You folks have been awfully good about my recent shoddy blogging, so I tip my hat in your general direction. Jules of 7-Imp and I are putting the final touches on our book for Candlewick editing-wise and, as you might imagine, it eats up large swaths of time like an irate and hungry badger. There is no situation in which a badger cannot be used as an example. True fact.
In other news, there’s an author/illustrator out there that I happen to like very much. His name is Aaron Zenz and over the years he has startled me time and again with the relative brilliance of his creativity. If he wasn’t making multiple inspired pieces for the Re-Seussification Project then his kids were contributing to the stellar Boogie Woogie blog. Well, Aaron and Co. are some of my favorite folks so when I saw the Friends of Zenz page asking to help ’em out in the midst of some pretty upsetting surgery, you can bet I jumped on board. If you’ve a minute, you can too. They’re swell folks.
So I got to meet J.K. Rowling the other day. Yup. The woman who basically set me on the path of children’s librarianship in the first place via her books and I up and met her. You see the good Dan Blank had tickets and one of those tickets happened to have my name on it. So I got to see her speak with Ann Patchett about this adult novel of hers The Casual Vacancy (a title I’m certain she stole from the notes of Lemony Snicket) and then I stood in a long line and got my copy signed. The conversation between us is as follows:
J.K. Rowling: Thanks for coming.
Betsy Bird: Guh.
Many thanks to Dan for the opportunity. He’s blogged about the experience here and just so you writer folks know, he’s doing another session of his author platform course starting Oct 31, with a free webinar. The course features Jane Friedman, Richard Nash, Colleen Lindsay, Kathleen Schmidt, Joanna Penn and Jeff Goins as guest speakers. Info on the session is here and the webinar is here.
“COMIC LEGEND: There was a Winnie the Pooh comic strip where the characters acted a lot more aggressively than most Winnie the Pooh fans are used to.
Thus we find the strangest and maybe most engaging link of the day. Apparently there was a Winnie-the-Pooh syndicated comic strip out there for a while that contained the Disneyfied Pooh and friends. And apparently it was written by some seriously odd souls. How else to explain some of these downright weird inclusions? Comic Book Legends Revealed explains more (you’ll have to scroll down a little but they’re worth finding). This one’s my favorite:
And speaking of bears . . . how do you get kids interested in the political process? Have ’em vote for bears, of course! The West Linn Public Library had an inspired idea. They’re holding a bear election through election day on November 6 and, as they explained it to me:
“inviting kids (and adults) to vote for their favorite bear from children’s literature: Pooh, Paddington, Mama Berenstain, or Corduroy. We have also gotten staff involved by asking them to volunteer to be bear campaign managers. The response from staff and patrons has been tremendous! Our campaign managers have embraced their roles beyond my wildest dreams by designing posters, stickers, bookmarks, and games to support their bear.We are having so much fun that I thought I would share with other libraries. I have even created a campaign video for my candidate, Mama Bear—here is that link: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=vb.153513568034372&type=2” Love it! I suppose I’m a staunch Pooh supporter thanks to my job, but it’s tough. Paddington comes in at a close second in my heart.
Okay, let’s do the Me Stuff all in one fell swoop today. First off, I made a reading list for NYC’s New Victory Theater to accompany their upcoming shows. Check it out here. I never properly thanked Miss Kathleen at Mental Floss for including me in the 24 Library-Centric Sites We Love round-up, to say nothing of the compliments regarding my video with Travis Jonker. Thanks to Maureen Petry for the links! I’m speaking at a Joan Aiken event tonight so enjoy this piece written by Lizza Aiken, Joan’s daughter, entitled Voices: The magical mysteries of children’s literature. I was interviewed at the blog The Children’s Book Review as part of their ongoing librarian series. And the Children’s Media Association blog gave me what could well be the most flattering spotlight I’ve received in my long internet life. Whew!
There was a Bibliography-Off between Judy Blume and one of my favorite comics Patton Oswalt not long ago. As Jezebel described it, “The only thing that could really be better than this (for a Sunday, anyway) is if Calvin and Hobbes were real and they spoke at a TED Talk about the vividness of a small child’s imagination.” I just wish S.E. Hinton had heeded Patton’s call to give him a hand. She’s on Twitter all the time, y’know. Thanks to Marjorie Ingall for the link!
All right. Enough with the books. Let’s look at some up-to-date movie news directly from Cynopsis Kids. First up:
“Nickelodeon begins production this month on its new original comedy/caper TV movie, Swindle, which will star a bevy of the network’s stars including Jennette McCurdy (iCarly), Noah Crawford (How to Rock, You Gotta See This), Noah Munck (iCarly), Ariana Grande (Victorious), Chris O’Neal (How to Rock, You Gotta See This) and Ciara Bravo (Big Time Rush). Based on the popular kids book of the same name by Gordon Korman, the movie will be shot in Vancouver Canada. The movie is set to begin airing in 2014 on Nickelodeon’s 40+ international channels across Europe, Latin America, Asia and Australia. The story begins when an evil collector cons Griffin (Crawford) out of a million dollar baseball card that could have saved his best friend’s (O’Neal) home, he teams a ragtag group of his classmates (Grande, McCurdy, Munck and Bravo) to take down the swindler. Directed by Jonathan Judge (Big Time Rush, Fred 3), Swindle is written by Bill Motz (Brandy & Mr. Whiskers) & Bob Roth (Lion King 2), Eric Freiser (Road to Ruin) and Adam Rifkin (Small Soliders, Mousehunt). Marjorie Cohn (Big Time Movie, Rags), Lauren Levine (Bridge to Terabithia, Best Player), Loris Lunsford, Karen Glass and Paul Barry serve as executive producers. Scott McAboy’s Pacific Bay Entertainment is producing.”
“Toronto-based Radical Sheep Productions (Stella and Sam, Yub Yubs, The Big Comfy Couch) acquires the rights to the graphic novel series Fangbone! Third-Grade Barbarian, by author/illustrator Michael Rex (Goodnight Goon, The Runaway Mummy). Under the deal Radical Sheep will develop a K6-11 aimed animated series based on Fangbone! The story revolves around Fangbone, a nine-year-old barbarian warrior from Skullbania who winds up in third grade at Eastwood Elementary in order to save his native land from the evildoer Venomous Drool. With the help of his new pal Bill, a lovable, average, goofy kid, Fangbone outwits his enemies while discovering the modern world.”
Sometimes the title sells it alone: Children’s Author Illustrator Elisha Cooper Gives Lecture on “Inappropriate” Children’s Books.
New Blog Alert: The election’s coming up and everyone’s getting ready. With that in mind, did you know that there’s a blog out there solely dedicated to talking about political children’s books? Kid Lit About Politics it’s called. One for the radar.
New Blog Alert II: For that matter did you know there was a mother-son blog out there (adult mother and son!) called crossreferencing: a hereditary blog? Yep. There you can find Sarah and Mark Flowers as they, “discuss YA Literature and Librarianship from our dual perspectives.” It’s pretty cool.
New Blog Alert III: Tis the season. This third new blog is actual that of The Junior Library Guild called Shelf Life. It’s currently doing a wonderful job of discussing current issues and hot books. Of particular note is the post Save [Books of Wonder] and Save Your Soul. Couldn’t have put it better myself.
Have you ever watched the movie Matilda and thought to yourself, Whatever happened to child actress Mara Wilson? Thank god for the internet, eh? Thanks to Brita for the link.
On a serious note there is a lovely memory of Peter Sieruta up at the blog Archives and Special Collections. It happens to include what may be the first picture of Peter to ever make it to the world wide web. God, I miss that guy.
The Onion’s A.V. Club has been a bit lazy in their looks at children’s and YA literature but this recent post on 2012 graphic novels is well worth reading. Many thanks to Eric Carpenter for the link!
Just knowing that Gabi Swiatkowska has a blog where she displays art like the pieces below is enough to make my life complete.
Thanks to Jane Curley for the link.