May 31, 2016

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Review of the Day: Samurai Rising by Pamela S. Turner

Samurai Rising: The Epic Life of Minamoto Yoshitsune By Pamela S. Turner Illustrated by Gareth Hinds Charlesbridge $16.95 ISBN: 9781580895842 Ages 10 and up On shelves now When you read enough children’s books published in a single year, folks tend to believe that you’ve an ability to spot trends in the general literature. Trend-spotting is […]

Never Gonna Sequel

It’s happened to us all.  You hear that one of your favorite books for kids or teens is being adapted to the silver screen and you are struck with a simultaneous feeling of hope and fear.  You go to see it and it’s even worse than you imagined.  Then you leave the theater and realize […]

An Authorial Bookstore

You may have seen the piece in Publishers Weekly. Judy Blume, Bookseller, it was called.  When I saw the title I just assumed it was just about one of those events when authors go into bookstores and take over for the employees for a day.  Instead, what I found was that Ms. Blume opened up […]

Review of the Day: Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo

Raymie Nightingale By Kate DiCamillo Candlewick Press $16.99 ISBN: 978-0-7636-8117-3 Ages 9-12 On shelves now My relationship to Kate DiCamillo’s books is one built entirely on meaning. Which is to say, the less emotional and meaningful they are, the better I like ‘em. Spaghetti loving horses and girls that live in tree houses? Right up […]

Fusenews: In my next life I’m coming back as a “Rotraut”

A lot to say and so little time to say it.  Let’s get started!   Today, if you are at all feeling blue, I suggest you read The Toast piece Jaya Catches Up: A Little Princess which is a killer breakdown of what is inarguably a problematic book.  The Marie Antoinette portions are particularly choice. […]

Video Sunday: Hello, Darkness, My Old Friend

Today we begin with something depressing (happy Sunday, everybody!). On April 4th, all of five days ago, the lovely blog Geekmom (which appears to be an offshoot of Geekdad) premiered the new Adam Rex / Mac Barnett book trailer for their upcoming picture book How This Book Was Made. When you see this trailer you […]

Trailer Premiere: The Ugly Dumpling by Stephanie Campisi

Let play a game.  I’ll write out a bit of a professional review from here at School Library Journal and you guess the book.  Here goes: “A unique take on the classic tale ‘The Ugly Duckling,’ this is a humorous story of friendship and self-acceptance, set in a dim sum restaurant. … This narrative moves quickly, […]

Fan Art: From Sheinkin to Wicks

Here’s an idea for a series on this blog: Authors and illustrators paying tribute to other authors and illustrators in the form of fan art.  Oh, it could work.  Why do I think it could work?  Because that’s what we’re doing today, folks. Consider the author Steve Sheinkin.  You may know him from his award […]

Book Trailer Premiere: Fluffy Strikes Back by Ashley Spires

My daughter is four going on five at the moment.  And though she still reads her fair share of picture books, recently she has become enamored of graphic novels.  Particularly those with “bad guys” in them.  For this reason, I give great good thanks for Ashley Spires.  Granted, in her Binky the Space Cat series […]

Eight Recent Children’s & YA Books Collectors Should Grab

The other day I had lunch with a lovely collector of children’s books.  Children’s book collectors have always struck me as a the last great unknowable group of people with an active interest in children’s literature out there.  Where educators or librarians or even scholars have blogs and annual meetings and newsletters, collectors remain mysterious […]

Review of the Day: Don’t Call Me Grandma by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson

Don’t Call Me Grandma By Vaunda Micheaux Nelson Illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon Carolrhoda Books (a division of Lerner) $19.99 ISBN: 978-1-4677-4208-5 Ages 4-7 On shelves now. In 2016 a picture book won a Newbery Award. Which is to say, a picture book was declared the best-written work for children between the ages of 0-14. After […]

Ethics in Nonfiction for Kids

I’m not quite sure what it says about me that whenever I need to have a go-to Children’s Literary Salon I inevitably make it about ethics in nonfiction for kids. I think, technically, I’ve done this topic three times and each time it just gets more and more interesting. Case in point, this past Saturday’s […]

What Was the First YA Novel?

Things are ah-brewing and ah-hopping on the child_lit listserv this week!  And though my blog is primarily a conduit through which one learns about children’s book news, I couldn’t help but get utterly fascinated by a discussion of origin.  Particularly, the origin of the YA novel. Fun with semantics!  So what do we mean when […]

Politics and Mainstream Children’s Literature in 2016

You may have seen the Guardian article the other day ‘Oh, what a big gun you have': NRA rewrites fairytales to include firearms.  The title pretty much is the whole story, except that these are tales posted on the NRA’s website and not (at this time) actual published books.  I was looking at the post […]

Review of the Day: When Green Becomes Tomatoes by Julie Fogliano

When Green Becomes Tomatoes: Poems for All Seasons By Julie Fogliano Illustrated by Julie Morstad A Neal Porter Book / Roaring Brook Press (Macmillan) $18.99 ISBN: 9781596438521 Ages 6 and up On shelves now. I don’t think I can adequately stress to you the degree to which I did not want to review this book. […]

Fusenews: “Rich. Famous. That’s all I’ve got”

We’re diving right in today.  Check out this killer poster: Now if you’re one of the lucky ducks living in NYC, or will be there on the date of 4/16, you now have your marching orders.  This is an event held at Bank Street College of Education and in wracking my brains I can’t think […]

Press Release Fun: Matt Bird and The Secrets of Story

Reprinting PW deal announcements is not what I tend to do.  Today, however, we’ve a rather extraordinary occurrence.  Some of you may know that my husband Matt Bird is a bit of a blogger and screenwriter in his own right.  Add the term “published author” to that description now.  Publishers Weekly has just announced Matt’s […]

Video Sunday: “A man sits . . . in a setting . . .”

You know that nightmare you have where you’re up on a stage and you suddenly realize you have to give a TED talk but you have absolutely no idea what the subject is and you’re pretty sure you don’t have the little remote that’ll allow you to flip between slides anyway?  That one?  You don’t […]

Spotted! Author Visits

When I moved to Evanston from New York City I guess I thought my life would calm down a bit.  New York City’s all about the publisher previews, the author events, the crazy dinners for big name authors and illustrators, and it is clearly party central.  And for the most part Evanston is calm.  Quiet.  […]

Newbery / Caldecott 2017: Spring Prediction Edition

What?  Who?  Now?  Yes, if you’re checking the calendar you’ll see that three whole months of 2016 have gone by and you know what that means.  Prediction time! But Betsy, you say, that is quite simply the kookiest thing I’ve ever heard. It’s March, for crying out loud.  We’ve ten months until the next award […]