- As I write this there are countless souls right now in Las Vegas attending the American Library Association Annual Conference. I watch your tweets with envy, my friends. Would that I were there. Some of the first timers have asked me what they shouldn’t miss, but since I haven’t seen the official schedule of events I cannot say. Obviously you’d want to attend the Newbery/Caldecott Banquet on Sunday night. That’s a given. Other than that, I always love watching the Notable Children’s Books Committee debate up a storm. This year I don’t envy them the discussion. LOTS of good books are on the menu and it’s being chaired by my fellow Newbery committee member Edie Ching. A little sad not to see Boys of Blur by N.D. Wilson, Rules of Summer by Shaun Tan, Grandfather Gandhi by Arun Gandhi and Bethany Hegedus, Curiosity by Gary Blackwood, Three Bears in a Boat by David Soman and other favorites on the list of books being discussed but they can’t cover ’em all. Don’t miss it!
- Anything I say on the subject of the recently deceased Nancy Garden will be inadequate. However I would like to note that she provided invaluable help with the book I recently co-wrote with Jules Danielson. Without her aid we would have been seriously up a tree. I am very sorry she won’t be able to see the final copy herself. She was a joy to work with.
- On the one hand I’m rather grateful that Christian Science Monitor thought to present a list of 25 of the Best New Middle Grade Novels of 2014. With YA always hogging the media it’s very nice to see fare for the younger set getting attention from a publication that isn’t one of the usual suspects. On the other hand, we run into the old problem with defining what middle grade actually is. Threatened by Eliot Schrefer is great but he’d be the first to tell you that the book is straight up young adult. Ditto The Art of Secrets by James Klise, The One Safe Place by Tania Unsworth, Skraelings: Clashes in the Old Arctic by Rachel and Sean Qitsualik-Tinsley, The War Within These Walls by Aline Sax, A Creature of Moonlight by Katherine Hahn, and A Time to Dance by Padma Venkatraman. Otherwise, it’s very cool how the list concentrated a fair amount on small presses and Native American authors and publishers.
- Credit Phil Nel with coming up with one of the most fascinating pieces on Dr. Seuss I’ve seen in a long time. Think you know all that there is to know about his famous chapeau donning feline? Then you haven’t seen Was the Cat in the Hat Black?
- There are few thrills quite as great as unexpectedly running into the author of a book you admire. Special credit should go to those librarians that are able to spot the authors who aren’t yet household names but create truly remarkable fare. Extra special credit and cupcakes to those librarians who then get the authors to sit down for interviews. I am a BIG fan of Teri Kanefield’s The Girl From the Tar Paper School: Barbara Rose Johns and the Advent of the Civil Rights Movement. So imagine my delight when I saw that one of my librarians recently interviewed her. Well done, Jill!
- Speaking of librarians I admire, behold this woman:
I’m mildly peeved that I didn’t learn that the Lemony Snicket Prize for Noble Librarians Faced With Adversity had been awarded until I stumbled across the fact on Twitter. Reading this article I can see that the win of librarian Laurence Copel, the founder of the Lower Ninth Ward Street Library in New Orleans, is well and truly deserved. In fact, I sort of pity the committee in choosing anyone else after this. Copel kind of sweeps the floor with the competition. How on earth do you compete with THAT? Wowza.
- Do you remember the other day when I wondered whether or not a posthumous children’s book debut had ever been a roaring success? Well thanks to the Bustle article 5 Favorite Children’s Books Turn 50 This Year, I now have my answer. See if you can spot it. Thanks to PW Children’s Bookshelf for the link.
- What do J.M. Barrie, Rudyard Kipling, H. G. Wells, Arthur Conan Doyle, P. G. Wodehouse, G. K. Chesterton, Jerome K. Jerome, and A. A. Milne all have in common? Apparently they were all on the world’s worst cricket team of all time. I don’t even know how I went through life unaware of this until now. Read the article. The amusing “greatest hits” are gonna go right over a lot of American’s heads. So if any of today’s authors are interested in creating, say, a dodgeball team, I’d say there’s a precedent.
- Reading to kids = good. Nuff said.
- Psst! Care to see some KILLER comics coming out this fall that you may have missed? Check these puppies out. I guarantee you’ve seen nothing like them before.
- Daily Image:
And for today’s Daily Image, I bring you the coolest idea of all time. When Angie Manfredi tweeted that her library was doing a spy party for the kids called Spy Night, I was impressed. She asked for spy picture books, but all I could come up with was Andy Rash’s Agent A to Agent Z. At any rate, this is the laser maze set-up they created in one of the stacks.
So brilliant I could cry. Thanks to Angie Manfredi for the image!