Alex Gino Renames "George"; Obamas Bringing "Blackout" to Netflix | News Bites

Alex Gino issues an apology and new title for their award-winning book, the Obamas are bringing Blackout to Netflix, and a lot of publishing news in this installment of News Bites.

Author Alex Gino issues an apology and new title for their award-winning book, the Obamas are bringing Blackout to Netflix, and a lot of publishing news in this installment of News Bites.

Alex Gino renames George

Alex Gino, author of George, has renamed the award-winning book Melissa’s Story, and has apologized for the original title.

“I made a mistake when I named my first published middle grade novel. A big mistake,” Gino wrote on their website. “I used a name for my main character that she doesn’t like for herself (i.e., George, the title of the book) instead of her actual name. My main character’s name is Melissa, and I apologize to her, to the larger trans community, and to all of my readers for the error. I’m sorry.

“She is not real, so I can’t hurt her feelings, but the title of my book makes it seem as though it is ever okay to use an old name for a person when they have provided you with a different name that works better for them. I want to be clear—it isn’t.”

George has been the No. 1 Most Challenged book on the ALA OIF’s annual list for the last three years.

Obamas bringing Blackout to Netflix

Former President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama’s production company, Higher Ground, will be adapting the YA novel Blackout for Netflix.

Tiffany D. Jackson, one of the 2021 title’s six authors, tweeted “THE OBAMAS are turning BLACKOUT into a film and tv series. That’s it. That’s the post. (Because OMGGGGGGG)”

Dhonielle Clayton wrote, “The epitome of Black love, @BarackObama and @MichelleObama are producing our big love story. I can’t believe it. My heart is so full.”

She then tagged the other writers from the book—Jackson, Nic Stone, Angie Thomas, Ashley Woodfolk, and Nicola Yoon.

Higher Ground and producers Temple Hill are developing Blackout as a movie and TV “event,” adapting from the novel, which tells six different loves stories, one by each writer. According to reports, some of the six stories could wind up in the film, while others will be in the TV show.

[Read: Some of YA’s Biggest Names Collaborate on “Blackout,” a 2021 Release About Black Love] 

Colin Kaepernick signs multibook deal with Scholastic

Activist and former NFL player Colin Kaepernick has signed a multibook deal with Scholastic, in collaboration with Kaepernick Publishing. The first book will be I Color Myself Different, a picture book by Kaepernick, illustrated by Eric Wilkerson, that tells the story of when Kaepernick first documented that he was different from his adopted white family. The book will publish April 5, 2022.

“This story is deeply personal to me, and inspired by real events in my life,” Kaepernick said in a statement. “I hope that it honors the courage and bravery of young people everywhere by encouraging them to live with authenticity and purpose. I'm excited for Kaepernick Publishing to be collaborating with Scholastic on books with Black and Brown voices at the forefront. I hope that our books will inspire readers to walk through the world with confidence, strength, and truth in all they do.”

Lee & Low acquires Cinco Puntos

Publisher Lee & Low Books has acquired the assets of El Paso-based Cinco Puntos Press. The acquisition combines the lists of the two award-winning independent publishers. Lee & Low Books will become the publisher and primary distributor of all Cinco Puntos Press titles, which previously were distributed by Consortium.

In its 36 years, Cinco Puntos Press published nearly130 books, including Morris Award winner Gabi, a Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero.

Lee & Low Books, founded in 1991, is the largest multicultural children’s book publisher in the country. With this acquisition, Lee & Low Books will publish its first adult titles, and expand its collection of bilingual, Chicanx, and border literature.

Dungeons & Dragons middle grade books on the way

HarperCollins Children's Books will publish Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) middle grade content in partnership with Hasbro and Wizards of the Coast. Launching in fall 2021, the Dungeons & Dragons publishing program will release the first-ever middle grade novel, Dungeon Academy: No Humans Allowed, written by Madeleine Roux and illustrated by Tim Probert. The second and third installments in the "Dungeon Academy" series are set for fall 2022 and fall 2023. The second D&D series will be Dungeons & Dragons: HarperChapters, with the first book scheduled for Winter 2022, and the second and third set for winter 2023 and winter 2024, respectively. Finally, HarperAlley will create an original D&D graphic novel series by Molly Knox Ostertag, illustrated Xanthe Bouma. The first installment is scheduled for fall 2022, with books two and three coming in fall 2023 and 2024.

IMLS accepting grant proposals

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is now accepting proposals for the 2022 National Leadership Grants for Libraries and the Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian program.

The National Leadership Grants for Libraries program supports “projects that address critical needs of the library and archives fields and have the potential to advance practice in these professions to strengthen library and archival services for the American public.”

The Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian program supports “the development of a diverse workforce of librarians and archivists to better meet the information needs of communities being served. Program goals include recruiting, training, developing, and retaining a diverse workforce of library and archives professionals; developing faculty, library, and archives leaders by increasing the institutional capacity of libraries, archives, and of graduate programs related to library and information science; and enhancing the training and professional development of the library and archival workforce to meet the needs of their communities.”

The deadline for the preliminary proposals is September 24, 2021.

A free on-demand informational webinar will be available on the IMLS website.

Kodansha USA Publishing making digital manga available on Comics Plus

Kodansha USA Publishing will make its digital catalog of manga available to libraries and schools through Comics Plus.

The English-language publisher of manga properties, including Attack on Titan, Fire Force, and EDENS ZERO, will add more than 1,000 titles throughout the summer.  Hundreds of titles are already available, including series "Chi’s Sweet Home," "FAIRY TAIL," "Attack on Titan," and "Battle Angel Alita." With Comics Plus, readers can borrow thousands of digital comics, graphic novels, and manga from their school or library—with unlimited simultaneous access for online and offline reading.

Manga-specific categories like Kodomomuke, Shonen, Shoujo, Seinen, Josei, and Yaoi/Yuri have also been added to make it easier for manga fans to find more titles in the collection.




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