All right, all right, all righty, all right then. Where to begin . . . I know. With a tribute that deserves notice first and foremost. I had heard that Laura Amy Schlitz was writing an obituary for her friend, fellow writer Eva Ibbotson. I expected it to be brilliant. It has, in fact, exceeded my expectations. So much so that it gives me the rather morbid hope that I die before Laura just so that she can write an obit for me as well. Nobody does it better.
- Hooray! It’s time of the year again! The Best Book lists of 2010 are beginning to arrive. Just the other day New York Public Library decided on their 2010 list of 100 Books for Reading and Sharing (I’m not offering any hints, but it’s good). They’ll be printing that soon. And now Publishers’ Weekly has release their own Best Children’s Books 2010. I don’t agree with all their choices, but it’s certainly got some great books on there. Be sure to check it out.
- Speaking of Bests, my co-author Peter Sieruta at Collecting Children’s Books just printed the list of the 2010 ABC New Voices list of “outstanding debut books by authors for middle-grade and young-adult readers.” I must say, I’m more than a little disappointed in the results. No Adam Gidwitz. No Kate Milford. No Margi Preus. No N.H. Senzai. We must have been reading very different authors this year, those independent booksellers and I. I would like to read The Clockwork Three, though. I’ve been hearing good things.
- Wow! So somehow I was unaware that Lisa Brown (she of the recent picture book Vampire Boy’s Good Night) had created a large archive of three panel cartoon reviews of various works of classic literature. Or, if not classic literature, at least well known literature. Some of you, I know, will be fond of the Little House one. Thanks to Educating Alice for the link.
- Got word the other day from illustrator Annie Beth Ericsson that due to the fact that NYC’s Mayor is declaring a brand new Illustration Week soon, she is going to interview a whole slew of new up-and-coming illustrators “many of them children’s book-related” on her blog Walking in Public. Sounds good to me. Please note, oh ye librarians that work with small children, that a couple of the illustrators have images that aren’t necessarily workplace friendly. Good stuff that should be checked out, though!
- The screening of the children’s literary documentary Library of the Early Mind went swimmingly here at NYPL last week. But don’t take my word for it.
- You know that game where you have to list the three authors, living or dead, that you would most want to sit down and have a cup of tea with? Well, onto my list goes T.H. White. I wouldn’t have thought so, but I recently read the letter he wrote to his friend Leonard James Potts about writing The Sword in the Stone and it really rather overwhelmed me with its charm. He manages to make two direct jabs at A.A. Milne then ends with an apologetic, “I am staying in Norfolk to shoot wild geese–the latest craze. God knows what I shall think of next.” Read it, if only to perk up your own day. Thanks to Matt for the link.
- Unbeknownst to Debbie Reese and Cynthia Leitich Smith I am a Kalamazoo native. I say this because even though they were unaware of this fact, both saw fit to invoke my name when they spoke at Kalamazoo’s 33rd annual Mary Calletto Rife Youth Literature Seminar at Western Michigan University. Cynthia, interestingly enough, included our How Much is an Author Obligated to Say? discussion under her Native Youth Literature Resources, which was awfully kind of her. Debbie Reese made reference to the Top 100 Children’s Novels Poll and the stereotypical images in some of those books. All well and good, and we will assume that she made it clear that this was a poll I conducted and not my own personal list conjured out of my own head. It’s more interesting when you take into account the number of folks who voted.
- Hey, did anyone else catch the children’s literary reference on Modern Family the other night? The one where Cam critiques an Alyssa Capucilli book. “And how, exactly was it a big day for Biscuit? Hm?” Admittedly there is no such book as Biscuit’s Big Day, but at least someone on the writing staff thought to mention a children’s book character aside from the usual suspects.
- Great news out there, but I’ll use this particular summing up from old Cynopsis Kids:
“The American Library Association ‘s (ALA) welcomes The Stonewall Children’s and Young Adult Literature Award to the ALA Youth Media Awards announcements in January 2011, which already includes the noted literary prizes such as the Coretta Scott King Book Award, John Newbery Medal, Michael Printz Award, Randolph Caldecott Medal, Schneider Family Book Awards and 13 other awards for youth literature. The Stonewall Children’s and Young Adult Literature Award is administered by the ALA’s Stonewall Book Awards Committee of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered Round Table and is awarded annually to authors and illustrators of English-language books for kids and teens relating to the GLBT experience. The Stonewall Book Awards Committee handed out its first Stonewall Children’s and young Adult Literature Award in 2010.”
- It would be very difficult, even if you’re not a Harry Potter fan, not to take some pleasure out of the recent Observer debate between novelist Naomi Alderman and children’s author Frank Cottrell Boyce over whether or not J.K. Rowling should ever write another Harry Potter novel. For one thing, I adore Ms. Alderman’s disgust with the Star Wars “prequels” and this led to a conversation between Matt and myself over how Lucas could have ruined the character of Han Solo, had he a mind to do so (Matt envisions a nine-year-old Han shooting a gun to save someone and then saying numbly, “I’ll never shoot first again.”). Frank Cottrell Boyce, for his part, makes some fun points and then suddenly veers off to one side speculating as to whether or not Rowling could resurrect Snape from the grave. To which I say it’s just so crazy it just might . . . Thanks to PW Children’s Bookshelf for the link.
- Ah. Well it was a thought. Looks as though BEA and ALA are gonna stay separate after all. That’s fine. Would have been interesting, but I can certainly see the downside.
- Daily Image:
What’s shocking about this isn’t that I’m stealing it from Travis Jonker’s 100 Scope Notes site. Nope. Far more shocking is the fact that I didn’t steal it before. What was taking me so long?
T-shirts were, as you can see, once available. Now they may not be. Grr. By the way, was anyone else served green eggs and ham at school whenever St. Patrick’s Day rolled around? Why do I suspect that in this day and age of religious awareness and vegetarianism (not to say veganism) that doesn’t happen quite as often anymore? Thanks to 100 Scope Notes for the link.