Spotted at BEA: Upcoming Goodies
A light smattering of things that caught my eye at BEA.
Here’s the thing about Book Expo America. As conferences go it yields less love amongst librarians than our own, beloved American Library Association conferences. And that just makes sense. BEA is about the business side of books. Booksellers are the primary focus and they’re swell folks.
This year the move to Chicago meant that a lot of the local booksellers were a bit worried about turnout. At an author dinner I attended they mentioned their fears that a smaller conference might convince organizers that Chicago wouldn’t be worth visiting in the future. Now as it happened, attendance was down by about 20%. However, the organizers went on record saying that this had been expected, and that the people who did attend were folks who would normally not go to the NYC version.
The advantage of BEA is that the books you see there often are the same books you’ll see at ALA Annual. So you can cut down on the titles you’ll need to ship by simply getting them early.
For my own part, I spent a good chunk of the event attending and moderating and participating on panels. It was Friday before I could give the conference floor and the books on display the proper attention they deserved. So please bear in mind that what I’m listing here today is just a small smattering of what was on display. This is, if nothing else, a very random assortment.
First up, this:
Feast thine eyes. Oh yes. You know you want that picture book biography. The fact that it’s about a South American real-life heroine? Or that it’s part of a kind of anti-princess series? Icing on the cake.
What you’re looking at is this:
And the company behind it is Books Del Sur. Here’s their own description:
Books del Sur was established by two long time friends, Heather Robertson and Ignacio Muñoz. After Heather became tired of the lack of quality Spanish literature available in her bilingual programs. She contacted Ignacio in Chile and he used his business experience and knowledge of Chilean media to access books for Heather’s students. Their mission is to bring books from South America into the classrooms of Spanish-speaking students in the United States. Books del Sur is based in the Northern Chicago Suburbs and on the world wide web.
So basically these books are all in Spanish. If there are plans for future English translations, I’ve yet to hear of it. Fortunately, on their website you can sign up to hear if English versions will ever become available. And in the meantime, these Spanish versions are magnificent. Here are some of the other women in this series. See if you can guess them by just these shortened cover images:
Really, BEA was all about the international literature. So I became familiar with Books Del Sur on the one hand, as well as Candied Plums on the other.
Candied Plums is a company dedicated to bringing Chinese imported children’s books to the States. They’ve a frontlist of lovely books coming soon, but my favorite by far was this:
Apparently “candy haws” are a bit of a Chinese staple. It was difficult to figure out exactly what they are, but they were described to me as candied crabapples. If that sound gross, don’t worry. Some research indicates that “haws” are a fruit not found in the States. So they may only have some mild similarities to our crabapples. This story is a sweet tale about an old candy haws seller who finds he can’t locate anyone to buy his wares. When he feeds some stray cats on his rounds, his generosity is returned in spades. I’ll be reporting more on Candied Plums in the future, no worries. They’ve given me a lot to think about.
On the nonfiction side of things, this was my favorite surprise find:
Don’t recognize him? Well, basically he was the inventor of lounge music. It gets better. The author is part of a lounge music cover band for him. Love love lovedy love.
Here we have a rare Vanessa Newton-Bradley spotting. Since the George Washington Birthday Cake debacle I was afraid that we’d lose sight of her for a while. Nice to see she’s back in business.
In other news, coloring books are out and this is in:
I kid. Coloring books aren’t out. And as to whether or not this is, or ever will be in, I leave it to you.
On one panel I decried the lack of diverse books in the vein of Wimpy Kid. Someone later showed me this:
Looking forward to grabbing my own soon.
I know you have hundreds of early chapter book mystery books starring Muslim girls, but add just one more to the pile.
Oh. What’s that? You haven’t ANY Muslim girl early chapter book mysteries? Well aren’t you the lucky one today. It’s been out since January. Time we stood up and took notice.
And really, though I saw quite a bit more than this, these are the ones I took pictures of, so that’s all she wrote folks!
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About Betsy Bird
Betsy Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.
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