Well, now we’ve gone and done it. Greedy gus that I am, I’ve always found it hugely inconvenient when my favorite authors and illustrators live in other countries. Shaun Tan in Australia. Kate Beaton in Canada (we had her briefly, then lost her again, consarn it). And then there’s that charming Frances Hardinge. When are we going to convince her to move Stateside? Never if the publication of her latest book is any indication. Or, shall I say, the LACK of publication since if you are looking for her latest novel A Face Like Glass here in America you are seriously out of luck. Not entirely without options, mind you, since you can buy a Kindle edition (the hardcover claims to come out May 1st yet has “not yet been released” and has no American publisher) which is pretty much your only option if you’re a Yank. Harper Collins has traditionally been the publisher of all the Hardinge books in the States but is eschewing her latest novel. Unless, of course, they’re just biding their time until the spring. However, if they do not opt for her latest I’d be more than happy to see some other publisher pick up the slack. Recall, if you will, the fact that the last Hardinge nearly won the 2010 Battle of the (Kids’) Books. Just sayin’. Thanks to Dan Levy for the info.
- Speaking of Brits, a fascinating article came out in The Guardian recently posing the question: “Which books offer the best introduction to New York?“ The answer was a fascinating mix of the usual suspects (Mixed-Up Files, Eloise, Little Red Lighthouse, etc.) and stuff that would never occur to me, the New York Public Library Youth Materials Specialist. Grk and the Hot Dog Trail? In the Night Kitchen? The Arrival?!? I pity the poor child that walks into Manhattan with The Arrival as their guide. Think of their disappointment (particularly when you consider that Tan took as much inspiration from classic Australian photographs as American ones). Almost more interesting than all of these is the recommendation to read Rosa Guy’s books. When we think of New York we almost never take her into consideration. As I say, fascinating. Thanks to Playing By the Book for the link.
- Speaking of New York City, heads up, hipsters. Actually, a better way of putting this would be to say heads up those of you who want to hang out with famous people for a reasonable price and an even better cause. 826NYC is having its Dueling Bingos competition, and this season you’re going to have a chance to match your Bingo chops against folks like Sarah Vowell, the guy who plays “Pete” on 30 Rock, Catherine Keener, and maybe even Jon Scieszka if you’re lucky. Are you in town August 1st? Then you have no excuse. Come by, come by . . .
- Is it just me or are more people dying this year than usual? Seems to me an entire generation of children’s book creators are leaving this great green earth and all it entails. This week many of us knew about Donald J. Sobol’s passing but how many of us noticed that Else Minarik, creator of the Little Bear easy readers, had also gone? First off, I had no idea that she was still around! Someone needs to go out there and make a list of They’re Still Alive classic children’s book author/illustrators. I mean, are you guys aware that Marcia Brown, the woman who may still claim to have won the most Caldecotts (two Awards and six Honors) is still alive and painting somewhere in California? Tis true. As for Ms. Minarik, she died a mere month after her collaborator Maurice Sendak. Thanks to Aunt Judy for the heads up.
- This made the Twitter rounds not too long ago, but I’m sure a fair number of you might have missed it. Marc Tyler Nobleman came up with an inspired blog post idea: solicit photos from children’s authors of childhood pictures where they were dressed up like superheroes. The results include a lot of big names (Peter Brown, Lemony Snicket, Bruce Hale, Adam Rex, etc.) though honestly Kelly Milner Halls takes the cake as one kickin’ Robin. The post is SO extensive that I think you’ll have to consider it your necessary reading of the day.
- More and more folks these days are looking for good bloggers who know their children’s literary apps. Touch and Go is one of the best places to look, but I harbor a great deal of affection for Mary Ann Scheuer’s site Great Kids Books which takes the time to really consider the use in the classroom and beyond. She talks to the app creators too from time to time, just as she did on the best children’s literature podcast out there, Brain Burps About Books. Mary Ann spoke to none other than Bill Joyce about his app for Morris Lessmore. Keen.
- Man. I do one or two polls, turn around, and next thing you know the blog Practically Paradise has up and moved to an entirely different location. Here’s where it was. Here’s where it is.
- Speaking of the polls, do you miss them? Would you like to see some of the stats at work? Sondra Eklund, one of the people who helped me compile the results, has been writing up some fascinating info over at Sonderbooks with stats you might not have known. Who were the top authors and illustrators of the polls? Here’s #1 and #2 of the picture books and #1 and #2 of the novels. She has other fun things on her site like a close examination of the German translation of James Kennedy’s The Order of Odd-Fish as well.
- Pop Quiz: Where can you find the original handwritten manuscript for Little Town on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder? If you answered “At the Pomona Public Library where they’re going to close the whole doggone library” then you’d be right and probably a little sad. Great great article on the closure in the Los Angeles Times. Thanks very much to Gregory K for the link!
- Fact: My mom is cooler than your mom. The Evidence: She recently won a free book from a great author by coming up with a fantastic original name for a drink containing Redemption Rye. It’s called a Tad Backslid. Awesome.
So my friend Margaret Betts recently started up her very own bookstore in Greenfield, MA. That means all you Amherst area folks should do the neighborly thing and stop by to give her some of your business if you’ve half a chance. To sweeten the deal, check out her blog Adventures in Book Selling which features such classic children’s titles as The Skull Alphabet Book, Syd Hoff’s Little Chief, and so much more!
- New Blog Alert: New to me, anyway. It’s been around since September 2011 but I’m pretty sure I’ve never properly highlighted Carter Higgins and her site Design of the Picture Book. The site itself is designed far better than my own and the posts are a heckuva lot of fun. I’m just sad I’m only just discovering it now. Better late than never, eh?
- So how’s your summer been treating you? Are you hankering to get away from it all? Maybe go on a literary retreat of some sort in a beautiful place? Well, I like plugging retreats, particularly since I have a small child and must live vicariously through my readership. Today we consider the Speakeasy Literary Society. Held April 19th – 21st at The Stanford Sierra Center at Fallen Leaf Lake in Lake Tahoe, California the retreat features a faculty of huge editors (many of whom I count as friends, so that’s nice).
- Daily Image:
Bookmobiles, portable 1928 style:
Awwwww yeah. Now to hope and pray that if I ever become deathly ill that I look half as lovely as the woman in that bed. Thanks to BoingBoing for the link.