Allo! BEA is now in full swing and always assuming I wasn’t crushed to death by today’s Family Feud game (it’s librarians vs. authors and I’m on Family Librarian) I’ll hopefully be seeing at least some of you on the conference floor in the next day or so. In the meantime, take a look at these tasty treats.
- So the new kids in town are playing with a website called Zoobean. When librarian Sarah Goebel asked me about it I told her I hadn’t heard of them. Turns out, that wasn’t entirely true. I’d heard something about them before but had disregarded them due to an unfortunate labeling snafu. Somebody apparently decided early on that they should be called “The Netflix for kids’ books” which could not be more misleading. When I think of Netflix I think of renting lots of movies at my own convenience. Apparently some folks (few) think that Netflix is best equated with recommendations. Hardy har har. In any case, that’s what Zoobean is. TechCrunch and Swiss Miss both profiled it and I’ve been watching the site with interest. Certainly this is the kind of work librarians do on a regular basis, but I also believe you can’t have enough helpful tools in this world. If this helps librarians do their jobs as a kind of supplement, so be it. In the meantime, it’s still in the early Beta stages and is not without its kinks. You might find a book tagged incorrectly here and there, but generally it’s a better looking site than a lot of similar places I’ve seen crop up and disappear over the years. One to keep an eye on, in any case.
- It’s always very satisfying when a publisher blog comes out with a really good post. Consider then this piece by Gina Gagliano at the First Second blog confronting the very idea of review copies and what a blogger “owes” a publisher. Thanks to Sarah Stevenson for the link.
- I confess that though I read Minders of Make Believe by Leonard Marcus, I’d never really considered what the first picture book really was. Now I know. Thanks to Marjorie Ingall for the link.
Common Core. You can’t escape it. You may not even want to when you hear about this new venture: Common Core IRL: In Real Libraries. Basically, this is what you get when your favorite bloggers come together over a common cause. Join Alyson Beecher, district literacy specialist at Kid Lit Frenzy, Louise Capizzo, children’s librarian at The Nonfiction Detectives, Travis Jonker, school librarian from 100 Scope Notes, Cathy Potter, school librarian at The Nonfiction Detectives, and Mary Ann Scheuer, school librarian at Great Kid Books as they tackle the big questions. See more information on the project here.
- The Y.A. for Grown-ups blog at The Atlantic Wire traversed into younger territory recently when they profiled the recent Sophie Blackall package posting on this blog. I am happy to report too that a winner of the contest was found. To find out who it was, I suggest you consult with this piece.
- Anytime Alison Morris chooses to return to ShelfTalker it is cause enough for celebration. And if she happens to be writing pieces like How to Go to Greece and Have Your Own Odyssey? That’s just a bonus. Get ready to sop up some drool over the scenery and enjoy Alison’s killer descriptions. To whet your whistle, here is an image of particular note:
As Alison calls it, “The Omphalos at Delphi, or the rock eaten by Cronos, who believed it was his infant son Zeus.” I had no idea they had the actual rock. The display of it cracks me up.
- In other news, there is still space available at the Highlights Foundation’s Writing Fiction for Children and Young Adults workshop happening June 16-22. It has a stellar line-up (Patti Lee Gauch, Kathryn Erskine, Rich Wallace, Janet Taylor Lisle, and more!) and it’s located in a truly beautiful part of the country. I’ve been lucky enough to visit twice. Always a treat.
- Good old First Book. While I sit here and kvetch over the dearth of African-American boys in 2013’s middle grade fiction, they actually go out and do something about it. As I was recently told, “We’ve been doing our best to address the dearth of young black male protagonists (and other under-represented characters and voices) through something we call the Stories for All Project. One of the first things we did was to solicit proposals from the publishing industry and awarding 500K purchase orders to the publishers who offered us the best range of diverse titles. We selected HarperCollins and Lee and Low, and sent a strong message to the industry at large that we serve a market that is not being served in the general marketplace and that is hungry for this content. You can read more about it here and we are carrying a series of blog posts on some of the authors whose books we are now carrying as well. Admittedly, this does not “fix” the problem you so astutely identify, but we feel it is related because we are championing the need for all kids to see themselves in books as well as to learn about cultures and characters beyond their experiences through books.”
Well done, guys. Well done.
- Look out, everyone! There’s a new award in town and it’s a kids choice award for comics and graphic novels! Called the KCR! Comics Awards the nominees are fantastic (unlike the lamentable Eisner Award nominees in the youth category). Kids have until June 23rd to vote, so get crackin’!!
- Daily Image:
Because it makes me happy.
Inordinately happy. Thanks to Cynthia von Buhler for the image.