Tag Archives: news

Chinese Government to Restrict Foreign Picture Books – News from China

According to these two articles, one by the Guardian, Peppa Pig pulled: China cracks down on foreign children’s books and one on South China Morning Post, What does China have against Peppa Pig?, the Chinese Government has started to limit the number of picture books originally published overseas in order to both foster local children’s book publication and have a firmer control over the kind of ideology conveyed through the local picture books. (Thanks, Jeff Gottesfeld, for posting these links on Facebook!)

I am monitoring this progress and will report back for those interested in following this topic.  But, right out of the bag, I’d like to point out that the number of translated books for children in China has always been huge and overpowering.  Look at this screenshot of the top paperback picture book bestsellers on their largest online children’s bookstore: 2 from the Netherland, 4 from the United States, and 2 from France.  Not a single title is by Chinese authors or illustrators.

Screen Shot 2017-03-14 at 10.26.33 AM

Compare this to the top selling picture books on Amazon in the U.S. (There is no such category, only best selling children’s books.)  There are eight picture books in the first twenty titles which are mostly Harry Potter books: First 100 Words by Roger Priddy, The Going-To-Bed Book by Sandra Boynton, The Wonderful Things… by Emily Winfield Martin, Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae, The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein, Oh, The Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss, Richard Scarry’s The Gingerbread Man (Little Golden Book) by Nancy Nolte (Author), Richard Scarry (Illustrator), and Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown.  All of them are published in the U.S., by U.S. authors and illustrators.  In fact, it has always been rare for foreign, translated work for children to thrive in the U.S. marketplace.

So, I imagine that the need for #OWNVOICE is real and urgent in China.

There is a reason I used this hashtag since I saw that someone invented this other hashtag on Facebook to stress that China Need Diverse Books: #CNDB (modeling after the #WNDB, We Need Diverse Books hashtag) as if the Chinese market is flushed with nothing BUT Chinese creators’ works.  The reality is quite the opposite.

Let’s truly examine the full ranges of the issues of picture book fields in these two countries before making judgements regarding the nature and influence of this potential “government mandate.”

The fact is: the U.S. has no government mandate, but a free market, that dictates what gets published and sold.  And what we have is usually an extremely U.S. or Western centric slate of titles year in and year out.  Any publisher is BRAVE enough to bring a couple of culturally unfamiliar, translated books into the U.S. market is praised, patted on the back, but rarely sees monetary success because of such courageous move.  (And why isn’t the Betchelder Award ever cites the Translator along with the Publisher.  Or for that matter, why aren’t translators’ names always prominently placed on the cover or title pages? That’s another whole blog post to come.)

As some of you know already, I am working with Candied Plums, a new children’s book imprint, to bring contemporary Chinese books to the U.S. There is no mandate from anyone or anywhere, except for the publisher’s and my desire to bring more cultural understanding and accessibility to the U.S. readers.  These picture books, in my opinion, do not promote the “Chinese/Communist Dogma,” nor do they convey any specific ideology except for displaying all ways that we can be human.  These books should be as popular in China as all the imported books.  So, perhaps, just perhaps, the publishers who have been working hard at publishing their #OWNVOICES would have a better chance at reaching their #OWNREADERS with this new, drastic mandate from the Government?





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Sunday Select, December 13, 2015

FCLSSQuote of the Week

But in our digital conversion of media (perhaps buttressed by application of the popular KonMari method of decluttering), physical objects have been expunged at a cost. Aside from the disappearance of record crates and CD towers, the loss of print books and periodicals can have significant repercussions on children’s intellectual development.

Perhaps the strongest case for a household full of print books came from a 2014 study published in the sociology journal Social Forces. Researchers measured the impact of the size of home libraries on the reading level of 15-year-old students across 42 nations, controlling for wealth, parents’ education and occupations, gender and the country’s gross national product.

After G.N.P., the quantity of books in one’s home was the most important predictor of reading performance. The greatest effect was seen in libraries of about 100 books, which resulted in approximately 1.5 extra years of grade-level reading performance. (Diminishing returns kick in at about 500 books, which is the equivalent of about 2.2 extra years of education.)

— by Teddy Wayne
from Our (Bare) Shelves, Our Selves
The New York Times

We Need Books

Our (Bare) Shelves, Our Selves by Teddy Wayne – from The New York Times



Children’s Authors Share Their Favorite Childhood Books Compiled by Diane Roback — from Publishers Weekly

Horn Book Fanfare 2015  — from The Horn Book Magazine

How Kwame Alexander Gets Teens Reading and Writing Poetry — from School Library Journal

WSJ’s Best Books of 2015  — from Wall Street Journal

In the Works: SLJ’s Battle of the Kids’ Books 2016 Edition by Monida Edinger — from Educating Alice

We Need Ideas and Opinions

An American Refrain by Libba Bray – from Libba Bray’s Blog

Novelists team up for teen book on race and police by James Sullivan — from The Boston Globe

THE N-WORD AND MY DAUGHTER by Martha Haakmat — from Raising Race Conscious Children

I gathered these entries from various sources such as Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and specific sites that I follow such as Educating Alice, Pub Peeps, Book Riot, School Library Journal, The Horn Book, We Need Diverse Books, etc.

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Sunday Select, September 27, 2015

FCLSSQuote of the Week

Are you ready for a revolution?
As an African-American librarian, I am.
Think about it. It’s 2015, and we still need to campaign for “more diverse books.”
The question we librarians need to ask ourselves is: Are you exposing your users to the full range of authors and literature out there? Are you going out of your comfort zone and reading and learning about authors and sharing that with the community you serve?

— by Shauntee Burns-Simpson,

from A Call to Action for Librarians @ BookRiot

We Need Diverse Books

A Call to Action for Librarians by Shauntee Burns-Simpson — from BookRiot

Ta-Nehisi Coates to Write Black Panther Comic for Marvel by George Gene Gustines — from The New York Times

Lying to Children About the California Missions and the Indians by Deborah A. Miranda — from Zinn Education Project: Teaching a People’s History

China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan reviewed by Pooja Makhijani — from The Rumpus

The Diversity Baseline Survey — from Lee & Low Books

Authors & Books

Top 25 Books from the 2015 NBA (Neri Book Awards) by G. Neri — from g.neri.com

Some Kids’ Books Are Worth The Wait: ‘They Do Take Time,’ Says Kevin Henkes  — from NPR

Jane Goodall, UN Messenger of Peace  by Monica Edinger — from Educating Alice

Children’s Books Interview – Horn Book Editor, Roger Sutton  — from Miss Marple’s Musings

A Manifesto for Children’s Literature; or, Reading Harold as a Teenager by Philip Nel — from Iowa Review 

I Am Marie Lu: Ask Me Anything  — from reddit.com/r/books

Nielsen Summit Shows the Data Behind the Children’s Book Boom by Natasha Gilmore — from Publishers Weekly

Something Great to Share


Size Comparison Science Fiction Spaceships by Dirk Loechel — from Deviant Art

(Click on this small partial image to see the full size, high rez original.)


I gathered these entries from various sources such as Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and specific sites that I follow such as Educating Alice, Pub Peeps, Book Riot, School Library Journal, The Horn Book, We Need Diverse Books, etc.

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Sunday Select, September 20, 2015

FCLSSQuote of the Week

American audiences are capable of so much more than some in your industry imagine. And if we can break that down to what I really mean, I mean this: White Americans can care about more than just themselves. They really can. And the rest of us? We are DYING to see ourselves anywhere.

To be clear: I’m not asking for altruism here. I worked in corporate America for 20 years before I put my book out; I know the stakes, the economics. What I am saying makes solid, actual business sense: There is a vast, untapped audience out there. You need to get to us.

— by Mira Jacob,

from “I Gave A Speech About Race To The Publishing Industry And No One Heard Me” via BuzzFeed

Race & Cultural Literacy

Why a White Blog? by Allie Jane Bruce — from Reading While White (This is the inaugural post of the new blog.)

Author Cornelia Funke Launches Own Publishing Company by Wendy Werris — from Publishers Weekly (Her decision was made due to stylistic and also cultural conflicts with Litte, Brown.)

I Gave A Speech About Race To The Publishing Industry And No One Heard Me by Mira Jacob — from BuzzFeed

Awards, Authors & Writing

The National Book Award announcement of the ten titles that made the long list for the Young Readers category — from The New Yorker

Omission: Choosing what to leave out by John McPhee — from The New Yorker

The Walking and Talking series by Steve Sheinkin — from A Fuse8 Production/SLJ

This web comic series features interviews with children’s authors conducted and drawn by Steve Sheinkin, hosted on Fuse8, since September 2014. Here are the six installments so far:

I gathered these entries from various sources such as Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and specific sites that I follow such as Educating Alice, Pub Peeps, Book Riot, School Library Journal, The Horn Book, We Need Diverse Books, etc.

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Sunday Select, September 13, 2015

FCLSSQuote of the Week

It is long past time for the industry to move past concerns over what–if anything–dominant voices lose when publishers actually choose to publish and promote minority voices over dominant ones. It is long past time to move past that old debate of who-can-write. Moving past that debate means I want to see publishers actually doing what Lasky feared so that more books by minority writers are actually published.

— by Debbie Reese,

from American Indians in Children’s Literature

Cultures – Insiders, Outsiders, Tangled Knots

Deborah Wiles, Debbie Reese, and Choosing a Revolution by Debbie Reese — from American Indians in Children’s Literature

A Tumblr Post about Writing the Other by Maggie Stiefvater — from Content of Maggie Stiefvater’s Brain

A Tumbler Post Response about Maggie Stiefvater’s Tumblr Post  — from La Lune Rousse

A Response to Colten Hibbs and Maggie Stiefvater on Writing the Other by B R Sanders — from Clatter and Clank

The White Poet Who Used an Asian Pseudonym to Get Published Is a Cheater, Not a Crusader by Katy Waldman — from Slate

Sherman Alexie Speaks Out on The Best American Poetry 2015 by Sherman Alexie from The Best American Poetry Blog

News, Awards, Authors

Marvel’s First Native American Hero Is Getting A Standalone Comic Series by James Whitbrook — from io9

Lee & Low Books: New Visions Award (Deadline 10/31/2015) — from Lee & Low Books

First WNDB Short Story Winners  — from We Need Diverse Books

2016 Spring and Summer Favorites? by Nina Lindsay — from Heavy Medal/SLJ

Alex Gino on Debut Novel, “George”, and the Importance of Transgender Voices in the Kid Lit World by Kiera Parrott — from School Library Journal

Goodreads YA Interview – Andrew Smith on Alex Crow

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Sunday Select, September 6, 2015

FCLSSQuote of the Week

Don’t even think about publishing until you’ve actually started writing, and don’t even think about writing until you’ve done a whole lot of reading. And not of websites or how-to guides; that’s just dilly-dallying. Read children’s books. Lots of children’s books. Although my grumpiness is resurfacing to tell you that if you haven’t already read lots of children’s books, for love, I’m probably not going to be interested in what you think you have to contribute. Harshing your buzz? Deal with it and dig out your library card.

— by Roger Sutton,
Editorial of the September/October 2015 Issue of The Horn Book

Books & Book Lists

Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead, reviewed by Elizabeth Bird– from School Library Journal

The Alex Crow by Andrew Smith, reviewed by Jason Reynolds — from The New York Times

George by Alex Gino, author interview by Kiera Parrott — from School Library Journal

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Recent and New Releases by Alyson Beecher — from Kid Lit Frenzy

3 Filipino Folk Tales That Would Make Great YA Novels by Angel Cruz — from Book Riot

Happenings and Musings

Read Before You Write by Roger Sutton — from The Horn Book

Diversity Survey Deadline Nears by By Jim Milliot — from Publishers Weekly

The Opposite of Colorblind: Why It’s Essential to Talk to Children About Race by Hannah Ehrlich — from Lee & Low Books

Ratcheting Up the Rhetoric by Charles Blow — from The New York Times

Literary and Entertaining

The Bay of the Dead, a Facebook Photo Story by M.T. Anderson — from Facebook

17 Things We Wish Had Happened in Harry Potter by Gwen Glazer — from The New York Times

Where the Magic Happens: Children’s Illustrators Open Up Their Studios – in pictures by Jake Green — from The Guardian

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Sunday Select, August 23, 2015

FCLSSQuote of the Week

Learning the alphabet gave you night terrors, and even now you have a deep seated fear of being mauled by a bear.

— by Bridey Heing,

from “How to Tell If You’re in and Edward Gorey Book”  (referring to The Gashlycrumb Tinies)

Children’s Literature Happenings & Book Lists

How To Tell If You’re In an Edward Gorey Book by Bridey Heing — from The Toast

Kwame Alexander BeatBoxing The Crossover at Singapore American School

ABC Books Beyond Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Karina Glaser — from Book Riot

Getting Graphic by Julie Danielson — from Kirkus

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #445: Featuring Matt Phelan by Julie Danielson from Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast

Good Questions and Great Answers

Where Are All The People of Color in Sci-Fi/Fantasy? by Anthony Vicino — from SF Signal

Bedtime Stories for Young Brains by Perri Klass, MD. — from The New York Times

10 REASONS TO READ DIVERSELY — from Lee & Low Books

I’m Latino. I’m Hispanic. And They Are Different, so I drew a comic to explain. by Terry Blas — from Vox

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Sunday Select, August 16, 2015

FCLSSQuotes of the Week

What few people understand and some people don’t want to understand is that the chattel slavery inflicted on blacks in America was distinctly different from slavery in Africa, Russia, Ireland, Rome, Greece, or Egypt. The notion that a person and their descendants would be held in generational perpetuity without any hope of liberation was only featured in America… for hundreds of years, affecting millions of people. Slavery is America’s original sin. Many of our fellow citizens continue to suffer horrific injustice and inequality because we haven’t learned our history and we lack the moral courage to deal with what happened then and what is happening now.

— Laurie Halse Anderson (public facebook comment)

Authors must be allowed to focus on the topics and ideas that contain personal meanings, that they feel passionate about examining in their work, and that they can feel proud of creating.  Solely focusing on what an author hasn’t given readers can mean we risk missing an awful lot of what they have.

— Shelly McNerney
from In which I think about gender of authors and characters…

Authors and Reading Lists

A sampling of YA author Andrew Smith’s Facebook Profile Photos: with two new books out in 2015 (Alex Crow and Stand Off) Smith is not only hard at work keeping his YA novels weird (and they ARE weird, in the best way) but also making sure that Facebook remains equally weird.

How Brian Selznick Created a Delightful Book Trailer for ‘The Marvels’ by Jennifer Maloney — from Speakeasy, Wall Street Journal

How to (Re)Tell a Story in Pictures by Gareth Hinds — from TeachingBooks.net

M.T. Anderson: ‘Seeking Out the Truth’ for Teens — from Shelf Awareness

Italy: Diary of a Wimpy Kid translated into Latin — from BBC News from Elsewhere

Meet Marvel’s newest female superhero in Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur by Andrea Towers — from Entertainment Weekly

SUMMER READING compiled by Crystal — from Rich In Color

The Best Feminist Books For Younger Readers by Brandi Bailey — From Book Riot

Looking for a Back-to-School Chapter Book Read Aloud? Don’t Miss These! by Daryl Grabarek — from School Library Journal

Important Perspectives

In which I think about gender of authors and characters… by Shelly McNerney — from macstackbooks.com

Kids’ Thoughts on Censorship (Loudness in the Library Year Three, Part 1) by Allie Jane Bruce — from Bank Street College Center for Children’s Literature

Rewriting History: American Indians, Europeans, and an Oak Tree (Loudness in the Library Year Three, Part 3) by Allie Jane Bruce — from Bank Street College Center for Children’s Literature

Allie’s Reflections (Loudness in the Library Year Three, Part 4) by Allie Jane Bruce — from Bank Street College Center for Children’s Literature

Representations (and the Lack Thereof) of Race and Hair (Loudness in the Library Year Three, Part 2) by Allie Jane Bruce — from Bank Street College Center for Children’s Literature

Monticello’s whitewashed version of history by Desiree H. Melton — from The Washington Post

Follow-up discussion on author Laurie Halse Anderson’s public facebook post regarding the above article.


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Sunday Selection, July 26th, 2015


Jimmy Carter and Jacqueline Woodson on Race, Religion and Rights – from The New York Times

It’s Time to Get Real About Racial Diversity in Comics – from Wired

A Historic Week for the Fight to #EndMassIncarceration! But Will President Obama Play It Safe or Courageously? – from Huffington Post

Actor Jesse Williams Breaks Down Sandra Bland and Racist Hypocrisy in 24 Tweets – from ColorLines

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New Star Wars fictions, Chronicle Books and More

From June 26th to 29th, I enjoyed the many festivities at American Library Association’s 2015 Annual Conference in San Francisco.  Here are some photos with captions (click on the first photo to see the slideshow with full captions!)

Star Wars retold for Middle Grade readers — from Disney Publishing Worldwide.  The four authors of the upcoming (and already published) books are: Tony DiTerlizzi, Alexandra Bracken, Adam Gidwitz, and Tom Angleberger.

Chronicle Books invited us to check out their amazingly beautiful, open, and creative work space!  I found out that there is an entire Industrial Design department, creating merchandise connected to the books they publish.  Too fun!

Of course, there were many other events, sessions, workshops that I didn’t take a lot of pictures of — The Coretta Scott King Awards Breakfast, the ALSC Preconference highlighting and celebrating this year’s Honored books (Caldecott, Newbery, Sibert, Geisel, Carnegie), Newbery/Caldecott/Wilder Banquet, and the ALSC Awards ceremony (Sibert, Geisel, Carnegie, Batchelder.)

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Coretta Scott King Book Awards Breakfast: A Most Memorable Morning from ALA 2015, San Francisco

We always grumble about it being too early (7:00 a.m. on a Sunday during a long weekend of festivities and after a couple of really late night parties); we always know that once we get there, something magical will happen so all our sleepiness will be swept away: when the entire room sang Lift Every Voice and Sing together, when the morning invocation calls to attention of the importance of this award in our still trying time for African Americans, and when the award winners give their heart-felt, thought-provoking speeches.

This year felt like it was the BEST yet!  From Jason Reynold’s tribute to his mother and the power of community, to Kwame Alexander’s rousing spoken words; from Kekla Magoon’s insistence of telling the world the multi-faceted truths behind the single-angled reporting of the media, to Frank Morrison’s belief of encouraging all children to be who they truly are; from Marilyn Nelson’s quiet reminder of the power of words to Christian Robinson’s (and Patricia Hruby Powell) dancing like Josephine Baker!  And of course, to the dreaming and frustration and dreaming again by Jacqueline Woodson and Christopher Myers.

Jackie’s and Chris’ speeches in their printed form can be found on the Hornbook site.

Dream Keepers by Jackie and This untitled speech by Chris are must reads!  Don’t miss this moving tribute to Chris by John Steptoe (new talent winner): Giant (for Christopher Myers)

That entire breakfast was at once extremely somber and electrifying.  These talented African American authors and artists have joined a long line of creative souls who continue to inspire and inform young readers.  Bravo!

(Christian Robinson & Patricia Hruby Powell – illustrator/author duo for Josephine even danced for us.)

Another noteworthy honoree of the day is Deb Taylor (my fellow 2002 Newbery member,) of the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore for her Distinguished Services over the years!  Here’s a picture of her giving her passionate speech —



and her talking to Marilyn Nelson, author of Carver: A Life in Poems, (2002 Newbery Honor book winner):


More pictures and reports of this past weekend at ALA can be found on the SLJ site.  And my own photo documentary of the weekend is forthcoming!




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Over There at SLJ’s Battle of the Kids’ Books…

As one third of the Three-Headed-Battle-Commander, I’m now directing my and your attention toward this year’s Battle of the Kids’ Books, hosted annually by School Library Journal.

It is a way for us to highlight many outstanding titles from the previous year, be they award winners already or sleepers until now.  Read all sixteen books, follow the judges’ decisions, vote for the Undead, and make your opinions heard in the Comments!

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On a wet wintry night last week 12…

On a wet wintry night last week (12/10/2014,) I participated in a panel discussion where the question of how to bring more international YA literature into the American market was raised and pondered. Hosted by Words without Borders and NYPL and moderated by Marc Aronson. Other panelists are Arthur Levine, publisher of Arthur Levine Books/Scholastic, Padma Venkatraman, author of A Time to Dance, and Briony Everroad, guest editor for the Words without Borders December issue on International YA literature. This is a summary of the evening.

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BFYA 2015 Nominations – Final List

We did it!  Our Committee of 15 nominated 113 titles to be considered for Best Fiction for Young Adults, 2015.  You can find out what the titles are with short annotations on the official ALA/YALSA site.

Here’s a simplified list with just titles — Any surprises? Favorites? Comment away :)

Al Said, Adi Let’s Get Lost
Anderson, Jodi Lynn The Vanishing Season
Arnett, Mindee Avalon
Aronson, Marc One Death, Nine Stories
Bassoff, Leah & Laura DeLuca Lost Girl Found
Brezenoff, Steve Guy in Real Life
Caletti, Deb The Last Forever
DeWoskin, Rachel Blind
Fine, Sarah Of Metal and Wishes
Foley, Jessie Ann The Carnival at Bray
Fombelle, Timothee de Vango
Giles, Gail Girls Like Us
Gold, Jennifer Soldier Doll
Griffin, Bethany The Fall
Hosie, Donna The Devil’s Intern
Kiernan, Celine Into the Grey
King, A.S. Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future
Knudsen, Michelle Evil Librarian
LaMarche, Una Like No Other
Maas, Sarah Heir of Fire
Magoon, Kekla How It Went Down
Mathieu, Jennifer The Truth About Alice
McGovern, Cammie Say What You Will
Mesrobian, Carrie Perfectly Good White Boy
Miller, Lauren Free to Fall
Moracho, Cristina Althea & Oliver
Nix, Garth Clariel
Parker, Natalie C. Beware the Wild
Parsons, Mark Huntley Road Rash
Pearson, Mary E. The Kiss of Deception
Polonsky, Ami Gracefully Grayson
Ritter, William Jackaby
Smith, Andrew 100 Sideways Miles
Smith, Jennifer E. The Geography of You and Me
Spears, Kat Sway
Stiefvater, Maggie Blue Lily, Lily Blue
Talkington, Amy Liv, Forever
Tregay, Sarah Fan Art
Walrath, Dana Like Water on Stone
Zarr, Sara Roomies
Aslan, Austin The Islands at the End of the World
Fredericks, Mariah Season of the Witch
Kizer, Amber Pieces of Me
Phillips, LInda Vigen Crazy
Schrefer, Eliot Threatened
Smith, Sherwood & Brown, Rachel Manija Stranger
Tintera, Amy Rebel
Willey, Margaret Beetle Boy
Alexander, Kwame The Crossover
Almond, David The True Tale of Monster Billy Dean
Anderson, Laurie Halse The Impossible Knife of Memory
Armentrout, Jennifer Don’t Look Back
Bedford, Martyn Never Ending
Blankman, Anne Prisoner of Night and Fog
Brown, Jennifer Torn Away
Brown, Skila Caminar
Burgess, Melvin The Hit
Carleson, J.C. The Tyrant’s Daughter
Colbert, Brandy Pointe
Combs, Sarah Breakfast Served Anytime
Dellaira, Ava Love Letters to the Dead
Giles, Lamar Fake ID
Graudin, Ryan The Walled City
Green, Sally Half Bad
Griffin, Adele The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone
Han, Jenny To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before
Hattemer, Kate The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy
Herbach, Geoff Fat Boy vs. the Cheerleaders
Howe, Katherine Conversion
Hubbard, Jenny And We Stay
Johnston, E.K. The Story of Owen: Dragonslayer of Troneheim
Kephart, Beth Going Over
Kiely, Brendan The Gospel of Winter
Kuehn, Stephanie Complicit
Kulper, Kendall Salt & Storm
LaCour, Nina Everything Leads to You
LaFevers, Robin Mortal Heart
Lloyd-Jones, Emily Illusive
Lockhart, e. We Were Liars
Lu, Marie The Young Elites
Maciel, Amanda Tease
Maguire, Gregory Egg & Spoon
Nelson, Jandy I’ll Give You the Sun
Neri, G Knockout Games
Oliver, Lauren Panic
Paige, Danielle Dorothy Must Die
Philbrick, Rodman Zane and the Hurricane: A Story of Katrina
Pratt, Non Trouble
Quintero, Isabel Gabi, a Girl in Pieces
Reinhardt, Dana We Are the Goldens
Reynolds, Jason When I Was the Greatest
Rutkoski, Marie The Winner’s Curse
Sedgwick, Marcus She Is Not Invisible
Sharpe, Tess Far From You
Shepherd, Megan Her Dark Curiosity
Shinoda, Anna Learning Not to Drown
Smith, Andrew Grasshopper Jungle
Smith, Lindsay Sekret
Strasser, Todd No Place
Taylor, Laini Dreams of Gods and Monsters
Templeman, McCormick The Glass Casket
Tripp, Ben The Accidental Highwayman
Venkatraman, Padma A Time to Dance
Vlahos, Len The Scar Boys
Waller, Sharon Biggs A Mad, Wicked Folly
Walton, Leslye The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender
Westerfeld, Scott Afterworlds
Whaley, John Corey Noggin
White, Kiersten & Jim Di Bartolo In the Shadows
Wiles, Deborah Revolution
Wolitzer, Meg Belzhar
Wood, Fiona Wildlife
Winters, Cat The Cure for Dreaming

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School Library Journal’s Best Books of 2014 are…

School Library Journal’s Best Books of 2014 are announced. Four categories: Picture Books, Middle Grade, Young Adult, and Nonfiction. Use the list to buy books for your library, find gifts for your loved ones, or for your personal reading pleasure: http://www.slj.com/best-books-2014

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November 30, 2014 · 3:45 pm

Kirkus Prize Finalists — Very different from National Book Award Long List

Kirkus Book Reviews announced the finalists for the Kirkus Prize for several categories today. The finalists for the young readers are:

by Cece Bell, illustrated by Cece Bell

by Jen Bryant, illustrated by Melissa Sweet

by Jack Gantos

by E.K. Johnston

by Don Mitchell

by Kate Samworth, illustrated by Kate Samworth

Some observations:

  • Kirkus: 6 titles – NBA: 10 titles
  • Kirkus: 3 out of the 6 titles (50%) are NOT fiction and 1 more that is a mixture (lots of scientific information in an imagined environment) – NBA 2 out of 10 (20%) is NOT fiction with quite a few titles set against very realistic or historical backdrops.
  • Kirkus: All 6 titles are suitable for a sixth grader or younger – NBA, at least 3 titles pure YA and most are of interest to older readers.
  • Kirkus: 1 Graphic Novel – NBA no Graphic Novel

The two lists definitely complement each other!

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CYBILS Finalists Announced

Happy New Year and I’m excited to share with you the two lists that I have had the pleasure of working on for the past few months: The finalists for the 2013 CYBILS Middle Grade and Young Adult Graphic Novels.

The finalists are:

MG Graphic Novels:

Bluffton: My Summers with Buster Keaton
Matt Phelan

Hereville: How Mirka Met a Meteorite
Barry Deutsch

March: Book 1
John Lewis

Monster on the Hill
Rob Harrell

Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales: Donner Dinner Party
Nathan Hale

Squish #5: Game On!
Jennifer L. Holm

The Lost Boy
Greg Ruth

YA Graphic Novels:

Bad Machinery
John Allison

Boxers & Saints Boxed Set
Gene Luen Yang

Captain Marvel, Vol. 1: In Pursuit of Flight
Kelly Sue Deconnick

Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant
Tony Cliff

Jordan Mechner

Uzumaki Deluxe Edition
Junji Ito

War Brothers: The Graphic Novel
Sharon McKay

All the finalists and annotations can be found here: http://www.cybils.com/2014/01/the-2013-finalists.html.

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Congrats to Cynthia Kadohata for her book The…

Congrats to Cynthia Kadohata for her book The Thing About Luck winning the Young Readers fiction category at National Book Awards!

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November 21, 2013 · 10:35 pm

My 4th New York ComicCon – October 9 to 12, 2013

annieewokSome thoughts on how to Take ComicCon as me, after no longer feeling so overwhelmed or clueless as I did the first couple of times going to the Con. Taking the time to go over the listing for all the panels and screenings and planning the days in advance definitely reduces the stress.  And attending one event every 2 or 3 hours is more realistic than back-to-back, especially when the events are super popular and there is just not a chance to get in to see the panel.  I “lost” my chance to see Felicia Day and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. because I didn’t leave enough lead time (about 1 hour at the minimum) to wait in line for each. At this point, I do not seek out panels that are too closely related to print materials or how to promote Graphic Novels in Libraries/Schools — I got a lot of that in the past couple of years.  This year, I was really looking to broaden my knowledge base — so I went to a presentation on a new online multi player game that has some new elements that really excite me: more chances to meet up with friends or compatible strangers on the same world (since the players do not choose the mini-worlds but being grouped organically); more opportunities to customize one’s virtual surroundings and items; NPCs that interact wie players more intelligently — and quests that utilize various abilities and virtues.  I’m really rooting for this game!  Shroud of the Avatar (a new incarnation of Ultima games.)  The game creator also crowd sourced everything: from funding (almost 2 million dollars in 30 days on Kickstarter) to artwork, music composition, and even codes (such as a code to make the cloaks float artistically in the wind…) shroud The Designer Toys panelists, the NY Indie Game Designers, and the Voice Actors shared so much of their expertise with the audience that I felt enlightened in their respective areas and wanted to find out more about those crafts. chewpanel2 My favorite event has to be the talented writer/illustrator duo John Layman and Rob Guillory, talking about Chew, the crazy, sick, hilarious, dark, and always surprising graphic novel series that has been gaining fan base and is going strong still!  They have published 37 of the planned 60 issues and we simply can’t wait for the plot to get wackier and more twisted!  This was what made me most excited in the line-up and they totally delivered — with a highly competent and effective moderator from Images Comics.  The hour went by too fast and we really could have stayed and listened and laughed more.  You could tell how genuinely these two collaborators admire and enjoy each other, and how important that relationship shaped the tone of the story.  Here are some things I learned:

  • chewpanel1Layman always knows how a story begins and how it will end.  He often writes the first and last parts of an arc first, and then fills in the middle to bridge the two points.
  • Layman loves linguistics and enjoys making up all the food-related names for the series.
  • Guillory thinks of his characters as actors and the humor often comes from his making them overact, as if they were on stage for a large audience.
  • 95% of the background easter eggs are Guillory’s inventions — Layman does not always see them until the finished issue!
  • Guillory does not draw from photo references for his characters — all the body positions, movements, perspectives come straight from his observations and memories.  He told me (when I had him sign my Chew volumes) that he is a keen observer for people’s expressions and actions and it is really hard for him to have a phone conversation because he cannot see the other person’s face.
  • And I learned that the whole series might end with everyone dead… or it might not…

It was refreshing to hear the writers and artists for Dark Horse comics stress the value of “text” novels and how much they respect the power of words that can create mental images within the readers’ minds.  They shared some of their personal “must reads”: Philip K Dick shorts, Snow Crash by Stephenson, A Wrinkle in Time, the Foundation Series, and books by Robert E. Howard (Conan the Barbarian and others.)  Glad to see quite a bit of overlapping of my own “must reads.” And it was entertaining to learn about the TV show King of the Nerds and the preparation of the second season.  Also gald to find out some upcoming projects from Image, Dark Horse, Marvel, DC, and Funimation. Today was the last day of the 2013 NYCC — Sunday, October 12th. adventuretimeenc The two panels: one about Adventure Time and the other about a few new YA sci-fi books were both mediocre.  The lack of excitement or insights for the first event was largely the moderator’s responsibility and the second, the lack of depth of thought by the panelists. I thought about what made some of the events work better than others and came up with a few ideas about moderators and panelists: To be a good moderator, these are some Do’s

  • Do know and respect the materials and the panelists.
  • Do be relaxed and follow up the panelists’ answers if there are extra sparks that can deepen the conversation.
  • Since it is ComicCon, do give the fans ample time to ask questions … What they have to ask and say tend to be relevant and of interest to other fans.
  • Do show the audience that it is fun to be on stage, having a thoughtful or funny conversation.

And here are a few Don’ts

  • Don’t be nervous.
  • Try not to “fan girl” the panelists to a point where you ask all the questions that you prepared without actually listening to the answers or following up with organic questions.
  • Don’t try to stump your panelists with questions that they are not prepared to answer.
  • Don’t ask questions that your audience members are smart enough to answer without being the experts on stage.
  • Don’t force every panelist to answer every one of your prepared questions.  It gets tedious!

As for panelists: do not sign up to be a presenter if you can only talk narrowly about your product and have nothing else to offer: it makes you look and sound shallow and it does not instill confidence in your potential customers to try out your products: be they books, toys, movies, games, art, or other merchandize.

Oh, I also visited publishers’ booths to read 2013 graphic novels nominated for the long list of the CYBILS G/N categories.  So far, I enjoyed everyone of them and will write something up for each soon!

A long summary but since I attended the Con for four days, it seems appropriate.

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CYBILS 2013 Announced its panels of blogger judges!

Yup.. it is official.  And I am on the Graphics judging panel for Round 1.

I served on the first CYBILS (Children and Young Adult Bloggers’ Literary Awards) Fantasy and Science Fiction final round panel and we picked Jonathan Stroud’s Ptolomy’s Gate as the winner for the year.  A highly entertaining and deserving conclusion to an ever-intriguing and powerful trilogy.

Can’t wait to see all the suggestions/nominations for this year’s Graphic Narratives and generate that long list for future judges!  Excited!

This is the panelists for the Graphics sections:


and the full list of blogger judges can be found on the current Cybils front page.


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