Jan 31, 2010

Three Short Book Reviews

Here are three short book reviews I've been meaning to get to.
All three books are teen reads. Two are sci-fi/fantasy, one is action-adventure. All three books have strong male and female characters. Though I hate to "gender"
books, I will say that the third book, The Devil's Breath, is great for teenage guys, in particular. Though, as you've probably guessed, I'm not a teenage guy, and I LOVE this book. All of these books are out already, none of this teaser stuff I've been throwing at you. Enjoy!

by Catherine Fisher

Hardcover: 9780803733961, Dial - Penguin, $17.99

Immediately gripping, Incarceron offers a great new cast of characters, with Claudia and Finn as leads. Finn is inside Incarceron – a former utopian community, turned hellish prison. Finn has brains, guts, and flashbacks from the time he KNOWS he spent "outside". Unfortunately for him, coming from "outside" is virtually impossible, which makes him, and his strange flashbacks, a bit of a nut case. Claudia lives "outside"; in fact, she's been trying to find her way inside for years. When Claudia realizes the extent to which she's been a pawn in her father, the Warden of Incarceron's, political schemes, she breaks free from the constraints of her pseudo-perfect society. Despite her pampered upbringing, Claudia has brains and guts to equal Finn's, and the two of them find themselves relying on each other for the information each desperately seeks.
An exciting first book in a new series, I can hardly wait for the next one!
I've been told the sequel is scheduled for sometime in Spring 2011.

The Maze Runner
by James Dashner

Hardcover: 9780385737944, Delacorte - Random House, $16.99

(I'm going to refrain from making bad jokes about "Dash-ner" and "Runner".)

Thomas wakes up in an industrial elevator shaft. A crowd of boys pull him out and he finds himself in the Glade. He doesn’t know where he came from, he doesn’t know why he’s here, and worse, neither do any of the other boys. The walls around them close each night, keeping them trapped in, but safe from the creatures roaming the maze outside the Glade. During the day, the maze runners run as fast and as far as they can, returning each night just before the doors close. They add their paths through the maze to the stacks of maps they’ve been making for years. Thomas knows he must become a maze runner. He knows he can help find answers. And when, for the first time ever, a GIRL is discovered in the elevator shaft, he knows he knows her from somewhere before. Soon the Gladers will have to make a choice—take their chances in the maze or die in th
e Glade.
Book one in the Maze Runner Trilogy.
Watch out for The Scorch Trials, book two in the trilogy, out October 2010.

The Devil's Breath
by David Gilman

Hardcover: 9780385735605, Delacorte - Random House, $16.99

Max Gordon’s father has gone missing, and now someone just tried to kill Max. He has one clue, and must use all the resources and training his secret agent father taught him to save himself and find his father before it’s too late. His journey will take him from England to Africa, where he gets help from Kallie, a bushpilot with experience beyond her years, and !Koga, a Kalahari Bushman who must help Max in order to become a man in the eyes of his tribe. Can these three teens stop an evil man named Shaka Chang who is trying to control all the water on the African plains, save Max’s father, and fulfill a Bushmen prophecy? This is real James Bond-type stuff, (minus the sex), with plenty of action/adventure.
First in the "Danger Zone" series, and one of my all-time favorites.
Don't miss Ice Claw, the second "Danger Zone" book, coming out April 2010.

Jan 30, 2010

Book Review: Worldshaker by Richard Harland

by Richard Harland

Hardcover: 9781416995524, Simon & Schuster, $16.99,
Pub. Date: May 2010
Tween read: Ages 10-14

More steam-punk to add to your list!

Worldshaker is a constantly traveling machine known as a juggernaut, the size of a small city. Classes exist within a rigid hierarchy complete with regal figureheads Queen Victoria and her consort Prince Albert. Col Porpentine is a child at the top of the Upper Class. He has just been named his grandfather's successor as Supreme Commander of the juggernaut. But with this responsibility comes startling revelations about exactly what the ship is, who the "Filthies" and "Menials" (the lowest of the low classes) really are, and just what his family's role is in all of it. When Col meets Riff, a Filthy girl who turns out to be the Filthy revolution leader, his entire world begins unraveling. Col is forced to make a choice between duty to his family, and his own morality.

At almost 400 pages,
Worldshaker is meaty but reads quickly. I would have loved to have heard more about Riff herself, what her history was, how and why she became the leader of the Filthy revolution at 14-years-old, etc. Also, Col's sister could have been a bit more flushed out, and Col's younger brother could have been cut as a character entirely. A couple of plot points were left unresolved, such as what happened to Col's wife (read to find out where that fits in!), and what happens romantically between Col and Riff could have had a bit more punch to it as well. I felt like there was some good material here for a sequel, or it could stand on its own as an enjoyable tween read in the steam-punk genre.

Richard Harland is an Australian author - this book was published in Australia, and now will be in the U.S., and the U.K. I seem to enjoy Australian authors. See my post about Melina Marchetta's
Jellicoe Road, one of my all-time favorites, here at my bookstore's blog. All these great Australian authors make me want to visit there one day even more.

Jan 29, 2010

Ode to Gyo Fujikawa

Gyo Fujikawa (1908-1998) was a Japanese-American illustrator of children's books, working from 1953 to 1990. Though she never married or had children of her own, her illustrations show children of all shapes, sizes, and ethnicities, featuring expressive faces and adorable vitality in the lines of their bodies. Her art is a mix of eye-popping colors and activities against a muted background, with delicate lines and exquisite detailed expressions. To read more about her, go here.

A lot of her work is out-of-print, but Sterling has republished some books, including three new titles forthcoming this April 2010. Luckily, her reprinted work retails for $9.95 or below
; don't be fooled by the low price point - the hard cover publication quality and reproduced artwork is lovely. Perfect for a gift or to enjoy at home.

Here is a list of her books that are currently available:

Oh, What a Busy Day
Hardcover: 9781402768194, Sterling, $9.95, Pub. Date: April 2010

Let's Play
Board Book: 9781402768217, Sterling, $5.95,
Pub. Date: April 2010

Puppies, Pussycats & Other Friends
Board Book: 9781402768231, Sterling, $5.95, Pub. Date: April 2010

Other Board Books:

Ten Little Babies
9781402757006, Sterling, $5.95

Baby Animal Families
9781402757020, Sterling, $5.95

Penguin, $5.99

Baby Animals
9781402757013, Sterling, $5.95

Other Hardcover Classics:

Fairy Tales and Fables
9781402756986, Sterling, $9.95

Mother Goose
9781402750649, Sterling, $9.95

A Child's Garden of Verses
9781402750625, Sterling, $9.95

A Child's Book of Poems
Sterling, $9.95

The Night Before Christmas
9781402750656, Sterling, $9.95

She has many more currently out of print, like these two:

Let's hope Sterling, or another publisher, will bring them back into print soon.

Jan 28, 2010

Jerry Pinkney & Rebecca Stead Interviews in Shelf Awareness

I know, I know, I'm probably the last person to post about the 2010 Newbery & Caldecott Medal winners, but I figured you would have heard about them already. What I don't know if you've read are these two interviews in last week's Shelf Awareness. Shelf Awareness is a publication primarily for booksellers. It comes almost every day, and as I am a busy bookseller, I usually look at 3 or 4 of them at a time, meaning I don't always get to them in the week they've been sent. So, here, late, are two great, albeit brief, interviews with Jerry Pinkney and Rebecca Stead. Congratulations to both of them!

(Also to Libba Bray for winning the Printz for
Going Bovine!)

Read the original Jerry
Pinkney interview here.
Read the original Rebecca Stead
interview here.

Jerry Pinkney: A Story that Resonates

On Monday, after five Caldecott Honor book citations, five Coretta Scott King Awards and four Coretta Scott King Honor Awards, Jerry Pinkney was awarded the 2010 Caldecott Medal for The Lion and the Mouse (Little, Brown). From cover to endpapers to the 40 pages within, the book wordlessly depicts the story of a lion who frees a mouse that may seem small, but who, in turn, frees the mighty lion. Pinkney's first book, The Adventures of Spider (1964), "which by the way was published by Little, Brown," he points out, is still in print. He attended the Philadelphia College of Art (now the University of the Arts) on full scholarship. He has received five New York Times Best Illustrated Awards, was a U.S. nominee for the 1997 Hans Christian Andersen Illustration Medal, and his artwork is in galleries and museums around the world. Next month, the Schomburg Center in Harlem will exhibit 40 pieces that he created in the 1970s (he'll give a talk and sign books on February 6). In November, the Norman Rockwell Museum will exhibit Pinkney's work on the theme of "place."

How did growing up in Philadelphia influence you as an artist?

I was born in 1939, so those early years in the 1940s were a time where we still had the shadow of segregation as far north as Philadelphia. I grew up on a street that was all African-Americans; many had migrated from the South. It was a dead-end street--to the left was an Italian community and to the right was a Jewish community. A lot of my early life was informed by different and separate communities; you see that in my work.
My life was shaped by going to an African-American school that wasn't integrated until I was in junior high. You see in my work the pursuit of telling the African-American experience and also the other side of it, which is how this country is such a patchwork of different cultures and nationalities. I do see the world and my community from the lens of a black person.

You included "The Lion and the Mouse" in your Aesop's Fables (2000). Why did you want to probe more deeply into this fable?

Going into that project, there were three of us looking for well known tales but also lesser known stories. We must have looked at over 200 fables. "The Lion and the Mouse" was at the top of everyone's list. It was always with me as far back as I can remember. It was a favorite of mine--the majestic lion is a favorite for most of us. It's a great fable with a powerful moral. It resonates today as much as it did hundreds of years ago. It's magical, that these two opposite characters both play a role in the same narrative. I was anxious to revisit it because that one spot illustration [in Aesop's Fables] wasn't enough to tell the story the way I wanted to tell it.

How did you plan the pacing of the narrative, given that the pictures tell the entire story?
I knew I would add to the front end, and I've been doing that with some of my other stories with the endpapers. Let's see, how we can lead the reader into the story? How can I prepare you so you go on that journey? Why would the mouse be out on the plains at that time? She'd be searching for food. For herself? Let's add family. Once I added the family on the front end, it made sense for the lion to have a family. I thought it was a treasure of a fable, but did I know the family would be important in the book? No, I didn't know any of that. You listen to what you're doing and what the story's asking.

You recently moved to a new studio, with space to lay out an entire picture book at once. Did that help you in your process with this book?
I think about this often. I don't know if there's a direct line, but I've been there for a year and a half. In that time, I've done The Lion and the Mouse, The Sweethearts of Rhythm and a project on the African burial ground [in New York] that opens next month. [The work] seems more focused and pointed. It's the ability to lay the work out, but it's also an environment that's really for work. There's no telephone, no television or computer. There's no denying there's a difference in the projects since I've been in that space. And the work is more joyful.

The Serengeti landscape is so integral to your book. Have you been there?

I've not been to the Serengeti. It's funny, I met a woman after church who'd bought the book, and she said she'd been to the Serengeti, and she said when she opened the book, she felt she was back there again. One of the reasons I've worked so well with National Geographic and the National Parks is that a lot of it is reinterpreting; what you're doing is reconstructing because a lot of it doesn't exist anymore. I use my imagination to evoke the spirit and the look of a place.

Why do you prefer watercolors?

I've always loved drawing as far back as when I was in college. There are two reasons: first of all, drawing and line has been important to me. In the early stages, for commission projects and for publishing, most of the work was printed in two to three colors, so line was important to the separation process [in which the same piece of art was run through the printer several times with each color separately]. Then I chose a transparent medium because the line is still important to what I do--it's about the importance of the mark and the possibility of that mark.
- Jennifer M. Brown

Rebecca Stead Asks the Big Questions

Rebecca Stead has spent her whole life on the Upper West Side of Manhattan , the setting for her novel When You Reach Me (Wendy Lamb/Random House). For sixth-grader Miranda, the possibilities in that neighborhood seem at first to contract--the day her best friend Sal gets punched by a stranger and stops spending time with her--and then to stretch boundlessly when she begins to make new friends, especially Marcus, and to receive mysterious notes from someone who seems to know her future. On Monday, the book won the 2010 Newbery Medal.

Oh my god. I'm still taking it in. It's pretty wonderful.

Does the neighborhood feel different to you now?

No. I always walk around thinking about all the layers of history in this neighborhood because I've really never left it for any long period of time. I think, 'If I could be standing here in 100 years, and I turned in a circle, what would I see?' That's still with me, and that's the kind of stuff that inspired the book in the first place. I think it's the same, just better because I'm so happy.

Was writing your debut novel, First Light, different from writing your second, When You Reach Me?
It was very different, for a whole bunch of reasons. When I was writing First Light, I had so much doubt about my ability to get to the end of a book. I spent at least three years revising it. There was a lot of small work, first with a critique group, and a lot of intense work with Wendy Lamb. There was a lot of fear and doubt because that's how it is with your first book. It felt like hubris to think I could be a "real" writer. The first book was a lot of getting past that. I owe a lot to the people I was working with in those years, especially to Wendy. So with When You Reach Me, I started out in a different place. It was such a different process because I decided to use a lot from my childhood, like the setting, and I tried to channel my sixth-grade self. That was a gift of material, and material is the hardest thing to come by. It was kind of hard and sort of daring to make that decision. I thought, 'Am I really going to go back to my place of growing up?' Once I decided to do that it was easier.

Writing about time travel can't be easy.

There are a lot of challenges in trying to create this kind of puzzle. It's full of these wild ideas and technical impossibilities, but I want it to have its own internal logic. Every time we changed the story, either Wendy or I would find a new reader. We wanted to make sure we had fresh eyes on every draft, because we weren't sure what we'd taken away. People would tell us, "Here's where I got tripped up," "Here's what I found inconsistent." I had some way too complex ideas because I didn't know everything that was happening when I started out. Happily, I was able to let them go and stick with the idea that the simplest solution would be the most elegant and satisfying solution.

Are you a re-reader?

I believe--and this is not an original idea from me--that really strong writing yields more every time you read it. That's why I return to Jhumpa Lahiri's
Interpreter of Maladies and William Maxwell's So Long See You Tomorrow--which I re-read over and over because I think it's a perfect book--and Alice Munro. That's something I strive to do, to create work that yields something else on the second reading and something else on the third. Did you read and re-read A Wrinkle in Time?

Originally when Miranda was carrying around
A Wrinkle in Time, it was a reminder to me that she was a reader who was stubborn and passionate, but she wouldn't give it up, she wouldn't let other things in. She was a bit narrow-minded. A lot of the story, for me, is about her leaving one stage of life and entering another. I wasn't at all sure that we were going to leave A Wrinkle in Time in there. It's such a meaningful book, and so many people feel a connection to it. I didn't want to throw it in as a prop. We talked about taking it out. But another part of me wanted to leave it in there because it's such a brave and wonderful book, and it's not afraid to talk about the small insecurities we have and carry with us throughout our lives. But it also has these wild ideas about the universe and the struggle for good. So what we decided as a group--Wendy and the people who were reading for me--was to see if we could make the connections between my story and A Wrinkle in Time a little deeper. I tried to see Madeleine L'Engle's story from different perspectives, like Marcus's perspective. It yielded these new ideas about the ways that stories can color characters' perspectives about time and what's possible. I think kids talk about huge things that we stop talking about when we're older.

Your book does that. Kids start it over as soon as they've finished it.

I visited a fourth-, fifth- and sixth-grade group on Friday. I said, "You can ask me questions while I'm signing, but nothing really hard, because I might misspell your name or something." One student came up and said, "I hope this isn't a hard question: How do you understand time? Is it a loop or what is it?" We had some discussion about it, and of course I couldn't sign books while we had it. He wandered off to his bus still thinking about it, and I thought, "We should all spend more time asking ourselves these big questions." One reason I love writing for this age group is that the kids are so smart and focused and able to wrap their minds around these ideas.

You are clearly comfortable with the idea of time travel.

I think time puzzles are fun and people love them. I never get tired of them--ever. On some level, it's just that humans struggle with the idea that there'll be a time when we're not here. Sometimes when I'm standing on a corner, I think what will be here in 100 years, because it feels impossible that the world will go on without you or that it existed before you. Even though intellectually we know that, it's hard to accept. - Jennifer M. Brown

Jan 26, 2010

Picturebook Review: The Sandwich Swap by Her Majesty Queen Rania AlAbdullah & Kelly DiPucchio, illustrated by Tricia Tusa

Picturebook Review:
The Sandwich Swap
by Her Majesty Queen Rania AlAbdullah & Kelly DiPucchio
illustrated by Tricia Tusa
9781423124849, Harper, $16.99, Pub. Date: April 2010

This delightful picturebook stole my heart, and I hope it will yours, as well.

Normally, I'm not a huge supporter of celebrity books; sorry, I know that sounds judgmental, but it's the truth. This picturebook stands on its own two feet, even if it was written by royalty - and I have to admit the royalty is pretty darn cool. If you're not aware of the incredible role model Her Majesty Queen Rania can be for young girls (and boys), please consider this your introduction to her, and her incredible humanitarian and cross-cultural connection work.

The story of The Sandwich Swap is simple: two little girls from different cultural backgrounds originally judge eachother's lunchtime sandwiches as icky, then share them to the delight and tastebud education of all. Of course the text is well-written - just sparse enough to make a wonderful storytime picturebook, yet still very meaningful. The illustrations fill each page with the friendship of the two girls, and the sad state of affairs when their judgment of each other breaks them apart. The climactic food fight scene reminds me of Quentin Blake's illustration style, and works perfectly to highlight the text and the flying food. The sweet ending could spark "sandwich swaps" in schools across the country, if encouraged!

Don't miss this upcoming release, available in April. Clearly I should go back through my Spring catalogues so I can tell you all the fun things coming out sooner than this summer! Maybe a project for another day.

The Montague Bookmill Finds

My academic class in my grad school program last semester examined the picturebook as an art form. We looked at how illustrations are created, the parts of the book as a whole, how it might be designed, page breaks, pacing, end papers - you name it, we considered it.

Because of this class, I look at picturebooks with an eye I hope has been made more discerning. Of course, everything is still subject to personal taste, but now I have the words to discuss why those books might appeal to me.

At the Montague Bookmill on Sunday, I couldn't stop myself from browsing the picturebooks, or from taking a few home. Here are the books I picked up:

I am apparently a huge fan of silhouette illustrations. Peggy Rathmann's The Day the Babies Crawled Away is a favorite, but it wasn't until I saw two of the books I had chosen that I realized quite how deep my appreciate for the silhouette really went:
Sleeping Beauty
illustrated by Arthur Rackham
Paperback: 0486227561, Dover Books

Sunday Morning
by Judith Viorts, drawings by Hilary Knight
Paperback: 9780689704475, Aladdin Books (part of Macmillan at the time)

This classic has been recently republished, but in a larger trim size. I prefer this smaller size, myself.
Quiet! There's a Canary in the Library
by Don Freeman
Paperback: 044084875x, Trumpet Club Special Edition

A Barbara Cooney I had never seen before! Her Miss Rumphius is my all-time favorite picturebook.
by Alice McLerran, illustrated by Barbara Cooney
Paperback: 0140544755, Penguin

Another favorite illustrator who draws with such delicate lines:
Over and Over
by Charlotte Zolotow, pictures by Garth Williams
Paperback: 9780064434157, Harper

A childhood favorite (I know, I have a lot of favorites) - my sister apparently absconded with my childhood copy:
The Rough-Face Girl
by Rafe Martin, illustrated by David Shannon
Paperback: 0590469320, Scholastic

I've never seen this book before, nor heard of the author or illustrator, but it is absolutely beautiful. The illustrations alternate between black and white pen & ink drawings, and full-color illustrations that have SUCH detailing! The vibrancy of the color and the detail of the characters are really exquisite:
retold by James Riordan, illustrated by Victor G. Ambrus
Paperback: 9780192722874, Oxford University Press

Last but not least, a Lloyd Alexander/Trina Schart Hyman match-up that I couldn't pass up:
The Fortune-Tellers
by Lloyd Alexander, illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman
Hardcover: 9780525448495, Dutton Children's Books

All-in-all, a very successful Bookmill outing.

Jan 25, 2010

Pioneer Valley Weekend Fun

I warn you this post has very little to do with books and everything to do with spreading the word about some amazing local highlights.

My sister was visiting this weekend. We managed to cram our personal favorites of the Pioneer Valley into the 48 hours that she was here. It proved to be one of the most enjoyable weekends I've ever had, and I highly recommend this schedule to those who might be familia
r with the Valley, or planning to visit. The best part? They're all independently owned/local businesses (and support other Indies as well). Here they are in the order we visited them:

Bela Vegetarian Restaurant, Northampton
- amazing all-Vegetarian food with options for wheat/gluten-free, dairy free, and Vegans The fact that both my sister and I are NOT vegetarians, but that this is still our favorite restaurant says a lot, I think. We HIGHLY recommend starting with a bowl of Miso soup, followed by the Italian tofu sausage with garlic & greens over spaghetti.

Ye Ol' Watering Hole & Beer Can Museum, Northampton
- juke box, pool, darts, townies

Green Bean Restaurant, Northampton
- all local, all the time, delicious menu, changing local art shows on the walls, always a line, go early, eat a lot - also options of all eaters, whether Carnivore or Herbivore, Vegan, wheat/gluten-free, dairy free, etc. My favorite is either the Miso soup with brown rice and tofu with two poached eggs in it (trust me, it's delicious), or two eggs scrambled with spinach & goat cheese, a side of avocado, side of bacon, and a scone with strawberry or raspberry jam.

The Montague Bookmill, Montague
- one of the best used bookstores around, it is an old mill building, located right on the river. A post on the books I purchased there will soon follow!

The Lady Killigrew Cafe, Montague
- right next to the Bookmill, I drool over their brown rice salad; sausage sandwich with cheese, apple, and mustard; and the chocolate mint cupcake

Turn It Up!, Northampton, Montague, Keene, & Brattleboro
- great place to find DVDs and music in all forms - CDs, cassettes, & records I picked up Them Crooked Vultures - highly recommend it if you like rock music. Also, Arctic Monkeys.

The Northampton Brewery, Northampton

- great beer selection, great food - Happy Birthday Marge! - try the Black Cat Stout Chocolate Cake, mmm.

Loonar Tattoo & Piercing, Hadley
- the 2nd time my sister & I have gone here - we're big fans of Liz (and Al)

Pleasant Street Video, Northampton
- incredible selection of everything - new, indie, foreign, you name it

SooRa Restaurant, Northampton

- SUSHI - need I say more?

Esselon Cafe, Hadley
- delicious food & drink in a relaxed atmosphere, with round-the-year patio dining due to heat lamps! Their daily specials are amazing - my favorite lunch/dinner is a grilled cheese sandwich on sourdough bread with tomato, avocado, & bacon and a bowl of tomato bisque soup.

To recap, that's pretty much how to eat your way through the Pioneer Valley. With some books, music, movies, a game of pool, and tattoos thrown in. Enjoy!

Ode to Little Golden Books, Addendum

I completely forgot to mention the whole reason behind my Ode to Little Golden Books post!

The Eric Carle Museum of Picturebook Art in Amherst, MA is having an exhibit:

Golden Legacy: Original Art from 65 Years of Golden Books
Featuring Artwork from Iconic Children’s Books

Go check it out!

Jan 23, 2010

Ode to Little Golden Books

I've recently rediscovered the joys of Little Golden Books, published by Random House.
Have you had the same problem I had? They've been around for so long, lurking in the back of my childhood memories, that sometimes I forget there continues to be waves of children through my shop that are meeting them for the first time!

I have to thank Kate at A Child's Garden for the display idea - get a square basket, long enough and deep enough, yet narrow enough, to hold and highlight 20-30 Little Golden Book titles, create a sign, stand back and watch them fly out the door!

Here are some of my childhood favorites:

Baby Farm Animals
by Garth Williams
9780307021755, $3.99

Home for Bunny
by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Garth Williams
9780307105462, $8.99

The Poky Little Puppy
by Janette Sebring Lowery, illustrated by Gustaf Tennggren
9780307021342, $3.99

The Shy Little Kitten
by Cathleen Schurr, illustrated by Gustaf Tenggren
9780307001450, $3.99

One from my father's childhood that he shared with us:

Mickey Mouse Flies the Christmas Mail
by Annie North Bedford, illustrated by the Walt Disney Company
9780736424240, $3.99

I'm sure there are others, but those are the ones that really stuck with me.

Now for some Little Golden Books (some classic, some new) I've discovered in adulthood:

Animal Orchestra
by ILO Orleans, illustrated by Tibor Gergely
9780307982872, $3.99

I Can Fly
by Ruth Krauss, illustrated by Mary Blair
9780307001467, $3.99

Puss in Boots
by Kathryn Jackson, illustrated by J. P. Miller
9780375845833, $3.99

Walt Disney's Alice in Wonderland
(I'm sure that doesn't surprise you given my established love of Alice in Wonderland)
created by Lewis Carroll, adapted by Al Dempster, illustrated by Walt Disney Studios
9780736426701, $3.99

New titles to be released in 2010:

A Day at the Seashore
by Byron Jackson & Kathryn Jackson
9780375854255, $3.99

I'm a T. Rex!
by Dennis Shealy, illustrated by Brian Biggs
9780375858062, $3.99

It would be an oversight not to mention that the Walt Disney Company has produced a Little Golden Book for almost every one of their animated films, and Pixar has a few as well, as do the companies that produce Barbie, Thomas the Tank Engine, and Dora the Explorer.
While those are not my favorite, I have recently become enamored with the newest Disney film The Princess and the Frog, and so, subsequently enjoy the Little Golden Book version:

The Princess and the Frog
created by Random House Disney
9780736426282, $3.99

What are some of your favorites?

Jan 21, 2010

Books on Children's Books

I am pleased to announce that last night was my very last first grad school class (of this degree program. Who knows what the future may bring - PhD perhaps?). "The History of Publishing" taught by the venerable Anita Silvey will be my final M.F.A. course (other than my mentorship, of course, but more on that in another post). This is the course where I get to explore what makes the children's book industry tick - where it came from and how that impacts where it's going today.

To this end, we're using Leonard Marcus's Minders of Make Believe as a course book. It is a delightfully chatty book all about the delicious gossip of how children's publishing came to be. I've just finished reading about the 1920s, when children's publishing first began in America. It's fascinating! I want to be those pioneering women!

Minders of Make Believe made me think about all the "books on children's books" that I've seen in my time, and made we want to discover more. Here is an abbreviated list of some books that are not only interesting to me personally, but could serve as resources to anyone in the children's book industry. Or hey, maybe, like me, you just want to know more about children's books!

Books on the field of children's literature:
Children's Literature: A Reader's History from Aesop to Harry Potter
by Seth Lerer

Paperback: 9780226473017, University of Chicago, $19

Minders of Make Believe:Idealists, Entrepreneurs, and the Shaping of American Children's Literature
by Leonard Ma
Hardcover: 9780395674079, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $28

Golden Legacy: How Golden Books Won Children's Hearts, Changed Publishing Forever, and Became an American Icon Along the Way
by Leonard Marcus, foreward by Eric Carle

Hardcover: 9780375829963, Golden Books (Random House), $40

Books on children's book art and its creators:
Artist to Artist: 23 Major Illustrators Talk to Children about Their Art
edited by Patricia Lee Gauch, David Briggs, Courtenay Palmer, Kiffin Steurer, designed by Semadr Megged
Hardcover: 9780399246005, Philomel (Penguin), $30

Pass It Down: Five Picture Book Families Make Their Mark
by Leonard Marcus
Hardcover: 9780802796004, Walker & Co., $19.95

Play Pen: New Children's Book Illustration
by Martin Salisbury

Paperback: 9781856695244, National Book Network, $40

Show & Tell: Exploring the Fine Art of Children's Book Illustration
by Dilys Evans

Hardcover: 9780811849715, Chronicle Books, $24.99

Side by Side: Five Favorite Picture-Book Teams Go to Work
by L
eonard Marcus
Paperback: 9780802796165, Walker & Co., $11.95

Books on children's book people:

The Essential Guide to Children's Books and Their Creators
edited by Anita Silvey
Paperback: 9780618190829, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $17.95

Funny Business: Conversations with Writers of Comedy
by Leonard Marcus

Hardcover: 9780763632540, Candlewick Press, $21.99

Making Mischief: A Maurice Sendak Appreciation
by Gregory Maguire

Hardcover: 9780061689161, William Morrow & Co., $27.50

The Seuss, the Whole Seuss and Nothing But the Seuss: A Visual Biography of Theodor Seuss Geisel
by Charles Cohen
ver: 9780375822483, Random House, $35

The Wand in the Word: Conversations with Writers of Fantasy compiled
by Leonard Marcus

Paperback: 9780763645564, Candlewick Press, $14.99

Books on
children's books awards (and the people who won them):

Winning Authors: Profiles of the Newbery Medalists
by Kathleen Lo
ng Bostrom
Hardcover: 9781563088773, Greenwood Publishing Group, $60

A Caldec
ott Celebration: Seven Artists and Their Paths to the Caldecott Medal
by Leonard Marcus
Hardcover: 9780802797032, Walker & Co., $19.95

Children's book treasuries with supplemental material:

Corduroy and Company: A Don Freeman Treasury
by D
on Freeman, introduction by Leonard Marcus
Hardcover: 9780670035106, Viking (Penguin), $25

George and Martha: The Complete Stories of Two Best Friends by James Marshall, foreward by Maurice Sendak, afterward by Anita Silvey
, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $25

Keats's Neighborhood: An Ezra Jack Keats Treasury by Ezra Jack Keats, introduction by Anita Silvey
over: 9780670035861, Viking (Penguin), $27

Books of children's book lists:

100 Best Books for Children:
A Parent's Guide to Making the Right Choices fo
r Your Young Reader, Toddler to Preteen
by Anita Silvey
Paperback: 9780618618774, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $9.95

500 Great Books for Teens
by Anita Silvey
Hardcover: 9780618612963, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $26

For something a little different:
Everything I Need to Know I Learned from a Children's Book: Life Lessons from Notable People from All Walks of Life
edited by Anita Silvey
Hardcover: 9781596433953, Roaring Book Press

Tales for Little Rebels: A Collection of Radical Children's Literature
edited by Julia Mickenberg, Philip Nel, foreward by Jack Zipes

Hardcover: 9780814757208, New York University Press, $32.95

Out-of-Print books on children's books and their creators:
Ways of Telling: Conversations on the Art of the Picture Book
by Leonard Marcus
Hardcover: 9780525464907, Dutton (Penguin)

The Newbery and Caldecott Books in the Classroom
by Claudette Comfort, designed by Sherri Lewis
9780865301788, Incentive Publications