- So what’s the talk of the town these days? Well the relative brouhaha came about at the end of last week when ReedPOP announced a panel of “the world’s biggest children’s authors” in the field. That the luminaries in question were all white and male struck a raw nerve with a whole slew of folks. Since that moment there’s been some fancy footwork and a promise to add some additional folks. The solution is ludicrously simple, of course. If the gist of the grouping is to have the top selling authors of books for kids then just grab Rachel Renee Russell and ask her to join. The fact that she isn’t tapped for more panels has always struck me as odd.
- Okay! So I swear to you, it’s going to happen. Wild Things: Acts of Mischief in Children’s Literature is on the roster and slated for release in August. Don’t believe me? Then believe the world’s most beautiful press release, replete with a Q&A between myself and my co-writer Julie Danielson. Candlewick, man. Even their press releases are gorgeous.
- I am not immune to professional jealousy. Wish that I was. Fortunately, most of the time I am able to convert the green eyed monster into genuine fascination and interest (much, I’m sure, to the discomfort of the people I’m suddenly obsessed with). Take this week’s example: One Margaret H. Willison. I was listening to Pop Culture Happy Hour, a podcast I like quite a lot in spite of the fact that they can’t tell YA fiction from MG. Anywho, they have a children’s librarian that they love very very much. Ms. Willison has been a longstanding fan of theirs and Stephen Thompson mentioned that she was on track to be the next Nancy Pearl of children’s books. Oh aye! So I checked her out and she did a NPR piece called 3 Bedtime Picture Books That Won’t Put Parents to Sleep. Excellent choices one and all. She’s one to watch then.
- This news made me inordinately happy recently. The Multnomah County Library System and the Seattle Public Library went head to head in an all out reference battle. The question? Who could answer the most book recommendation queries via Twitter? And I am happy to report that Portland (where the Multnomah system lives) won all the way!! Way to go, you literary denizens you. Thanks to AL Direct for the link.
- Recently a new library opened up at NYU. Called the Georgiou Library and Resource Center for Children and Literature the site will do a lot of outreach to the community as well as operate as a research facility. Its librarian is the multi-talented Kendra Tyson and the collection, “contains several categories of children’s literature, including counting books, fairy tales, poetry, biography, and holiday books. It also houses Mother Goose books geared for African, Chinese and Russian audiences, bi-lingual counting books, and the Metropolitan Museum’s of Art’s Museum ABC (Little Brown, 2002), which portrays a range of world cultures through its collections.” I was lucky enough to attend a small event for the library recently and in the course realized that there are other similar collections out there that I just don’t know well enough. Like the Cotsen Children’s Library, for example. Some of you will nod sagely and murmur “of course” when I mention it but to me I was ashamed to discover that not only are they the Princeton children’s library but they maintain these FABULOUS blogs! The Cotsen Children’s Library blog is updated quite regularly and the Pop Goes the Page is maybe the best arts & crafts for library programs blog I’ve witnessed in a very long time. They’ve also archived a variety of different interviews with children’s authors called The Bibliofiles that are well worth finding too. Man. That would be the life working at either of these libraries, am I right?
- Good old, ShelfTalker. I love it when they list a whole slew of their favorite first lines of 2014. And in the process I discovered at least one book that I hadn’t even heard of until I read its line. Bonus!
- You know what? Fair play to Mackenzie Kruvant. There she is at Buzzfeed, slaving away with such pieces as “Which Sex And The City Guy Is Your Soulmate?” but often she’ll come up with a really good children’s literature piece. Example: 15 Adorable Children’s Books For Your Little Architect . Perhaps she got some help from a librarian somewhere to write it, but if she didn’t then it’s a pretty darn good encapsulation of what’s out there. Well played, madam.
NYPL likes it when I blog on their site from time to time, so I’ll tend to do pieces I wouldn’t normally do here. Case in point, recently I did the post Make ‘Em Laugh: Gut-Busting Picture Books That’ll Have ‘Em Rolling in the Aisles. I really try to give attention to funny picture books when they come out. And though I didn’t mention them in the piece (I only included stuff you could currently check out of the collection) if I were to put that post here I’d be sure to include the 2014 titles Big Bad Bubble by Adam Rubin, illustrated by Daniel Salmieri (without a doubt their best work to date) and Monkey Goes Bananas by C. P. Bloom and Peter Raymundo. Both books are danged funny. If I make a funny picture book prize this year, they will both be up for serious contention.
A friend on mine on Facebook mentioned that he had a 12-year-old in his branch who was interested in Socialism and did we have any books to recommend? Naturally my thoughts turned to Little Rebels, but that’s a lot of picture books (many of which are out of print). Fortunately marxists.org (!) has a booklist of its own. Say they, “This is the start of an ongoing broad bibliography of children’s literature for MIA with title first, divided by age range and fiction/non-fiction. Some of these books were written to be expressly radical, and others need a stretch to find political implications. Compiled by Sally Ryan.” Cool.
- Hey, remember when I mentioned that I’d interviewed Deborah Underwood about her amazing Bad Bye, Good Bye? I got a little confused about when it was going to post but now, happily, it is up up up! If you ever wanted to know the ins and outs of writing a rhyming picture book, you are indeed lucky.
- Got a little confused with the headline on this one, but as it happens it has absolutely nothing to do with the bookstore Books of Wonder here in NYC. No, this little article is instead about a cool new collection within the Toronto Public Library. Its full name is “The IBBY Collection of Books for Young People with Disabilities”. Say they: “As its official name indicates, this collection comes from IBBY, the International Board on Books for Young People. The IBBY collection features more than 3000 multilingual books in sign language, Braille, Blissymbolics, as well as cloth and tactile books and other formats — all for and about children and teens with disabilities.” I’m downright envious again. Thanks to Deb Pearson for the link.
- In the world of book awards we’ve two to consider today. The Eisner Award nominations came out and I see a lot of familiar faces in the youth category. Meanwhile the Minnesota Book Awards were announced and you might be surprised to discover some of the winners.
- Whenever someone asks adult authors to name the children’s books that inspired them there is a danger of the books being the same old, same old. That’s part of the reason I like this post from World Literature Today. Yes, there are some rote choices, but there are also some really obscure titles. The Summerfolk by Doris Burn? The Three Fat Men by Yuri Olesha? Tim and the Hidden People by Sheila K. McKullagh?!? Wowza. Thanks to Mom for the link.
- Daily Image:
Good news, poppins. Today you have a chance to buy cool things and be a good person in the process. And just in time for my incipient birthday too! The site Out of Print has been killing it in the library-chic neighborhood. Observe the cool things that there are to buy:
Mom, Kate, I will happily take that iPhone case. Wouldn’t say no to any of those baby onesies, for that matter.
Now, how does buying this stuff make you a good person? Well, it seems the site is THIS WEEK (it is National Library Week after all – my workplace got me a mug and everything) giving money to the following school if you buy stuff. Voila:
P.S. 244 (The Active Learning Elementary School “TALES”) is an early childhood public school (Pre-K to 3rd grade) located in the Flushing neighborhood of Queens, New York. The majority of students do not speak English at home and qualify for subsidized meal plans, yet at TALES they thrive. A model for public schools at both the national and state level, P.S. 244 has been recognized for its focus on health and nutrition and ranks among the healthiest schools in the country. In 2013, P.S. 244 also ranked 11th in the state for test scores and has been heralded for its innovative curriculum and extremely hard working staff.
With all of these strengths, they also have challenges. The school’s current library has no formal checkout system and relies on volunteer staff. The result? The space serves more like a reading room than a true library. Students aren’t able to check out and read these books at home, families miss out on sharing the joy of reading with their kids and the school is unable to implement a summer reading program to enhance student reading skills during off-school periods.
Help us to give this school and its students the library they deserve. During National Library Week (April 13-20), we are donating a portion of our sales to purchase and implement a scanning system for P.S. 244 and to train staff to manage it. We will post updates after the donation and share stories from students and teachers about the impact of this new system.
Many thanks to Ms. Marci for the links!