Anne McCaffrey passed away yesterday at the age of 85. I have linked to the io9 obituary because the title mentions her book The Ship Who Sang which was a great favorite of my mother’s back in the day. I was more of a Dragonriders of Pern fan myself. I have a very clear memory of being in 5th or 6th grade and discovering Dragonsong on the shelf. It was a good gateway novel to the world. Later I would go on to own The People of Pern which was this kickin’ collection of paintings of the different characters, full color glossy glory and all. They should make such books for Twilight, Harry Potter, His Dark Materials, etc. While we remember Ms. McCaffrey in our own ways, remember too that illustrator Tony DiTerlizzi once did the art for a version of Dragonflight back in the day. Tony’s take was that the dragons should have an alien look to them (since technically the series is sci-fi, not fantasy). The results were fascinating.
- Oh! Oh! Oh! You may have heard it here first. Matt Phelan’s The Storm in the Barn has been optioned for a feature film! What’s that you say? Lots of books are optioned but never see the screen? Maybe so, but how many are produced by Marti Noxon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Mad Men) and written by David Goodman (Fringe, Angel)? Darn few, that’s how many. Thanks for the heads up, Matt.
- The Invention of Hugo Cabret is out and folks are flocking around the country to see it. Here in New York one theater decided to show George Méliès shorts for kids. They don’t necessarily point out the Cabret collection (in the book/film Méliès is a major character) but that’s my interpretation of their timing. Not a shabby notion too.
- The latest Best Books list to come out is the Kirkus list of best books of 2011. Of the “best” lists to come out this year, this one may be closest to my heart. Granted it forgot books like Never Forgotten, but check out some of these inclusions! Blue Chicken. Dragon Castle. Orani. I love what made the final cut! I’m a little sad that this is the first I’ve heard of Eddie’s War by Carol Fisher Saller, though. Must find.
- The New York Times discovered that tech savvy parents like to read print books to their children. It’s all pretty standard stuff you’ve heard before but there are a couple blips that caught my eye. At one point the article mentions Macmillan “which released ‘The Pout-Pout Fish’ by Deborah Diesen and ‘On the Night You Were Born’ by Nancy Tillman.” Come again? Nothing against Tillman or Diesen, but were those mentions based entirely on sales? Because when I think of Macmillan I can guaran-dang-tee you that those two books are not the first to come to mind. And I was pleased to see Junko Yokota quoted. Now there’s a lady who knows her stuff.
- A fan of the Jon Klassen book I Want My Hat Back? Of course you are. Are you also a fan of Doctor Who? Then prepare to be astonished. Pity about the ever present animation on the left but whatchagonnado? It’s a fun piece, though I’m baffled as to why the characters aren’t looking at the reader but at one another. The genius of Klassen’s book is, in part, because the animals look directly at you almost the whole time. Lose that and you lose a lot. Still fun though. Thanks to Dan Santat for the link!
- The newest 90-Second Newbery recap is up and running! This time Kennedy conquers Chicago. Oregon is next on the menu.
- Yo. New author/illustrator type folks. If you were published in 2011, we want to make sure that your book is included for consideration in the 2012 Golden Kite Awards the deadline for sending in your book from your publisher is Friday, December 16, 2011. Go to www.scbwi.org and click on awards to figure out whether or not you’re eligible and if you are submit submit submit, baby. And yes, I’m aware that that phrase sounded weird just now.
- I wanna live in the universe where this occurs regularly:
Hey . . . is that a sign for the birthplace of Winsor McCay? Wow. That’s just about the coolest thing I’ve ever seen. Bar none.
- “Do seasonal books sell and circulate all year round? Which Caldecott title contains the fewest illustrations? Which ‘Little House’ artist is your favorite? Does a female powerlifting champion with a crew cut know she’s being used to sell a new YA novel?” Peter’s so smart. After reading these questions how can you not want to hear all the answers (some left unanswered) firsthand? The Laura Ingalls Wilder book jacket compare and contrasts are worth the price of admission alone. Folks forget that Garth Williams didn’t do the first ones (and that original Little Town on the Prairie is amazing).
- Will Weaver speaks out about judging on this year’s National Book Award panel. Between this post and one written by Ms. Nikki Grimes about this year’s not-to-be-missed titles, the curtain of secrecy surrounding this process has grown just a touch more transparent. Weaver’s piece is a definitive scene-by-scene examination of what serving on such a committee entails. As Mr. Weaver says of the process “Getting to the final five was truly painful — like pushing loved ones away from the life raft.” Anyone who has ever been on a book committee will understand that. I participate in New York Public Library’s 100 Books for Reading and Sharing list each year and winnowing it down to 100, let alone five, is like pulling out my own teeth. It is interesting to hear his side on the kerfuffle that followed. Certainly the incident shed a little light on the Youth Literature category, and that is perhaps a good thing, proving to the foundation that this is a genre worth discussing in some way. Thanks to Beth Fama for the link.
- Hrm. This is a good example of things professional review journals have to deal with (and blogger like myself does not). I will say that there was an incident a number of years ago when I reviewed a book on my blog and then received a call from the book’s publicity department asking that I take it down until the release date. Be nice to me and someday I may even tell you what that book was.
- What’s going to be hot in late 2011/early 2012? The Jonker knows.
- How do you make an SLJ cover? Not in a bar, that’s for sure. Here’s the real behind-the-scenes action.
- This article in the Times causes me to ask only one thing: When are they finally going to update the A Very Young [Blank] series for the 21st Century? We need it! You could follow a kid on Broadway (Billy Elliott is closing but there’s always copious Simbas around and about), a gymnast, a musician, and maybe some newer kids like an entrepreneur, an ecology buff, a blogger, etc. Then again, after reading the story of what happened to the original Dancer, maybe not . . .
- Daily Image:
How I missed the Fictional Food site I do not know, but amazing doesn’t quite cover it. Describing itself as “Bringing food from page to plate” it take works of fiction, often for children and young adults, and makes them real. So if you’re hungry for an Everdeen Reaping Supper of Fish Stew with Greens from Hunger Games or an array of Sorting Hat cakes, this is where it’s at.
Of course, it’s the cupcakes that take the . . . er . . . cake.
Nom nom nom nom. Thanks to Marci for the link!