Fusenews: Trotsky, Harriet the Spy, A.A. Milne and More
You know what’s even better than serving on an award committee? Having someone else write about it. As I’ve mentioned in the past, I was on the judging committee for this year’s Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards alongside Chair Joanna Rudge Long and Roxanne Feldman. It was Roxanne who reported on our discussion, and even took photos of where we met (Joanna’s gorgeous Vermont farmhouse), what we ate, and more. There is also a particularly goofy shot of me that is impressive because even without knowing that there was a camera pointed in my direction, I seem to have made a silly face. I am nothing if not talented in that respect.
Speaking of listening in on committees and their discussions, ALA is next week (she said, eyeing her unfinished Newbery/Caldecott Banquet outfit nervously) and that means you have a chance to sit and listen to one particular committee talk the talkety talk. I am referring, of course, to the ALA Notables Committee. This year they’ve released the list of books on their discussion list online for your perusal. A lot of goodies there, as well as room for a lot of books I hope they get to eventually.
I was very sad to hear about the passing of Lois Duncan. Like many of you, she was a staple of my youth. When Jules Danielson, Peter Sieruta, and I were writing our book Wild Things: Acts of Mischief in Children’s Literature we initially had a section, written by Peter, on why Lois stopped writing suspense novels for teens. It’s a sad story but one that always made me admire her deeply. She was hugely talented and will be missed.
Speaking of Wild Things, recently I was sent a YA galley by Marcus Sedgwick called Blood Red, Snow White. But lest you believe it to be a YA retelling of the old Snow White / Rose Red fairytale, it ain’t. Instead, it’s about how Arthur Ransome (he of Swallows and Amazons) got mixed up with Trotsky’s secretary and a whole lotta Bolsheviks. What does this have to do with Wild Things? This was yet ANOTHER rejected tale from our book. Read the full story here on our website where we even take care to mention Sedgwick’s book (it originally was published overseas in 2007).
As I’ve mentioned before, my library hosts a pair of falcons each year directly across from the window above my desk. I’ve watched five eggs laid, three hatch, and the babies get named and banded. This week the little not-so-fuzzyheads are learning to fly. It’s terrifying. Far better that I read this older Chicago Tribune article on the banding ceremony. They were so cute when they were fuzzy. *sigh*
In other news, Harriet the Spy’s house is for sale. Apparently.
Sharon Levin on the child_lit listserv had a rather fascinating little announcement up recently. As she told it, she’d always had difficulty finding a really fast way to catalog her personal library. Cause let’s face it – scanning every single barcode takes time. Then she found a new app and . . . well, I’ll let her tell it:
“Shelfie is a free app for iOS and Android (www.shelfie.com) where you can take a picture of your bookshelf and the app will automatically recognize your book spines and generate a catalog of your library. In addition, the team behind the app has made deals with over 1400 publishers (including HarperCollins, Macmillan, and Hachette) to let you download discounted (usually around 80% off) or free ebook or audiobook edition of your paper books (right now these publisher deals cover about 25% of the books on an “average” shelf). The app also lets you browse other readers’ shelves. Shelfie will also give you personalized book recommendations based on how readers with similar taste in books to you organize the books on their shelves. The founder of Shelfie is named Peter Hudson and he’d love to hear any suggestions about how he can make the app better. Peter’s email is email@example.com.“
Thanks to Sharon Levin for the heads up.
I leave NYPL and its delightful Winnie-the-Pooh toys and what happens? The world goes goofy for the story of A.A. Milne and Christopher Robin. Now we just found out that Domhnall Gleeson (a.k.a. Bill Weasley in the Harry Potter films) has just been cast as Milne in an upcoming bio-pic. Will wonders never cease?
Are you familiar with the works of Atinuke? An extraordinary storyteller, her Anna Hibiscus books are among my favorite early chapter books of all time. They do, however, occasionally catch flack of saying they take place in “Africa” rather than a specific country. Recently, K.T. Horning explained on Monica Edinger’s recent post Diversity Window, Mirror, or Neither that Atinuke did this on purpose so that kids in Africa could imagine the stories as taking place in their own countries. That makes perfect sense. The ensuing discussion in Monica’s post is respectful, interesting, and with a variety of different viewpoints, all worth reading. In short, the kind of talk a blogger hopes for when he or she writes something. Well done, Monica.
Big time congrats to the nominees for the Neustadt Prize. It’s a whopping $10,000 given to a children’s author given on the basis of literary merit. It may be the only children’s award originating in America that is also international. Fingers crossed for all the people nominated!
Hooray! The Children’s Book Council has released their annual Building a Home Library list. I love these. The choices are always very carefully done and perfect for clueless parents.
In other CBC news, I got this little press release, and it’s worth looking at:
“For the second consecutive year, the Children’s Book Council has partnered with The unPrison Project — a 501(c)3 nonprofit dedicated to empowering and mentoring women in prison — to create brand-new libraries of books for incarcerated mothers to read with their babies at prison nurseries. Fourteen of the CBC’s member publishers answered the call by donating copies of over 35 hand-picked titles for children ages 0-18 months for each library. The books will be hand-delivered and organized in the nurseries by Deborah Jiang-Stein, founder of The unPrison Project and author of Prison Baby. Jiang-Stein was born in prison to a heroin-addicted mother, and has made it her mission to empower and mentor women and girls in prison.”
You know who’s cool? That gal I mentioned earlier. Julie Danielson. She’s something else. For example, while many of us might just say we were interested in James Marshall, she’s actually in the process of researching him. She even received the James Marshall Fellowship from The University of Connecticut’s Archives & Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center. As a result she spent a week looking through the James Marshall Papers there. Their sole stipulation? Write a blog post about it. So up at the University’s site you’ll find the piece Finding the Artist in His Art: A Week With the James Marshall Papers. Special Bonus: Rare images you won’t find anywhere else.
I take no credit to this. I only discovered it on Twitter thanks to Christine Hertz of Burlington, VT. It may constitute the greatest summer reading idea I’ve seen in a very long time. Public libraries, please feel free to adopt this:
Filed under: Fusenews
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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