Oh sure, it may seem like everyone’s all smiles and happiness after the recent announcements of the ALA Media awards, but don’t be fooled. There’s definitely a deep discord of discontent out there. Funny thing is, it has nothing to do with the books and everything to do with the day after the awards. For the past eleven years the winners of the Newbery and the Caldecott Awards have gone on The Today Show to speak with the folks there for roughly 15 seconds. It’s not a big spot, but it’s the only time the nation gets to really hear about these books and it’s important. This year . . . well, you may have seen the headlines. Monica Edingers’ Did Snooki Bump Children’s Book Award Winners From the Today Show?
was my personal favorite. Since that post the details have been released. According to the SLJ article ‘Today Show’ Snubs 2011 Caldecott, Newbery Winners, The Today Show gave the excuse that they were all booked up for the week thanks to the aforementioned Snooki. Said their publicist, ” ‘The Internet rumors insinuating that we ‘bumped’ the Newbery and Caldecott winners for a segment with Snooki, that we ‘passed up’ the winners for Snooki, or that there was a ‘lack of interest’ in the winners, are totally false,” says Megan Kopf, publicist for the Today Show, in an email. ‘Snooki was booked on Today before the winners were even pitched to us’.” If by “pitched” they mean “were told” then that’s really no excuse since for the past eleven years none of this was a surprise to The Today Show.
I’ve seen folks on Twitter questioning why anyone’s upset since it’s not like other TV networks do anything for children’s literature. All true, but The Today Show really is one of the few networks to give books for kids some cred. Al’s Book Club for Kids may have its flaws, but Mr. Roker does an awesome job of showing new books and kids reading. One would think there’d be some spillover into other aspects of the show like, say, a mere 30 seconds dedicated to the most highly regarded award for children’s books and their writing and art. Instead, bupkiss.
- SCBWI had an excellent response of its own, printing the letter it sent to NBC as well as various news outlets. It even mentioned the 90-Second Newbery Film Festival, which was good timing. Seriously though, when all is said and done I think YA author and 90-Second Newbery creator James Kennedy put it best when he commented, “You are all going to be so embarrassed when next year’s Newbery goes to Snooki.”
- That was gossipy. Let’s scale it back a notch then. There were some delightful wrap-ups of the Newbery winners, but to my (perhaps biased but nonetheless accurate) mind none really can compare with those produced by my fellow bloggers/co-writers. First off, Peter at Collecting Children’s Books reveals how he managed to sway the winners with his sleeping arrangements. Aside from that he also discovers that one of the winners was the youngest person on record to ever get that award, reveals that this is the FIRST TIME the Newbery and Caldecott Awards have both gone to debuts, and then crunches some amusing numbers. Then over at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast you will see Jules cover the Caldecott winner like no other blog is even capable. Three words: Original wordless scans. Also check out the sketches Jules got pictures of from some of the other winners as well. Wow.
- Displeased with the actual winners? Then take a trip over to The Lemme Library where you can see what won in the Bizarro World of ALA Winners. Bizarro and the Newbery in one place at one time? Pinch me, I’m dreaming.
- Okay. Last mention of the awards, and then we can move on. Extra props to The Chicago Tribune for this image of the award ceremony. That’s Walter the Giant in the front with Barry Goldblatt on the side and Liz of A Chair, a Fireplace, and a Tea Cozy behind. Please name anyone else you happen to recognize here.
- Speaking of news, GalleyCat was kind enough to report on my last Children’s Literary Salon involving horror in middle grade novels. Yay, blood and guts!
- Not long ago I wrote an article for SLJ on children’s picture book apps. Kirkus (who I actually review for) has now gotten on board and has gone so far as to star five such apps. I agree with all their choices, save maybe one. While I was amused by the What Does My Teddy Bear Do All Day? app, I pointed out in my article that the plethora of games actually distract you quite a lot from the text, making for a less than ideal reading situation. One wonders of Kirkus took this into consideration.
- Oh, goody goody goody. The Battle of the Kids Books is gearing up and I cannot wait. Last year the final honor almost went to one of my favorite books of the year (The Lost Conspiracy) and I cannot WAIT to see what goes down this year. Maybe A Tale Dark and Grimm will finally have its day? It all depends on what gets nominated. We shall see . . .
Random Movie News: Well, that’s a doozy. Apparently Debra Granik, the director of the highly applauded and lauded film Winter’s Bone has turned her sights upon adapting Pippi Longstocking to the big screen. This A.V. Club article on the adaptation is amusing, if only because the author Sean O’Neal clearly knows his Pippi. How else would he be aware of the suitcase full of gold coins?
I’ve been watching the career of comic artist Kate Beaton closely the last few years. I knew she had moved to New York and I knew the various publishers were courting her heavily. Now the dust has cleared and Drawn & Quarterly is the winner. D&Q will be publishing a Hark, A Vagrant book this fall for one and all to see. I’m a little disappointed that the love didn’t fall to something like First Second, but I hold out hope that someday Beaton will do something on the children’s side of things. Failing that I’ll just start courting Allie Brosh instead.
- Okay, let’s talk diversity in children’s literature. There’s a new site in town, and it’s looking to expand your horizons a bit. Meet Diversity in YA. Covering middle grade and YA books (so the title is a bit misleading) here’s some basic info on the folks behind it via their press release:
“Founded by two YA authors, Cindy Pon (Silver Phoenix, Fury of the Phoenix) and Malinda Lo (Ash, Huntress), Diversity in YA seeks to bring attention to MG and YA books featuring people of color and LGBT characters. We envision DIYA as a positive, friendly gathering of readers and writers who want to see diversity in their fiction. Every week on our website we’ll be featuring books that include diversity, from realistic, contemporary novels to absorbing historical and adventurous fantasy.”
Head on over and check up the hugely impressive line-up they have going on. Wowzer. I’ll be keeping a close eye on these folks and the books they mention in the coming year.
- Daily Image:
I don’t usually show book covers here but the paperback of Mare’s War by Tanita S. Davis clinched it:
Dang. That’s a nice cover. Gutsy too.