The other day I linked to the Dianthe McBride SLJ piece about what book publishers should make more or less of. A subsequent response has appeared on, of all things, MSN Cinemama by the great author Martha Brockenbrough. Called Are We Letting Boys Become Book Bigots?, Ms. Brockenbrough takes issue with the idea that publishers should make more main characters boys so that more boys will read about them. Amongst her arguments, "My guess is that most people would be embarrassed to admit they wouldn’t buy a book because the main character wasn’t white. Why we’re more comfortable denigrating books with female characters is a mystery." Velvet Threads then made a response to the response, and had some excellent points as well. She sees what Martha’s saying, "On the other hand, look at a YA (and particularly a children’s section) bookshelf in a bookshop, and do you know what I see? A whole lot of books that young men would probably really enjoy if it wasn’t for the PINK COVER. Or the headless girl splashed all over the cover of a book which is about female and male characters." I noticed that myself when organizing our Summer Reading Books. Pink pink pink. And since I wasn’t a very pink-centric girl when young, I probably would have passed them over myself. And then, to top it all off, Oz and Ends weighed in as well! "McBride is apparently willing to spend her budget on new, unproven books with male protagonists because her male students tell her they can’t find anything interesting to read. Those are probably the same boys who stand in front of an open refrigerator complaining that they can’t find any food." So are we turning boys into book bigots? Maybe so, but I can tell you that yesterday I had TWO boys in my library between the ages of 9-12 asking for Nancy Drew. Take that as you may. Thanks to Shaken & Stirred for the link.
Speaking of books that people mistakenly label boy fare… wanna see what the new Wimpy Kid cover looks like? Voila!
I knew it would be yeller! I knew it, I knew it, I knew it!
Designer Chad Beckerman gives you a peek at what it’s like behind the scenes of a publisher dealing with such a huge release. Heck you can even see real time editing. I’m excited, though one thing did catch my notice. It’s Greg’s first summer adventure, right? So pity about the October release date. Not that it makes much of a difference (kids would buy this book if it was called Dairy of a Wimpy Kid: Greg Does Calculus) but it’s a pity the release didn’t coincidence with the beginning of summer itself. Still, between getting a copy now or NEXT summer, I think I shall take now, please. And by "now" I, of course, mean "October".
This is one of those news items that get me excited for all the wrong reasons. I read the title Swedish parents keep 2-year-old’s gender secret and do you know what I think of instantly? That wonderful and truly one-of-a-kind book X: A Fabulous Child’s Story by Lois Gould. If you don’t have a copy on hand (and with its 1978 publication date few of you do) you can always read it in its entirety in Tales for Little Rebels: A Collection of Radical Children’s Literature as compiled by Julia L. Mickenberg and Philip Nel. This is just another case of life imitating art. Thanks to Crooked House for the link.
As seemingly random messages from reliable sources go, I didn’t see where this message was going at first:
This link is to a Washington Post story about drug cartels targeting Mexican Mormon communities (founded in the 1880s by Mormons who were fleeing persecution in the U.S.) with kidnappings and extortion. Down in paragraph 19 or so, one such Mexican Mormon explains why community leaders refused to pay ransom for a kidnapped 16-year-old. He says about the Mexican drug cartels, "If you give them a cookie, they’ll want a glass of milk." I don’t *think* this was a common expression before Laura Numeroff’s book came out. At least I don’t remember hearing it.
Well, I’ll be damned. Thanks to Anna Hebner for the link.
On the one hand, this recent post on Awful Library Books (the site where people submit pictures of the ancient tomes they’ve seen on circulating shelves) shows a book that is hopelessly out-of-date. On the other hand, isn’t just the fact that it’s the boy pointing and looking like he might want to pursue an MLIS degree encouraging? Or is he simply indicating to his little sis that she needs to stop walking the dog and get a job?
Thanks to Dan for the link.