Two authors of children’s books passed away recently, one on the American side of the equation and one across the sea in Britain. For the Yanks, Bill Wallace has been on our shelves for any number of years. You can read a lovely SLJ obituary for him here. As for the other person, that would be Mr. Samuel Youd. That name, I suspect, raises few flags but if I were to tell you his pen name, John Christopher, that might be a different story. Practically Paradise offers a great encapsulation of tributes to the man behind the tripod series (periodically we receive announcements that it will be a major motion picture, and then nothing ever occurs). There is also a nice remembrance in Timothy Kreider’s Artist’s Statement (more than halfway down) where he puts Christopher’s writing in context, highlighting its real strengths.
- Great great, great great great great piece from Marjorie Ingall on the sticky tricky territory of teaching your kids about the Holocaust through books. The advice offered from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. in the second to last paragraph of the piece should be printed out, laminated, and handed out to every parent there is. Re: the recommended reading list in the final paragraph, ditto.
- New Blog Alert: In other news the CBC (Children’s Book Council) recently celebrated their Diversity Committee “dedicated to increasing the diversity of voices and experiences contributing to children’s literature.” The members of this committee are from children’s book publishers across the board. Some great posts currently exist on the committee’s blog, all of which I recommend. The piece on Felita is particularly noteworthy since the sheer lack of middle grade novels starring Hispanic American children gnaws at my entrails every year.
- There was a recent article in the most recent American Libraries that got the juices flowing in my gray matter this week. In O Sister Library, Where Art Thou? author April Ritchie asks what it would be like if big public libraries with lots of funds paired with little libraries that need a leg up. “A new model for enhancing library services in these more vulnerable areas is emerging in Kentucky, a state with libraries at both ends of the economic spectrum.” Awesome piece and an even better idea. Go check that out.
- I’m sure I’m not telling you anything new when I inform you that The Brown Bookshelf has again started its yearly initiative 28 Days Later, a celebration of African American authors and illustrators. It is THE #1 way to grow aware of people working in the field. So far the only people highlighted thus far that I was aware of is Nikki Giovanni. Time to read up on the other folks. Kwame Alexander, for example, is fascinating. And I’m incredibly excited to see Atinuke included. She’s not American, but for her singular voice I too would make an exception.
- Speaking of Black History Month, heads up children’s librarians and educators. Want access to some relatively cheap continuing education classes? Then read the following:
Librarianship Upgrades for Children and Youth Services, known as LUCY,
is a multicultural continuing education program offering workshops and
resources for librarians and educators. Check out LUCY’s FREE
annotated bibliography of multicultural children’s literature at our
website along with book talks on some of the newest titles. LUCY also
has archived webinars including 21st Century Learning for All with
Gail Dickinson and Grant Writing for Multicultural Projects with Sue
Kimmel. Like LUCY on Facebook to receive updates and giveaways. See
the LUCY website for registration information and more at
So I headed on over there and yes indeed. Lo and behold there’s a whole swath of classes from “Integrating Multicultural Literature in the Primary Classroom” to “Spring Into Multicultural Literature with LUCY k-6 and 7-12 sessions” either $25 or free. The Bibliographies are particularly useful, though. Utterly up-to-date and filled with some great choices.
- The new reprinting of Michael Morpurgo’s War Horse? Looks like Old Stock Photo McGee (Travis, that is now your new name) strikes again.
I like my tights. I should have more of them. Tights are a good way of saying “Look at me! Someone’s got a personality here!” without pushing the issue. I recently had a chance to show off some of my stripey-er leg coverings this past Saturday in conjunction with my Children’s Literary Salon on how booksellers, librarians (both school and public), authors/illustrators, and bloggers can communicate with one another across professions so as to learn about the best books out there for kids. As per usual I didn’t record it (I just don’t have the resources) but fortunately two of my panelists have picked up the slack. Melanie Hope Greenberg (my author/illustrator on the panel) wrote about it here and parent blogger Erica Kylander-Clark of both What We Do All Day (her parent blog) and Storied Cities (her book blog) wrote about the experience here with some opinions of her own. And as you can see by the image here (untimely ripped from Melanie’s site) the tights were on display.
- With all the Newbery/Caldecott hullaballoo there was some speculation as to whether or not Jack Gantos, winner of this year’s Newbery Medal for Dead End in Norvelt, was the first author to both spend time in jail and win the award (not at the same time). That is why I am so grateful that we have Peter Sieruta on our team. In his most recent post he finds another Newbery winner who served time, determines how many other winners were older than Jack when they won (I found that a surprise), speculates on children’s authors in Paris in the Roaring 20s, and much much more. Oh, and Peter? That part where you ask what we think might win a Newbery in 2012? Keep your eyes firmly fixed on Twelve Kinds of Ice by Ellen Obed. That is all.
- Iran recently announced its shortlist of Children’s Books of the Year. There were a couple interesting inclusions, such as Lois Lowry’s Gathering Blue (well done, Lois), The Tiger Rising by Kate DiCamillo, and Lucy Hawking’s Secret Key to the Universe. So what won in the end? The Sufi and the Magic Lamp by Ebrahim Hassanbeigi. *looks pointed at publisher Frances Lincoln* *cough* *cough* Thanks to Rocco Staino for the link.
- New Blog Alert: Two in one day! It’s a February miracle! Laura Kvasnosky, Julie Paschkis, Julie Larios and Margaret Chodos-Irvine have a blog up and running that’s going by the name of Books Around the Table. It’s a good bit of insight into how authors and illustrators work, and a nice mix of styles. I was particularly taken with Ms. Paschkis’s post on older illustrations that have made an impact.
- Rocco Staino gives us the inside scoop on an animated short film that just happens to be nominated for an Oscar at this moment in time.
- I don’t usually post on what makes it to the New York Times Bestseller list, but I would like to tip my hat to Mr. Jon Klassen. Well played, sir. Few folks make it to #1 and #10 on the same list.
- Am I the only one who finds this really unnerving? From Cynopsis Kids:
Lionsgate and Funtactix, a developer/publisher of social games based on entertainment brands, partner for the social game The Hunger Games Adventures (www.thehungergamesadventures.com), which will debut the same date as The Hunger Games feature film on March 23, 2012. The adventure-based social game allows fans to explore the world of Panem, the world where author Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games trilogy is set. Players will also complete missions that will take them to each of the Districts and the Capitol where they will interact with characters from the book. As they complete each mission, players advance their own storyline in the game. The Hunger Games Adventures will be the first place fans can see the official map of Panem, and how the districts are laid out, the details of which will be rolled out in the game with a steady stream of chapter expansions as the game unfolds over time.
I guess I should be grateful that you’re not trying to escape the games (which would make you The Capitol). Still, there’s something surreal about this.
- Daily Image:
Been a while since we had a good bookshelf, right? This one lies close to my little New York heart anyway. Industrial pipe + exposed brick + books = yes and also yes again.
Thanks to Aunt Judy for the link.