Call him the Tupac Shakur of children’s books. Or maybe that title should go to Margaret Wise Brown. In any case, it seems that every ten years or so we get a new Shel Silverstein book or collection of poems entirely out of the blue (I’m counting Falling Up, and Runny Babbit when I say that). At some point this will inevitably lead to an Elvis situation, wherein folks will start claiming that Silverstein never actually died and is currently holed up somewhere in Amherst, MA, biding his time, releasing his books on his own schedule. This is, of course, wishful thinking on my part since Silverstein is the author who was alive during my lifetime that I would have most liked to have met. Watch out, Steven Kellogg. You’re #2. In any case, here’s the scoop on the newest Silverstein. The man’s still got it / had it.
- Sometimes you want to unlearn something you have learned. Beware then, my readers. Once you read this you can never go through life not knowing about it.
- Now that is how it is done! Over the Atlantic the British blog Playing by the book has posted a quite remarkable little piece on an exhibit currently showing at the Imperial War Museum in Britain (where I once bought this poster). In the blog post How to explore war with children?, we are told that, “Once Upon a Wartime, an exhibition which opened earlier this month at London’s Imperial War Museum, takes five children’s novels about war and conflict and uses them as a starting point to explore what war can mean for children.” The five books in question include War Horse by Michael Morpurgo, Carrie’s War by Nina Bawden, The Silver Sword by Ian Serraillier, The Machine Gunners by Robert Westall and Little Soldier by Bernard Ashley. Of these I am ashamed to say I have only read Carrie’s War (which is brilliant). The post then goes on to talk about the exhibits and shows copious photographs. It’s enough to make you pine, once again, for England. Thanks to Sara Lewis Holmes for the link.
- I have this fantasy that someday I’ll conduct a video conversation with Travis Jonker where we converse entirely by holding up the titles of children’s books (after all, we know he’s ace with a video cam). I think of such things when he makes similar projects look easy. Take, for example, his latest book spine cento. It’s all in preparation to get you guys excited about making your own book spine poems for Poetry Month. I know I’m tempted. Spine it up!
- The Ancient Editor Rejects a Manuscript and in the process offers some very fine props to Mr. Dan Gutman. Thanks to @medinger for the link.
- New Blog Alert: I’m toying with the notion of having a Children’s Literary Salon at some point where folks who have given writing advice on their blogs sit on a panel and discuss this advice in a public forum. I think of such thing when I read sites like the Emma Walton Hamilton Blog. She gives good advice. She’s an advocate and an educator as well as being an author and an editor. She created the Children’s Book Hub, a virtual salon for children’s authors. And it’s entirely unrelated but she shares blood with one of the greatest living entertainers in children’s cinema. Just sayin’. If she’s local (Sag Harbor, anyone?) I’d love to get her for my Salon. Thinking ahead . . .
- I have two words for you: book cookies. Now I have three more words for you: yum yum yum. Or is that just one word said multiple times? No matter. Thanks to Mrs. Mordecai for the link.
- Oh boy, oh boy! The nominees for the 2011 Indies Choice/E.B. White Read-Aloud Book Awards are up and running for one and all to see, and the competition is fierce. Not only do you have to decide what the Young Adult book of the year should be (not so subtle hint – Bamboo People) but also the middle grade and picture book E.B. White Read-Alouds, books that should appear in the Picture Book Hall of Fame (all of which appeared on my Top 100 Picture Books Poll), and most cruel of all “Most Engaging Author”. No “Most Engaging Illustrator” interestingly. Wonder why that is?
- Our old friend author Marc Tyler Nobleman is up to new tricks. Noblemania is one of the more exciting of the children’s author blogs out there, partially because the man is good at content. Recently he wrote a post called You make a living at that? that discusses the ins and outs of living off of your writing. There’s also an interesting look at bringing back matter to the forefront, and personal recollections of his editor, Janet Schulman. All good stuff.
- Bad news, guys. As fun as it was to consider, there apparently isn’t a YA Mafia. Holly Black would know, of course. Such a pity. I had lovely images of folks like John Green and Maureen Johnson wearing fedoras, skulking in alleyways, calling people “dame” and the like. *sigh*
- Ye gods, she’s done it again! Seriously, I’m so glad I gave up my own children’s literary podcast blog, because the sheer amount of work Katie Davis puts into Brain Burps About Books would have floored me. Do you know whom she got for the latest interview? Do you? None other than Betsy Franco, mother of one half of our most recent Oscar host and children’s poet (I like her cats) THAT is who. How does she do it? How does she do it?
- Are children’s book award winners historical documents that freeze a moment in time, or should you be allowed to update elements so as to keep them timely? Roger Sutton gives the quick and dirty on one such debate over at Read Roger.
- I’m human. I read a title like Please Bring Back These Books! and I’m helpless to resist. I love discussing out-of-print titles. It’s what makes life worth living. What’s fascinating about that blog post on ShelfTalker, however, is the fact that Elizabeth Bluemle isn’t talking about obscure titles but well-known ones. In particular she singles out the 1943 Katherine Woods translation of The Little Prince and the original James and the Giant Peach with the Nancy Eckholm Burkert illustrations. Wow. Hardcore.
- Movie news time! Here’s a new one I’ve not seen before. From Cynopsis Kids:
DreamWorks Animation unveils plans to bring Rumblewick to the big screen, with director Tim Johnson (Over The Hedge, Antz) and writer Jim Herzfeld (Meet the Fockers, Meet the Parents) collaborating on the project. The movie is based on the kid’s book My Unwilling Witch (The Rumblewick Letters) by Hiawyn Oram and Sarah Warburton, which revolves around the adventures of a magician’s rabbit that is invited to learn real magic only to learn he is a pawn in a battle between rival witches. He must outsmart the witches to survive.
- Daily Image:
Have we grown tired of cut paper beauty yet? No? Excellent. Well this is all the work of artist Su Blackwell. Someone asked me recently if I knew her. Not I, though her name is essentially that of my mother, which can be a bit confusing for a person.
See more here. Thanks to Jane Curley for the link.