Surprising Jolts of Children’s Literature
By Day: Betsy is a mild-mannered Collection Development Manager, purchasing adult titles, and ONLY adult titles, for her extremely literary suburban library system.
But By Night: Betsy transforms into FUSE #8, blogging about all aspects of children’s literature. And that includes adult literature . . . when it happens to mention children’s literature in some fashion. This month the books are almost entirely for adults by people in the children’s literature business. I see ’em. I collect ’em. And now I’m letting you know about ’em.
Last Things by Marissa Moss
You may know Marissa Moss from her pre-Wimpy Kid notebook series about a girl named Amelia. Or you may know her as the independent publisher of Creston Books. What you may not know about her is as an adult graphic novelist. In this wrenching autobiographical GN she recounts when her husband was diagnosed with ALS, better known to many as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. The title is out in May and though I don’t read much that’s for adults, I found the story absolutely riveting. The Amelia books are referenced occasionally, but the concentration here is firmly on Marissa and her husband. Pairs well with Roz Chast’s Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?
Birds Art Life: A Year of Observation by Kyo Maclear
Maclear’s one of those Canadian picture book authors that show up with clever books like Virginia Wolf (Kids Can Press) or The Liszts (Tundra) but don’t get bupkiss in award season because of their native land. More’s the pity since every time I see her name I know the book is going to make me (and countless children) happy. In this title she creates, in the words of Kirkus, “A meditation on freedom and confinement and the creative tension between the two.” If you’ve found yourself partial to the tone of her picture books, you’ll probably enjoy this year’s worth of ramblings collected while urban birding.
My Life With Bob: Flawed Heroine Keeps Book of Books, Plot Ensues by Pamela Paul
Before she was the editor of the New York Times Book Review, Ms. Paul was the children’s book review editor of the same paper. This latest book is by no means her first. According to Baker & Taylor she’s also written such interesting sounding titles as Pornified, The Starter Marriage and the Future of Matrimony, and By the Book. In this title we learn about Pamela’s Bob. Which is to say, her “Book of Books”. Since she was sixteen she’s kept track of every single book she’s read in this little tome. That would make this a book on a book of books, no?
The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo
Hey! My girl! Jill and I used to be part of the same writer’s group back in NYC, though we’d known one another long before then. A woman of many hats, she’s as comfortable working for publishers on the editorial side of the table as she is writing books for kids and teens. Now she has an adult novel (with a distinctly New Adult-friendly cover, I might add) and a whole lotta buzz. The rights to this puppy have already been sold to 25 countries! Go, Jill, go!
Over the Hills and Far Away: The Life of Beatrix Potter by Matthew Dennison
Recently I heard someone say that Beatrix Potter invented the art of licensing children’s book characters. There’s a lot of truth to that, but she was more than just Peter Rabbit and friends. In this latest bio (which Kirkus calls, “respectful”) we see, amongst other things, the woman’s controlling parents in a sharp light. Knowing this lends credence to the theory that it was Potter’s mother that yelled at Roald Dahl when he was just a boy (a story and theory you can find in Wild Things: Acts of Mischief in Children’s Literature). I once had the privilege of transcribing some letters Potter wrote to Anne Carroll Moore at NYPL (the letters were kept in our files at the library). All I can say of her is that she truly cared for her sheep. Really and truly. Hope the book mentions that.
Not as many today, I’ll admit. I’m currently on an airplane headed to NYC to participate in the Mathical Awards. More soon!
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