- Mmm. Critical reviews. They’re important. I don’t do as many of them these days as I used to, but I try to work in at least a couple per year. Some bloggers don’t do them at all, and while I understand that I think it’s important to have a critical dialogue in the children’s literary blogosphere. That nice Justine Larbalestier author recently wrote a post called I Love Bad Reviews that covers this. She’s a gutsy gal, that one. I hope she writes a middle grade book one of these days (How to Ditch Your Fairy came close but wasn’t quite there). And if the research author Elizabeth Fama found in the Sept/Oct 2010 issue of Marketing Science is true, then “negative reviews of books of relatively unknown authors raised sales 45%.” So there you go, oh first time authors. It’s win-win!
- Along similar lines is this other snarky link. Personally I’ve nothing against Cassandra Clare. She was a lovely person that I got to meet at a Simon & Schuster preview once. Of course, I’ve never read a one of her books (she’s a YA writer) but bookshelves of doom gave a positive review to her City of Bones and I trust Leila. That said, I enjoyed Part One of the podcast Read It and Weep’s series on that same book (Part Two isn’t out as of this posting). Read It and Weep is a couple dudes and their guest host talking about books and various pop culture icons they dislike. I wouldn’t recommend the podcast for fans of the series, but if you’re curious about the book it can be amusing. Particularly since they will mention things they enjoyed, like the cat-related paging system. I think I’ll have to seek out their thoughts on Percy Jackson soon. Not Twilight, though. It’s been done.
- Everyone and their mother emailed me the amazing Aaron Renier take on Dahl’s Matilda and eBooks (Renier, you should remember, is the man behind Spiral Bound and The Unsinkable Walker Bean). I first saw the cartoon at 100 Scope Notes, though, so it is there that I place my credit. Love that Clockwork Orange reference. Thanks, Travis!
Oh, Chicago. You with your fancy deep dish pizzas and your bean shaped structures. Your gigantic eyeballs. How I love thee. Particularly when your Art Institute of Chicago has exhibits like Real and Imaginary: Three Latin American Artists. The artists in question? Yuyi Morales, Raul Colon, and David Diaz. In short, the three most luminous folks I know. That exhibit should fairly glow after all the lights have dimmed. I waaaaaaant it. Bring it to me!! Thanks to Mr. Schu for the link.
- I was at a meeting the other day when a fellow librarian happened to say, “How great is The Guardian on children’s books?” It’s true. There’s something about that particular British publication that knows to give credit to the world of books for youth. Now they’ve launched a brand new site just for children’s books that is bloody brilliant. If you want to keep your finger firmly on the pulse of the Brit book industry, that’s probably not a bad place to start. I do wonder about the fact that Macmillan is associated with it, though. Thanks to Angela Gillette for the link.
- We hear a fair amount about getting boys to read, but it’s authors like James Preller that go out there and get something done about it. Recently James interviewed Thomas Newkirk, author of the book Misreading Masculinity: Boys, Literacy, and Popular Culture. Together they explore all kinds of different issues (why we should care, television as an under-valued resource, math from sports statistics, etc.). Good stuff. Go ye and seek it out.
- Condoleezza Rice beat Rita Williams-Garcia for a literary award. You think I kid? I kid not. Cool nominees anywho.
- When a Professor of English, directing a university’s program on children’s literature thinks that your picture book is worthy, that’s probably a good feeling. When that professor is Philip Nel and the debut picture book author is Weird Al, that’s when things get interesting. I read Phil’s critique of Yankovic’s When I Grow Up with great interest, and he makes some good points. I agree with him about the art, and absolutely love the video Phil includes in the post. I may have to steal it for a Video Sunday off-topic vid one of these days. It’s just too good.
Whoa. I hadn’t seen the Bookshelf Porn website before. I suspect my simple use of the p-word will be sufficient to get my blog all kinds of banned from your school computers, so I apologize to my school librarian fellows. That said, the website is rather lovely. Here are two offerings I took a shine to.
Purdy. Thanks to Beth Fama for the link.