have no idea if kids will gravitate towards it, but if you’ve a hankering to recommend a beautifully written if uncommon mystery to kids that ask for that sort of thing (and they do, man, they do) hand this over. Worse case scenario, they don’t like it. Best case scenario it blows their little minds. Blew mine anyway. Good stuff.

On shelves October 24th

Source: Final copy sent from publisher for review.

Like This? Then Try:

Notes on the Cover: Recall if you will Mr. Snicket’s The Beatrice Letters. Was a book, or whatever the heck that was, ever more frustrating and enjoyable all at once? If there are any similarities to that cluster of documents and this book it lies in Seth’s art. I dare say the pictures you’ll see on this jacket may show scenes we are never privy to in the book itself. Note the shadow of the screaming woman. We know what that picture leads to, but we never see it in the book itself. Note now the spine. There’s a gorgeous little call number there that will undoubtedly get covered up by real call numbers in libraries throughout this great nation (oh, irony). For the record it reads, “LS ATWQ ?1” which makes sense when you think about it. But the thing that really made me give a deep sigh of contentment was under the jacket entirely. Look at the actual cover of the book here. Look at the spine and the cover. If I were to take this book and shelve it without its jacket next to my Nero Wolfe titles, and it would fit in like a dream.

Professional Reviews: Kirkus

Misc: Not to disparage the fine work of the Australian and New Zealand publishers of this book, but when you’ve hit gold why keep digging? Put another way, when handed the world’s most beautiful book jacket, why replace it with this?

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19. Video Sunday: “I’ve promised it to Publishers’ Monthly”

See now, this is what I get for waiting when I see a good video.  I’ve been doing my Video Sundays a little less frequently since I like to do them when the content is primo.  The flipside is that sometimes I get scooped.  Such is the case with today’s video.  It is a delight and I have watched it multiple times, but it’s not as new as it once was.  No matter.  You will enjoy it thoroughly, I think.  Thanks to Jon Scieszka and, by extension, Lisa Brown for the link.

Next up, a triple threat.  He writes books like Geeks, Girls, and Secret Identities (which I have read and thoroughly enjoyed).  He blogs at Mike Jung’s Little Bloggy Wog.  But the kicker?  He sings.  And goldurnit . . . he’s good.

Brother Iz step aside.  I may have to rework my children’s book boy band roster around to include him.  Dude has pipes.

Speaking of music, I am of the opinion that a catchy score can make or break a book trailer.  Example A: As the Crow Flies by Sheila Keenan and Kevin Duggan.  Catchy as all get out.

And where would this little trailer for the oh-so Canadian Little Jack Horner LIVE from the Corner be without its catchy tunes?  Only author Helaine Becker and illustrator Mike Boldt know for sure.

In other news, J.K. Rowling was in town.  Care to watch her chatter?  Here’s the uncut interview with Jon Stewart in all it Daily Showy glory.

Finally, our off-topic video comes to us from good man Mike Lewis.  As he says, it’s the reactions that make this one a classic.

Love it!

0 Comments on Video Sunday: “I’ve promised it to Publishers’ Monthly” as of 10/28/2012 5:18:00 AM
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20. Fusenews: Grumble fish

“Transported to a surreal landscape, a young girl kills the first person she meets and then teams up with three strangers to kill again.”

That would be an old line from a TV column in the Marin Independent Journal by one Rick Polito describing the film The Wizard of Oz.  My brother-in-law Steve brought it up this past Thanksgiving and I’ve been savoring it ever since.  What better way to kick off this lovely Friday morning then, eh?  The birds are singing.  The fish are grumbling.  Let’s get to it then!

  • Let’s get the me stuff out of the way first.  Lemme see, lemme see.  First off, over at the blog For the Future: What Today’s Youth Services Librarians Want the Next Generation to Know I answer some questions about the state of librarianship today, what to know, what to do, etc.  Then SLJ did a very nice write-up of a recent panel I moderated with the Women’s National Book Association.  It was a talk with industry professionals that examined how one goes about making a YA bestseller.  The article is good, but you will have to forgive my mugging in the accompanying photograph.  As god is my witness, I thought the angle the photographer took meant that I wasn’t going to be in the frame.  So I hedged my bets and posed, but in such a way where I look like I’m hosting a reality show and these are my ill-fated contestants.  Forgive me, Hannah.  I meant not to block you like that.
  • Speaking of advice to folks about the fine state of librarianship, if you have not read Kelly Jensen’s corrective You’re Going to Piss People Off do so.  Something to chew on for you newbies out there.  Heck, something to chew on for us oldbies as well.  Cause we do, man.  We do.
  • Oh, man.  Three words for you: Ed Emberly fabric.  Go wild, tootsies.  You know you wanna.
  • The gift giving season approacheth.  The pocketbook expandeth.  And the gift giving ideas dryeth up like a tiny puddleth.  That’s why it’s important to have resources on hand.  Resources like MotherReader’s recent 150 Ways to Give a Book.  Gift giving advice.  It’s the gift that keeps on . . . er . . .
  • I’m feeling old.  I have lived long enough to see books for kids appear and disappear only to potentially reemerge years later with the force of a petition behind them.  Hand me my cane, I am done, but not before I let you know about this rather fascinating attempt to garner online support.  Any of you remember the Wright & Wong series from a couple years ago?  Well before the current flush of books with kids with Asperger’s it was the rare pre-London Eye Mystery mystery series starring a kid with AS.  Now with so many folks clamoring for books of this sort to appear, an online petition has been created and the authors are putting out the word that they need support for it to come back.  To be honest, I’ve never seen this sort of thing before.  Let’s watch and see what happens.
  • Should you happen to read the interview with Daniel Handler in The New York Times you will no doubt curse as I did at those horrid little words, “INTERVIEW HAS BEEN CONDENSED AND EDITED” found at the end.  Pfui.
  • I read with great interest the opinion piece What Should Children Read? which discusses the Common Core and reactions to it.  I should like to sit on it and process it for a while, though.  Seems to me one of the more interesting discussions on the topic.  I am torn.  A tip of the hat to PW Children’s Bookshelf for aiding in this confusion.
  • Several months ago the great and legendary editor Patti Lee Gauch spoke in my library with a talk entitled The Picture Books as an Act of Mischief.  Now that very talk has been typed up and put online over at Horn Book.  Huzzah, sayeth I.  And also hooray.
  • Daily Image:

You could be forgiven for wondering if artist and cartoonist Saul Steinberg ever made a children’s book.  To the best of my knowledge he did not, but many was the child like myself that grew up seeing his New Yorker covers hither and thither.  The discovery of this Saul Steinberg mask series pleases me to no end.  Some examples:

Thanks to Lisa Brown (see you this Saturday, yes?) for the link.

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21. Video Sunday: You had me at “giant ice cream”

I think the nicest thing about the internet, for me anyway, is that if you wait around long enough things that you’ve seen live will appear online and then you can let lots of people know about them.  For example, this video of Daniel Handler/Lemony Snicket and Maira Kalman is not new.  It does, however, contain the only known record (known to me) of them both talking about the photograph game they would play.  The photo involving the catapult and the giant ice cream is a bit dangerous as it makes me giggle for long periods of time.

Next up, the only thing better than bad lip reading of Twilight?  Bad lip reading of New Moon.  True fact.

Read a really good independently published children’s book this week.  Self-published and remarkably fun.  It even has one top-notch book trailer to accompany it.  Check it out, peoples.

If the author’s name sounds familiar, that would be Ms. Lynn Messina of Little Vampire Women fame.  On an unrelated note, she also owns awesome boots.

Big time thanks to David Maybury for directing me to his link to this video of Laureate na nÓg Niamh Sharkey working with students from Griffeen Valley Educate Together on a Christmas Window for Hodges Figgis Bookstore in Dublin.

I’m now harboring fantasies of some store in New York doing something similar.  Books of Wonder maybe, though Bank Street Bookstore would probably get more foot traffic watching.  I mean, if Dublin can do it, we can too, can’t we?

And finally, for the off-topic video sometimes you just gotta give cred to the science/digital geeks.  Serious cred.

Thanks to BoingBoing for the link!

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22. Next Lemony Snicket Cover Revealed

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers has released the new cover for the next Lemony Snicket book. When Did You See Her Last? is coming on October 15th.

This is the second book in the “All the Wrong Questions” series, illustrated by Seth. The dispatch also included a YouTube conversation between Snicket and his pseudonymous creator, Daniel Handler.

Snicket also sent a curt letter along with the cover image: “Please immediately listen to

THIS which contains a top secret recorded conversation between Daniel Handler and myself, and see the attachment below, which depicts an undisclosed book cover. The more people who are made aware of this classified information the better chance we have of keeping our secret.”

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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23. A Children’s Book Fever Dream: Compounding Awesome Upon Awesome

TheScieszkaStare e1364949716583 224x300 A Childrens Book Fever Dream: Compounding Awesome Upon AwesomeThere are some days when you are so utterly floored by delight that all you can do is throw up your hands and say to the universe, “I’m out!”  That was yesterday.  I’m out, folks.  I hit the top.  It’s all downhill from here.  And I’m so young!  It’s sad when you peak at 34.

The source of this joy/woe is Allie Bruce at the Bank Street School for Children’s library.  As you may know, if you attended my Children’s Literary Salon on Alternative Children’s Librarians, Allie is Bank Street’s children’s librarian and a more talented young ‘un you could not hope to find.  She asked me if I could come in one day to speak to some of her sixth graders about book jackets.  And since that is a topic I could talk about all day and night, I readily agreed.

Oh.  And while I was there, Lemony Snicket/Daniel Handler and Jon Klassen would stop by to do their very first dual presentation of their new book The Dark.

But wait.  There’s more.

Neil Gaiman would also be stopping by.  And Mr. Handler’s wife Lisa Brown.  And Jon Scieszka might come along.  As well as Kerlan Collection guru Lisa Von Drasek (newly appointed as a National Book Award committee judge).

So . . . there was that.

That morning I headed on over with my handy dandy FlashDrive, forgetting to bring my camera.  Luckily everything in my purse is a camera these days.  My phone is a camera.  My iPod is a camera.  My lipstick, extra shoes, and hairbrush may all well have cameras in them, for all I know.

My presentation seemed to go all right.  Allie was nice about it anyway, and though I was mildly unnerved when Lisa Von Drasek appeared, taking a picture with an iPad (it is hard to stay calm in the face of a large flat surface aimed at your head) I didn’t panic once.  For the record, the kids assured me that none of them liked the old cover of Okay for Now and did prefer the new paperback jacket.  They also agreed with me that the British cover of Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos is heads and tails more interesting than the American one.  Duh.

When I was done I got to flit about.  In my flitting I saw that the Bank Street library’s children’s librarian’s office contains an ancient Jon Scieszka mask of yore.  The kind of mask that reminds you of Eraserhead more than anything else.  The mask is Lisa Von Drasek’s by right, and she had a fascinating story about when it was made and its original purpose.  Apparently when it first came out it was handed to a roomful of librarians.  Jon knew nothing about it and he walked in to see his own visage staring back at him from hundreds of faces.  “It was like Being John Malkovich“, he said.  Allie assured me that the kids who see it are fascinated.  Sometimes they commune with it on a near spiritual level.

CommuningWithScieszka2 500x375 A Childrens Book Fever Dream: Compounding Awesome Upon Awesome

CommuningWithScieszka1 500x375 A Childrens Book Fever Dream: Compounding Awesome Upon Awesome

Jon Klassen and Daniel Handler were slated to start signing a bunch of copies of their book but until they did we figured we’d hang out in The Quiet Room (which proved to be a bit of a misnomer).  I don’t own a clutch.  Not really.  So in lieu of one I tend to carry around a book.  Thus it was that the galley of Merrie Haskell’s Handbook for Dragon Slayers got lugged, poor thing, hither and thither, as I stuffed an interesting assortment of business cards, flyers, and Starbucks napkins into its pages.  Apparently I was worried that I’d have nothing to do and would need some entertainment.  Oh, the wrongness of little me.

Jon, Daniel, the remarkable Lisa Brown, her thoroughly enjoyable offspring (who had written one helluva graphic novel illustrated by his mom), Victoria Stapleton in shoes I should have caught on film, and a whole host of other folks flooded in.  Before long it was lunch.  Picture, if you will, what it is like to eat lunch across from Scieszka and Handler with Lisa Brown at your side and Lisa Von Drasek heading the table. I am not particularly good at socializing when overwhelmed.  I tend to get giggly.  And loud.  And I make strange little jokes that feed off of references that make sense only in my own head.  So while I was not particularly interesting at this gathering, the rest of the folks were superb.  In the future I’m taking my little audio recorder with me to capture this kind of situation on tape for the benefit of future generations.  See if I don’t.

GaimanKlassenSnicket e1364950548554 224x300 A Childrens Book Fever Dream: Compounding Awesome Upon AwesomeSo then Neil Gaiman comes in.  That was nice.  He’s a bit beardy right now.  Much with the stubble, which has a pleasant graying sheen to it.  Shocker: He wore black.  I’m not shy around famous folks, but Gaiman is a tricky one.  He’s a very kind famous person.  If you introduce yourself to him he’ll look you dead square in the eye, shake your hand, and seem interested in whatever babble proceeds to emanate from your mouth.  But famous people on his level are a bit difficult to converse with casually, and because they are at a distinct disadvantage to you (you know who they are, but they meet hundreds of people every day and can’t remember you as well) you can’t rely on them remembering any past conversations you might have had.  So I just skipped the whole meet Gaiman part of the day and chatted with Jon Klassen instead.  And Jon is a true doll.  The kind of guy you’d try to weasel yourself into sitting next to at a dinner party.  I’m trying to pin down exactly what his personality reminds me of, but it’s hard.  In any case, I lamented with him that he’d used such great material on his Boston Horn Book Globe Award speech now that he had to write a Caldecott one (he’s almost done with it, Roger, don’t worry!).

Then it was time for the presentation!  We proceeded to the Bank Street auditorium, which was apparently built on the side of a mountain.  It’s one of those auditoriums where you get the distinct feeling that if you tripped and fell down the stairs they’d have to pluck your various limbs out of the four corners of the room post-landing.  We sat up top, the kiddos sitting beneath us, closer to the stage.  And what lively kiddos they were too!  I suspect they were fresh off of lunch and had had their fill of pudding pops or whatever it is kids eat today (Note to Self: Check and see if pudding pops still exist . . . ditto Hydrox cookies).  They were bouncy.  Very bouncy.  Tres bouncy.  Handler played some background music for them which, interestingly, did not seem to affect them one way or another.  And so the fun began.

Now Daniel and Jon had never presented together.  Their PowerPoint presentation had not even been finished as of the night before.  And here they were, with Gaiman, ready to wow a room on a brand new book for the very first time.

SnicketKlassen e1364950835631 225x300 A Childrens Book Fever Dream: Compounding Awesome Upon AwesomeLadies and gentlemen, let us discuss the nature of comedic chemistry.  Think of all the great pairings of the past.  Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner.  Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin.  Tina Fey and Amy Poehler.  Now think of the great comedic children’s book pairings out there.  Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith.  Mac Barnett and Adam Rex.  Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld (they get extra points for playing ping pong while they present).  But on this day we witnessed something new.  Something unique.  We witnessed, ladies and gentlemen, the greatest comic picture book pairing the world has ever seen.  I mean this honestly.

For you see, Mr. Handler had noticed something about Mr. Klassen.  He is a world class straight man.  A good straight man is exceedingly difficult to find.  You need someone who enjoys the spotlight but hasn’t the kind of ego that demands that they grab it away from their partner.  They need to be willing to be made a fool of, but the wit and cunning to turn it all around on their partner by the end.  In short, you need a Jon Klassen.

The entire schtick hinged on the idea that Mr. Handler (who proclaimed repeatedly that he was not Lemony Snicket to the pained cries of the delighted audience members) had zero respect for Mr. Klassen’s work on their book together.  In the course of their talk he disparaged Mr. Klassen’s clothes and talent.  Klassen, for his part, played along beautifully.  They alternated seemingly random slides of varying importance.  It was fairly clear that the slides were a combination of Handler’s old standbys (he’s in an old photograph phase right now that’s doing very well by him) with Klassen’s (in which he shows various important pieces of art from his youth, including a shot of Frog & Toad, and repeats how frightened he was of them when he was a child).

GaimanSnicket e1364950944343 224x300 A Childrens Book Fever Dream: Compounding Awesome Upon AwesomeWhen Mr. Snicket starts to read the book with Mr. Klassen illustrating alongside him, the tension escalates.  Handler denies Mr. Klassen the shiny red apple he’d really like to eat.  He blindfolds him and makes him draw sans eyes.  He brings on Gaiman and claims he’s now going to read the book in his best Neil Gaiman imitation (Klassen makes fun of the “imitation” continually).  And then, when everything is reaching a crescendo . . . Klassen turns everything on its head and Handler runs off screaming.  I won’t give away why.  Bank Street recorded the whole thing and I’ll post it here when I can.

The kids, for the record, ate this thing up like it was a (perhaps nonexistent) pudding pop.  They laughed.  They screamed.  Mostly they screamed.  I’m not entirely certain if Handler and Klassen (and Gaiman for that matter) were ready for the level of identification the kids made with poor Mr. Klassen.  Handler told his blindfolded illustrator that both of them would blindfold themselves and then read and draw without their eyes.  This was, of course, a lie and the kids could not help but scream to Mr. Klassen that Mr. Handler was welching on his half of the deal.  There was an interesting level of desperation to their cries.  Handler’s an old hand in dealing with child panic and outrage, but Klassen dealt with it beautifully as well.  It was very satisfying to watch.  You should have heard les enfants terrible when Handler started eating Jon’s apple.

When the video is up and running I will let you know.  It’ll make your day.  Meantime, a big thank you to the folks at Little, Brown for bringing these heavyweights together and to Bank Street for hosting them.  And thanks, of course, to Allie Jane Bruce for inviting me and allowing me to report on what, without a doubt, was the highlight of the year.  Methinks I’ll go off and relive it a couple times just for kicks.

JennyBrown 500x373 A Childrens Book Fever Dream: Compounding Awesome Upon Awesome

Jenny Brown living the dream with Allie Bruce close by.

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10 Comments on A Children’s Book Fever Dream: Compounding Awesome Upon Awesome, last added: 4/3/2013
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24. An Interesting Comfort Book

I've had The Dark by Daniel Handler writing as Lemony Snicket, with illustrations by Jon Klassen. floating around the house for a little while because, quite honestly, I didn't quite get the first volume of A Series of Unfortunate Incidents by L.Snicket. Life is short, time is limited. Should I spend any of it reading another Snicket book?

Why, yes, I should.
What I particularly liked about The Dark was its coherence. It both seems to lead you astray, suggesting this is going to be a creepy piece of fluff or a clever joke, and then with that same material makes clear that all this time this was a very straight story. Anthropomorphizing the dark could mean turning it into a monster or it could mean turning it into a logical, calming follow.

Which way did Handler/Snicket go?

The Dark is a Cybils nominee this year in the fiction picture book category.

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25. Fusenews: The Bear grumbleth “mum mum”

Honestly, I don’t quite know why I even bother doing Fusenews posts on Saturdays.  As you might suspect, my readership dips considerably when the weekends hit, but an old Fusenews post is like a week old fish.  Time does it no favors.  As such, I shall cut through my seething envy of everyone at BookExpo this week (honestly, why are you folks having SO much fun anyway?) and pretend that Maureen Johnson’s tweets about how bad the coffee is there will convince me that it’s not that interesting anywa . . . wait a minute . . . they’re giving away copies of that Scieszka/Biggs early reader series in the Abrams booth?!?!  WAAAAAAHHHHHH!

  • NumberFiveBus Fusenews: The Bear grumbleth mum mumNew Site Alert: We begin with the big, interesting, important news.  Phil and Erin Stead aren’t just Caldecott Award winners.  No siree bob, they also happen to be innovative interviewers.  Having just started the site Number Five Bus Presents (I approve of the title since it fits in nicely with 7 Impossible Things Before Breakfast, A Fuse #8 Production, and 9 Kinds of Pie . . . we just need a blog that uses the number 6 to fill in the gap), the two are conducting a series of conversations with book makers.  There will be 9-12 episodes per “season”.  So far they’ve spoken with Eric Rohmann (consider this your required reading of the day) with many more interviews on the way.  You can read the reasons why they’re doing this here.  Basically it boils down to them wanting to connect to fellow book makers in what can often be a lonely field.  If I were a professor of children’s literature, I would make everyone in my class subscribe to this site.  Many thanks to Jules for the tip!
  • About a month ago I was at an event where a venture capitalist with an interest in children’s literature was asking how much money a new children’s book prize should pay out.  “$20,000?  $30,000?” he ventured.  We all sort of balked at the amounts, assuring the man that any author would be grateful for $10,000, let alone a larger amount (the authors in the room, as you might imagine, were gung ho for the original mentioned amounts).  Meanwhile, had I but known, the people at Kirkus were debating the self-same thing.  Only when they came up with their brand new book prize monetary amount, they decided to play for keeps.  On October 23, 2014 some amazingly lucky children’s or YA author will win a $50,000 (you read that number right) prize for their book.  All it needs to have done is receive a star from Kirkus to be eligible.  The initial announcement in The Washington Post made the big time mistake of saying that the youth award would only go to YA.  Happily, the subsequent Kirkus announcement clarified that this was not the case.  Man.  I really really want to be on that jury someday.  The power!
  • Just a reminder that the Kids Author Carnival will be up and running here in NYC today (Saturday).  Got no plans at 6 tonight?  Now you do.
  • Aw, what the heck.  Need a new poster for your library?  How bout this?

DarthVaderSummerReading Fusenews: The Bear grumbleth mum mum

You can download the PDF here if you so desire.

  • Sure, the blog post Trigger Warnings for Classic Kids Books is amusing, but I would bet you dollars to donuts that at least half of these “objections” have been used in legitimate attempts to ban or remove from shelves these books somewhere, sometime.
  • I did not know that Sun Ra and Prince were both influences on Daniel Handler but when said, it makes a certain amount of sense. PEN America’s biweekly interview series The Pen Ten recently interviewed the man and justified my belief that the most interesting authors are the ones that don’t give the same rote answers in every single interview they do.  Of course good questions help as well.
  • In L.A.?  Wish you were in New York attending BookExpo?  Wish you had something in your neck of the woods to crow about?  Well, good news.  If you haven’t heard already, the Skirball Cultural Center is featuring the show The Snowy Day and the Art of Ezra Jack Keats from now until September.  Lucky ducks.
  • Speaking of BookExpo (and is there anything else TO speak of this week?) I was much obliged to the folks at Shelf Awareness for their #BEA14: Pictures from an Exhibition post.  From that amazing diversity panel at SLJ’s Day of Dialog to singing sensation Michael Buckley and the Amazing Juggling Authors to James Patterson’s $1 million given out to bookstores (way to go, Watchung Booksellers!) it’s a great post.
  • Adult authors that write books for children are hardly new.  They’re also rarely any good.  Sorry, but it is the rare adult author that finds that they’re a natural in the children’s book realm as well.  There are always exceptions (heck, Neil Gaiman won himself a Newbery so howzabout THEM apples, eh?) and one of them might be Jo Nesbø.  Over at The Guardian, Nesbø discusses how he decides in the morning whether or not to write his gritty adult crime thrillers . . . or the fart books for kids.  Frankly, I’ll always be grateful to Nesbø because of the day I was sitting at the reference desk in the Children’s Center at 42nd Street and a group of young female Norwegians came in asking for Norwegian children’s authors.  Thank goodness for Nesbø and Peter Christen Abjorsen.
  • Somewhat along the same lines, this has very little to do with anything (to the best of my knowledge the only children’s book she ever penned was The Shoe Bird) but if you have not already read Eudora Welty’s New Yorker application letter, you’re welcome.  Suddenly I want to see the biopic of her life with the character of Eudora played by Kristen Schall.  Am I crazy?
  • It took them a bloody long time but at long last the Bologna Children’s Book Fair has announced when the 2015 dates will be.  So . . . if anyone feels like sponsoring me to go I wouldn’t, ah, object or anything.  *bats eyelashes charmingly*
  • A library can lend books.  It can lend tablets.  It can lend laptops even.  But lending the internet itself?  NYPL is currently doing just that (or is about to). In this article you can see that, “The goal of this project is to expand the reach and benefits of free access to the Internet provided by The New York Public Library (NYPL) to underserved youth and communities by allowing them to borrow portable WiFi Hotspot devices from their local libraries for a sustained period of time.”  We’ll just have to see how it works out, but I’m intrigued.
  • Tell me this isn’t awesome:

AnimalSounds Fusenews: The Bear grumbleth mum mum

As you can see, this is a selection of animal sounds found in the Orbis Sensualium Pictus (or The World of Things Obvious to the Senses drawn in Pictures), also known as the world’s oldest children’s picture book.  And if you can read through it and not suddenly find the song “What Does the Fox Say?” caught in your head then you’re a better man than I.  Thanks to AL Direct for the link.

  • When I read the i09 piece 10 Great Authors Who Disowned Their Own Books I naturally started thinking of the children’s and YA equivalents.  So far I can think of at least one author and one illustrator off the top of my head.  The author would be Kay Thompson of Eloise.  The illustrator I’ll keep to myself since he’s still alive and kicking.  Any you can think of?
  • “In France, I can publish a funny picturebook one month and a YA novel about revenge porn the next.” Maybe the best thing I read all day.  Phil Nel directed me to this absolutely fascinating piece by Clementine Beauvais called Publishing Children’s Books in the UK vs. in France.  Just substitute “UK” for “US” (which isn’t that hard) you’ll understand why this is amazing reading.  Obviously there are some difference between the UK and US models, but they share more common qualities than differences.  Thanks to Phil Nel for the link!
  • How many illustrators sneak pictures of their previous books into other books?  Travis Jonker accounts for some of the titles doing this in 2014.  Along the same lines, how many authors put in in-jokes?  It was my husband who pointed out that Jonathan Auxier put a sneaky reference to his blog The Scop into The Night Gardener this year.  Clever man.
  • Daily Image:

I have good news.  You can order this as a poster, should you so desire.

AnimalAdvocacy Fusenews: The Bear grumbleth mum mum

Thanks to Lori for the link!


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