The other day at work I felt like the marrow of my bones was being sucked out through my spine. It was one of those days. Fortunately things have picked up since then. Here’s a smattering of some recent news.
- Authors of YA or teen novels with gay-friendly themes may wish to pay close attention to this disturbing news item. Recently author Mark R. Probst noticed that the Amazon sales ranking of his book had disappeared from Amazon.com. It wasn’t just him either. Book after book with gay or lesbian themes have been disappearing from the Amazon sales rankings. With his Amazon Advantage account helping him out, Probst found out what had happened when his query met with this reply: “In consideration of our entire customer base, we exclude ‘adult’ material from appearing in some searches and best seller lists. Since these lists are generated using sales ranks, adult materials must also be excluded from that feature.” Woah. Woah nelly. I’ve checked out some gay-friendly children’s books and they all seem to have their Amazon rankings intact so far. Still, if you’re an author of a YA novel of any sort with such (heaven help me) “adult” themes, better see if they dropped you like this. Thanks to Gregory K. (who is still doing his 30 Poets, 30 Days posts so go check ‘em out) for the link. UPDATE: Apparently Amazon is now backtracking a little and calling the removal of rankings a glitch.
- The Eisner Award nominations were announced recently and I am . . . curious. These awards are, “Named for acclaimed comics creator the Will Eisner, the awards are in their 21st year of highlighting the best publications and creators in comics and graphic novels, chosen by a blue-ribbon panel of judges.” In the best publication for kids division we have:
- Amulet, Book 1: The Stonekeeper, by Kazu Kabuishi (Scholastic Graphix)
- Cowa! by Akira Toriyama (Viz)
- Princess at Midnight, by Andi Watson (Image)
- Stinky, by Eleanor Davis (RAW Junior)
- Tiny Titans, by Art Baltazar and Franco (DC)
Um . . . okay. In the teen category:
- Coraline, by Neil Gaiman, adapted by P. Craig Russell (HarperCollins Children’s Books)
- Crogan’s Vengeance, by Chris Schweizer (Oni)
- The Good Neighbors, Book 1: Kin, by Holly Black and Ted Naifeh (Scholastic Graphix)
- Rapunzel’s Revenge, by Shannon and Dean Hale and Nathan Hale (Bloomsbury Children’s Books)
- Skim, by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki (Groundwood Books)
So, first off, no Jellaby? Seriously? You’re doing Amulet but not Jellaby? Priorities, people! No Chiggers either, I see. As for Coraline and Rapunzel’s Revenge, the Cybils knew enough not to put those two books in their teen category. At this point it just looks like padding. A pity since Emiko Superstar would have fit in beautifully. Ditto Life Sucks. Thanks to 100 Scope Notes for the link.
- In the realm of shortlists that don’t make me quite as touchy, the E.B. White Read Aloud Award‘s own listing has recently been released.
A Visitor for Bear by Bonny Becker, illustrated by Kady MacDonald Denton (Candlewick)
Louise, The Adventures of a Chicken by Kate DiCamillo, illustrated by Harry Bliss (HarperCollins)
One by Kathryn Otoshi (KO Kids Books)
Too Many Toys by David Shannon (Scholastic)
Books for Older Readers
The Magic Thief by Sarah Prineas (HarperCollins)
Masterpiece by Elise Broach, illustrated by Kelly Murphy (Henry Holt)
The Willoughbys by Lois Lowry (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Zorgamazoo by Robert Paul Weston, illustrated by Victor Rivas (Penguin)
My predictions: Um. Let’s say A Visitor for Bear in the Picture Book category and Masterpiece in the Older Reader slot. I’m still kicking myself for not reviewing Masterpiece when I had the chance. As for A Visitor for Bear, I’m convinced it would have won some kind of a Caldecott Honor if only the illustrator had lived in the States. Thanks to Educating Alice for the list.
- They’re calling it the IMDB of the book world. ISBNDB is a similar kind of site, providing a kind of book and ISBN database for easy searching. Unfortunately it isn’t very pretty, or particularly comprehensive. While IMDB allows a user to see additional information on a particular movie, ISBNDB doesn’t allow for user reviews or wiki editing, which makes the site pretty static. Perhaps one day this will become a go-to site for online searches, but for now for-profit sites like Amazon and Barnes and Noble still do it better. Thanks to Galleycat for the link.
- Far more useful and (dare I say) blatantly obvious when you think of it is a widget created by Through the Magic Door. Listen to this and tell me it isn’t something you would have thought other agencies would have come up with long ago:
“In order to help busy parents and others wanting to quickly find books that will interest and hold the attention of their children (and thereby build the habit of reading), Through the Magic Door (where I blog) has developed an iApp for the Apple iPhone. Reader Genie allows you to select any of seven criteria (Reading Level by Age & Grade, Subject, Emotions & Issues, Values, Animal Protagonist, Genre, and Recommendations) and will then generate a list of titles that match those criteria. Reader Genie can also be accessed by those without an iPhone at www.readergenie. com.
For any of the authors in our Kidlitosphere group, should you wish, you can tag your own book by accessing www.ttmd.com logging in, going to your book and using the Suggest Search Values at the bottom to choose categories and values that describe your book. Your searchable tags will register within twenty-four hours and be accessible to Reader Genie. If your book is not carried by Baker & Taylor, use your ISBN in the Book Search to find your book.
Like I say. Seems obvious. The only flaw in the search terms is how rigidly one seems to be held to a grade level, per book. Otherwise, I like what I see.
- Heads up, oh fans of illustrator Carin Berger (The Little Yellow Leaf). The woman has starting blogging and as an added bonus you get to see some images from her as of yet unfinished next book that is due out NEXT spring (like, 2010).
- The Sheila at Wands and Worlds wants YOUR undiscovered gems printed in the year 2008. In discussing the difficulty in finding unknown beauties she points out that New York Public Library’s Books for the Teen Agehas now become Stuff for the Teen Age. That may well be, but I’d like to point out that from the children’s perspective, NYPL still produces 100 Books for Reading and Sharing each year. We haven’t quite made it 100 Things for Reading and Sharing yet. In any case, if you can think of some 2008 titles you think were particularly overlooked, do let Sheila know. And not YOUR OWN books, people. Someone else’s. Spread the love.
- Daily Image:
Americans, Brits, Aussies, art designers from every publishing industry everywhere . . .
I didn’t know they were making it shiny. Thanks to Neil Gaiman’s blog for the link.